Gem Fire Air
New Mexico Resolution-To-Impeach Debate Aborted In Senate
March 10, 2007
To lightly paraphrase, all things must come to an end—even good things.
The fate of SJR5, Resolution to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney, has been decided. The people of New Mexico may have proved to be too eager, passionate, and awake for the Senate politicians who displayed their worst side by meekly refusing to step up to the mark and publicly debate SJR5.
As of Thursday, March 8, 2007, by a roll call vote of 26-13, the New Mexican Senate decided to not accept the Judiciary Committee’s report on SJR5 to be “read into” the Senate record, essentially not allowing SJR5 to be brought before the Senate Floor and open to public debate.
Reported behind this was the action taken the day before, Wednesday March 7, 2007 by Republican Senator Sharer. When in the course of otherwise mundane Senate business, and as the Judiciary Committee’s collective reports were brought forth for the usual approval to forward them into the record to be voted on another day, they were halted by a motion to separate SJR5 from the other numerous bills. This forced a preliminary vote.
Presiding President Pro Temp Ben Altamirano put it to a voice vote. As it happened, those who agreed with Senator Sharer’s motion were louder than those against. As to who was present, not present, asleep/awake, I couldn’t say as I was not in the gallery and there are no minutes of these proceedings.
The remainder of the Judiciary reports were passed to be read into the record, eventually to go before the Senate Floor. After the voice vote on Wednesday, SJR5 was ”pulled back” and “held over.”
Proponents of SJR5 were not aware that there would be any business brought up with SJR5 until it was placed into the Senate schedule for a Floor vote, expected Thursday at the earliest. In retrospect, it does not seem plausible that Senator Sherer acted alone; he was simply the one to act at the time. If he had not done so, others would have stepped in to fill the position.
Thursday, the next day, the challenge to accept the report from the Judiciary Committee on SJR5 was brought back up for consideration and put to a roll call vote. It was defeated 26-13.
The following 9 Democratic Senators joined with 17 Republican Senators and voted to not adopt SJR5 into the Senate record and not place it before the consideration of the entire Senate for debate. Out of the 6 Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee, 4 of them sided with 17 of 18 Republicans.
Senators who voted to not to adopt SJR5 into the Senate record are:
> Ben Altamirano (D) Senate PresProTemp (voted for SJR5 in Rules Comm)
> Timothy Jennings (D) co-chair of Finance Comm
> John Arthur Smith (D) co-chair of Finance Comm
> Carlos Cisneros (D) vice-chair of Finance Comm
> Pete Campos (D) mbr of Finance Comm
> Phil Griego (D)
> John Pinto (D)
> James Taylor (D)
> David Ulibarri (D) (voted for SJR5 in Public Affairs Comm)
Senators who left the Floor & did not vote
> Joseph Carraro(R) mbr of Finance Comm
Senators with excused absence for the day
> Shannon Robinson (D)
> Linda Lopez (D)
Co-sponsor of SJR5 Senator John Grubesic in a press release eloquently stated:
“The action taken by the Senate was not the action taken by a body that protects the freedoms of a sovereign people. The action was a carefully orchestrated option designed to protect the integrity of an institution and perpetuate the well-oiled workings of government.
Our actions today showed where our priorities are, we forgot that the Constitution was not designed to serve government, but to protect the people. There should have been a debate, argument, uproar. Instead, we quietly gutted the sovereign power of the people with polite political procedure.
When future generations look back on our time, the shock will not be because of the violent, impolite nature of the fight that preceded the destruction of Constitutional government, but by the meekness with which we watched it die.”
In a democracy, when people have different opinions there is a map to use where all sides are given the opportunity to air their views. That is what the people of New Mexico have been asking for during this session; asking their representatives to bring forth SJR5 to the Senate floor to be debated in the public forum.
One can only conjecture that those who had anything to do with aborting SJR5 did not trust their arguments would survive the light of day in a public debate.
It is difficult to overlook the observation that 5 of the 9 Democrats who voted not to adopt the Judiciary’s report of SJR5 into the Senate record are members of the Financial Committee — minus Senators Bernadette M. Sanchez and Nancy Rodriguez.
There are numerous questions that come to mind regarding the ill-defined intent of the opposition to keep SJR5 from ever being officially entered into the record. Technically speaking SJR5 did not get defeated. However, the bottom line is that the proposed bill SJR5 was defeated, just as it would be said if it had been defeated in any of the 3 assigned committees.
SJR5 may now be deceptively absent from the New Mexico Legislative record, but since its inception, it has been recorded here at GemFireAir, at other sites, and on videotape in the three committee hearings. These documentations will withstand the test of time as fitting historical examples of the people’s fight for the preservation of the Constitution and our form of democracy.
The hundreds of New Mexicans present for each of the committee hearings, and the thousands of calls and letters to the legislature is proof that the people called for the “debate, argument, uproar” that Senator John Grubesic expressed in his press release, and the opportunity that he and Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino created by the introduction of SJR5.
Instead, as Senator Grubesic says of his colleagues who aborted the democratic process, “we quietly gutted the sovereign power of the people with polite political procedure.”
Several members of the citizenry have been criticized for impolitely calling out in the March 5th Judicial Committee hearing during the 25 minutes that Republican Senator Adair lectured the citizens on how “wrong” they were for their views. He told the PEOPLE they were “wrong” five times — an average of once every five minutes.
Speaking from a professional position, Senator Adair may have appeared to be polite as he is well polished to carry off this persona. However, he misused his position of power when he continually censured and personally attacked the audience. He says he did not, yet in fact he spoke like an authoritarian father, castigating his teenage children in an imperious manner, continually firing the censorious word “wrong” toward the PEOPLE!
He held himself above us and talked down to us as he verbally attacked the previous testimony of the PEOPLE while categorizing and calling us names.
This is an example of arrogance by an elected official who has forgotten that the state legislature is the house of the PEOPLE and that he and his colleagues are there only at the behest and invitation of the PEOPLE!
The fight for public Congressional debate has just begun. There are many other states that throughout this and next year can and will bring forth another Impeachment Resolution. They can learn much from the forged process here in New Mexico. We wish them much success.
>>>>>May the People of Earth Know Peace <<<<<
Labels: Dick Cheney, George Bush, NM Legislature 2007, Resolution to Impeach, Senator Grubesic, Senator Ortiz y Pino, SJR5