New Mexico Resolution-To-Impeach Debate Aborted In Senate

Gem Fire Air
New Mexico Resolution-To-Impeach Debate Aborted In Senate
marty kleva

March 10, 2007
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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 <<<<<

Con Amore,

~ mek

Links to previous articles covering SJR5 beginning 1-26-07:

NM Lawmakers Launch Impeachment Resolution of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

New Mexico Legislature Resolution to Impeach: Update & Reflections

New Mexico's Legislature & The Use of Asbestos Gloves: Update & Reflections

NM Legislature Deals Two ‘Green Chiles’ to SJR5!

New Mexico Senate Judiciary Passes Impeachment Resolution

Comments On Impeachment: by New Mexico Senate Committee member Senator Rod Adair


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New Mexico Legislature Resolution to Impeach: Update & Reflections

Gem Fire Air
New Mexico Legislature Resolution to Impeach:
Update & Reflections
marty kleva

February 3, 2007
permanent url

When Senators Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque and John Grubesic of Santa Fe, announced the introduction of (SJR5), a resolution calling for the Impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney at the press conference held in the Rotunda of the New Mexico State Roundhouse January 23, 2007, I was present.

Although the Roundhouse is in my neighborhood, I had always walked by it yet never walked in, a statement that also reflects my involvement in politics. As of January 23rd, that changed with my decision to become actively involved in this particular resolution.

I have signed many impeachment petitions, beginning back in 2001 and the passing of the first and most infamous Patriot Act. Politics has been something I felt comfortable studying, reading, and commenting about, as GemFireAir reflects, but I have always refrained from becoming more directly involved beyond that of calling my congressman, writing letters, and sending pertinent information via e-mail.

Here I am on January 23rd 2007, in the middle of the Rotunda beneath the dome of the NM State Roundhouse waiting for the press conference to begin, announcing the introduction of the resolution to impeach GW & DC. There are reporters here from every New Mexico newspaper, the Associated Press, as well as ABC and NBC cameras.

I look around and see about 100 others attending. Part of me is apprehensive for taking such a public step. But somewhere deep inside I know that I have reached my limit on being silent. Behind my apprehension is a subtle fear that I will place myself beneath the scrutiny of those who have come to be known as the American version of the Gestapo and possibly find myself on the no-fly list. So many others have been
arrested and jailed for peaceful protests; it can happen to any one of us.

It’s not comfortable living in the U.S. knowing that my phone conversations and e-mails are being monitored, and where cash is now viewed by the U.S. banking world as a four-letter word. Besides GW having trouble with the Constitution, there are judges who will not allow the word "Constitution" to even be spoken in their courtroom without the threat of 'contempt'. And now, law enforcement agencies have no need to knock on our door — they just kick it down and walk in.

What surprised me earlier as I walked up to the Roundhouse entrance, is that there were only two security people in evidence, both standing outside talking to each other and having a cigarette. There were no major security sacred portals to go through. I did not need to step out of my shoes, take everything out of my pockets, or relinquish my purse and personal belongings. I could walk wherever I chose and no one stopped to question me. Apparently I did not have the letter ‘T’ written on my forehead, and I walked around dazed from the relief I felt for once again being back in friendly territory.

Impeaching a President is not something I want to do, nor is it a position I prefer to hold. But there is this underlying force that has drawn me here to bear witness to the two senators who are stepping forward to introduce this resolution to impeach Bush and Cheney, as if by doing so I am once again affirming all those signatures I have previously made.

No one here looks like a terrorist, but rather they appear like any American I would meet on the street, like you and me. Some parents have brought their young children. In a conversation with the man who sits next to me I learn that he has come to speak as a citizen; his typed statement neatly inserted inside a blue folder.

The crowd waiting for the press conference to begin in the Rotunda is not boisterous or noisy; the prevailing atmosphere seems to contain a pervading sense of quiet determination. It is evident by the crowd’s subdued confidence, that few if any think that this issue is frivolous, or as the morning Albuquerque Journal stated, that Ortiz y Pino and Grubesic “ are hoping to make a national splash”, and which quoted Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, as saying that the proposal is “a publicity stunt.” These kinds of remarks are usually made when there is an attempt to demean and belittle those who point out the truth.

It is distressing to be calling to question a father figure of such immense authority. The President holds the archetypal figure of the Father and Teacher. It is the position reminiscent of the Greek and Roman god Saturn, and astrologically, as head figure of government, the President symbolizes the sign of Capricorn, a sign ruled by Saturn.

But George W. Bush's astrological Sun, actually holds the position in Capricorn's opposition sign of Cancer, a sign that in its wisdom, stands for the home, nurturing and caring. This may add a clue to George's position, and why so many Americans and myself are feeling so abused, rather than nurtured. George may speak the words "care" and "compassion", but he does not have the capacity to actually carry them out.

This man has been given all the slack I have available. His psychological profile screams of parental abuse, which he has not dealt with. As a psychotherapist, I cannot further enable his emotional and physical abusiveness. Now, it seems to have come to this moment — one where I must stand for myself.

George Bush, who suffers not only from untreated psychological problems and alcohol abuse, but also from their denial, has turned my compassion for him into dispassionate observation, and further spurs me to take on the task to ensure my personal survival and those values created by the Constitution of the United States.

To the rest of us, George Bush looks like an adult, yet he acts like a greedy and pompously blustering teenager who still lives inside the emotional realm of a two year old having a temper tantrum. His conflicting emotions are so powerful, that he can only feel as if he exists by striking out to kill what he perceives and creates to be outer-world demons, blindly ignoring and denying the innocent who get in the way of the guns and troops which he commands. He may not have had the kind of parents to nurture his best points, but then, who has?

As the press conference begins with introductions, Senator Ortiz y Pino is received by the supporting crowd with thunderous applause. He introduces the resolution saying that detractors from impeaching the President insist that there are “too many other pressing issues” to tie up valuable time in the state legislature with this resolution. Ortiz y Pino believes there is “too much money going toward war and paranoia,” and that our “resources are being wasted in a horrible and bloody fashion.” He gets another thunderous applause.

Senator Grubesic follows and declares that the Constitution is a sacred document, a response to GW calling it “just a goddammed piece of paper.” Grubesic goes on to give his reasons for sponsoring this resolution saying that torture is wrong, as is the denial of a proper trial, and finally that “Silence is Betrayal.” Grubesic said that as Americans, "We need to send a clear message to the rest of the world that we're not as insane as our administration is."

After the senators speak, several citizens deliver their comments. Pat Leahan, head of the Peace & Justice Center of Las Vegas, NM speaks eloquently. Underlying her calm tone is the rumble of outrage that I also feel. When she asks the question, “Do the American people feel we should move forward with the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney?” the crowd responds with whistles and applause — she gets a standing ovation.

Before leaving, I stop by the information center, have a friendly chat with the people behind the desk, and pick up a copy of the names and phone #’s of all members of the legislature. By the time I get home, I decide to call Ortiz y Pino’s office to see what kind of reception I get.

Sharon, Senator Ortiz y Pino’s secretary is very helpful, and gives me the rundown on the status so far.
SJR5 has been assigned to three senate committees (Rules, Public Affairs, and Judiciary) and must successfully pass thru each one before the full Senate can vote upon it.

Today, now more than a week later,, the Rules Committee has full membership assigned, with Senator Altamirano, Senate President Pro Temp, replacing Senator Ortiz y Pino who has been re-assigned to vice-chair another committee. The Rules Committee, which has been entirely hampered by this situation, is finally scheduled to meet in full committee today, already two meetings behind many of the others.

According to those who have more political experience than me, the delay with the Rules Committee is not another attempt by the leadership to delay this resolution, but that it is the result of last week’s resignation of Senator Leonard Tsosie(D), and the subsequent need to reassign memberships with the naming of his successor. That appointment came yesterday when Gov. Bill Richardson named Lynda Lovejoy to replace Tsosie. Lovejoy is from the Navaho Nation and is the first Native American woman to sit in the New Mexico Senate. (further story on Lovejoy to come)

SJR5 having to pass through three Senate committees sounds ominous, yet this is not impossible for many reasons. All three Senate committees have a Democratic majority with at least five Dems assigned to each. Five ‘yea’ votes passes the bill on to the next committee. Members of the first committee are also members of the other two committees, and in several cases they are also the chair and/or vice chair of the next two committees.

This labyrinthine process is an example of how the state government works. There are issues with the fact that the Democratic Majority Leader Michael Sanchez assigned so many committees to this resolution, some saying that it is a death knell. Politics!

But keep in mind, that the issue of impeaching a sitting president being discussed seriously in a state legislature such as New Mexico is forcing the issue to the national forefront. Although I feel like a whirly-gig in a nor’easter, there is no effort wasted here. Last year the state legislatures of California, Minnesota, Illinois, and Vermont introduced similar initiatives, and this year, the state of New Jersey has a strong activist movement working to introduce and pass an impeachment measure as well. That makes six states with grass roots support.

There are reports that these measures by states such as New Mexico forces members of Congress to take seriously the increasingly-popular demand that the President and Vice President be held to account for misleading Congress over the Iraq war, and that this fact alone is leading the peace movement to join the impeachment movement.

CNN commentator Jack Cafferty has broken the national media’s code of silence on the impeachment movement as he favorably reported the New Mexico Resolution last week with a salvo aimed at Nancy Pelosi saying, "[Although] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is quote, 'off the table' not everybody is so sure about that,"

Presently Mrs. Pelosi, with her stance to keep impeachment an off-hands affairis, is a disappointment to many mid-term voters. One really must question her motives when her party was given a clear indictment not only to end the war, but to also begin impeachment hearings.

The majority of people favor opening this discussion as the latest Harris poll shows that 56% of Americans want this to happen. How much more of a majority is needed to press House Leader Pelosi to respond?

In conversation with several legislative aides who I will not name, even though the New Mexico State Democratic Party officially added this issue to their platform, many are playing the I-don’t-want-it—You-can-have-it-game, including Governor Bill Richardson (D) who is reported to be gearing himself up with a new coiffure and body to face the 2008 presidential election.

Today, I learned upon further investigation, that because SJR5 is a joint resolution, once it gets through the Senate committees, it must go to the House side, and that here it will most likely also be assigned to three committees! Those assignments will come from House Speaker Ben Luhan (D) of Santa Fe.

I bemoan that there is little time to accomplish this resolution, despite the fact that this is a sixty day session, and given that the very first committee it needs to pass is the Rules Committee which as I pointed out above, has already missed two meetings with full Dem members seated.

The following Senators have signed SJR5: Please call to thank them.

Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D) (505-986-4380) sponsor

John T.L. Grubesic-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4260) sponsor

Linda M. Lopez-Chair (D) (505-986-4737)

Dede Feldman (D) (505-986-4482)

Cisco McSorley (D) (505-986-4485)

Mary Jane M. Garcia-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4726)

Joseph J. Carraro (D) (505-986-4387)

Bernadette M. Sanchez (D) (505-986-4267)

Democratic members of the Rules, Public Affairs, and Judiciary Committee:

All but Senator Altamirano have signed on SJR5. Thank those who have signed on to SJR5 for their support and vote. Call Senator Altamirano’s office to register your opinion on this with his staff and encourage him to vote yes.

RULES: Meets Monday, Wednesday & Friday-8:00 a.m. (Room 321)

Linda M. Lopez-Chair (D) (505-986-4737)

John T.L. Grubesic-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4260)

Dede Feldman (D) (505-986-4482)

Cisco McSorley (D) (505-986-4485)

Ben Altamirano (D) (505-986-4733)

If Rules passes SJR5, it will go to the Public Affairs Committee:
Note replication of signers Senators Feldman, Ortiz y Pino and Garcia.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Tues-Thurs(Room 321) & Friday-2:30 p.m.(Room 303)

Dede Feldman-Chair (D) (505-986-4482)

Mary Jane M. Garcia-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4726)

Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D) (505-986-4380)

Mary Kay Papen (D) (505-986-4270)

David Ulibarri (D) (505-986-4260)

It may come to Judiciary at which time there needs to be an absolute vote here. Note replication of signers McSorley, Grubesic, Lopez.

JUDICIARY: Monday, Wednesday & Friday - 2:30 p.m. (Room 321)

Cisco McSorley-Chair (D) (505-986-4485)

Richard C. Martinez-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4389)

John T.L. Grubesic (D) (505-986-4260)

Linda M. Lopez (D) (505-986-4737)

Lidio G. Rainaldi (D) (505-986-4310)

Michael S. Sanchez (D) Senate majority Leader (505-986-4727)

Website for the new Mexico Legislature for daily updates:

The one thing that is most evident to me is that this is merely a game of strategic positioning against the time factor. When I first got the list and saw that all three Senate committees have five Dems and four Republicans listed, I knew that this resolution could actually get passed. It is widely reported that non of the Republicans will vote for it, so that means it’s up to the Dems to do the job even though leadership has not made it easy to accomplish.

More than ever before, I understand that what you see is NOT what you get! How has this country ever survived such political illusions? It seems to be the case of: take five steps forward and six back because we forgot to say “Mother/Father, May I?”

The learning curve is steep, but after all this, if it does pass both Senate and House, reportedly this resolution does not need to go to the governor. We have until March 16th to accomplish this. Although my urge is to surge to the fore, another voice says lets take this one step at a time.

This morning’s latest news is, according to Rules Chair, Senator Linda Lopez’s office; the Impeachment resolution may likely come to a vote sometime next week.

That’s where we are at this time folks. I will be attending the committee meetings and reporting to you here on the outcome.

With the New Mexican Enchanting clear blue skies breaking through the winter doldrums, and with Punxsutawney Phil reporting an early Spring on Candlemas Day, I wish us all a peaceful solution to the world’s differences.

Con Amore,

~ mek


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