By Roger Lanse
Due to town meeting policy, which places time restrictions on public input, only four members, who were selected by a group of about 15, spoke in favor of changing the October 12 holiday name from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day or something similar. The group explained they desire to honor the native peoples who were displaced and mistreated rather than Columbus who started the displacing, and asked council to pass a resolution changing the name of the October 12 holiday in Silver City.
Athena Wolf stated, “I’m here to ask city council to simply declare that we do not any longer celebrate Columbus Day. There’s a wave of millions of people in the United States who have realized that celebrating the life of the self-admitted rapist, slave-trader, and genocidal murderer, Christopher Columbus, does not demonstrate good ethics.”
Joe Saenz told council that “you have the opportunity to change things here. The history that has happened to native people regarding Columbus is just atrocious. Whole cultures were changed, whole cultures were killed, and we need to do something different. What we have here in Silver City is this opportunity with the change in culture that is happening here. We now have three Apache organizations in the area. This town celebrates the Cliff Dwellings which is a group of native people that passed through here. This is something we cannot ignore any longer.”
Hueteotl Lopez, who said he was the grandson of the last traditional bird-singer from the Agua Caliente tribe from Palm Springs, California stated, “When we promote that history (the history of our people), we honor that history, we elevate it, and we give it a platform, we’re doing nothing more than breathing life into that negative history that affected the largest genocide in the history of humanity – to the tune of 100 million of my people.”
A man who did not identify himself and stated he had Cherokee lineage on his father’s side added, “My father’s people, native American, have fought in every war that we have ever had, beginning with the colonies. We’ve turned him (Columbus) into a national hero, and he was responsible for the enslaving and murdering, genocide, of our people.”
District 3 Councilor Jose Ray stated that he had received a letter inquiring about the Town annexing Tyrone. Town Manager Alex Brown answered, “That would be a very, very large annex.” It would almost triple the size of Silver City, Brown said, and the cost of the annexation to the town would have to be determined as well as any revenue benefits that would accrue to the town.
District 2 Councilor Lynda Aiman-Smith informed council that Santa Fe passed a resolution to develop a research study to determine what would be needed to move that city toward 100% renewable by 2030. She said the town needs to keep tabs on that. “We know that they’re going to be doing that study and we will be asking them.”
Jamie Embick, Community Development Department Director, stated that a letter has been sent out to residents explaining the 2017 Town of Silver City Comprehensive Plan and how they can be involved. A draft of the plan can be seen online and at the CDD office. Mayor and council also have a copy and Town Attorney Robert Scavron has agreed to prepare a resolution for council to consider, according to Embick.
Embick also said that more than 20 designs have been submitted for the new “Welcome to Silver City” signs and residents are urged to vote for their favorite. They can vote online, at the CDD office, or at two open-houses at 1203 N. Hudson Street – second floor on Wednesday, Sept, 13, from 2-4 p.m., and Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6-8 p.m.
Council passed two ordinances, one sponsored by District 1 Councilor Cynthia Bettison making it possible for an animal control officer to rescue an animal in a hot car when the owner can’t be located without incurring liability for vehicle damage, and the second, sponsored by Aiman-Smith to streamline business licensing and registration. Both ordinances take effect Wednesday, Sept. 20, Mayor Ken Ladner advised.
Silver City Fire Chief Milo Lambert asked approval of a new fee schedule, which council gave.
Council approved a special dispenser permit application for the 2017 Rotary Benefit Auction to be held Saturday, Oct. 7, with alcohol service from 4-8:30 p.m. at the Grant County Veteran’s Memorial Business and Conference Center. Sunny Kellerman, Event Manager, said the auction will benefit LifeQuest, Silver City Gospel Mission, and the Gila Valley Library Chiidren’s Section. Kellerman also stated that non-alcoholic beverages will be available and security will be provided for the 200-250 attendees expected.
Council also approved two public celebration permit applications and waiver for alcohol sales near a church for the American Planning Association’s Reception to be held on Sept. 27 with alcohol service from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Seedboat Gallery. Melanie Zipin said beer, wine, and spirits will be available.