facebook-24x24

img 6159Photo is of only one portion of the crowd at the rally.

img 6155Commissioner Harry Browne holds flashlight for Commission Alicia Edwards to read her remarks.

[Editor's Note: This is the first of a multi-part series of articles on the Grant County Commission special meeting addressing the proposal to expand training airspace over the county. This portion gives a brief overview of the pre-session rally outside the venue.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

At a pre-meeting rally, which drew about 200 people to the parking lot in front of the Grant County Administration Center on Nov. 14, 2017, speakers, including Commissioner Harry Browne and Commissioner Alicia Edwards, expressed opposition to the proposal by Holloman Air Force Base to expand its pilot training exercises over the Gila National Forest and Gila and Aldo Leopold wilderness areas.

Signs held by those at the rally showed the attendees' displeasure with the proposal.

Browne thanked Nathan Newcomer, Gila grassroots organizer of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance for organizing the rally.

"I imagine we will hear many times tonight from people who support the need for a strong military in general or expanded fighter-pilot training areas in specific, but who think it is inappropriate to send up to 10,000 flights per year over a place established by Congress to provide solitude, to enable humans to find deep connections with nature, and to stand as a cherished remnant of how our world once existed," Browne read from prepared remarks.

"Of course, I don’t disagree with just how inappropriate this proposal is, how damaging it could be to our quality of life and our economy, and how inconsistent it is with declared national priorities," he continued. "But my opposition to this proposal runs deeper than just wanting these increased training flights to happen elsewhere, not here. I oppose this proposal because it reflects a national misunderstanding of what constitutes national security and how we achieve it."

He said he sees a country out of balance, having borrowed from the future to finance wars of the past, present and future. "If we focus on actual national defense instead of projecting power to protect corporate interest and to dominate natural resources, we will have great security at a fraction of the expense. I say No to the Air Forces Alternative 2, which would disrupt our lives and those of the critters with which we share this corner of Earth. And I say NO to Alternative 1, as well." He quoted President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he warned Americans of the emerging threat of the military-industrial complex that would divert increasing funding from the national budget to its narrow purposes.

Edwards read a letter from Sen. Howie Morales, a version of which can be seen at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/editorial/40361-f-16-expansion-plans-will-have-big-impact-on-silver-city-needs-resident-input

She thanked the Lead Air Space Analyst Alan Shafer and his team for coming to Silver City. "Technically, they don't have to be here, but they are."

She continued to talk about the big picture, rather than the flyovers, which had already been discussed. She called for proactive action against "racism, misogyny, violence and poverty in all their forms."

"One march or one rally is not going to be enough," she said. "In fact, we may need to march or rally every week for months or even years to move the needle on this work and to do that, each and every one of us has to step outside our comfort zone and be present in a way we never have been before. And I do mean physically present. Letters can go in the trash and emails deleted. It’s much harder to ignore the crowd of people on your doorstep.

"So what might that movement building look like here in Grant County?" Edwards asked and answered. "We can start by dropping the words them and those from our vocabulary and recognize that we have more in common than not while remembering that divide and conquer is the oldest trick in the book. We can have potlucks and invite people we don’t know. We can go places we’ve never been with an open mind and whole heart. We can recognize that we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for immigrants, slaves and genocide. We can remember that more people are afraid of dark corners than not. We can listen with the intent to understand, not reply. We can recognize the value of partnerships between old people with time, money and wisdom and young people with creative, innovative ideas that scare the heck out of us. We can commit to never stop building, educating, organizing, and mobilizing."

She then invited each person to take the neighbor's hand and sing "This Land is Your Land" together.

When it came time for the 6 p.m. session to begin, some people had already chosen to secure seats. Those outside now had to vie for chairs and standing room or sitting on the floor.

The posted capacity of the room is 155, but that number was quickly surpassed. More chairs were brought in, but after the meeting had begun, Silver City Fire Chief Milo Lambert arrived and said he would not chase people out, but that all exits had to be cleared for safety's sake. Those inside complied.

The next article will cover the presentation by Shafer.

Live from Silver City

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
captcha 
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

The Beat as a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers!  

WARNING:

All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Note: This is another component that is in progress of going to a different software to make it easier for you to use and find classifieds that interest you. Check Out Classifieds. And look at Sponsors to see who is helping the Beat.

It's really easy to check to see if there's a classified ad. Just click on Classifieds in the blue menu and the page will open letting you know if there is a classified ad. Remember that your buying classified ads gives you a wide readership, as well as supporting the Beat. Post YOURS for quick results!

Note that if an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

When you click on the blue and orange button on the upper left side of most pages, you will find out how you can help the Beat defray its expenses, which, with increased readership, continue to grow. You will arrive at a page that gives you options of how you can Help the Beat. All help is greatly appreciated and keeps the news you want and need coming into your browser.

Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com