To: Alan Webber, Mayor - City of Santa Fe, Renee Villarreal, District 1 Councilor, Signe I. Lindell, District 1 Councilor, Peter Ives, District 2 Councilor, Carol Romero-Wirth, District 2 Councilor, Chris Rivera, District 3 Councilor, Roman ...
Mayor, City Council: Prioritize Equity Planning
1. Stop the current process for SFUAD and support a community effort that focuses on equity and inclusion.
2. Require that new housing development in District #3 be accompanied by equitable parks, open space and community development plans.
3. Commit to local youth, families and public institutions.
Why is this important?
My birthday wish as I enter my 62nd year takes one click but will have tremendous impact if enough of us follow through. I am asking my friends and family in Santa Fe, in New Mexico and around the world to send a strong message to the Mayor of Santa Fe and the City Councilors. The message is simple and universal. Support local youth, families and public institutions.
Specifically, there are three policy areas that are of critical concern, and that will be voted on or addressed by council action as early as July 25th. Here is a little background.
1. The city council may be voting as soon as July 25th to move forward with a plan for developing the taxpayer owned property formerly known as the College of Santa Fe, which was also leased for a time to pricey, private, for-profit design colleges that failed and served very few local students. Despite the city’s claims of massive public participation in the planning process, only about 1200 people responded to their surveys. Of those only 17% were Hispanos, and only 6 or so were in Spanish. These were mostly the same people that attended the three public forums, and several dozen Spanish speaking families and children from a local soccer league that uses the facilities had to demand a space at one of the forums to even be heard. So the city is trying to move forward with less than 1% of the population participating in any meaningful way. This is not equitable, not democratic and not acceptable. The most important questions have not been addressed nor even asked. We demand that the process be stopped and a new one, led by community, be supported that first addresses the most critical questions.
2. Most of the new housing development that is being built is not affordable, is concentrated in district 3 and is devouring available open space without any plan for parks, recreation, commercial or civic spaces. There is also little thought to the impact on local schools, traffic, infrastructure and existing communities. We demand that new developments be accompanied by plans, developed by local communities, for all the areas of concern mentioned.
3. A common refrain in this administration's marketing of their plans, especially around housing and economic development, is that we need to “attract and retain” talented young people to Santa Fe. We find this insulting and dismissive of local youth, their families and the educational institutions, both public and private, that help to educate and prepare them. In fact, one of the most common suggestions for the College of Santa Fe property is to “attract” an institution of higher learning, preferably from California, to locate there. They have totally ignored and insulted our own Santa Fe Community College, which is actually already there, and the partnerships with New Mexican institutions represented by the Higher Education Center. This is part of a broader dismissing of local cultures and populations, except as objects for tourists to stare at or purchase, and will not be tolerated. We demand that the city invest in and support local youth, families and institutions.
By clicking on the following link you will help send a message that local youth, families and communities should be the priority, that local wisdom should lead and inform decision making, and that we need to make decisions based on equity and inclusion. Thank you for helping with my birthday wish and please share with all your networks.