I was troubled by a December email from State Rep. Brian Egolf’s campaign, which said that “a group opposed to the strongest clean energy bill in the country has recruited an opponent to run against Brian in the Democratic primary … to defeat Brian and block his agenda for real change.”

That opponent is Lyla June Johnston, an environmental activist who struggled through poverty on her way to degrees from Stanford and the University of New Mexico, and is Egolf’s opponent in June’s primary elections. As a Diné, she knows the tribe’s suffering from the poisons of uranium production and coal-fired plants, and now illnesses associated with fracking. While she clearly has major problems with state energy policy, Johnston wants to strengthen, rather than oppose, clean-energy policy.

With Australia on fire, no one can deny that climate change is accelerating. At the same time, the Permian Basin oil boom promises swelling tax revenues, perhaps to finally fund programs addressing the needs of our impoverished state. We face difficult choices. Should we fund pressing needs with the proceeds from industries that so damage our environment?

We need everyone on board to face this challenge. We must include women, people of color and the disadvantaged, who bear the brunt of environmental, social and racial injustice in the political process. Certainly, we should welcome people like Johnston into the “large tent” of the Democratic Party.

I’m very disappointed with the scurrilous tone and content of Egolf’s email, attacking but not naming Lyla June Johnston. As speaker of the House and a key member of the Democratic Party, Egolf is expected to lead and maintain high levels of civility, conduct and transparency. House Speaker Egolf should lead, follow or get out of the way.

Jim Klukkert lives in El Rancho.

Show what you're thinking about this story

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
1
0
1
0
0

(12) comments

Jim Klukkert

Yes Khal, it is a simple fact of contemporary life that the Public Square is a rough place today, often devoid of civility and decent, respectful discussion. Can’t we do better? Are we not concerned that all but angry white men are discouraged from the discussions that are the very life blood of democracy?

The comments section of this paper is not moderated for civility, so often the only comment is mean spirited insult, invective and other nonsense. Bullies who find great courage in their keyboards have seized this particular space and too many more. I find it difficult not to be reminded of the larger historical context in which this vitriol plays out.

The dominant European culture that has come to rule this continent has a murderous history that dates to the first contact. Mob and state sanctioned violence against people of color is well documented; anti-Semitic attacks are in the rise; misogyny seems to be a central characteristic of our culture;

the last four decades has witnessed the murders and disappearances of indigenous and Mexican women throughout North America. And now social media is too often anything but social.

So is it any wonder that certain sectors of society are hesitant to show themselves on the public square. Is this situation good for our common future? Certainly not, and only those who live the privileged life can afford the continued and repressive tolerance such folks espouse.

On a personal note: in the working class communities in which I have lived all of my adult life, the angry use of the F word most often threatens physical violence. I have seen this word employed against others, against myself, and to my regret, I too have employed this threat.

When I hear that word I can most safely assume it is time to cease conversation. An apology may bring me back, repeated threats must be met with shunning.

Khal Spencer

I grew up in a working class, predominately white community. The F bomb was rarely if ever employed. Nowadays obnoxious behavior is used by all sorts of people and suggesting its used by whites only is B.S.

I concur that we need more civility in public discourse, but suggest to you that we hold all political points of view accountable for good behavior and lay off the identity politics finger pointing. I don't control what other people say but consider my own posts my responsibility.

Khal Spencer

Her facebook page didn't impress me either. If she has advanced degrees, she needs to start sounding like it. Prayer, hip-hop, poetry, etc, may be nice for sitting in the Plaza and having a drink. I expect smart policy and critical thinking in the Roundhouse. And boy, do I rarely see it.

Dr. Johnson and I have both fumed about the Democratic Party leadership in this state for the hatchet job it has done on some moderate and conservative Democrats. If the party continues to drift this way, we may see even more than the current 25-30 percent of voters who choose "none of the above". The only thing that gives the Democrats such an iron grip on government is that the GOP in this state seems to be icing itself out of relevance. If the GOP doesn't stop latching itself to Mr. Trump and alienating centrist urban voters with strident social policy statements that obviously are not selling well, it might as well just pack up and leave the state.

Dr. Michael Johnson

And here is a good one from her bio at a conference to "solve the world's most pressing problems" last year: "Her messages focus on Indigenous rights, supporting youth, inter-cultural healing, historical trauma, and traditional land stewardship practices." Perfectly qualified to represent District 47, wouldn't you say???

Dr. Michael Johnson

I am no fan of Egolf, one of the founding fathers of the corrupt Santa Fe Ring who has gone after and had removed many moderate/conservative Democrats I valued in an effort to "cleanse" the party of any opposing thought. But this woman is a looney tune, with mental issues it seems. I asked her to help us fight to stop the dumping of dangerous sewage from Santa Fe into the Rio Grande, and help us repeal the Aamodt theft of the people's water, as she advertised herself as a "water-protector". No chance, no response and she blocked me from her page just for asking, and contributing $500 to her campaign very early. She is not what she claims to be. She says this on her website about her experience: "Her internationally acclaimed performances and speeches are conveyed through the medium of prayer, hip-hop, poetry, acoustic music and speech. Her personal goal is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper." And she wants to be a politician??? Sorry, she is not better than Egolf, as hard to believe as that may be.

Jim Klukkert

Johnson- you show up a regular troll on this site. Calling someone a “looney tune” is out of bounds in civil discussion, and your post is completely lacking in fact, and with those two characteristics, your post is consistent with your previous comments, and without merit. I will take this opportunity to note that many of my colleagues in the environmental movement are favorably impressed with Lyla June Johnston. Until you have a civil, factual post, please refrain from polluting the Public Square. Thank you.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Don't like my opinion, then you have some choices: 1. Get over yourself 2. Get used to people who disagree with you 3. STFU and just stop reading my comments. The choice is yours.

Khal Spencer

If people are thin skinned, they need to stay out of the public forum.

Jim Klukkert

Khal, I am hardly terribly sensitive to name calling, instead I simply, in these troubled times, see name calling, foul language and sarcasm as impeding rather than furthering understand and resolution. Your friend employs these same ineffective devices so often that I wonder if he has any principled arguments to advance. I also very much disagree with your post that ‘thin skinned’ should stay out of public discussions. Are you saying that those who by nature are shy or retiring have given up their rights to free expression? That such folks should be bullied out of the public square should you disagree with them. Such beliefs are common among brown shirted thugs and those with serious self-esteem issues. Civility, it’s a great thing, try it out! Or should we further divide our fellows?

Khal Spencer

I spent most of twelve years on or chairing a county board/commission. One has to be willing to take flack if one is going to be involved in politics or be taking public positions. That is simply a fact of life that I learned when dealing with the public.

I don't consider "Looney Tunes" to be specific enough to get worked up about. If it were me, I would have left out any conjecture about someone else's mental state. As far as Mike's comments about Aamont and other issues, those are on point.

I looked at several sites for the candidate you support and found nothing that was specific enough to call a policy proposal. So to me, there was nothing factual to discuss.

As far as allusions to brown shirts? Not my favorite color.

Dr. Michael Johnson

To set the record straight, everything in my comment is a fact, what she has said and what experience I had with her directly. My opinion is about her lack of any background, experience, or education in governing and running a state legislature, as well as the very odd things she writes in her numerous materials to "express" herself. If you don't think them odd, that's fine, many people do.

Jim Klukkert

Prayer, .... poetry, music, and speech, are important elements in the most powerful people’s movements that, thankfully, continue to fight for justice. Those who do not understand the goodness of those practices, would do well to make gentle inquiries, as the poet wrote, “don’t criticize what you do can’t understand ... for the times they are a-changing.”

Seems like we might’ve learned that in the 36 some years since Bob wrote that. Who knew?

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Santafenewmexican.com. Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.