APRIL 26, 2005


Commissioners Butler, Curry, Evans, McCamley, and Saldaņa-Caviness were present.

 During the initial public input session there were two concerns presented.  The first had to do with the 'cross' on the county seal which adorns the commission chambers and county trucks.  The person who took exception to the 'cross' was advised by Jess Williams that there is no 'cross' on the seal.  He explained that what the commenter took for a cross is actually a sunlit highlight that has nothing to do with a cross.

 The second concern was a petition presented by James Terranova to the Commission requesting districting in La Mesa to allow local zoning authority.  Commissioner Butler expressed his own support for such local authority to help in preserving their cultural heritage.  This issue will likely be pursued in a future meeting.

 A proclamation declaring May 2005 as Bike Month in Doņa Ana County was approved.  Apparently the intent is for non-motorized bikes - the kind Commissioner Curry is known to ride to work.

 After appointing 3 members to the Planning and Zoning Commission and appointing Dolores Saldaņa-Caviness as an alternate member of the Extra-Territorial Zoning Authority a consent agenda of 6 items was approved.  But for the next item it would have been a short meeting.

 Item 12 on the agenda dealt with the Intergovernmental Service Agreement between the Jemez Pueblo and Doņa Ana County regarding the proposed casino.  Chairman McCamley began the discussion by saying that the proposed casino would not be just another business but merits special consideration.  He then presented 6 concerns he has with the agreement, including Pueblo sovereignty over the land, revenue to the county, and ability to discuss issues publicly.

 County attorney Caldwell commented on several of the issues and Commissioner Butler asked if this agreement, which was passed by the previous Commission, was binding on the present Commission.  Attorney Caldwell said it was.  Based on an opinion by the NM Attorney General, Commissioner Curry was not so convinced that it was.  After probing discussions by the Commission on this and other concerns the floor was opened for public comment.

 Among the individuals commenting was Ruben Smith who read a letter from the Pueblo saying they think the agreement is binding.  From this point on there were 16 members of the public who addressed the Commission on their reasons for either supporting or not supporting the casino.  Since these comments were not germane to the issue being discussed, namely the Service Agreement, it is apparent that there is difficulty in separating the issue of whether or not a casino from that of the Service Agreement.

 The upshot of the somewhat lengthy discussion of this Agreement is that the Commission agreed to send a list of concerns to the Pueblo and ask for a work session between the Pueblo, the developer (Gerald Peters), and the Commission.  It was agreed that this session should be oriented toward negotiation.

Charlie Welch

Common Cause