FEBRUARY, 6, 2006.

The meeting was called to order at 1 p.m. by Mayor Mattiace. The room was packed, with many more people standing outside the room. There were a number of presentations and proclamations before the business began. Chief among them was a presentation from a delegation from Mesilla's sister city..

 During public participation, it was revealed that the broken runway at the airport is still un-repaired and unusable. Federal money to help with the repairs is not yet received.

 Before approving the consent agenda, Mayor Mattiace asked how many people in the audience were there to hear the discussion of the resolution regarding Senator Domenici's so called Wilderness bill still being written. The bill designates wilderness areas in Dona Ana County for national preservation and simplifies and encourages disposing of large tracts of BLM land. Everyone in the room stood up and the Mayor pointed out that that issue would come up directly after the vote on the consent agenda. He also mentioned that he had recently spent time in Washington, discussing the matter with the Senator.

 The discussion on the Resolution regarding support of Domenici's bill was long, lasting close to two hours. A factual, balanced presentation was made by Carol McCall, explaining the different parts of the draft bill. Many people spoke about the far-reaching consequences of the bill, citing not only the need for additional wilderness areas, not specified in the draft, but also the changes in the way BLM will be disposing of vast areas of land in the County if the draft is passed by Congress as is. Finally, the City Council approved unanimously, an altered resolution, asking for a local public hearing before the bill is finished and presented to Congress. Mayor Mattiace, obviously concerned about the outcome, said that he did not want to be the only dissenting vote, but that he feels that the Senator has our local issues at heart and is trying to work with us.

 Also discussed were two ordinances regarding the transfer of land in the West Mesa Industrial Park to a possible tenant in exchange for guarantees of new jobs for residents. Both ordinances were tabled.

 This meeting of City Council was the longest one in my memory. It lasted until 8 p.m. I didn't.

Marnie Leverett

LWV of Greater Las Cruces