Las Vegas, New Mexico
Las Vegas, New Mexico Council Votes to Pass the Community Bill of Rights Banning Corporations from Fracking for Shale Gas
“Along with the City of Pittsburgh, this is how we change federal law, folks. It starts at the bottom. We do this, and other cities do it. It starts a ball rolling that hopefully will not stop. We change our laws in this great country that protect us instead of protecting corporations." --- Andrew Feldman, sponsor of "Las Vegas Community Water Rights and Self-Government Ordinance"
Monday night the City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, City Council voted on a community Bill of Rights. It is known as the "Las Vegas Community Protective Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance." This Ordinance establishes a new system of law--giving rights to citizens and nature.
The City Council voted 3-1 in favour of the Ordinance. In favour: Councilman Feldman, Councilwoman Tonita Gurule Giron and Councilman Romero. Opposed: Newly elected Councilman Vince Howell.
This community rights ordinance is the first rights-based ordinance to pass in the southwest. It takes courage to be the first on the block, but more importantly, it takes a strong moral compass to stand up for the rights of the citizens when the pressure to support the status quo is dauntingly powerful.
Councilman Andrew Feldman sponsored the Ordinance, advocating for the rights that citizens and ecosystems thrive in the City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, as they would under this community rights ordinance. He is committed to working with other New Mexico communities to help them pass community rights ordinances.
In the words of Councilwoman Tonita Gurule Giron, after the vote, "It was the right thing to do."
Councilwoman Gurule Giron is running in the City of Las Vegas mayoral race. The voting date is April 17th, 2012.
At the request of a committee of Las Vegas citizens, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, CELDF, known for their work with communities around the world, helped them draft a rights-based ordinance which they then presented to Councilman Feldman for his support.
Today the community of Las Vegas will stand along side with over 140 communities across the United States who exert their rights to local self-government, local sustainability, and a Bill of Rights that protect their communities and nature from corporate threats. And perhaps most importantly, establish Democracy within their communities for the first time in their lifetimes.