New Mexico In Focus | Attorney Tips FBI on APD DWI Corruption Case | Season 17 | Episode 36

>> FUNDING FOR NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS PROVIDED BY   VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

>> Lou: THIS WEEK ON NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS A TIPSTER  SPEAKS UP.

A LOCAL ATTORNEY SAYS HE TOOK  ALLEGATIONS TO THE FBI ABOUT ALLEGED CORRUPTION AT APD AND  EXPLAINS HIS OUTRAGE OVER THE SPREADING SCANDAL.

>> Ely: ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE NEED TO DO THEIR JOB FOR THE  SYSTEM TO WORK.

AND USUALLY IT DOES, BUT WHEN  IT FALLS APART, EVEN ONE COG IN THAT WHEEL IS ENOUGH TO  DERAIL IT.

>> Lou: AND CALLED BACK.

A CITY OFFICIAL PAUSES A PLAN  FOR A NEW SOCCER STADIUM SENDING IT BACK TO  ALBUQUERQUE’S ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING COMMISSION.

NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS STARTS NOW.

THANKS FOR JOINING US THIS WEEK.

I AM SENIOR PRODUCER LOU DIVIZIO.

IN THE COMING DAYS WE’LL LEARN THE FATE OF 60 PLUS BILLS  PASSED THROUGH THIS YEAR’S LEGISLATIVE SESSION AS THE  GOVERNOR SIGNING DEADLINE APPROACHES ON MARCH 6.

INCLUDED IN THAT LIST IS SENATE BILL 169 WHICH WOULD  MAKE CHANGES TO THE STATE’S LAND AND CONSERVATION FUND TO  PROVIDE MONEY TO OUTDOOR RECREATION PROJECTS.

IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES WE RETURN TO AN INTERVIEW WE FIRST RAN  AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR AS REPORTER ELIZABETH MILLER  ASKS A WILDERNESS ADVOCATE WHY THE STATE HAS FORFEITED  MILLIONS FROM THE LAND AND CONSERVATION FUND OVER THE  LAST THREE YEARS.

PLUS I’LL EXPLAIN HOW THAT  BILL COULD PREVENT SIMILAR LOSSES IN THE FUTURE.

A CITY HEARING OFFICER HAS PULLED A YELLOW CARD ON PLANS  TO CONSTRUCT A NEW SOCCER STADIUM FOR NEW MEXICO UNITED,  SENDING THE CASE BACK TO ALBUQUERQUE’S ENVIRONMENTAL  PLANNING COMMISSION FOR REVIEW.

IN LESS THAN 20 MINUTES WE  UPDATE YOU ON THE LATEST NEWS REGARDING THE STADIUM PROJECT  AND REVISIT OUR INTERVIEW WITH A NEIGHBOR CONCERNED ABOUT THE  PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AT BALLOON FIESTA PARK, BUT FIRST  A CONVERSATION WITH A TIPSTER WHO MAY HAVE HELPED LAUNCH THE  FBI INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED CORRUPTION AT THE ALBUQUERQUE  POLICE DEPARTMENT’S DWI UNIT.

JOURNALIST ELISE KAPLAN OF  CITY DESK ALBUQUERQUE SITS DOWN IN OUR STUDIO FOR AN  INTERVIEW WITH LEGAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY AND  FORMER STATE REP DAYMON ELY.

KAPLAN ASKS ELY ABOUT THE  INFORMATION HE PASSED ALONG TO FEDERAL AGENTS FROM POTENTIAL  VICTIMS OF AN ALLEGED SCHEME TO GET DRUNK DRIVING CASES  TOSSED OUT OF COURT, PLUS HE SHARES HIS PERSPECTIVE ON HOW  THE SCANDAL DAMAGED THE REPUTATION OF THE CITY’S LEGAL  COMMUNITY AND HARMED THE PUBLIC’S TRUST IN THE STATE’S  CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

>> Kaplan: HI DAYMON.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME TODAY.

>> Ely: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> Kaplan: SO, WE JUST HEARD FROM LOU THAT YOU PASSED SOME  INFORMATION TO THE FBI RELATED TO THE ONGOING FEDERAL  INVESTIGATION INTO THE APD DWI UNIT, A LOCAL ATTORNEY AND HIS  PARALEGAL.

WALK ME THROUGH THAT.

WHAT WERE YOU TOLD AND WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL REACTION TO  WHAT YOU WERE TOLD?

>> Ely: SO, I HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT I CAN SAY  BECAUSE IT IS AN ONGOING CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND I  WANT TO BE WARY OF NOT COMPROMISING THAT.

SO, I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU ANY SPECIFICS, BUT I CAN SAY  THAT IT WAS MORE THAN ONE PERSON AND THAT THE  INFORMATION, IT WOULD BE FAIR TO SAY, UPSET ME A GREAT DEAL  AND THAT I REACTED TO IT IMMEDIATELY.

AND SO, WHEN THE STORY — THIS IS ALL PRIOR TO THE STORY  COMING OUT IN THE PAPER.

SO WHEN THE STORY CAME OUT,  THE WHOLE THING, I THINK IS UPSETTING.

>> Kaplan: SO YOU WENT TO THE  FBI AND YOU TOLD THEM ABOUT THIS.

>> Ely: I DID.

>> Kaplan: CAN YOU GIVE ME ANY KIND OF TIMELINE?

>> Ely: I CAN’T.

I DID TALK TO THE U.S.  ATTORNEY BEFORE TALKING TO YOU TO MAKE SURE WHAT INFORMATION  I CAN SHARE WITH YOU, BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT  THE ACTUAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.

I HAVE GOT TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHERE I AM DOING IT, BUT I  CAN’T GIVE YOU ANY SPECIFICS LIKE THAT.

>> Kaplan: THIS WAS NOT AFTER  THE STORY BROKE?

THIS WAS A WHILE AGO.

>> Ely: IT WAS A WHILE AGO.

>> Kaplan: CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT KIND OF YOUR  ROLE GOING FORWARD.

WHAT DID THE AGENTS DO WITH THE INFORMATION AFTER YOU TOLD  THE FBI?

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

>> Ely: I THOUGHT — AND PART OF THE REASON I AGREED TO THIS  IS THAT, YOU KNOW, WE SO FOCUS ON PEOPLE DOING BAD THINGS AND  IN THIS SITUATION, WHAT I SAW WAS ONCE THE INFORMATION  BROKE, ONCE THEY HAD IT, THE FBI, THE U.S. ATTORNEY,  REALLY, I AM NOT A CRIMINAL LAWYER, DID THEIR JOB AND DID  IT VERY EFFECTIVELY.

AND WE’LL TALK A LITTLE BIT WHEN YOU WANT TO, WE CAN TALK  A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY DID, WHAT  SAM BREGMAN DID.

THEY DID THEIR JOBS AND I  THINK IN THIS SITUATION, WHICH IS VERY DIFFICULT TO BE IN, I  WAS IMPRESSED THAT THE INSTITUTION DID THEIR JOB BOTH  FEDERALLY AND STATE.

>> Kaplan: ARE YOU  REPRESENTING THESE POTENTIAL VICTIMS?

>> Ely: NO.

>> Kaplan: ANY LAWSUITS IN THE FUTURE?

>> Ely: NO.

EVEN IF THERE WAS ONE, I  WOULDN’T DO IT.

I DO THINK THAT KIND OF THING  WOULD COMPROMISE WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

I DON’T SEE A LAWSUIT BUT I DIDN’T TALK TO THESE PEOPLE  FOR THAT PURPOSE.

I TALKED TO THEM BECAUSE THEY  NEEDED A LAWYER TO GUIDE THEM THROUGH THE PROCESS.

OBVIOUSLY I WOULDN’T CHARGE FOR THAT.

I WANT THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE VICTIMS, ALLEGEDLY, OF WHAT  HAS HAPPENED, I WANT THEM TO FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THE  PROCESS AND I BECAME KIND OF A GUIDE TO THEM.

>> Kaplan: IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN TELL ME ABOUT  THEM, LIKE, WHAT WAS THEIR DEMEANOR COMING TO YOU, KIND  OF, HOW DID THEY — >> Ely: I THINK THE ONE THING THAT I WOULD SAY IS, THE ONE  THING I WOULD GIVE YOU IS THESE WERE YOUNG PEOPLE AND I  WAS IMPRESSED BECAUSE I THINK WHEN YOU ARE WILLING TO COME  FORWARD AND TALK ABOUT SOMEBODY DOING SOMETHING WRONG  TO YOU THAT HAS POWER, THAT SHOWS REAL COURAGE.

AND THESE PEOPLE SHOWED REAL COURAGE.

>> Kaplan: WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CAME TO YOU?

>> Ely: I GET ASKED THAT A LOT.

YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A HANDFUL OF LAWYERS IN TOWN THAT ARE  IDENTIFIED AS LAWYERS THAT GO AFTER, NOT JUST NEGLIGENT  LAWYERS, BUT SOMETIMES LAWYERS WITH WRONGFUL CONDUCT.

IT IS A PRETTY SMALL BAR WE HAVE AND I HAPPEN TO BE WITHIN  THAT BAR.

IT WASN’T   SHOCKING TO ME THAT I GOT THE CALL.

>> Kaplan: YOU’RE NOT JUST AN ATTORNEY, YOU’RE ALSO A FORMER  LEGISLATOR.

WITH THAT IN MIND, IS THERE  ANY LIKE POLICY OR LEGISLATIVE FIXES THAT YOU CAN THINK OF —  I KNOW NOBODY HAS BEEN CHARGED YET AND WE STILL DON’T HAVE AN  IDEA OF WHAT THESE ALLEGATIONS ARE, BUT NOTHING IS FOR SURE.

KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW, ARE THERE ANY POLICY FIXES THAT  YOU THINK COULD COME DOWN THE LINE?

>> Ely: LET’S STEP BACK FOR A MINUTE.

THE SHORT ANSWER IS, I DON’T THINK SO.

NOT YET.

WE’LL HAVE TO SEE IF THERE WAS SOME GAP IN THE SYSTEM.

BUT THIS IS A CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE WORD I WANT TO  FOCUS ON IS SYSTEM.

EVERYBODY IN THAT SYSTEM HAS  TO DO THEIR JOB AND YOU HAVE TO TRUST THAT THEY ARE GOING  TO DO IT WITH INTEGRITY.

AND WHEN YOU HAVE BAD ACTORS  LIKE THIS, REALLY HARD TO CATCH IT IMMEDIATELY.

WHETHER IT WENT ON TOO LONG AND THEY DIDN’T CATCH IT, THAT  I DON’T KNOW.

AND MAYBE THERE NEEDS TO BE THINGS IN TERMS OF THE  AUDITING PROCESS BUT THE THINGS I WANT TO QUICKLY SAY  IS THAT — SO THE SHORT ANSWER, NO.

I DON’T THINK SO BECAUSE IT REALLY WOULD BE AN  ADMINISTRATIVE THING THAT WOULD HAPPEN AT THE LOCAL  LEVEL.

I THINK WHAT WAS REALLY  IMPRESSIVE TO ME AND WHY ORDINARILY I WOULD NOT BE  TALKING TO YOU BUT I AM TALKING TO YOU TODAY IS THAT  OUR DA DID, IN MY JUDGMENT, EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING  BECAUSE WHAT HE DID WAS HE DISMISSED THOSE CASES.

HE HAS GOT TO RELOOK AT ALL OF THEM.

THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND, THAT IS EXACTLY  THE RIGHT THING.

HE DIDN’T PLAY POLITICS WITH IT.

SOME DA’S WOULD HAVE BEEN  TEMPTED TO DO THAT.

HE WAS NOT.

YOU CAN’T DO IT IN THAT SITUATION.

ONCE YOU HAVE A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER THAT IS  ALLEGED TO HAVE DONE SOMETHING THAT IS WRONGFUL AND CORRUPT,  YOU HAVE GOT TO START ALL OVER AGAIN.

I AM NOT SURE THOSE CASES AREN’T PERMANENTLY COMPROMISED  BUT AT LEAST AT THE BEGINNING, YOU RIP OFF THE BAND-AID AND  YOU MOVE FORWARD.

YOU CAN’T WAIT AROUND AND THAT  IS WHAT SAM BREGMAN DID.

I THOUGHT, I AM GOING TO TAKE  THAT OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO YOU AND YOUR VIEWERS AND SAY,  THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD APPLAUD.

HE DID THE RIGHT THING.

IT WAS GUTSY.

>> Kaplan: I WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE THAT A LITTLE BIT MORE.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT IF THE DA IS ON  ONE SIDE AND YOU HAVE THE DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ON THE OTHER  SIDE, KIND OF WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT THE DA KIND OF  WENT OUT AND DISMISSED THESE CASES AHEAD OF TIME?

>> Ely: BECAUSE THE DA IS MORE THAN ABOUT CONVICTIONS.

IT IS MORE THAN ABOUT TRYING A CASE.

THAT IS IMPORTANT, BUT WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT THE  PUBLIC TRUST THE INTEGRITY OF THE SYSTEM.

AND ONE OF THE MAIN GUARDIANS OF THAT INTEGRITY, IN ADDITION  TO JUDGES, IS THE DA.

HE HAS A PRINCIPAL ROLE IN  PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF THE SYSTEM.

THAT IS WHAT HE DID.

YOU KNOW WHAT, I CAN’T GO OUT  THERE AND SAY TO THE PUBLIC THIS IS ALL GOING TO BE OKAY.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

WE HAVE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST  THESE OFFICERS AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT RIGHT  NOW TO ASSURE THE PUBLIC THAT THERE IS A BASIC INTEGRITY TO  THE SYSTEM.

>> Kaplan: FROM MY OWN REPORTING I KNOW THIS  INVESTIGATION KIND OF CENTERS AROUND, YOU KNOW, THE APD DWI  OFFICERS ALLEGEDLY WORKING WITH AT LEAST ONE ATTORNEY,  THOMAS CLEAR, TO MAKE THE CASES GO AWAY.

WE HAVE HEARD REPORTS FROM A FORMER COURT EMPLOYEE, THERE  IS OBVIOUSLY A RECORDING THAT CAME FORWARD LAST WEEK, ABOUT  SOME OF THE DIFFERENT ALLEGATIONS.

NO ONE HAS BEEN CHARGED BUT IT HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS A LOT.

LOTS OF PEOPLE ALREADY DON’T THINK VERY HIGHLY OF LAWYERS  EITHER AND SO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PUBLIC TRUST.

WHAT DOES THAT DO TO KIND OF YOUR PROFESSION AND TRUST IN  LAWYERS AS WELL?

>> Ely: YOU WOULD THINK, I SPENT THE LAST, I DON’T KNOW,  30 YEARS, GOING AFTER LAWYERS AND YOU WOULD THINK THAT MY  ATTITUDE WOULD BE, GEE, LAWYERS ARE BAD AND ALL THAT  STUFF.

I DON’T.

AND IS THIS GREAT FOR LAWYERS?

NO, IT CLEARLY IS NOT.

NOT GREAT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT PEOPLE EITHER, BUT,  ULTIMATELY, I THINK, MOST POLICE OFFICERS, JUST LIKE  MOST LAWYERS, GO THROUGH THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES WITH  INTEGRITY AND WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

IT IS THE FEW BAD APPLES, RIGHT.

AND THAT IS TRUE IN THIS SITUATION.

BUT IT HASN’T MADE ME CYNICAL ABOUT FELLOW LAWYERS.

I THINK THE PUBLIC SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT MOST LAWYERS  ARE DECENT PEOPLE AND TRYING TO DO THEIR JOBS.

>> Kaplan: ARE YOU HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER  LAWYERS ABOUT HOW TO KIND OF GRAPPLE WITH THIS OR KIND OF  HOW TO MOVE FORWARD, HOW TO KIND OF, YEAH,   WHAT THEY ARE THINKING?

>> Ely: NOT YET.

BECAUSE WE REALLY DON’T KNOW.

MY INVOLVEMENT WAS SO LIMITED THAT I GET THE IMPRESSION THAT  IT IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

JUST SEEMS LIKE THERE IS A LOT  OF INFORMATION COMING OUT THAT I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT.

WE HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE HOW WIDESPREAD THIS IS AND I  REALLY DON’T KNOW BEFORE LAWYERS DO ANYTHING, IF  ANYTHING, CAN BE DONE.

SO, OBVIOUSLY, IT IS SOMETHING  THAT THE DISCIPLINARY BOARD IS LIKELY TO LOOK AT, AT LEAST  FROM A LAWYER PERSPECTIVE, AND THAT PROCESS WILL TAKE PLACE.

BUT, OTHER THAN THAT, I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING TODAY.

>> Kaplan: OBVIOUSLY ALSO DWI IS A HUGE PROBLEM IN OUR STATE  AND SOMETHING THAT WE GRAPPLE WITH KIND OF ALL OVER THE  STATE, BUT ALSO IN ALBUQUERQUE.

CAN YOU TALK AT ALL ABOUT WHAT AFFECT LIKE ALLEGATIONS LIKE  THIS MIGHT HAVE ON KIND OF HOW PEOPLE VIEW DWI?

HOW THEY VIEW THE LEGAL SYSTEM AND PEOPLE THAT GET CHARGED  WITH DWI?

>> Ely: I SPEND, AS A LAWYER,  A LOT OF TIME ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT  A CRIMINAL LAWYER.

THE MOST CERTAIN DETERRENT TO  CRIME IS SWIFT AND CERTAIN JUSTICE.

WE HEARD THAT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, BUT ALONG WITH THAT IS  ASSUMED THAT THERE IS AN INTEGRITY TO THE PROCESS.

AND SO THAT IS WHY I THOUGHT IT WAS SO CRITICAL WHAT THE DA  DID.

BECAUSE HE IMMEDIATELY WENT IN  TO SAY, WE ARE GOING TO RESTORE INTEGRITY TO THE  PROCESS.

AS YOU SAY, DWI IS A BIG  ISSUE.

CRIME IS A BIG ISSUE.

AND WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO LOOK AT THE PUBLIC IN THE CRIMINAL  JUSTICE FIELD, EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT A PART OF THAT, BUT  WHEN I WAS A LEGISLATOR, WE WANTED TO LOOK AT THE PUBLIC  AND SAY WE ARE WORKING TOWARDS DETERRING CRIME BY HAVING A  SYSTEM WITH INTEGRITY WHERE PEOPLE GET CAUGHT, THEY KNOW  JUSTICE IS COMING AND IT IS COMING QUICKLY.

I THINK TO BE FRANK WITH YOU, WE ARE STILL WORKING ON THAT  BUT, YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES OUT OF THESE BAD SITUATIONS COMES  SURPRISINGLY GOOD THINGS AND THIS WAS A REAL TEST FOR THE  DA AND I THOUGHT HE PASSED IT WITH FLYING COLORS.

>> Kaplan: WAS THIS SOMETHING  YOU WERE EXPECTING, KIND OF AS, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE BEEN  THINKING ABOUT THIS WITH YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN IT, HAVE YOU  CONSIDERED — HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE DA WAS  GOING TO HAVE TO DISMISS ALL THESE CASES?

WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU HAD BEEN ANTICIPATING ALL ALONG?

>> Ely: NO, IT DIDN’T — BECAUSE I AM NOT A CRIMINAL  DEFENSE LAWYER OR PROSECUTOR, I WASN’T THINKING ABOUT IT  THAT WAY.

BUT WHEN HE DID IT AND DID IT  SO QUICKLY, IT WAS LIKE, WELL, YES, OF COURSE, THAT IS THE  RIGHT THING TO DO.

THAT IS WHAT WAS SO REFRESHING  ABOUT IT.

IT WASN’T LIKE I WAS SITTING  THERE WAITING FOR HIM TO DO SOMETHING.

HE DID IT AND IT WAS, YOU KNOW, FRANKLY NOT EXACTLY A  LAWYER TERM BUT A PRETTY COOL THING TO DO.

>> Kaplan: AND, OF COURSE, THAT IS BECAUSE OF THE GIGLEO  DISCLOSURES THAT THAT IS WHY HE HAD TO DO THOSE CASES.

HE TOLD US THAT HE WOULDN’T PUT FORWARD WITNESSES WITH  INTEGRITY.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY THAT IS  SPECIFICALLY IMPORTANT IN DWI CASES?

>> Ely: NO.

WAY BEYOND MY PAY GRADE.

CAN’T TALK ABOUT IT.

>> Kaplan: OKAY, I HAVE TALKED TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO THE  OFFICERS IS KIND OF THE MAIN WITNESS IN THE CASE USUALLY.

YOU KNOW, THERE IS NOT ANOTHER VICTIM UNLESS IT IS MORE  TRAGIC THAN JUST DWI, BUT IT ALL LIES ON KIND OF THE  OFFICER’S CREDIBILITY WITH THE BREATHALYZER AND — >> Ely: THAT IS WHY WE START WITH A SYSTEM, RIGHT?

BECAUSE YOU START WITH THE OFFICER.

AND THEN YOU HAVE THE INVESTIGATOR OR THE DISTRICT  ATTORNEY.

THEN YOU HAVE THE COURTS AND  YOU HAVE THE DEFENSE LAWYER AND YOU HAVE THE CORRECTION  OFFICERS AND THE SOCIAL WORKERS.

ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE NEED TO DO THEIR JOB FOR THIS SYSTEM TO WORK.

AND USUALLY IT DOES.

BUT, WHEN IT FALLS APART, EVEN  ONE COG IN THAT WHEEL IS ENOUGH TO DERAIL IT.

>> Kaplan: DO YOU THINK THIS  IS GOING TO HAVE LASTING IMPACTS ON THE WAY THE WHOLE  SYSTEM FUNCTIONS?

>> Ely: I DON’T KNOW.

I THINK THAT DEPENDING ON HOW LONG AND HOW WIDESPREAD IT  WAS, THERE ALMOST WILL CERTAINLY BE A REVIEW OF WHAT  KIND OF AUDITING COULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO CATCH IT, BUT  PRETTY HARD WHEN YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE THAT YOU  ARE SUPPOSED TO TRUST TO ALWAYS BE LOOKING OVER THEIR  SHOULDER.

THAT IS A PRETTY HARD THING TO  BE DOING, BUT I SUSPECT THERE WILL BE SOME ADDITIONAL CHECKS  AND AUDITING PROCEDURES THAT WILL COME UP OUT OF THIS.

>> Kaplan: DO YOU EXPECT TO HEAR BACK FROM THE FBI OR THE  U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.

>> Ely: I DON’T.

I THINK MY INVOLVEMENT IS AT AN END.

I AM SURPRISED I AM HERE.

NO, I DON’T THINK SO.

>> Kaplan: CAN WE HAVE YOU BACK ON AFTER THE CHARGES  BREAK AND MAYBE GIVE US A LITTLE BIT MORE?

>> Ely: SURE, OF COURSE, AGAIN, I WILL RUN IT BY THE  U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE BUT I THINK ONCE WE KNOW WHAT IS  GOING ON, I WOULD BE HAPPY TO GIVE YOU WHATEVER INFORMATION  I CAN.

>> Kaplan: THANK YOU SO MUCH  DAYMON.

I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU  SITTING DOWN WITH ME TODAY.

>> Ely: THANK YOU FOR HAVING  ME.

>> Kaplan: ABSOLUTELY.

[FR BUBNEVYCH PRAYING] >> Lou: NEW MEXICO UNITED’S  PUSH TO BUILD A NEW STADIUM AT THE BALLOON FIESTA PARK MAY BE  HITTING A ROADBLOCK.

LAST MONTH A LAND USE HEARING  OFFICER ORDERED THE LAND USE PROJECT BACK TO ALBUQUERQUE’S  ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING COMMISSION FOR REVIEW.

THE REASON HE GAVE WAS, QUOTE,  IMPROPER NOTICE.

THE POTENTIAL SETBACK FOR  UNITED COMES AS NEIGHBORS VOICED CONCERNS FOR MONTHS  OVER THE TEAM’S PLAN TO BUILD THE STADIUM AT BALLOON FIESTA  PARK.

IN JANUARY, BEFORE THE PROJECT  WAS SENT BACK TO THE CITY’S EPC, ANDY LYMAN, EDITOR OF THE  ALTERNATIVE NEWSWEEKLY, THE PAPER, SPOKE WITH ONE OF THOSE  CONCERNED NEIGHBORS ABOUT WHY SHE AND OTHERS WANT A FOUL  CALLED ON THE NEW FIELD.

>> Andy: BROOKE JORDY, THANK  YOU FOR COMING IN AND WELCOME.

CAN YOU START OFF WITH SORT OF  EXPLAINING TO VIEWERS WHO YOU ARE AND YOUR ROLE IN THIS  APPEAL OF THE STADIUM OVER BY OR AT THE BALLOON FIESTA PARK?

>> Jordy: SURE.

I AM ONE OF THE NEIGHBORS WHO  LIVE IN THAT LITTLE GREEN PATCH JUST WEST OF THE  DIVERSION CHANNEL AND SO THERE IS A GROUP OF US WHO HAVE BEEN  CONCERNED ABOUT THE BUILDING OF THE UNITED STADIUM WITHIN  BALLOON FIESTA PARK.

I MYSELF HAVE ONLY LIVED IN  ALBUQUERQUE FOR ABOUT ALMOST SIX YEARS AND THE PEOPLE IN  THAT NEIGHBORHOOD HAVE BEEN THERE FOR DECADES.

AND MANY OF THEM ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE QUALITY OF LIFE  BEING IMPACTED AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION IN THE  AREA, SHOULD A STADIUM BE BUILT AT BALLOON FIESTA PARK.

SO, I AM NEWER TO THE AREA BUT I AM EQUALLY AS CONCERNED AS  THEY ARE ABOUT THE IMPACT OF ANY POTENTIAL STADIUM USE  WITHIN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

>> Andy: SO, YOU ARE AN  ATTORNEY BUT YOU’RE NOT REPRESENTING ANY NEIGHBORHOOD  ASSOCIATION OR NEIGHBORS, YOU’RE JUST A NEIGHBOR THAT  HAS SOME KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HOW TO FILE APPEALS AND THINGS  LIKE THAT.

>> Jordy: RIGHT.

I AM AN ATTORNEY.

I AM NOT THE ATTORNEY FOR THE  NEIGHBORS.

WE ARE DOING THIS PRO SE AS OF  NOW.

THERE ARE A GROUP OF US WHO  ARE KIND OF THE MAIN INDIVIDUALS BEHIND IT AND THEN  THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY, I THINK, 72 INDIVIDUALS AND  THREE OR FOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS WHO ARE OPPOSED  TO BUILDING THE STADIUM AND THOSE ARE THE INDIVIDUALS WHO  SIGNED ON TO THE APPEAL.

>> Andy: MY UNDERSTANDING OF  THE APPEAL PROCESS IS THAT IT STARTS WITH A CITY HEARING  OFFICER AND THEN IT MAY GO TO THE CITY COUNCIL.

CAN YOU SHARE SORT OF WHERE IT IS IN THAT PROCESS?

>> Jordy: WE ARE APPEALING THE EPC’S APPROVAL OF THE SITE  PLAN OR ZONING CHANGE TO PERMIT A MULTIUSE STADIUM TO  BE BUILT WITHIN BALLOON FIESTA PARK.

SO, THE ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING COMMISSION HAD TO APPROVE  BEFORE THE LEASE COULD BE APPROVED FOR UNITED.

WE APPEALED THE EPC DECISION.

AND WE APPEAL THAT TO THE  PLANNING DEPARTMENT IS THE ONE WHO ORGANIZES THE APPEAL.

A LAND USE HEARING OFFICER IS THE INDIVIDUAL WHO WOULD HEAR  THE APPEAL AND THEN IT CAN GO FORWARD FROM THERE IF WE WANT  TO CONTINUE WITH THE APPEAL.

EVENTUALLY WE COULD END UP IN  DISTRICT COURT.

RIGHT NOW WE ARE WAITING  BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY OF US, SO MANY APPLICANTS, IT  MAKES IT HARDER FOR THE CITY TO ORGANIZE HOW THAT APPEAL IS  HEARD.

SO THEY ARE CURRENTLY WORKING  ON GATHERING THE RECORDS AND WILL PUT TOGETHER THE RECORD  ESSENTIALLY TO BE SENT TO THE LAND USE HEARING OFFICER,  WHICH IS ALSO CALLED THE LUHO.

AND ONCE THE LUHO GETS IT,  THEY WILL SCHEDULE A HEARING FOR US.

>> Andy: YOU SORT OF MENTIONED THIS EARLIER.

CAN YOU JUST SPEND JUST A BRIEF MOMENT TALKING ABOUT  WHAT AREA OF ALBUQUERQUE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

I THINK MAYBE A LOT OF PEOPLE ONLY GO THERE FOR THE BALLOON  FIESTA.

SO, GEOGRAPHICALLY WHAT ARE WE  TALKING ABOUT AND WHO LIVES THERE?

>> Jordy: SO, BALLOON FIESTA PARK IS IN THAT NORTH VALLEY,  ALAMEDA-EDITH AREA, WHICH IS WHERE I LIVE.

THERE ARE SEVERAL NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS SURROUNDING THAT  AREA.

THERE IS THE MARIA DYER  NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION.

THERE IS NORTH EDITH CORRIDOR  ASSOCIATION.

THERE IS THE ALAMEDA NORTH  VALLEY ASSOCIATION AND THEN THE WILD FLOWER NEIGHBORHOOD  ASSOCIATION.

SO, WITHIN THAT AREA THERE ARE  LOTS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE MULTI-GENERATIONAL HOMES, WHO  INHERITED THEIR PROPERTY FROM GRANDPARENTS WHO HAVE BEEN  THERE, LIKE I SAID, FOR DECADES.

THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE WILD OR, YOU KNOW,  DOMESTICATED ANIMALS SUCH AS LIVESTOCK.

THEY HAVE SHEEP, GOATS, COWS, HORSES, ALL JUST WITHIN MY  NEIGHBORHOOD.

AND SO MOST PEOPLE UP THERE  EITHER HAVE SOME SORT OF AGRICULTURAL INTEREST OR ENJOY  THE MORE AGRICULTURAL, MORE RUSTIC FEEL OF THAT  NEIGHBORHOOD.

>> Andy: WHAT WERE SOME OF THE  CONCERNS BOTH IN THE PROCESS OF HOW THIS HAPPENED AND ALSO  WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS OF WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IF THE STADIUM IS  BUILT.

>> Jordy: THE CONCERNS  REGARDING THE PROCESS, SO IN TERMS OF THE EPC DECISION, NEW  MEXICO UNITED AND THE CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE HAVE FAILED TO DO  A COMPREHENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY TO SEE HOW  BUILDING A STADIUM IN THAT AREA WOULD AFFECT AIR, WATER,  NOISE QUALITIES.

IT IS RIGHT OFF OF THE AMAFCA  CHANNEL WHICH IS THAT NORTH DIVERSION DITCH THAT PEOPLE  KNOW ABOUT.

THAT CARRIES ALL OF  ALBUQUERQUE’S RUNOFF STORM WATER AND TAKES IT INTO THE  RIO GRANDE.

SO ANY KIND OF FALLOUT OR  WATER POLLUTION THAT WOULD COME FROM INCREASED USE AT  BALLOON FIESTA PARK, SUCH AS INCREASED FIREWORKS FROM THE  STADIUM, WOULD POLLUTE THAT WATER WITH ALL OF THAT FALLOUT  THAT COMES FROM FIREWORKS.

IT IS ALSO A VERY QUIET AREA.

LIKE I MENTIONED, THERE IS A LOT OF WILDLIFE.

WE ARE NOT TOO FAR FROM THE BOSQUE SO THERE ARE PROTECTED  WATERWAYS IN PLAY HERE.

THOSE CONCERNS AND THEN ALSO A  BIG ONE IS THAT THE CITY AND NEW MEXICO UNITED HAVE  PRESENTED THEMSELVES AS PARTNERS IN BUILDING THIS  STADIUM AND GETTING THE PLANS IN PLACE.

THOSE PLANS ARE EXTREMELY LACKING IN DETAIL.

AND ON TOP OF THAT THE CITY IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE — THE CITY  COUNCIL IS SUPPOSED TO BE A QUASI — HAVE A QUASI-JUDICIAL  DECISION-MAKING ROLE IN THIS PROCESS.

AND THEY HAVE REPRESENTED THEMSELVES AS BEING AN AGENT,  A PARTNER, OF NEW MEXICO UNITED.

SO CONSENSUS PLANNING, WHO HAS THE PLANNING CONTRACT FOR THE  STADIUM, HAS SAID THAT THEY ARE AN AGENT FOR THE CITY OF  ALBUQUERQUE AND NEW MEXICO UNITED.

TO BE A QUASI — TO FILL THAT QUASI-JUDICIAL DECISION-MAKING  ROLE YOU HAVE TO BE NEUTRAL.

SO HOW CAN THE CITY BE NEUTRAL  IN DECIDING FOR THEMSELVES WHETHER THOSE PLANS ARE  ACCEPTABLE?

>> Andy: WE HAVE SORT OF BEEN  DOWN THIS ROAD BEFORE SPECIFICALLY WITH DOWNTOWN  ALBUQUERQUE.

THERE WAS SORT OF A PUSH TO  BUILD A STADIUM THERE, RESIDENTS OF DOWNTOWN SAID, NO  WAY.

AND I REALIZE THIS IS FAR FROM  YOUR JOB OR ANYBODY ELSE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S JOB.

DO YOU SEE AN AREA IN ALBUQUERQUE THAT THIS MIGHT  WORK OUTSIDE OF YOUR AREA?

>> Jordy: I HAVE HEARD THAT  SOME PEOPLE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN IT BEING BUILT  KIND OF AROUND THE SOUTH UNM AREA.

THERE HAVE BEEN SOME REDEVELOPMENT PROJECTS GOING  ON THERE THAT WOULD BE A BETTER FIT.

I AM NOT PERSONALLY AWARE OF OTHER PLACES WITHIN THE CITY.

ONE OF THE ISSUES MIGHT JUST BE THAT WE DON’T NEED A  STADIUM WITHIN THE CITY.

AND I THINK ONE OF THE BIG  CONCERNS OF THE NEIGHBORS IS THAT THE CITY AND NEW MEXICO  UNITED FEEL LIKE THEY ARE UNDER THE GUN, TO SOME DEGREE,  TO GET THIS PUSHED THROUGH AND IN DOING SO HAVE BEEN SLOPPY,  TO SAY THE LEAST, IN HOW THESE PLANS HAVE UNFOLDED.

LIKE I SAID, THE LACK OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY,  TRYING TO HURRY PEOPLE THROUGH THE PROCESS.

PEOPLE FEELING LIKE THEY DON’T HAVE TIME OR NOTICE TO FULLY  PARTICIPATE IN THAT PROCESS.

AND IN PUSHING ALL OF THAT  THROUGH, WHAT THEY ARE ASKING THE RESIDENTS OF ALBUQUERQUE  TO DO IS GIVE UP SOME CONCERNS OF THAT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT  AND GIVE UP CONCERNS OF HOW OUR STATE FUNDS ARE BEING  USED.

SO, IF THEY HAD TAKEN THE TIME  TO REALLY PUT THIS IN PLACE, THEN WE WOULDN’T BE IN THIS  SITUATION.

>> Andy: AGAIN, NOT YOUR JOB  TO FIGURE THIS OUT AND I KNOW YOU’RE ONLY SPEAKING ON BEHALF  OF YOURSELF AND NOT THE NEIGHBORHOODS.

DO YOU SEE — IS THERE ANY WAY THAT UNITED AND THE CITY CAN  SORT OF RECTIFY THE SITUATION AND BUILD THE STADIUM?

WHAT COULD BE DONE TO SORT OF MITIGATE THE DAMAGE THAT HAS  BEEN DONE?

IF ANYTHING?

>> Jordy: THERE IS A LOT IN THAT QUESTION.

I THINK A GOOD START WOULD BE, LIKE I SAID, THE ENVIRONMENTAL  IMPACT STUDIES.

FIGURING OUT HOW THIS STADIUM  WILL TRULY IMPACT CURRENT RESIDENTS OF, YOU KNOW, ALL OF  BERNALILLO COUNTY, REALLY, AND I RECOGNIZE THAT MAYOR KELLER  BELIEVES THAT WE AREN’T HIS CONSTITUENTS.

SO OUR OPINION ON THE STADIUM BEING BUILT IS OF LESS CONCERN  THAN HIS CONSTITUENTS.

HOWEVER, THE AIR POLLUTION AND  WATER POLLUTION, THAT CARRIES MUCH GREATER CONCERN FOR ALL  OF NEW MEXICO, REALLY.

IF IT IS GOING INTO THE RIO  GRANDE, THEN THAT THAT IS GOING TO AFFECT DOWNSTREAM  LITERALLY THE REST OF NEW MEXICO.

WE SHOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT YOU CAN’T UNRING THE BELL WHEN IT  COMES TO ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION.

IT IS 2024.

WE HAVE SEEN THIS TIME AND  TIME AGAIN.

IF YOU PUSH THINGS THROUGH AND  SAY, WELL, IT IS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, OH, IT IS GOOD  FOR BUSINESSES.

WHAT IS GOOD FOR BUSINESSES,  ISN’T NECESSARILY GOOD FOR A COMMUNITY AND ISN’T  NECESSARILY GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

SO THERE IS THAT ASPECT.

ON TOP OF THAT, I THINK  ENGAGING WITH INDIVIDUALS WHO LIVE IN MY AREA WHERE, YES, I  RECOGNIZE WE ARE NOT MAYOR KELLER’S CONSTITUENTS, BUT WE  HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN PROTECTING THE WAY THAT LAND  IS USED IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO  ARE FOR THE STADIUM DON’T ACTUALLY LIVE IN THE VICINITY  OF THE STADIUM AND WILL BE SOMEWHAT PROTECTED FROM ANY OF  THE FALLOUT OF THE STADIUM.

PETER TREVISANI, FOR EXAMPLE,  LIVES IN SANTA FE.

SO HE WON’T BE AFFECTED  NEGATIVELY BY FIREWORKS EVERY TIME THERE IS A GAME.

I WILL ALSO SAY THAT THE CITY’S PROPOSAL INVOLVES  BUILDING THE STADIUM NEXT TO THE OLD NAZARETH LANDFILL,  WHICH HAS UNUSUALLY HIGH LEVELS OF LANDFILL GASES  BECAUSE THE CITY NEVER BUILT THE PROPER VENTING SYSTEM THEY  WERE SUPPOSED TO.

AND SO WE HAVE VERY HIGH  LEVELS OF METHANE GAS THAT COULD BE RELEASED AND IT IS  CURRENTLY UNSAFE AS IT EXISTS TODAY FOR JUST THE BALLOON  FIESTA USAGE.

SO BUILDING A STADIUM NEXT TO  A LANDFILL GAS CONCENTRATION AREA IS DANGEROUS FOR  INDIVIDUALS GOING TO THE STADIUM, BUILDING THE STADIUM,  LIVING NEAR THE STADIUM.

AND ONE OF OUR BIG PROBLEMS,  THE NEIGHBORS’ BIG PROBLEMS WITH THE STADIUM’S PLAN IS  THAT IT DOESN’T ACCOUNT FOR ANY OF THAT.

THE ISSUE HAS BEEN RAISED WITH THE CITY AND IT HAS FALLEN ON  DEAF EARS.

NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE.

THERE HAS BEEN NO, WHAT APPEARS TO BE, NO GOOD FAITH  ATTEMPT TO RECTIFY THE CONCERNS THAT NEIGHBORS HAVE  VOICED IN PUBLIC COMMENT AND I THINK THAT SAYS ALL IT NEEDS  TO.

>> Andy: WELL, I’LL BE  WATCHING CLOSELY.

BROOKE, THANK YOU AGAIN FOR  COMING IN.

>> Jordy: THANK   YOU ANDY.

>> Lou: AFTER YEARS FORFEITING  MILLIONS IN FEDERAL DOLLARS FOR OUTDOOR CONSERVATION AND  RECREATION PROJECTS, STATE LEGISLATORS PASSED A BILL LAST  MONTH TO EXPAND ACCESS AND MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE STATE  TO DISTRIBUTE MONEY FROM ITS LAND AND CONSERVATION FUND.

SENATE BILL 169 WHICH AWAITS A SIGNATURE FROM THE GOVERNOR  APPROPRIATES TEN MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE FUND, REMOVES  A POPULATION CAP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT AND PRIORITIZES  PROJECTS FOR TRIBAL AND SMALLER GOVERNMENTS.

LAWMAKERS HOPE THE LEGISLATION WILL HELP THE STATE AVOID  WASTING MILLIONS IN FEDERAL MONEY AS IT HAS FOR YEARS NOW.

IN JANUARY, JOURNALIST ELIZABETH MILLER SPOKE WITH  MICHAEL CASAUS, THE STATE DIRECTOR OF THE WILDERNESS  SOCIETY ABOUT NEW MEXICO’S TROUBLED HISTORY WITH THE FUND  AND HOW THAT FEDERAL MONEY COULD HAVE HELPED CITY PARKS  AND OPEN SPACES.

>> Miller: SO THE MONEY WE  JUST HEARD ABOUT FROM LOU WAS PART OF THE FEDERAL LAND WATER  CONSERVATION FUND WHICH IS MEANT FOR EXACTLY WHAT IT  SOUNDS LIKE, LAND CONSERVATION AND RECREATION PROJECTS FOR  COMMUNITIES.

AND THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY  CAMPAIGNED FOR THIS POT OF MONEY FOR MORE THAN A DECADE,  WHY?

>> Casaus: THE LAND AND WATER  CONSERVATION FUND IS ONE OF THIS NATION’S MOST IMPORTANT  AND SUCCESSFUL CONSERVATION FUNDING PROGRAMS  IN THE PAST 50 OR 60 YEARS.

SINCE IT WAS ESTABLISHED BY  CONGRESS IN 1965, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS HAVE BEEN USED BY LWCF  TO BUILD NEW PARKS, CONSERVE IMPORTANT AREAS AND TO PROVIDE  ACCESS TO RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR HUNTERS,  ANGLERS AND OTHER OUTDOOR RECREATIONISTS.

AND SO FOR US AT THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY, THIS  PROGRAM WAS NEEDED TO BE REESTABLISHED BY CONGRESS AND  IT ALSO NEEDED TO BE FULLY FUNDED.

WHEN CONGRESS ESTABLISHED THE FUND, IT WAS SCHEDULED TO  SUNSET AFTER 50 YEARS.

SO, WE WORKED REALLY HARD TO  REAUTHORIZE, TO WORK WITH CONGRESS TO REAUTHORIZE LWCF  AND CONGRESS NEVER, IN ITS 50 SOME YEAR HISTORY, HAD NEVER  REALLY FULLY FUNDED THE PROGRAM.

SO WE ALSO WORKED TO ENSURE THAT THE PROGRAM WAS FUNDED AT  A LEVEL OF 900 MILLION-DOLLARS AS IT WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED.

SO, IT IS ONE OF THOSE ICONIC CONSERVATION PROGRAMS THAT  REALLY IMPACTS EVERY COUNTY IN THE UNITED STATES AND IT HAS  HAD A TREMENDOUS IMPACT IN EVERY COUNTY IN NEW MEXICO.

>> Miller: RIGHT.

AND SINCE 1965, IT SUPPORTED  MORE THAN 1200 PROJECTS AROUND THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO AND  THAT HAS REACHED EVERY COUNTY.

SO THE PROGRAM SEEMS TO HAVE  BEEN WORKING IN THE PAST FOR A WHILE AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED  TO IT?

>> Miller: I THINK WHAT  HAPPENED, AS I REFERENCED, IS THAT CONGRESS WAS NEVER REALLY  FULLY FUNDING IT AND SO AS A RESULT STATES WEREN’T  RECEIVING REALLY HIGH LEVELS OF APPROPRIATIONS.

SO, ONE OF THE PROGRAMS OF LWCF IS CALLED THE STATE AND  LOCAL GRANT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AND THAT PROGRAM IS MEANT TO  PROVIDE MATCHING DOLLARS TO STATES, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND  TRIBES TO SUPPORT THEIR OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL VISIONS.

SO, WHEN CONGRESS WAS CONTEMPLATING HOW BEST TO FUND  THAT PROGRAM, THEY, FOR WHATEVER REASON, NEVER REALLY  GAVE STATES THE LEVEL OF APPROPRIATION THAT WAS  ORIGINALLY INTENDED.

SO MAYBE IN THE EARLY 2000’S,  NEW MEXICO STARTED TO RECEIVE LESS AND LESS LWCF FUNDS FOR  THE STATE AND LOCAL GRANT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS.

IN SOME YEARS IT WAS RECEIVING 150,000 DOLLARS OR 250,000  DOLLARS.

AND SO, I THINK, DURING THOSE  YEARS, NEW MEXICO STATE PARKS, WHO ADMINISTERS THE PROGRAM  FOR THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO, REALLY DIDN’T THINK IT WAS  WORTHWHILE TO PUT OUT A BROAD STATE-WIDE CALL FOR PROPOSALS  FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND TRIBES TO APPLY FOR THOSE  FUNDS AND INSTEAD USED THAT LIMITED FUNDING FOR STATE  PARKS PRIORITIES.

WHICH DO BENEFIT ALL OF NEW  MEXICO, ALL OF NEW MEXICANS.

BUT IT WASN’T REALLY GOING TO  THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND TRIBES AS IT WAS INTENDED.

SO, WITH THE PASSAGE OF THE DINGELL ACT IN 2019, WHICH  PERMANENTLY REAUTHORIZED THE PROGRAM, WHICH WE WERE REALLY  EXCITED ABOUT, AND WITH THE SUBSEQUENT PASSAGE OF THE  GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOORS ACT IN 2020, WHICH FULLY FUNDED THE  PROGRAM, THE RESULT WAS THAT NEW MEXICO AND OTHER STATES  STARTED TO RECEIVE HIGHER LEVELS OF FUNDING.

IN NEW MEXICO WE STARTED TO RECEIVE ABOUT THREE MILLION A  YEAR AND THAT FUNDING IS BASED ON KIND OF A POPULATION  FORMULA THAT THE LWCF PROGRAM HAS.

>> Miller: I WANT TO GO BACK AND UNPACK THAT A LITTLE BIT.

IT WAS LIKE THE STATE WAS RECEIVING SO LITTLE MONEY THAT  IT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE TO RUN A COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAM  TO — LIKE IT WAS TOO MANY PEOPLE TRYING TO REACH FOR THE  SAME PIE, EFFECTIVELY.

THERE WASN’T ENOUGH MONEY FOR  THEM TO DOLE OUT.

SO THEY WERE USING IT FOR  STATE PARKS PROJECTS AND I THINK THE LAST OF THESE  COMMUNITY GRANTS WE SAW GO OUT IN 2005 TO, I THINK IT WAS, A  SWIMMING POOL IN LOVINGTON, RIGHT?

SO WE GET THE PASSAGE OF THE DINGELL ACT IN 2019 AND THE  GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOORS ACT IN 2020, AND THIS DOES KIND OF  CHANGE THE STAKES.

WHAT DID YOU SEE CHANGE IN HOW  THE STATE WAS SORT OF TRYING TO RISE TO MEET THIS NEW  OCCASION?

>> Casaus: WHEN THOSE TWO  CRITICAL BILLS PASSED AND WE WERE ANTICIPATING NEW MEXICO  RECEIVING THREE PLUS MILLION A YEAR, I BEGAN TO MEET WITH  ENERGY, MINERALS AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT AND NEW  MEXICO STATE PARKS TO SEE HOW WE CAN REESTABLISH THE  PROGRAM, WHICH, AS I MENTIONED, REALLY HADN’T BEEN  FUNCTIONING IN NEARLY 20 YEARS.

SO I THINK THE FIRST STEP WAS TO REESTABLISH THE PROGRAM  ESSENTIALLY FROM THE GROUND UP, HIRE AN LWCF COORDINATOR,  WHICH STATE PARKS DID, AND THEN IMPORTANTLY TO PUT OUT A  REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS TO LOCAL AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS ACROSS  THE STATE.

>> Miller: WERE PEOPLE AWARE  THAT THIS FUNDING SOURCE HAD EVEN BEEN AVAILABLE IN THE  PAST BY THE TIME YOU STARTED DOING SOME OF THIS OUTREACH TO  COMMUNITIES?

>> Casaus: YEAH.

THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY AT THAT POINT, WHEN THE REQUEST FOR  PROPOSAL WAS PUT OUT, WE BEGAN TO OUTREACH TO OVER 50 LOCAL  GOVERNMENTS AND TRIBES ACROSS THE STATE TO DO JUST THAT,  EDUCATE THEM AND INFORM THEM THAT THIS GRANT OPPORTUNITY  WAS AVAILABLE TO THEM TO ADVANCE THEIR OUTDOOR  RECREATION PRIORITIES IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.

WE DID KIND OF A SERIES OF SURVEYS LIKE PRE AND POST  INTERVIEWS.

AND WHAT WE FOUND WAS THAT THE  VAST MAJORITY WEREN’T AWARE OF LWCF, IN GENERAL.

AND ABOUT 90% OF FOLKS THAT WE TALKED TO DIDN’T EVEN KNOW  THAT THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS WAS OUT THERE.

SO, I THINK WE PLAYED A CRITICAL ROLE IN REALLY  EDUCATING THOSE LOCAL AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS ABOUT LWCF,  WHY IT WAS IMPORTANT AND ALSO ABOUT THE MATCHING GRANT  OPPORTUNITY.

LWCF DOES PROVIDE MATCHING  GRANTS.

SO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND  TRIBES HAVE TO COME UP WITH THE OTHER HALF OF THE MONEY.

IT IS A ONE-TO-ONE MATCH PROGRAM.

AND SO AT THAT POINT I THINK LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND TRIBES  WERE VERY INTERESTED IN IT.

AND MANY OF THEM DID APPLY  THAT FIRST YEAR.

>> Miller: SO THE NATIONAL  PARK SERVICE WHICH ADMINISTERS THIS PROGRAM LIKE ON A FEDERAL  LEVEL, GIVES STATES THREE YEARS TO COME UP WITH PROJECTS  TO SPEND THIS MONEY.

AND WE TALKED ABOUT STATE  PARKS WAS USING IT FOR AWHILE AND NEW MEXICO KIND OF  STRUGGLED TO IDENTIFY PROJECTS BEGINNING SOMEWHERE AROUND  WHEN THE MONEY STARTED INCREASING AGAIN IN 2019 AND  2020 AND STATE OFFICIALS RECENTLY ADMITTED THAT THEY  FORFEITED FIVE MILLION DOLLARS SINCE 2021.

CAN YOU HELP CHARACTERIZE WHAT KIND OF LOSS THAT IS?

>> Casaus: THAT WAS A TREMENDOUS LOSS FOR NEW MEXICO  FOR OR LOCAL COMMUNITIES FOR OR TRIBAL COMMUNITIES.

IT WAS REALLY DISAPPOINTING BUT, YOU KNOW, AS I MENTIONED,  IT IS A CHALLENGE TO PROP UP A LARGE GRANT PROGRAM FROM  SCRATCH.

BUT, YOU KNOW, WHAT ENDED UP  HAPPENING WAS, I THINK, SINCE 2020, NEW MEXICO HAD RECEIVED  ABOUT NINE MILLION DOLLARS, NINE-AND-A-HALF MILLION  DOLLARS IN THIS STATE SIDE FUNDING.

THEY HAVE THREE YEARS, AS YOU MENTIONED, TO APPROPRIATE  THOSE FUNDS AND SO IN 2021 WAS THE FIRST YEAR IN NEARLY TWO  DECADES THAT STATE PARKS PUT OUT THE CALL FOR PROPOSALS,  THEY RECEIVED 11 APPLICATIONS FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND TWO  APPLICATIONS FROM TWO OF THE PUEBLOS.

SO THERE WERE 13 IN TOTAL BUT FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS,  THOSE PROGRAMS HAVE YET TO BE FUNDED OR NOT FUNDED.

IN 2022, ANOTHER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS WAS PUT OUT THERE  AND ANOTHER 13 OR SO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS APPLIED.

SO, DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE SEE ABOUT, YOU KNOW, 26 OR SO  LOCAL GOVERNMENTS APPLYING FOR THE FUNDS, DUE TO A VARIETY OF  REASONS, THOSE FUNDS HAVEN’T BEEN DECIDED EITHER WAY.

SO, UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE SOME OF THE FUNDS THAT WERE  APPROPRIATED BACK IN 2020 WEREN’T USED WITHIN THE  THREE-YEAR TIMELINE, ABOUT FIVE MILLION DOLLARS WAS GIVEN  BACK TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

SO YOU CAN IMAGINE THE CITY PARKS, THE SWIMMING POOLS, THE  BALL FIELDS, THE OPEN SPACES THAT COULD HAVE BEEN CREATED  WITH THIS FUNDING, BUT WE ARE COMMITTED TO WORKING WITH THE  LUJAN GRISHAM ADMINISTRATION AND STATE PARKS TO ENSURE THAT  MOVING FORWARD THAT THIS PROGRAM LIVES UP TO ITS  PROMISE.

>> Miller: RIGHT.

I THINK IT HAS BEEN LIKE ABOUT TWO MILLION DOLLARS EACH YEAR  FOR ’21, ’22 AND ’23.

AND WE HAVE HAD THESE  APPLICATIONS SITTING THERE THAT HAVEN’T EVEN YET BEEN  SUBMITTED TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

I THINK THEY WERE GOING TO TRY TO SUBMIT THEM THIS MONTH.

SO, HOPEFULLY SOME ACTION HERE.

HOPEFULLY THERE IS STILL MONEY TO BE SPENT ON SUPPORTING SOME  OF THESE PROJECTS BUT IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME.

WHAT ARE YOU HEARING FROM SOME OF THE COMMUNITIES THAT YOU  HAVE WORKED WITH ON HOW THEY ARE FEELING ABOUT HOW LONG IT  HAS TAKEN FOR THIS APPLICATION PROCESS TO MOVE FORWARD?

>> Casaus: I THINK IT HAS BEEN A MIX OF EXCITEMENT BUT ALSO  DISAPPOINTMENT.

AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, IF YOU’RE  A LOCAL PARKS AND REC DIRECTOR AND YOU APPLY FOR AN LWCF  GRANT IN 2021 AND YOU STILL HAVEN’T HEARD ONE WAY OR  ANOTHER WHETHER YOU GOT IT OR NOT, YOU ARE KIND OF CONFUSED  AND FRUSTRATED.

WE HAVE SEEN INSTANCES IN SOME  COUNTIES WHERE, YOU KNOW, THEY HAVE BASICALLY GIVEN UP ON THE  PROJECT THAT THEY HAD APPLIED TO DEVELOP.

WE KNOW ACOMA PUEBLO, FOR EXAMPLE, APPLIED FOR AN LWCF  GRANT AND BECAUSE IT WAS TAKING SO LONG FOR DECISIONS  TO BE MADE, THEY FOUND A FUNDING ELSEWHERE AND THEY  HAVE ACTUALLY COMPLETED THE PROJECT AND THEY HAVE  WITHDRAWN THEIR APPLICATION.

AND WE DID SEE FIVE LOCAL  GOVERNMENTS AND TRIBES WITHDRAW THEIR APPLICATIONS  FROM THAT 2021 POOL.

SO, HIGH LEVELS OF  FRUSTRATION, BUT ALSO EXCITEMENT BECAUSE MANY  COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE STATE ARE DEVELOPING OUTDOOR  RECREATION PLANS.

THEY NEED FUNDING.

SMALLER RURAL COMMUNITIES DON’T HAVE A LOT OF MONEY TO  PURCHASE LAND TO DEVELOP A NEW PARK OR THEY DON’T HAVE THE  FUNDING TO BUILD THAT NEW SOCCER FIELD THAT THE  COMMUNITY WANTS.

AND SO WE VIEW THIS LWCF GRANT  REALLY AS A 50% OFF COUPON THAT LOCAL COMMUNITIES CAN USE  TOWARDS THAT OUTDOOR RECREATION VISION.

>> Miller: AND IS WORKING THEIR WAY TOWARD THE  LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO HELP SOME OF THESE RURAL  COMMUNITIES ACCESS SOME OF THIS FUNDING.

CAN WE TALK REAL QUICKLY ABOUT WHAT STATE LAWMAKERS COULD DO  TO HELP PREVENT LOSING FURTHER FUNDING?

>> Casaus: DESPITE THE CHALLENGES, THERE ARE  TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITIES TO GET THIS PROGRAM BACK ON FIRM  FOOTING.

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE  SAW WAS THAT LOCAL COMMUNITIES WERE HAVING TROUBLE COMING UP  WITH THAT MATCH, THAT 50% MATCH.

AND SO OUR COLLEAGUES AT WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES,  ANOTHER NONPROFIT, DISCOVERED THIS LONG-FORGOTTEN PROGRAM  THAT THE STATE LEGISLATURE IN NEW MEXICO DEVELOPED IN 1973.

AND WHAT THAT PROGRAM DID WAS PROVIDE A POD OF STATE MONEY  INTO THIS LWCF SUPPLEMENTAL FUND THAT LOCAL, SMALL RURAL  COMMUNITIES COULD TAP INTO TO ENABLE THEM TO HAVE THAT  ONE-TO-ONE MATCH.

UNFORTUNATELY THE LEGISLATURE,  FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON, STOPPED PUTTING MONEY INTO  THAT FUND IN 1985.

SO IT HAS ESSENTIALLY BEEN ON  THE BOOKS BUT NOT UTILIZED.

AND OUR GOAL IS TO, WORKING  WITH OUR STATE SENATE PRO TEM, MIMI STUART, TO INTRODUCE  LEGISLATION HERE NEXT WEEK TO REESTABLISH THAT SUPPLEMENTAL  FUND, TO PUT SOME STATE MONEY INTO IT AND TO AMEND IT TO  MEET THE NEEDS OF COMMUNITIES TODAY.

>> Miller: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING IN TO SPEAK TO ME  ABOUT THIS TODAY.

>> Casaus: THANK YOU  FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.

I APPRECIATE IT.

>> Lou: I CONTACTED STATE ENERGY, MINERALS AND NATURAL  RESOURCES DEPARTMENT FOR AN UPDATE ON SEVERAL OF THE  CONCERNS ELIZABETH RAISED IN HER REPORTING.

THE DEPARTMENT TELLS ME STATE PARKS SUBMITTED NEARLY 1.4  MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANT APPLICATIONS THIS JANUARY,  AFTER THAT INTERVIEW WAS RECORDED.

THAT INCLUDES FOUR APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED BY NEW  MEXICO COMMUNITIES BACK IN 2021.

EMNRD SAYS ONE OF THOSE GRANTS HAS BEEN ALREADY FULFILLED  WITH THE NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE AWARDING MORE THAN  850,000 DOLLARS FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION LEGACY PARTNERSHIP  GRANTS.

I AM ALSO TOLD STATE PARKS  HIRED A NEW LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND COORDINATOR  IN MID FEBRUARY.

THE DEPARTMENT SAYS HE HAS  BEGUN REVIEWING APPLICATIONS FROM 2022 AIMING TO SUBMIT  THEM BY A JULY DEADLINE.

2023 APPLICATIONS WILL BE  SUBMITTED DURING THE NEXT FUNDING OPPORTUNITY IN EARLY  2025.

[SINGING]  IT HAS BEEN TWO YEARS SINCE RUSSIAN FORCES INVADED UKRAINE  AND A GROUP OF UKRAINIANS IN OUR STATE WANT TO MAKE SURE  EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE WAR IS NOT OVER.

JUST THIS WEEK, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY  ANNOUNCED 31 THOUSAND UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN  KILLED.

THAT IS THE FIRST TIME HE HAS  GIVEN A HARD FIGURE ON HIS MILITARY’S DEATH TOLL.

ACCORDING TO THE U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING MISSION IN  UKRAINE, MORE THAN 30,000 UKRAINIAN CIVILIANS HAVE BEEN  KILLED SINCE THE INVASION BEGAN WITH THOUSANDS MORE HELD  CAPTIVE.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY  HAS SHOWN SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE BUT WITHOUT PROVIDING CONCRETE  MILITARY ASSISTANCE BEYOND WEAPON SYSTEMS AND AMMUNITION.

THAT MAY SOON CHANGE, THOUGH.

MONDAY, WHILE SPEAKING TO 20  EUROPEAN HEADS OF STATE IN PARIS, FRENCH PRESIDENT  EMMANUEL MACRON SAID, QUOTE, WE WILL DO EVERYTHING NEEDED  SO RUSSIA CANNOT WIN THE WAR, END QUOTE.

MACRON DID NOT RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF WESTERN TROOPS  BEING SENT TO UKRAINE.

THAT ANNOUNCEMENT PROMPTED AN  ABRUPT RESPONSE FROM THE KREMLIN WITH A SPOKESPERSON  TELLING REPORTERS IF THAT WERE TO HAPPEN, A DIRECT CONFLICT  BETWEEN RUSSIA AND NATO WOULD BE INEVITABLE.

AS INTERNATIONAL LEADERS STRATEGIZE AND THE DEATH TOLL  RISES, HERE IN OUR STATE, THE UKRAINIAN AMERICANS OF NEW  MEXICO ARE RALLYING SUPPORT.

WE HAVE SPOKEN TO  REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE GROUP BEFORE ON NMIF.

THIS PAST WEEKEND, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS,  MICHAEL KAMINS, DOCUMENTED THEIR EVENT AT ALBUQUERQUE  CIVIC PLAZA MEMORIALIZING THE GRIM MILESTONE OF RUSSIA’S  INVASION TWO YEARS AGO.

[AIR RAID SIRENS]  >> CAN YOU IMAGINE OUR KIDS WAKE UP TO THIS SOUND?

OUR KIDS CARRY THE TRAUMA THAT IS BEING PUT ON THEM BY THE  AIR RAIDS.

[SINGING]  >> FR BUBNEVYCH: WE ALSO PRAY FOR ALL THOSE WOUNDED,  TRAUMATIZED BY THE HOSTILITIES AND ATROCITIES THAT GOD  WILL — [PRAYING]  >> FR BUBNEVYCH: LORD HAVE MERCY, LORD HAVE MERCY.

LORD HAVE MERCY.

AMEN.

[SINGING PRAYERS] GOD GRANT THEM MANY YEARS.

GOD GRANT THEM MANY BLESSED YEARS IN HEALTH AND HAPPINESS,  IN HEALTH AND HAPPINESS.

GOD BLESS THEM MANY BLESSED  YEARS.

[SINGING PRAYERS]  >> Lou: THANKS FOR WATCHING.

WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

FUNDING FOR NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS PROVIDED BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

>> Jeff: LAURA, IT IS REALLY  NICE TO SIT DOWN WITH YOU AND HAVE A CHANCE TO TALK ABOUT  OUR LAND FOR 2024.

THANKS FOR DOING IT.

>> Laura: THANKS JEFF PROCTOR.

>> Jeff: SO, I KNOW FROM  CONVERSATIONS WE HAVE HAD SORT OF OVER AND OVER AGAIN, NOT IN  FRONT OF TELEVISION CAMERAS, THAT YOUR IDEA FOR THE YEAR IS  TO REALLY SHIFT THE FOCUS OF YOUR WORK BACK TO CLIMATE  CHANGE.

WHAT SORT OF GOT YOU THINKING ABOUT DOING THAT ALONG THOSE  LINES?

>> Laura: SO, THERE IS SUCH A  HUGE GAP BETWEEN WHAT SCIENTISTS ARE TELLING US WE  NEED TO DO.

FOR EXAMPLE, 2023 WAS THE  WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD BY FAR AND SCIENTISTS KEEP SAYING WE  NEED TO BRING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS DOWN TO ZERO.

WE NEED TO BE ACTING VERY FAST AND YET THAT GAP, WHAT  POLITICIANS ARE DOING, WHAT GOVERNMENTS ARE DOING, ON AN  INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL OR STATE SCALE, WE ARE NOT — WE  ARE NOT DOING AT ALL WHAT SCIENTISTS KEEP TELLING US TO  DO.

AND SO FOR ME, FOR THIS  PLATFORM, FOR OUR AUDIENCE IN NEW MEXICO, I FEEL REALLY A  MORAL IMPERATIVE TO BE TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN BIG  PICTURE AND REGULAR WAYS AGAIN.

YOU KNOW, WEEKLY CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GREENHOUSE GAS  EMISSIONS, ABOUT THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, ABOUT THE  IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON OR MENTAL HEALTH, OUR  SPIRITUAL HEALTH.

SO, I FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, FOR  ME AND WHAT I KNOW AND UNDERSTAND IS HAPPENING,  HAVING COVERED THESE ISSUES FOR 20 YEARS, I FEEL LIKE OUR  AUDIENCE DESERVES TO UNDERSTAND CLIMATE CHANGE  BETTER.

>> Jeff: THE MORE IMPERATIVE  PART CERTAINLY TRACKS AND IN TERMS OF THIS SUBJECT MATTER,  ALL I CAN REALLY SAY IS, WOOF, THAT SOUNDS DARK AND  DEPRESSING.

OF COURSE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN  SORT OF A HAPPY, FUN TIME JOURNALIST BUT THAT IS HEAVY  SUBJECT MATTER.

>> Laura: YEAH.

I KNOW AND, LIKE, IT HURTS.

AS A CLIMATE REPORTER, I HAVE  CERTAINLY HAD MY UP’S AND DOWN’S OF FEELING LIKE, I  CANNOT REPORT ON THESE ISSUES ANY LONGER.

ESPECIALLY WHEN I HEAR AUDIENCE FEEDBACK, YOU KNOW,  FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING ATTENTION, WHO ARE SAD, WHO  ARE DEPRESSED, WHO FEEL A SENSE OF HOPELESSNESS.

AND, REALLY, I FEEL LIKE FOR ME, I AM COMING OUT THE OTHER  SIDE OF THIS.

IT MAYBE HAS TAKEN 20 YEARS  BUT I REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON THIS PLACE THAT I LOVE.

AND I REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON MY COMMUNITY AND THE COMMUNITIES  I LOVE HERE.

SO, I THINK IT IS REALLY  IMPORTANT FOR US TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHY IT  IS HAPPENING AND WHAT IS GOING TO CONTINUE HAPPENING, BUT TO  BE CONNECTING WITH OUR PLACES, OUR ECOSYSTEMS, OUR  COMMUNITIES AND ONE ANOTHER WITH A REAL SENSE OF LOVE AND  JOY AND COMMITMENT, EVEN IF IT IS HARD TO FEEL HOPEFUL.

I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THIS PLACE AND I WILL NOT GIVE UP  ON WHAT I KNOW NEW MEXICANS CAN DO WHEN IT COMES TO  CLIMATE CHANGE.

>> Jeff: ONE OF THE THINGS I  HAVE ALWAYS LOVED AND ADMIRED SO MUCH ABOUT YOUR WORK IS THE  INTENTIONALITY WITH WHICH YOU APPROACH IT.

YOU’RE ALSO INCREDIBLY ORGANIZED.

I HAVE SEEN YOUR CALENDAR FOR THE YEAR WHICH MAKES ME FEEL  THE WORK AHEAD IS GOING TO BE MORE DIFFICULT FOR ME BECAUSE  I AM NOT THAT ORGANIZED.

BUT, I WANT YOU TO TALK A  LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THAT WORKS FOR YOU.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE AND SETTLE?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY FOLLOWING  AN ARK OF STORIES FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR.

>> Laura: FOR A LONG TIME I WAS, YOU KNOW, ONE OF ONE, OR  ONE OF TWO ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISTS IN THE STATE.

AND THAT IS NOT THE CASE ANYMORE.

THERE IS LIKE A REALLY HEALTHY ECOSYSTEM ON THE MEDIA  LANDSCAPE WITH PEOPLE COVERING THE ENVIRONMENT RIGHT NOW.

OUT SOURCE NEW MEXICO, KUNM, NEW MEXICO POLITICAL REPORT,  SEARCHLIGHT, YOU KNOW, OF COURSE, SUSAN MONTOYA BRIAN AT  THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

LIKE THERE IS SO MANY PEOPLE  COVERING THE DAY-TO-DAY KIND OF ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS.

SO I HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A LUXURY THAT I DIDN’T HAVE IN  THE PAST WHERE I CAN KIND OF LOOK AT THE YEAR AND BE LIKE,  WATER SCARCITY, FIRE SEASON, AND KIND OF FILL OUT THE ARK  OF THE YEAR AND TRY TO REALLY PROVIDE NEW MEXICANS THE  INFORMATION THAT THEY NEED IN A CLIMATE CHANGE WORLD TO BE  DEALING WITH THESE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

>> Jeff: I COMPARE YOUR WORK TO WHAT BILL GRAHAM SAID ABOUT  THE GRATEFUL DEAD.

YOU ARE NOT THE BEST AT WHAT  YOU DO.

YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO DOES  WHAT YOU DO.

HOW WILL THE AUDIENCE FEEL  THIS DIFFERENTLY THIS YEAR AS YOU SHIFT INTO THIS REALLY  INTENTIONAL PATH?

>> Laura: I HOPE THAT THE  AUDIENCE COMES ALONG WITH ME ON THIS JOURNEY.

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT SOME HARD THINGS.

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS OUR  MENTAL HEALTH.

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT GAP  BETWEEN WHAT SCIENTISTS ARE TELLING US WE NEED TO DO AND  WHAT OUR POLITICIANS AND LAWMAKERS AND DECISION MAKERS  ARE ACTUALLY DOING.

I HOPE THAT PEOPLE WILL COME  ALONG AND WATCH THESE SEGMENTS OR READ OUR NEWSLETTER OR, YOU  KNOW, FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND REALLY TALK TO THEIR  FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS AND HAVE THESE DEEPER  CONVERSATIONS IN THEIR OWN HOMES.

AND I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM PEOPLE, WHETHER THAT IS  THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL.

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT PEOPLE ARE  FEELING AND SEEING.

IT ISN’T JUST — YOU KNOW, WE  ARE BROADCAST TELEVISION PROGRAM.

IT IS NOT JUST WE BROADCAST OUT.

I WANT TO BE HEARING FROM PEOPLE AS WELL.

>> Jeff: LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT FOR JUST A MOMENT.

OF COURSE, WE WILL CONTINUE TO AIR OUR LAND PIECES ON NEW  MEXICO IN FOCUS WHICH IS INCREDIBLY GRATIFYING FOR ME,  HOW ELSE CAN FOLKS INTERACT WITH YOUR WORK AND CONSUME  YOUR WORK?

>> Laura: SO, AS A PRINT  REPORTER AT HEART, I WILL ALWAYS BE HAPPIEST SORT OF  WRITING WORDS DOWN AND CONNECTING WITH AUDIENCES THAT  WAY THROUGH THE WRITTEN WORD, SO THEY CAN SUBSCRIBE TO THE  WEEKLY NEWSLETTER, OUR LAND WEEKLY.

YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM, OURLANDNM ON  INSTAGRAM.

WE HAVE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

YEAH, I THINK THE NEWSLETTER IS A REALLY GOOD WAY TO STAY  ON TOP OF LIKE THE LATEST RESEARCH ON CLIMATE, THE  LATEST REPORTING ON CLIMATE AND KIND OF HOW I TRY TO  CONNECT ALL THESE THINGS TOGETHER FOR OUR NEW MEXICO  AUDIENCE.

>> Jeff: I AM INCREDIBLY  EXCITED ABOUT THE YEAR AHEAD.

AS I HAVE BEEN WITH SO MANY  YEARS OF YOUR WORK IN THE PAST.

SO, THANKS FOR TALKING ABOUT  IT A LITTLE BIT.

>> Laura: THANKS JEFF.