Pueblo Design
 La Jicarita

A community advocacy newspaper for northern New Mexico

Box 6 El Valle Route, Chamisal, NM 87521

Volume XIV

September 2009

Number VIII


Current Issue




About Us




 Harvesting the Hoop House

Potential Hazards of Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Drilling Process By Kay Matthews

Editorial: The Medical Industrial Complex By Kay Matthews

News Updates

New Mexico's Anti-Union Union By David Correia


Harvesting the Hoop House

In the May/June issue of La Jicarita News we documented the building of the hoop house at the El Valle farm of co-editors Mark Schiller and Kay Matthews. In this month's issue we're showing the fall harvest made possible by the hoop house at our 8,000 foot elevation. We grew tomatoes (Brandywine, Pink Accordion, Oregon Spring) like we've never grown tomatoes before; pickling and slicing cucumbers (Armenian); summer squash; heritage raspberries that usually freeze before we can harvest the berries; basil; and bell peppers. We sold all kinds of vegetables to our friends Kai and Ki at the Sugar Nymphs Restaurant in Peñasco; at the Embudo Farmers' Market; and the fledgling Peñasco Farmers' Market.

Fall harvest in the hoop house

Brandywine heritage tomato

Growers throughout the Peñasco Valley had a bumper year of crops because of the early summer rains. Farmers' markets have been organized in almost every village in our area as well as all over New Mexico. While the big bucks are made at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, these small, local markets provide a friendly and profitable venue for the many folks who are returning to the centuries' old tradition in northern New Mexico of growing our own.

Potential Hazards of Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Drilling Process

By Kay Matthews

As communities around the country deal with impending or existing gas and oil exploration they are finding more and more data that confirms their fears about the toxicity of the chemicals used in the extraction process. As I mentioned in the May/June La Jicarita News article about potential natural gas drilling in the Mora Valley, the fracturing process used by the industry to extract the resource uses a wide range of chemicals, including benzene, xylyne, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), tetramethylamonium chloride, and formaldehyde, which can cause cancer in humans (benzene and formaldehyde) and birth defects in fetuses, change DNA, and disrupt endocrine function.

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc., (TEDX), based in Paonia, Colorado, is an organization that focuses on the human health and environmental problems caused by low-dose and/or ambient exposure to chemicals that interfere with development and function, or endocrine disruption. The endocrine system is a system of glands and hormones that regulates such vital functions as body growth, response to stress, sexual development and behavior, production and utilization of insulin, rate of metabolism, intelligence, and behavior. TEDX is unique in that it focuses on the effects of very low and ambient levels of exposure on developing tissue and resulting function before an individual is born, which can lead to irreversible, chronic disorders expressed at any time throughout the individuals' lives.

The organization has been looking at the products and chemicals that have reportedly been used during the fracturing of natural gas wells. I say "reportedly" because the industry is not required to disclose what chemicals are used in the process. During the George W. Bush administration, the oil and gas industry was exempted from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Surface Water Run-off Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Community Right-to-Know Act. Consequently, there is little oversight regarding the hazardous chemicals used in the industry's hydraulic fracturing process and no way of knowing exactly what formula of chemicals is being used (there is currently legislation being drafted to require that companies disclose all chemicals used in the drilling process).

But TEDX has managed to compile an industry list that includes the names of 43 fracturing products containing 344 chemicals, as of February, 2009. They have compiled that data from Material Data Safety Sheets (information provided to those who handle and ship the products), state Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act Tier II reports, Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental Assessments, and from accident and spill reports. The identity of every chemical used is needed to determine product safety. According to the TEDX report, gas field workers are most likely to be the first exposed to the chemicals used in fracturing, especially to airborne fines, dusts, and volatile compounds. As the chemicals disperse from the pad, those living in proximity to fracturing operations will also be exposed. A health monitoring program for gas field workers and near-by residents could now be established based on the consistent profile of health categories associated with chemicals used during natural gas operations. The organization would like to see full disclosure of the contents of the fracturing fluid used at each state and event of the operation.

In an April 27, 2009 article in Scientific American, Dr. Theo Colborn, TEDX founder, wrote that the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to test 67 pesticide ingredients for their possible endocrine disruption effects. She criticizes the study, however, first recommended in 1998, as "outdated, insensitive, crude, and narrowly limited." She believes that corporate interests have had too much influence on the design of the testing and that the EPA has ignored the "vast wealth of information" on endocrine disruption from independent researchers. Since the early 1990s independent scientists around the world have demonstrated how a broad selection of chemicals can interfere with the normal development of a baby at "extremely low levels of exposure." The EPA study continues under the false assumption that "the dose makes the poison" and that high dose testing is sufficient to detect any chemical that can interfere with endocrine control of development and function.

Contaminated Drinking Wells

More and more information is coming in that oil and gas well fracture drilling is contaminating drinking water wells. As part of a Superfund investigation in March of 2009, the EPA began sampling near Pavillion, Wyoming in response to landowners' concerns. The agency confirmed the presence of 2-butoxyethanol (2-BE), a known constituent used in hydraulic fracture drilling, in three wells. This is the same chemical found in a water well in Colorado near fracture gas wells. According to Dr. Colborn, known health effects of 2-BE include elevated numbers of malignant and non-malignant tumors of the adrenal gland, kidney damage, kidney failure, toxicity to the spleen, the bones in the spinal column and bone marrow, liver cancer, anemia, female fertility reduction, and embryo mortality. For more information go to: www.earthworksaction.org/PR_EPApavillionDrinkingWater.cfm.

Editorial: The Medical Industrial Complex

By Kay Matthews

Over the course of the past month I twice found myself in the emergency room (as the support person for someone else) at the University of New Mexico Hospital. Understanding that UNM Hospital is the largest public hospital in the state I was expecting the worst, and my expectations were met.

During the ten hours I spent in the waiting room one day, I was kept company for the same amount of time by at least twenty to thirty others there for any number of reasons. There were those with no health insurance, so therefore nowhere else to go. There were those with emergencies that are not dealt with by urgent care centers or doctors' offices but not dire enough to require an ambulance delivery, which enters through a different door (although there were several people who had been brought in by ambulance, seen in triage, and then deposited into the waiting room). There were those who had insurance but couldn't get doctors' appointments at UNM in any timely fashion so they had to go to the ER to get treatment that they should have been getting by a doctor who would then admit them to the hospital. One of the ER doctors actually told us that his wife had been waiting four months for an appointment at one of the UNM clinics. And there were those who were very confused and didn't know why they were there.

Once you actually get out of the waiting room and into the examination room, in this fancy new ER wing that was recently added on to the hospital, you may find yourself there for three days. We were there for 16 hours our first visit, then sent home. On the second visit we were there for about 10 hours and then admitted. If the person I was with who needed treatment had actually been admitted during the first visit, we wouldn't have had to visit the ER twice, for a combined visit of 26 hours, for the same illness that finally got us admitted the second time. But the ER must adhere to a strict hierarchy of diagnoses that allow the most critically ill admission first, while the rest linger in exam rooms (or on the floor, where many prisoners in orange jumpsuits and shackles spent many hours) because there are not enough beds in the hospital.

Why are there no spare beds in the hospital? Because the health care system is broken beyond repair.People with preventable diseases end up in the hospital for any number of reasons. They have no insurance so they don't go to see doctors or health care specialists who might be able to screen for early detection of these preventable diseases. When they do see a doctor, it's not like the doctor we grew up with (those of us over 50) who came to the house, treated everyone in the family, often socialized with the family, and was able to integrate medicine with lifestyle choices and an intimacy that no longer remotely exists. When they do see a doctor, it's usually at a for-profit clinic where the doctor's salary is based on how many patients he or she can see in a day. So it's in and out the door, no follow up to see if the patient is taking the doctor's advice, taking his or her medication, or seen by whatever specialist he or she might have been referred to. And if the patient is referred to a specialist, that specialist might say to the patient, you need to go back to your primary care doctor and get a referral to see a different specialist, but no one checks up to see if that happens, either. In other words, there is woeful communication between doctors and woeful care for patients who cannot successfully navigate the complicated primary care/referral/specialist terrain of the medical industrial complex.

Even when you act as your own advocate, or have someone act as your advocate, and make every effort to work through the system as efficiently and expeditiously as possible, you are out of luck. You can't get through by phone to doctors who are already overworked and not inclined to return phone calls. If you question their diagnosis or prescription for tests, such as the enormously expensive CT scans and MRIs, you are labeled a troublemaker and sent off to someone else or just dropped from the system. If you happen to get sick on a Friday, you know you're going to spend your weekend in the ER. You have to get authorization from your insurance company for procedures you and your doctor decide are necessary, and if they turn you down - because, after all, don't for-profit businesses know more about health care than you do? - you have to appeal the decision while days or weeks go by when you should be getting treatment. Health insurance rarely covers alternative treatments that patients have discovered work for them and they end up paying out of pocket fees that certain doctors or HMOs would much rather put towards a diagnostic test from which the HMO or doctor gets a kickback.

All of this dysfunction is being described and argued about in Congress, in the White House, in the mainstream media, on blogs, and among those of us who have to work through the system, which is all of us at some point in our lives. Until health care is not managed by for-profit HMOs and insurance companies, however, the argument is moot. The ER doc who told us about his wife having to wait four months for an appointment summed the situation up very aptly when he told us, "There are two kinds of health care being delivered in this country: the kind Steve Jobs gets and the kind everyone else gets."

News Updates

Taos County Land Use Plans

As La Jicarita News reported in the May/June issue, at the May 21 Peñasco Area Communities Association (PACA) meeting a group of area residents decided they wanted to "abandon" the Peñasco Valley Land Use Plan that had been drafted by Taos County consultant Charlie Deans, of Community By Design, along with local volunteers. The group announced its intention to organize representatives from all the villages in the valley to draft its own version of the plan. As far as we know (La Jicarita went to the initial meeting in June but only two people showed up) a new plan was never drafted.

Deans contacted PACA on August 6, along with the other neighborhoods he has been working with in Taos County, about the cut off date of his involvement so that the neighborhood plans that were endorsed by the various neighborhood associations could move forward. He hasn't heard back from PACA, but the association will always have the opportunity to present its neighborhood plan to the county commissioners at a later time. The final drafts of the eight neighborhood land use plans Deans helped draft were submitted to the county planning staff and county attorney on August 20, which triggered the staff review process and eventually a public hearing before the Planning & Zoning Commission and County Commissioners. Deans is now working with the county administration on the approval process.

La Jicarita News contacted one of the PACA board members who told us that the board intends to review the draft land use plan that Deans helped draft, notify the community that it intends to either recommend or not recommend the plan, and bring it to a vote.

Camino Real Travel Management Plan

Travel Management Plans for the Carson National Forest have all been released for public comment except for the Camino Real Ranger District. This plan, which will be released as a complete Environmental Assessment, probably won't be available until October of this year. According to staff at the Supervisor's Office, the Camino Real District is the most complex of the districts. While many of the other districts already had designated uses that needed to be reviewed and fine-tuned, the Camino Real has a broader mix of uses and received a high volume of public comment advocating for either restricted motorized use or an expanded trail system for off-highway vehicles. The Carson Forest team responsible for drafting the EA spent the month of May either driving or hiking the motorized trail systems on the district so it could better evaluate public input and devise alternatives that best address that input. La Jicarita News will provide an overview of that EA when it is released.

Forest Service versus Acequias

Approximately 50 parciantes and interested people met with Representative Ben Ray Lujan in August to discuss the dispute between the Peñasco area acequias and Carson National Forest over acequia maintenance and improvement rights on federal land (see La Jicarita News, April 2009). Lujan's office had already sent a letter to the Forest Service Regional Office in Albuquerque requesting clarification on the regulations the FS is using to require that the acequias get special use permits to work on their diversions, and the congressman expressed disappointment that there had been no movement on the part of the FS to resolve this conflict. He said his office would be willing to pursue changing the regulations to excempt acequias from these requirements.

Two of the acequias involved in the dispute also met on the site of the Llano San Juan, Chamisal-Ojito diversion with Carson Forest Supervisor Kendall Clark, former Camino Real District Ranger John Miera, who is now in charge of forest special use permits, and two attoneys from the Regional Office. In theory, the FS officials agreed that a change in the regulations excempting acequias would benefit everyone (and get the agency off the hook in what has become a very bad PR issue). In a conversation with the acequia commissioners at the meeting the FS conceded that perhaps it could amend the chain of requirements in its permitting process to allow the acequias to move forward. Another of the affected acequias has already agreed to the FS requirements, while three of the acequias have signed memorandums of understanding with New Mexico Legal Aid, which has agreed to represent them if the FS takes legal action against them.

Mora County Comprehensive Land Use Plan

The Albuquerque consulting firm Site Southwest recently completed its update of the Mora County Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Go to Projects on the website www.sites-sw.com. to see the plan in its entirety. The Santa Fe County Oil and Gas Ordinance 2008-19 (which has been submitted to the American Planning Association for its best practices in sustainability award) is being rewritten for Mora County by a team of four pro bono lawyers led by Bob McNeill in Albuquerque. The draft ordinance should be ready by mid month.

New Mexico's Anti-Union Union

By David Correia

It's a good time to be a carpenter in New Mexico. As the rest of the Southwest struggles from the 2008 collapse in construction starts, New Mexico continues to attract new businesses and the construction contracts that follow. These trends have not escaped the attention of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (UBCJ) that, over the last 18 months, has unleashed an aggressive protest campaign in which it has targeted non-union contractors and sub-contractors. The UBCJ has mobbed dozens of non-union job sites with signs, pickets, and broadsides, all to publicly protest the labor practices of contractors its flyers call "rats." At some locations the picketing has lasted more than six months. The campaign has included a letter-writing campaign to area businesses in which the union provides a litany of complaints related to non-union contractors. The targets have included the grocery stores, high schools, casinos, and hotels that have hired non-union operators. It has even picketed the golf courses frequented by the bosses of the non-union contractors and developers.

The campaign has alarmed contractors and developers in New Mexico who, like many throughout the American Southwest, have become accustomed to, and enriched by, the lower costs of the construction industry's largely non-union workforce. But it wasn't always this way. New Mexico locals once controlled the building trades and have a long history of innovative and progressive unionism.

In 1948, 3,000 New Mexico carpenters walked off a Brown & Root (B & R) job site at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Despite pressure from the Atomic Energy Commission, the UBCJ opposed the union-busting tactics of Houston-based B & R, then and now the Pentagon's lap dog for military construction contracts. Lyndon Johnson himself forced B & R (today one of the world's largest construction companies and the Pentagon's largest contractor for work in Iraq and Afghanistan) to adhere to New Mexico union contracts or risk losing valuable construction work in Vietnam.

In 1963, New Mexico's carpenters responded to the erosion in union contracts in residential construction and the economic impacts of suburbanization by creating more than a dozen non-profit construction corporations. Before the decade was out, these union-owned non-profits became the largest builders and providers of affordable housing in New Mexico. Thousands of union carpenters found work with good pay and benefits, and more than 7,000 New Mexicans found reasonable rents and quality housing.

Despite this progressive history and the need for union representation in New Mexico's construction industry, the current UBCJ campaign heralds a new reactionary era of cut-throat, corporate unionism. As the campaign has developed a troubling picture of the UBCJ campaign has emerged.

Since at least April of 2009, Albuquerque local 1319 of the UBCJ has been protesting the use of non-union labor by construction contractors in northern New Mexico. At one time, campaigns such as the current one would require carpenters or allies to walk picket lines. Those who did walk the line would jump to the front of the queue for jobs that came up after their picketing duty. Today's corporate Carpenters union takes a different approach. The Carpenters union has been protesting the use of non-union labor by hiring non-union laborers to stand in front of various job sites holding signs announcing the union's complaints against non-union labor. According to some accounts, the union has contracted with day-labor companies to recruit and hire protestors-for-hire.

The Carpenters' broadsides complain about "substandard wage employers", yet they pay their surrogate strikers $10/hour to protest the $18-$22 wages of non-union workers. The flyers direct anyone interested to contact the Albuquerque local. But the Albuquerque local refuses to talk. "They won't let us answer any questions," said one local officer. The Santa Fe local refused to even acknowledge the existence of a campaign at all. When pressed, the Albuquerque office directed inquiries to Union Vice President Hal Jensen in the Los Angeles office. Jensen hasn't returned a phone call in over a year.

Given the tactics, the silence is understandable. A 2004 study by the New Mexico-based Southwest Center for Economic Integrity found that 86 per cent of day laborers in New Mexico are homeless. Little good could come from trying to explain why the UBCJ preys on non-union, largely homeless, day laborers. To the President of the Española Laborers Union, questioned for this article, the campaign is inexplicable. For a few dollars more, he said, the carpenters could have hired union laborers. They could have supported the laborer union's organizing efforts, undermined the predatory day laborer companies, and demonstrated labor solidarity.

So what explains the predatory tactics and secrecy of the New Mexico campaign? The answer may well be found in the authoritarian leadership of the 550,000-member UBCJ's General President Douglas McCarron. Over the last ten years McCarron has remade the union into a conservative, anti-democratic, increasingly corporatized, willing and repressive tool of capital.

Under McCarron's leadership the UBCJ reflects the values and tactics of corporate America. McCarron has publicly expressed his admiration for former GE Chairman and avowed enemy of labor Jack Welch. In a Business Week article from the late 1990s, McCarron referred to Carpenters union members as his "strong product." "We have a product to deliver," he said, "and we have to do it more efficiently." He has sought to position his "product" in the labor market by pitting worker against worker, pursuing growth at all costs, and replacing rank and file unionism with an authoritarian administrative structure.

McCarron has purged the union of dissidents, expelled political opponents, and placed disloyal unions in trusteeship. He has removed rank and file carpenters from leadership positions within the union and replaced them with business agents who have never worked as carpenters. Under McCarron's reactionary leadership, the Carpenters are run by political opportunists and free market shills. He has learned his corporate lessons well.

The changes under McCarron's watch began almost immediately. In 1996 McCarron purged the entire leadership of the New York District Council. He shut down locals and merged District Councils in Michigan, California, Nevada, New England, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey into new administrative arrangements under his direct control.

The June 1996 purge of democratically elected New York District Council leaders heralded an astonishing new era in conservative unionism. McCarron seized the New York District office in an armed, midnight raid. He replaced local leaders with corporate loyalists. The restructuring was an attempt to make the UBCJ business friendly. Unbelievably, the union willingly did the union-busting dirty work long reserved for hired thugs and bought-off politicians. The tactics, described by rank and file carpenters in a 1998 House Sub-Committee investigation of anti-democratic practices in the UBCJ, were ripped straight from a Pinkerton's playbook. McCarron, lauded by the business press, survived the investigation. By displacing the administrative authority of locals and District Councils into regional bodies under his own authority, McCarron has effectively centralized control and undermined rank and file democratic unionism.

He has cozied up to corporate leaders and Republican politicians. He became a frequent companion of former President George W. Bush on Air Force One flights, invited Bush to his Labor Day Picnic, and accepted a Bush invitation to the 2002 Economic Summit.

McCarron regularly stifles local control and dictates the terms of employment to local unions, using his business (school) agents as enforcers. Locals throughout the United States and Canada have complained that McCarron routinely manipulates democratic procedures to deprive union members from voting on union contracts.

McCarron crushed a 1999 wildcat strike in Atlanta after union carpenters refused to work under a McCarron-negotiated contract with a local contractor. McCarron sided with the contractor against his own union carpenters and complained that the strikers had caused the business owner to "lose money for four days . . . you just don't do that."

When British Columbia carpenters revolted against the corporatization of the Carpenters union, McCarron redbaited his rank and file carpenters in the press. "There is a high influence of the communist party" in the BC local, McCarron deadpanned.

McCarron was unable to continue his anti-democratic restructuring as a member of the AFL-CIO, so in 2001 he orchestrated the Carpenters split from the federation. At the time, McCarron argued that the AFL-CIO was not aggressive enough in organizing. Since the split, McCarron has demonstrated what he had in mind. According to dissident union carpenters in Chicago, it has become routine practice for the union to prey on homeless men as cheap labor to walk fake picket lines.

Union insurgents have recast McCarron's "Organize or Die" slogan as "Organize or Lie."

McCarron and his flunkies are careful not to lie, of course, or better yet say anything at all, as the autocrats who designed the regressive New Mexico campaign have demonstrated. Meanwhile, the UBCJ panders to hack politicians and non-union contractors.

The corporate friendly leadership of Douglas McCarron places today's labor movement in stark contrast with the radical leadership of men like Eugene V. Debs and Big Bill Haywood. Haywood, for example, refused to impose labor agreements on rank and file members. "Agreements with capitalists," he once famously said, "are the death warrants of labor."

Almost one hundred years later, McCarron has become labor's willing executioner. Under McCarron's leadership, the union frequently signs concessionary contracts with non-union employers (known derisively by rank and file carpenters as the Rat Brigade) that give away hard earned overtime pay, construct multiple wage scales, exclude women and minorities, and provide for non-union hiring quotas. And he gets these contractors by preying on non-union workers to man his fake picket lines. McCarron and his flunkies then dictate contract terms to locals throughout the United States.

One of the most troubling facts in the UBCJ's recent descent into corporate unions is that, in many ways, McCarron's tactics are a logical extension of long-held conservative UBCJ values. The UBCJ invented business unionism. The Carpenters union called the convention that created the AFL-CIO, and then used the AFL-CIO as a bully pulpit to advance the interests of the UBCJ over other unions. The conservatism of the AFL-CIO allowed the Carpenters to advance its unique form of corporate unionism. Known as the "Big Bully" of American labor, the Carpenters used the political clout that came from long being the largest trade union in the United States to force union contracts on contractors. Once union contracts were established the Carpenters business agents policed contractors and carpenters alike to enforce the union dictates that governed work on a union job site. The UBCJ has always been pro-business. McCarron's innovation is that he has made the UBCJ anti-union-thus all the more friendly to big business.

While the final cost to the UBCJ and the labor movement may be difficult to gauge, the cost to the working people caught in the cross fire of McCarron's bizarre blitzkrieg is all too easy to measure. Dozens of day laborers man campaign stations throughout Santa Fe and Albuquerque. All the protestors interviewed for this article receive $10/hour to hold signs six hours per day, four days per week. At its protest against the use of non-union subcontractors on the remodel of Sunflower Market in Santa Fe, non-union workers hold signs that decry the labor practices of non-union employers while the protestors who hold those signs receive no health benefits, accrue no sick or vacation days, have no access to union benefits, and are not admitted as members of the union.

Three of those protestors, Filemon Luevano, Irma Mesta, and Raul Alvarado (pictured above, left to right), migrated from Zacatecas, Mexico to look for work in the United States. Raul explained that as day laborers they hadn't worked for weeks when they saw protestors in front of a Santa Fe hotel. The picketers, non-union themselves, directed them to the union office for a job as a protestor-for-hire. Today Raul, Irma, and Filemon hold a Carpenters union sign in front of a Sunflower Market grocery store in Santa Fe. For their effort they are refused union membership or union jobs. Their pay covers their rent but isn't enough for utilities, food, or even enough to pay for the commute to Sunflower Market, where four days a week they do the duplicitous work of the Carpenters union, protesting the use of non-union labor.



• An Acequia Hydrology Symposium will be held on October 21 at 7:30 am to 5:00 pm at the Santa Fe County Fair Building, 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe. The purpose of the meeting is to report on research results about the hydrology of traditional acequia irrigations systems. Presentations will address both the technical and socio-cultural aspects of acequias along the Rio Grande. Speakers include Sam Fernald of New Mexico State University, who has been conducting acequia recharge flows for many years; Steve Guldan, of the NMSU Alcalde Science Center; Michael Cox of Indiana University; Carlos Ochoa of NMSU; Quita Ortiz of the New Mexico Acequia Association; José Rivera of the University of New Mexico; Craig Roepke of the Interstate Stream Commission; and Yeliz Cevik of NMSU. There will also be a tour of local acequia systems on October 22 from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, beginning at the County Fair Building. The cost for the symposium is $15 in advance or at the door; the tour cost is $70. For more information or to register go to http://aces.nmsu.edu/acequiahydrology or contact Selina Trujillo at 505 852-4241.

• The Native Earth Bio Culture Council in conjunction with the Institute of American Indian Arts and Pueblo of Tesuque farm program is hosting the fourth annual Symposium For Food and Seed Sovereignty, September 25 & 26, 2009 at the campus of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. The Symposium will include internationally renowned speakers as well as local and regional experts in the areas of food security and sustainable ecology, a heritage seed exchange, as well as panels on youth issues in the 21st century, food and nutrition, water issues and traditional farming, land restoration, and medicinal herbs. There is a vendors market featuring natural earth friendly products, information and services. For more information visit www.foodandseedconference.info, or call 505-424-5714 (office), or 518-332-3156 (cell).

• David Barsamian, the founder of Alternative Radio, will appear in Taos at a benefit for Cultural Energy and public radio and television in northern New Mexico. The benefit takes place on Tuesday, September 22, at the Taos Community Auditorium. He will speak on "Obama Expands the War: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Understanding History and Colonialism in Southeast Asia." The benefit is cosponsored by the Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center, Peace Action NM, Taos Peace House, Food Not Bombs, Veterans for Peace Taos, Viva Bikes, Taos Hemp, and Madre Taos. The groups are asking for a $5 donation. For more information call 575-758-9791.

• The 8th Annual Spanapalooza celebration will be held Saturday, October 3, 12 pm to 6 pm at the Española Skate Park, 238 Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Road. Special guests include This Days Light, Ribbed, Prick Lunatic, Refrence Man, and Dredging the Lake. There will be free food, community booths, and a skateboard demonstration. Spanapalooza is an event that brings together the youth of the Española Valley to share music and information provided by non-profits and local governments in a healthy, drug-free environment.

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