CLOVIS – The proposed anti-abortion ordinance to make Clovis a “sanctuary city for the unborn” remained tabled after a tie vote was broken by Mayor Mike Morris during Thursday’s Clovis city commission meeting.
Commissioner David Bryant asked that the issue be brought back for a vote after it was tabled Nov. 3. He voted “yes” to “un-table” the ordinance, along with Mayor Pro Tem Chris Bryant, and Commissioners Juan Garza and Gene Porter.
Voting “no” to keep the measure tabled were Commissioners Megan Palla, Lauren Rowley, Helen Casaus and George Jones.
With the ordinance still tabled, the other proposed action item on the agenda, to vote on whether or not to implement the ordinance, became irrelevant.
After the meeting, Clovis resident Laura Wight of the progressive group “Eastern New Mexico Rising” issued a statement.
“What we saw employed at tonight’s commission meeting was nothing less than good, old-fashioned reason and logic,” Wight said. “Eastern New Mexico Rising applauds the mayor and commissioners for being cautious, adhering to law and acting in the best fiscal interest of the citizens of Clovis.”
Also after the meeting, Clovis/Lubbock pastor Ryan Denton commented on the commission action.
“The mayor showed his hand tonight,” Denton said. “He is not a pro-life mayor. He left four other commissioners hung out to dry tonight. As citizens of Clovis, we deserve leaders with spine. We have four of them, now we need a mayor.”
Morris declined to respond.
“I do not wish to respond to Mr. Denton’s comments, nor Ms. Wight,” Morris wrote in a text. “Tonight, the commission put me in the unenviable position of saying what I said two weeks ago to the public, this time with a tie-breaking vote.”
Morris said, ” [ It’s] important to understand, I didn’t vote the ordinance down. I voted down the un-tabling of the issue. The issue is very much alive, and in its tabled status, the ordinance is available to us to bring back and consider adopting.”
Morris stated he’s been clear. “I don’t want Clovis to become an abortion destination,” Morris said.
Morris also wrote in his text message that he and the commissioners are developing what could become a new proposed policy on abortion clinics.
“We have to believe that there’s hope in working the process, exercising diplomacy and influence to affect the outcome of imminent state legislation to reflect our values. … . As eastern New Mexicans, we want our values represented.”
Commissioners said on Nov. 3 they are concerned Clovis will be sued and subject to litigation costs if it votes to ban abortions, which are legal in New Mexico.
In other business, the commission heard from Madison Neal of the company Retail Strategies, a firm based in Birmingham, Ala., that recruits retail businesses for cities and towns nationwide.
Neal told commissioners that, of a list of 137 retail businesses, 87 gave Retail Strategies feedback on their thoughts on locating to Clovis. Neal said 55 had potential interest and 32 had no interest.
Neal said that, of those with interest, 24 are restaurants, eight are clothing and accessory stores, six are coffee/tea/dessert establishments and four are general merchandise businesses. Others included two sporting goods stores, two entertainment outlets, one pet supply store, an arts and crafts store, and a grocery store.
Commissioner Casaus told Neal she hears regularly from constituents who wonder when Clovis is going to get a retail store.
As the commission meeting wrapped up, Casaus spoke to the audience and encouraged area residents to volunteer as bell-ringers for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. Those interested should contact Lts. Diane and David Shatto at the Clovis Salvation Army.