By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers
PORTALES — The city of Portales will soon be decorated with yellow and red signs which say Keep Cannon.
Members of the Keep Cannon Portales committee looked over designs and logos for banners and ribbons Tuesday showing support for Cannon Air Force Base, which is being recommended for closure by the Pentagon.
Committee members want to see as many Portales residents as possible travel to a Base Realignment and Closure regional hearing June 24 at Marshall Junior High.
“I think we’ve got a 50-50 shot of getting off the list,” Marshall Stinnett said. “We’ll have an hour-and-a-half to make our presentation.”
Economic studies showed more than 20 percent of the jobs in Clovis would be lost. Christopher Erickson, a New Mexico State University economist, projects the closure of Cannon will result in the loss of 7,000 jobs — 6,000 of those in Curry County.
“It’s disappointing that Portales was left out (of the study),” Kim Huffman, community development director, said.
“Leaving us out, there was a significant error in their consideration. There is a serious omission and (it) gives us something real to talk about.”
Huffman said it is important to show support, be well-organized and keep a positive attitude.
“They (BRAC commissioners) will give us a fair showing,” Huffman said. “We need to get a big crowd on June 24 for the hour-and-a-half the hearing is going to take. We need to respond in a knowledgeable way.”
Stinnett said it is important members of the Portales and Clovis communities attend the hearing in their work clothes so the commissioners see who’s being affected.
Larry Combs, owner of Combs Properties, said he will give his employees four hours off to attend the hearing.
“We want to encourage business owners to close down to allow their employees to be there,” Sharon Davis of Calton Furniture said.
The Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce is conducting Operation Keep Cannon in hopes of convincing the BRAC Commission to remove the base from the closure list.
It takes five votes from the nine-member commission to get off the list.