By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
Guidelines for next week’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission hearing in Clovis have been cemented by local leaders, who have set strict guidelines for public appearance and conduct at the meeting where New Mexico congressional delegates, members of the Committee of Fifty, and DLA Piper will fight to keep Cannon Air Force Base open.
Tickets for the event will be distributed June 22 at the North Plains Mall police sub-station on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the Operation Keep Cannon Web site. The hearing is June 24.
Color-coded tickets will determine access to one of five venues, said Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ernie Kos.
“There will be one ticket per person. You will go there, stand in line, draw a ticket, and the color of the ticket will determine if you will be seated in the Marshall Junior High School Auditorium (where the hearing will take place),” Kos said.
Auxiliary venues for listening to the hearing, each assigned a different color, include two Marshall Junior High gymnasiums, the 16th and Pile Church of Christ Auditorium, and the 16th and Pile Church of Christ Fellowship Hall. For those who do not secure passes in one of the venues’ 4,000 seats, a rally will be held at the Marshall football field where the hearing will be broadcast live, Kos said.
Operation Keep Cannon member Gina Gutierrez contrasted the decorum expected of those who obtain seats inside the main auditorium for the hearing to those who organizers are asking to line Prince and Commerce streets in support of Cannon.
“If you are seated inside the facility, you should dress business casual,” Gutierrez said. “If you are out on the street or in an overflow area, you should wear an Operation Keep Cannon T-shirt or red, white and blue — patriotic attire.”
Gutierrez also said she hopes that more business owners will contact her to make arrangements to appear at an assigned point along Commerce or Prince streets. She said there are still six spots available on Commerce Street. A long stretch of Prince Street she said, remains vacant.
According to Gutierrez, a VIP list for the hearing has been drafted. Persons on the list include the Committee of Fifty members, congressional delegates and the press, including C-SPAN, which will broadcast the hearing on television.
Security forces will be present at the hearing and on the streets, with all persons subject to search. The commissioners will be escorted by the state police, Gutierrez said.
Six BRAC commissioners — Anthony Principi, Philip Coyle, James Hansen, Lloyd Newton, Sue Turner, and James Hill — have confirmed they will attend the regional hearing, according to Clovis Community College President Beverlee McClure, an organizer of the event.
Because it is a formal congressional hearing, she said, comments from the audiences and general public will be forbidden.
Ticket distribution for the Base Realignment and Closure hearing June 24:
• When: 5:30 p.m. June 22
• Where: North Plains Mall police
• What: 4,000 tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis for five venues.
• Info: Operation Keep Cannon hotline: 799-1656 or online at: www.keepcannon.com