Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teresa Cordova, the planner and community activist

marjorie says...

This is my favorite picture of Teresa Cordova, taken in 2002. That's the year I met Teresa, in the Planning school at UNM where she teaches. I saw her on the news Friday night, on a clip about the extension of water and sewer lines to the far south valley. I couldn't help but think as I was watching it that the brevity of evening news clips can't possibly get across how much effort any particular politician has put into a project. In the case of Teresa, she's been working on that project for about a decade.

Long before she thought of running for County Commission she was working to bring resources to the South Valley, in both her capacity as Board member of the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation, and as Director of the Resource Center for Raza Planning at UNM. I worked at RCRP as a student for about a year and a half. During that time, among other things the center facilitated community participation and input into the design of the water project, and also worked with RGCDC to develop the South Valley Economic Development Center. Many people don't realize that Teresa was instrumental in marshaling an enormous amount of resources for the SVEDC long before she ran for office. Those were the two projects I assisted with, and I was impressed by the degree to which community input was pursued. It wasn't good enough for Teresa or RCRP to just have a few community meetings. We went door to door throughout the valley to talk to people directly in both cases. It was a great way to get to know the landscape of the South Valley, and I'll always be glad I got to participate.

Anyhow, I thought I'd offer these little bits of information because of a few things I've read in the blogosphere lately, from people who obviously don't know Teresa or her background, not to mention the bum rap I think she got in the media last year. She was elected to her County Commission seat for a good reason, and I say that as both her constituent and her friend. There are some areas in which, as it turns out, Teresa and I don't agree. But in the balance she's been great for the South Valley.