By Kevin Wilson: PNT Managing Editor
Ticket distribution is tonight in Portales for the Base Realignment and Closure hearing set for Friday in Clovis.
The tickets are available at 5:30 tonight in the lobby of the Roosevelt County Courthouse. Tickets are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of one ticket per person.
City Manager Debi Lee and Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin said six-to-eight people would man tables at the lobby until all of the tickets are given away.
Lee said the courthouse was an easy choice for ticket distribution.
“I think it’s just a convenient location,” Lee said. “It’s got overflow because of the pavilion and it’s known to everybody.”
Members of the Portales Operation Keep Cannon committee said during Tuesday’s meeting at the Memorial Building that approximately 1,300 tickets — about one-third of the total available for the hearing — will be available. Of those tickets, City Manager Debi Lee said, there will be 330 to 350 tickets available for Marshall Junior High’s auditorium, the site for the 8:30 a.m. hearing on Friday.
The other two sites are the Church of Christ on 16th and Pile in Clovis or a gymnasium adjacent to the school. Lee said those requesting tickets could request any of the three sites for as long as the tickets are available.
Sites away from the auditorium will have television feeds.
“I would say, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get in Marshall,” Lee said. “You’re going to be … able to see and hear everything.”
The hearing is expected to draw many visitors, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn, along with numerous state lawmakers from New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, event organizers have said.
Committee member Marshall Stinnett said there was also a chance that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., might be at the hearing as well. In any case, Stinnett told committee members to expect politicians and national media to descend upon the area.
“You’ll see helicopters in the sky, you’ll see reporters on the ground,” Stinnett said. “It will be a little bit of everything.”
Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega said KENW-TV will be one of at least four networks carrying broadcasts of the hearing. The PBS station based on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University is one of four reported to be broadcasting live, as are KOB-TV, KRQE and KBIM. Also, Ortega said C-SPAN is considering running the hearing either live or on tape delay.
Traveling by bus is recommended due to traffic the hearing is expected to create, committee officials said.
The buses will be loaded at 6 a.m. on June 24 in the Greyhound Arena parking lot and will depart at 6:15 a.m.
Those intending to ride a bus can call the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce at 356-8541 and request one of three bus routes:
l The first route will take residents down the path from Cannon Air Force Base to Marshall Junior High, and those residents will get out of the bus and line the streets until BRAC commissioners travel through. Those residents will return to the buses and be back in Portales around 9 a.m. People with tickets for the hearing should not take this option.
l The second route will take passengers to the school, where passengers can either enter one of the venues (ticket required) or be part of the overflow crowd at an adjacent football field. The buses will return to Portales 30 minutes after the hearing concludes (approximately 10:30 a.m.) and should be back in Portales by 11 a.m.
l The third route will take passengers to the school, where passengers can either enter one of the venues (ticket required) or be part of the overflow crowd. Those passengers will stay for the hearing and a rally set to take place outside after the hearing. Those buses will leave for Portales about 1:30 p.m.