Legislative Response Team Rides Again
Theresa Westbrock announced that she will be chairing the fourth annual PVA Legislative Response Team. Those who volunteer for the team will receive an email alert when progressive issues before the New Mexico legislature need support.
Theresa will monitor important legislation as it moves through the Roundhouse and will let us know when it is time for our legislators to hear from us, their constituents. We will make a quick phone call or send a quick email. The actions are brief–a minute or so—and the session lasts a mere 60 days.
To sign up for this important task of keeping government accountable, send email to Theresa.
OCC—Obama Cruces Connection
Lloyd Covens spoke about the work of the Obama Cruces Connection and their plans for the coming year including
- February 7—organizational meeting for all Obama supporters in Doña Ana County
- April 30—Obama’s Day 100 celebration event.
The group has task forces studying the following topics
- Education and job training
- Energy, environment, infrastructure, and transportation
- Global challenges: Iran, Afghanistan, and the Middle East
- Universal health care; children and the poor
For more information send email to OCC209@gmail.com or call Pat Aguirre at 532-5127.
Unified Action Fine-tuning
Don Kurtz revealed the newly revised Unified Action policy. The UA, formerly sent only to people who signed up to receive it, will now be sent out to all PVAers via the recap. The tradition of sending an “I DID IT” upon completion of the action stays on.
Unified Action on Health Care
Vicki Simons presented this month’s Unified Action, which calls for continued support of New Mexico’s exemplary Health Security Act.
The action is simple—call Governor Richardson’s office at 505-476-2200 and urge passage of the Health Security Act.
The Health Security Web site offers detailed information about the act, which would cover all New Mexicans and has strong public support.
For information, send email to Vicki or call her at 522-4831. And remember—ALL are invited to participate, no special sign up required.
Lomas de Poleo
Charlotte Lipson reported that three thousand dollars have been raised for transportation so that residents of Lomas de Poleo can attend court hearings. Unfortunately, Zaragosa, the defendant, was a no-show at the January 8 hearing and again at the January 21 hearing. Beatings of residents and home destructions continue.
Amnesty International has taken on the cause of the Lomas de Poleo community. For more information send email to Charlotte Lipson.
Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC)
Roger Turner, a new regional organizer with SWEC, reported on construction of the border fence, which is about to begin in our own backyard. SWEC opposes the wall on human rights, immigration, constitutional, and environmental grounds. While being ineffective with regards to terrorism, immigration, and drug smuggling, the border wall would destroy migration pathways for all kinds of wild life from jaguars to tortoises. Roger urged that we express our views on the border fence to President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano.
On a brighter note, SWEC has funds and is ready to begin the next big Rio Grande restoration project. La Mancha Wetland project will recreate a side channel of the river and provide the slow water habitat needed by native fish for spawning and rearing their young. The side channel will be created on land adjacent to the river in the Town of Mesilla.
For more information any of SWEC’s activites, send email to Roger.
Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA)
Al Kissling invited everyone to participate in the recently organized PDA. The group focuses on issues and educating the public with regard to those issues. They meet on the second Tuesday of each month. Their next meeting will be February 10, and the topic will be education including the No Child Left Behind Act.
For more information contact Al Kissling.
SWEC Wants You
Vi Cauthon spoke for Kate Moss, newly elected chair of the board for SWEC. Kate welcomes volunteers to assist with Rafting the River, which will take place on June 13. Volunteers are also needed for the big, huge fundraiser, “On the River, for the River,” which takes place in October.
For more information, send email to Vi.
Greetings from Santa Fe
Dean Lively brought greetings from Jim Moore, who is working in Santa Fe as an assistant to Senator Steve Fischmann during the legislative session. Steve, newly elected state senator from District 37, has received assignment to the Education and Conservation Committees.
To send good wishes to Jim, fire off an email.
Cheryl Frank announced that NARAL Pro-Choice America will sponsor the “Freedom of Choice Act” in this legislative session. Let your representatives know your position on this issue. The legislation is critical because New Mexico has no protection for women’s reproductive rights other than Roe v. Wade.
Immigration Detainees Need Visitors
The ACLU is looking for volunteers who will visit with detainees at the immigration detainment center in Chaparral. There is a training for volunteers February 19, 6:30 p.m., at the ACLU office.
For more information, send email to Emily Carey.
Maria Flores for School Board, District 3
Maria asked for our support as she runs for Las Cruces School Board in District 3.
For more information send email to Maria or call her at 644-9612.
Merrie Lee Soules for School Board, District 3
Merrie Lee asked for our support as she runs for Las Cruces School Board in District 3.
For more information, email Marrie Lee or call her at 635-2225.
Al McBrayer reported on the current state of recycling in Las Cruces.
- The city is still accepting recycling at their transfer station.
- The international recycling market has collapsed in the past 3 months.
- Curbside recycling, which was scheduled to begin January 15, is now on hold because of budget shortfalls.
For more information or to get involved, call Terri or Al McBrayer at 575-541-9667 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serena Shoop for Las Cruces School Board, District 2
Serena asked for our support as she runs for Las Cruces School Board in District 2. For more information, send email to Serena or call her at 635-2888.
After the Election, the Real Work Begins
Alan Solomon, a photojournalist and a veteran of many campaigns, characterized our recent election as “incredible” and reminded us that it is now our responsibility to keep our elected officals accountable. Specifically, he mentioned three officials to contact with regard to protecting the Organ Mountain wilderness area—Senator Jeff Bingaman, Congressman Harry Teague, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Senator Fischmann’s Legislative Priorities
Terry Miller brought greetings from Steve and a summary of his legislative priorities:
- Protect against current and ongoing budget shortfalls
- Promote genuine economic development including jobs, infrastructure, sustainable industry, and job training
- Improve ethics legislation
- Work for local issues such as flood control
For more information, visit the senator’s Web site.
Renewable Energy Victory
Mark Westbrock reported excellent news from the PRC (Public Regulatory Commission). Beginning March 1, El Paso Electric will be paying 13 cents per kilowatt hour for renewable energy. This is more than double the previous reimbursement rate.
Mark also mentioned that our commissioner, Sandy Jones, will be the chair of the PRC. This would be a good time to let him know that you support renewable energy in southern New Mexico.
For more information, send email to Mark or call him at 524-2030.
Grassroots Press 24/7
Editor and Publisher Steve Klinger issued a call for citizen bloggers and reporters to contribute to the Grassroots Press. He reminded us that Grassroots Press has a vibrant Web site that is updated daily with breaking news, announcements, and a calendar of events.
Conservation Voters New Mexico
Theresa Westbrock alerted us to the new Web site, http://www.protectnm.org, created by Conservation Voters. By signing in as a user, you can research, track, and take action on all the key bills that have an environmental impact. ProtectNM.org is designed to empower citizens and voters of New Mexico with the information needed to make a difference.
Mark Westbrock spoke on behalf of Bob Diven, inviting us to the premier of “Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!” The original performance will be part of the international Darwin Daycelebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth.
“Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!”
February 12 and 13
Black Box Theater
More Recycling Points of View
Recycling was the evening’s hot topic. Bottom line—get informed and get involved. Meetings of the South Central Recycling Partnership (SCRaP) are open to the public and everyone is welcome.
Send email to the McBrayers to get information about the SCRaP meeting times and place.
Vote Yes on February 3
The February 3 election is not just about new school board members. There is also a bond issue, and Ann Gutierrez urged us to vote “yes.” The bond issue will support Doña Ana Community College, which has served us for 35 years.