PVA Meeting Recap – August 22, 2013

We need to raise the gross receipts tax

Las Cruces City Manager Robert Garza explained why the 0.375 gross receipts tax (GRT) increase is needed to keep Las Cruces running normally. In 2004 the state legislature exempted food and medicine from taxation and promised to pay cities what they lost in revenues. In 2012 this “hold harmless” payment to Las Cruces was $8,722,214. The 2013 legislature, in a last minute budget bill, did away with hold harmless payments to cities and allowed them to raise the GRT to make up the loss.

Robert said that the higher GRT tax would cost the average consumer in Las Cruces $21 per year. The City Council will vote on the issue at their September 3 meeting.

During the Q and A session, Councilor Pedroza reminded us of the consequences if the GRT is not raised and services must be cut: “Our friends, our neighbors, and our families. That’s what the City is. That’s who will be affected.”

For more information send email to Robert Garza.

Unified Action Update: Citizens Climate Lobby, special election and more

Cheryl Frank, who coordinates the Unified Action, invited anyone with an action to propose to send it to her for consideration by the executive committee.

The June Unified Action was to talk to five friends about the special election. Two of the four ballot measures passed. The voting results are here. Sixty people sent their “I did it’s”; 6,868 ballots were cast.

As a result of the Unified Action in May, a local chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby was established. Vince Gutschick reported that the first meeting went well and was attended by 25 people who heard about the organization’s focus on legislation and their support of a carbon fee and dividend approach to controlling carbon emission. Send email to Vince or John Nelson if you would like to be kept in the loop.

There is no Unified Action in August. Rest up for election season.

For more information about the Unified Action or to submit an action for a cause you believe in, send email to Cheryl.

Why is Bob wearing a suit?

Bob Diven, a certified humanist clergyman, explained that he had spent all day at the county clerk’s office marrying people, hence the suit. He married 15 same-sex couples and one straight couple who had been waiting to marry until everyone had the right.

Bob asked us to support County Clerk Lynn Ellins for his courageous decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

For more information send email to Bob.

Announcing a book club for progressives

Wayne Miller proposed a progressive book club whose members will read books and chapters and seek to broaden and deepen understanding of subjects such as climate change and sustainable development. The group will strive to develop community leaders through collaborative learning and conversation. And, yes, there will be food.

For more information send email to Wayne or call him at 575-382-5203.

Mark Cobb is running for City Council, District 6

Mark announced his decision to run for City Council, District 6, and “continue the fine work of Sharon Thomas.” He spoke of his experience in real estate, financial advisement, and neighborhood associations. As a councilor he would work to create walkable neighborhoods and preserve open space. He believes in standing up to special interests and being an advocate for his constituents.

For more information, read this article, send email to Mark or call him at 575-680-2557.

Speak Up, Las Cruces! every weekday morning

Peter Goodman announced that he and Keith Whelpley will cohost a new radio talk show beginning Monday, September 2.

Speak up, Las Cruces
Weekdays, 8 to 10 a.m.
KOBE, 1450 AM

The show will cover everything from the hot political issues to the arts, gardening, the environment, and local sports. Peter explained:

One, I’d like people of all political persuasions to know about the show, listen when they can, and call in freely to argue with us or with our guests or add to our store of knowledge. Two, I invite suggestions as to interesting guests (on particular subjects or as just generally interesting folks) and/or interesting topics we might productively discuss. And three, we’ll appreciate frank criticism and comments–on our soon-to-be Facebook page, by email, or otherwise.

For more information send email to Peter or call him at 575-521-0424.

Councilor Olga Pedroza is running for reelection

Olga Pedroza announced that she is running for a second term on the City Council, District 3. She pointed to just two of her favorite accomplishments  in her first term. First, almost every school in her district now has a garden where students are growing food that they cook and eat. Second, Camp Hope provides a safe place for homeless people and others who need a safe place to spend the night.

For more information send email to Olga.

County Assessor Andy Segovia is running for reelection

Andy Segovia announced that he is seeking a second term as county assessor. He spoke of his department’s excellent fiscal health, great employee morale, and the robust community outreach program they have created.

For more information send email to Andy or call him at 575-640-5675.

Do we want a cheap community or a great community?

Don Kurtz told us that his summer vacation included a visit to Columbus, Indiana, an exemplary community built on the aspiration to be the best. In 1964, at the dedication of the Otter Creek golf course, J. Irwin Miller, a Republican businessman, expressed the dream:

We would like to see this community come to be not the cheapest in America, but the very best community of its size in the country. We would like to see it become the city in which the smartest, the ablest, the best young families would like to live; a community open in every respect to persons of every race, color and opinion; one that makes them feel welcome and at home here; a community which offers their children the best education; a community of outspoken churches, genuine cultural interest, exciting opportunities for recreation and a community whose citizens are themselves well-paid and who will not tolerate poverty for others, or slums in their midst.

Don urged us to take this example to heart.

For more information send email to Don or call him at 575-644-9672.

Message to climate denier Pearce urges him to deal with global warming, just to be on the safe side

Alice Anderson told us what she had wanted to say to Representative Pearce at his August 22 town hall meeting:

I know that you deny that human beings are having an effect on the climate. But I want you to ask yourself, “What if I am wrong?” Perhaps we should take some precautions, just in case? Wouldn’t you still put on your seatbelt if your teenage son was driving you around, even if you taught him to drive? Wouldn’t you still go ahead and put on a seatbelt? Doesn’t it make sense to still take that precaution, just in case?

Alice urged adoption of the fee-and-dividend approach supported by the Citizens Climate Lobby to curtailing the use of fossil fuels.

For more information send email to Alice.

Juan “J R” Stewart is running for sheriff

J R announced that he is running for Doña Ana County Sheriff. This will be his second run at the office. In 2010 he was narrowly defeated by Sheriff Garrison, who currently holds the office. J R referred to his deep roots in the community, his service in the Marine Corps, and his many years of law enforcement experience.

For more information send email to JR or call him at 575-644-0650.

Labor Day events focus on workers and wages

Joanne Ferrary announced two events of importance to all those who care about fairness for workers.

Interfaith Worker Justice-NM and NM CAFé invite the public to a gathering of faith and community leaders who will be discussing the Campaign to End Wage Theft in New Mexico and the Wage Theft Prevention Act.

Campaign to End Wage Theft
Monday, August 26, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
First Christian Church, 1809 El Paseo Road
Lunch will be served

Salt of the Earth Tour
Saturday, August 31, Noon to 2 p.m.
Young Park

Women and men are invited to the next regular meeting of the Doña Ana Federation of Democratic Women.

Democratic Women
Saturday, September 14, 3 to 4 p.m.
NMSU Clubhouse

For more information send email to Joanne or call her at 575-649-1231.

A tour to celebrate labor in New Mexico

Jon Hendry of the New Mexico Federation of Labor announced New Mexico’s only multi-city, multidisciplinary arts tour, featuring street performances, spoken word, and music.

There will be music by The Joe West Trio, spoken word performance by Hakim Bellamy, and performances by artists from all around New Mexico.

Salt of the Earth Tour
Saturday, August 31, Noon to 2 p.m.
Young Park, 1905 Nevada Avenue

For more information send email to Jon or call him at 505-670-7381 and follow Salt of the Earth Tour on Facebook.

PVA web site is being reconstructed, excuse the mess

Judy Zimmerman explained that the PVA Web site is undergoing a update and has regrettably been unavailable for much longer than anticipated. The reconstructed site should be up and running “soon” and will have some new and improved features.

If you have questions or suggestions, send email to Judy.

Doña Ana Democrats at work and play

Terri McBrayer invited everyone to participate in a fundraiser sponsored by Southern New Mexico Democrats. There will be swag bags for all, and prizes will be awarded to the highest and lowest scores.

Goofy Golf
Sunday, October 6, 11 a.m. Tee Time
Red Hawk Golf Course
$40 per person

For more information call Carolyn Wolin at 575-520-5749.

Citizen input wanted for new codes that will affect every inch of the county

City Councilor Sharon Thomas urged everyone to participate in “Codes on the Road,” an opportunity to give input for the county’s new zoning and subdivision code. Every bit of Doña Ana County will be affected.

Public input meetings will be held from September 17 to 20 at various locations throughout the county. Complete information is available at Viva Doña Ana Unified Development Code.

On a different note, Sharon expressed support for Mark Cobb in his campaign for City Council, District 6 (the seat Sharon will be vacating) and pointed out that it’s very important to elect topnotch city councilors this November because the City Comprehensive Plan will be completed on their watch.

For more information send email to Sharon or call her at 575-644-2517.

Celebration for J. Paul Taylor’s 93rd birthday

Cynthia Garrett extended an invitation to attend a celebration of J. Paul Taylor’s 93rd birthday.

Birthday Salute to J. Paul Taylor
Sunday, August 25, 4 to 6 p.m.
Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

Classical guitarist Kerry Alt will perform, and there will be a champagne toast. Attendees are asked to join the Friends of the Taylor Family Monument.

For more information send email to Cynthia or call her at 575-915-5756.

News from the Doña Ana County Commission

Commissioner Billy Garrett thanked everyone for support of the July 30 special election. (County citizens voted on three bonds and a proposal to raise the gross receipts tax.)

Billy announced that the commissioners will be voting on a resolution favoring marriage equality at their regular meeting on Tuesday, August 27. He noted that the following day is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

Karen Perez has resigned from the Board of County Commissioners, and  Governor Martinez has appointed Ben Rawson to fill her position.

For more information send email to Billy.

Curtis Childress is running for sheriff

Curtis Childress announced that he is a candidate for Doña Ana County Sheriff. He cited his long career in law enforcement with a variety of duties and leadership positions to his credit.

For more information send email to Curtis or call him at 575-639-0162.

Mark Cobb’s campaign welcomes volunteers

Pat Aguirre introduced herself as the field organizer for Mark Cobb’s campaign for City Council, District 6. She welcomed volunteers and stressed that you don’t have to live in District 6 to work on Mark’s campaign.

For more information send email to Pat or call her at 575-532-5727.

Three cheers for our county clerks and don’t forget the Labor Day Breakfast

Stephen Jones invited everyone to attend the Democratic Party’s annual Labor Day breakfast. Tickets to the event are $45.

Labor Day Breakfast
Monday, September 2, 9 a.m.
Ramada Palms

Stephen thanked County Clerk Lynn Ellins, Deputy County Clerk Mario Jimenez and the New Mexico Supreme Court for unanimously upholding human rights today.

For more information send email to Stephen or call him at 575-512-8674.

Move to Amend asks: Is “Corporate Personhood” an American value?

Jane Asche issued an invitation to attend a presentation by the national director for the Move to Amend Coalition. The Coalition is committed to social and economic justice and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not to corporate interests.

Move to Amend Coalition
Friday, September 23, 6:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church, 2000 South Solano

For more information send email to Jane or call her at 575-532-8087.

The Ground Up offers an independent view at NMSU

Denali Wilson and Alan Dicker brought copies of The Ground Up, an alternative student newspaper that covers local and international political issues and takes a critical view of the NMSU administration. They welcomed submissions as well as financial support to help with the cost of printing.

You can read their first issue on The Ground Up Web site. Checks to support printing can be sent to:

The Ground Up
2400 Jordan Road, Apt. B
Las Cruces, NM 88001

For more information send email to Denali or call her at 575-202-7618.

Endorsement for Mark Cobb

Rich Ferrary spoke in support of Mark Cobb as he runs for City Council, District 6. Rich said he has gotten to know Mark and finds him to be a thoughtful person who would do a great job on the Council.

For more information send email to Rich or call him at 575-382-6425.

Thank you, Lynn Ellins. What a county clerk!

County Commissioner Wayne Hancock, just back from committee work in Santa Fe, reported that everyone there is talking about Doña Ana County and the clerk’s decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Wayne also vouched for his neighbor, Mark Cobb, and said he would be a great member of the City Council.

For more information send email to Wayne.

The Ground Up is worthy of a cash donation

Theresa Westbrock, from her perspective as a faculty member at NMSU, called The Ground Up a fine publication. “People all over campus were reading it,” she said, and she urged us to consider supporting this kind of journalism with a donation to help with the costs of publication.

For more information send email to Theresa.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, September 26, 7 p.m.
Munson Center

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