PVA Meeting Recap – August 23, 2018

Unified Action

The August 2018 Unified Action is to:

Contact Rep. Steve Pearce and ask him to support reauthorization

and full funding of the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

Rep. Steve Pearce 202-225-2365

See the full issue here.

General Obligations Bonds PASSED

Las Cruces businesswoman Marci Dickerson spoke about why she led the blue-ribbon committee for the City of Las Cruces General Obligation bonds, which were voted on by mail from July 24-August 21. All of the G.O. Bonds were passed by the voters by a wide margin. Marci said that many groups of people came together to get the bonds passed, and she thanked the PVA community for leading some of that support. She pointed out that the average Las Cruces election has about 5-10% voter turnout, and this election had 25% voter turnout (approximately 15,000 voters). Moreover, said Marci, “The G.O. bonds were not a Democrat or Republican issue, a senior citizen issue, or an issue for young children; these bonds will benefit everyone,” adding, “If we can all figure out how to work together and put down our preconceived notions of ‘the other side,’ we can ensure that Las Cruces is a healthier and more vibrant community.” She wanted to thank everyone who helped passed the G.O. bonds.

You can see the election results here.

End-of-Life care for patients who are non-believers

Bob Diven shared that he would be at Mesilla Valley Hospice to do a continuing education program called, “Practical Strategies for End of Life Care for Non-Belief Patients.” He gave an in-service last year for non-belief patients and they asked him back to speak about understanding non-believers.

August 24 from 9am-11am
Mesilla Valley Hospice
299 Montana Ave., Las Cruces

For more information, contact Bob on Facebook.

Green & Brown Coalition says, “Thank you!”

Lucas Herden wanted to say thank you to those who supported the Green & Brown Coalition in their efforts to get to the Netroots Nation Conference in New Orleans earlier this month. He reported that their presentation was awesome, with panelists Johana Bencomo, Kevin Bixby, Councilor Gabe Vasquez, and Rep. Angelica Rubio. (Rep. Rubio explained on Twitter that the “brown/green coalition addresses the harsh realities of militarization of the border at expense of people, wildlife, and public lands.”)  

The group is having a Thank You Party. They invite you to come to the CAFé office on Sept. 4 to say thank you for your continuous support; everyone is welcome.

Netroots Nation Panel Thank You Party
Tuesday, September 4, 6:00 P.M.
420 W. Griggs, Las Cruces

For more information, contact Lucas on Facebook here or Twitter here.

Working hard for the Democratic Party

Sam Bradley is a paid canvasser with the Democratic Party of New Mexico. He said he’s out on the hot streets every day talking to voters. He was shocked to discover that the Farmers Market would not allow a voter registration booth, so… he led the fight to change that. The people were heard and the rule has now been changed. Nice job, Sam! Sam wanted to say thank you to everyone who fought for voter registration at the market.

He is excited about Xochitl Torres-Small’s campaign for CD2 and he believes that if Valencia and Doña Ana Counties vote for her, she will win. He announced that you can canvass with Senator Martin Heinrich on Saturday, August 25, at 3pm.

Canvass with Sen. Heinrich
August 25, 3pm
230 S. Water St, Las Cruces

For more information, email Sam.

September 4 will determine if it’s four more cheers for Diana

Probate Judge Diana Bustamante had big news: the Republican candidate will be withdrawing from the election. Read about that here. If the Doña Ana Republican Party does not fill the vacancy by September 4, then Diana will be the only candidate on the November ballot. Diana is hoping to serve Doña Ana County for four more years.

She also encouraged everyone to go to the Bellas Artes Artisan Market in Mesilla. The featured artist will be Amado Peña.

Bellas Artes Artisan Market
August 25-26
Mesilla Plaza

For more information, email Diana.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming forums

Hiranya Roychowdhury announced the following two upcoming events:

  • Topic: Climate Change, conducted by Dr. Joseph Yaroch
    September 8, 2:00-4:00 P.M.
    SWEC, 275 North Main (Downtown Mall)
  • Sheriff Candidate Forum, featuring candidates Kim Stewart and Todd Garrison
    September 15, 2:00-4:00 P.M.
    SWEC, 275 North Main (Downtown Mall)

For more information, visit the website for the Southern New Mexico New Progressives.

Rocky’s challenge

Rocky Bacchus said people need to vote with thoughts on the environment as well as their wallets. He is pleased to endorse Shannon Reynolds for County Commission, District 3. Rocky is prepared to put his money where his mouth is and made this announcement: “I challenge everyone with this: I will match all donations to Shannon Reynolds from now until September 15. Please meet my challenge and make a donation to Shannon today.” Wow! Rocky believes that roughly $15,000, will make a huge difference in Shannon’s campaign.

For more information, email Rocky.

Fun and funds!

Christine Newtson wanted to encourage everyone to continue to support the reelection of Joanne Ferrary for State Representative, District 37. She and her husband Ken are hosting a fundraiser for Joanne and she hopes to see you there. Oh, btw, there will be dessert and wine!

Rep. Joanne Ferrary Fundraiser
September 23, from 6:00-7:30 P.M.,
at 3900 Canyon Ridge Arc, Las Cruces

For more information, email Christine or call her at (575) 644-8682.

Documentary Harvest of Empire will play at the Fountain

Elisa Sánchez invited everyone to join the Unitarian Universalist Church’s social justice committee at the Fountain Theater to view “Harvest of Empire” (based on the book written by Democracy Now’s Juan González). The movie is about border chaos and how it is directly related to the Empire of the U.S. in Mexico, Central America, and South America. She feels we all have to step up to take responsibility for destabilizing these nations, where we installed dictators and ousted democratically elected leaders. Elisa said she hopes to see you at the movie where you can seek out the truth for yourself.

Movie: Harvest of Empire
September 22 at 3:45 P.M.
Fountain Theater, Mesilla

For more information, email Elisa.


Nancy Baker announced that Tents to Rents, a six-week fundraiser for Camp Hope/ Mesilla Valley Community of Hope, is now happening. In its third year, this fundraiser aims to raise funds to move six residents from tents into permanent homes; it costs $6000 to move a person from Camp Hope to an apartment or home. Camp Hope relies solely on the generosity of donations and every donation helps.

For more information, email Nancy.


Vi Cauthon reminded everyone that the best thing about PVA is that we are “passionate progressives and we respect each other’s different opinions about environmental issues, healthcare, and so on.” The primary is over and now, Vi believes, the most important thing we can do is work to get all of the Democratic candidates into office.

For more information, email Vi.

“Fun”draising for Ferrary

Roberta Gran announced two upcoming “fun”draisers for Rep. Joanne Ferrary:

September 9 from 3:30-5:00 P.M.
Gil and Kristine Dovalina will host
1995 Palm Canyon Dr., Las Cruces, NM.
Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

September 22, from 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Ken and Christine Newtson will host
3900 Canyon Ridge Arc, Las Cruces, NM 88011
Dessert and wine will be served.

Co-host $250, Supporter $150, Guest $50. All are welcome, and all contributions are appreciated. You can also visit Joanne’s campaign website to donate.

For more information, email Roberta.

Update on Mexican Wolves and some additional thoughts from Peter

Peter Ossario echoed Vi’s request to 1) respect each other and 2) support all the Democratic candidates.

He brought some good and bad news about Mexican Wolves: The good news is they are winning in court. The bad news is that the reason they are winning is the court found that US Fish and Wildlife Service’s current rule is failing to recover the wolves. For more on the Mexican Wolves, you can visit this great website (with Peter and Jean Ossorio featured).

For more information, email Peter.

Here’s your El Paso Electric & Public Regulation Commission update!

Allen Downs shared updates on the PRC cases: “El Paso Electric goes through a multi-step process to get paid for buying a new power source. First is the IRP, or Integrated Resource plan, in which EPE identifies future power source types. The 2018 IRP will be filed next month. Second, is a CCN case (Certificate of Convenience and Necessity) where EPE request permission to buy a specific power source. A CCN case for Community Solar is ongoing now. Finally, comes a rate case where EPE asks to include the cost of the new power source in rates. We expect a rate case to filed next year. Along the way, there are also Renewable Energy cases where EPE reports its progress towards a goal 20% of energy from renewables by 2020. A renewable case is ongoing now. And Energy Efficiency and Load Management Plan cases. A case is ongoing now. And FPPCAC cases (fuel and Purchased Power Cost Adjustment Clause), that case is also ongoing now. The point is that the decisions that affect our energy future are made in several types of cases. We can’t sit back until the next rate case – by then the money will have already been spent. The rate case mostly decides how the costs will be divided up among the rate classes.”

Allen is grateful that the City and the County have recognized the need to participate in all of these cases. He said, “Along with other interveners including environmental groups and individuals, they are working hard to keep our electric bills down and our air clean.” Allen also asks when you see a city councilor or county commissioner to thank them and encourage them to keep up their good work!

For more information, email Allen.

Sustainability, transit, and growth for Las Cruces

Sharon Thomas shared that regional transit has been busy; ridership is high and the transit system has been of great interest to many, from students to business owners. A group of high school students were taken on the bus to the STEM program at Doña Ana Community college. SCRTD also worked with a program that helps students with disabilities get jobs and then shows them how to use the transit system to get to those jobs. South Central Regional Transit met with the Stampede Meat Company, which will be bringing 1200 jobs to Sunland Park. Sharon said to let people know that they are hiring – these are good jobs.

Finally, Sharon said she excited to announce that the City hired a consultant to work on sustainability and smart growth principles.

For more information, email Sharon.

Joanne Ferrary’s reelection campaign seeks volunteers

Pat Aguirre informed everyone that she is looking for volunteers to canvass for Joanne Ferrary, who is running for reelection. “Joanne never stops learning and growing,” said Pat, adding that, “Joanne continues to fight the good fight.” You can read this Mother Jones article about Joanne’s work on behalf of women’s reproductive rights.

August 25, 9am-12pm (followed by lunch!)
Veteran’s Park on Roadrunner Parkway

To volunteer, or for more information, email Pat.

Nathan Small’s reelection campaign seeks volunteers

Field Director for Nathan Small’s reelection campaign, Ali Scotten, is seeking volunteers. Ali reminded the group that Nathan, who was elected to HD36 in 2016, has fought for fair pay for teachers, fought to ensure university students don’t get buried in debt, and fought against government corruption. Ali is looking for canvassers and people to help phone bank; if talking to voters isn’t your thing, you could do some data entry “to keep this excellent representative in our State House!” More about Nathan here.

To volunteer, or for more information, email Ali.

Did you add “See Harvest of Empire” to your calendar yet? Here’s a reminder…

Cliff Pelton wanted to emphasize the importance of Harvest of Empire that Elisa spoke of earlier. Cliff said, “It’s time to wake up and educate everyone on these issues. Don’t miss it!”

IMDB Summary: A powerful documentary that exposes the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today. From the territorial expansionist policies that decimated the young economies of Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire provides an unflinching look at the origins of the growing Latino presence in the United States. Adapted from the landmark book written by journalist Juan Gonzalez, the film tells the story of an epic human saga that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S., but must become part of our national conversation about immigration.

Now, here are the details for your calendar:

Harvest of Empire
September 22, at 3:45pm
Fountain Theater, Mesilla

For more information, email Elisa.

Steve Fischmann, running for PRC, promises to not talk too much at his fundraiser

Steve Fischmann thanked everyone for their support in the primary. He won a hard primary for PRC; he said he knew he was doing something right because environmental groups spent $200k to support him, while the utility companies spent $300k to oppose him. “So why is everyone spending so much money?” asked Steve. Because “about $2 billion in investments are reviewed each year by the PRC and they can invest in clean energy investments that are cheap or dirty energy investments that are a rip-off.” Find out more or donate at his campaign website.

Steve Fischmann Fundraiser
August 25, 6pm-7:30
At the Home of Sandy Katayanagi and Steve Fischmann
4848 Deadwood Camp Ct.
Las Cruces, NM 88011

For more information, contact Steve on Facebook.


The Democratic candidate for Sheriff Kim Stewart shared a brilliant campaign strategy she discovered. Using chalk, she tags the sidewalks of public places with the hashtag #WhoIsKimStewart. She has watched her analytics on Facebook and her website shoot up dramatically. She said that with your donation to her campaign, she will give you your own package of sidewalk chalk so you too can have some fun getting out the vote. 😉

For more information or to volunteer, email Kim.

Listen and Give a Voice

Shannon Reynolds, who is running for County Commission, thanked everyone for their support and shared that his goal is to get out and talk to the independent voters and those who don’t usually vote, to listen to them and their concerns – because who doesn’t want to be listened to? He encourages everyone to get out and have “listening conversations.” Shannon is working hard and said that he is hoping to coordinate with state representatives and senators to change some of the state laws regarding accountability for elected officials.

For more information, contact Shannon on Facebook.

How much can Nathan squeeze into two minutes? (A lot, as usual!)  

Rep. Nathan Small shared a “Hello!” from Rep. Rudy Martinez. He strongly supports Rudy Martinez, Steve Fischmann, and his wife, Xochitl Torres-Small. Check out this New York Times article featuring Xochitl and her campaign.

Nathan spoke about his work to create an Independent Ethics Commission, which was passed and goes into the constitution this year along with the Renewable Portfolio Standard that Steve Fischmann helped with.

Nathan said he didn’t have anything bad to say about his Republican opponent other than their views on policies differ greatly. He welcomes your support for his campaign.

For more information, visit his campaign website or email Nathan.

Honoring Olga Pedroza’s work on the Council: G.O. Las Cruces!

Don Kurtz wanted to recognize the importance of passing the G.O. bonds and 5 of 6 of the charter amendments. Don said the G.O. bonds will help Las Cruces invest in itself; he mentioned that it was nice to see diverse groups such as Greater L.C. Chamber of Commerce, youth athletic leagues, adult sports enthusiasts, and animal advocates come together for the goal of passing the bonds. Don explained that the amendment changes are important not only for good government but for the legacy of the city council as well; getting the City charter amended was one of the late Olga Pedroza’s major goals – she spent her last months working on the council alongside the city attorney to craft the charter amendments. Olga’s legacy on the council is even more clear now.

For more information, email Don.

What are your thoughts on superdelegates?

Rusty Pearce, announced that he was elected to be the at-large representative for the Adelante Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. He said he’s excited to see that the Party will be moving away from the superdelegate system. Read more about this here.

Rusty also announced a fundraiser for Kim Stewart on August 25 at Los Compas. You can donate to her campaign here.

For more information, email Rusty.

A bittersweet farewell and new hello

Peter Sloan had some questions for you to ponder. Do you believe healthcare is a right? Do you believe that we need radical action to address climate change? Are you a supporter of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez? If so, Peter Sloan would like to break the news to you: “You might be a Democratic Socialist.”

Peter has been heading up the Las Cruces chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. But, this would be his last PVA meeting, as he is moving onto his next adventure in San Diego, California. Peter wanted to say farewell and let everyone know that Erica McDowell, who describes herself as “politically excited,” will be heading up the Democratic Socialists of America here in Las Cruces. DSA encourages people to join them and informed everyone that they will be hosting a Labor Day Picnic.

Labor Day Picnic hosted by Las Cruces DSA
September 3, at 11:00 A.M.
Klein Park
155 N. Mesquite Street, Las Cruces

For more information, email Peter.

One more thing from Lucas (about a “nerdy voting thing”)

Lucas Herndon wants to see New Mexico change the rule that determines a winner in an election – he believes the rule should require 50% + 1 to win. He hopes the city council will pass a resolution asking the Secretary of State to make this administrative change.

For more information, contact Lucas on Facebook here or Twitter here.

One more thing from Elisa (update on Emilio Gutierrez Soto)

Elisa Sánchez updated us on the asylum case of Emilio Gutierrez Soto, a Mexican journalist who fled for his life in 2008 (click here to read the Democracy Now interview and article). After living in Las Cruces legally for years, Emilio and his son Oscar were picked up and detained by ICE for 8 months. They have now been released, pending another hearing in October with the same judge. Meanwhile, Emilio has an exciting journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan. He joked that he can’t see the sky anymore, because of all the trees.

For more information, email Elisa.

One more thing from Steve (re: Ranked-Choice Voting)

Steve Fischmann wanted to point out that none of our city councilors were elected under ranked-choice voting; Steve believes it takes courage to change a system, especially as this will be a new system of determining winners. Steve said, “That tells us that they are truly working for us,” and he finished by thanking “our amazing city council.”

For more information, contact Steve on Facebook.

Have you put the Sheriff Candidate Forum on your calendar yet?

Antoinette Reyes hopes you will attend the Sheriff Candidate Forum with a Q&A:

Sheriff Candidate Forum
Saturday, September 15th, from 2:00-4:00 P.M.
Southwest Environmental Center, 275 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM

For more information, email the Southern New Mexico New Progressives or visit the Facebook page.

One more thing from Shannon (about Conversations with Democrats)

Shannon Reynolds encouraged people to attend the monthly Conversations with Democrats, which is a program put on by the Federation of Democratic Women of Doña Ana County. Paul O’Connell will lead a discussion called “How Equal Are We Really?”

Conversations with Democrats
August 25, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Holy Family American Catholic Church
702 Parker Road, Las Cruces

For more information, contact Shannon on Facebook.


The next PVA Meeting will be:

September 27, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.

Munson Senior Center

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