SCRTD: Wheels on the Bus Are Going Around
Sharon Thomas and her colleagues presented an overview of our South Central Regional Transit District (SCRTD). The pilot project is underway with routes connecting the region from Elephant Butte and Alamogordo in the north to Sunland Park and Chaparral in the south. There are 73 new stops, and ridership is growing at a healthy clip.
The SCRTD serves people who need transportation to work, medical care, education, shopping, and other services. Nearly a thousand jobs are coming into the county in the next six months, and transit would help people get to those jobs.
There will be a question on the November ballot asking voters to approve a ¼ of one percent gross receipts tax (GRT) increase in order to continue the pilot routes and expand the service across the SCRTD. That increase would cost the average income earner in Doña Ana County about 10 cents per household per day.
A robust transit system will make Las Cruces a regional economic hub. Every dollar invested in transit results in three to four dollars in economic returns.
Sharon asked us each to talk with five friends about the need for regional transit and the benefits it brings to everyone.
For more information visit the SCRTD website, which is loaded with information including the schedules and routes, and contact Sharon and her team.
Bob Hearn, standing in for Steve Fischmann, introduced the Unified Action, which is to call Governor Martinez (505-476-2200) and ask her to support legislation capping small-loan interest rates at 36 percent. Lenders who charge an annual percentage rate (APR) of 100 to 1800 percent are the primary source of loans to New Mexicans who live in poverty. Every year a half-million loans are made with outrageous interest rates that trap borrowers in debt and help insure they never have a chance to escape poverty.
Complete information about this Unified Action is here.
Our Teachers Need Us
Maria Flores, school board member, has been visiting schools, and she said that teachers are already stressed. “Every year they are asked to do more with less,” she said and urged everyone to find a teacher to support. Maria added that she feels there is an effort to take the “public” out of public education. She encouraged us to speak up and be positive about public education, which has been, after all, the foundation of our Democracy.
For more information send email to Maria and call her at 575-644-9612.
(Get an amazing overview of the teacher predicament by listening to the Terry Gross interview with Dana Goldstein, author of “The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession.”)
Who Else Wants Fair Wages for Las Cruces?
Angelica Rubio, campaign manager for CAFé’s Raise the Wage Campaign, announced that on September 8 the Las Cruces City Council will vote yes or no on the ordinance to raise the minimum wage in Las Cruces to $10.10 per hour by 2017.
In anticipation of this vote, CAFé will hold a “Work with Dignity Event” on September 7 to encourage support of local businesses that pay a fair wage to their employees.
Work with Dignity Action Event
Sunday, September 7, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Mountain View Market, 1300 El Paseo Rd.
Phillip Archuletta for NM House District 36
Phillip Archuleta is running for reelection for House District 36. He emphasized that he supports transportation, education, teachers, and increasing the minimum wage—topics discussed by PVA’s previous speakers. He said he is working hard for his constituents and is always open to hearing from New Mexicans about any issue. You can read more about Phillip on the website of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County.
For more information send email to Phillip and call him at 575-496-8822.
Mountain View Market Is Expanding and Members Can Help
Theresa Westbrock, MVM board member, announced an opportunity to invest in the Mountain View Market, a local business that pays workers a living wage and has served our community for 40 years. The market is growing rapidly (18 percent in the past 3 years) and needs more space for its kitchen, produce, deli, and fresh meat departments and space to offer more local and regional products.
Market members can invest in $500 increments, repaid at 3 percent yearly interest. The deadline for investing is September 30. Details are on the MVM website.
For more information send email to Theresa and call her at 575-640-1817.
My Vote Is Sacred to Me
Elisa Sanchez spoke eloquently about the corrupting influence of money in our elections. “Money is hijacking the system,” she said, “but ‘We the People’ can win over money if we get out and vote.”
For more information send email to Elisa.
Marielena Johnson for NM House District 53
Marielena Johnson is running for House District 53. She gave an energetic account of the work her team is doing. They have knocked on 4,000 doors, made 2,000 phone calls, and registered 300 people to vote. She invited everyone to help out and attend a campaign gathering.
Regional Gathering, District 53
Saturday, September 6, 5:30 p.m.
For more information send email to Mariaelena and call her at 575-618-7282.
Sun-News Seeks Progressive Columnist; Jazz Vocalist Seeks Band
Peter Goodman is looking for a jazz ensemble to play with a jazz-obsessed vocalist who will soon be the Goodman’s houseguest.
Peter said the Sun-News needs a columnist who is not white, male, and old. Seriously, the paper is looking for a progressive columnist who is dependable, has a lively writing style, and is keenly interested in local people and events. Peter said the work is hard, but the rewards are substantial. Interested people can contact Peter or Walt Rubel at the Sun-News (575-541-5441).
For more information send email to Peter and call him at 575-521-0424.
Urban Ag Celebration in October; Restaurant for Sale Now
Dael Goodman invited everyone to a free event to celebrate urban agriculture in Las Cruces and promote a hoped-for ordinance that would encourage and expand urban farming.
Urban Agriculture Celebration
Thursday, October 16, 6 to 11 p.m.
In a first for PVA, Dael announced a restaurant for sale in San Pedro, Guatemala. The restaurant, the equipment, the furnishings, and all the recipes are available for six thousand dollars.
For more information send email to Dael and call her at 575-521-0424.
Retain Judge Mannie Arrieta
District Court Judge Mannie Arrieta is running for retention. He explained that he hasn’t been to PVA in a while because judges aren’t allowed to attend political meetings unless they are running for office. (The New Mexico Supreme Court imposed the tighter restrictions following the indictment of a former Las Cruces judge.) Mannie mentioned a raft of special responsibilities that he has taken on as judge. He asked that in November we go all the way to the bottom of the ballot and vote “yes” to retain him.
For more information send email to Mannie and call him at 575-644-9474.
Retain Judge Lisa Schultz
District Court Judge Lisa Schultz is running for retention and asked that we vote “yes” to retain her. She mentioned that she had been the first openly gay candidate for judge, that performing marriages is one of the happiest parts of her job, and that she is proud that she helped change the policy that kept children shackled in courtrooms.
For more information call Lisa at 575-640-1344.
President of the Board of Mountain View Market Will Come to You
Paul Heiberger, president of the board of directors for Mountain View Market, reiterated that the member loan program at MVM is a great opportunity to invest locally and earn three percent annually. He said, “The process is quick and easy and I’ll come to you.” His promise is good until September 30, the deadline for making loans.
For more information send email to Paul and call him at 575-915-6210.
What to Read
Alice Anderson recommended a great book for the science-minded:
Grant, John. (2011). Denying Science: conspiracy theories, media distortions, and the war against reality. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.
The book is now available at the Branigan Library. Information is here, and the call number is 500 Gra.
For more information send email to Alice and call her at 575-523-5179.
It’s a Tedious, Unglamorous Job But Somebody’s Gotta Do It
Dan Nyaradi, Regional Field Director for the Democratic Party in Congressional District 2, said they are knocking on 1,000 doors every day and have (as of August 28) only 70 days left before the election. The coordinated campaign works for every Democratic candidate in District 2.
Dan asked for volunteers to help in the tedious, unglamorous, necessary work of getting out the vote.
For more information and to volunteer send email to Dan or call him at 575-636-9741.
Update from Center for Border Rights
Cynthia Pompa from the ACLU’s Regional Center for Border Rights, said they are concerned with the family detention center in Artesia and are making periodic visits to monitor the conditions. They have filed a lawsuit to insure that proper due process and other rights are protected.
For more information send email to Cynthia and call her at 575-527-0664.
Why Aren’t Good People Speaking Up?
When a friend asked her, “Why aren’t good people speaking up?” Violet Cauthon gave the question serious thought.
She decided to issue a challenge—not the ice-bucket kind—to the good people of PVA. “I’m going to challenge you to speak up,” she said. “We need that.”
For more information send email to Violet and call her at 575-373-0571.
Beth Bardwell for County Commission, District 3
Beth Bardwell is running for County Commission, District 3. She said that all the districts in the county are great but District 3 is the heart of the county, and she wants it to be represented by someone who believes in social equity. She has been attending meetings around the county, listening to people and their concerns.
Billy Garrett for County Commission, District 1
Billy Garrett is running for reelection to County Commission, District 1. “I have an opponent,” he said, “but if everybody gets out to vote, we’ll be fine.” He stated that his goals have always been to make Doña Ana County a good place for everyone to live and to create trust in county government.
Billy will happily give you a removable (!) bumper sticker so his name will be driven all over town, and he is happy to talk to anyone with a question about the county and the work of the county commission. Finally, everyone is invited to a fundraiser.
Billy Garrett Fundraiser
Sunday, September 14, 3 to 5 p.m.
Home of Len Gambrell and Lori Miller
2250 Calle de Picacho, Mesilla
Nelson Goodin for Magistrate, Division 1
Nelson Goodin is running for election for Magistrate Judge, District 1. He said he has the experience to do the job and asserted that political affiliation is irrelevant when he’s judging cases. He asked people to vote for him because of his experience as an attorney and a judge.
Get Out the Word About Transportation
Rene Romo said everyone is invited to a meeting to plan strategies for getting the word out about the South Central Regional Transit District pilot bus transportation project.
Transportation Committee Meeting
Saturday, September 13, Noon to 3 p.m.
Peace Lutheran Church, 1701 Missouri Ave.
For more information send email to Rene and call him at 575-650-1274.
Bardwell Campaign Welcomes Volunteers
Pat Aguirre, field coordinator for Beth Bardwell’s County Commmission campaign, reminded us that candidates and field coordinators can’t do it all on their own. Pat asked for help—knocking on doors, making phone calls, or (at the very least) attending Beth’s fun fundraisers.
Beth Bardwell Fundraiser
Friday, September 12, 5:30 p.m.
MVS Studios, 535 N. Mainstreet
For more information send email to Pat and call her at 575-532-5127.
Update from Alamogordo Progressives
Former Congressional candidate Leslie Endean-Singh reported that the Democrats in Otero County are a small but strong and determined group. She is working to get the word out about the Progressive Leaders Fund. Leslie recommended “A Fighting Chance” by Elizabeth Warren to anyone looking for progressive inspiration.
For more information send email to Leslie or call her at 575-430-2743.
Conrad Perea for Magistrate, Division 2
Conrad Perea, Division 2 magistrate judge, is running for reelection. He said that judges reflect the community, and he hopes he represents our community well. He told us he was born in Anthony, graduated from Gadsden High School, was a police officer for 20 years, and then attended law school because he wanted to continue serving the community.
For more information send email to Conrad and call him at 575-621-9427.
Bill McCamley for NM House District 33
Mary Lujan spoke in support of Bill McCamley, who is running for reelection to House District 33. Bill was unable to attend the PVA meeting, and Mary, his campaign treasurer, relayed his regrets. She explained that the best way to know what is happening with Bill is to become his friend on Facebook. He will give you updates there for every minute of his life. (Rest assured these updates are actually a lot of fun to read.)
Samantha Madrid for Magistrate, Division 1
Samantha Madrid is running for magistrate judge, Division 1. She spoke of her experience as a lawyer in various capacities, working for both prosecution and defense and having a private practice. She promised to treat people with respect and to come to fair decisions based on the law.
Volunteers Invited to Judge Schultz’s Campaign
Jo Ruprecht invited others to join her in support of Judge Schultz for retention. She said that Lisa is ethical, honest, and fair—exactly the qualities you want in a judge.
Jo pointed out that in order to be retained, Lisa (and others at the District Court level) need 57 percent of the voters to vote “yes” on the ballot. Since voters are prone to ignore the bottom of the ballot, especially if they see uncontested races, Jo urged us to tell friends and family to be sure to vote “yes” to retain Judge Schultz. Jo also issued an invitation:
Committee to Retain Judge Lisa Schultz
Saturday, August 30, 1 p.m.
Branigan Library, upstairs
For more information send email to Jo and call her at 575-523-6810.
2 Last Thoughts from Peter
Peter Goodman added to his earlier appeal for a columnist for the Sun-News that a columnist sometimes has the experience of speaking for those who don’t have a voice … a pretty great experience.
Peter took issue with Nelson Goodin’s statement about judicial neutrality. “You have your beliefs,” Peter said, “and they matter.”
For more information send email to Peter and read his blog, Views from Soledad Canyon, photos included.