PVA Meeting Recap – January 23, 2014

New Mexico at the Bottom of the Heap for Gun Violence; We Can Do Better

Miranda Viscoli said she was pursuing an advanced degree in Latin American art when the Newtown school shooting happened. Her young son was so upset at the thought of 6-year-olds being shot, that she promised him she would do everything she could to stop gun violence. She put her studies on hold and started New Mexicans for Gun Safety.

Miranda provided the grim facts about New Mexico and gun violence. Our state ranks with the worst when it comes to gun deaths, most women and children dying from guns, and least effective gun laws. (How the states rank with regard to gun deaths, New Mexico’s gun violence, and the effects of weak state gun laws.)

Miranda’s group is currently working to pass HB44, which would close the gun show loophole in New Mexico. Currently, unlicensed vendors can attend gun shows and can sell guns to anyone without a background check. Individuals prohibited by federal law from owning a weapon (e.g., felons, fugitives, mentally incompetent persons, domestic violence offenders, and persons subject to a restraining order) can walk into a New Mexico gun shows and buy any gun with no questions asked.

Miranda pointed out that opponents of HR44 are organized and vocal. Opponents are receiving emails such as this from the National Association for Gun Rights and they are calling the governor and the legislators in large numbers.

It’s time for gun safety advocates to speak up. Miranda asked that we do the following:

For more information send email to Miranda and call her at 505-984-3058.

Unified Action: Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument Meeting with Interior Secretary Jewell

This month’s Unified Action is to attend the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks meeting with Secretary of the Interior Jewell. Nathan Small was on hand to explain the importance of this meeting. He described it as our chance to tell the federal government how we feel about our unique wilderness and historic and cultural treasures.

Check out complete information about this Unified Action here and visit the OMDP National Monument Web site for photos and text describing the issues and the areas under consideration.

Reelect Joel Cano, Magistrate Judge, Division 6

Joel Cano announced that he is running for reelection for magistrate court. He does not have an opponent in the primary but still needs signatures. Heads up: a seventh magistrate judge is badly needed and the issue will come before the voters this year.

For more information send email to Joel.

OMDPNM Meeting May Be a Turning Point

Gill Sorg said that Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will be handing out big yellow stickers for supporters to wear at the public meeting with Secretary Jewell. They have thus far received 450 responses from supporters who say they will to attend.

For more information send email to Gill.

State of the County Address

Billy Garrett, county commission chair, announced that he will give the State of the County address on January 27.

State of the County Address
County Commission Chambers
845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces

Billy urged supporters of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument to attend Friday’s meeting, reminding us of the same-sex marriage meeting at the county and the effect that large numbers can have on policy decisions.

For more information send email to Billy.

Democrats Begin to Select Delegates for the 2014 Primary

Christy French, chair of the Doña Ana Democratic Party, announced that it’s time to begin the process of electing 114 delegates to attend the pre-primary convention on March 8 in Albuquerque. Precinct meetings will be held Tuesday, February 11, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Complete information about meeting times and locations is posted on the Web site of the Doña Ana Democrats.

For more information send email to Christy or call her at 575-644-9450.

Enrique “Kiki” Vigil Running for Sheriff

Kiki Vigil asked for support in his run for sheriff. He cited his years with the U.S. Marshals Service and his experience as supervisor of local, state, and federal officers. With regard to Sheriff Garrison’s concern that national monument status would hamper efforts to patrol our border with Mexico, Kiki said “that’s hogwash” and referred to successful law enforcement in Big Bend National Park.

For more information send email to Kiki or call him at 575-525-8085.

6th Annual Democratic Dinner

Gayle Radom issued an invitation to the annual Democratic dinner that will feature Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez as the guest speaker.

Sixth Annual Democratic Dinner
Friday, February 21, 6 p.m.
Ramada Palms de Las Cruces
201 University Avenue

For more information send email to Gayle and visit Doña Ana Democrats on the Web.

City Council Work Session Aims at Feral Cat Problem

Alice Anderson explained that the Doña Ana County Commission is trying to deal with a large feral cat population. (For more on the latest actions the commissioners have taken regarding feral cats, click here for an article and here to watch a clip from KVIA news.) Alice talked about some of the quirkier rules that seem to apply with trap-neuter-release programs and indicated that under the current rules a cat does not actually need to be neutered before being released.

For more information send email to Alice or call her at 575-523-5179, and take a look at this article, in which Alice is quoted.

Beverly Singleman Running for Reelection, Magistrate Court, Division 3

Beverly asked for support in her run for reelection. She noted that she still needs a few more signatures.

For more information send email to Beverly.

MerrieLee Soules Is Definitely Qualified to Serve on the PRC

Rosemarie Sanchez spoke in support of MerrieLee Soules, candidate for for Public Regulation Commission, District 2. She pointed out that MerrieLee is an engineer with a degree from Harvard and many years of administrative experience with General Motors. On top of all that, she has integrity and deep roots in southern New Mexico.

For more information send email to Rosemarie or call her at 575-650-3545.

Kent Wingenroth Running for Reelection, Magistrate Court, Division 5

Kent mentioned that he has “33 years in the law business.” As a magistrate judge he strives to be fair to everyone who comes before his court. He likes his job and hopes to be elected to another term.

For more information send email to Kent or call him at 575-649-3121.

Alan Webber for NM Governor

Alan Webber asked for support as he seeks to be the Democratic nominee for governor. He focused on his commitment to creating jobs in New Mexico. He reported that the state is 48th in job growth and 50th in job creation and our population growth remains flat because people are leaving to find suitable work. Alan spoke of his experience with the award-winning business magazine Fast Company and his focus on innovation and creativity and the development of companies that “do well and do good.”

For more information send email to Alan or call him at 505-819-1616 and visit the campaign Web site.

Predatory Lending Is Out of Control; Let’s Stop It

Steve Fischmann spoke in favor of a constitutional amendment to regulate storefront lenders, capping interest and fees at 36% annually. He said that predatory lenders are currently making loans with an annual interest rate of 600% (yes, six hundred percent). He stated that predatory lending is a job killer, which last year took 99 million dollars out of our economy.

For more information send email to Steve, read his opinion piece in the Sun-News, and this editorial on predatory lending in the New York Times.

Rick Wellborn for Magistrate Judge, Division 4

Rick Wellborn asked for support in his bid for magistrate judge. He invited voters to visit his court and see what a good job he is doing.

For more information send email to Rick and call him at 575-649-5974.

Norman Osborne for Magistrate Judge, Division 4

Norm Osborne asked for support and signatures as he runs for magistrate court. He earned his law degree at UNM in 1986 and has broad legal experience in New Mexico. He is currently the court executive officer with the Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces.

For more information send email to Norm.

Citizens Climate Lobby Invites You to Join Them

John Nelson invited interested people to attend meetings of the Las Cruces chapter of CCL (Citizens Climate Lobby). The group meets at the Las Cruces Academy in Mesilla at 3:30 p.m. on the first Sunday after the Citizens Climate Lobby national call. Join their mailing list to be notified of meeting dates.

The CCL’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recently issued a Summary for Policy Makers that can be downloaded here.

John recommended the free and amazing Coursera offering Climate Change in Four Dimensions, which is currently full; but you can sign up to be notified when the course is offered again.

For more information and to be notified of CCL meeting times send email to John Nelson (575-524-0663) or Vince Gutschick (575-571-2269).

Rep. Steinborn Invites Your Input

Jeff Steinborn explained that he is not playing hooky from the legislature—the first Friday of the legislative session is a holiday for law makers, so he is in town to attend tomorrow’s public meeting with Interior Secretary Jewell. “New Mexico is struggling mightily,” he said and pointed to high rates of poverty and joblessness and poor education. He asked people to let him know their concerns.

For more information send email to Jeff.

CAFé Continues to Work to Raise Minimum Wage

Rose Ann Vasquez announced that CAFé is continuing to work to increase the minimum wage in Las Cruces. She invited people to help build a base of small business owners and community allies and said that CAFé will conduct minimum wage teach-ins for businesses and civic groups.

For more information send email to Rose Ann and call her at 575-496-1116.

Lawrence Rael for NM Governor

Lawrence Rael asked for support in his bid for governor. He spoke of his experience as an aide to Senator Bingaman, as city manager for the city of Albuquerque, and as the person in charge of getting the Rail Runner Express finished on time and under budget.

For more information call Lawrence at 505-228-1263 and visit the campaign Web site.

Joanne Ferrary Is Lobbying for Minimum Wage Increase and She Has an Announcement

Joanne announced that she is working with CAFé to raise the minimum wage. She stressed the importance of keeping and increasing the Democratic majority in the New Mexico legislature in order to pass progressive legislation. At a later date she will announce that she is running for House District 37.

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

Leslie Singh for U.S. House of Representatives

Leslie said she believes in focusing on the issues, and her issues are immigration reform, jobs, education, and protection of the environment. She feels that the way to defeat Rep. Pearce is to expose his stand on the issues now; after the primary it will be too late to get the word out.

For more information send email to Leslie and call her at 575-430-2743.

Samantha Madrid for Magistrate Judge, Division 1

Samantha spoke of her experience as a lawyer and, before that, as a high school teacher in the inner city. She explained that her teaching experience gave her an understanding of people living in poverty, and that will be an asset for a judge in the magistrate court. She would like to improve the efficiency of the court and work cooperatively with other judges.

For more information call Samantha at 575-571-4184.

Beth Bardwell for County Commission, District 3

Beth announced that she is running for Doña Ana County Commission, District 3. She said that she and her family have lived in District 3 for 20 years. She spoke of her experience as a public interest lawyer working with unions, Native Americans, sustainable use of water, and wildlife conservation. If elected she said she would work to grow the economy, foster the creative economy, and “make this the best place to live in New Mexico.”

For more information call Beth at 575-418-0288.

Focusing on the Issues Now Is the Way to Defeat Rep. Pearce

Ann McCullough spoke in support of Leslie Singh for Congress. She emphasized the importance of knowing how the candidates stand on the issues and mentioned fracking as an issue that could be explored.

For more information send email to Ann.

Local Talk Radio Welcomes Guests and Listeners and Advertisers

Peter Goodman had good news about “Speak Up, Las Cruces!” the local talk radio show that he cohosts with Keith Whelpley. The show, which airs weekday mornings from 8 to 10 on KOBE-AM 1450, seems to be building a loyal and diverse audience. An initially very conservative audience is hearing from some people with progressive points of view. Discussions are both vigorous and courteous.

Peter and Keith are looking for advertisers to keep the show going. They would like to hear from business owners who may be interested in supporting the show and reaching a diverse, engaged audience.

For information about advertising or questions about the show, send email to Peter and call him at 575-521-0242 or 510-282-6690.

Just Raise the Minimum Wage

Rich Ferrary outlined three goals of the campaign to raise the minimum wage in New Mexico. First, raise the hourly minimum from $7.50 to $8.50 and tie it to the cost of living index. Second, raise the hourly minimum wage for tip workers from $2.13 to $4.25. And third, allow localities to have higher minimums if they see fit.

For more information send email to Rich.

Low Pay Is Not Okay

Martha Stevens, sporting her “Occupy Everything” visor, added her voice to the call for raising the minimum wage. She spoke of the worker rights movements that are beginning to gather steam. She recommended the following Web sites that help workers organize: Low Pay Is Not Okay aimed at workers in the fast-food industry and Our Walmart.

For more information send email to Martha.

Meet and Greet Gubernatorial Candidate Webber

Neri Holguin, formerly of Las Cruces and currently campaign manager for Alan Webber, invited everyone to meet the candidate.

Meet Up Lunch with Alan Webber
Friday, January 24, Noon
Home of Steve Fischmann
4848 Deadwood Camp Ct., Las Cruces

For more information send email to Neri and call her at 505-217-8705.

Greetings from LULAC

Paul Martinez invited everyone to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens. Local events are scheduled for February and March and details will be forthcoming.

For more information call Paul at 575-312-6327.

Want Jobs for Doña Ana? Support the Southern Central Regional Transit District

Former Mayor Pro Tem Sherry Thomas spoke of the pressing need for a transit district (with recurring funding) to serve Doña Ana County. There are two transit districts in Northern New Mexico but nothing in the south. We have no north-south transit. To see the impact of that void, go to Santa Teresa, the Union Pacific Rail Facility for example, and see the abundance of Texas license plates and the dearth of New Mexico license plates. When we have a transit district New Mexican workers will be able to compete for those jobs.

For more information send email to Sharon and call her at 521-9314.

Support for Gubernatorial Candidate Webber

Leanne Leith, recently of Conservation Voters New Mexico, spoke in support of Alan Webber for governor. Leanne said she had intended to take a long vacation when she resigned from Conservation Voters [where she was a tireless and effective lobbyist] but could not resist the chance to work on the Webber campaign. She said she is inspired by Alan’s ability to see opportunity and potential in New Mexico.

For more information send email to Leanne and call her at 505-710-8406.

Take a Self-guided Tour of Six Preservation Projects

Gregg Henry announced that Mesilla Valley Preservation, Inc. is holding its annual tour of historic buildings. This year the tour features preservation projects that are in progress at the old Doña Ana County Courthouse; the clubhouse at the Las Cruces Country Club; the large-scale, in-process adobe stabilization at the Armijo House; the Phillips Chapel; the Amador Hotel; and the Papen Center at the old Mesilla Park School.

Casas de Antaño/Houses of Yesteryear 2014
A Tour of 6 Preservation Projects in Progress
Saturday, February 15, 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information send email to Gregg.

Gubernatorial Candidate Rael Gets an Endorsement from His Sister

Lawrence Rael’s sister, Michele, spoke in support of her brother as he runs for governor. She described the values they were raised with—hard work, honesty, service to the community. She let us know that Lawrence’s Mom is equally proud of all her children.

For more information call Michele at 505-306-3582.

Shooting and Dancing Fundraisers Scheduled for Sheriff Candidate

Curtis Childress, candidate for sheriff, invited everyone to two fundraisers.

Shooting Competition
Saturday, February 8, 8a.m.
Butterfield Shooting Range

Dinner Dance
Saturday, February 15, 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Alameda House Event Center, 526 S. Alameda

For more information call Curtis at 575-639-0162 and visit the campaign Web site.

Yes, We Have a Web Site

Judy Zimmerman wants to be sure that everyone knows that PVA has a Web site. She is trying to add some useful content in addition to meeting recaps and Unified Action instructions and hopes to increase the number of visitors to the site. (There were 992 visitors in October 2013.) She offered a reward to anyone who suggests an improvement for the Web site.

For more information send email to Judy.

Protect Tortugas Mountain from Commercial Development

Dael Goodman asked for help from everyone who believes that Tortugas Mountain (aka A Mountain) is deserving of protection from commercial development. Owners of a 16-acre parcel west of Tortugas Mountain (south of Dripping Springs Road) have requested a zoning change that would allow commercial development.

You can help protect Tortugas Mountain by sending an email to Steve Meadows of the Doña Ana County Planning Department and by attending a meeting of the ETZ (Extra-territorial Zoning Commission) where the zoning change will be discussed.

ETZ Meeting Regarding Tortugas Mountain
Thursday, February 20, 5 p.m.
County Administrative Offices, 845 Motel Blvd.

For more information send email to Dael and call her at 575-521-0424.

J.R. Stewart Takes a Second Run at the Office of Sheriff

J.R. Stewart spoke of his lifelong commitment to Doña Ana County, and his long career in law enforcement. “I can be compassionate,” he said, “but when it comes to crime I can be tough.”

For more information send email to J.R.

City Councilor Pedroza Alerts Us to Upcoming Decisions

Olga Pedroa asked us to be aware of three issues facing the City Council. They will be deciding whether or not to raise the minimum wage for workers in Las Cruces, whether or not to allow coyote killing events here (see Kevin Bixby’s resolution and Sun-News editorial), and whether to have public financing of city campaigns or to allow Citizens United to finance the campaigns.

For more information send email to Olga.

Thank You

Gill Sorg remembered to say a big thank you for support in the November election, in which he was elected to his second term on the Las Cruces City Council.

For more information send email to Gill.

Hats Off!

Steve Fischmann called our attention to three people in the room who have worked long and hard on the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and/or wilderness area. We then gave a big round of applause to Neri Holguin, Nathan Small, and Jeff Steinborn.

For more information send email to Steve.


PVA Meets Again
Thursday, February 27, 7 p.m.
Munson Center

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