Astonishing Solid Waste News
Ron Johnson, member of the Ratepayers Advisory Committee (RAC), spoke about the rate increase of 32.4% requested by Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) for solid waste services. The RAC, after examining the LCU proposal, with expert and professional eyes, concluded that a rate increase is unnecessary. Services can continue, aging vehicles can be replaced, and LCU can remain solvent without the 32.4% increase.
Ron asked that people let the RAC know if they are for or against the rate increase. Simply send your response:
Yes, I am in favor of my garbage rates increasing by 32.4$%
No, I am against my garbage rates increasing by 32.4%
For more information on this complex and mind-boggling issue and for a schedule of RAC meetings, send email to Ron.
Red or Green? Celebrity Waiter Will Be Your Server at El Caldito Fundraiser
State Representative Bill McCamley announced that he will be one of the “celebrity” waiters at the El Caldido Soup Kitchen fundraiser. The event will be held Tuesday, July 1, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Nopalito’s on Mesquite. Bill asked people to come out, support the soup kitchen, and show the strength and character of our community.
For more information send email to Bill or call him at 575-496-5731.
A Big Thank You
Magistrate Judge Joel Cano was unopposed in the June 3 election, but he still was pleased to see that he got a lot of votes. He thanked the community for support and encouragement. He introduced his wife Nancy and thanked her for her essential work on his campaign.
For more information send email to Joel.
Fountain Theatre Will Screen “Citizen Koch”
Rose Ann Hernandez announced that the Fountain Theatre will show “Citizen Koch” on Saturday, July 12, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. PBS backed out of showing this movie about the Koch brothers. Rose Ann noted that nonprofit organizations can use the Fountain Theatre for fundraisers or events as long as a film is shown at some point. Theatre staff will help with the logistics. Sign up here to request an email with a schedule of films and special events.
For more information send email to Rose Ann or call her at 575-525-8158 or 575-524-8285.
Mark Steffen expressed his frustration with the city’s policy of charging garbage and recycling fees for vacant houses. “What’s fair about that?” he wondered.
For more information send email to Mark or call him at 575-636-3842.
Beth Bardwell for County Commission, District 3
Beth Bardwell asked for support in her race for County Commission and noted that her opponent in November is Republican Ben Rawson, recently appointed by Governor Martinez. Beth said she has lived in District 3 for nearly 20 years and raised her family there. She spoke of her wide experience as a lawyer dealing with labor, Native American, conservation, and water issues. As commissioner, her top three priorities would be the budget, sustainability, and economic development. Click here for more about Beth.
For more information call Beth 575-418-0288.
Getting Out the Vote for Democratic Candidates
Dan Nyaradi introduced himself as the Regional Field Director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s coordinated campaign and someone who will be working hard to get Democrats elected in November. He will be traveling all over southern New Mexico and will need all the help he can get, so please consider volunteering. The office is located at 136 N Downtown Mall (upstairs, behind Zeffiro’s).
For more information send email to Dan or call him at 541-480-4948.
Samantha Madrid for Magistrate
Charles Madrid spoke on behalf of his daughter Samantha Madrid, who is running for magistrate judge. He said his daughter has what it takes to be a great judge: compassion and firmness. You can read more about Samantha on her website.
For more information call Charles at 575-649-8104.
Recycling and Buses—Way to Go, DAC!
County Commissioner Wayne Hancock reported that glass recycling is off to an astounding start with 18 tons collected in the first two months. A grant for $200,000 is going to purchase tire shredders—needed to control the county’s mosquito population, for starters. Plans are in the works to purchase a styrofoam crusher, and that’s good news for gardeners.
Wayne announced that the countywide pilot transportation program is underway. Residents in rural areas will have better accessibility to work, doctors, family, school, recreation, and more.
In November, voters will be asked to approve a ¼ of 1% gross receipts tax increase that will, if passed, be used for transportation. Wayne called this the next big step forward for quality of life in Doña Ana County. “This isn’t a Spaceport,” he said. “It’s a real thing.”
For more information send email to Wayne and call him at 575-520-4560.
County Commissioner Billy Garrett
County Commission Chair Billy Garrett thanked PVA members who supported his primary campaign (he won) and his work on the Commission. “PVA is living what democracy is about,” he ventured. He asked for support in November, when his Republican opponent is Charles Wendler. Billy noted his support for Beth Bardwell, who is running for County Commission, District 3. He said to spread the word about glass recycling so that the county staff knows it’s popular and appreciated. And he mentioned that Doña Ana County has contributed millions to Spaceport America and it’s time we start getting a return on the investment.
For more information send email to Billy and call him at 575-915-5755.
CAFé’s Minimum Wage Campaign Is Rockin’ Along
Angélica Rubio of CAFé’s minimum wage campaign sent an update from Northern California where leaders were holding a retreat. She thanked PVA for support of the minimum wage campaign (for example, Ernie Bean collected 600 signatures), and she invited everyone to be present when they submit 6,000 petition signatures at City Hall on Monday, June 30, at 3 p.m. Once the signatures are approved, the next step will be a City Council vote on the proposal. If that fails, the proposal goes to the voters in November. Angélica vowed to keep us posted.
For more information send email to Angélica and call her at 575-616-1151.
True or False? Health Security Will Lower Your Car Insurance
Margaret Mendoza spoke on behalf of the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign (HSNMC), which will submit a bill for consideration in the 2015 legislative session. The Health Security Plan proposes to set up a comprehensive health care/benefit plan for all New Mexicans. HSNMC believes their plan would be better than the exchanges (because New Mexico has a small population) and could pave the way for a revolutionary kind of health care plan for the people in the state. And, yes, it would even lower your car insurance bill.
For more information send email to Margaret.
Happy Hour for Lobos
Kevin Bixby, director of the Southwest Environmental Center, announced a fundraiser on behalf of Mexican Gray Wolves. There will be a happy hour at The Game Sports Bar and Grill on Tuesday, July 1, at 6 p.m. Kevin noted that oil and gas interests are funding an anti-wolf group and generally making life difficult for endangered species and the environment. You can read more about it here on SWEC’s website.
For more information send email to Kevin and call him at 575-5552.
The Buses Are Here!
Sharon Thomas, the chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee for South Central Regional Transit, reported that “The buses are here!” Sunland Park, Vado, Anthony, Mesquite, and Chaparral communities are celebrating. This is a pilot project and will be voted on in November. Sherry asked everyone to vote yes to keep the buses running. You could leave Las Cruces at 9 a.m., go to T or C, soak for the day, and come home on the bus for no more than $1 per trip! Check out SCRT’s Facebook page and their website for updates and schedules.
For more information send email to Sharon
Another Thank You
Merrie Lee Soules, supremely gracious in defeat, reported that she came very close to winning her primary election for Public Regulation Commission–she lost by 128 votes out of nearly 20,000 cast. She said she learned that running for office is definitely a team sport. She traveled throughout the eleven counties in the enormous PRC District 5 and guaranteed that a lot more New Mexicans now know what the PRC is. She thanked everyone who supported her and voted for her. She even praised PVA’s 2-minute time limit and said it taught her to be very clear about what she wanted to say.
For more information send email to Merrie Lee and call her at 575-635-2225.
Rezoning for Tortugas Mountain
Peter Goodman encouraged people to attend the ETA meeting on July 16 regarding the rezoning of an area near “A” mountain. He asked people to stand up against commercial rezoning and asserted that the residents who live in the area are opposed to this proposal. You can read a clear and concise discussion of this complicated issue on his website. The meeting is Wednesday, July 16, 5:30 p.m., in the County Commission chambers (845 N. Motel Blvd).
For more information send email to Peter and call him at 575-521-0424.
Crushed Glass Is Coming and You’re Gonna Love It
Dael Goodman thanked Commissioner Wayne Hancock for his work on getting glass recycling to Las Cruces. (Glass recycling bins are located at 555 South Sonoma Ranch Blvd. and 2855 West Amador.) Click here for more information about recycling in Las Cruces. Dael said that crushed glass will soon be available at no charge and that it has a myriad of uses and is prized by gardeners, artists, builders, and other creative types. She mentioned that blue glass is especially desirable for crushed glass projects, so when you have a choice . . . buy blue.
For more information send email to Dael and call her at 575-521-0424.
Reflections before the Party
Don Kurtz, a founding member of the Progressive Voter Alliance, spoke about the group’s origins in 2004 after John Kerry’s defeat. Out of that disappointment came the motivation to start building a progressive movement in Las Cruces. Don acknowledged that in addition to many wins, there have been some hard losses along the way. “No team wins every game,” Don said and added, “I’m pleased and proud to be part of this team.”
For more information send email to Don.
UNM Law Professor Steps Up
Xochitl Torres Small, back in Las Cruces for a summer break in between her second and third year of law school at UNM, described her work with Distinguished Professor Jim Ellis on a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of Freddie Lee Hall in Hall v. Florida. (Read the brief here.) The case relates to how states can diagnose intellectual disability in capital cases. The UNM reporting of the story is here. Xochitl reported that there are two men still on death row in New Mexico, despite the state’s abolishing the death penalty in 2009. “Keep an eye on that,” she said.
For more information send email to Xochitl.
Wage + (Wage Plus) and Boot Camp for 1,000 New Jobs
City Councilor Nathan Small had jobs on his mind and the fact that 1,000 new jobs are expected to open up in Doña Ana County. Nathan described two programs that are creating real economic development (as opposed to the wage ordinance passed recently.) MVEDA and Doña Ana Community College have partnered to help applicants apply successfully with Job to Career Readiness Boot Camp. Three training sessions are scheduled. See this for details and how to apply. Wage + is an incentive program that rewards businesses that create good-paying jobs.
For more information send email to Nathan and call him at 575-496-9540.