PVA Meeting Recap – June 27, 2013

Reflections on PVA’s 9th Anniversary

We took a few minutes to share our thoughts on the Progressive Voter Alliance. We noted how many people who attend [PVA doesn’t have members] have worked hard to elect progressive candidates to local, state, and national offices and to support progressive policies. We remembered how we helped make curbside recycling a reality. We commented on the civility of our discussions, the friendships, and the guilt-free nature of our meetings.

May Unified Action Update: We Wowed the Citizens Climate Lobby

Cheryl Frank, unified action coordinator, reported on May’s action, which was to register with the Citizens Climate Lobby, a national organization focused on climate change issues. The day after the unified action announcement was emailed to participants, the Citizens Climate Lobby pulled up their Web site statistics and found that a curious number of people (83 all told) from Las Cruces, New Mexico, had signed up. They called Cheryl, the first name on the list, and she was able to tell them all about the PVA, Gill Sorg, and the Unified Action.

As a result of the unified action, Citizens Climate Lobby will be sending a representative from their Coronado, California, headquarters to help Las Cruces start a local chapter. Vince Gutschick and John Nelson have stepped up to co-chair the group.

For more information send email to Cheryl.

June Unified Action: Taxes for a Safe Community

County Commissioner Billy Garrett asked that we cast informed votes in the July 30 special election and encourage our friends to do the same.

If approved, three of the measures would allow the county to issue $7.8 million in general obligation bonds for construction. The new bonds would replace an expiring bond and there would be no change in property taxes. The following three projects would be completed:

  1. A new Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) 911-Emergency Call Center ($6 million)
  2. Improvements to the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds ($1 million)
  3. Completion of an Animal Holding Facility to house and care for animals that are evidence in pending animal cruelty cases ($8000,000)

The fourth ballot measure would allow the county to collect a gross receipts tax (GRT) of 0.25% (1/4 of 1%) to pay for the operation of the following:

  1. The new 911-Emergency Call Center (annual estimated cost of $4 million)
  2. The Crisis Triage Center (annual estimated cost of $2 million)
  3. Countywide Ambulance Service (annual estimated cost of $1.3 million)

If the GRT is approved, the retail cost of a $100 item would be increased by 25 cents. Food and medical purchases would be exempted.

For more information send email to Billy and visit the county’s Web site for information about the issues and voting times and places.

What a Week!

Gill Sorg pointed out that the Senate actually passed a comprehensive immigration bill. He urged us to watch President Obama’s historic speech on climate change. Speaking of climate change, Gill congratulated PVA, for getting the attention of the Citizens Climate Lobby with the May Unified Action.

For more information send email to Gill.

Triple-Decker Bunks for Detention Center. Could Anything Go Wrong?

Peter Ossorio stopped by a welding shop the other day and asked the welders what they were making. It turned out they were building 3-tier bunk beds for the detention center so that more inmates can be housed in smaller spaces. Peter is concerned about the overcrowding and the potential for serious injury from a fall off a top bunk.

For more information send email to Peter.

What You Need to Know About Valley Fever

Carl Zimmerman gave us a heads up about the dangers of Valley Fever and  recommended viewing the documentary, “Valley Fever Disease: A Zebra Among the Horses.” [The film is apparently not currently available online.] Valley fever is a disease of dry, dusty places and seems to be on the rise all along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although the disease is easily diagnosed with a blood test, it is often misdiagnosed because symptoms are flu-like.

For more information send email to Carl and check out information provided by the New Mexico Department of Health. The New York Times paints a more sobering picture.

Sound Off! Needs Your Voice on the Subject of the Special Election

Margaret Mendoza encouraged us to write or call the Sun-News Sound Off! column if we support the Crisis Triage Center, the 911 Emergency Call Center, the Animal Holding Center for abused animals, and countywide ambulance service. She said that many of the comments in Sound Off! have been negative, saying things such as, “We don’t need any more taxes.” Margaret encouraged people to counteract these comments with positive ones.

For more information send email to Margaret.

Endean-Singh Is Running for Congress

Leslie Endean-Singh is running for the Congressional seat held by Steve Pearce. She said she is getting a positive reaction from Democrats, and Republicans have surprised her with donations and encouragement. One Republican in Alamogordo told her that Representative Pearce is bad for education and needs to be replaced. People have told her that they realize that Pearce is just not representing them. Leslie wants to hear from you and promises to be a representative for all the people.

For more information call Leslie at 575-430-2743 and visit her campaign Web site.

Can You Guess Who Is Working Hard for Chaparral?

Representative Nate Cote needed two turns at the mic to say it all. He began by congratulating  Wendy Davis on her filibuster in Texas and noting that good and bad news came from the Supreme Court this week.

Nate reported that positive things are happening in Chaparral. He is having a fundraiser on June 30 to keep his Chaparral office open. [The New Mexico state legislature is an unpaid citizens’ legislature which means that members do not receive a salary for their public service. They do not have offices, unless they pay for them out of their own pockets and/or campaign accounts, and they have to buy their own stationary to send letters to constituents!]

Nate joined the Vet Voice Foundation and lobbied in Washington, D.C., for national monuments such as Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. Check out this picture of Nate meeting with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. He invited her to come hiking in Southern New Mexico, but she said her schedule was pretty busy these days.

For more information call Nate at 575-202-1872 and read his op ed about the need to protect public lands.

Agenda of a Recovering Candidate

Joanne Ferrary introduced herself as a recovering candidate and summed up a few of her activities since losing a race for state representative by 8 votes. She spent 2 months in Santa Fe lobbying for the minimum wage increase bill, which passed the legislature and was vetoed by the governor. CAFé (NM Comunidades en Accion y de Fe) commented on that process here.

Joanne is involved with Emerge, an organization that trains Democratic women to run for public office. She is a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Las Cruces and is an organizer of the newly formed Doña Ana County Federation of Democratic Women.
For more information send email to Joanne or call her at 575-649-1231.

Health Security Campaign Is Not Dead Yet

Maury Castro assured us that the  Health Security Campaign is alive and well. “I know you’ve heard this before,” he said, “but Health Security has a good chance of making it through the legislature next year.”

He explained that insurance exchanges are not necessarily appropriate for all states, especially states with small populations. Add to that the lack of cooperation coming from the current Congress, and it seems the best plan for New Mexico is a plan that was created by New Mexicans, for New Mexicans.

For more information send email to Maury.

Talk to Five Friends—It’s Powerful

Don Kurtz emphasized that the current Unified Action asks participants to talk to five (or more) friends before July 30 and ask them to vote in favor of all four measures on the special election ballot. “We have confidence in our commissioners,” Don said, “and don’t forget that these elections come down to just a few votes.”

For more information send email to Don.

Pay Attention to Health Care

Joe Ciotti, aka Dr. Joe, warned that our health care system is broken. We are paying more and getting worse outcomes than any other developed nation.

Update from Representative Gallegos

Doreen Gallegos said she sat on some important committees during the session and is excited to sit on the Health and Human Services Interim Committee. She thinks it’s important for representatives to keep constituents informed about what committees are doing. She will keep us up-to-date, especially when committees come to Las Cruces.

For more information send email to Doreen.

Doña Ana Votes

Scott Krahling said for voter registration for the special election will close on Tuesday, July 2. If you’re not registered, you can come to the county building to register and vote all on the same day. The county’s newly redesigned Web siet has all the voting information you need.

For more information For more information send email to Scott or call him at 575-635-1550.

A Law Enforcement Vote for Special Election Issues

Curtis Childers, a law enforcement officer since 1982, expressed his support of for what county commissioners are trying to accomplish with the special election. He is hoping voters get out and support the measures. He spoke of firsthand experience with the urgent need for the 911 call center and the animal holding facility.

For more information send email to Curtis.

Big Thank You from City Councilor Silva

City Councilor Miguel Silva said he appreciates the support of the voters who put him in office and the work of the PVA. Miguel thanked Curtis Childers for excellent work in law enforcement.

For more information send email to Miguel.

PVA Takes a Break in July
We Meet Again in August
Thursday, August 22, 2013, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite

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