PVA Meeting Recap – May 22, 2014

Time to Learn a New Acronym: OM-DP

We sat back and enjoyed the video of President Obama’s remarks and his signing of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proclamation.

Unified Action: April

Be involved in a primary campaign was the April unified action–contribute your time, talents, or cash to a candidate you believe in. Eighty-four people sent an “I did it.”

Unified Action: May

May’s unified action is a PVA pre-election tradition: Talk to five friends about the election, let them know which candidates you support plus where and when to vote.

Cheryl Frank, who coordinates all the unified actions, made plain the importance of talking to your friends about voting. Turnout in a primary election during a midterm year is sure to be exceptionally low, and many people will not be familiar with the candidates on the ballot. Some people may watch cable news and be familiar with national candidates, but when they are handed a ballot with candidates for county commission, magistrate judge, or even state representative, they may never have heard of any of those people. In a primary, we can’t rely on voting for a person based on party affiliation. Often voters just vote for people based on which names they like best, or whether a person is male or female, or first on the list, or any number of other “methods” to pick who they will vote for when all the candidates are unfamiliar.

Cheryl promised that sending an email with the candidates we recommend along with voting times and locations can be helpful to our busy but conscientious friends.

Representative Bill McCamley spoke about the importance of local offices. “People know about the governor’s race,” he said, but often don’t know about the other candidates—sheriffs, judges, city and county offices, state representatives, the PRC—and don’t understand how those elected officials determine the quality of life in our community.

Complete information about the May unified action is here.

Ask the City to Move Forward on the Minimum Wage

Angelica Rubio, a community organizer with CAFé and the person heading up their minimum wage campaign, urged people to call or email City Manager Robert Garza (575-541-2076 rgarza@las-cruces.org) and ask that the ballot initiative be released so that signatures can be collected and the voters can decide in November. The city attorney has been holding up the petition because of “concerns about enforcement.”

For more information, send email to Angelica and call her at 575-616-1151.

If You Can Picture a Wooly Mammoth, Thank Charles Knight

Alice Anderson brought a copy of Charles R. Knight: The Artist Who Saw Through Time by Richard Milner. Knight is the artist who put flesh and hide on the skeletons of dinosaurs and showed us what the Ice Age looked like. The book is available at Branigan Library on the New Book shelf.

For more information, send email to Alice and call her at 575-523-5179.

Humanist Celebrant Available to Invocate, Needs Volunteers to Witness Marriages

Bob Diven announced that he is looking for volunteers to witness marriages for same-sex couples from out-of-state. Bob said he is still performing a few such marriages a month. The experience is joyful and takes less than an hour.

Bob, a humanist celebrant, is also available as a “secular invocator.” As a result of the Supreme Court’s approval of sectarian prayers for government meetings, secular invocators are in demand.

To volunteer as a marriage witness and for more information, send email to Bob, call him at 575-642-7445, and find him on Facebook as Bob Diven, Humanist Celebrant.

Hats Off to Courageous Public Officials

Peter Ossorio expressed his deep appreciation for everyone who played a part in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. He especially thanked those public figures for whom taking a stand on the monument meant taking a risk.

Peter reminded us of Harry Truman’s words:
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

For more information, send email to Peter.

Osborne for Magistrate, Division 4

Norman Osborne said he’s been going door-to-door talking to people and has been getting a good response, for which he is grateful. He is knocking on doors when people are making dinner, but they are still friendly and talking to him and it looks like even agreeing to vote for him. He reported that 1,065 Democrats had voted as of May 21.

For more information, send email to Norm.

Stewart for Sheriff

JR Stewart noted his respect for his Democratic opponents in this race for sheriff. He expressed thanks for the help he has received on his campaign and ended by saying, “Please help get my name out.” Find updates about JR’s campaign here.

For more information, send email to JR and call him at 575-644-0650.

Martinez for Representative, District 39

Rudy Martinez, whose multi-county district includes 11 precincts in Doña Ana County as well as 14 in Grant County and 1 in Sierra County, asked for support in his bid for re-election. He congratulated Doña Ana County on Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and thanked the elected officials who were in the room for their part.

For more information, send email to Rudy and call him at 575-534-7546.

You, yes, You are Invited to the OM-DP Celebration

Rep. Jeff Steinborn invited everyone to attend the official celebration for the brand new national monument.

Celebration for Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
Friday, May 23, 2 p.m.
Oñate High School Soccer Field

Jeff stressed that the celebration is a way to show Secretary Jewell (who will be present along with Senators Udall and Heinrich and other dignitaries) that our enthusiastic commitment to the monument is for real.

Jeff mentioned a Sun-News poll about the monument.

For more information, send email to Jeff.

Soules for PRC, District 5

Merrie Lee Soules announced that she has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, Conservation Voters of New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Journal. She expressed appreciation for the support she has received and asked for help in the final week and a half before the primary. She noted that her territory is huge—11 counties that make up the southwest quadrant of New Mexico. She asked supporters to contact friends in those areas and ask them to vote in the primary.

For more information, send email to Merrie Lee and call her at 575-635-2225.

SWEC Never Rests

Tricia Snyder announced that the Southwest Environmental Center is busy planning fundraisers.

Muddy Hands Blues Band
Saturday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.
High Desert Brewery
$5 cover

Raft the Rio
Saturday, June 14, all day starting at 8 a.m.
Picacho Bridge to Mesilla Bridge

Tricia reminded us that Raft the River isn’t just for raising money and having fun. It is also about fostering the emotional connection between our community and our river. Volunteers (about 70!) are needed.

For more information, send email to Tricia and call her at 575-522-5552.

Roberts for Sheriff

Ken Roberts noted his law enforcement experience and his position as president of Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputies Association. He said he wants to be the person who “turns the sheriff’s department around.”

For more information, send email to Ken.

Gill Sorg’s Washington D.C. Report

Gill emphasized the importance of the grassroots campaign that made the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument a reality. He didn’t have any trouble saying “yes” when he was invited to attend the signing of the national monument designation. As president of Friends of OM-DP National Monument, Gill took the liberty of making Obama an honorary member.

For more information, send email to Gill.

Wellborn for Magistrate, Division 4

Rick Wellborn asked for support in his bid for magistrate judge. He referred to his 19 years’ experience as a lawyer handling diverse cases. He said his priorities as magistrate would be professionalism, respectful treatment of jurors, and improving services for victims of domestic violence.

For more information, send email to Rick.

Madrid for Magistrate, Division 1

Samantha Madrid asked for support in her run for magistrate. She noted that she has no opponent in the primary, but in the general election she will face Nelson Goodin, a Republican appointed by Gov. Martinez. Samantha said that she has been an attorney since 2009 and has worked for the defense and the prosecution.

For more information, send email to Samantha

Billy Garrett

for County Commission, District 1

Billy asked for support in his re-election bid. He mentioned that he has an opponent in the primary and has a supply of bumper stickers. As for his priorities, he said the following: “Everything I do as a county commissioner is intended to build trust in county government and to make our county a better place for everyone who lives here.”

on Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

Billy shared his comment to President Obama: “This matters so much to many, many people. You made us proud!” He thanked Nathan Small and Jeff Steinborn in particular for their years of work on the project. He said people in Washington were “knocked out” by the resources of the monument—the sacred lands, the history and heritage, and the scientific value. They were likewise knocked out by the depth and breadth of community involvement and consider it a model for the country. Finally, Billy reminded everyone, “We still have a management plan to write.”

For more information, send email to Billy and call him at 575-915-5755.

Webber for Governor

Ariel Bickel spoke in support of Alan Webber, who was busy at KRWG-TV, participating in a forum for the gubernatorial candidates. She said Alan is gaining support from many groups around the state. She spoke of his optimism, his vision for New Mexico, and his belief in our ability to help ourselves.

For more information, send email to Ariel and call her at 505-321-6867.

Johnson for State Representative, District 53

Mariaelena Johnson reported that she is enjoying campaigning and meeting the people in the district, which is comprised of Chaparral, parts of the East Mesa, and parts of Alamogordo. She has a background in community organizing and education. She was proud to report that she was endorsed by National Education Association and Planned Parenthood. She said she will always look to retiring State Rep. Nate Cote as a mentor and be inspired by his words and actions.

You can read more about Mariaelena on her campaign website.

For more information, send email to Mariaelena and call her at 575-618-7282.

Rubino for Magistrate, Division 3

Paul Rubino asked for support in his bid for magistrate. He summed up his legal experience, which includes a distinguished Navy career and 19 years in Las Cruces. He is currently chief deputy district attorney for the Third Judicial District.

For more information, send email to Paul.

Know Your Rights with the Border Patrol

Carolyn Iosso reported that the Revitalize Not Militarize campaign includes a program to educate people about their rights in dealings with the Border Patrol and to encourage people to document abuses. They also are sending postcards to Obama asking for reform of Customs and Border Protection.

Know Your Rights Checkpoint
Friday, May 23, 9:30 a.m.
ACLU Office, 600 Montana Ave., Suite G

For more information, send email to Caroline.

McCamley for Representative, District 33

Looking ahead to November 4, 2014, Bill McCamley, explained that he is unopposed in the primary but will face Republican Neal Hooks in the general election. Bill is ready to sign up volunteers. “Door-to-door alone is tough,” he said. “It’s so much better with a partner.”

For more information, send email to Bill and call him at 575-446-5731.

Childress for Sheriff

Curtis Childress emphasized the importance of getting out and voting–the sooner, the better. He urged everyone to check the qualifications of all the candidates and make informed decisions before voting.

For more information, send email to Curtis and call him at 575-639-0162.

Ngage New Mexico Launches Education Initiative

Lucia Carmona, the community engagement coordinator at Ngage New Mexico, spoke about new projects to partner elected officials and the nonprofit sectors on behalf of social justice issues. She announced the Youth Leadership Conference, June 27-28. At the end of the conference the young people will produce a “Civic Engagement” declaration.

For more information, send email to Lucia and call her at 575-571-2177.

Singleman for Magistrate, Division 3

Beverly Singleman said she loves her job as a magistrate court judge and that is why she is asking for your vote to give her another four years at the “people’s court.” She explained that the magistrate court is a very busy place, and she has had 12,000 cases in the last two years. She believes she has the qualifications and skills necessary to continue running an efficient and fair court.

For more information, send email to Beverly and call her at 575-522-1563.

Rael for Governor

Sharon Thomas spoke in support of Lawrence Rael for governor. She cited Rael’s long list of credentials including his working knowledge of rural and urban New Mexico, his success as an innovative city manager in Albuquerque, and his leadership of New Mexico’s Green Chamber. Finally, Sharon mentioned that Rael will bring the Rail Runner to Las Cruces.

For more information, send email to Sharon and call her at 575-644-2517.

Peter Goodman Reflects

Peter Goodman shared a memorable quotation from Neal Hooks (“You’re going to hell, but I love you.”) and a President Obama prom story that you haven’t heard before.

For more information, send email to Peter, call him at 575-521-0424, and visit his blog, Views from Soledad Canyon.

PVA’s Tenth Annual Summer Party

Don Kurtz put in a plug for PVA’s June party, saying it’s hard to believe but absolutely true that this will be the tenth annual summer party. Don stressed that this is a party for everyone.

10th Annual June Party
Thursday, June 26, immediately following PVA
St. Clair Winery

For more information, send email to Don.

Neighborhood Website Seeks Neighbors

Mary Ann Hendrickson announced that she will start a neighborhood website for the Sagecrest neighborhood west of Roadrunner IF she can find 10 members by June 7.

For more information, send email to Mary Ann.

County Commission Signs Climate Change Resolution

John Nelson asked (appropriately enough) County Commissioner Billy Garrett to announce that the Doña Ana County Commissioners passed a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that deals effectively with greenhouse gas emissions.

Several members of the Las Cruces Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby were in attendance when this resolution was passed and they applauded the 4 to 1 vote. They thanked those who voted yes: Commissioners Garrett, Hancock, Duarte-Benavidez, and Garcia. After the resolution passed, the founder of Citizens Climate Lobby called to congratulate the local group and the county.

For more information, send email to John.

City May Follow County’s Example on Climate

City Councilor Gill Sorg added to his previous statements that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument became a reality because of grassroots work. He praised the Doña Ana County Commission for passing the climate resolution mentioned above and said he’s been trying to get the city to pass a similar resolution but not without resistance. Finally, he said, “Get out and vote!”

For more information, send email to Gill.

Emerge New Mexico Is Electing Democratic Women

Merrie Lee Soules announced an event being hosted to celebrate Emerge. She explained that the purpose of Emerge is to identify, train, and encourage women to run for office. Graduates of Emerge NM include “Rocky” Lara (currently running for US Congress), Joanne Ferrary (currently running for State Representative, District 37), Beth Bardwell (currently running for Dona Ana County Commission, District 3), Mariaelena Johnson (currently running for State Representative, District 53), Merrie Lee Soules (currently running for PRC, District 5), and Angelica Rubio (currently working on a minimum wage ballot initiative with CAFé).

Emerge New Mexico Reception
Friday, May 23, 6 p.m.
Meson de Mesilla

For more information, send email to Merrie Lee and call her at 575-635-2225.

Phoning It In, But Literally

City Councilor Nathan Small, widely recognized for his tireless work for Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, called to say that Friday’s celebration of the national monument is really, really important. It is an opportunity to express our appreciation and also to show Secretary Jewell that we are committed to making the monument work.

For more information, send email to Nathan.

Reminder: Know Those Sheriff Candidates

Alice Anderson said that before you vote for sheriff, be sure to find out what the candidates think about law enforcement and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

For more information, send email to Alice and call her at 575-523-5179.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, June 26
Munson Center, Followed by
10th Annual Summer Party at St. Clair Winery
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