PVA Meeting Recap – September 26, 2013

Featured Presentation—Protect New Mexico’s Last Free- Flowing River

Walter “Ski” Szymanski, from Silver City, spoke about the Proposed Diversion of the Gila River. The project would divert water from the Gila River away from Arizona and to New Mexico (or Texas!) for use in agriculture and mining. New Mexico would be required to repay Arizona for the water, which is owned by the Gila River Indian Community.

It is a hugely complex situation with serious downsides. Ski asserted that there are effective water supply alternatives that are cheaper, faster, and easier than a diversion and pipeline. These alternatives would protect wildlife habitats and endangered species and maintain the Gila River as a treasured destination for campers, hikers, hunters, anglers, bird watchers, and nature lovers of all stripes.

Ski said that letters to elected officials are needed and that economic arguments are most likely to sway them.

For more information and to take action, visit the beautiful and content-rich Web site of the Gila Conservation Coalition.

Additional information can be found here at the Southwest Environmental Center Web site.

Last, but not least, a 9th grader in Silver City has initiated a petition addressed to the Interstate Stream Commission asking that the Gila River water not be diverted and piped to Deming (by way of the copper mines near Silver City) in order to facilitate development. You can add your name to the petition.

September Unified Action: Be Involved in the City Election

The 2013 election is crucial to determining the kind of city Las Cruces will be for at least the next 4 years. Our personal involvement with these campaigns makes a difference in the elections. As is the PVA tradition, September’s unified action is to be involved in the election by volunteering for a candidate or election-related activity or making a contribution to a candidate of your choice. Complete details are here.

For more information send email to Cheryl Frank, who coordinates all of our unified actions.

Councilor Pedroza Runs for Reelection

City Councilor Olga Pedroza asked for support as she runs for reelection to the Las Cruces City Council, District 3. She introduced her daughter, Xochitl, who is her volunteer coordinator. Olga asked for help knocking on doors and talking to voters and guaranteed that volunteers will have good food and good music.

For more information call Xochitl at 575-520-1695.

Councilor Sorg Runs Again in District 5

Gill Sorg gave thanks for past support and asked for support in his campaign for re-election to the Las Cruces City Council, District 5. Gill said he could easily reminisce about the City’s successes in the past four years (curbside recycling, for instance), but he wants to focus on the future. He is concerned about growing income inequality. He would like to see a minimum wage increase and public financing of campaigns. He wants to be part of working on the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which will set a course for the future.

For more information send email to Gill or call him at 575-644-0660.

J.R. Stewart Is Running for Sheriff in 2014

J.R. Stewart asked support in his campaign for Doña Ana County Sheriff. He noted his service in the U.S. Marine Corps and his 34 years as a police officer beginning in 1979. He talked about experiences as an accident investigator that led him to start a free car seat program and to get legislation enacted that prohibits minors from riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck. He received an award for his work from President Clinton.

For more information send email to J.R. or call him at 575-644-0650 and visit his Facebook page.

Candidates Meet at League of Women Voters Forum

Charlotte Lipson reminded everyone that the League of Women Voters will hold a forum for candidates in the municipal election. The forum will be televised live on Comcast Cable 20 and streamed on CLC TV.

League of Women Voters Forum for Candidates
Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 6 p.m.
City Hall Council Chamber

The following candidates have been invited:

District 3, Olga Pedroza, Bev Courtney
District 5, Gil M. Sorg, David B. Roewe
District 6, Cecelia H. Levatino, J. Mark Cobb, and Curtis J. Rosemond
Municipal Judge, Division II:  Kieran F. Ryan, Ben A Longwill

The League’s Voters’ Guide is scheduled to be published in the Las Cruces Sun-News on Monday, October 7.

For more information send email to Charlotte or call her at 575-527-4083.

Speak up for Wolves in Peril

Jeanne Ossorio said right-wing groups and billionaire extremists, including the Koch Brothers, are funding an attack on wolves. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now proposing to delist gray wolves and implement changes that threaten the survival and recovery of Mexican wolves. Only one hearing will be held on both proposals. Jean encouraged people to attend and stand up for the Mexican gray wolf.

Event to Save the Lobo
Embassy Suites, 1000 Woodward Place NE
Albuquerque, NM

3:30 p.m.  Tabling, free refreshments, sign-making, children’s art activities
4:00 p.m.  Training by Defenders of Wildlife
4:45 p.m.  Rally/Sign up for hearing
6:00 p.m.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hearing [CANCELED due to government shutdown, but because this so important, science and conservation groups throughout the four corners states and beyond will hold their rally.]

Join the event on Facebook. Visit Mexicanwolves.com to find out all the information you need to be informed and take action. [You can read Jean’s beautiful piece, Out Among Wolves.]

For more information send email to Jean or call her at 575-522-3112.

Southwest Environmental Center’s Big Party

Kevin Bixby, the executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center, seconded Jean’s wolf report and said that you can use this page on SWEC’s Web site to add your voice to the Mexican wolf recovery efforts.

Kevin invited everyone to SWEC’s annual fundraiser. The name has been changed (from On the River, For the River) but not the tradition of great food, drinks, music, and an incredible silent auction.

A Wild Night for Wildlife
Saturday, October 5, 6 to 10 p.m.
Main Street, in front of SWEC
Tickets are $50

Read all about it and buy tickets here. For more information send email to Kevin or call SWEC at 575-522-5552.

Library Woes

Alice Anderson has a book recommendation for you: Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds, by Jim Sterba. Unfortunately, this book is not available at the Branigan Library. They will get it for you, via interlibrary loan. The copy Alice finally received was borrowed from Kentucky. Alice reported that the library pays nearly as much for interlibrary loan books as they would pay to purchase a book outright. She said that the library gets rid of books that are not being read as well as books that are being read too much and are therefore worn out. Alice expressed concern that the library’s periodical collection is being decimated. She encouraged everyone to use the library and give the library feedback. “Not everything can be found online,” she said.

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

Climate Group

John Nelson announced that the Las Cruces chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby will meet on October 5 to listen to a national call regarding climate change and then discuss local actions that can be taken.

Citizens Climate Lobby, Las Cruces Chapter
Saturday, October 5, 11 a.m.
Las Cruces Academy, 1755 Avenida de Mercado

John suggested checking out Coursea.org. They offer online classes including a climate literacy class that John has taken and recommends. The courses are free and you can do as much or as little work as you want.

For more information send email to John or call him at 575-524-0663.

Steve Pearce Eats $170 Lunch, Taxpayers Get the Check

Ken Murray noted that Representative Pearce voted to cut basic food stamp assistance to more than 20,000 families in his district, when he voted to cut millions from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. ProgressNowNM recently discovered that Pearce often treats himself and his staff to food and charges it to the taxpayers. One lunch bill was for $170. Ken said, when you are a millionaire and you vote to take food out of the hands of some of the poorest families (60% with children under 18) in the country, while also making the taxpayers buy your meals, “that’s chutzpah.” ProgressNowNM created this letter to Representative Pearce, invoicing him for his spending.

For more information send email to Ken or call him at 575-382-9249.

Leslie Singh for Congress

Leslie Endean-Singh, who is running for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Steve Pearce, said she is running because she wants to represent the working families of southern New Mexico, and she is tired of the obstructionist Congress. She wants to support and strengthen the Affordable Care Act. She said southern New Mexico should be an energy leader when it comes to wind and solar energy and should be “unabashedly environmentally friendly.” She believes that oil and gas industries must be well regulated and environmentally responsible. She is willing to reach across the aisle, and she is the type of person who works hard and gets things accomplished. She is an attorney and is the business manager of her husband’s medical practice.

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

Let Pearce Know How You Feel About His SNAP Vote

Aletta Wilson said that if you are dismayed by the recent vote in the House of Representatives that cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 40 billion dollars, please let Representative Pearce know you are paying attention. Aletta asked people to email Pearce, and copy the press, with the message: “Please restore funds to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” Here are the email addresses:

Congressman Steve Pearce’s Chief of Staff, Todd Willens: todd.willen@mail.house.gov
Cc Las Cruces Sun News: wrubel@lcsun-news.com
Cc Las Cruces Bulletin: editor@lascrucesbulletin.com

For more information send email to Aletta or call her at 575-526-5058.

New Mexico Finishes … Last

Alan Webber, visiting from Santa Fe, congratulated Las Cruces on our social capital. However, he said New Mexico is being left behind. We have now dropped to dead last in job creation and child well-being. (See the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s detailed report on child and family well-being.) Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada are leaving us behind. He said that New Mexico is at a crossroads and we must work together to improve the quality of life for all our citizens.

For more information send email to Alan or call him at 505-983-4139.

CAFé and Shakti Rising at Work

Carli Romero invited people to help CAFe register voters at the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, September 28 and 29.

Café also invites the public to a meeting on raising the minimum wage.

Raise the Wage Campaign Meeting
Thursday, October 17, 7 p.m.
First Christian Church

Carli announced several upcoming gatherings and workshops happening at Shakti Rising, which is an “eclectic group of women and men who embrace leadership and transformation through a feminine lens–working in shared leadership, growing and healing in circle, connecting to nature, and weaving a network of community members dedicated to authentic, sustainable and conscious living.”

For more information send email to Carli or call her at 505-288-9716.

Health Security Fundraiser

Margaret Mendoza, local chair of Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, invited new members to help the group improve child well-being and create more health care jobs in New Mexico.  She invited everyone to the group’s fundraiser, which will be hosted by J. Paul Taylor at his historic home.

Health Security Fundraiser
Saturday, October 19, 4 to 6 p.m.
The Taylor-Barela-Reynolds Mesilla Plaza Monument

Contact Maury or Margaret to RSVP or to get more information.

Mark Cobb for City Council, District 6

Mark Cobb asked for support in his campaign for Las Cruces City Council, District 6. He talked about the need to increase our water supply, the long-term benefits of creating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and the importance of increasing the minimum wage.

For more information send email to Mark.

Progressive Book Club Has Lift Off

Wayne Miller announced the second meeting of a different kind of book club. The club is committed to read about and study critical issues such as climate change and water and apply their knowledge to building our community. The topic of the next meeting is “Community Resilience.”

Community Resilience Working Group
Tuesday, October 1, 6:30 p.m.
Community Enterprise Center
150 Main Street

For more information send email to Wayne or call him at 707-529-0709.

Two Points about Leslie Singh for Congress

Ann McCullough said she had 2 major points to make: 1) Leslie for Congress, and 2) Leslie for Congress. It’s that simple, she said. Ann praised Leslie as a candidate who has campaign skills and governing skills.

For more information send email to Ann and visit Leslie’s website here.

Support a Group That Gets Stuff Done for New Mexico’s Environment

Steve Fischmann announced that he and his wife, Sandy Katayanagi, are hosting a fundraiser to benefit Conservation Voters New Mexico. Steve characterized the group as the premier lobbying group for the environment.

Fundraiser for Conservation Voters New Mexico
Thursday, October 17, 5 to 7 p.m.
Steve and Sandy’s Home
4848 Deadwood Camp Court, Las Cruces
RSVP to Allison@cvnm.org or 505-992-8683 by Monday, October 14

For more information send email to Steve.

Curtis Childress Seeks Sheriff Position

Curtis Childress, candidate for Doña Ana County Sheriff, invited us to visit his website and to consider volunteering to help with his campaign.

For more information send email to Curtis.

Pat Welcomes Volunteers to Cobb Campaign

Pat Aguirre invited volunteers to help with the all-important job of canvassing for Mark Cobb. She noted that District 6 has the largest voter block and Mark has 2 opponents. Pat said, “Mark is a good person and a quality candidate. God forbid he doesn’t win! Please help us walk and call.”

Pat announced a joint fundraiser for Mark and Gill Sorg (current District 5 City Councilor). Hosts for the event are Sharon Thomas, Wayne Hancock, Scott Krahling, Jane Asche, Carol Reynolds, and Debra Melcher.

Gill Sorg & Mark Cobb Fundraiser
Tuesday, October 1, 6 p.m.
Los Compas Restaurant
1120 Commerce Drive (Off Telshor/across from Sam’s Club)

For more information send email to Pat or call her at 575-532-5727.

Don’t Leave Tipped Workers Out of Minimum Wage

Jan Thompson said that it’s important that tipped workers are remembered and included in any discussions about increasing the minimum wage.

She recommended Behind the Kitchen Door: What Every Diner Should Know About the People Who Feed Us, saying, “Read it. Please!”

For more information send email to Jan.

Gill Sorg’s Campaign Welcomes Volunteers

Joanne Ferrary, who is helping on City Councilor Gill Sorg’s reelection campaign, said they would greatly appreciate help canvassing, making phone calls, and distributing yard signs.

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

Endorsement for Leslie Singh from a Longtime Friend and Coworker

Howard Barkley said he supports Leslie Endean-Singh for US Congress. He worked alongside Leslie in Alamogordo, when they both worked hard for the Democratic Party in Otero County. Howard said Leslie is a hard worker, she is passionate, and she is “diametrically opposite of everything that Steve Pearce is.”

For more information send email to Howard or call him at 575-521-0011.

Seek an Alternative to Raising the Gross Receipts Tax

Bob Libby questioned whether the City should raise the Gross Receipts Tax, which was the topic of PVA’s August featured presentation by Las Cruces City Manager, Robert Garza. Bob asked, “How about repealing the law that caused the problem in the first place?” (That would be repealing the repeal of NM’s Hold Harmless provision). He invited people to join him in discussing this possibility.

For more information send email to Bob or call him at 575-652-3091.

Great Conversations

Randy Harris, facilitator of over 600 Great Conversations, invited everyone to a Great Conversation about renewable energy in New Mexico.

Everyone who has an interest is invited and welcome to join in this civil and deliberative dialogue.

Renewable Energy and Jobs in New Mexico
Wednesday October 2, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Community Enterprise Center
125 N. Main St., Las Cruces
Sponsored by The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce

Randy invited us to sign up for a weekly email announcing the Great Conversation topics and meeting places. He promised that there will be “no spam, no noise, no monkey business” and that, if you don’t like the emails, unsubscribing is simple.

For more information send email to Randy or call him at 575-640-1999.

Frank Gonzales for Undersheriff

Frank Gonzales, candidate for undersheriff of Doña Ana County, spoke of his 27 years’ experience with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He praised his running mate, J.R. Stewart, and asked for support.

For more information send email to Frank or call him at 575-649-4901.

Help Decide What Will Become of Our Precious “A” Mountain

A friend of Peter Goodman’s announced a community meeting regarding the zoning of the southern portion of the Doña Ana Sand and Gravel property on Dripping Springs Road. The County is seeking public input.

Monday, September 30, 6:30 p.m.
New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum,
4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces

For more information call Peter Goodman at 575-521-0424.

PVA’s Web Site Is Inching Closer to Ready

Judy Zimmerman promised that the redesign of pva-nm.org is almost finished and the Web site should be live in a matter of days. She warned everyone that there will be plenty of glitches to fix and welcomed feedback.

For more information send email to Judy.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, October 24, 7 p.m.
Munson Center

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