PVA Meeting Recap – August 24, 2006

Current working groups

Health Care Reform

John Ameriks, Cathilia Flores, and Sharon Thomas gave an excellent overview of the precarious state of health care in the United States, and an explanation of insurance reform plans, including single payer, which are be considered by New Mexico and other states. If you would like more information, or would like to schedule a presentation for a class or organization, contact Sharon at skthomas_10@msn.com or 521-9314.

Curbside Recycling

Jeff Steinborn thanked PVA members for their activism on the curbside recycling issue, and said our efforts played an important role in bringing all the councilors into a general agreement that curbside recycling should be done. There are still some hurdles, including a series of hearings in September and October, where the public will be allowed to comment. The Curbside Recycling group will continue to notify previous participants in the Unified Actions on this issue about the hearings and other activities to finally make curbside recycling a reality in Las Cruces. If you want to be part of that group, or for more information, contact Jeff at polidub@aol.com or Brigitte Hines at brshines@hotmail.com.

Executive Committee

Don Kurtz reported that the PVA will continue to meet on the fourth Thursday of each month through September and October, followed by a special “Reflections on the 2006 Election” meeting on November 14. He asked PVA working groups not to include the PVA designation in public presentations, communications, etc. since the PVA as a whole does not endorse specific stands or strategies, nor does it endorse candidates. Everyone is welcome to participate in the PVA Executive Committee meetings, which are held on the second Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in room 7 of the Mesilla Park Recreation Center. For more information, contact Don at donkurtz@nmsu.edu.

PVA Scholarship

Brigitte Hines announced that applications for the PVA scholarship, which provides financial assistance for one progressive NMSU and one progressive Doña Ana Community College student next spring, can be accessed via the PVA website. For more information about the scholarship, contact Brigitte at brshines@hotmail.com.

Energy Efficiency

Brigitte Hines reported on their group’s recent visit to a biodiesel plant in Silver City, where used cooking oil from restaurants is being converted into diesel fuel. She also described energy issues involving the new City Hall, and ways to encourage the city to design it in an energy-efficient way. For more information about this group, which is involved in all types of alternative energy generation and conservation, contact Brigitte at brshines@hotmail.com.

Preserve the Las Cruces Country Club as a City Park

Anna Juarez reported that there is still a possibility that the beautifully landscaped Las Cruces Country Club land, recently sold to a developer, can still be preserved as a city park. For that to happen, the councillors need to hear from citizens that this is a priority. To that end, Anna passed a petition advocating that the city purchase the land from the developer. She will continue to work with other citizens interested in this project. For more information, contact Anna at aljuarez@zianet.com.


Anthony Avallone announced that a class providing an in-depth study of democracy will again be offered in Las Cruces, meeting for two hours on three successive Tuesdays in September. For information, contact Anthony at afavallone@zianet.com.

New Working Groups

Microcredit Banking

Connie Richardson encouraged others to join her in one of the best activities to alleviate severe poverty in developing area—small capital loans to producers so they can begin larger-scale production of their wares. To find out more about microcredit banking, or to join Connie in this enterprise, contact her at conniericha@peoplepc.com.

Understanding NMSU’s Impact on the Community

Mary Wiggs and Donna Medina reported on the current state of negotiations for AFSCME, after their successful campaign for unionization of NMSU’s nonprofessional staff. They announced that they are forming a group to study NMSU’s impact on the Las Cruces community, and understand how people can have better input into the University’s decision-making process. For more information, contact Mary at 526-2625 or Donna at 644-3562, or email them at info@afscmenmsu.org.

Progressive Lunch Group

Having grown tired of conservative conversations at a weekly lunch group he was attending, Zell Cantrell proposed that interested progressives meet weekly for lunch and a better brand of conversation. If you’re interested, contact Zell at zcantrell4@msn.com.

Other Organizations and General Announcements

Colonias Development Council

Diana Bustamante and Sheila Black of the Colonias Development Council reported on their long legal effort to insure that Chaparral residents have ultimate control over a large landfill going into the center of a residential area. The case has implications for community groups everywhere, and they need our help. To participate or find out more, contact Diana at dbustamante@zianet.com or Sheila at sheilafblack@hotmail.com.

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Nathan Small reported on progress toward wilderness designation for several areas in Doña Ana County, including a period of public input that will continue through September and October. He also played a new commercial for the Wilderness Alliance that features many local residents. For information on the public input process or other issues regarding Doña Ana County wilderness, contact Nathan at nathansmall@nmwild.org. Visit the Web site to read the organization’s core values statement and learn how you can be involved.

La Casa Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence

Ann McCullough announced “All Dolled Up,” a fashion show and art auction to benefit La Casa shelter for victims of domestic violence, which will be Saturday, September 30, from 6-9 p.m., at White Raven Studios, 425 W. Griggs in Las Cruces. For more information, contact Ann at anniemac@zianet.com.

Network for spiritual Progressives

Kathleen Erickson urged PVA’ers to learn more about the Network of Spiritual Progressives by going to the group’s Web site at http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/ The network is dedicated to challenging the misuse of religion in the public arena, and to challenging many anti-religious and anti-spiritual assumptions that have increasingly become part of liberal culture. If you want to be involved with these ideas on a local level, please contact Kathleen at katherickson@earthlink.net.

Campaign 2006

PVA Involvement in the 2006 Elections

The second half of the meeting was devoted to activities surrounding the upcoming 2006 election. The PVA does not endorse candidates, but rather seeks to make its members aware of a wide variety of ways to be involved in political campaigns and activities. Many of these are summarized under Campaign 2006 campaign on the PVA homepage. Please visit this site and pick your area to be involved!

America Votes

We heard from Jennifer Ford, the state director of America Votes, a nationwide political coalition of over 20 million members of the country’s largest unions, environmental groups, and progressive political organizations. Jennifer has invited the PVA to affiliate with the organization, and was in Las Cruces to publicize a free political training for Hispanic activists in New Mexico, which will be held in Albuquerque the weekend of September 16 and 17. A van will be going up from Las Cruces, and accommodations and other expenses are paid. For more information about the organization, go to the America Votes Web site or call Jennifer at (505) 250-3644.


Candidates and candidate representatives who appeared included:

Karen Perez, candidate for County Commission, District 3
More about Karen

Jeff Steinborn, candidate for State Representative in District 37
More about Jeff

Dave Anderson on behalf of Al Kissling, candidate for US Congress, District 2.
More about Al

Laura Garcia on behalf of Governor Bill Richardson
More about Bill


The next PVA meeting will be
Thursday, September 28, 7-9 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite.


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