PVA Meeting Recap – February 25, 2010

County Clerk Sheds Light on Elections

Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins gave a detailed and riveting account of the 2008 election in Doña Ana County. The accusations of voter fraud, including the 46 dead voters, were unfounded. (The details are here.)

Improvements for the future include new sorting equipment, ballot tracking technology, and adequate staffing. Lynn noted that 16- and 17-year olds will now be allowed to work at the polls and gave that legislation a thumbs up.

For more information send email to Lynn, call him at 575-525-6156, or visit the Bureau of Elections online.

Unified Action Update from January Wilderness Hearing

There was a great response to the January unified action which asked participants to support the wilderness legislation introduced by Senators Bingaman and Udall by attending the senate hearing at NMSU on February 15 or by writing or calling the senators.

For more information send email to Nathan.

New Unified Action

Cathilia Flores introduced the February unified action in which participants ask Senator Tom Udall to co-sponsor the cap-and-dividend legislation introduced by Senators Collins and Cantrell. Visit the February unified action page for full details.

For more information send email to Cathilia.

Microbank Annual Report Is Here

Connie Richardson brought the annual report of Tiyesenaw, “our” microcredit bank, located in Mchinji in the central region of Malawi. The bank is in its fifth lending cycle and has currently made loans totaling $2,829.79 to 15 small businesses including shops, groceries, second clothing, bicycle transporting, empty sacks, chips, and maize. Connie did all the organizing for the bank, which is part of the FINCA network, and PVA members together made the $5000 in contributions that established the bank in July 2007.

A photo of the small business owners is here and a list of loans is here.

For more information send email to Connie or call her at 575-523-5767.

Report from Senator Bingaman’s Office

Greg Bloom, Senator Bingaman’s state director commended the community for their support of environmental protection and the excellent turnout at the Senate hearing on wilderness held February 15 at NMSU.

With regard to health care reform, he noted that Senator Bingaman’s support for a public option, if that should materialize, and his support of the reconciliation process to pass the health care reform legislation if necessary. He reminded us that New Mexico has the second highest rate of citizens without health care insurance (second to Texas) as well as higher-than- average rates of health care related bankruptcy.

For more information visit Senator Bingaman’s Web site.

Doris Montoya Endorses Harry Montoya for Land Commissioner

Doris spoke in support of her husband, Harry Montoya, who is running for state land office commissioner. She highlighted his accomplishments as a Santa Fe County Commissioner since 2002, pointing out his commitment to renewable energy, protection of the environment, and transparency in government.

For more information send email to Harry, call him at 505-920-0992, or visit his campaign Web site.

Green Chamber Rocks

Gary Camuñez summed up the recent activites of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. Their 300 members intend to affiliate with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).

They have instituted a first Friday lecture series with the next lecture to be “The Triple Bottom Line,” March 5, noon to 1 p.m., at the Mountain View Market. Full information about the first Friday series is here.

They will be rolling out a “buy local” campaign. Gary pointed out that when you buy from a local merchant 45% of the  money spent stays in the local community, whereas when you buy from a big box store  13% of the sale stays local.

For more information send email to Gary or call him at 561-702-3771.

Doña Ana Hungry in Desperate Need

A representative of Casa de Peregrinos told of their desperate need for food and donations. Contributions are down 86% and the client load is up 10% this year. She urged people to contribute money or food as generously as possible.

For more information call 575-523-5542, send email to casadepere@yahoo.com, or visit their Web site.

$9.4 Million for Developmentally Disabled Not Being Used

The mother of a child with developmental disabilities informed us that her child and many others have been on a waiting list for services for four years. She stated that 9.4 million dollars has been allocated for services (known as the  DD Waiver Program), but the funds have not been released. She urged us to call our elected representatives and demand the release of the DD Waiver funds. You can read more about the situation here.

For more information send email to melissasoulshine@yahoo.com.

Kent Yalkut for Magistrate Judge

Kent asked for our support in his campaign for magistrate judge. He summarized his experience as a lawyer in Las Cruces including work as an assistant district attorney, a municipal judge, and special assistant to the attorney general handling cases for the State Office of Guardianship.

For more information call Kent at 575-621-5820.

Leonor Delgado for Poll Workers and Judge Arrieta

First, in her role as leader of voter protection efforts, Leonor announced that the Democratic Party is looking for poll workers.

Second, in her role as treasurer for Judge Arrieta’s campaign, she described the judge as a “hometown boy made good” and urged us to support his campaign.

For more information about either topic, send email to Leonor or call her at 575-523-0286.

Senator Fischmann Needs Help

Bob Hearn let us know that Senator Fischmann is in need of diversion. At the time of the meeting he was confined to Room 617 at Memorial Medical Center with a case of phlebitis—not life threatening—but Steve feels he may die of cabin fever. You can send Steve an entertaining, distracting email, visit him, or send email to Bob Hearn for more suggestions.

Billy Garrett for County Commission District 1

Billy asked for our support as he runs for the District 1 seat on the Doña Ana County Commission. He noted that a county commissioner needs to see beyond potholes and zoning applications and work for the long term good of the entire county.

For more information send email to Billy.

Diane Denish to Visit Las Cruces

Denish staffer Tomás Talamante said that Diane Denish will be in Las Cruces for the Democratic County Convention on Saturday, February 27. He reminded us that, if elected, she would be New Mexico’s first woman governor.

For more information send email to Tomás or visit the campaign Web site.

Jerry Ortiz y Pino for Lt. Governor

Jerry asked for our support in his campaign for lieutenant governor. He spoke of his 40 years’ experience as a social worker and observed that the working families in New Mexico seem to him to be far more progressive than their elected officials. He reminded us that getting out the vote will be crucial for Democratic successes in the November election.

For more information send email to Jerry, visit his campaign Web site, or give him a call at 505-243-1509 or 505-250-1280 (cell).

Neri Holguin Endorses Ray Powell for Land Office

Neri spoke as campaign manager for Ray Powell in his run for land commissioner. She referred to the role that Las Crucens have played in exposing problems with the current land office. She spoke of Powell’s experience, past successes in the land office, and his commitment to transparency.

For more information send email to Ray or visit his campaign Web site.

Amigos de los Robledos Oppose Wastewater Treatment Plant

Cathie Leslie spoke in opposition to a wastewater treatment plant that has been proposed for a site on Hope Road in the north valley, adjacent to the Rio Grande. In addition to the problematic location, she asserted that the plant is not needed and would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

For more information send email to Cathie or visit with her at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning.

Bill McCamley for PRC

Bill asked for our support in his campaign for the Public Regulation Commission. He reminded us of the important role the PRC will play in the regulation of health insurance companies. He sounded a note of populist anger concerning corporate profit taking.

For more information send email to Bill or visit his campaign Web site.

Jane Asche Endorses Ortiz y Pino

Jane Asche spoke in support of Jerry Ortiz y Pino for lieutenant governor, characterizing him as “the progressive candidate of my dreams.” She noted his 45-year record of commitment to health care, education, the environment, and ethics reform.

Jane also urged us to give generously to Casa de Peregrinos and said she would be available to accept donations.

For more information send email to Jane or call her at 575-532-8087.

Al Galves Endorses Ortiz y Pino

Al Galves stated his support for Jerry Ortiz y Pino, pointing out that he is particularly impressed with Jerry’s commitment to solving problems, citing behavioral health and dropout rates as two areas in particular where Jerry has worked to find solutions.

For more information call Al Galves at 575-522-8371.

Brian Colón for Lt. Governor

Brian asked for our support as he runs for lieutenant governor. He noted his ties to Las Cruces—he met his wife here, his son was born here, and he attended NMSU. He spoke of his commitment to education and the economy. He stated that as former chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party he worked for an a party platform that included the concerns of progressives.

For more information send email to Brian, visit the campaign Web site, or (in a PVA first!) follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.

Evelyn Erhard Endorses Lawrence Rael for Lt. Governor

Evelyn spoke in support of Lawrence Rael and told that Lawrence knew when he was in high school that he wanted to be a public servant and has pursued that goal with tenacity. She related his accomplishments in public service including the Railrunner, keeping Kirkland Air Force Base open, and standing for the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

For more information send email to Evelyn or call her at 575-524-0803.

Judge Mannie Arrieta

Judge Arrieta returned to ask for our support as he runs to retain his seat on the Third District Court. He mentioned that he recently completed his first year on the bench; he likes the job and wants to continue. His work has centered on home and family issues, foreclosures, and credit card cases. He will have an opponent in the general election.

For more information send email to Judge Arrieta.

Health Security for New Mexicans

Martha Stephens announced that there will be a Health Security for New Mexicans meeting in Albuquerque on Saturday, March 6. She pointed out that two important health bills passed the legislature and are waiting for the governor’s signature. One bill prevents insurance companies from using gender as a factor when determining insurance rates, and the other sets standards for the percentage of premiums that must go toward patient care.

For more information or to form a car pool to Albuquerque, send email to Martha.

Good News for Otero Mesa

Jason Burke, canvass director for SWEC (Southwest Environmental Center), announced that Otero Mesa is one of 14 sites being considered for National Monument status. On Earth Day, SWEC will publish a full-page Sun-News ad in support of the National Monument idea. They are seeking signatures and contributions to help pay for the ad. Jason reminded us of the mesa’s desert grasslands, pronghorns, and an aquifer large enough to serve one million people for one hundred years.

For more information send email to Jason or call him at 575-915-2766.

Democratic Women

Judy Baker, president of Democratic Women of Doña Ana County, invited everyone to attend their next monthly meeting:

Saturday, March 6, 10 a.m.
Farm and Ranch Museum

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Bonnie Eisenberg has been invited to speak about women’s suffrage. The talk will be Thursday, March 18, at 7 p.m., with “fortifications” starting at 5:30 p.m.

For more information call Judy at 575-640-7942.

Single Stream Recycling for Las Cruces

Al McBrayer announced that Las Cruces now has single stream recycling (no sorting required) available at several sites. It is a step toward curbside recycling, aka, a step in the right direction.  As part of that single stream, plastics will now be accepted for recycling in Las Cruces.

On Earth Day, April 17, there will be a recycling event in Young Park from noon to 3 p.m. including a not-to-be-missed demonstration of single stream recycling.

For more information send email to Al or call him at 575-541-9667.

Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) Working on Major Issues

Al Kissling announced that the PDA’s criminal justice task force is working on treatment alternatives for drug abusing offenders. They will also be working on health care and immigration issues, and Al invited the participation of all those interested in these major issues.

For more information call Al at 575-521-0032.

Laun Smith Endorses Judge Arrieta

Laun spoke of his work as a parenting coordinator for the district court. In that capacity he has seen Judge Arrieta’s ability to work effectively with troubled families. Laun asserted that Judge Arrieta is “an asset to the community and should be retained.”

For more information send email to Laun or call him at 575-524-3076.

Peter Ossorio on Poll Workers, Favored Candidates, and the ACLU

Peter had three points to make. First, he noted that the impressionable 16 and 17 year olds who will now be able to work at the polls deserve to see the best, most qualified poll workers available. (So please sign up to be a role model!) Second, he announced his intention to support Judge Mannie Arrieta, Ray Powell, and Brian Colon. Third, the ACLU is still treating new members to the big donor treatment—coffee at International Delights with the ACLU big wigs.

For more information send email to Peter.

Probate Judge Alice Salcido

Judge Salcido asked for our support as she seeks retention as probate judge. She reminded us of her five years of experience in the position and her ongoing efforts to educate the public regarding the work of the probate judge’s office.

For more information send email to Judge Salcido or call her at 575-523-0701.

Calling All Film Lovers

Pat Aguirre invited everyone to support the sixth annual White Sands International Film Festival (WSIFF) scheduled April 15-18 in Las Cruces. She pointed out the economic and cultural benefits and opportunities the festival brings to our community and invited volunteers to join her in supporting the festival.

For more information send email to Pat, call her at 575-532-5127, or visit WSIFF online.

Commissioner Krahling

Scott Krahling brought news of the county’s slow but steady progress toward the creation of an alternative energy financing district (AEFD). The NM Association of Counties is developing ordinances for the AEFD’s. Doña Ana County is working out the details and will, in several months, create its own AEFD.

For more information send email to Scott.

Energy Update from Mark Westbrock

Mark announced that the New Mexico Solar Energy Association will be teaching classes in Las Cruces in the near future and needs a location where they can demonstrate the solar installation process. They are looking for a nonprofit organization that owns a building and would to like to have a solar installation at bargain prices.

Mark reminded us that Bill McKibben will be speaking about climate change at NMSU on March 11, 7:30 p.m., at the Pan Am Center. McKibben in an internationally known climate change expert and activist. You can read about McKibben here, and visit his Web site.

For more information send email to Mark or call him at 575-524-2030 or 575-640-2432 (cell).

The Bob Blog—Must Read

Bob Diven announced the launching of a new Web site, The Church of bob, an outgrowth of “Happy Birthday Darwin.” He promised the site will include sermons, book reviews, and all of his cartoons that have been rejected by The New Yorker magazine.

For more information visit thechurchofbob.com.

Alex Cotoia for NM Education Commission

Alex asked for our support in his campaign for New Mexico Education Commission, District 7. He spoke of his experience in politics and argued for the advantages of having diverse points of view—including that of a younger generation—on the commission.

For more information send email to Alex or call him at 505-310-2882.

Dennis Montoya for NM Court of Appeals

Dennis Montoya asked for our support in his run for the New Mexico Court of Appeals. He noted his many years as a civil rights lawyer. He explained that he is seeking public campaign financing and will take no contributions from special interests. To qualify for public financing he needs donations of $5 each from 1,100 individuals. Forms and instructions for contributing can be found on his Web site, DennisWMontoya.com.

For more information send email to Dennis, call him at 505-246-8499, or visit his campaign Web site.

Invitation to Meet Jerry Ortiz y Pino

Cathilia Flores invited everyone to meet Jerry Ortiz y Pino at one of three functions on Friday, February 26.

Cathilia also put in a plug for the movie “Creation” and entreated everyone to ask the Fountain Theater to put it on their schedule. “Creation” is a new film about the life of Charles Darwin, starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly.

For more information send email to Cathilia.

Invitation to Meet Brian Colón

Chris Salas invited everyone to have breakfast with Brian Colón at the Dickerson Event Center on Saturday, February 27.

For more information send email to Chris.

Mary Helen Ratje Endorses Ella Nelson for Mayor of Mesilla

Mary Helen introduced Ella Nelson and spoke of her qualifications for the office of mayor of Mesilla, vouching for her progressive ideas for the town’s growth and her vision for the town’s future.

For more information send email to Mary Helen.

Update from Representative Joseph Cervantes

Joseph began by assuring us that legislators “are getting your emails and calls and we’re listening.” He brought good news from the state legislature, pointing to progress on ethics reform and significant funding (10 million) for the state’s colonias.

For more information send email to Joseph.

One Peace at a Time

Jim Moore reminded us that local peace enthusiasts have arranged for the showing of a topnotch film—One Peace at a Time—Saturday, March 13, 10 a.m., at the Fountain Theater in Mesilla.

The showing is a fundraiser for a regional peace conference to be held in June 2010, and you will have an opportunity to made a donation. The size of the donation is up to you.

Netflix summed it up like this:

Contemplating the possibility of ensuring that every child receives basic human rights, filmmaker Turk Pipkin travels to 20 countries seeking insight from Nobel Laureates Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Yunus, Steve Chu, and many others. This compelling documentary also features comments from Queen Rania of Jordan and musician Willie Nelson, along with music by Ben Harper, Bob Dylan, Jack Johnson, Cat Stevens and more.

For more information send email to Jim or to Tim Reed.

Stats from the County Clerk

Lynn Ellins made knows that DAC has been allotted one new magistrate position and now has six magistrate districts. He shared some attention-getting voter registration figures for the county. Of the voters who state a party affiliation, 54% are Democrats and 46% are Republicans. However, for all voters the picture is different.

DAC Registered Voters
Democrats 52%
Republicans 29%
Unaffiliated 19%

For more information send email to Lynn.

Representative Jeff Steinborn at Work in Santa Fe

Nathan Small brought greetings from Jeff Steinborn who was unable to attend. He noted Jeff’s leadership in Santa Fe and mentioned two accomplishments in the just-completed session. One piece of legislation lowers the tax burden for New Mexico veterans and another will increase transparency in state government through expanded provisions for Webcasting.

For more information send email to Jeff, or call him at 575-635-5615.

Our next meeting will be
March 25, 2010, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center*

*If the Munson Senior Center is still being repaired, we will meet at the Mesilla Park Recreation Center. 304 W. Bell Avenue, Mesilla Park.


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