This month’s Unified Action involves fixing some language in the Voter Identification law passed last year, which, if it is not corrected, could disenfranchise thousands of voters! All information is available here.
As always, please let us know “I did it!” by replying to the recap email, or by using the link provided.
Jennifer Ford and Michelle Penson traveled from Albuquerque to tell us how to get involved in American Votes, which is a coalition of over 44 national organizations and 26 New Mexico organizations, representing some of the largest labor, environmental, and human rights groups in the country.
America Votes is involved in elections but on an issue basis. It provides member organizations with staff training, access to a shared voter file, and support in building membership that will be active in the electoral process. One of its goals is to coordinate Get Out the Vote efforts by its member organizations. While the America Votes state office is in Albuquerque, it wants to hire a Southern New Mexico coordinator soon. If you are a member of a group that could benefit from support from America Votes, send email to Jennifer.
Update on Health Reform at the current legislative session
Cathilia Flores outlined the key health reform bills currently being considered by the New Mexico legislature. The first is the bill promoted by Governor Bill Richardson, which would mandate that each New Mexican demonstrate proof of insurance by 2010 in order to get a driver’s license, submit a tax return, or do almost any other state-related task. Private insurance companies are key to this plan, and legislative support is lukewarm for this proposal.
Another bill, proposed by long-time progressive legislators Dede Feldman and Danice Picraux would create a Health Care Authority which could have private insurance representation, charged with studying healthcare in New Mexico for the next 2 years. The cost of the Health Care Authority is $600,000 for each of the next two years.
Finally, there is the Health Security Act, which would set up a cooperative-style insurance plan that allows for freedom of choice of provider throughout the state and across state lines, and would ensure adequate, affordable coverage for all New Mexicans. Legislative and popular support continues to build for this plan, and a full day of committee testimony was scheduled on each of these proposals over the past weekend. For more information on all of this, send email to Cathilia.
PVA Past and Present
PVA Executive Committee chair Don Kurtz reminded everyone that the PVA as an organization does not endorse specific candidates or issues, and that the PVA meeting has evolved into a marketplace of ideas, where everyone can use his or her two minutes to attract people to specific candidates and causes. Even the Unified Action, in which participants pledge to take action once a month on a common issue, can be skipped if the participant disagrees with the action being taken. For more information about PVA policies and processes, send email to Don, or contact any of the Executive Committee members.
2008 Legislative Response Team
Jim Moore invited us to participate in the 2008 Legislative Response Team, which involves Jim sending participants Action Alerts from a variety of progressive organizations around the state. In all cases, the Alerts ask participants to make a few phone calls or send a few email messages to legislators on behalf of important progressive legislation. Over 70 PVAers are currently participating – if you want to join them, send email to Jim.
Connie Richardson reported that the PVA-sponsored Microcredit Bank in Malawi is up and running! The bank was established via a fund-raising effort spearheaded by Connie over the past year, and the $5,000 raised by her efforts put the Tiyesenawo ( “Come Along, Share with Me”) Bank into operation in Mchinji, in Malawi’s central region. Thirteen loans have been made so far, the largest of which was for $146.28 for a new produce and butchering operation in the village. For a complete report on the bank, or for more information, send email to Connie.
Progressive Music at the Rio Grande Theater
Marc Robert wanted us know that Emma’s Revolution will perform at the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces on Sunday, February 3, 2008, at 7 p.m. Emma’s Revolution consists of Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow; called the “true spirit-child of Woody Guthrie,” activist musician and award-winning songwriter Pat Humphries has written and performed at peace and justice events around the world. Tickets are available at Hubbard’s Music ‘N More, Mountain Music, and Enchanted Gardens Nursery, all in Las Cruces, $10 and $12 in advance, and $15 at the door. For more information about the music, visit the group’s Web site and for more information about the event itself, call Marc at 571-7435. This will be a great show!
Development and Severe Mistreatment Across the Border
Neil Harvey informed us about the violence being used against residents of Lomas del Poleo, a small community just across the border from Sunland Park, New Mexico, as a large Mexican developer, who is working on joint development projects with companies on this side of the border, tries to remove them from land where they have lived for the last 30 years. For news about this, visit the Paso del Sur Web site. In addition, if you would like to be part of a group studying development along the border, call Neil at 646-6816.
Global Climate Change Symposium
Connie Falk reported that Focus the Nation, an unprecedented educational initiative on global warming solutions, will take place at more than 1,000 universities and colleges in all 50 states on January 31. New Mexico State will be one of the participants, with events beginning on the evening of Wednesday, January 30, and continuing with a full day of panels, films, and other presentations on Thursday, January 31. For more information visit Focus the Nation.
Small Farms Institute Update
Sandy Geiger reported on the current status of the Small Farms Institute, which last year received $200,000 from the state legislature to create the Sustainable Agriculture Research Center at New Mexico State University. New positions for the institute are being created and will be filled in July of this year. For more information, send email to Sandy.
The Emerging Green Collar Economy
Gary Camuñez announced that the area organization Local Solutions will put on an all-day conference in March, The Emerging Green Collar Economy—Turning Passions into Paychecks. The conference will be held on Saturday, March 8, at the Court Youth Center. If you would like to help plan or present at the conference, send email to Gary.
Sunland Park Mayoral Candidate Forum
Olga Arguelles of the Sunland Park Grassroots Environmental Group announced a forum for mayoral candidates in Sunland Park, which will take place on Wednesday, February 6, at 6:30 p.m., at the Desert View Elementary School, located at 105 Valle Vista in Sunland Park. For more information, send email to Olga.
Bri Hines reported that recycling in the Las Cruces area continues to move forward, through a variety of initiatives. If you want more information or would like to work on improving the recycling climate in this area, send email to Bri.
Democratic Presidential Caucus on Tuesday, February 5
Christy French announced that the Democratic Presidential Caucus will be held on Tuesday, February 5, from noon until 7 p.m. Only Democrats registered after January 4, 2008, will be eligible to participate. For information about your polling place, go here and click on <Presidential Caucus 2008> in the far left column. For any other questions, send email to Christy.
Bill McCamley for Congress
Bill McCamley spoke about his hard work as a candidate for U.S. Representative in the Second Congressional District, introduced his campaign manager Mike Moore, and asked for our support. For more information, visit Bill’s campaign Web site.
Noted Peace Activist to Speak
Steve Klinger (who does such a great job with the local Grassroots Press) announced that Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space will speak on Friday, February 8, 2008, at 7 p.m. at the Southwest Environmental Center, 275 N. Downtown Mall. To see a flyer of the event, click here, and For more information about the Las Cruces event call Steve at 524-0122 or send him an email.
John Nelson for Mesilla Trustee
PVA founding father John Nelson announced that he would be running to retain his seat on the Mesilla Board of Trustees in the March 4 election. John’s campaign flyer is here or if you would like to help John, call him at 524-0663.
Hillary Clinton for President
Puja Bhatia of the Hillary Clinton campaign asked for our support and help in campaigning for the upcoming Presidential Caucus. To get involved, go by Clinton headquarters in the AFSCME Building, 120 Wyatt Drive, or email Puja.
Harry Teague for Congress
Scott Burns from the Harry Teague Campaign appeared to ask for our support for Harry’s candidacy for U.S. Representative in the Second Congressional District. For more information, visit Harry’s Web site.
Scott Krahling for County Commission
Scott Krahling announced his candidacy for the Doña Ana County Commission in District 4 and asked for our support. Scott, a Democrat, is seeking the seat that is currently held by Republican Kent Evans. For more information about his candidacy, email Scott.
Home Solar Energy Workshop
Local solar energy contractor Mark Westbrock will lead a workshop on Home Energy Efficiency and Grid-tied Solar Electricity on Friday, February 1, at 6 p.m., at the Southwest Environmental Center, 275 N. Downtown Mall. For more information view the event flyer or send email to Mark.
Divided We Fail
Dolores Halls described Divided We Fail, which is a national movement originated by AARP, and which holds that access to health care and long-term financial security are the key issues facing the people of our country today. For more information, visit the organization’s Web site, or send email to Dolores.
Frank McKinnon for Congress
Frank McKinnon, candidate for U.S. Representative in the Second Congressional District, spoke to the group and asked for our support. For more information about his candidacy, visit his Web site.
Barack Obama for President
Tyler Lechtenberg and Justo Robles of the Barack Obama presidential campaign spoke on their candidate’s behalf and asked for our support and help in campaigning for the upcoming Presidential Caucus on Tuesday, February 5. Their headquarters is at 212 W. Hadley (at the corner of Hadley and Water). To get involved, stop in there or call Tyler at 505-205-6689.
Poll Worker Positions Available
Peter Ossorio reported that there is a need for poll workers for the June primary and November general elections. Poll judges are paid $125 per election day worked. If you would like to work as a poll judge, send email to Peter.
Maria Rodriguez for Magistrate Judge
Nancy Abeyta spoke on behalf of Maria Rodiguez, candidate for Magistrate Judge in Doña Ana County. If you would like to help with Maria’s campaign, contact her at 526-1668
Improving the Situation for Animals in Doña Ana County
Al Solomon spoke about the 12,000 dogs and cats who are euthanized every year at the local animal shelter, and the need for pet licensing and a Spay and Neuter ordinance in the city and county. If you would like to join in the effort to make this happen, send email to Al.
Al Kissling for Congress
Al Kissling asked our support for his candidacy for U.S. Representative in the Second Congressional District. If you would like more information or to help on Al’s campaign, please visit his Web site.
Tom Udall for Senate
Ella Nelson spoke on behalf of Tom Udall for U.S. Senate in New Mexico. If you would like to sign his nominating petition, contact Ella at 524-0663.
Southwest Environmental Center
Gregg Henry spoke on behalf of the Southwest Environmental Center, which has been at the very center of the local environmental effort for many years. There are still tickets available for the raffle of a 2008 Prius, to benefit the Center. The drawing is scheduled for Thursday, February 14, at 5:30 p.m., at a special Valentine’s Day gathering at SWEC, 275 N. Downtown Mall. In addition to the drawing, there will be champagne and chocolate for all. For more information, email Gregg.
Jim Moore recommended the book America’s Conscience, an analysis of world events from a progressive perspective, by New Mexico author Bernadette Vadurro. For more information, go to Web site for the book.
Sharon Thomas, Councilor, District 6
Sherry Thomas was met by warm applause as she returned to the PVA having won the Las Cruces District 6 City Council race by a large margin. Sherry thanked everyone who had helped her campaign. If you want to congratulate Sherry or need a sidewalk fixed, send email to Sherry.
Community Radio in Sliver City
Our good friend from Silver City, Kyle Johnson, told us about the new FM community radio station that he and others in a group called Gila Mimbres Community Radio are launching in Silver City. For more information and for regular updates on the new station, visit the Community Radio Web site.
Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission
Charle Sholz announced that he has been elected the new chair of the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission. Charlie urged our participation in the Vision 2040 regional planning project just getting under way, with the first major informational meeting scheduled for Monday, February 4, 6 pm, at the County Building on Motel Boulevard. For more information, visit the Vision 2040 Web site or send email to Charlie.
A Fond Farewell
Don Kurtz announced that Brigitte and Chris Hines, founding members of the PVA, will be relocating to Belgium. They were instrumental in building the PVA and they will be deeply missed. Bri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Chris can be reached at email@example.com.
The next PVA meeting will be