PVA Meeting Recap – June 22, 2006

Current working groups

Executive Committee

Don Kurtz reported that there will not be a PVA general meeting in July, and that the next PVA meeting will be Thursday, August 24, 7 pm, at the Munson Center.  He also reported that 74 people participated in the May Unified Action, which involved calling Representative Pearce’s office about increasing mileage efficiency standards for cars.  There won’t be a July Unified Action

Health Care for All

Cathilia Flores passed out a health care survey on behalf of the Health Care for All working group.  Results will be discussed at the August PVA meeting.  If you would like to participate in the survey, contact Cathilia at cathilia@gmail.com

Elections and Securing the Vote

Peter Ossorio thanked everyone who signed up to be an election judge or poll worker, part of a large-scale effort to make sure our elections are fair and that every registered voter is able to vote.  For more information about how to become a poll worker or election judge, contact Peter at ossorios@zianet.com

Dog Park

Ellen Mangan reported  that progress continues on creating a Las Cruces dog park, although there has been some resistance on the part of the city as to financing and implementation.   A meeting of interested people was held on Saturday, June 24, at 9:30, at Veterans Memorial Park on Roadrunner, and other meetings will be scheduled.  For more information about how you can be involved, contact Ellen at hippiegal@comcast.net

Curbside Recycling

Brigitte Hines announced a Las Cruces City Council work session in which the issue of curbside recycling will be discussed, and she urged interested PVAer’s to attend. The work session will be held on Monday, July 10, at 1 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall.  For more information, contact Brigitte at brshines@hotmail.com

PVA Scholarship

Brigitte Hines announced the successful creation of the PVA Scholarship for students who identify themselves as progressives.  Since, in the working group’s view, “democracy is not a spectator sport,” two scholarships have been created for one NMSU student and one Doña Ana Branch student to take a government class in the Spring Semester, 2007.  Brigitte thanked all who have contributed to the scholarship fund, with special thanks to major contributors Lt. Governor Diane Denish, State Representative Joni Gutierrez, and the national office of AFSCME, which made the contribution in the name of the local NMSU affiliate. For more information, contact Brigitte at brshines@hotmail.com

New Working Groups

Conversion of the Las Cruces Country Club into a city park

Anna Juarez spoke about the pending land swap between the Las Cruces Country Club and a local developer, which would result in residential development of one the most extensive areas of green space within the city limits.There is still hope of persuading the city council to obtain the country club property to preserve this historic space and convert it into a multi-use park area.   If you would like to participate in this effort, please contact Anna at aljuarez@zianet.com

Other Organizations and General Announcements

Peace Camp for Kids

Anne Nalls of the Unitarian Universalist Church announced the creation of the Peace Village, a day camp for young people grades 1-8, which will take place from 8:30 am – 3 pm on July 24-28.  Participants will learn conflict resolution, relaxation techniques, about healthy diets for the body and mind, and much more.  The cost of the day camp is $50, with a large number of scholarships available.  If you’re interested, or know some child who might want to participate, please visit http://uuchurchlc.us/village/index.php, or contact the camp leaders at peacevillage.uuclc@yahoo.com

Election Review Panel

Bill McCamley announced that the County Commission has formed an Election Review Panel, charged with examining problems with the June, 2006 primary.  He also reported that the chair of the PVA working group on Securing the Vote, Peter Ossorio, is one of the nominees for inclusion in that group.  For more information about the Election Review Panel and its activities, contact Peter at ossorios@zianet.com

Fundraiser for Al Kissling

Len Gambrell reported that the June 15th fundraiser for 2nd Congressional District congressional candidate Al Kissling was a big success.  He urged others to sponsor fundraisers on Al’s behalf, and asked interested people to contact Kissling for Congress headquarters at kisslingforcongress@gmail.com

Network of Spiritual Progressives

Kathleen Erickson brought to our attention the existence of a national group called the Network of Spiritual Progressives, founded by Rabbi Michael Lerner, and dedicated to bringing a new bottom line to American politics, to challenging the misuse of religion, God, and spirit by the Religious Right, and to challenging the many anti-religious and anti-spiritual assumptions and behaviors that have increasingly become part of liberal culture.  For more information, go to http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/  and to be a part of a local group based on these principles, contact Kathleen at katherickson@earthlink.net

North Valley Development/City Council Candidates

Tamie Smith expressed her concern about the proposed annexation of 210 acres of land in the Camino Real area, and urged PVAer’s to consider being candidates for the Las Cruces City Council in the 2007 elections.  For more information about the annexation or about Council issues and elections, contact Tamie at tamie.s@gmail.com

New Appointments to District Court

Jim Locatelli reminded us of the importance of public input into the judicial selection process, and announced that interviews of candidates to fill a newly created District Court judgeship will take place on Wednesday, July 26, at 9 am at the Court Complex on the corner of Alameda and Picacho.  Public comment is welcomed, and will begin at 9 am.  Jim has been diligent about keeping us informed about public aspects of the judicial process; if you need more information, please contact him at biscuitgods@comcast.net

Jeff Steinborn campaign

Jeff Steinborn invited PVAer’s to become active in his campaign for state representative in District 37.  Jeff’s contest is one of the top races targeted by Governor Richardson and the state Democratic Party, and would represent an important win for progressive forces.  To get involved, contact Jeff at polidub@aol.com

AFSCME-NMSU

The AFSCME campaign to organize classified staff at NMSU was a success, and the workers’ vote in favor of the union was certified on May 31.  Union activist Kathy Sowa and lead AFSCME organizer Lynn Rodenhuis appeared at the PVA meeting to express their appreciation for our members’ support.   Much remains to be done, including negotiation of an initial contract and extending union representation to professional staff and faculty.  AFSCME welcomes community involvement, and if you would like to participate, please contact Kathy at sowa@lib.nmsu.edu  or Lynn at LRodenhuis@afscme.org

Jim Baca Campaign

Both Steve Fischmann and Peter Ossorio spoke about the importance of electing Jim Baca as Public Land Commissioner in November.  The Land Commissioner has enormous power to protect (or dispose) of public lands, and that makes this race particularly important to progressives.  For more information, contact Steve at stephen.fischmann@gmail.com

Al Kissling Campaign

Al invited all of us to an Open House at his headquarters, 215 S. Campo, on Friday, June 30, from 4-7 pm.  He stressed the grassroots nature of his campaign, and asked that PVA members participate as volunteers, contribute money, and talk to their friends and family about the importance of his race.  To contribute or to become a part of Al’s campaign, go to http://www.kisslingforcongress.com/

Health Security for New Mexicans

Cathilia Flores spoke on behalf of Health Security for New Mexicans, the health care plan that would guarantee affordable and comprehensive health care for all New Mexicans.  It is a very well-conceived plan that has evolved over many years, and it enjoys the support of well over 100 organizations across the state.  Health Care New Mexico would involve a three-year phase-in, including a comprehensive study in the first year.  If the study indicates that the plan is unworkable, it would be dropped, but if the study indicates feasibility, then the plan would move forward to full implementation.  For information go to http://www.nmhealthsecurity.org/   or contact Cathilia at cathilia@gmail.com

Doug Scott on American Wilderness

Doug Scott, who has been deeply involved in wilderness area creation in the United States, visited the PVA from Washington State, and spoke to us about the importance of grassroots participation in wilderness area creation.  He gave inspiring examples of cases of single citizens making the difference in saving natural areas, and spoke of the overall success of the wilderness creation effort over the last forty years.  (In 1964, when the Wilderness Act – introduced by our own Senator Clinton P. Anderson – was passed, it protected 9 million acres.  At the present time, a full 5% of all US land is protected by wilderness designation.)For information about wilderness creation, including on-going activity to protect wilderness areas in Doña Ana County, contact Nathan Small at nathansmall@nmwild.org

Remember–no PVA meeting in July
The next PVA meeting will be
Thursday, August 24, 2006

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