PVA Meeting Recap – June 28, 2007

Unified Action

Cruz Hernandez and Bri Hines presented this month’s Unified Action, which involves a call or email to Ron Curry, Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department. We ask him to deny the permit for a new landfill in Chaparral. This landfill will accept industrial waste from throughout the U.S. and represents one more toxic waste dump that is being located in a poor, relatively powerless community in southern New Mexico.

It is important that we raise our voices on behalf of our good friends from these communities, who have courageously fought this landfill for the last two years. To participate, click here.

The Unified Action is the one thing we do together every month, and our combined strength has been remarkably effective. If you want to participate, please click here to find out the terms of the Unified Action commitment and to sign up for a monthly email notification of each month’s Action.

Protect the Vote

Peter Ossorio and Leonor Delgado discussed several important and potentially ominous changes in the law governing elections in New Mexico, including making it more difficult to vote without identification and complicating the procedure for voting absentee.

They have formed a group to lay the groundwork for a clean, fair election in 2008. They  seek the following:

  1. members of the steering committee for Protect the Vote efforts
  2. names and contact information of people who would like to receive occasional email updates of Protect the Vote efforts
  3. names and contact information for people who might like to work at the polls in 2008 (the pay has been bumped up to $125 a day)

For more information, email Peter or Leonor. To read about potential problems, click here.

Health Care Reform

Vicki Simons reported the good news that the Governor’s Health Coverage for New Mexicans Committee has issued its final report evaluating four possible health care plans for New Mexico. The single payer Health Security Act was cited as the most cost-effective approach to health care in New Mexico. It would not only cover over 400,000 uninsured New Mexicans, but it would also cost less than the current system or any of the alternatives studied—up to a billion dollars less per year by 2011.

The depressing news was that Governor Richardson announced, even before the results of the study became public, that he did not like any of the models and will only consider a solution that includes private insurance companies.

It is important that we call Governor Richardson (505-476-2200) and Lt. Governor Diane Denish (505-476-2250) and:

1. ask why the Governor is ignoring the results of his own committee
2. tell them the data are clear— it’s time to pass the Health Security Act

State Secretary of Human Services Secretary Pam Hyde will be in Las Cruces on July 25 for a public discussion of results of the study. That meeting will be held

Wednesday, July 25, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Doña Ana County Government Center
Motel Boulevard

If you have questions, please email Vicki. For a more complete summary of the Committee report, click here. You can view New Mexico’s health scorecard here.

McCamley for Congress

Bill McCamley brought his campaign for Congress to the PVA meeting, announcing that he has raised an impressive $130,000 so far in his effort to defeat Steve Pearce and reverse the toxic policies put in place by President George Bush. Later in the meeting, Phillip Zakahi spoke on Bill’s behalf as well. To find out more or to contribute to Bill’s campaign, visit his Web site or email Philip.

Criminal Justice Task Force

Al Kissling announced the formation of a task force which will examine ways to reform the criminal justice system, which currently has 2.2 million Americans in prison at an annual cost of $10,000 to $50,000 each, and which involves enormous human suffering without any clear beneficial results. The group’s next meeting will be Thursday, July 12 (note change of date) from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Al’s home, 586 Canyon Point Road. The guest that night will be Paul Vaughan, a retired public defender, who will lead a discussion on “The Role of the Public Defender’s Office in Criminal Justice.” If you would like to attend the meeting or if you want more information, call Al at 521-0032.

Microcredit Bank

Connie Richardson announced the glad tidings that we were within $137 of reaching the $5,000 needed to open our own PVA Microcredit Bank in Malawi. Within minutes, contributions from the floor pushed us over the top. Thanks to everyone who made this possible. From now on the $5,000 will provide the capital to make small loans to people in a village in one of the poorest countries of the world. Connie will keep us updated as to the bank and how our money has been used. To find out more about microcredit banking, click here. If you want to congratulate Connie or make an additional contribution email her.

Flushing for the Future

Jack Soules provided an energetic and entertaining report on the benefits of compressed air toilets. Email Jack for more information about the environmental advantages and entrepreneurial opportunities this new technology provides.

Al Kissling for Congress

Jane Asche urged us to volunteer for Al Kissling’s campaign for Congress and also asked us to fill out a questionnaire on key issues for the 2008 election. To get involved in Al’s campaign, call Jane at 532-8087.

Quality Growth Alliance

Sherry Thomas reported that the Quality Growth Alliance is successfully transitioning from its efforts to get a better process and better terms for the East Mesa Annexation to becoming an ongoing positive influence for planning decisions made by the county, city, and Extra-Territorial Zoning Authority. New Mexico has been designated a Smart Growth state by Governor Richardson, and the Alliance intends to enact the principles of smart growth at the local and regional level. For more information, email Sherry.

A Premier Park for Las Cruces

John Stevens spoke on the increasing political viability of the plan to save the current Las Cruces Country Club from development, and instead to convert this lush, already forested area into a premier park for Las Cruces, modeled after gems like Central Park in New York City.

Interest on the part of the public and city councilors is growing. Letters advocating for this great idea are needed now needed now. Letters should be sent to the following:

  1. the editor of the Sun-News letters@lcsun-news.com
  2. the editor of the Bulletin editor@lascrucesbulletin.com
  3. the mayor and city councilors citycouncil@las-cruces.org

If you have any questions or want to be more actively involved in this great project, email John.

Wilderness

Nathan Small of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance invited us to maintain wilderness by contacting our legislators to tell them of our support for establishing wilderness areas in Doña Ana County, and to enjoy it by joining him on weekend explorations of area wilderness sites. In summer the trips take place in the early morning on Saturdays and Sundays. To get a schedule, email Nathan.

Peak Oil

Jeanne Abkes presented a chilling report on Peak Oil, the point at which oil production worldwide will have reached the point of maximum ease and efficiency in extraction, and after which the cost of petroleum products will begin to rise precipitously. At that point, there will be serious consequences to economic and transportation systems, and enormous impacts on our lives and lifestyle. For an excellent Peak Oil overview and discussions of the issue, click here, and for more information, email Jeanne.

Las Cruces Dog Park

The Las Cruces Dog Park Coalition has worked hard to establish a dog park in Las Cruces. The group was able to achieve legislative funding for the park thanks to Representatives Joni Gutierrez and Jeff Steinborn and to Senator Mary Jane Garcia. The group continues to battle misinformation about the project. Isaac Chavez and Melanie Brooks reported that the dog park will indeed be built, although it is not yet clear where.

An area in the Hadley Complex near Meerscheidt Center is the site strongly preferred by the Coalition, and Dog Park supporters are strongly urged to contact Parks and Recreation Board members as well as their city councilors. Email links to these officials are available here. If you want more information or want to know what else you can do, email Melanie.

City Initiatives

John Hamilton reported on two initiatives relative to the City of Las Cruces. The Pedestrian Safety Committee, will have its next meeting with city officials on Thursday, July 12, at 2:30 p.m. at City Hall. A new concept, called Sustainable Shop, will be discussed with City Manager Terrence Moore on Wednesday, July 18, at 3 p.m., also at City Hall. For more information on either of these projects, call John at 526-2042.

Spay and Neuter Program

Win Jacobs reminded us that quality of life applies to animals as well as humans and urged us to take advantage of the free Spay and Neuter program offered in this area. For more information about the program or to get a schedule for upcoming clinics, email Win.

KRWG Going Commercial?

Alan Solomon reported that he has heard rumors that NMSU intends to commercialize KRWG-FM, and he has written President Michael Martin inquiring about this possibility. He will keep us posted about what he finds out. To learn more, email Alan.

Voter Registration

Susie Rossman is continuing a nonpartisan voter registration project, and she invited others to join her in this effort. To get involved, email Susie.

PVA Organizational News

The municipal election campaign season is approaching, and Don Kurtz reminded us that the PVA is nonpartisan and does not, as an organization, endorse individual candidates or positions on issues. All candidates and issue leaders are welcome to make their cases at PVA meetings, so that meeting attendees and other members can decide where they would like to get involved.

He also invited us to the Third Annual PVA Summer Party at the NMSU golf course clubhouse, which took place immediately after the meeting, and where a large contingent of PVAers continued to enjoy one another’s company for the rest of the evening.

There will not be a July meeting of the PVA, therefore:

The next PVA meeting will be
Thursday, August 23, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite
(no PVA meeting in July)

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