PVA Meeting Recap – May 26, 2011

Intro to Impact Fees

Bob Hearn presented a concise, dispassionate overview of impact fees—a widely used means of funding the public infrastructure that’s required when a city’s population grows. Las Cruces does not currently have impact fees but will no doubt be considering the issue in the near future, since the current system is clearly not keeping up with the needed infrastructure, i.e., roads, lights, water and sewer, police and fire, senior centers, schools and anything else that’s not privately owned.

When population grows and new infrastructure is needed, who should pay? With impact fees, the newcomers pay. The cost of new development is increased to cover the cost of the new infrastructure that will be required. The fees are carefully supervised and cities must preplan the needed projects (no slush funds!) so that builders know exactly where the impact fees will go.

For more information send email to Bob or call him at 575-635-1757.

April Unified Action—The Children’s Reading Foundation

Maria Flores thanked PVA for supporting the successful kickoff for The Children’s Reading Foundation of Doña Ana County. She said they had an “incredible turnout.” They had more than 80 readers visiting local schools, raised $5,000 at the fundraiser, and trained over 100 professionals in the basics of the foundation’s work.

For more information send email to Maria, call her at 575-644-9612, and visit The Children’s Reading Foundation online.

May Unified Action—Save New Mexico’s Energy Conservation Code

Mark Westbrock introduced the current Unified Action, which is to write to the newly appointed commissioners of the Construction Industries Division (CID) of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, and urge them to keep the 2009 NM Energy Conservation Code in place. The 2009 Code means lower energy bills for families, more jobs for New Mexicans, and a healthier environment. All the information you need to participate is here.

For more information send email to Molly of Conservation Voters New Mexico.

Put the Labor in Labor Day—Save the Date

Martina Meyers of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) spoke of the difficulty unions are facing across the nation, noting that New Mexico is situated precariously between two right-to-work states. She announced that a real old-fashioned Labor Day Picnic will be held on Labor Day in Presidio Park. Save the date; details will follow.

Labor Day Picnic
Monday, September 5
Presidio Park
Details TBA

For more information send email to Martina, or call her at 575-993-4549, and visit NMSU AAUP and AAUP online.

One Valley, One Vision

Charlie Scholz announced that the 2040 comprehensive plan for all of Doña Ana County—One Valley, One Vision—is ready for public review. He observed that in the process of creating the plan, there was evidence of fear of sustainability, fear of planning, and fear of smart growth. Nevertheless, he declared the finished plan “a good package.”

You can view the plan online and get information about times and places for public comment and review as well as leave comments.

For more information send email to Charlie.

Democratic Women’s Consortium Gets a Thumbs Up

Nancy Blecha thanked all those who participated in the consortium on May 7. Speakers included many familiar to PVA: Bob Hearn of the Quality Growth Alliance, Don Kurtz, Cheryl Frank from Health Security New Mexico, and Martina Meyers of the American Association of University Professors.

The Democratic Women will continue their efforts to educate and motivate Democratic voters, including more consortia in the future.

For more information call Nancy at 575-373-9190.

¡Bravo! for the City Councilors and Their Budget

Pat Aguirre read excerpts from the City Manager Robert Garza’s budget transmittal letter. For example:

The proposed budget is balanced and reflects our continued fiscal restraint. The City’s operating reserve is maintained at 2/12, an increase of $182,039 over FY/11. This increase in our reserve puts the City in a better position to adjust to future economic downturns and help to maintain the City’s high bond ratings. There is no tax increase proposed, and no furloughs or layoffs for employees included.

Pat congratulated the city councilors on a budget that is both forward thinking and conservative. “They’re doing a great job—support them!” she urged.

You can read the city manager’s weekly newsletters online. The budget transmittal letter is dated May 13, 2011.

For more information send email to Pat.

Ossorio Update on Redistricting

Jean Ossorio, reporting for her husband Peter, announced the next meeting of the county’s Redistricting Advisory Committee. As usual, this working session is open to the public.

Doña Ana County Redistricting Advisory Committee
Friday, June 3, 8:30 a.m.
County Government Center

For more information send email to Peter.

Ossorio Update on Wolves

Jean Ossorio announced that KRWG’s Jared Andersen has an excellent investigative report on Representative Steve Pearce’s environmental policies–what some are calling his anti-environment binge. Jean asked that we watch the video and let the station know we appreciate this kind of in-depth reporting.

You can view the 24-minute video on YouTube. Jean is interviewed from minutes 5 to 9 and again at minutes 22 to 24.

For more information send email to Jean or call her at 575-644-7389.

Editor’s Note
This fascinating video has only 685 views as of 5.28.11. I hope you’ll watch, especially if you
a) care about the environment,
b) think campaign finance rules could use reform, or
c) believe that we are entitled to our own opinions . . . not our own facts.

Humane Society Focuses on Pet Overpopulation

Win Jacobs spoke of the serious pet overpopulation problems in Doña Ana County. There is over crowding at the animal shelters and disturbingly high rates of euthanasia. The Humane Society of Southern New Mexico is focusing on spaying female cats and dogs only, a strategy that has been shown to be effective in reducing pet populations. There is currently limited funding available to reimburse pet owners for spaying female cats and dogs at the Animal Service Center of Mesilla Valley.

For more information send email to Win, call her at 575-521-9331, and visit the New Mexico Humane Society online to learn more about their programs, to volunteer, or to make a donation.

Obama for America 2012 Hires New Field Organizer

Kate McKinney let us know that Tomas Talamantes will be the field director for our district and that he was attending a training session in Albuquerque but will be attending PVA meetings in the future. Kate invited Obama supporters to sign up.

For more information send email to Kate or call her at 575-635-0440. You can send email to Tomas or call him at 505-301-0488.

Open House for State Monument in Mesilla

Cynthia Garrett invited everyone to attend a special open house to acquaint the public with the plans that are underway for the Taylor-Barela-Reynolds-Mesilla State Monument. The monument will focus on the history, culture, and architecture of Mesilla and the Borderland.

Open House for Taylor-Barela-Reynolds-Mesilla State Monument
Thursday, June 2, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Mesilla Community Center
2251 Calle De Santiago

The public will have an opportunity to hear about a draft management plan for the monument. Graphics will be on display to illustrate the proposed management strategy, and everyone who attends will be offered a variety of ways to share their comments.

For more information send email to Cynthia or call her at 575-915-5756.

Two Weeks In China, Stereotypes Defied

Wes Wilson, just returned from two weeks in China, reported that prior to the trip he heard many warnings about the Chinese people, including the ominous “They will pick your pockets.” Happily, none of the negative stereotypes materialized. He found the people to be welcoming and generous to a fault. There was, for just one example, an extravagant gift of toys to take home to the Wilson grandchildren.

For more information send email to Wes or call him at 303-910-7765.

Roadrunner Food Bank Comes South

Nancy Barnes-Smith announced that the Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico now has a Las Cruces branch. She said that every week there are 40,000 New Mexicans who need food assistance; 40% of that number are children. Roadrunner Food Bank distributes over 26 million pounds of food to New Mexicans each year.

For more information send email to Nancy and visit Roadrunner Food Bank online to learn more about the organization and how you can contribute.

Cats and More Cats

Alice Anderson reported on a study of the effectiveness of trap-neuter-release (TNR) in controlling feral cat populations. The study included a control group and the study has been replicated. The study concluded that TNR leads to more cats, not fewer. The study is published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Unfortunately, you must be a subscriber to read online papers.

For more information send email to Alice or call her at 575-523-5179.

Food for the Colonias

Bob Hearn emphasized how rural and poor our county is. He explained that this will be a poor year for crop yields, and that means fewer jobs in agriculture and even harder times for the rural poor. He continues volunteering with Roadrunner Food Bank and delivering food to the many colonias where people cannot easily get to a food bank. He urged others to join in this effort by volunteering or making a donation. A donation of $2.50 provides 50 pounds of food for a family.

For more information send email to Bob or call him at 575-635-1757.

Local Hearing on Energy Conservation Code

Lloyd Covens reminded us that above and beyond writing to the commissioners of Construction Industries Division (CID) of the NM Regulation and Licensing Department (see the May Unified Action), we have the opportunity to attend a public meeting to give input on the proposal to roll back the 2009 New Mexico Energy Conservation Code.

CID Public Hearing
Thursday, June 2, 9 a.m. to noon
Las Cruces Administration Offices, Loretto Town Center
505 South Main Street, Suite 249, Conference Room A

For more information send email to Lloyd or call him at 575-312-8331.

County Commissioner Billy Garrett

Commissioner Garrett asked us to pay attention to what goes on in the county. He promised to keep us advised of opportunities for involvement and suggested checking out the county Web site as well. Currently the county is looking for three members for the Labor Management Relations Board. The deadline for applications is June 17.

For more information send email to Billy.

National Federation of Democratic Women

Pat Aguirre, recently back from the national conference of the National Federation of Democratic Women, invited everyone (men included) to attend the next conference in Louisville, Kentucky, May 31 to June 3, 2012.

For more information send email to Pat.

Our next meeting will be
Thursday, June 23, 2011, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite

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