PVA Meeting Recap – May 25, 2006

Current working groups

Elections and Securing the Vote

Peter Ossorio announced that early voting will continue through June 3 at the old courthouse on Lohman, as well as at satellite sites in Anthony, Hatch, Sunland Park, and at Highland Elementary on Highway 70.  Those who are signed up as poll workers for the primary election on June 6th should have gotten letters about that by now; there are still openings for the fall election, and anyone interested should contact Peter at ossorios@zianet.com

Framing the Issue

Martha Loustaunau reported that the Framing group continues to rework the way political issues are framed, based on the George Lakoff’s Don’t think of an Elephant.  Interested people should contact her at mloustau@nmsu.edu

Local Environmental and Quality of Life Issues

Steve Fischmann described the new Deming Solar Energy plant, which is eventually projected to supply, at market rates, 300 megawatts annually, enough to power 240,000 homes.  A new working group aimed at integrating that solar energy into Las Cruces homes, government offices, and businesses is described below in the New Working Group section under Solar Working Group.  For more information contact Steve at stephen.fischmann@gmail

Executive Committee

Don Kurtz explained that the PVA Executive Committee is responsible for setting the general meeting rules and agenda, maintaining the web site and data base, and choosing each month’s Unified Action.  Anyone is welcome to attend and participate in Executive Committee meetings, which are usually held on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm.  The exact time and location will be posted on the PVA home page under Upcoming Events, and interested people can contact Don at donkurtz@nmsu.edu

Health Care Reform

Sherry Thomas described the Health Care Reform working group’s activities, which include coordinating downstate efforts to come up with a workable health care plan for New Mexico. At the June 14th meeting of the statewide Health Care for All coalition in Albuquerque, Vinny De Marco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, will be the speaker.  For information, contact Sherry at skthomas_10@msn.com

Dog Park

Ellen Mangan reported  great progress toward a Las Cruces dog park, which is currently being projected for a 4.5 acre site near the Field of Dreams.  Individual and business support has been outstanding, and prospects for the park look good.  For more information, contact Ellen at hippiegal@comcast.net

New Working Groups

Solar Energy Working Group

Steve Fischmann announced the formation of a new working group  which will take the initiative in encouraging local individuals, businesses, and government agencies to use solar power, especially from the new Solar Energy Plant in Deming.  If you would like to be a part of this, contact Steve at stephen.fischmann@gmail

Other Organizations and General Announcements

PVA at local graduation

Bill McCamley reported on the inspiring speech that PVA member Philip Zakahi gave at the recent Las Cruces High School graduation.  Philip, who facilitated the May PVA meeting, is off to American University for his college education.  We have enjoyed working with Philip over the last year and a half, and appreciate his key role in the formation and development of the PVA.

Fundraiser for Al Kissling

Len Gambrell and Lori Miller invited everyone to a fundraiser for 2nd Congressional District congressional candidate Al Kissling, to be held at their home, the old Fountain House in Mesilla, on Thursday, June 15th, from 5-7 pm.  Len pointed out that many PVAer’s longed for someone to take on Steve Pearce, and now that a strong candidate has stepped forward, we need to support him.  The suggested contribution is $50 per person.  For more information, contact Len at gambrell@uwec.edu

Preparing for War in Nevada

Rupert Clark, of the New Mexico Green Party, disclosed plans on the part of the Bush administration to use a huge number conventional explosives to simulate the kind of nuclear strike that would be necessary if the US attacks Iran.  The test will be conducted on June 23rd on Shoshone lands in Nevada; for more information, contact Rupert at ruporch@netscape.net

Localizing MoveOn.com

Jamie Bronstein reported on MoveOn.com, which does so much work nationally via its internet networking of progressive activists.  MoveOn is now working with local groups to coordinate national and local actions; two weeks ago, Jamie and several other Las Crucens presented Steve Pearce with a large check made out for the number of dollars he’s accepted from large pharmaceutical companies.  To be part of this local coordinating committee, contact Jamie at jbronste@nmsu.edu

Annual Pride Day Celebration

PFLAG board member Dan Tapper announced the annual Pride Day Parade and Picnic on June 17th.   The parade will kick off from the north end of the downtown mall at 10 am, with the picnic to follow at Women’s Pioneer Park.  There will be booths, entertainment, and plenty of fun for everyone.  For more information, contact Dan at 541-8106

Opening of Democratic Headquarters

Doña Ana County Democratic Party officer Maury Castro invited everyone to a Tardeada/Celebration/Campaign kickoff at the Democratic Headquarters, in the old Rio Grande Bank Building on the Downtown Mall (old 2004 headquarters) on June 11th, from 4-7 pm.  There will be food, mariachis, and lots of excitement about the coming campaign.  For more information, contact Maury at maurycastro33@yahoo.com

Randy Granger Concert

Steve Helmreich announced that Randy Granger will be giving a concert as a benefit for the Normal Heart newspaper on Sunday, May 28, at 7:30 pm, at the Black Box Theater.  for more information, contact Steve at helmreich@zianet.com

AFSCME Organizing Campaign at NMSU

Don Kurtz reported on behalf of Cathilia Flores that the AFSCME union organizing campaign on behalf of classified and professional staff at NMSU is nearing an end: voting has ended, and the Labor Board will hold a public vote count on Wednesday, May 31st at 5:30 pm at the Senate Chambers on the 3rd floor of Corbett Center.  This is the largest university organizing campaign that AFSCME is conducting in the United States, and local hopes are high.  AFSCME extends a special invitation to PVA members to attend the vote count, and afterwards to join the festivities at the Tres Amigos club at the Mission Inn Best Western on Main Street.

Regional Transit Authority

Tom Schuster reported that the Metropolitan Planning Organization will be holding public hearings on developing a Regional Transit Authority.  For information visit  lcmpoweb.las-cruces.org

Walk for Jeff Steinborn

Peter Ossorio announced that volunteers would be canvassing neighborhoods on Saturday morning, May 27 in support of Jeff Steinborn’s bid for state representative in District 37.  Canvassers will meet at 9:30 am at Veterans Park on Roadrunner.  For more information, call Peter at ossorios@zianet.com

Candidates

All candidates for public office, of any party affiliation, are welcome at PVA meetings.  Candidates themselves receive three minutes to address the group, and their representatives receive two minutes.  Candidates who would like to post information about their campaigns on the PVA website can send that information to John Nelson at nelson505@earthlink.net

Candidates and candidate representatives who appeared included:

Oscar Vasquez Butler, candidate for County Commission, District 1.  For more information, contact Oscar at 647-3682

Jeff Armijo, candidate for State Auditor.  For more information, contact Jeff at http://www.jeffarmijo.com/http://www.jeffarmijo.com/

Karen Perez, candidate for County Commission, District 3.  For more information, contact Karen at kgp@hughes.net

Nate Cote, candidate for State Representative in District 53.  For more information contact Nate at ncote@zianet.com

Olivia Nevarez Garcia, candidate for Magistrate Judge, Division III.  For more information, call Olivia at 522-6434

Rhonda Brown spoke on behalf of E. Shirley Baca for Public Regulation Commission.  For more information, contact Rhonda at ccscustomservices@comcast.net

Alice Salcido, candidate for Probate Judge.

Maria Rodriguez, candidate for Magistrate Judge, Division III.  For more information, call Maria at 526-1668

Al Kissling, candidate for US Congress, Second District.  For more information,contact Al at http://www.kisslingforcongress.com/

Unified Action

Brigitte Hines of the Las Cruces Recycling Coalition announced that 75 people reported “I did it” on the May Action in support of Curbside Recycling.  Councilors commented, during the study session on the recycling issue, about the large numbers of calls they had received. There is general council sentiment in favor of curbside recycling, and the city staff is hard at work trying to suggest the best way to finance it.  Brigitte and the Coalition will keep us informed as to what the next steps will be.

This month’s Unified Action involves legislation which will raise the CAFÉ fuel standards for American cars to 33 miles per gallon’ by 2025.  The plan would save 2.6 million barrels of oil each day – more than we currently import from the Persian Gulf Region.  To participate, go to http://www.pva-nm.org/ua_may_06.htm

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