PVA Meeting Recap – October 22, 2009

America Votes

Jennifer Ford, New Mexico Director of America Votes, gave an overview of the organization’s work and showed us some trends in voter behavior. She explained that America Votes is a national organization with state offices that are encouraged to do what works for them in their states. They help coordinate the work of progressive organizations—help them work together on their election plans, expand their outreach to voters, and think more scientifically about outreach to voters. In the 2010 election voter turnout and newly registered voters will be crucial. Voter turnout in Doña Ana, Bernalillo, and Santa Fe counties will be critical. For more information send email to Jennifer or all her at 505-243-9579.

Unified Action for October

The Unified Action for October is to talk with five friends about the November 3 election. Tell them who you are supporting and why. For more information, city council maps, and the “I did it” link, click here.

KRWG Silent on ‘Democracy Now!’

Ann Gutierrez reported that she presented petitions to KRWG FM asking that they carry Amy Goodman’s ‘Democracy Now!’ The response has been silence. Ann has gathered signatures for the petitions since Amy Goodman’s appearance at the Border Book Festival last spring. For more information, send email to Ann.


Jack Soules noted that only one in six people will vote in the upcoming municipal elections. He made a brief, eloquent plea for the importance of the vote and urged us to get our friends out to vote. Especially young friends, he added.

Let Sandy Jones Know What You Think About EPE

Mark Westbrock updated us on a case from the PRC (Public Regulatory Commission). Through their 2009 Renewable Energy Procurement Plan, El Paso Electric has proposed to lower the REC (Renewable Energy Certificates) incentive for homeowners who generate their own electricity with solar electric systems. The case is nearing its conclusion and the final decision will soon be made by the Commission. As an active participant in the case, Mark proposed four changes to EPE’s Procurement plan, and you can read them here. The changes include keeping the REC incentive at $0.13/kWh (13 cents per kilowatt hour) and making sure that homeowner investments are secure by allowing transfer of REC contract terms to a future purchaser of the property. These changes would promote renewable energy adoption in Las Cruces. Mark asked us to contact the PRC commissioners, especially our commissioner, Chairman Sandy Jones, who will be running for Land Commissioner next year. Tell them that they should not allow EPE to lower the REC incentive after less than a year, and ask them to support the homeowner protection clauses proposed in the case by Intervener Westbrock. For more information, send email to Mark or call him at 640-2432.

Mary Herrera for Secretary of State

Maria Rodriguez spoke on behalf of Secretary of State Mary Herrera, who is running for reelection. Maria cited Herrera’s commitment to voter registration and get out the vote efforts. For more information, send email to Maria or call her at 575-526-1668.

Criminal Justice Task Force

Al Kissling invited interested people to join the Progressive Democrats’ task force on criminal justice, which is seeking ways to decrease incarceration rates and increase rehabilitation programs. They are also looking for people interested in working on immigration and border issues. For more information, call All Kissling at 575-521-0032 or Larry Gioannini at 575-523-5297.

Volunteers for Gill Sorg

Pat Aguirre invited everyone to canvass for Gill on Saturday, October 24. Volunteers will met at Gills’ home at 2:30 p.m. and disperse to knock on doors. For more information about volunteering with Gill’s campaign, send email to Pat or call her at 575-532-5127.

Bill McCamley for PRC, District 5

Bill McCamley asked for our support in his campaign for Public Regulation Commission. He noted that the PRC controls water, power, transportation, health care, and more. Although they have functioned mostly as a reactive body, they could be a proactive body. After the November 3 elections, Bill will schedule meetings to hear citizen concerns about the role of the PRC. For more information, send email to Bill, call him at 575-496-5731, or visit his Web site: billmccamley.com.

Sharon Thomas for City Council, District 6

Sharon thanked her many supporters and reminded us that only 12 days are left until the election. She stated that increasing citizen participation in city government has been a top priority for her in her role as city councilor. She noted that her opponent is in favor of shifting the infrastructure costs of new development from the developer to the taxpayer. Sharon believes that paying for infrastructure should be the responsibility of the developer. For more information, send email to Sharon or call her at 575-521-9314. You can also visit her website at http://councilorsharonthomas.com/.

Brian Colón for Lt. Governor

Brian Colón announced that he is a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. He mentioned his ties to Las Cruces, including his ten years as a resident, and noted that he was a former chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. He said that he felt that grassroots labor made the difference in the November 2008 election. For more information, send email to Brian.

Olga Pedroza for City Council, District 3

Olga thanked her supporters and read a poem by Eduardo Galeano, which reflects her commitment to civil and human rights. Olga invited volunteers to walk with her in District 3 on October 24 and 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, send email to Olga or call her at 575-640-2564.

Taxes and the Kwik-kik

Greg Sowards advocated for a tax system that would encourage manufacturing in the United States, and stated his opinion that the Fair Tax Act would accomplish that end. While explaining the need for manufacturer-friendly taxes, he gave an amazing demo of an invention of his own, the Kwik Kik, a soccer ball on a spring that can be used to hone soccer skills. For more information send email to Greg or call him at 575-649-7400.

Gill Sorg for City Council, District 5

Gill Sorg thanked supporters for their help with his campaign. He spoke of his positive experiences during the campaign and inspiring conversations with voters who want sustainable growth for our community. For more information send email to Gill or call him at 575-541-0571.

Employment Nondiscrimination Act

Chris Salas announced that the Employment Nondiscrimination Act is before the Congress. The act would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability for civilian nonreligious employers with over 15 employees. Representative Teague has not announced his position on the bill (the others in the New Mexico congressional delegation are in favor). Chris asked that we ask Representative Teague to support the bill. Contact information for Representative Teague is here. For more information, send email to Chris.

Fundraiser for Brian Colón

Christy French announced a fundraiser for Brian Colón to be held in Las Cruces on Friday, October 28. If you would like to support Brian’s campaign or for more information, send email to Christy or call her at 575-644-9450.

Volunteers for Sharon Thomas, District 6

Terry Miller, volunteer coordinator for Sharon’s campaign, noted that change is good, but not in District 6. She invited everyone to walk with Sharon on Sunday, October 25. Canvassers will meet at Sagecrest Park on Roadrunner at 1:30 p.m. The following Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (November 1, 2, and 3) volunteers are needed to distribute door hangers and make phone calls. For more information, send email to Terry.

Judge Robert Robles, New Mexico Court of Appeals

Judge Robert Robles asked for our support in his bid to remain on the New Mexico Court of Appeals. Judge Robles was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Richardson and this is his first time to run for the position. For more information, send email to Judge Robles, call him at 575-642-1152, or visit the campaign Web site.

Judge Mannie Arrieta, District Judge

Judge Arrieta asked for our support in his first run for office. He was recently appointed by Governor Richardson to the Third District Court and will be on the ballot for the first time in November 2010. He invited everyone to sign his petition and attend a fundraiser Friday, October 23. For more information, send email to Leonor Delgado, campaign treasurer, or call her at 575-523-0286.

Save the Birds at Bosque del Apache

Al Solomon announced that the Bureau of Land Management will be holding hearings concerning high power lines that could pose a threat to the birds of the Bosque del Apache. The hearings are schedule for Monday, October 26, 5 to 8 p.m., at the Court Youth Center. For more information, send email to Al.

Judge Kent Wingenroth Returns

Judge Wingenroth thanked those who supported him in the 2008 election. He expressed the sense of honor he feels at having been elected and the sense of relief that he is not currently up for reelection. He introduced Judges Richard Silva and Joe Guillory, his colleagues on the Magistrate Court. For more information or questions about the Magistrate Court, send email to Judge Wingenroth.

Judge Joe Guillory

Judge Guillory asked for our support in the November election and issued an invitation to all to visit the new courthouse. He noted that the court is short three or four judges, resulting in caseloads of 6,000 cases per judge. For more information, send email to Judge Guillory or call him at 575-524-2814.

Judge Richard Silva

Judge Silva asked for our support in the June 2010 primary and the November 2010 election. For more information, send email to Judge Silva or call him at 575-524-2814.

What Do Veterans Need?

Peter Ossorio announced that he is serving on an advisory group that is charged with identifying the most pressing needs of military veterans in Doña Ana County. Please send email to Peter or call him with your input at 575-644-8436. All within the his allotted two minutes, Peter also praised Leonor Delgado and asked us to help her as she heads up voter protection work and thanked Judge Mannie Arrieta (then Attorney Arrieta) for his role in protecting the vote in the November 2008 election.

Citizens’ Advisory Committee

Bob Hearn announced that he has applied for a position on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee that will be involved with the county audit process. He urged others to consider this type of community service and noted that Vision 2040 also needs citizen involvement. For more information, especially about the sometimes confusing Vision 2040 process, send email to Bob.

Redistricting for Public Schools

Maria Flores, recently-elected school board member, announced that there will be major redistricting in effect for the next school year. Elementary schools will be especially affected and she urged us to let our neighbors know about these coming changes. Public forums will be held and the schedule is on the LCPS Web site. For more information, send email to Maria.

Lawrence Rael for Lt. Governor

Nick Voges spoke on behalf of Lawrence Rael, candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Nick noted Raels’ many accomplishments in 25 years of government service and his ability to “do things the right way,” citing the Rail Runner Express as a prime example. For more information, send email to Nick or visit Rael’s campaign Web site.

Remember Health Care Reform

Wes Wilson confessed that he had not yet called Senators Udall and Bingaman and Representative Teague to say that he wants them to make the public option part of health care reform. He promised make those calls and urged us all to do the same. For more information, send email to Wes.

Voter Protection Wants You

Leonor Delgado announced that she and Marci Beyer will be taking over voter protection responsibilities from the Peter Ossorio. They are looking for new members, poll watchers, and challengers. For more information, send email to Leonor or call her at 575-523-0286.

The Power of the Unified Action

Don Kurtz reminded us of the power of this month’s Unified Action, in which participants contact 5 friends and neighbors in Las Cruces to urge them to vote for candidates that the participants recommend in upcoming municipal elections. He pointed out that the mayor’s race in 2007 was determined by less than 70 votes out of 10,000 cast, and that participants in that year’s Unified Action could very well have made the difference. To participate in this month’s Unified Action, go to UA link.

Electronics Recycling

Al McBrayer reminded us of the upcoming electronics recycling day sponsored by Unicor.

Saturday, November 14, 9 to 3 p.m.
Doña Ana County Government Center
825 N. Motel Blvd.

Unicor accepts all kinds of electronic equipment, working or not, including televisions, printers, monitors, cameras, binoculars, small appliances. With the exception of refrigerators, they’ll take just about “anything with a plug.” For more information, send email to Al.

Halloween Fundraiser for Community Action Agency

Christy French announced that a fundraiser for Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico will be held October 24, 7 to 11 p.m., at the Ramada Palms. The event includes dinner and dancing, prizes for the best costumes, and an auction. For more information, send email to Christy.

A Shout Out for the City Council

Vi Cauthon expressed her appreciation of the Las Cruces City Council and their work on dust abatement, flood control, incomplete streets, and other construction-related issues. For more information, send email to Vi.

A Shout Out for Charlotte

Jean Ossorio thanked Charlotte Lipson for the top notch information she sends to her email list. You can send a request to Charlotte if you would like to receive her relevant, timely, carefully-selected news.

Tribute to Olga Pedroza

Brian Colón spoke on behalf of Olga Pedroza, city council candidate for District 3. He began by saying, “Olga would never tell you this, but” and went on to explain how she had been a mentor and an inspiration to many young lawyers interested in public service. She received the Fighting for Justice Award for her work with the immigrant community.

You’re Invited!

Len Gambrell and Lori Miller extended an invitation to their sixth annual open house.

Christmas Eve
1 to 5 p.m.
2250 Calle de Picacho (The Fountain House)

Winter Break

PVA will take a break in November and December and will meet again January 28, when it will be time to get ready for the 2010 legislative session.

Our next meeting will be
Thursday, January 28, 2010, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite

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