PVA Meeting Recap – September 24, 2009

Senator Fischmann Views the Budget

Steve Fischmann, New Mexico State Senator from District 37, gave a sobering overview of the state of the New Mexico budget as well as encouraging suggestions for improvement. On the sobering side, consider:

•the budget has shrunk from 6 billion one-and-a-half years ago to 5 billion today, a 17% drop in revenue
•the Governor is proposing to fund operations using bonds
•the tax law has not been reviewed for many years

Steve and others are proposing a tax review process that would insure that tax preferences are having the intended beneficial effects. He spoke in favor of program evaluation and was critical of across-the-board cuts which have the effect of cutting back good programs without getting rid of ineffective programs.

Steve has been one of the state’s most creative thinkers about the overall revenue generation process. To see a recent Op-Ed by him that ran in the Sun-News and other newspapers around the state, go to http://stevefornmsenate.com/news7.html

Unified Action for September—Be Involved in the November 3 Municipal Election

Theresa Westbrock presented the September Unified Action which is to be involved in the November 3 municipal election by volunteering with a campaign and/or contributing funds to a local candidate. To participate, go here.

Unified Action Update for August

The August Unified Action was sponsored by AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) and involved contacting Senator Jeff Bingaman and Congressman Harry Teague to ask them to include the public option in heath care reform legislation.. Donna Hill thanked the Unified Action participants for their support and thanked the PVA for ongoing support of union issues. For more information, send email to Donna or call her at 575-640-2105.

Jim Locatelli for Municipal Judge

Jim Locatelli announced that he is running (unopposed) for reelection to the position of Municipal Judge. He would like to hear from anyone with questions or concerns about the Municipal Court. You can send email to Jim or call him at 575-541-2243.

Olga Pedroza for City Council, District 3

Olga Pedroza asked for support of her campaign for city Council, District 3, the seat currently held by Dolores Archuleta. Olga has spoken of her experience–as a teacher and an as an attorney working with New Mexico Legal Aid–and her commitment to a sustainable economy and transparency in government. If you have questions or would like to help with the campaign, send email to Olga or call her at 575-541-0571.

Writers’ Harvest Hunger Benefit

La Sociedad Para Las Artes at NMSU is holding its annual authors’ reading to raise money for the local food bank, Casa de Peregrinos. The featured readers are Antonya Nelson and Robert Boswell. There will be a silent auction, door prizes, refreshments, and carnival booths. Tickets are $12 (single) or $10 (multiple). For more information, send email to Judy Zimmerman or call her at 575-522-6444.

Writers’ Harvest Hunger Benefit
Friday, October 9, 7 p.m.
Beverly Hills Hall & Pavilion, 150 Hermosa St.

Sharon Thomas, Candidate for City Council, District 6

Sharon Thomas asked for our support as she runs for reelection as City Councilor for District 6. Sharon noted a few of her achievements in her two years on the City Council (since being elected to fill the vacancy created when Ken Miyagashima was elected Mayor), which included assuring that we have an aquatic center with a competition-sized pool, obtaining grants and expert advice for tough problems, working toward a system of trails that will connect the city with the Rio Grande and the mountains, and making sure that city buildings make maximum use of solar power. For more information, send email to Sharon or call her at 575-541-2066.

Gill Sorg for City Council, District 5

Gill Sorg returned to ask for our support of his campaign for City Councilor, District 5, the seat now held by Gil Jones. He reported that he has been listening to the concerns of citizens and pledged to continue to be a good listener and a hard worker. For more information or to help with the campaign, send email to Gill or call him at 575-541-0571.

Volunteers for Gill Sorg

Pat Aguirre, volunteer coordinator for Gill Sorg’s campaign for city council, welcomed prospective volunteers to the campaign. She pointed out that you do not need to be a resident of District 5 to work for Gill’s campaign. For more information or to help with the campaign, send email to Pat or call her at 575-532-5127 or 805-208-0193.

Volunteers for Sharon Thomas

Terry Miller welcomed volunteers to Sharon’s campaign and thanked the many people present who are already working hard for candidates in the municipal election.

She invited everyone is invited to a fundraiser for Sharon to be held on October 7, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the home of Jon and Mary Ellen Hunner, 3380 McDowell Road. The Hunners’ historic home is located in Mesilla Park, just north of the intersection of McDowell Road and Union. Map

For more information or to help with the campaign, send email to Terry or call her at 575-635-2637.

Candidates Forum by League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a forum for all city council candidates on Tuesday, October 13, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Munson Center. The format allows for members of the audience to submit written questions to be addressed by the candidates.

For more information, send email to Vicki Simons, 575-522-4813, or Mimi Roddy, 575-522-1204.

Balanced AM Talk Radio

Shirley Armstrong brought a petition addressing the fact that AM talk radio in southern New Mexico is overwhelmingly conservative in spite of the fact that in recent elections southern New Mexico has voted consistently for progressive candidates including President Barack Obama. She asked for signatures on the petition. For more information, or if you would like to circulate a copy of the petition, send email to Shirley or call her at 575-4570.

On the River for the River

Wearing his salesman’s hat, Paul Heiberger invited everyone to attend “On the River, For the River,” SWEC’s thirteenth annual gala fundraiser for the protection and restoration of the Rio Grande. The event will be held September 26, 5 to 10:30 p.m., at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park.

For more information send email to Paul, call him at 575-522-5552, or visit the SWEC Web site.

Bill McCamley for PRC, District 5

Bill McCamley announced that he will run for Public Regulation Commission, District 5. He cited his track record as a proponent of ethics reform and the development of alternative energy sources. He noted that with health care reform we will need a strong PRC that will assure proper oversight of insurance programs. For more information send email to Bill or call him at 575-496-5731.

Democratic Women

Terri McBrayer announced that the Democratic Women of Doña Ana County will host a forum for candidates for city council.

Candidates Forum
Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m.
Farm and Ranch Museum

For more information send email to Terri.

Recycling—Onward and Upward

Al McBrayer noted the steady, inexorable progress being made toward recycling in Doña Ana County. One small example is the recent tripling of recycling drop off points.

An electronics recycling day will be held Saturday, November 14. This is an opportunity to recycle all that electronic equipment, working or not, that is taking up valuable space in your garage. UNICOR will accept computer, printers, wire cables, copies, CB’s, cell phones, binoculars—you name it.

Electronics Recycling
Saturday, November 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Doña Ana County Government Center
845 N. Motel Blvd.

For more information, send email to Al or call him at 575-541-9667.

Better Choices, NM Coalition

Donna Hill urged us to support Better Choices, NM, a coalition of organizations advocating for ways to balance the budget that will not harm New Mexico’s working families and small business owners. For more information send email to Stephanie Maez-Gibson or call her at 505-410-0251.

Conservation Voters Issue Report Card

Sandy Buffet of Conservation Voters of New Mexico announced that Doña Ana County had four legislators with a 100% record of voting in favor of environmental legislation. Those 100% legislators are Nate Cote, Steve Fischmann, Antonio Lujan, and Jeff Steinborn. In addition, the Doña Ana delegation had an overall pro-environment voting record of 75%, which was the best in the state.

Sandy brought copies of the report card that Conservation Voters prepares following each legislative session. The report is also available at http://www.cvnm.org/Scorecard/index.html.  For more information visit Conservation Voters NM online or send email to Sandy.

Lawrence Rael for Lieutenant Governor

Lawrence Rael announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor in the Democratic primary. He cited his extensive managerial experience as chief administrative officer of Albuquerque and executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments and his work on the award-winning New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter rail line.

More information can be found on Lawrence’s candidate Web site.

Update from Representative Nate Cote

Representative Nate Cote, District 53, spoke about several issues weighing on the legislators as they prepare for the special budget session at the end of October. He urged citizens to attend legislative hearings and mentioned three upcoming hearings to be held in southern New Mexico.

Courts, Corrections and Justice
September 30 to October 2 in Las Cruces
(will include concerns of homeowner associations)

Military and Veterans’ Affairs
October 13 in Las Cruces

Complete information about the above hearings and agendas can be found on the NM Legislature Web site.

Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC)
October 19 to 21 in Alamogordo

Hearing information for the LESC is here.

Brian Colon for Lieutenant Governor

Christy French spoke on behalf of Brian Colon, former chairperson of the New Mexico Democratic Party, who is running for Lieutenant Governor in the Democratic Primary. For more information, send email to Christy.

Health and Human Services Audit Concerns

Earl Nissen urged us to pay attention to the Doña Ana County audit of the Health and Human Services Department. He reminded us that the department has a huge budget and is responsible for indigent care in our very poor county. For more information abut the county audit, send email to Marnie Nixon or call her at 575-523-0009.

Stephanie DuBois for PRC, District 2

Stephanie DuBois of Tularosa announced that she is running for Public Regulation Commission, in District 2 which includes several districts in Doña Ana County. She promised to be an independent voice on the Commission and reiterated the importance of insurance oversight. (By the way, Stephanie has an AM radio program that can be heard on the Web alamoam.com.) For more information send email to Stephanie or call her at 575-430-1640.

Update from the Obama Cruces Connection

Lloyd Covens reported on the County Commission meeting held Tuesday, September 22. The National Association of Home Builders gave a 25-minute presentation advocating for the home building industry and critical of impact fees. At the end of the presentation, Commissioner Butler observed that the question of water had been completely missing from their discussion.

Good News for Wolves

Jean Ossorio announced that there have been recent successful efforts to preserve the wolf pack in New Mexico. If you are so moved, express your appreciation. The necessary information is on the Mexican wolves Web site. While you’re there, visit the “Kid Zone” which is updated weekly with news of the wolves and their whereabouts. For more information, send email to Jean.

Linda Lopez for Lieutenant Governor

David Chavez spoke on behalf of Linda Lopez, state senator from Bernalillo County, and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Information about the candidate is here, or you can send email to David.

‘Democracy Now!’

Ann Gutierrez announced her ongoing efforts to bring Amy Goodman’s ‘Democracy Now!’ to KRWG. The radio station has been curiously unresponsive to requests that it carry the program, even refusing an offer of one year’s funding for the program. For more information or to join in supporting this cause, send email to Ann.

Update from County Commissioner Scott Krahling

Commissioner Scott Krahling announced that he would be happy to meet and talk with anyone about the results of the Health and Human Services audit. He stated that the county is working to craft a clear agreement with Las Cruces Public Schools regarding “Spaceport Education Dollars.”

For more information, send email to Scott, visit his Web page, or call him at 575-635-1359.

Bob Diven to Perform in Washington, DC

Bob Diven announced that he will be performing October 14 at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC. The gallery’s Web site provides the following summary:

John Singer Sargent: Painting Madame X reveals the emotional story behind Sargent’s most famous and notorious painting. In this original one-man show directed by Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff, artist and actor Bob Diven brings to life the passion and the scandal of one of America’s greatest painters, and one of the world’s most revered portraits.

Bob reminded us of his weekly editorial cartoon appearing in the Sunday edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News and warned that the upcoming cartoon would be touching on the county’s recent audit.

Our next meeting will be
Thursday, October 22, 7 p.m.

Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite


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