August 25, 2005

Current Working Groups:

Building a Data Base of Progressive Activists
Ann Rohovec reported that an ambitious phone campaign has been launched by the PVA, aimed at contacting the entire Kerry volunteer list from 2004, with a goal of developing a data base of 700 progressive activists in Doña Ana County by September 15th. Calling captains have already scheduled call nights at their homes, and the few remaining call slots were taken by volunteers at the PVA meeting. Maybe if you ask her very nicely, though, Ann could fit you in too. Contact her at

Building Alliances
Ann Gutierrez announced that the next Building Alliances panel is tentatively scheduled for the PVA meeting on September 22.

Committee to Beat Pearce
Charlie Scholz announced that the next CBP meeting will be the evening of Monday, Sept 12. Contact Charlie for details.

Curbside Recycling in Las Cruces
Brigitte Hines announced that the City of Las Cruces recycling pilot project has gotten underway, and that, based on the results of that project, the city commission will decide whether to do curb-side recycling city-wide. As part of a marketing plan for the city, Brigitte is recruiting a group to walk the pilot neighborhood on Saturday, October 1, to talk to residents about their experiences with the city program, and to encourage their participation. This is a very important activity, and should be fun: to join in, contact Brigitte at

Executive Committee
Don Kurtz announced that the PVA Executive Committee is moving the group toward incorporation as a 501(c)(4) organization, with an emphasis on issue advocacy. If necessary, a Political Action Committee (PAC) will be formed at a later date. Don urged PVA participants to examine the organization by-laws. Comments can be communicated to Executive Committee members, whose names, phone numbers, and emails are available on the Executive Committee Working Group page.

Local Environmental and Quality of Life Issues
Janet Darrow announced that the annual Conference of the New Mexico chapter of the American Planning Association will be held in Las Cruces on September 15th and 16th. Call Brian Harper 522-2289 for details.

Pro-Life/Pro-Choice: Bridging the Gap
Susana Salamanca reported that this group, made up of pro-life and pro-choice advocates, has met twice so far, with considerable energy and passion, and with the goal of finding common ground on this divisive issue. It’s important to establish, within the group, a sense of trust, so those who wish to participate this fall need to agree that each individual has arrived at his/her position by a variety of paths and that s/he feels strongly about it. We need to respect that position and show compassion and empathy for all the members of the group in order to arrive at a common ground. Also, for the sake of continuity, it would be preferable if you could commit to attending all three monthly meetings (September, October, and November). Contact Susana at for more information.

State Action Committee
Beth Bardwell and Vicki Simons:
1. Reported that plans are in place for the PVA Legislative Roundtable, scheduled for Thursday, November 10th, at the Mesilla Center. This Roundtable, which will take the place of the regular November PVA meeting, will bring together PVAers and area legislators for a preview of the January legislative session.
2. Passed out an excellent 2005 legislative scorecard for local legislators on issues of interest to progressive voters.
3. Announced plans to visit key legislators to confer with them about Health Choices New Mexico, a bill that may be introduced in the January session. Vicki advised us that this is a bad bill, and that legislators need to be informed about much better alternatives that will be introduced in the 2006 session. For more information about any of these activities, contact Beth Bardwell at or Vicki Simons at

New Working Groups

Framing the Issue
Martha Loustaunau will be working with Monica Torres on a group which will endeavor to re-frame key issues away from unconscious conservative biases and toward formulations more in line with our progressive values and vision. This is a very exciting group: to participate, contact Martha at or Monica Torres at

Developing Alternatives to Hate Radio in the Mesilla Valley
Rus Bradburd re-debuted this committee, with renewed vigor, thanks to a clear action plan designed to bring Air America and other progressive broadcasting to the area. To join in, contact Rus at

Letters to the Editor
Bev Huff offered to chair a group which will create a steady progressive presence in the letters to the editor section of local newspapers. To participate, contact Bev at

Judicial Issues
Jim Locatelli is interested in increasing public understanding, through this non-partisan group, of issues of importance in the judiciary, such as whether Las Cruces should adopt a metro court system. Jim can be reached at


Separation of Church and State
Bill McCamley reported on a very disturbing development in the County Commission meetings: an insistence on making the opening prayer denominational and specific to the Christian religion. Bill has stood up courageously against this, and he could really use our support at the next County Commission meeting, which will be at the County Building, on Amador near Main Street, at 9 am on Tuesday, September 13th. For more information, contact Bill at

Labor Day Breakfast
Jeff Steinborn invited everyone to join in honoring labor at the Democratic Party’s Labor Day Breakfast, which will have, as special guests, Joe Villalobos of the United Steel Workers, and Lt. Governor Diane Denish. The breakfast will be at 9 am on Monday, September 5, at the Ramada Palms de Las Cruces (formerly the Holiday Inn de Las Cruces), 201 E. University. For tickets, call Gayle Radom 532-1780.

March for the Colonias
Connie Voisine announced that the march will take place in Sunland Park, starting at 9 am at Helena Park, at the corner of Mirovisto and McNutt, and marching to the fence (Mexican border) at Anapra. The purpose of the march is to end the border enforcement policies known as Operations Gatekeeper, Hold the Line, Rio Grande and Safeguard, to guarantee the protection of human and civil rights for everyone, to recognize the contributions that migrants have made to the US and Mexican economies, to demilitarize the border, and to insure labor rights for all workers on both sides of the border. More info: call Veronica Carmona at Colonias Development Council 505-647-2744.

Forum on Proposed Changes to the Las Cruces City Charter
Vicki Simon reminded us of a Public Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause, about proposed changes in the city charter. The forum will be held Thursday, September 15, at 7 pm, in the City Council Chambers. For more information, contact Vicki at

Peace Rally–Stand with Cindy Sheehan
There will be a peace rally, in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, the mother who lost her son in Iraq, and who is still waiting to see President Bush in Crawford, Texas. The Las Cruces rally will be Wednesday, August 31, from 4-6 pm, in front of the Federal Building downtown. For more information, contact Kate Mott at

Filing Deadlines Approaching
Jim Locatelli announced that petitions for candidates for the Las Cruces city council and municipal judge have to be turned in by Tuesday, September 27th. For information, contact Jim at

Polling Judges Needed
Joni Gutierrez urged all Democrats to be poll workers and election judges in the next election. These are very important positions, where people can be encouraged to exercise their right to vote, rather than be intimidated and driven away. Many of these positions are paid, and will be assigned over the next few months. If you are interested, contact Democratic Party Chair Jeff Steinborn at

Unified Action
Duncan Hayse of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) thanked the PVA for our support in June’s Unified Action, and reported that an open forum for staff was held a week later on campus, as a direct result of our letters.

Don Kurtz presented this month’s unified action, on Global Warming. There are over 80 participants currently in the PVA Unified Action — if you’d like to join us, please go to the Unified Action page to sign up.

Passing the hat at the meeting yielded $169.63, which brings the current total of PVA funds to $180.89