March 23, 2006

Current working groups

State Issues
Jim Moore gave a short synopsis of the 2006 Platform entitled “Building the Opportunity Society” that was unveiled at the State Pre-Primary Convention last weekend. He noted that there were a good number of progressives in attendance at the convention, not only from our Progressive Voter Alliance, but from other areas of the state, as well.

Local Environmental and Quality of Life Issues
Janet Darrow introduced Greg Smith of the Paleozoic Trackway Foundation, a group that advocates protecting the Paleozoic trackways in the Robledo Mountains. Greg reported that in these mountains rocks with 200 million years old tracks were found. He reported that in the 1990’s Jeff Bingaman was involved in the protection of such areas, but that currently there is no protection for Paleozoic trackways. Jo-an Smith, of the organization Friends of the Robledos, reported that the BLM decided to blast those mountains, but that her group is appealing this decision in court. A positive decision will only delay interference by the BLM. For further information please contact Jo-an at Interested people should attend two events: Meeting of the Paleozoic Trackway Foundation: Monday, March 27 3:30pm at the Southwest Environmental Center. The County Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday, March 28 9:00am, where a Proclamation will be offered in support of the trackways.

Protecting the Vote
Peter Ossorio reported that the response to his urgent request for poll workers was good and that the NM statutes regarding voter identification are available on the PVA website in the Protecting the Vote web page . Whoever is interested in becoming a poll worker can still apply. Please contact Peter at

Framing the Issues
Nancy Anderson reported that Al Kissling would like to do a survey to find out what are the three most important issues to conservatives. She also presented several issues from Al Kissling’s platform, giving examples of how these issues can be “framed”.

Executive Committee
Cathilia Flores reported that three candidates requested to rent the PVA membership list for their district: Karen Perez, Nate Cote, and Al Kissling. Based on the PVA guide lines, the three candidates’ request was approved.

PVA Scholarship
Brigitte Hines reported that of the $500 needed for the scholarship, $225 were raised, and asked for donations of any amount. The scholarship is intended for a progressive student of any major, and will pay for a government class, for example NM Law, State & Local Government, or for an internship for credit at a progressive organization. For donations and information, please contact Brigitte

Building Alliances
John Nelson reported that Ann Gutierrez is planning a half day workshop in May. The workshop, titled “Fundamentals of Multi-Cultural Coalition Building” will be conducted by a nationally known facilitator, Roberto Chene.

Other Organizations and General Announcements

Melinda Caskey spoke about the committee organizing the union election at NMSU. People interested in helping with the organization could sign on to a list, and she would contact them later to inform about actions. For further information please contact Melinda at

Tamie Smith announced the NM Common Cause luncheon. NM Common Cause is a nonpartisan nonprofit advocacy organization, a “vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest”. Governor Bill Richardson will speak about “Ethics in Government” at the luncheon at the Best Western Hotel on April 20, 11:30am. The price is $12 and interested people should make reservations with Bill McCamley no later than April 15th at 524-0018. Tamie’s email address is

Jean Ossorio announced the slide show and talk about the Endangered Species Act, to take place at the SWEC on Tuesday, March 28 at 7pm. Details are on the PVA’s Home Page under Other Upcoming Events.

Tim Reed reported about the GI Rights Hotline, which is a nationwide non-profit coalition of organizations that offer a hotline for information and help regarding GI’s rights. This hotline helps for example if female soldiers are being mistreated, or if someone is not being promoted according to regulations due to discrimination, or if a soldier would like to leave the military, etc. The hotline number is 1-800 394 9544.

Bri Hines announced that she will do an internship at PVA for her Government BA at NMSU. The internship will be during the Summer 1 session, i.e. from May 30 to July 3. Any working group or person in need of help with research, organizing an event or other assistance with a progressive issue, please contact Bri at brshines@hotmail.comCandidates

All candidates for public office, of any party affiliation, are welcome at PVA meetings.  Candidates themselves received three minutes to address the group, and their representatives received 1 1/2 minutes.  Candidates who would like to post information about their campaigns on the PVA website can send that information to John Nelson at

Candidates and candidate representatives who appeared included:
Joni Gutierrez, unopposed candidate for NM House Representative for District 33. For more information contact Joni at
Antonio Lujan, running for his 3rd term as NM House Representative inDistrict 35. For more information contact Antonio at
Stephanie Gonzales is a candidate for Secretary of State. For further information call (505) 474-0212.
Dean Burk is a Congressional candidate for the 2nd District, running against Steve Pearce. He will enter the race as a “write-in” candidate.
Mary Herrera is a candidate for Secretary of State. For further information call (505) 877-0789.
Alice Salcido is running for Probate Judge in the Doña Ana County. For more information please write to
Nate Cote is running for State Representative in District 53. For further information please contact Nate at
Stephanie Dubois is a candidate for Public Regulation Commissioner in District 2. For more information please contact Stephanie at
– Sarah Amador spoke at the meeting representing Governor Richardson, asking for feedback on the governor’s policies and actions. Please contact her at
– John Nelson spoke for Karen Perez who is running for County Commissioner for District 3. For more information, contact Karen at
– Philip Zakahi spoke on behalf of Al Kissling, candidate for Congress in the Second Congressional District. For more information, contact Philip at

Unified Action
Cathilia Flores spoke for Ann Rohovec, who “cleaned up” the Unified Action email list. Assisted by Terry Miller and Judy Zimmerman, Ann contacted those who had not participated in the January Action, to see if they were not receiving our email or if they just forgot to send back the “I did it” or if they wanted to be removed from the mailing list. The responses to the follow-up were very positive! 86 people participated in the January Unified Action, lobbying the Mayor and the City Councillor for the Doña Ana County Land Conservation and Development Act. Cathilia reported that several area legislators reported that they had never been lobbied so
much on an issue as they were for the Minimum Wage, which was our December 2005 Unified Action.

Chris Hines introduced Glenn Landers of the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC), which is sponsoring the March Unified Action. Glenn spoke about the Otero Mesa, the last area of the Chihuahuan Desert grassland that still holds a habitat for a unique fauna and flora. The BLM, the agency that controls this area, is planning to open 95% of the Otero Mesa for oil and gas drilling. SWEC is asking to write a letter to JeffBingaman asking him to introduce legislation that will permanently protect this area.For those interested, there will also be a guided tour to the Otero Mesa, and afterwards to the Alamo Mountains to see the petroglyphs. The tour will be on April 8, from around 8am to around 5pm. For further information please contact Glenn at 522-5552. Opportunity to speak out on issues and concerns it was mentioned that the PVA should concentrate on three main issues to be defined, as “on the fourth issue everyone falls asleep.”

A brief discussion about the city and county zoning came up, and it was mentioned that the city gives in too easily on developers’ requests, without analyzing rezoning requests. Tamie Smith explained how one can get involved in this issue.