Legislative Response Team Wants YOU
Jim Moore announced that PVA’s Legislative Response Team (LRT) will be at work until the current session of the New Mexico legislature comes to an end on February 18, 2010. Jim will track progressive bills as they move through the legislature and email calls for action (i.e., a phone call or email) at just the right time to have the greatest impact on the policy makers.
This is the fourth year of the LRT’s existence. Past issues of note included environmental protection, repeal of the death penalty, health care reform, and domestic partnership rights. Last year, the LRT participated in the defeat of the SunCal TIDDs, causing legislators to ask, “Who are these people in southern New Mexico and why do they know so much about this issue?”
To sign up for the Legislative Response Team, send an email to Jim.
Unified Action Update from October 2009
Cheryl Frank reminded us that the October 2009 unified action was to talk to five friends about the November municipal election. Fifty-three conscientious people responded to the action with an “I did it” indicating that there were 265 progressive conversations about the election.
Unified Action—History and Purpose
Don Kurtz spoke about the unified action—how it works and why it matters. If you or your group have an activity to propose as a unified action, send email to Cheryl Frank.
The January unified action has not been decided yet, but it will involve input on an especially important legislative decision.
For more information, send email to Don.
Ricardo Gonzales for PRC, District 5
Ricardo Gonzales announced that he is a candidate for the Public Regulation Commission, District 5. He works in the Department of Agriculture at NMSU and currently serves on the NMSU legislative team, where he is paying particular attention to health care bills.
News From Our Favorite Wolf Woman
Jean Ossorio brought an update on the plight of the Mexican gray wolf and the need for a new plan for their reintroduction to their natural habitat. She displayed the current reintroduction plan, which is dated 1982 and was written on an actual typewriter. Visit the wolf Web site for news and educational material.
For more information about how to help Mexican wolves, send email to Jean or call her at 575-644-7384.
Alan Solomon on Representative Teague
Alan expressed his concerns with Representative Teague’s voting record, characterizing it as being not much different than his predecessor’s (Steve Pearce). He noted ongoing difficulty contacting Representative Teague by email.
Alan also reported that the situation at our animal shelter is “horrific” and suggested that the spay and neuter issue would be a good candidate for a future PVA Unified Action.
For more information, send email to Alan.
Better Choices New Mexico
Kathy Sowa described Better Choices New Mexico, a coalition of groups advocating for ways to raise revenues while strengthening the middle class and small businesses. She brought a petition for signatures which local AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Federal Employees) members will deliver to the legislature in Santa Fe.
Peace Enthusiasts Issue an Invitation
Andra Larson announced that the Southern New Mexico Peace Enthusiasts meet at noon on the third Saturday of every month at the Mountain View Co-op. Everyone interested in working for a nonviolent community is welcome to attend.
Peace Enthusiasts are hosting a fundraiser on March 13, 10 a.m., at the Fountain Theater in Mesilla. They will show the movie “One Peace At a Time,” which tells the stories of individuals around the globe who are making a difference one … well … peace at a time.
For more information, send email to Andra.
Concealed Firearms and Alcohol in New Mexico?
Charlie Scholz voiced his concern about a proposal before the legislature that that would allow concealed firearms in places that serve alcohol. Governor Richardson supports this idea and Charlie asked that we call the Governor and say, “No!” The Governor’s number is 505-476-2200.
Here is an article about the bill’s progress in Santa Fe and here is the National Rifle Association’s notice about the bill.
For more information send email to Charlie.
School Bond Election
Norman Todd announced that the school bond election is Tuesday, February 2, and urged us to vote in favor of the bonds. The Las Cruces Public Schools Web site has detailed information about the bonds and a list (scroll down) of the consolidated voting locations.
Bill McCamley for PRC, District 5
Bill McCamley asked for our support in his campaign for Public Regulation Commission. He asked for citizen input on electricity, health care, and other functions overseen by the PRC and extended an open invitation to an organizational meeting on Saturday, January 30, 2010.
Update from Nathan Small
Nathan Small, city councilor for district 4, informed us of a 120-day sustainability study which will establish baseline information for energy efficiency in Las Cruces. He noted that the $200,000+ needed for repairs so that Munson Center can be reopened is in jeopardy in the budget negotiations in Santa Fe. He alerted us to the fact that Steve Pearce, our former representative to the House of Representatives, is busy fighting against protection of the Organ Mountains and other wilderness in Doña Ana County. Finally (all within the allotted two minutes) Nathan commended Representative Teague’s work in the Congress, pointing out his courageous vote in favor of cap and trade legislation and the benefits of Teague’s successful efforts to bring the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Agriculture to Las Cruces.
For more information, send email to Nathan.
Support for Obama’s Agenda
Maury Castro prompted us to call our congressional delegation and let them know that we support Obama’s agenda including health care reform and aid to small businesses.
Maury also spoke in support of Jerry Ortiz y Pino for lieutenant governor, noting that his agenda is “progressive with a capital P.”
For more information, send an email to Maury.
Billy Garrett for County Commission, District 1
Billy Garret announced his candidacy for County Commission, District 1, which extends from Hatch in the north to San Miguel and Berino in the south and takes in western parts of Mesilla and Las Cruces.
Billy cited his 30 years of experience in public service as an architect and a manager with the National Park Service, where he was responsible for a large staff and budget and many innovative projects. He observed that we live in “a historic, beautiful place . . . a good place to call home.”
For more information, send email to Billy.
Update from Maria Flores, School Board Member
Maria urged all those supporting the school bonds to get out and vote on February 2. She spoke of her pledge to visit each of the 38 schools in the district. Her visits have made clear to her the needs of the schools including the need for essential repairs. She assured us that the bond election funds will be put to good use.
For more information, send email to Maria.
Peter Ossorio Urges Support for the ACLU
Peter Ossorio, newly appointed ACLU board member, explained that because of the economic crisis the organization has recently lost a very big donor, thereby losing 22% of their funding. Peter asked for new members to join and for old members to up their contribution, perhaps by 22%. All contributors will be given the “big donor treatment” consisting of coffee at International Delights and face time with ACLU dignitaries.
For more information, send email to Peter or call him at 575-647-1362.
Welcome Back, Judge Wingenroth
Judge Kent Wingenroth thanked those who supported him in the 2008 election and expressed his commitment to and love for his work in the Magistrate Court.
For more information or questions about the Magistrate Court, send email to Judge Wingenroth.
Diane Denish for Governor
Tomás Talamante, Southern New Mexico organizer for the Diane Denish’s campaign for governor, announced that he is based out of the Doña Ana County Democratic Party office at 1400 South Solano Drive.
Sharon Thomas, City Councilor, District 6
Sharon announced that the City of Las Cruces has been awarded a special grant for a project that will reinvision the El Paseo corridor including the use of public transportation to connect NMSU with the downtown. Las Cruces was one of 102 applicants from across the country and one of only four communities awarded a grant. HUD, the EPA, and the US Department of Transportation will provide technical assistance.
For more information, send email to Sharon.
Lawrence Rael for Lt. Governor
Lawrence Rael, candidate for lieutenant governor, spoke of his 25 years of experience in government service and his ability to work with people to get things done–the Rail Runner Express being just one example. Lawrence stated his support of the domestic partnership legislation and noted that he had instituted partner rights for city employees when he was Albuquerque’s city manager. He spoke of the need for a state planning office that would address our state’s natural resources, energy and water needs, and economic development.
For more information, send email to Lawrence or visit his campaign Web site.
PRC Rules on EPE Request
Mark Westbrock updated us on a case recently before the Public Regulatory Commission. The El Paso Electric proposed to decrease the incentive paid to customers who generate photovoltaic energy from $0.13 to $0.10 per kilowatt hour. The final result was a change from $0.13 to $0.12.
Zell Cantrell Does the Math
Zell Cantrell, first avowing that he is a card-carrying member of the ACLU and an unrepentant nerd, explained that in order to make up a loss of 22% in ACLU revenues, funds will need to be increased by 28%. He urged new and continuing members to give accordingly.
For more information, send email to Zell.
Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC)
Paul Heiberger, organizer for SWEC, announced that they have received a grant to provide field trips to the up-and-coming La Mancha wetland site (with a possible stop at Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park). The grant covers students in grades K to 12.
Paul reported that wilderness groups are pushing for permanent protection for the Otero Mesa and that the Coalition for Otero Mesa presented Governor Richardson with a pair of golden gloves for his leadership in protecting the area.
SWEC’s annual Prius Raffle is underway. Only 400 tickets will be sold and the winner will receive a brand-new 2010 Prius. Raffle tickets are $100 each and can be purchased at SWEC (275 N. Main) or at their Web site. (Scroll down on the home page to find raffle information right below the list of essay contest winners.)
For information about field trips to the Bosque Park or other environmental concerns, send email to Paul or call him at 575-522-5552.
Judge Mannie Arrieta
Judge Arrieta asked for our support in his first run for office. Recently appointed by Governor Richardson to the Third District Court, he will be on the ballot for the first time in November 2010. He observed that the foreclosures and credit card issues are making up the majority of cases heard by the Civil Division in which he presides. The foreclosure rate in Doña Ana Countyis well above the national average.
For more information, send email to Judge Arrieta.
Jack Soules Speaks Out
Jack spoke in favor of forcing true filibustering in the U.S. Senate. He exhorted us to be aware of the 10% unemployment rate in our country and to advocate for jobs and small business incentives.
For more information, send email to Jack.
Olga Pedroza, City Councilor, District 3
Olga thanked her supporters for their help during the November election and after. She observed that two kinds of people seem to be heard by the City Council—those with money and those who are vocal and organized. She spoke of the affordable housing issue that was just passed by the city council, of the mental health needs in the city, and of the alarming number of recent deaths from exposure. She urged us to stay involved, stay informed, and keep communicating with her.
For more information, send email to Olga or call her at 575-640-2564.
Jerry Ortiz y Pino for Lt. Governor
Cathilia Flores spoke on behalf of Jerry Ortiz y Pino and asked for our consideration of his candidacy for lieutenant governor. She stated that he has progressive ideas for ethics, the environment, the economy, education, and health care reform. He stands for gay marriage rights as well as partnership rights.
Cathilia also vouched for Ricardo Gonzales’s qualifications for the Public Regulation Commission and urged us to get to know him.
Recent Police Shooting in Las Cruces
Dr. Ernest Flores, who has practiced psychiatry is Las Cruces for many years, spoke of the recent fatal shooting of a Las Cruces citizen by a police officer. He said that the shooting is a tragedy for the entire police force and that our support would be appreciated in this time of extreme stress.
For more information, send email to Ernesto.
Lloyd Covens reported that members of the OCC got together to watch President Obama’s first State of the Union Address. He gave Obama’s speech a good grade, pointing out his use of humor and his calling out of the Supreme Court’s decision to allow corporations the free speech rights of individuals.
Lloyd announced upcoming dates for the Democratic Party’s pre-primary delegate selection process. Dates and meeting details are here.
For more information, send email to Lloyd.
Alice Anderson talked about ways of addressing the feral cat situation. For more information, send email to Alice or call her at 575-523-5179.
Gill Sorg, City Councilor, District 5
Gill Sorg thanked supporters for their help with his campaign. He commended the city’s new sustainability officer, Tom Schuster, and announced that the NMSU Sustainability Committee will hold an open meeting February 10, 8 p.m., Milton Hall, Room 185, NMSU.
[Gil also announced that it was snowing outside.]
For more information, send email to Gill or call him at 575-541-0571.
Recycling Presses Onward
Al McBrayer reminded us that we are getting closer all the time to curbside recycling for Las Cruces. Bidding on curbside service is currently underway and Al is cautiously optimistic that curbside recycling will be a reality before 2010 is over.
In the meantime, there are expanded locations for recycling and a good deal for businesses who want their recycling picked up.
For more information, send email to Al.
Vicki Gaubeca, director of the ACLU’s Center for Border Rights, thanked Peter and Zell for their support and reiterated the organization’s need for new members and funds to make up the 22% shortfall in revenues. She announced that the ACLU leadership is available to make presentations to groups interested in the issues the group is working on.
Vicki invited everyone to save the date for an ACLU fundraiser featuring a keynote address by Dolores Huerta. The event will be April 13 at the Court Youth Center.
Shout Out for Pothole Fixers
Jean Ossorio thanked Gil Sorg and whoever else was responsible for the speedy repair of a Volkswagen-sized pothole in her neighborhood.
Democratic Women of Doña Ana County
Terri McBrayer invited women and men to join the Democratic Women of Doña Ana County. They meet on the first Saturday of the month and the Farm and Ranch Museum. The next meeting will be February 6 at 10 a.m.
Terri noted as well that the “trees need to stay on the downtown mall” and suggested that we write to city officials let them know.
For more information, call Terri at 575-541-9667.
Our next meeting will be
February 25, 2010, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center*
*If the Munson Senior Center is still being repaired, we will meet at the Mesilla Park Recreation Center. 304 W. Bell Avenue, Mesilla Park.