September 23, 2013

“Ski” Szymanski, from Silver City, talked to us about the Proposed Diversion of the Gila River.

In 2004  Congress passed the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) that authorized diversion of the Gila River if New Mexico agreed to buy water from Arizona to replace what we take out of the river.

The AWSA provided $66M for community water projects to meet local water needs and up to $62M more if NM elects to divert and pipe the Gila River.

  • The water is owned by the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC)              which is the senior water rights holder.
  • We have to buy water from the Central Arizona Project to replace all of GRIC’s Gila water in exchange for what we use, including evaporation – up to 30% of amount diverted annually.
  • Buying into this federal system gives up local control of our future water security. Diversion/Pipeline is unnecessary
  • According to water studies there is a huge aquifer under the populated areas in southwest New Mexico that can supply needs far into the future.           
  • There are effective water supply alternatives that are cheaper, faster, and easier than a diversion and pipeline.
  • Project cost estimates range from $190M – $323M, leaving a gap of up to $200M for tax payers and water users to cover.  
  • The replacement water we buy will cost over $2M annually by the time any diversion and pipeline is built and will increase over time. This is the “exchange cost”.
  • Annual operation and maintenance costs are estimated from $3M – $6M.
  • This will negatively affect wildlife habitat, endangered species and possibly irrigators.

We have a choice:

We can immediately spend the $66M on community water projects that will meet our  needs far into the future or spend the entire $128M on a speculative diversion and pipeline that we will be paying off for many years& may fail due to long-term drought.

For more information, please visit the Gila Conservation Coalition at

Additional information can be found here at


A 9th grader in Silver City has initiated a petition addressed to the Interstate Stream Commission asking that the Gila River water not be diverted and piped to Deming (by way of the copper mines near Silver City) in order to facilitate development.

Charlotte Lipson reminded everyone that the League of Women Voters will have a Candidates Forum, pertaining to the Municipal Election:

Tuesday October 8, 2013, 6:00 p.m., City Hall Council Chamber

Televised live on Comcast Cable 20 or streamed on CLC TV, City of Las Cruces for viewing by computer.

Candidates for

  • District 3, Olga Pedroza, Bev Courtney
  • District 5, Gil M. Sorg, David B. Roewe
  • District 6, Cecelia H. Levatino, J. Mark Cobb, and Curtis J. Rosemond
  • Municipal Judge, Division II:  Kieran F. Ryan, Ben A Longwill

Voters Guide expected to be published in Las Cruces Sun-News, Monday, October 7.

Jeanne Ossorio said right-wing groups and billionaire extremists – the Koch Brothers, for example – funding an attack on wolves. She encouraged people to go to Albuquerque on October 4 and stand up for the Mexican gray wolf. If the Koch Brothers get their way they will be able to control the activities on public lands.

Here is information about the hearing:

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now proposing to delist gray wolves and implement changes that threaten the survival and recovery of Mexican wolves. Only one hearing will be held on both proposals – on October 4 in Albuquerque, NM.

Embassy Suites
1000 Woodward Place NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102

3:30 p.m.  Tabling, free refreshments, sign-making, children’s art activities
4:00 p.m.  Training by Defenders of Wildlife 
4:45 p.m.  Rally/Sign up for hearing
6:00 p.m.  US Fish and Wildlife Service Hearing

We know that special interests are organizing to call for an end to wolves at the hearing in Albuquerque. Your voice, joined with many others, is needed at the hearing if America’s wolves are to survive the attacks against them.

This is a historic opportunity. A critical mass of supporters in Albuquerque on October 4 can turn the tide for wolves. So please save the date and spread the word. Join the event on Facebook.

Kevin Bixby, the executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center, seconded Jeanne’s 2 minutes and said that you can use this page on SWEC’s website to add your voice to the Mexican Wolf recovery efforts. Also, the Southwest Environmental Center is having their annual Gala fundraiser on

October 5, 2013, 6pm-10pm on Main Street. Tickets are $50.

This is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year and helps them raise funds to protect wildlife and wild places. Read all about it and buy tickets here.

Alice Anderson has a book recommendation for you: Nature Wars, by Jim Sterba. Unfortunately, this book is not available at the Branigan Library. They will get it for you, via interlibrary loan. The copy they procured for Alice was borrowed from Kentucky. Alice discovered that the library pays nearly as much for interlibrary loan books as they would pay to purchase a book outright. She also found out that the library gets rid of books that are not being read as well as books that are being read too much and are therefore worn out – she feels this is a no-win situation. The library has also been giving away older copies of magazines/periodicals. Alice encourages everyone to let the library know if you have suggestions to improve the library. She reminds everyone that not everything can be found online. Books, in paper form, are still important.

John Nelson announced that the Las Cruces chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby will meet on October 5, at 11am, at the Las Cruces Academy, 1755 Avenida de Mercado. The group will listen to a national call regarding climate change and then discuss local actions that can be taken. John also suggested a website where you can take online course for free (there are several about climate change). Here is the link.

Ken Murray noted that Representative Pearce voted to cut basic food stamp assistance to more than 20,000 families in his district, when he voted to cut millions from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, but ProgressNowNM recently discovered that Steve Pearce often treats himself and his staff to food and charges it to the taxpayers. One lunch bill was for $170. Ken said, when you are a millionaire and you vote to take food out of the hands of some of the poorest families (60% with children under 18) in the country, while also making the taxpayers buy your meals, “that’s chutzpah.” ProgressNowNM created this letter to Representative Pearce, invoicing him for his spending.

Leslie Endean-Singh is running for US Congress, in New Mexico’s congressional district 2. She said she is running because she wants to represent the working families of Southern New Mexico and she is tired of the obstructionist Congress. She wants to fight to protect our seniors, our military families, our communities, and our environment. She said Southern New Mexico should be an energy leader. We should be “unabashedly environmentally friendly.” She is willing to reach across the aisle, and she is the type of person who works hard and gets things accomplished. She is an attorney and is also the business manager of her husband’s medical practice.

Aletta Wilson said that if you are dismayed by the recent vote in the House of Representatives that cut food stamps by 40 billion dollars, please let Representative Pearce know you are paying attention. Aletta said people should email Rep. Pearce as well as the press, with the message, “Please restore funds to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” Here are the email addresses:

Congressman Steve Pearce’s Chief of Staff, Todd Willens:

Cc Las Cruces Sun News:

Cc Las Cruces Bulletin:

Alan Webber, visiting from Santa Fe, said he brings greetings and solidarity from Santa Fe! However, he said New Mexico is being left behind. Since the recession ended, New Mexico has created the fewest jobs of any state in the surrounding area (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada). We have now dropped to 50th in child well-being. Refer to page 30 of this detailed report:

Carli Romero invited people to help CAFe register voters at the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, September 28-29. There is also a Raise the Wage Campaign Meeting on October 17 at 7 pm.  Contact Carli for more on this. Click here to read a report titled, Wage Theft in New Mexico. Carli also announced several upcoming gatherings/workshops/experiences happening at Shakti Rising, which is an “eclectic group of women and men who embrace leadership and transformation through a feminine lens – working in shared leadership, growing and healing in circle, connecting to nature, and weaving a network of community members dedicated to authentic, sustainable and conscious living.”

Margaret Mendoza, local chair of the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, announced that the Health Security Campaign will be having a fundraiser:

Hosted by J. Paul Taylor
Learn about the status of health care reform in New Mexico
And the incredible work of the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, 
“Putting patient care before profit”.

The lovely historic home of J. Paul and Mary Taylor on the plaza of Old Mesilla 

(The Taylor-Barela-Reynolds Mesilla Plaza Monument)
Date:  Saturday, October 19, 2013
Time:  4:00 – 6:00 PM

Contact Maury or Margaret to RSVP or to get more information.

Mark Cobb is running for Las Cruces City Council, District 6. He has experience as a financial advisor and with neighborhood associations and he thinks this experience will help in a career in public service. He talked about 1) coming up with solutions to our water issues, and 2) thoughtful, planned City development, 3) his support for the Organ Mountain National Monument, and 4) increasing the minimum wage. He would appreciate help on his campaign and your vote for him on November 5.

Wayne Miller reported that his idea to begin a progressive book club has come into being. They had their first meeting. The club will read chapters/books/articles about important issues, such as climate change and water, and apply the readings to our community. They will meet again on Tuesday, October 1, at 6:30pm, at the Community Enterprise Center on Main Street. The topic is resilience.

Ann McCullough said she had 2 major points to make: 1) Leslie for Congress, and 2) Leslie for Congress. It’s that simple, she said. Ann said Leslie Endean-Singh will be a wonderful Congresswoman, as she wants to represent all people. You can visit Leslie’s website here.

Steve Fischmann announced that he and his wife Sandy Katayanagi are hosting a fundraiser to benefit Conservation Voters New Mexico.

Thursday, October 7, from 5-7pm.
4848 Deadwood Camp Court, Las Cruces, NM.

Suggested donation: $35, $50, or $100. Contributions support political action on behalf of the environment. RSVP to or 505-992-8683 by Monday, October 14.

Curtis Childress is running for Dona Ana County Sheriff and would appreciate your support. He invites you to please visit his website and to consider volunteering!

Pat Aguirre is helping on Mark Cobb’s campaign for City Council and she would appreciate your help to get out the vote for Mark. District 6 is a large district and he has 2 opponents. Pat said, “Mark is a good person and a quality candidate. God forbid he doesn’t win! Please help us walk and call.”

She also announced a joint fundraiser for Gill Sorg (current Dis. 5 City Councilor) and J. Mark Cobb (candidate for Dis.6 City Councilor).

Tuesday, October 1 at 6pm
Los Compas Restaurant
1120 Commerce Drive (Off Telshor/across from Sam’s Club)
Non-alcohol drinks and enchilada buffet are provided.
Beer and wine are available at your own expense.
Suggested Donation is $25.00 for each candidate

Please make out individual check(s) to either or both of the candidate(s) and mail to addresses below, if you are unable to attend.

GILL SORG – WORKING FOR US! – By continuing openness, accountability, common-sense planning, sustainable economic development, commitment to public safety, providing opportunities for public input, creating good quality of life with walkable neighborhoods, parks and natural area.   Make your check to “People for Gill Sorg,” 6100 Morning Sun Way, Las Cruces, NM 88012.

J. MARK COBB – MOVING LAS CRUCES FORWARD – With good financial management, striking a balance between new growth and the needs of existing neighborhoods, building on our assets as a community, making this one of the best cities of its size in the country, and advocating for neighborhood involvement in city decision-making. Make your check to “Citizens for J. Mark Cobb Campaign,” 4543 Maricopa Circle, Las Cruces, NM 88011.


Sharon Thomas, Wayne Hancock, Scott Krahling, Jane Asche, Carol Reynolds, Debra Melcher

Jan Thompson said that it’s important that tipped workers are remembered and included in any discussions about increasing the minimum wage.

She recommended the following book, [From the Facebook page]:  Behind the Kitchen Door: What Every Diner Should Know About the People Who Feed Us is a groundbreaking exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of eating out. What’s at stake when we choose a restaurant is not only our own health or “foodie” experience, but the health and well-being of the second-largest private sector workforce—the lives of 10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring passion, tenacity, and important insight into the American dining experience.

Joanne Ferrary is helping on City Councilor Gill Sorg’s re-election campaign and would appreciate any help canvassing or phone calling. Please call (575) 649-1231 or email Joanne if you can give a few hours of your time to help Gill get re-elected.

Howard Barkley said he supports Leslie Endean-Singh for US Congress. He worked alongside Leslie in Alamogordo, when they both worked hard for the Democratic Party (which is a thankless job, by the way). Howard said Leslie is a hard worker, she is passionate, and she is “diametrically opposite of everything that Steve Pearce is.”

Bob Libby questioned whether the City should raise the Gross Receipts Tax, which was the topic of PVA’s August featured presentation (and was presented by Las Cruces City Manager, Robert Garza). Bob asked, “How about repealing the law that caused the problem in the first place?” (i.e. repealing the repeal of NM’s Hold Harmless provision). He invited people to join him in discussing this possibility.

Randy Harris has facilitated over 600 Great Conversations. Click here to read what the Great Conversation is all about!

The Great Conversation facilitates safe, respectful and informed community dialogue, recognizing diverse perspectives and encouraging collaborative action.  Everyone who has an investment and/or an interest is invited and welcome to join in this dialogue.

Wednesday October 2, 2013 6:00 – 7:30
Community Enterprise Center
125 N. Main St., Las Cruces, NM

Topic: Renewable Energy and Jobs in New Mexico

Sponsored by:
The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce

Renewable energy in its many forms continues to gain market share, economic viability and social acceptance. Let’s meet and talk about how we can further develop this opportunity for local and state job creation.

We can explore:

  • What’s already happening with renewable energy in New Mexico?
  • What does the future of this industry look like here in Southern New Mexico?
  • How do we parlay our local, private, state and government investment into quality jobs?
  • How can we as citizens play our part in expanding and advancing this process?

Links: New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority:

Report on New Mexico from  the American Council on Renewable Energy

From the US Department of Energy on Clean Energy in New Mexico:

New Mexico’s Green Job Guidebook:

Frank Gonzales is running for undersheriff of Dona Ana County (along with JR Stewart for Sheriff). He has 27 years experience in the Homeland Security/Border Patrol Department. He asks for your support.

Danielle ? announced a community meeting regarding the zoning of the southern portion of the Dona Ana Sand and Gravel property on Dripping Springs Road. The County is seeking public input. The meeting is: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 6:30pm at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, NM 88011.