October 2020 – Virtual PVA
Speak up for elderly victims under corrupt “guardianship”
Charlotte Lipson recommends a “do not retain” vote against Judge Manuel Arrieta who keeps awarding “guardianship” of the elderly to Advocate Services which, for example, is preventing a son from caring for his mother while they decimate her assets, as in the case of Dorris Hamilton. Charlotte cites Dr. Bobbie Green and Rio Hamilton in pointing out the large number of guardianship cases in Doña Ana County, and the large number of cases in which Advocate Services has been appointed guardian. According to Charlotte’s information, Advocate Services is not certified and therefore not qualified to serve as a guardian in New Mexico.
For more information, contact Charlotte.
New Mexico Voices for Children endorses 5 local legislative candidates
James Jimenez, New Mexico Voices for Children Action Fund Executive Director, announced that five Las Cruces/Silver City-area candidates for the New Mexico legislature have been endorsed by the New Mexico Voices for Children Action Fund. James says they are “candidates who care deeply about prioritizing the health, education and general well-being of our state’s children.” The endorsed Senate candidates are Neomi Martinez-Parra (SD35), Siah Correa Hemphill (SD28) and Senator Bill Soules (SD37); the endorsed Representatives are Doreen Gallegos (HD35) and Angelica Rubio (HD52).
For more information contact James at (505) 980-7758.
Equitable Education for all students in New Mexico
Elisa Sanchez reminds us that Mexican American and Indigenous students have been for the most part invisible in the NM Public Schools curriculum since the end of the Mexican American War in 1848. Finally in July 2018, in an important court case, Yazzie Martinez, Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that New Mexico had failed to comply with its constitutional mandate to provide a sufficient education for learners with English as a second language and special needs, for learners who are Native Americans, or for those from low-income families. The State filed to dismiss the case but lost, and the case continues.
Elisa asks that we please sign the Equity Pledge to support an equitable education for all New Mexico students.
For more information, contact Elisa.
A recommendation to vote against the bonds in election
J. Mark Cobb says that after the passage of general obligation in 2018 he grew concerned that bonds would be regularly on the ballot, which is the case for the 2020 ballot. Mark notes that while bonds provide a wide range of maintenance and services, the 2018 bonds alone have resulted in an average increase of $185/year in property taxes, and passage of the 2020 bonds will bring another increase, which is a challenge for people on fixed incomes. Mark asks us to choose wisely whether to support the 2020 bonds and to consider having those who utilize the services pay their expense as is done with state parks and museums.
For more information, contact Mark.
Another great idea from Communities United of Doña Ana County
See the graphic below for another great idea from our friends at Communities United of Doña Ana County. For more information, visit the group’s website.
A message from the counting room for absentee ballots
Paul Dulin, who will be counting absentee ballots for Doña Ana County from now through the end of the election, assures us that our absentee ballots will be well taken care of. But Paul asks, “why wait?” He urges us to vote early in person to avoid any problems that might result from not following all required absentee instructions. For early voting we should take all precautions for COVID-19 (mask, self-distancing, hand sanitizing). If we cannot or do not want to vote in person it’s important that we fill out our absentee ballot exactly as directed, and send it back in the mail, or drop it off in person at an early voting site or at the county building asap, well before Election Day on November 3rd.
For more information, contact Paul.
Poll challengers urgently needed for Early Voting and Election Day!
Cody Morgan, who works with Xochitl Torres Small’s campaign, reminded us that Poll Challengers protect the integrity of our electoral process. The campaign especially needs Poll Challengers for the Doña Ana County Absentee Warehouse, where all of our Absentee ballots are counted. Poll watchers will be stationed outside of polling places to update the Voter Protection team about wait times for voters, stop individuals from campaigning within 100 feet of polling locations, and make voters aware they can stay in line to vote if they arrive before the polls officially close.
Xochitl desperately needs volunteers to ensure that voters are not intimidated from the polls, and that every vote counts.
To sign up or for more information email Cody.
No Known Threats
Sheriff Kim Stewart wants to assure voters that DASO has been actively engaged with various regional intelligence entities and, as of now, there are no known threats to polling places. Kim and the County Clerk and have been in frequent contact since spring as to security of these sites.
Kim also tells us that, “DASO has no intention of monitoring, or otherwise being near polling locations, unless we are called. I have every confidence the Bureau of Elections is well informed and well prepared for the upcoming Election Day and until our votes are certified. Be well and be safe.”
For more information, contact Kim.
Schools must be fully funded and receive additional PPE funds in order to reopen safely!
Teacher Cheryl Carreon reports that the pandemic has laid bare the amount of work we require of our schools. The National Education Association, the largest union in the country, continues to advocate for the safe and just reopening of schools.
She asks us to write our Senators and let them know we must fund the Heroes Act 2.0 to provide internet to students across the country and PPE to ensure #safeschools. https://educationvotes.nea.org/issue/homework-gap/?kiosk=true#actions
Also, join NEA on Friday, October 30 for a GET OUT THE VOTE event for education friendly candidates. https://fb.me/e/4jNlIQAQ7. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for zoom code.
For more information, contact Cheryl.
HAZLO Foundation is looking for people who want to help build a better community
Bob Libby lets us know that The HAZLO Foundation provides background checked mentors to work with students in Las Cruces to work on projects of their choosing in coordination with Cruces Creatives. HAZLO pays for all necessary materials and membership fees, if required. Some past projects have included: bicycle repair, furniture building, CD recording & producing,
3-D printing, computer programming, etc. Projects can take place in person or online. Once students apply, their project is reviewed by the board of directors, and they are matched with a mentor. Students learn valuable new skills and gain confidence in their own abilities leading to new opportunities and a more successful future. Learn more at: Hazlo Foundation.org and/or attend a future monthly board meeting.
For more information, call Bob at 561-573-4509.
From Pia to Kathy to us
Kathy Wooten wanted to pass on some information her friend Pia Gallegos provided about Constitutional Amendment 1 (on the ballot).
“In the past ten years, NM voters have made considerable strides in influencing the composition of the PRC to better reflect the interests of the people. Recently, the PRC decided to replace the energy from the closure of the San Juan coal plant with 100% renewables from independent power producers. This will reduce PNM electric bills, create jobs, and diversify our economy with clean energy. (This same consideration will be applied to El Paso Electric as needed.)
Commissioner accountability should be to us, the ratepayers, not to the vagaries of the party that holds the Governorship, and not to industry donors. The constitutionally-prescribed role of the PRC is to bring the people’s voices and representative democracy into the decision-making process. To switch from having ratepayer consumers elect Commissioners by District to having the Governor appoint them (only 3 positions down from the current 5) would eliminate our state’s geographic and economic representation on the PRC.”
Vote “NO” on Constitutional Amendment 1.
For more information, contact Kathy.
The administration should outlaw spills of toxic fracking wastewater
Saraswati Kaur Khalsa informs us that recently New Energy Economy and others intervened in the OCD’s “Produced Water” rulemaking process, but unfortunately the final rules adopted allow the administration and the Oil and Gas industry to continue working to create a monetary market for toxic fracking waste and begin pilot projects using this radioactive and poisonous waste on New Mexico agricultural, lands, roadways and other uses. A new report from Earthworks in collaboration with New Energy Economy, WildEarth Guardians and Yucca, details the New Mexico government’s failure to regulate and prevent discharges of oil and gas waste, including more than 1.4 million gallons of toxic fracking waste that has already spilled onto New Mexico land this year. On the 15th, the Oil Conservation Commission agreed to hear WildEarth Guardian’s petition to classify this waste as hazardous and make preventable spills illegal.
To stay informed about what is happening with produced water in New Mexico sign up for updates from New Energy Economy at www.newenergyeconomy.org.
Conrad F. Perea, Third Judicial District Court Judge, Division III, asks you to retain him
Conrad Perea thanks people for voting early. He says, “If you haven’t voted, I ask that you vote “Yes” for Conrad F. Perea in the upcoming Retention Election.” Check out the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) at: https://nmjpec.org. Conrad has served on the Third Judicial District Court for three and one half years and wishes to continue serving the citizens of Doña Ana County. He is currently assigned to the very busy Criminal docket in our court. Conrad served as one of our Magistrate Court Judges from July 1999 until 2001 and again from October 2010 until his appointment to the District Court in 2017. Conrad won his General Election in November 2018. The N.M. Judicial Performance Commission gave Judge Conrad F. Perea a “Retain” designation.
Voting is easy! Here are the details…
Mona Trempe, chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County, shares with us the following information: All absentee ballots that were requested by the October 20 deadline should be received in the next few days. When you fill out your absentee ballot be sure to sign the envelope and provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number. All absentee ballots must be received by the County Clerk by 7:00 p.m. on November 3rd!
Ways to return your completed absentee ballot:
1. Use an outdoor drop box at an early voting location. Look for the white tent!
2. Mail it back — be sure to mail your completed ballot as soon as possible to be sure it arrives by Election Day. It is recommended that absentee ballots be mailed back no later than October 27th.
3. Use a drop box on Election Day. These will be outdoors at 14 voting sites and indoors at other voting locations.
In person early voting is going on now through October 31st at the Doña Ana County Government Center at 845 N. Motel Blvd and seven other locations throughout Doña Ana County. Election day voting on November 3rd is scheduled to be at 40 voting locations but this is subject to change due to the covid-19 public health emergency. Be sure to check for the latest information from the County Clerk’s Office.
Please be sure that all your friends and family also have a plan to vote. Ask them: What is their plan for when, where, and how they will vote? Do they need help returning an absentee ballot? Absentee ballots can be returned by the voter, the voter’s immediate family member, or by the voter’s caregiver. Do they need help getting to a polling location? Due to the public health emergency, it highly recommended that rides be provided only by family members.
What if there are problems at the polls? According to the Secretary of State’s and Attorney General’s 2020 New Mexico General Election Voter Information Advisory all registered voters have the right to cast a secret ballot without anyone bothering them or telling them how to vote. Only authorized election officials, challengers, watchers, and observers are permitted inside a polling location. Voter intimidation is a crime under federal and state laws. Voting should be easy. If it isn’t, call the DPNM Election Hotline: 1-833-NM4DEMS (1-833-664-3367).
For more information, contact Mona.
Casa de Peregrinos Hunger Strike Fundraiser
Eric Walkinshaw tells us that the Casa de Peregrinos Hunger Strike that he announced in the last PVA recap was a great success, generating $37,000 in donations over the 24 hour strike. Eric thanks all PVAers who contributed, and reports that our contributions are more important than ever due to the pandemic. They are also continuing their own Little Free Pantry in front of their house, stocked with non-perishables from Eric and Catharine and their friends.
Eric further shares with us that the Casa de Peregrinos board, executive director and staff are working on an Anti-Racism statement due to the many inequalities and injustices their clients face. In the process they have read and recommend the following books: “Me and White Supremacy, Combat Racism, Change the World, and Becoming a Good Ancestor” by Layla F. Saadl; “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi; and “Inventing Latinos, A New Story of American Racism” by Laura E. Gomez.
For more information, contact Eric.
An update on the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) and El Paso Electric (EPE)
Allen Downs notes that the constitutional amendment on the ballot to convert the PRC from five elected commissioners to three commissioners appointed by the governor has good arguments both for and against it. While many environmental organizations are in favor of this amendment, Allen believes that changes to improve PRC performance are already in place and it would be unwise to reduce the number of commissioners and put their selection squarely into the realm of politics.
In terms of El Paso Electric, testimony and hearings are complete on key questions, and we are waiting for decisions on these questions:
1. Will EPE be allowed to buy a new 228MW gas fired generator to serve all their customers – Texas and New Mexico? (This generator would have a short usable life in New Mexico because the Renewable Energy Act requires an increasing amount of energy to be supplied by renewable sources. Remember Merrie Lee’s battle cry: NO MORE FOSSIL FUEL GENERATION!)
2. Will EPE be allowed to enter into Purchased Power Agreements (PPAs) for a 50 Megawatt and a 20 Megawatt solar facility to serve New Mexico? (By 2025, EPE will be required to supply 40% of the energy it delivers in New Mexico, from renewable sources. These PPAs will move us in that direction.)
EPE has also opened a rate case and testimony has been filed by EPE and by interveners.
EPE is requesting a $6.9 million increase in NM rates. The Attorney General recommends a $1.5 million decrease. The City of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County recommend a $7 million
decrease. The hearing starts on Monday, November 30.
For more information, email Allen.
Sierra Club supports PRC Constitutional Amendment 1
Constitutional Amendment 1 would make the Public Regulation Commission an appointed body. “It’s a good idea,” says Richard Barish, “and the Sierra Club has endorsed the amendment. Our elected PRC is dysfunctional. We’ve had commissioners with little or no expertise in the very complicated and technical area of utility regulation and commissioners who are flat out corrupt. With an appointed commission, there is a high likelihood that we will get a more professional commission with greater expertise. We will get reasoned decisions that are based on the law, not politics or whim. Attorneys and expert witnesses who we work with who appear before utility commissions throughout the west prefer to have their cases decided by appointed commissions for that reason. Most states have concluded that appointed is better.”
The law contains safeguards: the governor must choose from list of nominees submitted by a bipartisan PRC Nominating Committee in a procedure similar to that for the selection of judges; appointments must be confirmed by the Senate; there are education and experience requirements; only two commissioners can be of the same party; and commissioners can only be removed by impeachment. Sierra Club asserts that the PRC constitutional amendment deserves our support.
Go to https://www.riograndesierraclub.org/2020-endorsements-prc/ for more information.
What has the Rudy Martinez campaign been up to?
Rep. Rudy Martinez’s campaign manager, Rick Lass, checks in to report that, “Our great volunteers are working every day to make sure Rudy Martinez continues to represent House District 39. We are dropping materials on doors and gates that include Rudy’s palm card and business card, a neighbor to neighbor letter, and the LWV Voter info sheet. We have covered hundreds of doors and hope to get to hundreds more. We also have phone banks set up for newly registered voters, Rudy supporters, and the ballot chase (Democratic leaning voters who have requested absentee ballots but not returned them)- you can call from the comfort and safety of your own home. If you want to join this fantastic team and help re-elect a fantastic Representative, please call or email Rick Lass at 505-920-0540.”
For more information about Rudy, check out his campaign website.
Karen Whitlock campaign update
Rick (from above) is also the campaign manager for Karen Whitlock, who is running for state representative. He tells us, “We knew we had an uphill climb against a fairly popular Republican incumbent, but we are making the grade. A recent poll shows Karen has cut the lead in half since August and we feel if we keep working hard we will be successful on November 3. Please join us in phone banking swing voters. And especially speak with your Personal Influence Networks in Sierra and Grant Counties. There is a real chance we can add another progressive Democrat to the legislature with this election and we appreciate any help you can offer.”
To get involved, please contact Rick Lass at 505-920-0540 or visit www.karenwhitlock38.com.
Less than two (2) weeks left to make a difference!
Karena and Stew Oberman have created their Yes, You Can Do Good!! portal to voter registration and engagement. The purpose of this portal is to identify volunteer and donation opportunities to help you get involved in the November election as well as identify sources of basic voter and election information. “We want to give you an easy way to discover a myriad of opportunities to help us get a positive outcome in November. New opportunities are posted regularly.” Karena and Stew have an ask of you: “If you feel this effort is valuable, we would greatly appreciate it if you could distribute our Yes, You Can Do Good!! link to your list of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and any email list or social networking site you feel is relevant.”
For more information, contact Stew or Karena.
Here’s some social media to check out… (yes, there are dog pictures!)
Connie Chapman shared that State Representative Angelica Rubio has been subjected to ugly and false Facebook posts during this election season. To counter the negativity, her campaign asks you to spread the word to VOTE RUBIO for District 35. Connie also asks that you “like” and share Angelica’s social media.
For more information, contact Connie.
A fundraiser & an article
Rep. Joanne Ferrary invites you to join her for a fundraiser meeting on Zoom with Governor Michelle Luján Grisham. Here’s the info:
She also has yard signs available – if you’d like one, call or text Rich at 575-635-2404.
In addition, check out this Las Cruces Sun News article about critical issues we face (food and water insecurity).
For more information, visit Joanne’s campaign website.
Remember your judicial candidates!
You control the independence and quality of the state judiciary with your vote. Justice David Thomson asks us to please support all of these candidates that were vetted by a bipartisan judicial nominating commission and appointed by Governor Michele Lujan Grisham. For more information, check out the following websites:
Plan now for our post-election PVA Virtual Recap
For many years the PVA has had a tradition of special meetings a few days after the election so we can compare notes, express our gratitude for one another’s hard work, and keep our momentum moving forward on all fronts. This year we will send out our virtual PVA Meeting Recap on Thursday, November 12 at 7 pm. Hopefully we will have a lot to celebrate!
Please submit your paragraph to email@example.com by Wednesday, November 11. For more information, contact Cheryl.