Tina Cordova of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium spoke of the organization’s campaign to get New Mexico covered under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). RECA was enacted in 1990 to compensate those who became ill due to exposure to radiation from atomic weapons testing or uranium work. Strangely, since it was the site of the nation’s first nuclear bomb test, New Mexico was excluded from the Act. Until June 2024 there is the possibility of amending RECA to include New Mexico and other places that have been excluded. Tina explained that in order to pass, the amendments will need the support of 60 senators. She asked us to contact all of our legislators and ask them to focus on passing the RECA amendments.
Branigan Library will soon have classes for adults–ESL, Citizenship, and GED
Lynn Austin announced that Branigan will start offering classes for citizenship, high school equivalency (GED) and English as a second language (ESL). Class times and places should be decided soon. In the meantime, you can direct questions to Lynn.
For more information email Lynn.
The Sausage Factory has arrived and New Mexico will have an official State Aroma
Bill Soules announced the publication of his book, The Sausage Factory, now available from Amazon.The book explains how the legislature works, how bills get passed, and how to become a sausage maker. One section is devoted to the need for a Children’s Bill of Rights.
Bill verified that New Mexico will soon have an official State Aroma and explained how local fifth graders were involved in the campaign. Governor Lujan Grisham will be in town to visit the students and sign the bill into law. [The Washington Post has a good article about the process and the reader comments are fun.]
For more information email Bill.
Seriously consider supporting our City Council
Mayor Pro Tem Kasandra Gandara expressed her deep concern about the abusive and threatening language during the public input portion of the City Council meetings. She said the abuses started “even before we had an all female council” and persist even though rules of conduct for public input were put into place. Kasandra asked that people attend the city council meetings (every other Monday) and make their voices heard.
For more information email Kasandra.
How does a city keep policing responsible?
Earl Nissen expressed his concern about the money paid out in claims for Las Cruces Police Department misconduct. He compared claims against LCPD and the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department and asked, “Shouldn’t our community be having a discussion about this situation?”
|# of officers||160||170|
|# of claims||9||48|
For more information email Earl.
Report from Senator Steinborn: After all is said and done… a pretty good session
Jeff focused on the passage of SB53 which makes it illegal to store nuclear waste in New Mexico. He emphasized that there is a long fight ahead since Holtec International really wants to put nuclear waste in New Mexico. “They will keep fighting and so must we.”
For more information email Jeff.
Pay attention to the plight of farmworkers in our own valley
Rosemarie Sanchez made us think first about the food we love and then about the farmworkers who make it possible. She asked us to remember that we have farmworkers in our own valley and that they work with no health care, no sick leave, no annual leave, no retirement, and no benefits.
For more information email Rosemarie.
Taking the voices of women farmworkers to Washington, DC
Diana Bustamante of the Colonias Development Council announced that a group of eight women farmworkers from Doña Ana County will travel to Washington, D.C., in April to attend a meeting of the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. The meeting will focus on violence against women farmworkers and the misuse of pesticides. They are raising funds for their travel to Washington and would welcome contributions.
For more information email Diana.
Stand up for our city councilors
Connie Chapman spoke of the growing force of the threats and slurs directed at the City Council. She said she would be attending the next council meeting and asked us all to join her.
Las Cruces City Council Meeting
Monday, April 3, 1 p.m.
City Council Chambers
Of the councilors, Connie said, “We know their hearts, we know their value, we know their dedication to improving life in Las Cruces.”
For more information email Connie.
Rocky Bacchus announced that Community Solar Project awards will be announced soon. He said that the project creates an opportunity to change to clean energy very rapidly. But he added, “It’s a political issue more than anything else.”
For more information email Rocky.
Introducing Ward 1’s new chairperson
Jerry Scribner introduced himself and explained that he’s attending PVA for the first time. He has just been elected chairperson for Ward 1 of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County.
For more information email Jerry.
EPE Time-of-Day Rate? No risk and it might save you money
Allen Downs did a deep dive on El Paso Electric’s time-of-day rate. You shift your electrical use away from 3 to 7 p.m. during the summer months and get a lower rate for the other hours. You must stay on the time-of-day rate for a full year, but if, at the end of the year, you have paid more than the standard rate, EPE will credit you for the difference.
To enroll, email EPE at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at (575) 526-5555.
For more information email Allen.
TBDC Art Exhibit
Mary White announced a trio of events related to Trinity Site starting in July.
Trinity: Legacies of Nuclear Testing. A People’s Perspective
July 21 to September 23, 2023
Exposure, Native Art, and Political Ecology
A traveling exhibit documents indigenous artists responses to the impacts of nuclear testing, nuclear accidents, and uranium mining around the world
July 28 to November 12, 2023
July 21, 2023, nationwide opening of movie.
For more information email Mary.
Pat Aguirre announced that the Federation of Democratic Women of Doña Ana County is holding a luncheon, and many legislators will be present to explain what they accomplished and didn’t accomplish and what they hope to accomplish in the future. There will be time for questions. Tickets are $30.
For more information email Pat.
We’ve gotta do something for Mother Earth
Gayle Eads announced the Sierra Club’s plans for celebrating Earth Day.
Earth Day Hikes and Noon Picnic
Saturday, April 22, 2023
La Cueva Picnic Pavillion
The Sierra Club is providing the picnic and $5 parking fee is waived for the day.
For more information email Gayle.
Since EPE hates the time-of-day rate, can it be all bad?
Steve Fischmann, recently retired chair of the NMPRC, explained that the PRC fought hard to get the time-of-day rate in place. He noted that El Paso Electric has appealed the decision to the New Mexico Supreme Court. He urged us to sign up for the time-of-day rate “and prove that there is interest and that it works and that it shaves peak usage and saves a hell of a lot of money.” He reiterated Allen’s point that the program is absolutely risk free. To sign up, email EPE at email@example.com or call them at (575) 526-5555.
For more information email Steve.
When they go low, we go high–whenever humanly possible
District 3 City Councilor Becki Graham reflected on the job: “Making good policy and doing good work takes a lot of energy and time. It’s time. It’s energy. It’s emotional bandwidth.” She said that the open meetings are a small fraction of the work, but what happens there is nonetheless extremely important. She expressed her hope that at least a few of us would attend the April 3 meeting.
For more information email Becki.
Keep pushing for police accountability
Peter Goodman spoke in support of our city councilors and pledged to attend the April 3 council meeting. He spoke of the city’s urgent need for “some kind of serious police accountability.” Peter put in a plug for KTAL, our community radio station, and for his new book, The Moonlit Path, which he’ll be promoting at Collected Works Bookshop and Coffeehouse in Santa Fe on March 28.
For more information email Peter.
County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds spoke in support of Las Cruces City Councilors. He opined that elected officials put up with a lot of abuse and promised to attend as many city council meetings as he can to show support.
For more information email Shannon.
And with that we called it a night.