Don Kurtz reminded us that now is the time to get our personal influence networks ready for the fall election. He recommended starting now to put together a list (or build on an existing list) of friends and acquaintances who wouldn’t mind getting an email from you with your voting recommendations. In October you’ll be ready to share your ideas about the candidates you’ve decided to vote for. Don said that over the past 19 years PVA attendees have had a significant influence on elections. (After all, we’re the Progressive VOTER Alliance.)
For more information email Don.
Community solar is coming slowly but surely
Rocky Bacchus explained the basics of Community Solar: it’s coming, be patient, it will save you money, it’s a good thing.
For more information email Rocky.
Blue CD2 would like your attention
Eddie Estrada invited us to support the work of Blue CD2 New Mexico. In the last election they were successful in getting 5,000 infrequent voters to the polls. In that contest Gabe won by less than 2,000 votes. [Remember those door hangers?]
Eddie invited everyone to a virtual fundraiser on June 22 with Simon Rosenberg as speaker. Simon is the political strategist who correctly predicted that the red wave wouldn’t happen.
For more information email Eddie or call him at 575-557-8175.
The DASWCD is hard at work (Remember when we didn’t know a thing about it?)
Gill Sorg, commissioner on the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District, announced that they have applied for a “huge” grant for a project that would control erosion in our arroyos from Caballo Dam to the Texas border. The project would slow stormwater water runoff which has a multitude of benefits including recharging the aquifer and promoting plant growth. A second grant project, in cooperation with NeighborWoods, would plant trees in all of Doña Ana County.
For more information email Gill and call him at 575-343-6999.
Change is never easy
Earl Nissan expressed his frustration with today’s Police Department meeting. In particular he was dismayed by the police chief’s opinion that the City’s Safety Committee is equivalent to a Citizens Oversight Board. Earl noted that the Safety Committee meets in private and keeps handwritten records of its meetings which are not distributed to City Councilors and are available to the public only by filing an inspection of public records requests.
For more information email Earl.
Cassie McClure, candidate for Las Cruces City Council
Cassie McClure announced that she will be running for City Council, District 1. She spoke of her work as a journalist (her column, My So-called Millenial Life, can be found on KRWG and in the Las Cruces Sun-News.) She said that politicians and journalists both need to ask hard questions, and she emphasized the basic premise: “Las Cruces is our home, and we want to take care of it.” She spoke of the things we all want: safety, good schools, the chance to earn a decent living.
Cassie invited everyone to her campaign launch. “I’d be thrilled if you would join me.”
Cassie McClure Campaign Launch
Saturday, June 10, 9 to 11 a.m.
The Bean on Mesquite
For more information email Cassie.
What’s happening at El Paso Electric?
Allen Downs explained that InClime, the Community Solar project administrator, announced the selected projects on May 22, 2023. There are six projects in EPE’s service area totaling close to 30MW, three with Las Cruces addresses, and one each in Chaparral, Vado, and Salem. There is a waiting list of 7 projects that will be selected if any of the chosen projects doesn’t complete.
Allen reminded us that we can save money with EPE’s Time-of-Day rate.
For more information email Allen.
Holtec International–A nightmare waiting to happen?
Lynn Moorer announced plans to hold a public meeting, most likely in August, to thoroughly examine Holtec’s track record with regard to job creation, treatment of workers, safety violations, and more. She announced that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued Holtec a license to store nuclear waste from around the country in Lea County. [An artist’s rendering of the proposed facility is here.] This is despite New Mexico’s law, SB53, which prohibits such a facility.
For more information email Lynn.
In case of a mental health crisis dial 988
Charlotte Lipson said she just learned that 988–not 911–is the number to call when there is a mental health crisis.
Charlotte also offered (generously!) to help anyone wanting to set up a first-class email list for their Personal Influence Network.
For more information email Charlotte or call her at 575-527-4083.
Don’t just sit there watching Netflix–STAND UP!
Terry Miller thanked everyone who has been part of the Action Committee for Civic Engagement (ACCE), more frequently known as Stand Up. She described their recent event in support of the Doña Ana County Commission and explained that their goal is to be aware of public meetings and be alert to public input that is abusive and out of line. You can contact the ACCE leaders (Pat Aguirre, Rorie Measure, and Terry Miller) and they will work on organizing a “Stand Up” demonstration to express appreciation and support for elected officials.
Meeting schedules are as follows:
Las Cruces City Council
1st and 3rd Mondays, 1 p.m.
City Hall, 700 N. Main St.
Doña Ana County Commission
2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 9 a.m.
County Building, 845 N. Motel Blvd.
LCPS School Board
3rd Tuesday, 6 p.m.
LCPS Administration Building
505 S. Main St,, Suite 249
Join the work for police reform and oversight
Maria Flores said she had been working with others on police reform since April 2022 when Amelia Baca was gunned down by a police officer. She asked for a show of hands to answer the following questions.
- Do you think the LCPD is doing a good job of protecting its citizens? [mostly no]
- Do you feel safe in your neighborhood? [mostly yes]
- Do you believe we would benefit from more accountability from LCPD? [mostly yes]
- Would you be willing to support a citizen’s police oversight committee? [mostly yes]
Maria asked that people join the Citizens Police Oversight Committee in their effort to find a solution for improved police conduct.
For more information email Maria.
Let your City Councilors know what you think about police oversight
Peter Goodman said that the civilian police oversight board is not the only step needed but it’s a good step, and he urged us to let our City Councilors know our thinking on the subject. Peter asked us to continue supporting KTAL, our community radio station, and pointed out that as we’re losing more and more news organizations, community radio is “essential to maintaining democracy in a town our size.” And then, on what he called a “frivolous note,” Peter recommended free bridge lessons at Belton Bridge Center.
For more information email Peter and call him at 575-489-7090.
PVA departs from the usual order!
We departed from our usual order and heard many impromptu reactions to the question of how police oversight should be accomplished. After serious discussion of a complex and urgent problem with no easy fix, it seemed fitting that the meeting concluded with the following comic tale from Allen Downs, who is usually so serious.
When I was an engineering college freshman, I was part of a group of guys that started our own fraternity. The school rented us a house, and one of the things we needed to furnish the house was a washing machine. Friends gave us Pecos Bill, an old Bendix washer with a rounded top and a door on the front. We set up Pecos Bill in the basement and soon discovered a problem: during the vibration of the spin cycle, Pecos Bill would walk across the floor and pull his own plug, leaving the laundry wet.
The first solution by our engineering fraternity was to put a blanket on top and ride Pecos Bill during the spin cycle. This solution worked if you got there in time, but we often didn’t make it.
The next attempt was to put an old door or the floor, bolt Pecos Bill to the door, and wedge a two-by-four between the door and the overhead floor joists. This kept Pecos Bill from wandering, but it shook the whole house during the spin cycle.
What should we do now? Well, using the language of the software guys, we put a tuxedo on this bug and called it a feature. Sure, Pecos Bill shook the whole house during the spin cycle. But when the house stopped shaking, you knew your laundry was done.
And with that we called it a night.
PVA meets again
June 22, 7 p.m.
followed by the June Party