Featured Presentation: Senator Jeff Steinborn on HB53
Senator Steinborn talked about Senate Bill 53, which was passed and signed into law this year after a five-year struggle. The law prevents the deposition of spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico without the State’s consent. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission disagrees and has granted Holtec (a sketchy nuclear waste storage company) a license to build a repository in Lea County. There will be court cases and possibly a Supreme Court decision.
For more information contact Jeff at 575-635-5615..
Unified Action: Be involved in the 2023 election
PVA has a traditional pre-election Unified Action: contact your friends and family, let them know which candidates you support, and make sure they vote.
For more information email Cheryl Frank.
Hope for the Holidays–Casa de Peregrinos is hard at work
Eric Walkinshaw, a Casa de Peregrinos board member, and Marco Olivera, an employee, announced that Casa de Peregrinos is holding their annual holiday fundraising event: Hope for the Holidays. Contributions will be accepted until November 17. The need is great, so contribute as much as you can, but a donation of $50 provides a family with turkey and all the trimmings. Marco spoke of the seriousness of food insecurity in our county and of his firsthand experience with people who are feeling desperate and frightened because they are without food for their families.
For more information send email to Eric.
Tularosa Downwinders update
Mary Martinez White brought us up to date on the Tularosa Downwinders. First, she announced that the documentary First We Bombed New Mexico premiered in the Santa Fe International Film Festival on October 20. It will be shown at several national film festivals and then make its way back to New Mexico. Mary had high praise for the director, Lois Lipman, who followed the Downwinders for 7 years.
Mary also spoke of the trip to Washington DC in support of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Senators Ben Ray Lujan and Josh Hawley worked together and other supporters included representatives from Utah, Guam, and the Navajo Nation.
For more information email Mary.
El Paso Electric wants to help you with your EV and more
Allen Downs reported on “new stuff” in EPE’s proposed Transportation Electrification Plan, which includes a raft of incentives including home wiring for your car charger, an electric bicycle rebate of up to 50%, and much more. Allen guessed that these changes may go into effect in March 2024.
For more information (even a copy of the proposed Transportation Electrification Plan) email Allen.
EMNRD has a fistful of money to spend in New Mexico
Rocky Bacchus met with “the guy in charge” at Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. They discussed the significant amount of money coming into the state for solar programs. Rocky pointed out that they are going to need a lot of workers including engineers and administrators. They might be short term and not the highest paying jobs, but keep them in mind.
For more information email Rocky.
Sometimes the truth is stranger and scarier than fiction
Lynn Moorer talked about the consequences if Jeff’s bill, SB53, outlawing nuclear waste dumping in New Mexico, is struck down by a court. The big issue would then be liability. Holtec is saying that the Price Anderson Act will fully cover its activities. In fact, Lynn explained, the Price Anderson Act limits liability for a “nuclear occurrence” to $13.6 billion. Meanwhile, a Sandia National Lab study placed damages from a severe nuclear accident at $987 billion. Furthermore the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that the Price Anderson Act wouldn’t apply to Holtec in Lea County. Holtec’s response was that they would obtain $100 million worth of insurance.
For more information email Lynn.
Ed Frank, candidate for School Board District 5
Ed Frank said he’s been knocking on doors and a lot of people are asking how he’s going to make our schools better. They seem to be saying, “We have pretty bad schools and you better have a plan in place.” Ed disagrees: “I want to change this perception that our schools are not good. We can improve, but we are doing a pretty amazing job here.”
I second that emotion
Peter Goodman endorsed Ed Frank’s point of view regarding our Las Cruces schools. He referred to Mayfield High School’s banned book affair and the Facebook attacks targeting teachers. After the review process was complete, the controversial book stayed on the shelves.
Peter also announced a fun fundraiser and invited everyone to come and support K-TAL, our community radio station.
KTAL’s Roadrunner Revue
Bands, Food, and Radio Hosts
2 to 5 p.m., Sunday, October 29, 2023
Rio Grande Theater
For more information email Peter and call him at 575-489-7090.
Tessa Abeyta, running for re-election, City Council District 2
Tessa thanked everyone for their support in “a tough campaign and a great campaign” for re-election to the City Council District 2. She invited volunteers to join her and Kasandra Gandara for door knocking.
Canvass with Kasandra and Tessa
10 a.m., Saturday, October 28, 2023
Meet at Tony Gomez Park
For more information email Tessa.
Ramona Martinez, running for District Attorney, 3rd Judicial District
Ramona Martinez announced that she is a Democrat running for District Attorney. She spoke of her New Mexico roots–her family has lived for over six generations in Tierra Amarilla–and of the values instilled by her family of ranchers and educators. She said she is a “proud product of the New Mexico public school system” and a graduate of the UNM Law School. She has experience in state government. She is now a solo practitioner in Las Cruces and focuses on criminal defense and civil litigation and is committed to serving indigent clients.
For more information email Ramona and call her at 505-350-9281.
Shaharazad Booth, running for District Attorney, 3rd Judicial District
Shaharazad announced that she is also a Democrat running for Third Judicial District Attorney. She currently is a solo practitioner in Las Cruces, and before that she was law clerk at the US Attorney’s Office, and before that a deputy district attorney. She spelled out her vision of the DA’s office: “It is not crime and punishment, it’s compassion and love, strength and assertiveness, diversion programs, and following the rules.” She mentioned that her family has been in Las Cruces for 20 years and that her six-year-old son is thriving in our public schools.
For more information email Shaharazad and call her at 575-323-8233.
Cassie McClure, running for City Council District 1
Cassie expressed gratitude for all the support she’s had in her campaign. She spoke of getting a sense of what people are interested in, where they’re wanting to go, and what future we want to create and live in.
Cassie would love to have the pleasure of your company for canvassing. You name the day and the time and she’ll be there.
Kasandra Gandara, running for Mayor
Kasandra announced that as of October 25, only 1,644 people had voted. She said that number was alarmingly low and urged everyone to participate in the Unified Action and make sure your friends and family vote.
Kasandra asked for our support in her bid for mayor and invited everyone to one last fundraiser.
Final Call, a Fundraising Event
5:30 p.m. Monday, October 30, 2023
Hacienda de las Cruces
331 West Las Cruces Avenue (not the restaurant!)
For more information email Kasandra.
State Senator Bill Soules is running for reelection in 2024
Senator Soules, District 37 (husband of mayoral candidate Kasandra Gandara) made three quick points:
- Over 7,000 people attended the Air and Space Expo at Las Cruces International Airport on October 21. “It was amazing.”
- Bill is running for reelection and is currently collecting signatures in District 37 (basically, the whole east side of Las Cruces).
- Bill urged everyone to get friends and family to vote and ended with this sobering thought: “This election matters way more than the election at the state level or the federal level. The city matters.”
Educate yourself about guardianships and the elderly
Rio Hamilton said that his mother (Dorris Hamilton, a beloved principal at Lynn Middle School for 23 years and a trail blazer) “sends her blessings to everyone here” and asked him to bring a few things to our attention. He spoke of the dangers of guardianships and pointed out that they are a billion dollar industry in New Mexico. He urged us to be informed, especially if you are over the age of 75 and own property. He recommend two books on the subject:
Animal Advocates for Change
Diane Starbuck announced that Animal Advocates for Change, a local group, is working to come up with a new animal welfare ordinance that would be based on national best practices. A key idea is for a fully-funded, required spay and neuter law with exceptions. She said a new law is needed because the animal shelter is overrun with abandoned animals and must euthanize a heartbreaking number of animals. Diane asked that we let our city councilors know that we support such a measure.
Everything you want to know about voting
Sherry Hulsey shared the League of Women Voters’ wealth of voting information–where and when to vote, who is running and what their positions are on the issues. The print version (Sherry brought some) includes QR codes for the online version, vote411.org, which is made possible by the League’s Education Fund. Vote411 has an astounding range of nationwide information and it is user friendly.
For more information email Sherry and call her at 575-621-1122.
PVA email will announce events in a timely fashion
Judy Zimmerman announced that PVA will be sending out an email on the Friday after a Thursday PVA meeting, and that email will contain all the upcoming events that have been announced at a PVA meeting. The entire meeting recap will be sent a few days later.
For more information email Judy.
Candidate interviews are archived on local radio and television
Maribeth Hulsey reminded us that an important source of election information is available in the online archives of K-TAL radio and KRWG-TV. The KRWG-TV interviews are also available on YouTube (scroll down to “Election Forums). Virtually all of the local candidates have shown up for interviews and forums.
For more information email Maribeth or call her at 575-288-5953.
Tax Increment Development District (TIDD)? Be cautious
Steve Fischmann began with praise for the City Council. He attended their recent discussion of a TIDD proposal and declared the councilors’ questioning to be first rate–informed and probing. Steve declared his dislike of TIDDs in general. He sees the current proposal (between NMSU and the City) as far too generous for the University and urged that more reasonable proposals be considered.
For more information send email to Steve.
Gabriel Duran for City Council District 4
Gabriel Duran introduced himself as a candidate for City Council District 4. He referred us to his campaign website for his background and experience and positions on the issues. He emphasized his desire to listen and learn. “I want to know what’s important to you,” he said.
PVA Rules: After everyone who wishes to speak has had a chance to speak once, everyone who wishes to speak a second time may do so.
Peter Goodman suggested we have a special presentation on the topic of avoiding unwanted guardianships. He said he was pleased that Democrats are running for Doña Ana County District Attorney and noted that a visiting judge had recently used “dumpster fire” to describe the present condition of the office. Rocky Bacchus talked about visiting rural schools around the state and seeing many positive things going on in spite of being ranked at the bottom. Allen Downs began with the now familiar “My name is Allen Downs and I want to tell you a story.” And after an evening of so many serious topics, we needed a story. This one involved Allen’s days as a volunteer firefighter. He was called to a two-car collision and one of the cars was delivering pizza. [Use your imagination.]
And with that we called it a night.
If you have questions, comments, or corrections to the recap, please email Judy Zimmerman.
PVA meets again for a special post-election gathering:
Thursday, November 9, 2023, 7 pm
Our next regular meeting is January 25, 2024