PVA Meeting Recap – April 24, 2014

Raise the Minimum Wage to $10.10 in 2017

Angelica Rubio, community organizer with CAFé, spoke passionately about the raise the wage campaign. She said there are nearly 20,000 minimum wage workers in Las Cruces, and they earn less than $15,000 a year. Almost half are over the age of 30. CAFé will start collecting signatures on May 1 with the goal of collecting 6,000 signatures in 60 days and placing a minimum wage initiative on the ballot in November. Voters (city residents) would be able to vote for a raise in the minimum wage to $10.10 in 2017.

For more information send email to Angelica and visit the CAFé website, where you can read the ballot initiative and learn how to be involved.

March Unified Action Update: Vote No on April 8 Tax Increase

Kevin Bixby reported on the special election held by the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District. The vote was 5 to 1 against the increase. Kevin said the special election raised awareness about our water situation and gives us the opportunity to deal with it in a holistic way, considering storm water management, the aquifer, flooding, and the river as interrelated parts of a whole.

Kevin added that  he is writing a response to Walt Rubel’s Sun-News article about the vote and urged others to do the same. The headline on Rubel’s article is “An overwhelming vote in support of future floods and devastation.”

Beth Bardwell announced that the first meeting of the Lower Rio Grande water planning region will be held here in May. They hope to have a significant showing of public interest in the plan and expand civic engagement on the steering committee.

Lower Rio Grande Rebional Water Plan
Wednesday, May 21, 10 a.m. to Noon
Doña Ana County Commission Chambers

For more information send email to Kevin.

April Unified Action: Be Involved in the June 3 Primary Election

Cheryl Frank introduced PVA’s traditional pre-election action: Be involved! She introduced Sherry Thomas, former mayor pro tem, to share her expertise.

Sherry made a convincing case for being involved with local elections. She said that getting out the vote is the most vital part of electing a candidate, and that is where volunteers come in—helping with petitions, fundraisers, mailings, neighborhood meetings, phone calls, and knocking on doors. Sherry urged people to attend fundraisers. Don’t worry about giving a certain amount, she said–give what you can. The important thing is to attend the gatherings and show your support for the candidates.

Sherry addressed the dreaded but essential job of knocking on doors. Try it, she said, and you will be amazed. You will see all kinds of surprising places and meet the most diverse and interesting people. You will find out what people care about.  It is an opportunity like no other to learn about your community.

Finally, why be involved? You will make good friends, Sherry said, and when your candidate wins you will feel great.

Complete information about the April unified action is here, and it includes a list of all candidates who have been to PVA to ask for support in the 2014 election.

Good and Bad News from the County Clerk’s Office

Deputy County Clerk Mario Jimenez summarized the good and the bad about the Soil and Water Conservation District’s special election. The good news? It could have been worse–there could have been just one poling place and even shorter voting hours.

Mario said that there is now an effort by many county clerks throughout New Mexico to change the law governing special elections. It is a “massive undertaking” involving research, advocacy, drafting and introducing the bill, getting the support of key people, and finally the support of citizens like us.

For more information send email to Mario.

The Border Patrol Seizes Legal Marijuana at Checkpoints

Rep. Bill McCamley (running for re-election, District 33, but not here for that) explained that the Border Patrol is seizing all marijuana, including legal medical marijuana, and arresting those in possession of the substance. Bill said that Senators Udall and Heinrich have written a letter to the Border Patrol requesting a change in the policy. Bill said that we need the stories of medical marijuana patients in order to overturn the policy of arresting patients at checkpoints. Stories can be sent to Bill.

For more information send email to Bill, call him at 575-496-5731, and follow him on Facebook to see what others are saying about this issue.

Arturo Uribe for County Commission

Arturo asked for support as he runs for County Commission, District 1. He spoke of his degree in social work from NMSU, his work with the Mesquite Community Action Committee, and his work on voter registration and getting out the vote. He listed his priorities as improving infrastructure, economic development, and education.

For more information send email to Arturo and call him at 575-621-0268.

Millions of Tiny Miracles Happen Every Day

Patrick Nolan, of the American Federation of Teachers-New Mexico, said that in education “millions of tiny miracles happen every day,” but only when educators have support. Patrick introduced Howie Morales, saying that he will be a strong champion for public schools. He said that the Democrats running for governor are all strong candidates, but the AFT has endorsed Howie Morales.

For more information send email to Patrick.

Howie Morales for Governor

Howie Morales asked for support in his run for governor and promised that he has “the energy, the enthusiasm, and the experience” necessary to do the job. He spoke of his knowledge of education and health care policy and said his experience on the Senate Finance Committee has given him an understanding of the State budget. He said that the minimum wage in New Mexico should and could be $11 by 2017 and that under his administration there would be no more over-testing of students.

For more information visit the campaign website

Steve Fischmann Went Undercover to Expose Payday Loan Practices

Posing as a person with a disability (and therefore receiving a monthly disability check), Steve Fischmann visited 17 of the 42 payday loan establishments operating in Doña Ana County. He was offered some horrifying deals—400% annual interest rate loans, for example.

Steve will make a presentation to the City Council on May 5 on payday loans. He asked people to attend the Council meeting and/or write to the city councilors with your concerns about predatory lending.

Presentation to City Council on Payday Lending by Steve Fischmann
Monday, May 5, 1 to 5 p.m.
City Council Chambers, 200 North Church Street

For more information send email to Steve.

Democratic Candidates Primary Forums

Christy French announced that the Doña Ana Democratic Party will hold two forums for Democratic candidates on the June 3 primary ballot. The first forum is for statewide and multi-district races and the second is for countywide races. Candidates in contested races will be the focus of the forums, but all candidates will be present to say “hi” and introduce themselves.

Forum for statewide and multi-district offices
Tuesday, April 29, 6 to 9 p.m.
Good Samaritan’s Auditorium
3025 Terrace Drive

Forum for countywide offices
Wednesday, April 30, 6 to 9 p.m.
Good Samaritan’s Auditorium
3025 Terrace Drive

For more information send email to Christy and call her at 575-522-4444.

A PAC You Can Trust

Leslie Singh, formerly a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, District 2, announced that she has formed a political action committee. Using funds remaining from her campaign and raising more, she will use the PAC to help progressive candidates in southern New Mexico, noting that our part of the state is “a different ball game.”

For more information send email to Leslie.

You Can Help Las Cruces Raise the Minimum Wage

Sarah Nolan invited all interested parties to get trained to collect signatures for CAFé’s Raise the Wage Campaign. In order for the initiative to appear on the November ballot, they will collect 6000 signatures in 60 days.

Raise the Wage, Las Cruces
Training for collecting signatures
Every Monday and Thursday, 5:30 p.m.
CAFé Office, 133 Wyatt Drive, Suite 1

For more information send email to Sarah and call her at 575-520-1624.

Our County Clerk’s Office is at it Again–Being the Best!

Scott Krahling, Bureau of Elections supervisor, announced that early voting for the June primary begins on May 6, which is also the last day register to vote in the primary. They will have new voting machines for the election and have scheduled seven information meetings to demonstrate the new machines. All meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Dates and locations are as follows:

April 28, Sunland Park City Hall
April 29, Doña Ana Community College/Hatch Learning Center
April 30, Betty McKnight Center/Chaparral
May 1, Anthony City Hall
May 2, Doña Ana Government Center
May 5, Good Samaritan/Las Cruces
May 6, Sunrise Elementary School/Las Cruces

For more information send email to Scott.

How Could You Not Save A Kitten?

Ann McCullough invited everyone to a fundraiser sponsored by the Community Coalition for Pets and People. She promised great food, drinks, live music by Dan Lambert, and a variety of creative ways to spend some money for a good cause.

Project Save-a-Kitten Spring Fling
Friday, April 25, 5 to 7 p.m.
MVS Studios, 535 North Main Street

For more information send email to Ann.

350 Nights with Wolves

Jean Ossorio invited everyone to a meeting of Defenders of Wildlife, which will include discussion of New Mexico’s imperiled wildlife and wild places and what you can do to help stop them from slipping toward extinction. Jean Ossorio, tireless advocate for the Mexican gray wolf, will speak about her experiences spending over 350 nights in a tent—listening to wolves

Defenders of Wildlife Meet-up
Thursday, May 1, 5:30 p.m.
Mountain View Market Co-op
1300 El Paseo Road

For more information send email to Jean and call her at 575-522-3112. RSVP here.

Billy Garrett Has a Record to Run On

County Commissioner Billy Garrett (District 1) asked for support as he runs for his second term. He recalled that we didn’t know him when he ran four years ago and had to trust his words. Now we know him and we can look at his record and decide how to vote. Billy said he believes in planning for the county’s future and in involving people in the decisions that affect their lives. “I want to continue to do what I’ve been doing,” he said

For more information send email to Billy and call him at 575-915-5755.

Beth Bardwell for County Commission, District 3

Beth noted that District 3 covers Tortugas, NMSU, the Organ Mountains, Tortugas Mountain, and many of the iconic places in Doña Ana County. She spoke of her work as an attorney, which has focused on civil rights, the environment, and water policy.

Beth reminded us that Gov. Martinez appointed Ben Rawson, who is the incumbent and her opponent in the November election. She urged us to look at Rawson’s  voting record, which includes a vote against same-sex marriage.

Beth also issued an invitation to a fundraiser for three campaigns, including her own.

Fundraiser for Democratic Women on the Move!
Sunday, May 4, 2 to 4 p.m.
5062 Heno Mine Road

For more information send email to Beth and call her at 575-418-0288.

Glass Recycling Is Here Plus a Great Future for the County

County Commissioner Wayne Hancock looked pleased as punch to announce that glass recycling has arrived in Las Cruces. You can drop off glass, separated by color, at two locations: Foothills Landfill and Amador Waste Center. A special demonstration of the glass grinding machine will be at Young Park as part of Earth Day celebrations.

Glass Recyling Demonstration
Sunday, April 27
Young Park
1905 East Nevada

On another positive note, Wayne had praise for Commissioner Garrett—“He has so many skills!” Wayne spoke highly of Billy’s work as chair of the County Commission. Wayne also endorsed Beth Bardwell, candidate for County Commission, District 3.

Wayne said there was no need to despair if you don’t live in Billy or Beth’s districts and won’t be able to vote for them. Instead, you can look at the district maps and figure out which of your friends live in Districts 1 and 3 and talk to them about Billy and Beth.

For more information send email to Wayne and call him at 575-520-4560.

Revitalizing Our Border Communities

Brian Erickson of ACLU’s Regional Center for Border Rights announced a border-wide initiative called Revitalize Not Militarize and invited everyone to an evening that will introduce the goals of the program, which focuses on protecting human rights and the environment in border communities.

“Revitalize Not Militarize” Showcase
Friday, April 25, 7 p.m.
West End Art Depot
401 N. Mesilla Street

For more information and to learn about how you can be involved, send email to Brian and call him at 575-527-0664.

JR Stewart for Sheriff

JR Stewart reminded us of his law enforcement experience and his commitment to diversity. He invited everyone to a fundraiser and promised great food and great live music by Phat Soul.

Tardeada for JR Stewart for Sheriff
Sunday, May 4, 2 to 6 p.m.
Beverly Hills Hall
150 North Hermosa Street

For more information send email to JR.

What to Read if You Care about our World

Alice Anderson brought three picks from Branigan Library. She has read them and she recommends them. They are not for the faint of heart.

Stung! by Lisa-Ann Gershwin examines the growing and alarming jellyfish problem.
Invasive Species by Daniel Simberloff explains the threat posed by invasive non-native species and what to do about it.
Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds by Jim Sterba looks at our changing relationship with the natural world.

For more information send email to Alice and call her at 575-523-5179.

Joanne Ferrary for NM House District 37

Joanne asked for support in her campaign for District 37 representative.  She cited payday loans, the minimum wage, and the Mortgage Fair Foreclosure Act and said, “That’s why I’m running.” She also mentioned that she plans to work hard and serve on committees. She invited everyone to a fundraiser where the food and the company will be excellent.

Fundraiser for Campaign to Elect Joanne Ferrary, HD 37
Tuesday, May 6, 5 to 7 p.m.
MVS Studios, 535 North Main Street

For more information send email to Joanne, call her at 575-649-1231.

J. Paul Taylor Invites You

Terry Miller brought news from J. Paul Taylor. He is doing well and regrets that he hasn’t been able to attend PVA because he has had to attend several award ceremonies (where he is the guest of honor). He invited everyone to the J. Paul Taylor Academy fundraiser:

J. Paul Taylor Academy Art Auction
Friday, May 2, 4 to 7 p.m.
MVS Studios, 535 N. Main Street

For more information send email to Terry.

Rick Wellborn for Magistrate, Division 4

Rick Wellborn asked for support as he runs for Magistrate Court Judge, Division 4. He said every candidate deserves respect because running for office isn’t easy. He reiterated that he gives everyone respect and patience in his courtroom. You can visit about him and his campaign.

For more information send email to Rick and visit his website.

Nelson Goodin for Magistrate, Division 1

Nelson Goodin asked for support in his campaign for Magistrate Court Judge, Division 1. He noted his years of experience (22) as an attorney handling civil, criminal, and tax law.

For more information send email to Nelson and call him at 575-644-5468.

Ken Roberts for Sheriff

Ken Roberts, candidate for Doña Ana County Sheriff, asked people to visit his website to learn more about his experience and his motto: “Partners in Progress.” He said that the Sheriff’s Office needs a new direction and that it’s important to look at how changes will be made.

For more information send email to Ken and visit his campaign website.

Curtis Childress for Sheriff

Curtis Childress reminded people that at previous PVA meetings he talked about his law enforcement experience and qualifications. He noted that the Sheriff’s Office is currently 26 deputies short, morale is low, people are in the wrong jobs, and there is no proper chain of command. He spoke of the need for proper training, proper pay, and proper equipment.

Curtis invited everyone to a fundraiser that includes competitions (horseshoes, pool, darts, and archery), prizes, and plenty of food.

Childress for Sheriff Fundraiser and Fun Day
Saturday, May 10, 8 a.m.
7959 Relic Court

For more information send email to Curtis, call him at 575-639-0162, and visit his campaign website to learn about his priorities and his experience.

Sandy Jones for PRC

Sandy Jones, candidate for the Public Regulation Commission, District 5, said he wants to ensure that renewable energy is affordable. He wants to reform the Telecommunications Act to address new technologies and insure that New Mexico can compete with neighboring states. He said his daughter has returned to manage his campaign, and that makes him very happy.

For more information send email to Sandy and call him at 575-740-2322.

Sheriff’s Vet Endorses Childress for Sheriff

Patricia Norris, a forensic veterinarian with the Sheriff’s Office, said that–thanks to the leadership of Curtis Childress–her team is recognized nationally for its work. She is supporting Curtis for sheriff because she believes he has the leadership skills and progressive ideas to do the job. She spoke highly of his work on behalf of abused animals.

For more information send email to Patricia


Nancy Anderson said that Casa de Peregrinos continues to do a great job fighting hunger in Las Cruces and 13 colonias. However, they really need volunteers and donations. Visit this page to see what volunteer opportunities are available.

For more information send email to Nancy and call her at 575-647-1735.

Sustainability for the City of Las Cruces—If you support it, say so!

Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center, encouraged people to attend the City Council meeting on April 28, when they will discuss a new sustainability plan. Kevin said the plan is solid, but it seems to be meeting with some resistance. He urged people to let the city councilors know their views on the plan.

City Council Discussion of Proposed Sustainability Plan
Monday, April 28, 1 to 5 p.m.
City Council Chambers

There are still a few raffle tickets left if you want to try to win a Prius and also support SWEC. Visit their website for more information.

For more information send email to Kevin and call him at 575-649-7260.

Samantha Madrid for Magistrate, District 1

Samantha Madrid asked for support in her bid for Magistrate Court Judge, District 1. She spoke of her experience as a teacher and a lawyer and emphasized that she has the right people skills and the temperament to be a judge in the “people’s court.”

For more information send email to Samantha and visit her website.

Merrie Lee Soules for PRC

Merrie Lee Soules, candidate for Public Regulation Commission-District 5, said she is qualified and experienced and wants to bring integrity, professionalism, and competence to the PRC. She said it’s time for the PRC to move forward and “build a future we can all be proud of.”

For more information send email to Merrie Lee, call her at 575-635-2225, and visit her Facebook page.

Be Informed About the Minimum Wage and Speak Up

Rich Ferrary has been spending a good deal of time advocating for raising the minimum wage. He said there will be people opposing this initiative, but if the minimum wage is raised it will make a huge, positive difference in the economy of Las Cruces. He urged people to stay informed and pay attention to the minimum wage facts, not the minimum wage myths.

For more information send email to Rich and call him at 575-635-2404.

Sanchez for Undersheriff

Mark Sanchez, running for undersheriff (with sheriff candidate Ken Roberts), said the Sheriff’s Office belongs to the people and should be put back into the hands of the community. He encouraged people to consider their motto, “Partners for Progress,” to understand how he and Roberts plan to approach the job.

For more information send email to Mark and visit the campaign website.

Gonzales for Undersheriff

Frank Gonzales, candidate for undersheriff (with sheriff candidate JR Stewart), said that getting out to vote is crucial. “Don’t stay home. Your vote counts.” He also said that he and JR Stewart are ready and willing to talk about the difficult issues.

For more information send email to Frank, call him at 575-649-4901, and visit the campaign’s Facebook page.

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword, So Start Writing Those Letter to the Editor

Jerry Nachison encouraged people to volunteer to help CAFé gather signatures on their petition to put raising the minimum wage on the ballot. Then, in November, voters will get to decide whether or not to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017. He said if you agree with raising the minimum wage, it would be a good idea to write letters to the editor stating your support. Finally he asked people to attend the City Council meeting on April 28 because the councilors are scheduled to discuss minimum wage.  Visit CAFe’s website to read more about their work on this issue or contact them to volunteer.

For more information send email to Jerry and call him at 575-649-9098.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, May 22, 7 p.m.
Munson Center

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