PVA Meeting Recap – February 23, 2017

Genesis of an Indivisible Chapter in Las Cruces

Tony Martinez told the story of how he came to create a chapter of Indivisible in Las Cruces. He explained that he was born and raised here. He traveled far and wide with his career, but when he retired two years ago, he and his wife realized they wanted to come back home to Doña Ana County. Tony was watching Rachel Maddow on January 5, when the guest was one of the creators of the online guide called “Indivisible.” He visited their website (he was visitor #503) and was intrigued with the strategy for resisting the Trump agenda. A week later he launched the Las Cruces Indivisible chapter, aka “We’re In.”

Today there are over 5,000 Indivisible chapters in the U.S. and at least 43 chapters in New Mexico, including chapters in Alamogordo, T or C, and Hillsborough. The Las Cruces chapter has made six visits to Pearce’s office. Pearce remains invisible, but they persist. In collaboration with other southern New Mexico chapters, they will hold a mock town hall at Pearce’s office at noon on Friday, February 24.

Tony invited everyone to attend their regular meetings, which are held on Tuesdays at noon, usually at Branigan Library.

Indivisible Las Cruces
Tuesday, February 28, Noon to 2 p.m.
Branigan Library

For more information send email to Tony.

Unified Action: Be Part of PVA’s Legislative Response Team

Cheryl Frank explained that the legislators are in Santa Fe until March 18, and the Unified Action continues to be: Join PVA’s Legislative Response Team (LRT). It is a simple, effective way to make your voice heard in the Roundhouse. Members of the LRT receive an email when a bill is at a critical phase. The email lets you know the issue, which legislator to contact, the telephone and email for that legislator, and whether you are recommending a Yes or No vote on that issue. Everybody wins—good laws are passed, bad laws are defeated, and you did your part.

Please sign up by sending an email to Cheryl.

Something There Is that Doesn’t Love a Wall*

Vivian Frietze expressed her anguish at the thought of a wall along our border with Mexico. She has petitions, she’s gathering signatures, and she’d welcome your help.

For more information send email to Vivian and call her at 575-524-1365.

*Robert Frost wrote the headline, and this seems like a good time to revisit the rest of the poem.

Term Limits for Congress

Patricia Pettit announced she is “on a mission to promote term limits for Congress.” She has a petition and is gathering signatures. Since congress would never vote term limits for itself, she recommended the Constitutional Convention (Article 5) as a solution.

For more information send email to Patricia and call her at 575-649-1215.

We Know Our Border and We Don’t Want a Wall on It

Lucas Herndon of ProgressNow NM also has an anti-wall petition, and it can be signed online here. Lucas spoke of the New Mexico legislators’ work on a bill (HB 292) to prevent the transfer of state lands to the federal government for the purpose of constructing a wall.

For more information send email to Lucas.

Shine Some Light on the Presidency and the Press

Peter Goodman invited us to a Sunshine Week panel at NMSU. (He will be the moderator.)

The Presidency and the Press
Thursday, March 9, 5:30 p.m.
Zuhl Library, NMSU

Peter added, “Beware of Article 5.” The Constitutional Convention route can have unintended consequences–dire ones with so many states now in Republican control.

For more information send email to Peter and call him at 575-521-0424.

Elections Have Consequences

Peter Ossorio said that on March 19 he’ll be doing the Bataan Memorial March. It will be his twentieth march, and he thinks it will be good preparation for the 4-year-long march ahead of us. He praised our southern New Mexico delegation and pointed out that they have a chance to reform the New Mexico Game Commission, and that could lead to help for the endangered Mexican Gray Wolf. Elections have all kinds of consequences.

For more information send email to Peter and call him at 575-522-3112.

Alive and Well in Santa Fe

Connie Chapman asked Rep. Angelic Rubio what she would like for PVA to know. Angelica sent back this message, which Connie read to us:

If you can use two minutes to say hello and that all is going well here. That I’m still waking up excited to be here despite all of the issues we’re facing as a state and country. My energy and positivity have not dwindled. Also, let them know that I’m doing daily legislative updates and that they can find me on Facebook at RubioNM35 and on YouTube as RubioNM35. I’d love to be able to send email updates–but I’ve just not had the time. Also, I’m looking forward to returning to Las Cruces.

For more information send email to Angelica or Connie.

New Progressives to Hold Immigration Forum

Jerry Nachison spoke of his multiracial and multinational family and thus his very personal stake in immigration policies. He invited everyone to join with Southern New Mexico New Progressives, a hard-working, fast-growing group. Everyone is invited to a public forum they will hold.

Public Forum on Immigration
Saturday, March 11, 2 to 4 p.m.
Roadrunner Room, Branigan Library

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

Cautionary Words From a Russian Scholar

Joe Roach issued a stern warning about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. He prefaced his warning by mentioning that he is a Vietnam veteran and a retired professor of Russian Studies. He believes that Putin is on the verge of a major propaganda coup and possibly much more. He stated that the next American patriots will be the leakers or—as he prefers to call them—the whistleblowers.

For more information send email to Joe.

What Now, El Paso Electric?

Allen Downs, our tireless source of information about El Paso Electric, reported an unusually confusing series of events. For example, EPE has requested that testimony by Merrie Lee Soules, Steve Fischmann, and Allen be stricken from the record. There was also news of EPE’s project to control customer thermostats on hot days.

Luckily for us, Allen, Merrie Lee, and Steve have prepared a summary of the issues that we can read online here. [Ed: Read it if you care anything about the environment, solar energy, your electric bill, sustainability, or corporate welfare.]

On a brighter note, Allen let us know that work on getting PACE continues, and the legislators have several good energy bills to consider.

For more information send email to Allen.

Grassroots at Work

Nayomi Valdez informed us that Las Cruces had an astounding voter turnout for the school board election. She reminded us that events will be announced for March 8, “A Day Without a Woman,” and Olé (Nayomi is an organizer with this group) will be holding a forum, for parents and other interested people, on standardized testing in the schools.

For more information send email to Nayomi.

SWEC Lobbying for Wildlife

Peter Sloan reported on the fates of four wildlife bills before the legislature.

  • SB 266 to deal with the 50% of New Mexico wildlife now unprotected was tabled due to lack of funding.
  • SB 286 to stop trapping and poisoning on public lands was returned for clarification.
  • SB 254 is still alive. It would change the composition of the New Mexico Game Commission (currently the governor appoints all members). The new bill would require some scientists (!) on the commission and allow legislators to make some of the appointment.
  • HB 268 would prohibit coyote killing contests. It is not dead yet.

For more information send email to Peter.

Big Thank You From the ACLU

Vicki Gaubeca brought handouts with ACLU’s facts and about the issues of the day and questions to ask when you find yourself at a town hall meeting. Topics are the Muslim ban, sanctuary cities, the border, healthcare reform/women, and healthcare reform/people with disabilities. Vicky gave a heartfelt thank you to the PVA for building a positive community and creating a forum for civil discourse.

For more information send email to Vicki.

What Is 535 Miles Long?

Alice Anderson said she has written to all five county commissioners about the safe and sound firework ordinance, but no one has replied.

Continuing her tradition of recommending great books we might otherwise miss, Alice brought to our attention “90 Years and 535 Miles: Vegetation Changes Along the Mexican Border” by Robert R. Humphrey, published in 1987 by the University of New Mexico Press. Humphrey covers the 535 miles of the border that stretch from El Paso to the Colorado River. He traces the history of the border from 1893 to 1983 and includes maps and historical photos. Branigan Library has it (581.97 Hum)!

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

Update from NEA

Bruce Hartman shared the amazing fact that voter turnout in the recent school board election was up by 73% over the previous board election. He said that NEA is organizing an immigration seminar (details to be announced) to address the many grave concerns created for students by the Trump administration policies.

For more information send email to Bruce.

Let Pearce Know What SNAP Does for New Mexicans

Rich Renner of RESULTS asked us all to write letters to Rep. Pearce urging his strong support of SNAP (current name for food stamps). Contact Rich to participate because RESULTS will meet with Pearce in mid March and deliver letters. Rich reminded us that in 2016 SNAP kept 76,000 New Mexicans out of poverty; half of those were children.

For more information send email to Rich and call him at 575-642-2598.

Threats to Immigrants Are Real and Present

Sara Melton brought chilling news of immigration enforcement in Doña Ana County. “Twenty people have been taken from our community,” she said. She added that under Trump 8 million people are targeted for deportation, and 11,000 of those people live in Doña Ana County.

CAFé is sponsoring training for those who want to understand the rights of immigrants and learn how to help.

Rapid Response to Immigration Enforcement Activity
Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Holy Cross Retreat Center
100 Holy Cross Road

For more information send email to Sara and call her at 631-943-3105.

And Now for Some Good News: The Buses Are Running

David Armijo brought excellent news about transit which is celebrating its first anniversary. Bus ridership is up fourfold, at an all-time high and growing. South Central Regional Transit District has a nice spread, complete with route maps, in the current issue of Camino Real.

For more information send email to David.

Who Passes a Border Wall Resolution and Serves Lunch in Santa Fe?

Gill Sorg let us know that the Las Cruces City Council (with help from Roberto’s) treated legislators in Santa fe to lunch. He reminded us that the City Council voted 6-1 in favor of a resolution against the border wall.

For more information send email to Gill.

Safe and Sound Fireworks Ordinance? Let’s Keep It

Bill Corbett spoke in favor of keeping our safe and sound firework ordinance. (Recently it mysteriously appeared and disappeared from the consent agenda of the County Commission.) He pointed out that the ordinance still allows plenty of fireworks (just not firecrackers and aerial fireworks) and has the support of law enforcement, firefighters, and most of the public. Bill asked us to let the county commissioners know we’d like to keep the ordinance.

For more information send email to Bill.

School Board Elections Have Consequences Too

Cheryl Frank relayed thanks from Terrie Dallman, who is in Santa Fe attending training for new school board members. Cheryle explained that Terrie won her race for District 2 with 59% of the vote and with the help of supporters from PVA, NEA, Classified School Employees Council, ProgressNowNM, Equality NM, and something we at PVA call “tell-5-friends-to-vote.”

Cheryl congratulated the Las School Board for filing an amicus brief in support of Gavin Grimm, the transgender student with a lawsuit before the Supreme Court in March.

For more information send email to Cheryl.

You’re Invited to Sheriff Vigil’s Town Hall Meeting

Kurt Anderson reminded us that everyone is invited to attend Sheriff Vigil’s town hall meeting in the Village of Doña Ana.

Community Meeting with Sheriff Kiki Vigil
Tuesday, February 28, 6 to 8 p.m.
Doña Ana Community Resource Center

For more information send email to Kurt.

Science Needs You and It’s Serious

Graciela Unguez, a biology professor at NMSU, touched on a few of the hair-raising anti-science actions of the Trump administration. She mentioned the immediate removal of climate change information from the website of the National Parks Service, the move to defund the EPA, and the appointment of Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead a group that will try to reform America’s higher education system.

In addition to taking part in the April 22 March for Science, Graciela asked us to request a tour of science facilities at NMSU and invite scientists to talk to our meetings.

For more information send email to Graciela and call her at 575-635-8626.

March for Science on Earth Day

Steve Kanim,also a scientist from NMSU, asked us to support the March for Science, which will take place on April 22, Earth Day. You can start now by donating time and/or money, and follow them on Facebook. “Science shouldn’t be under attack,” he said.

For more information send email to Steve and call him at 575-202-2894.

EPE Wants to Build a Substation WHERE?

Dael Goodman let us know that El Paso Electric wants to build a substation on 3.7 acres of BLM land off Dripping Springs Road. If you think a substation would be a bad idea as a gateway to the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument, you can send comments to Paula Montez, BLM_NM_LCDO_Comments@blm.gov. Deadline for comments is March 3.

For more information send email to Dael and call her at 575-521-0424.

Meet the Candidate for Democratic Party’s County Chair

Christopher Schaljo introduced himself as candidate for chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County. He said he graduated from NMSU with a degree in Government. He is currently 26 years old and a small business owner. His goals for the party would include inclusiveness and reaching out to college-age Democrats.

For more information send email to Christopher and call him at 314-225-5074.

Conversations with Democrats … They’re Lively

Jane Asche invited everyone to attend a discussion with the candidates for chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County. “This election is really important for the future of our party,” she said, echoing earlier reminders that all elections have consequences.

Conversations with Democrats
Saturday, March 25, 2 to 4 p.m.
Holy Family American National Catholic Church
702 Parker Road

For more information send email to Jane and call her at 575-532-8087.

You Know You Need a Good Laugh, Don’t You?

Joy Goldblum (running for municipal judge this fall) urged everyone to come to a concert by Roy Zimmerman, who writes and sings funny songs about peace and justice. She said the event would be a lot like a PVA meeting only funnier and with music. She made a money-back guarantee that you will be glad you went. Admission is $17 or whatever you can.

ReZist: A Roy Zimmerman Concert
Monday, March 27, 7 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church
2000 S. Solano

For more information send email to Joy and call her at 575-527-8620.

Up With Women, Down With Wells Fargo

Jan Thompson invited everyone to an International Women’s Day event. The focus will be on defending Planned Parenthood funding, opposing legislation that would restrict abortion access, and support state legislation introduced by Coalition for Choice.

International Women’s Day
Wednesday, March 8, Noon
Rep. Pearce’s Office

Jan also invited people to sign a petition to the mayor and city council asking that Las Cruces divest from Wells Fargo Bank. There are many reasons for divesting (Seattle and Santa Monica have done so already), but the most current reason is because they are funding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

For more information send email to Jan.

Social Justice Film Series

Elisa Sanchez invited everyone to attend the social justice film series at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Films are selected to provide factual information about the important issues of the day. Most recently “Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America,” was shown, and it can now be borrowed by anyone who has a group that would like to see it. The March film, “Lost In Detention,” examines the U.S. immigration enforcement system and takes a hard look at stories of hidden abuse in detention centers.

Social Justice Film Series: “Lost in Detention”
Thursday, March 16, 6:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church
2000 South Solano

For more information send email to Elisa and call her at 575-532-9148.

James Baldwin Documentary to Be Shown at the Fountain Theatre

Rose Ann Hernandez announced that the Mesilla Valley Film Society will be showing the Oscar-nominated documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro.”

I Am Not Your Negro
Fountain Theatre
March 24 to 30, Show times are here

For more information send email to Rose Ann.

Read Something that Will Inspire You

Terry Miller recommended an article that will make you feel hopeful about the future. “Texas Is the Future: Can Democrats reconquer the Lone Star State?” is written by Andrew Cockburn and you can read it in the March issue of Harper’s. Here is a sample:

The reason was simple. Unlike the rest of the country, Houston Democrats had a full-scale Republican rout to celebrate. The party had swept the polls in Harris County, the vast region encompassing Houston, arguably the nation’s most diverse city (as locals never tire of repeating). With 4.5 million inhabitants, the county is more populous than half the states in America. Now Harris voters had elected a Democratic district attorney–a very powerful post in Texas law enforcement–for the first time in thirty-six years. The Democrats had also captured almost every other slot on the ballot, including the tax assessor’s office, which oversees voter registration: a crucial win in an age of Republican voter suppression.

For more information send email to Terry.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, March 23, 7 p.m
Munson Center


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