PVA Meeting Recap – June 23, 2016

Report from the County Clerk’s Office

County Clerk Lynn Ellins reported that the clerk’s office has made an excellent receovery from the problems of last summer, and voter data is now as secure as humanly possible. He closed by saying that Scott Krahling would do an excellent job as clerk.

More info: email Lynn.

More from the County Clerk’s Office

Scott Krahling said that turnout for the June 7 primary was nearly double the turnout in 2012, the last presidential election year. He pointed to a few examples of the many innovations at the clerk’s office:

  • you can find a sample ballot for your district online
  • on election day you can find out how long the lines are at each polling place
  • voter registration outreach programs have been expanded

More info: email Scott, follow on Twitter @scottforclerk, and facebook.com/scott.a.krahling.

What Are You Doing to Speak Up for Gun Safety?

Ken Murray, retired Air Force officer, spoke of the urgent need for sane gun laws. He noted that the House Democrats will resume their demand for a vote on gun safety when Congress is back in session and that Connecticut’s ban on assault weapons survives for now. He urged us to check out Everytown for Gun Safety for strategies to reduce gun violence.

Lastly, Ken has a supply of “Vets for Hillary” and “Military Families for Hillary,” bumper stickers that he will share.

More info: email Ken and call him at 575-382-9249.


Ken Newtson experienced the New Mexico primary election from the POV of a poll watcher. He was impressed and commended the County for conducting an efficient and trouble-free election.

More info: email Ken and call him at 575-644-8793.

Where There Is Beer

Christine Newtson invited everyone to a fundraiser for candidates who support solar energy development. The event is sponsored by Positive Energy Solar and includes refreshments. Tickets are $50.

Candidates Supporting Solar Energy Fundraiser
Thursday, August 4, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Pecan Grill and Brewery

More info: email Christine and call her at 575-644-8682.

You Won’t Want to Miss this Party

Allison Apodaca announced a Get Out the Vote Party sponsored by District 33. Everyone is welcome. There will be food, music, candidates, and a Trump piñata for anyone who wants to take a swing.

Get Out the Vote Party
Sunday, June 26, 5 to 8 p.m.
Apodaca Home
3044 Snow Road, Mesilla

More info: email Allison and call her at 575-647-4025.

The LGBTQ Community Needs You

Judy Long, an ally of the LGBTQ community, invited others to join in this service. Interested people should get in touch with Judy for more information. You can read about the role of LGBTQ allies here.

More info: email Judy.

Greetings From the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce

Russell Allen said the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce’s “meet the candidates” event was satisfyingly successful. The turnout of 140 people included many who also turn out for PVA. Russell thanked the county clerk’s office for a great job on the primary election and closed by saying, somewhat enigmatically, “Game on!”

More info: email Russell.

Where Do Your Representatives Stand on Immigration Reform?

Frank Lopez spoke of the impact in our community of the SCOTUS decision to undo Obama’s protection of undocumented residents. He said that progressive candidates must take a strong position in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. He urged us to talk with our local candidates and make sure they know where we stand on immigration reform.

More info: email Frank and call him at 575-680-0112.

You’re Invited to Search for a New Superintendent

School Board President Maria Flores announced that Steven Sanchez will return to serve as interim superintendent as the school district begins “to go in a new direction.” Maria said that all members of the community—parents, grandparents, business leaders, concerned citizens—are invited to participate in the search for the new superintendent. “Schools will be ready in August,” she promised.

More info: email Maria.

LGBTQ Panel Opens Eyes

Violet (but you can call her Vi) Cauthon attended the June 22 panel discussion cohosted by Southern New Mexico Pride and PFlag Las Cruces. The gathering was prompted by the attack on Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. She heard members of the LGBTQ community discuss situations in which they feel unsafe, discriminated against, or excluded. Vi said it was a wake up call and she asked us all to strive to be open and inclusive and let our views be known.

More info: email Vi and call her at 575-373-0571.

Save this Date!

Olga Pedroza announced an upcoming forum on immigration law. The forum will present information that every citizen in our community needs to know and understand about immigration law.

Immigration Forum
Thursday, September 29, 5:30 p.m.
Las Cruces City Hall

More info: email Olga.

Governor Martinez v. Mexican Gray Wolf

Kevin Bixby said the governor seems determined to bring about the extinction of one of the world’s most endangered canids, the Mexican gray wolf. Who knows why, but you can sign SWEC’s petition and let your voice be heard. SWEC’s La Mancha Wetlands project is progressing nicely. They have excavated a pond that will hold water year-round and provide a refuge for fish, turtles, frogs, and other species even when there is little or no water in the river.

More info: email Kevin

Shannon Reynolds on Being a Good Loser

Shannon Reynolds thanked everyone for support in his run to be the Democratic nominee for county treasurer. He said that nobody knew who he was at the start of the campaign; nevertheless he came within three percentage points of winning the nomination. He vowed to stay active in local politics and promised that he will be helping some excellent candidates to win in November.

More info: email Shannon and call him at 575-650-7388.

Guess Who Received the Most Votes Ever in a House District 37 Primary?

Joanne Ferrary thanked everyone who helped with her primary campaign. She mentioned house parties, fundraisers, canvassers, envelope addressers, and—of course—talking to those five friends. She said she received the most votes ever cast in a primary election for House District 37.

More info: email Joanne and call her at 575-649-1231.

How Did the El Paso Electric Rate Case Turn Out? We Won!

Allen Downs outlined some good outcomes from the rate case. EPE asked for a revenue increase of $8.8 million, but got $1.1 million. Accounting changes should save New Mexico customers $75 million over the next 10 years. Residential customers will see a rate increase of 1.8%; rates are unchanged for all other customer classes. There was even some progress toward reducing peak demand.

More info: email Allen.

¿Que tal, KTAL?

Peter Goodman announced that KTAL, our community radio station, is on track to begin broadcasting in early September. They welcome all kinds of help: money, ideas, furniture, coffee makers, printers, staplers, and so forth.

Peter spoke of the need for unity after a hard-fought primary. He spoke of the need for a big Democratic turnout in November and the possibility that a strong turnout could result in the election of Merrie Lee Soules to the U.S. House of Representatives.

More info: email Peter.

Mayor Miyagashima Takes a Stand on Gun Safety

Gill Sorg announced that Mayor Miyagashima will be presenting the City Council with a draft resolution to improve gun safety in Las Cruces. The resolution addresses criminal background checks and gun show loopholes. Watch the City Council agenda for the exact date and let your councilor know your thoughts on the subject.

More info: email Gill, and follow him on Twitter @sorg_gill.

John Vasquez on Making Mistakes But Winning Anyway

John Vasquez expressed his pleasure at having won in the primary election race. He will be on the November ballot as the Democratic candidate for County Commission District 5. He thanked all those who helped him, including the many who chastised him and detailed all that he was doing wrong in his campaign.

More info: email John and call him at 575-494-3435.

After the Primary? Unity!

Don Kurtz said he had backed David Garcia and Wayne Hancock for county commission seats in the Democratic primary and was disappointed when they lost. He said they had both done a lot of heavy lifting, working to get the County to move in a more positive direction, and that means taking positions that are sure to upset some of the people all of the time. On the bright side, Don said the winners (Ramon Gonzales, who is unopposed in District 2, and Isabela Solis in District 4) are “good and promising candidates,” and they’ll have his support.

More info: email Don.

What Happened to Adobehenge? Plus a Veteran’s Thought on Muskets

Bob Diven reported that the 166-acre Adobehenge project is successfully inching its way through the bureaucratic thickets. It now has a real estate specialist, and the specialist’s name has been divulged.

On the subject of guns—much on everyone’s mind this evening—Bob opined, as a veteran and a gun owner, “I do own guns, but I’d be OK with just a musket.”

More info: email Bob and Adobehenge is on Facebook.

Keep an Eye on El Paso Electric

Rocky Bacchus, not feeling totally sanguine about the EPE rate deal, urged us to keep on supporting intervention in the process. He was not optimistic about the peak use reduction pilot project that EPE will carry out for New Mexico customers. He is proposing a “customer choice curtailment rate” and you can read all about it here.

More info: email Rocky.

Angelica Rubio Conveys Her Thanks

Rosemarie Sanchez conveyed the thanks of Angelica Rubio, who could not be present. Angelica prevailed in a three-way primary race for House District 35. She sent her appreciation for all the support she received during the primary.

More info: email Rosemarie.

A Teacher’s POV

Bruce Hartman, an educator employed by Las Cruces Public Schools, said it’s time for the district to “repair and move on.” On the need for immigration reform, Bruce said that he has known many students who believed they were citizens until they applied for a federal loan for college and learned they were undocumented and therefore ineligible for assistance.

More info: email Bruce.

Democratic Women’s Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Julia Brown invited everyone to a couple of events that Democratic Women are hosting.

Conversations with Democrats
Dark Money in Politics
Saturday, June 25, 2 p.m.
Branigan Library

Doña Ana County Democratic Women Monthly Meeting
Monday, July 11, 6 p.m.
International Delights

More info: email Julia.

Stop Blaming, Start Working Together, and Get NM Children out of Last Place

Dave Greenberg announced a movement underfoot to stop blaming and start doing something about our dismal position as #50 in child well being. All interested people are encouraged attend a planning meeting to discuss community schools.

Community Schools for Las Cruces
Tuesday, July 12, 4 to 6 p.m.
Peace Lutheran Church

More info: email Dave.

Brand New Candidate for NM House District 53

Willie Madrid introduced himself as the Democratic candidate for New Mexico House District 53 (aka, Nate Cote’s old district). He is new to politics but old to community service and commitment to the South Valley.

More info: email Willie.

Nathan Small

Nathan Small had nothing but praise for the work that Jack Eakman is doing for the city and District 4 (aka, Nathan’s old district). Nathan spoke of new foundations for economic growth, the positive economic impact of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and said that it is vital that—as a community—we stand up for comprehensive immigration reform.

More info: email Nathan.

Reproductive Rights (Also Guns)

Lucas Herndon spoke of the seriousness of the upcoming SCOTUS decision regarding restricted access to abortion for Texas women.

Lucas spoke of his position as a radical progressive and a gun owner. He favors background checks for all gun sales, but when it comes to “no fly, no buy” he believes we have to be careful about constitutional rights.

More info: email Lucas.

Be Cautious About Small Donor Campaign Finance

Michael Hayes voiced his concern about the Common Cause proposal for small donor campaign financing. He said the plan sets aside up to $200,000 a year without the option of spending those funds in any other way—for Meals on Wheels, for example.

More info: email Michael and visit First Impressions and Second Thoughts.

More on Small Donor Campaign Financing

Craig Fenske of Common Cause explained the Fair Election Fund a little differently, saying it would be an ongoing consideration not unlike the commitments of maintenance for a new park or staff for a new fire station. He encouraged people to send their input on the issue to the city councilors.

More info: email Craig and call him at 575-640-8846.

How Did the El Paso Electric Rate Case Turn Out? Part 2

Allen Downs had the final word and it was on the subject of energy. New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Act requires that 15% of all power be obtained from renewable sources. El Paso Electric is trying to wiggle out of complying with that requirement. Don’t let them get away with it, Allen implored.

More info: email Allen.

PVA Takes a Break in July
and Meets Again
Thursday, August 25, 2016

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