PVA Meeting Recap – June 28, 2018

High-level radioactive waste proposal in Southeast New Mexico

Senator Jeff Steinborn is the chair of the Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee and wanted to let everyone know about the proposal for a High-Level Radioactive Waste storage facility, which would store the nation’s most dangerous nuclear reactor waste in Southeast New Mexico. Holtec International and Eddy Lea Energy Alliance (ELA) would like to build a high-level radioactive waste storage facility in between Hobbs and Carlsbad, NM slightly below the surface of the ground. They aim to store 173,000 metric tons of this waste on a 1,000-acre site. Jeff explained that the first concern is that this is high-level nuclear waste, which is dangerous – the radiation from it is invisible: you cannot feel or taste it, and it could lead to potential birth defects, cancer, or death. The second concern, said Jeff, is that transporting this waste is potentially life threatening, if the waste spills. It could cost billions of taxpayer dollars if they could manage to clean it up and a spill would result in ruining the land of New Mexico which will certainly impact generations to come. The rails they would be using to transport this waste can only carry up to 143 tons per rail car and the rail cars Holtec and ELEA would be using would weigh up to 210 tons (the math doesn’t quite add up there). Transporting this also opens the potentiality of accidents, leaks, and terrorist actions, currently there are no security plans or emergency plans made for incidents like these. “Citizens and policymakers need to know now what routes would be used, before a decision is made on whether to license radioactive consolidated radioactive waste storage. The waste could travel near waterways and through major cities as well as tribal lands.” Jeff also mentioned that state representatives from other states are very happy this facility won’t be in their state.

Citizens, including leaders from the oil and gas industry, faith leaders, and dairy and pecan farming industry are speaking out about safety, security, land and water contamination, and financial risks and impacts to local businesses and tourism. Nine New Mexico Senators, including Jeff Steinborn, and twenty-one House members asked the NRC to allow the Legislature for time to examine crucial health, safety and economic concerns to the state. If you want to add your voice, here’s what you can do to help: attend the meeting on July 19, 2018 at the Center of Recreational Excellence (CORE) on 4827 N. Lovington Hwy., Hobbs, NM at 9:00 A.M. You can also comment to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) by July 30, 2018. As a state, Jeff Steinborn says we need to band together and demand that safety will come first in New Mexico.

Docket Number: NRC-2018-0052

You can comment at https://www.regulations.gov

Here are some sample letters if you wish to write but are unsure of where to start: www.NoNuclearWaste.org

The June 2018 Unified Action is to:

Reach out to the people in your Personal Influence Network and urge them to vote YES on the Las Cruces GO Bonds & Recall Reform Amendments in the Las Cruces Special Election

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces, www.lwvglc.org

The Issue

Voting is essential to our democracy. A friend’s recommendation can have a big influence on how we vote.

Even if you don’t live in Las Cruces, encourage your network of friends (many of whom do live in the City of Las Cruces or know others who do) to vote YES on the issues in this important election – every vote makes a difference.

The special election will be conducted by mail only, and ballots will be sent out July 24 and must be received by the county clerk’s office, in person or by mail, by 7 pm on Tuesday, August 21.

We will send out the Unified Action again once ballots have been received by voters and our contacts with them will make a difference.

What we are asking:

Urge those in your Personal Influence Network to vote YES on the Go Bonds & Recall Reform.

14 years of PVA

Ann Gutierrez thanked everyone for their support and participation in the Progressive Voter Alliance. It’s been a wonderful fourteen years of sharing and cultivating ideas as well as helping us shape our community together! To celebrate PVA, everyone was invited to the 14th annual PVA party at the Amaro Winery. The party is always a great way to thank everyone and to get know one another better! “Thank you again for making PVA what it is today,” remarked Ann.

As a reminder, PVA will not have a meeting in July but will resume on August 23.

For more information, email Ann.

Brown and Green Coalition goes to New Orleans

NM CAFé organizer, Johanna Bencomo, talked about the newly formed Green and Brown Coalition, which is a group of activists who work on immigration and environmental issues. City Councilor Gabe Vasquez, Lucas Herndon from ProgressNow NM, Representative Angelica Rubio, Southwest Environmental Center director Kevin Bixby, and Johanna were selected to be presenters at Netroots Nation 2018, one of the largest annual conferences for progressives. The Green and Brown Coalition will be speaking out against the border wall and militarization happening around it at this conference in New Orleans in August. They are asking for help paying for their trip expenses. You can see more at their GoFundMe page.

For more information, email Johanna or follow her on twitter.

Brown and Green Coalition goes to New Orleans, Pt. 2

Lucas Herndon piggy-backed on Johanna’s comments with more information regarding the Green and Brown Coalition and encouraged people to help get them and their team to New Orleans in August for the largest progressive conference in the country. In one week, they have reached about one-fifth of their goal for airfare, lodging, food, etc.

You can donate either in person or at their GoFundMe page.

For more information, email Lucas or follow him on twitter.

It’s classified

David Baake had some interesting news to share, but wanted it kept off the record at this time… you just had to be there! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Stay tuned.

Sandy congratulates Steve

Sandy Katayanagi wanted to genuinely thank everyone for supporting her husband Steve Fischmann, who won his primary election for PRC, District 5. She congratulated Steve and welcomes support to help him win in November!

For more information, email Sandy.

Phone banking for candidates

Pat Aguirre shared a message from Luis Guerrero, who works for the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s Coordinated Campaign. They will be phone banking every day from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. from now until November (tentatively). They are calling for Michelle Lujan Grisham, Martin Heinrich, Xochitl Torres Small, and Joanne Ferrary.

They’re working with all candidates on the ticket but are focusing on these seats for now. They’re encouraging people to either pick a candidate to call for or generously call around for multiple candidates.

If you are interested in signing up for a shift, you can contact Luis Guerrero or call him at (575) 635-3354

The Democratic Coordinated Campaign office is located at 230 S. Water Street.

For more information, email Pat.

Rep. Martinez believes in keeping families together

State Rep. Rudy Martinez, District 39, wanted to thank PVA and congratulate every candidate who stood up and ran for office. He also expressed his embarrassment of what is currently happening at our border: children are suffering, parents are wondering where their kids are, families are being torn apart. He said, simply, “we need to do something about that.” He encourages every registered voter to vote and spread the word about this important midterm election.

For more information, visit his campaign website.

New proposed public Charter School in Las Cruces

Lucia V. Carmona wanted to share information regarding a public hearing to present a proposed Public Charter School in Las Cruces called Raíces del Saber Xinachitli Community School which would be a dual language K-5 program that focuses on integrating Mesoamerican Indigenous knowledge as a part of curriculum and promoting appreciation of the cultural heritage.

They are asking for support for this innovative, bilingual, and bicultural program during the hearing which will be hosted by Public Education Commission (PED).

July 20, 2018 from 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.
New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum (theater)
4100 Dripping Springs Road

For more information regarding this proposal or for Raíces del Saber Xinachitli Community School itself, please contact Lucia Carmona or at (575) 571-2177.

Doña Ana Soil & Water Conservation District update

Craig Fenske, who is the District 4 Supervisor of the Doña Ana Soil & Water Conservation District, shared that they developed a Public Comment Policy and updated their website. He hopes people will sign up for their e-mail list on their website to get detailed information about their meetings, which take place every second Thursday at 9:00 A.M. each month at the Elephant Butte Irrigation District (IBID) Conference Room on 500 S. Melendres.

For more information, email Craig.

Micaela Lara Cadena thanks voters

Connie Chapman thanked everyone on behalf of Micaela Lara Cadena for supporting her in the hard-battled primary win for District 33. Expect to hear more from the campaign soon!

For more information, email Connie.

Supreme Court nominee and women’s rights

Joanne Ferrary, who is running for re-election for House District 37, spoke about the news of Justice Kennedy’s retirement and how the right to access abortion legally and safely is really on the line now. If the Roe v. Wade is overturned, safe and legal abortion would no longer exist in New Mexico. She said she hopes that the US Senate does not confirm a nominee that would overturn Roe v. Wade [410 U.S. 113 (1973)]; Joanne is encouraging everyone to call Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well as the White House, to ask them to only confirm a nominee who supports a women’s right to make her own private decisions.

For more information, email Joanne.

Soon-to-be Judge Grace Duran thanks voters

Grace Duran won the primary for Division VIII judge in the 3rd Judicial District Court and is running unopposed now, so she will take office on January 1, 2019. She thanked the voters for all of the support; she won 100 out of 120 precincts.

For more information, contact Grace.

El Paso Electric wants to strike testimony

Merrie Lee Soules spoke about her continued intervention with El Paso Electric, which is “systematically overcharging New Mexico ratepayers.” She spoke about an important PRC case hearing, coming up in July. Merrie Lee and two other witnesses gave testimonies about what they’re doing/have done; EPE has moved to strike these testimonies. If you don’t think intervenor voices should be silenced, you can help! You can submit a public comment either in person on July 30 (in Santa Fe) or by letter; Merrie Lee suggests that you make it clear that “it is not acceptable to silence the voices of opposition to EPE.”

When: Monday, July 30: 9:30am – 5:00pm
Where: 1120 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ground Floor Hearing Room
Public Hearing for the Purpose of: hearing and receiving further comment, testimony, exhibits, arguments and any other appropriate matters in order to determine whether EPE’s Application should be approved by the Commission (Case 18-00006-UT).

For more information, email Merrie Lee.

Where can you get a great homemade dinner for $3? Find out now!

Dáel Goodman invited everyone to enjoy inexpensive and homemade community suppers on Thursday evenings at the Co-op. This is an opportunity to eat meat or vegetarian entrees, and eat among fellow Las Cruceans. What’s not to like?

Community Supper
Thursdays from 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Mountain View Co-op on 1300 El Paseo Rd.

To see the upcoming menus, check out their website.

For more information, email Dáel.

It’s one-person-one-vote. Or, is it?

Peter Goodman reported on a lawsuit that was filed alleging that the New Mexico Soil and Water Conservation Commission is violating the state and U.S. constitution. Specifically, the lawsuit, which was filed by Grant Price, Hilliard Williams, and Sally Williams, said that the Commission is violating the one person, one vote principle.  Read all about it here.

For more information, email Peter or read his blog.

You don’t even need a stamp

Tessa Stuve asked everyone to vote “yes” for all the GoBonds and the amendment for recall reform; she said the recall reform amendment will ensure that voters are properly informed. It will also make sure that the recall claims are substantiated before petitions are sent out to the public. Tessa reiterated that the amendment will keep leaders accountable for their behavior and practices but also make sure petitioners are giving accurate information to voters. Keep an eye out for your mail-in ballot that should arrive after July 24. Ballots are due August 21 by mail (no postage needed) or in person at the County Clerk’s Office by 7:00 P.M.

For more information, email Tessa.

Elections matter

Rocky Bacchus thanked Billy Garrett for standing up and doing a good job. He asked people to support Shannon Reynolds for the District 3 seat on the Doña Ana County Commission. And lastly, he congratulated Steve Fischmann for winning his primary, despite the false information that flooded the airways just prior to Election Day. Rocky encouraged everyone to keep voting.

For more information, email Rocky.


Don Kurtz wanted to second what the League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces and Tessa Stuve recommended for the upcoming municipal election. He strongly encourages everyone to vote “yes” on all the Bond issues and the Amendment for Recall Reform. He said that Las Cruces needs to be a community that votes “yes” on bonds because they benefit our community. The recall process right now, Don argued, is dangerous and can be used maliciously. Don encourages everyone to vote “yes” on everything in the mail-in ballot because we could all use a little more “yes” in our lives! Also, spread the word.

For more information, email Don.

Sheriff candidate Kim Stewart now looks toward general election

Kim Stewart took a moment to thank the voters and her supporters for helping her win the primary for the Doña Ana County Sheriff seat; this was no easy task, as she had four opponents, including the current Sheriff. She also introduced her pick for undersheriff, Jaime Quezada, who she said “is trustworthy and has 22 years of law enforcement experience.” She announced her upcoming fundraiser and hopes you can make it.

July 14, 5-10pm
Josefina’s Old Door in Mesilla

For more information, email Kim or visit her campaign website.

Support for Kim Stewart

Jaime Quezada thanked voters for supporting Kim Stewart and spoke about what being her pick as undersheriff means to him, for the community, and how it’s much more than a job or how much money they would make. He genuinely expressed how they want to make a difference and finished by saying that voting for Kim Stewart is “the right thing to do, right now”.

For more information, visit the campaign website.

Appreciation from Karen Trujillo

Doña Ana County Commission, District 5, candidate, Karen Trujillo, said that since the primary election she has been very busy; but Karen wanted to make sure she was at the meeting to thank everyone for their continuous support and she looks forward to working with everyone in these upcoming months!

For more information, visit the campaign website.

City Council Update

Councilor Yvonne Flores provided a brief City Council update regarding the minimum wage increase and COLA issues. She wanted to inform everyone that the city is partnering up with LCPS regarding school safety. She also spoke about a study done by the Hibbs Institute that theorized “that establishing or increasing a binding minimum wage can have both positive and negative effects” using regression analysis, simulations, etc. and that she felt some things about this study weren’t quite right.

For more information, email Yvonne.

El Paso Electric & the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) news

Allen Downs shared an update on the PRC case: “El Paso Electric’s fuel reconciliation case is ongoing. This is where we hope to prove that they are losing money on off-system sales and over-charging New Mexicans for fuel.” He also mentioned the testimonies that EPE is trying to strike before the hearing from City witness Joe Provencio City, and County expert Edwin Reyes, Merrie Lee Soules, and Allen Downs himself. “Merrie Lee is leading the charge to require utilities to perform an economic evaluation and get approval before retiring a generator. EPE has been required to evaluate the status of the Rio Grande unit 6 which they claim is retired but they continue to use. The 2018 Integrated Resource Plan has been delayed 2 months while EPE completes their evaluation. EPE is requesting permission to begin a community solar program in New Mexico at what is believed to be too high a price. The City and Merrie Lee Soules have intervened, and New Energy Economy’s intervention is being contested by EPE. Mariel Nanasi of New Energy Economy has single-handedly saved millions of dollars for PNM customers and is taking a shot at EPE because theirs is the first utility Community Solar proposal in New Mexico and would set precedent for other utilities. But the big news this month is that Steve Fischmann defeated Sandy Jones in the Democratic Primary for District 5 PRC Commissioner. Congratulations Steve! And thank you to everyone who helped with the primary campaign. Now on to the general election!” (Thank you, Allen, for giving us a copy of your recap notes!)

For more information about New Energy Economy check out their website here.

And, if you are interested in more information about Steve Fischmann, here’s his campaign website.

The next public meeting of the IRP Public Advisory Group is at 2:00 P.M. on July 19, at the county office building.

For more information, email Allen.

Get your sunscreen, your hat, your signs. And get out there and protest.

County Commissioner Billy Garrett noted the massive nationwide mobilization planned on June 30 to protest the zero-tolerance border policy. He encouraged everyone to be “prepared to organize, go to their court houses, go to where there are immigration services, spread the word, protest, [because] this will not be overcome without public protest.”

For more information about how the protest went, email Gabriela Castaneda, who works with Border Network for Human Rights.

For more information, email Billy.

Lynn Ellins thanks voters

Lynn Ellins, who is the Democratic nominee for County Commission, District 1, thanked everyone for their support and congratulated his primary opponents on well-run campaigns, especially Antoinette Reyes, who he greatly admires. He jokingly said, “I’ve been told that I’m one of the few men who has survived an election against a woman, but then again, what the hell? My name is Lynn.”

For more information, contact Lynn on Facebook.


PVA takes a break in July.

Our next meeting will be Thursday, August 23, 2018, 7 p.m., at Munson Center. 





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