PVA Meeting Recap – March 22, 2018

Unified Action

The March 2018 Unified Action is to:

Support South Central Regional Transit District Funding

Contact the Doña Ana County Commissioners and say:

“Please increase the annual contribution to the South Central Regional Transit District from $350,000 to $500,000 in order to provide services to northern Doña Ana County and to expand services in southern Doña Ana County. Thank you.”

David Armijo, Executive Director of the SCRTD introduced Greg White to talk about the Unified Action.

David explained that Greg is a 4th generation New Mexican. He retired from a career with the New Mexico Department of Transportation; he has 20 years experience in land use and transportation so he is uniquely qualified to advocate for SCRTD.

Greg said he volunteers with the SCRTD on their 5 year plan and provides technical assistance on the rollout plan. SCRTD serves the poorest in Doña Ana, Otero and Sierra counties. The average national household income is $52k a year, but in the South Valley it’s $23k. Due to the amount of poverty in the area, public transit is critical in Dona Ana County!

Greg said SCRTD is incredibly well run. Ridership is up 188% with the year ending 9/30/17. They’ve received two clean audits. NMDOT ranked them 10 out of 22 of all the transit districts in the state. With their current funding, they can’t expand anymore. Dona Ana County gives them $350k a year, which is 0.025% of the county budget.

More information here.

AR15s in City Hall… because you know… whatevs.

Lucas Herndon attended the 3/19/18 city council work session, where people brought their guns to the meeting, which is legal. Lucas is a gun owner himself, and said, “being in that room, with people with AR15s, pressuring our City Councilors – it was one of the most intense moments of my life.” He said the city council tabled the resolution and will discuss it on 5/14/18 at the Papen Center. Lucas asked people to attend this meeting because we need your voice for sensible gun safety measures.

Lucas is the director for District 33 for the Democratic Party of Dona Ana County, and he announced that there will be a Meet and Greet for the candidates running for State Representative.

Meet and greet for candidates running for State Rep: District 33
Monday 4/9/18, 7 pm
Salud de Mesilla

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

Vote of confidence for Representative Doreen Gallegos

Ann Gutierrez said that State Representative Doreen Gallegos, District 52, has opposition in the primary. Ann said that if you live in District 52 get out and vote for Doreen! She explained that Doreen is the Majority Whip and she “brings pork to District 52.” Doreen passed legislation for pregnancy and parenting skills training, tax free holiday for small businesses, and help for foster children to stay in school.

For more information, email Ann.

The environment might still have a chance

Kevin Bixby, Executive Director of the Southwest Environmental Center, announced that the Prius raffle is happening! SWEC is only selling 500 raffle tickets – you have a chance to win a new Prius plug-in hybrid. Tickets are $110 each.

In other big news, SWEC has joined with other groups to file a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, saying they don’t have the right to waive laws so they can build a border wall 20 miles west of Santa Teresa. Read about that here.

For more information, go to SWEC’s website, or email Kevin.

Mary Martinez White, running for State Representative, District 33

Mary Martinez White talked about some of the issues that she is passionate about. She said that New Mexico needs criminal justice reform to keep people out of jail; we need to make changes to how we treat people addicted to drugs and alcohol; poverty is high in our state. Mary said if we could tap the permanent fund, we could make changes, and we need to have this conversation. She read part of a letter from the New Mexico bishops, saying the history of the permanent fund is that it generates revenue from lands that were seized.

For more information, visit the campaign website or email Mary.

Let’s drink! Also: meet the candidates!

Luis Guerrero, Field Organizer for the NM Democratic Party, invited everyone to meet the Congressional District 2 Democratic candidates (Xochitl Torres Small and Mad Hildebrandt).

Drinks with Dems
Thursday, April 12, 2018, 6 pm
Salud de Mesilla, 1800 Avenida de Mesilla

Luis is also recruiting volunteers to go door-to-door and/or make phone calls. Get involved and make a difference!

For more information, email Luis.

Adelante Progressive Caucus needs votes from SCC members

Hiranya Roychowdhury, announced that the Adelante Progressive Caucus hopes to get the necessary votes at the April 21 State Central Committee meeting in Truth or Consequences. You can read what this movement is about here. He said, “This is nothing new – this is part of the Democratic Party’s charter.” You can send them an email to get on their list. Hiranya said if you agree with the concept of the Progressive Caucus, contact the State Central Committee members and ask them to vote yes on April 21.

For more information, email Hiranya.

Manny Sanchez running for County Commissioner, District 5

Manny wanted to introduce himself and announce that he’s running for County Commissioner. He said it’s time for him to stand up and be more active.

For more information, visit his campaign website or email Manny.

Karen Trujillo running for County Commissioner, District 5

Karen introduced herself and announced that she is running for County Commissioner. She said she believes in the 3 C’s – Community, Collaboration, and Communication. Her family goes back 7-10 generations in the Mesilla Valley. She said she is running for this seat because she is “determined to make a difference.”

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

Ella supports Micaela

Ella Nelson announced that she supports Micaela Lara Cadena, who is running for State Representative, for District 33. Ella’s family has known Micaela’s family for four generations. Ella spoke about Micaela’s education – how she got her undergraduate degree from Trinity University in International Studies and her master’s from UNM in community and regional planning. Ella also spoke glowingly about Micaela’s dedication to her work and how she worked to move women inmates from private to state prisons, where they would be treated better. “Micaela was a policy analyst for the state legislature,” Ella explained, “She knows the people, processes, and procedures to get laws passed.”

For more information, email Ella.

Update from Gabe Vasquez, City Councilor, District 3

In terms of the firearms debate, Gabe said, “It’s time to talk about common-sense gun-control. The city will be able to come up with policies for responsible use of firearms.” He has always been about transformative change. Therefore, he asked city staff for a map of Las Cruces with poverty information. He wants to address the following concerns in his district:

  • Infrastructure
  • Bus service to South Solano Avenue
  • More green space
  • Revitalizing the Nevada corridor
  • More public space and art
  • Move the city fleet to Motel Boulevard

This is about low-income people living in dignity, said Gabe.

Finally, Gabe supports Billy Garrett for Lt. Governor, Garrett VeneKlasen for Land Commissioner, and Michelle Lujan-Grisham for Governor.

For more information, email Gabe.

You want to go to Salud! de Mesilla, all of a sudden

Russell Hernandez owns Salud! de Mesilla. Russell wanted to say that he supports Paul Ponce for County Assessor. “Paul is very dedicated, and for eight years he’s served as Deputy Assessor, so he knows how things work. Paul is a mentor and a leader,” said Russell. Doreen Gallegos has also been a mentor and leader to him. “We need strong leaders, like them.” He hopes you will support Paul and Doreen and spread the word.

For more information, email Russell.

No new fossil fuel based electricity generation

Merrie Lee Soules, who has been studying utilities for years now, said that solar and wind is now cost competitive with gas, coal and nuclear. She said that renewables could supply 50% of our electricity by 2030 and we don’t need new fossil fuel electricity generation; a gas facility has a lifetime of 40 years; we shouldn’t have to pay a premium to shut them down early. She said our battle cry should be: no new fossil fuel generation in this state.

For more information, email Merrie Lee.

Joseph Cervantes for New Mexico Governor

Joseph said that in politics, you need to know the truth. For example, when Governor Martinez said that the state had a $100 million deficit, that wasn’t true. Joseph said he will tell us the truth. He believes his biggest strength is his experience as a legislator. He told us it’s been 44 years since we’ve had a governor come out of the legislature. He is proud to be endorsed by Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Mimi Stewart.

For more information visit his campaign website.

El Paso Electric (EPE) updates

Allen Downs said EPE reported the business tax reduction should save them about $4.7 million per year in New Mexico. Let’s make sure that this turns into a reduction in our rates. The city, county and Merrie Lee Soules are intervening in the EPE’s fuel reconciliation case, where we hope to prove that they lost over $20 million a year in the last 2 years in off system sales. The city and county are exploring hiring an expert to help make the case.

Merrie Lee is leading the charge to require utilities to perform an economic evaluation and get approval before retiring a generator. The city and county have joined the fight as well.

To keep up the push for lower electricity bills, more emphasis on peak reduction, renewable energy and storage, Allen suggests you vote for Steve Fischmann for PRC. You can help his campaign by contributing time, money or both. He is running against Sandy Jones in the primary, Allen reminded us, so make sure that you vote this June.

For more information, email Allen.

Billy Garrett for Lt. Governor

Billy thanked everyone for their help in getting the second set of petitions turned in by the deadline. To help New Mexico, there needs to be transformative change. He said he will help the governor by being a strong advocate and facilitator; he will bring progressive values to the governor’s office. “We deserve better,” said Billy, “We need someone who will make the Lt. Governor’s office something it’s never been before.”

In regards to county business, at next Tuesday’s county meeting there will be four resolutions that will streamline the process of transferring private roads to the county for public maintenance and authorize use of reserve funds to repair, pave and acquire and improve roads.

For more information, visit his campaign website or email Billy.

A movement to build strong Democratic communities 

Rosemarie Sanchez announced that the Federation of Democratic Women of Doña Ana County held a seminar to promote and encourage precinct leaders. Attendees were given a brochure of elected officials to distribute to Democrats in their precincts as well as tips on how to approach and engage their neighbors. Each person received walk sheets (of Democrats) for their precincts. The goal of this seminar was to give precinct leaders the tools they needed to build Democratic communities. “Please get involved so the movement can continue,” urged Rosemarie. The next seminar is June 24, at the Event Center.

For more information, email Rosemarie.

“Positive dialogue is what makes us great!”

Pattie Gipson said that gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan-Grisham thanks all the delegates who voted at the pre-primary convention. She also thanked all the candidates. Pattie said that we need positive dialogue in this campaign season – that is what makes our state great! As an educator, Pattie said that community schools allow greater autonomy at the local school districts. Pattie also wanted to throw in her support for Doreen Gallegos, Steve Fischmann, and Garrett VeneKlasen.

For more information, email Pattie.

Steve Fischmann thinks there’s something fishy going on at the PRC 

Steve Fischmann, who is running for PRC, District 5, said the state of Arizona passed a one-year moratorium on building new fossil fuel plants of a certain size – so, just FYI, these things are possible. He talked about how integrity is important in all candidates. Steve said his opponent, and the incumbent commissioner, Sandy Jones’ campaign manager is a lobbyist for two utilities with business before the PRC. Jones has voted to award expensive contracts to both companies, rather than recuse himself.

Steve also said that though Sandy Jones claims to balance utility shareholder and consumer needs, he has been endorsed by Carla Sontag, Executive Director of the New Mexico Utility Shareholders Alliance. “Those folks just want to make a profit off of you,” said Steve, and voters need to have the facts before they vote in this important race.

For more information, visit his campaign website, or email Steve.

Indivisible Las Cruces hosting energy forum

Sandy Daniels, who is with Indivisible Las Cruces, announced a forum, At the Energy Crossroads. The guest speaker will be Dr. Mariel Nanasi talking about our energy and economic future. Following her talk will be a PRC forum with candidates Sandy Jones and Steve Fischmann.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 11 am – 1 pm
Branigan Library, Roadrunner Room

For more information, email Sandy.

Improving public safety and wildlife conservation

Michelle Lute said WildEarth Guardians is trying to get the word out about the “US Wildlife Services;” she said this program traps and poisons animals on public lands. In addition, sometimes other animals (like pet dogs) are hurt by these methods. They want Doña Ana County to cancel a contract that provides these services. Check out this website: www.endthewaronwildlife.org.

For more information, email Michelle.

Two Meet and Greets for Shannon Reynolds, who is running for County Commission, District 3

Get to know Shannon and learn what he stands for. He has two upcoming meet and greet events:

Sunday, April 8  – at Roberta Gran’s home.
Saturday, April 14 – at Caroline Barr’s home.

Shannon said both women are excellent cooks, so you’re in for some tasty food.

For times and locations, email Shannon.

El Paso pays less for EPE electricity than Las Cruces

Rocky Bacchus said he has seen incredible things done in our regulatory environment. Rocky asks you to think about your wallet. He told us that residents of El Paso pay 20% less for their electricity then Las Cruces. Why is that, he asked? Because El Paso asked for a rate decrease and they got it. Las Cruces did not. “Just think of the money that could have been saved (and donated to Steve Fischmann’s campaign),” Rocky said, and added, “You’ll get a 3 to 1 return on doing the right thing.” Rocky also supports Joe Cervantes for Governor and Shannon Reynolds for County Commissioner, District 3.

For more information, email Rocky.

Doreen Gallegos running for re-election for State Representative, District 52

Doreen said six years ago she started on her journey. She’s made headway and is looking forward to working with a Democratic governor. She has consistently helped raised money to get good candidates in the House and Senate. This time around, she has an opponent in the primary and the general. She said she has the knowledge, experience, and the heart to do the job well. She asks for your vote and support.

For more information, email Doreen.

Psst! Have you heard?! 

Alice Anderson said the March 9, 2018 issue of Science has an interesting article, The Spread of Truth and False News Online. The author worked with 2 fact checkers and graduate students to research whether true or false tweets would spread faster. This article used good scientific research. The author concluded that false news is more interesting, and that’s why it spreads so fast.

For more information, email Alice.

Are you a Democratic Socialist? Read on…

Peter Sloan announced a meeting to start a Las Cruces chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. There are 35,000 members across the nation. El Paso, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque have chapters. Peter explained that Democratic Socialists believe that healthcare is a right and a living wage should be $15 an hour. He quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. who said we need to battle racism, militarism, and materialism. The kickoff meeting will be:

Saturday, March 24, 2-3:30 pm
275 N Main Street, Las Cruces

For more information, email Peter.

Micaela Lara Cadena, running for State Representative, District 33

Micaela thanked her husband for all his help throughout the campaign. She’s been endorsed by the Las Cruces Professional Firefighters Association. She said they are endorsing her because she worked on a bill to help people diagnosed with PTSD get worker’s compensation. Firefighters and law enforcement often face trauma and subsequent PTSD. Micaela said Governor Martinez vetoed the bill, but she will keep working on this important legislation.

Ella Nelson will be hosting a meet and greet for Micaela. Send her an email for details.

For more information, visit her campaign website.

Xochitl said hi, by way of Nathan, via Gill

Gill Sorg (who was reading a message from former colleague Nathan Small off his phone) said that Xochitl Torres Small, who is running for Congress, couldn’t make the meeting because she was visiting the Zuni Pueblo. She regretted missing PVA and said hi. She said the District has gone from “likely red” to “lean red” since she started running. This is good news, said Gill. Emily’s List and the Plumbers and Pipefitters union has endorsed Xochitl.

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

Support for Michelle Lujan-Grisham for Governor

Deborah Ivey supports Michelle Lujan Grisham for governor. Debbie said Michelle can do the job because of her extensive experience; Michelle’s dedicated her life to supporting New Mexicans. Debbie will be working at the local Michelle Lujan-Grisham office if you want to stop by, say hi, and/or get a yard sign. The office is located at 230 S. Water Street.

No contact information provided.

Mental health lectures

Every Wednesday, April 4 – May 2, Dr. Al Galves will be speaking about mental health. His topics are:

  1. What are the causes of mental illness and what is good treatment for it?
  2. What is mental illness?
  3. How does psychotherapy work?
  4. Schizophrenia – what it is and approaches to treating it
  5. Mental wellness – 7 steps

All lectures will start at 7 pm at the Peace Lutheran Church, 1701 E. Missouri.

For more information, email Al.

“Appealing to the compassionate liberal”

Jan Thompson said she would like to appeal to the compassionate liberal for the cause of a support group called Junt@s Vamos (Forward Together). The group’s goal is to help each other pass with dignity through the difficult experience of cancer. This goal is especially challenging because pet scans, radiation, and chemotherapy are not available in Juárez. This fund-raiser will go towards the cost of travel to Mexico City for members of Junt@s Vamos to receive PET scans as well as to the costs of constructing a recuperation house where women with cancer can recuperate after receiving treatments and before returning to their homes.

The Unitarian Universalist Church is holding a dinner fundraiser to provide transportation for people to go to Mexico City.

Saturday, April 7, 5:30-8 pm
UUC, 2000 S. Solano Dr, Las Cruces
The dinner is $15 ($12 for students)

RSVP by emailing or calling/texting Mary Alice Scott at (336) 512-0573 or maryalicescott1@gmail.com. Tickets will also be available at the door. Cash, checks, and credit cards will be accepted.

If you cannot attend the dinner, but would like to donate to this cause, please send a check payable to “Sophia’s Circle” (a 501c3 organization) with “Junt@s Vamos” in the subject line to 1825 Myrtle Ave. Las Cruces, NM  88001; or 2) Go to http://weaving-for-justice.org/become-a-member/and click on the membership button at the bottom of the page and scroll down for donation options. If you donate on-line, please email weavingforjustice@gmail.com stating that you donated to Junt@s Vamos.  For more information contact Mary Alice Scott (see contact info above).

For more information, email Jan.

Antoinette Reyes announces three events: Mark your calendars

  • March for Our Lives – a nationwide event that supports universal background checks, a ban on: automatic weapons, bump stocks, and large capacity magazines. Also teachers should not be armed in the classroom.

Date: Saturday, March 24, 10:30 am – 12 pm
Location: Village Inn on Lohman

  • March for Science – there will be an essay contest for LCPS high school students and a poster contest for LCPS middle school students. They need volunteers and sponsors. Businesses that contribute $500 will have their logo on the back of a shirt.

Date: Saturday, April 21, 9:45 am – 1pm
Location: Plaza de Las Cruces

  • Southern New Mexico New Progressives will host a Dona Ana County Sheriff candidate forum. There are five Democrats and two Republican candidates for sheriff. The date and time is TBA.

For more information, email Antoinette.

No on Mike Pompeo’s nomination

Ali Scotten from the New Mexico chapter of the National Iranian Council asked people to contact Senator Udall and say no to Mike Pompeo’s nomination for the Secretary of State. Ali said, “Pompeo is Islamaphobic and would tear up the Iran nuclear deal. Mike Pompeo is a bad hombre.” Senator Udall’s DC office phone number is 202.224.6621.

For more information, email Ali.

Representative Angelica Rubio selected public citizen of the year

Connie Chapman announced that Angelica Rubio has been selected as the Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers of New Mexico. She will receive the award Tuesday, March 27, at their annual conference. Connie said, “Angelica is going to kill me for announcing this, but she deserves to be congratulated!”

For more information, email Connie.

Peter DeBenedittis endorses Jeff Apodaca for Governor

Peter thanked everyone for supporting him and progressive issues in his race for Governor. He decided to withdraw, and now he’s working as Communications Director for the Jeff Apodaca for Governor Campaign. He spoke to the other candidates about the issues and feels that Jeff Apodaca is right for NM, based on the issues. For example, he said that Apodaca supports single payer healthcare.

For more information, email Peter.

Bob Diven conducts memorials or celebration of life services

Bob Diven said, “Ritual isn’t just for the religious.” That’s why he provides memorial services for humanists, non-believers, atheists, agnostics, and skeptics. He also conducts weddings!

For more information, email Bob.

Doña Ana County looking for Planning and Zoning board members

Don Kurtz announced there are openings to serve on the Doña Ana County Planning and Zoning board. Being a member is a great way to guide the future growth and development of our county. To apply, email Janine Divyak at janined@donaanacounty.org. Applications must be returned by March 30, 5 pm.

For more information, email Don.

Powerful personal story about the impact of a Doña Ana County Clerk

Abraham Sanchez spoke about a low time in his life. He talked about being fired from a job for being gay, not being accepted by family members, and dealing with a hard break-up. He wasn’t really involved in politics. Then, a County Clerk named Lynn Ellins stood up for same-sex couples, (correctly read the NM Constitution), and started issuing same sex marriage licenses in Dona Ana County (this led to same-sex marriage licenses being issued statewide); Abraham was impressed. He went to work for Lynn Ellins in the Clerk’s office and said that he is sharp, bright, and witty. Abraham encourages you to vote for Lynn Ellins, who is now running for County Commission.

For more information, email Abraham.

Lynn Ellins running for County Commissioner, District 1

Lynn has a sign up sheet for yard signs. Also, he mentioned that you don’t need to be in his district to donate to his campaign. He supports the SCRTD.

For more information, email Lynn.

MaryAnn supports Michelle Lujan-Grisham for Governor

MaryAnn Hendrickson said we have an opportunity to get a brilliant public servant in the Governor’s seat. She wanted to tell us a few things about Michelle Lujan Grisham:

  • Michelle “kicked down the White House door to attend a meeting about DACA.”
  • She investigated nursing homes by checking into one (she went undercover).
  • She has an F rating from the NRA.

“She knows how to govern and works her butt off,” said MaryAnn.

MaryAnn also supports Stephanie Garcia Richards for Land Commissioner, Joanne Ferrary for State Representative, and Steve Fischmann for PRC.

For more information, email MaryAnn.

Mary Martinez-White’s “best volunteer” gives his pitch

Greg White said Mary Martinez-White digs in, believes in what she does, and doesn’t have a fearful bone in her body. She will work for you, he said.

For more information, email Greg.

Meet and Greet for Bill McCamley

Mary Lujan said that Bill McCamley, who’s running for State Auditor, will have a meet and greet:

Thursday, March 29, 3-5 pm
Milagro y Espresso

He welcomes your donations. If you want to keep up with him, you can reach him on Facebook.

For more information, email Mary.

Our next meeting will be Thursday, April 26, 2018, 7 p.m., at Munson Center.


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