PVA Meeting Recap – March 23, 2017

Welcome Home, Dear Legislators

PVA invites our Doña Ana County legislators to join us after each legislative session. This year the following legislators were present to give us their candid assessments of what went right and what went wrong:

Sen. Mary Kay Papen
Sen. Bill Soules
Sen. Jeff Steinborn
Rep. Doreen Gallegos
Rep. Bill McCamley
Rep. Angelica Rubio
Rep. Nathan Small

With Democrats back in the majority in the House and Senate, reports were less grim than in recent years. Our citizen lawmakers mentioned several pieces of progressive legislation that passed both houses. Cause for celebration: Democrats worked together, mostly. Cause for dismay: after all the governor’s vetoes, this may be one of the most unproductive sessions.

Dinner with Democrats

Liz Rodriguez-Johnson invited everyone to the Annual Democratic Dinner.

Democratic Party of Doña Ana County
Annual Dinner
Friday, April 7, 6 p.m.
Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

Liz, current chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County announced that she is running for reelection. She noted that under her leadership the party saw admirable voter turnout numbers in 2016 and tried new ways of identifying and meeting the needs of each Democratic Party district.

For more information send email to Liz.

Your Worst Nightmare

Peter Goodman delivered a brief lesson on the perils of a Constitutional Convention, where every state, regardless of population, has equal power. “They could do anything,” he warned, “anything.”

Peter announced that KTAL, our community radio station, will be on the air in 4 to 6 weeks. He observed that community radio is more critical now than ever––now that funding for public broadcasting is imperiled and fake news is rampant. Peter urged us to consider contributing time, talent, money, and ideas to make KTAL a success.

For more information send email to Peter.

ProgressNow at Work

Lucas Herndon pointed out that ProgressNow NM website has a lot of recent coverage of Rep. Pearce. Lucas spoke of the importance of the Democratic Party in working for progressive goals and––putting his money where his mouth is––announced that he is running for District 33 director.

For more information send email to Lucas.

Soil and Water Forum

Antoinette Reyes announced that KRWG and Southern New Mexico New Progressives will host a forum for the Soil and Water Conservation District candidates. The forum will be held the last week of April at the KRWG studio. She said the April 22 March for Science needs donations as well as K-12 representatives to join NMSU faculty in planning the march.

For more information send email to Antoinette and call her at 575-312-8332.

Watching El Paso Electric

Allen Downs brought us up to date on the mind-boggling machinations of our power company. Then he encouraged anyone with an interest in learning how EPE operates and wanting to have a voice in resource planning for the next Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to join the Public Advisory Goup (PAG). [Note: You will need a head for acronyms.]

Allen said, “The EPE will have its experts give you a good education on electric utility basics and resource planning.” The PAG meets for about 2 hours once a month for about a year, starting in May. Information about the last IRP is here. You can expect an invitation to join the PAG with your March or April electric bill or you can call Curtis Hutcheson at 915-543-4354.

For more information send email to Allen.

Soil and Water Conservation District Endorsements

Nayomi Valdez of Olé (Organizers in the Land of Enchantment) reported that the organization would take the unprecedented step of endorsing candidates in the Soil and Water election. To be involved in that decision-making process, you will need to be a member of Olé. Everyone is invited to a candidate forum.

Soil and Water Candidate Forum
Thursday, April 20, 5:30 p.m.
Branigan Library Roadrunner Room

For more information send email to Nayomi.

Lunch with Democrats

Terri McBrayer invited everyone to a luncheon sponsored by the Federated Democratic Women of Doña Ana County.

First Annual Lady Liberty Luncheon
Saturday, March 25, 11:30 a.m.
Hilton Garden Inn

There will be guest speakers and door prizes. Funds raised will be used to support Democratic candidates.

For more information send email to Terrie and call her at 831-435-9747.

NM Democratic Party Vice Chair Candidate

Neomi Martinez-Parra introduced herself as a candidate for vice chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. She is currently the secretary of that organization. She lives in Lordsburg where she teaches and is active in the teachers’ union. Her priorities as vice chair would be to identify viable candidates who would work to improve education and the economy. 

For more information send email to Neomi.

DAC Democratic Party Vice Chair Candidate

Jeff Dray introduced himself as candidate for vice chair of the Doña Ana County Democratic Party. He lives and works in Las Cruces, graduated from NMSU with a degree in criminal justice, served in the Army, and worked on the re-election campaign of District Attorney D’Antonio. He would work to bring more young people and veterans into the party.

For more information send email to Jeff.

Enough with the Oil and Gas Romanticism

Angelica Rubio, back at PVA for the first time since her victory in November, thanked all who helped with her campaign. “The work really starts now,” she said and explained that she will be working hard to engage more members of the community. She had praise for the City’s positions on human rights, immigration, and the wall.

Raised in New Mexico’s oil and gas country, Angelica said, “Enough with the oil and gas romanticism. It’s time to move on to sustainable energy.” You can read her personal essay on this topic here.

For more information send email to Angelica and call her at 575-616-1151.

It Pays to Keep an Eye on EPE

Steve Fischmann noted that the City, the County, and a select few stalwart citizens have been  contesting each and every El Paso Electric case. And it pays off in lower rates for Doña Ana County, better adherence to environmental protections, and attention to energy-saving practices such as peak use reduction.

For more information send email to Steve.

Candidate for Soil and Water Conservation District, Zone 4

Craig Fenske announced that he is a candidate for DASWCD (Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District), Zone 4. Every registered voter within the city limits can vote for him. Craig spoke of his career as an Extension Service officer in Washington State and his work here with recycling, the Tree Steward program, and Keep Las Cruces Beautiful. He knows environmental issues, and he knows how to make volunteer efforts work.

For more information send email to Craig and call him at 575-640-8846.

Remembering a Friend

Mary Lujan spoke to honor her friend, Cathilia Flores, who died in February, at the age of 45. She was a tireless activist, a human rights advocate, a person who could organize a campaign and still knock on doors. She loved her family and her friends. She loved fly fishing in the Gila. She was a founding member of PVA. A scholarship in her honor is being established at NMSU, and contributions will be accepted at a later date.

For more information send email to Mary.

Never a Dull Moment for SWEC

Peter Sloan reported that SWEC is working on the April 22 March for Science along with many local groups that are coordinating with events around the country. SWEC is also working on the People’s Climate March which takes place April 29. And, the Coyote Bill that would outlaw coyote killing contests (SB 268) made it further than ever before––through the Senate and to the House and almost voted on before time ran out.

SWEC’s annual Prius raffle is underway. Tickets are $100, and only 500 tickets are sold. The winner will be announced on Earth Day.

For more information send email to Peter.

DASWCD Candidate, Zone 3

Kevin Bixby asked for support in his run for the Soil and Water Conservation District, Zone 3. He mentioned that he and his opponent, incumbent Joe Delk, have distinctly different views about conservation. You can vote for Kevin if you live in Zone 3, which includes Organ, Las Alturas, Talavera, and Chaparral.

For more information send email to Kevin.

Thanks from New School Board Member

Terrie Dallman, recently elected to the Las Cruces School Board, expressed her appreciation for all the support she received throughout the campaign.

For more information send email to Terrie.

Planned Parenthood Update

Rafael Reyes invited us to a debriefing to find out what happened for Planned Parenthood during the legislative session in Santa Fe and what’s next.

Planned Parenthood Legislative Debrief
Thursday, March 30, 6 to 8 p.m.

You need to register online here and then you will receive information about the location of the meeting.

In addition, Rafael suggested that we call Governor Martinez and say “Please don’t veto the pregnant workers bill” and call Rep. Pearce and say “Please vote no on the American Health Care Act.”

For more information send email to Rafael.

Keep Safe and Sane Fireworks

Bill Corbett spoke in favor of leaving our Safe and Sound Fireworks Ordinance alone. He asked that we do the following:

  • Email the five County Commissioners and ask them to vote against changing the ordinance
  • Ask Commissioners Vasquez and Solis, who each received a $2500 campaign contribution from the fireworks vendor who stands to benefit from a changed ordinance, to recuse themselves
  • Attend the April 11 Board of County Commissioners meeting and voice your opinion on the fireworks ordinance.

Sun-News reporting is here. Read Bill’s rationale here.

For more information send email to Bill.

Recommended Reading: Aliens and UFO’s

Alice Anderson underscored Bill Corbett’s concerns about a change to the fireworks ordinance. [Also, see the Sun-News editorial on the ordinance, the havoc it would bring, and the $2500 campaign contribution issue.]

Alice recommended two books, especially timely choices given the current plethora of fake news.

Mysterious New Mexico
By Benjamin Radford, 001.9409 Rad

The Demon-Haunted World
By Carl Sagan, 001.9 Sag

For more information send email to Alice.

The Assessor’s Office Aims to Please

Paul Ponce, chief deputy county assessor, told us to watch for property value statements that will arrive around April 1. The assessor’s office stands ready to answer questions and make corrections wherever needed. They will hold a meeting at their office on April 12 at noon for anyone wanting to learn more about the process. Paul praised his hardworking staff for their … hard work.

For more information send email to Paul and call him at 575-642-4355.

Roy Zimmerman Concert

Joy Goldbaum reiterated her money back guarantee: she will personally refund the price of your ticket if you don’t enjoy the heck out of the Roy Zimmerman concert.

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

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

A Calendar for Activists of All Ages

Chelsea Reynolds is working on an inclusive online community calendar that will make it easier for millennials and progressives of all generations to see what is going on in Doña Ana County and how to be involved. “Help!” she implored, “Don’t let my generation get lost.”

For more information send email to Chelsea.

Thanks from School Board President

Terry Miller conveyed a big thank you from Maria Flores to all who supported her successful campaign for a third term on the Las Cruces School Board. Maria famously won her first election by 2 votes. This time the margin was comfortable.

For more information send email to Terry.

Hate Has No Home Here

Charlotte Lipson has yard signs that say “Hate Has No Home Here” in Arabic, English, Hebrew, Mandarin, and Spanish. She sold out the armload of signs she brought to PVA but is ordering more––just ask her. Signs are $5, the cost of printing.

For more information send email to Charlotte.

30 Minutes with Rep. Pearce

Rich Renner of RESULTS reported that the group spent 30 minutes with Rep. Pearce. Talk focused on the fact that 30% of New Mexican children live in poverty and the assistance of Medicaid and SNAP is vital for them.

Contact Rich if you are interested in participating in a national webinar that RESULTS will hold on Saturday, April 8.

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

New Yorker Magazine Looks at Las Cruces

Theresa Westbrock called our attention to a New Yorker Magazine article that reports on the aftermath of ICE raids in Las Cruces. You can read the article here.

For more information send email to Theresa.

After the Buzzer

  • Lucas Herndon will be a guest on KRWG’s Voice of the Public on Thursday, April 13, at 1 p.m. He’ll be live, talking about organizing in DAC. The other guest will beTea Party leader Bev Courtney. Lucas is hoping we’ll call in with questions for him.
  • The current members of the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District seem to be obsessed with Agenda 21, against the BLM and other government agencies, and in favor of very little. Take a look at their website. Then compare with Valencia SWCD.
  • Grant County SWCD is working with the Nature Conservancy to eradicate invasive  nonnative plants.
  • Earth Hour––a worldwide event honoring our beautiful planet–– is Saturday, March 25, starting at 8:30 p.m. You probably don’t have time to plan a party this year, but you could celebrate by turning your lights off for an hour.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, April 27, 7 p.m.
Munson Center

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