PVA Meeting Recap – March 27, 2014

Ratepayers Advisory Committee Has Your Back

Ron Johnson explained the workings of the Ratepayers Advisory Committee with regard to the city’s request for a fee increase of 29.4% for garbage collection. The RAC’s job is to review the City’s proposal, provide comments and questions, and recommend an appropriate rate.

All the RAC meetings are open to the public and meetings are announced on the City’s website at least 72 hours in advance. Questions and comments can be sent to solidwasteRAC@yahoo.com.

For more information send email to Ronald.

Unified Action for March: Vote NO on April 8 and Ask 5 Friends to Do the Same

Tricia Snyder of the Southwest Environmental Center, sponsor of this month’s unified action, asked that we vote against the tax increase requested by the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District. The tax would create an annual budget of $350,000 for an organization with a host of anti-environmental resolutions and no clearly stated plan for how the $350,00 would be spent. Please read a detailed explanation of the issue here and join this action.

For more information send email to Tricia.

Curtis Childress Is Candidate for Sheriff

Curtis Childress said that 70 to 80% of crime in Doña Ana County is related to gang activity and vowed that a gang task force would be a top priority if he is elected sheriff. He said that law enforcement must be forward thinking and proactive and that officers must be respected, not feared. He spoke of the need to expand officer recruitment efforts and retain qualified officers on the force.

For more information send email to Curtis and call him at 575-639-0162.

Judge Cano Is Happily Unopposed

Joel Cano, unopposed for Division 6 Magistrate, brandished a copy of the Judicial Code of Conduct and explained that judges are not allowed to say anything positive or negative about candidates for public office and can’t attend fundraisers for candidates or political parties. It’s not that they might not like to, it’s that they can’t.

For more information send email to Joel.

CAFé’s Minimum Wage Initiative Is Moving Forward

Jerry Nachison reported that CAFé’s work to raise the minimum wage is making progress toward the goal of placing the initiative on the November ballot. They are currently talking with small business owners about the benefits of the wage increase. From May 1 to June 30 they will be collecting signatures for the ballot initiative.

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

County Property Assessments Are in the Mail

County Assessor Andy Segovia announced that property valuation notices would be in mailed on April 1. Property owners then have 30 days to protest or seek exemptions. Forms to file a protest or to claim an exemption can be filed electronically, and staff is available to help with any and all questions. Andy welcomed the opportunity to speak to community groups throughout the county.

For more information send email to Andy, call him at 575-640-5675, and check out the county assessor’s website.

Water Expert Comes to Rio Grande Theater

Dael Goodman announced that Brad Lancaster is coming to town to talk about water and how to get it. Lancaster wrote the book on rainwater harvesting and practices what he preaches in Arizona. The event is free and Dael convinced us that we don’t want to miss it.

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond
A Talk by Author Brad Lancaster
Thursday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Rio Grande Theatre
Admission is Free

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

Another Magistrate Happily Unopposed

Conrad Perea, the incumbent and unopposed for Division 2 Magistrate, expressed appreciation for support in his campaign. He had kind words for the law enforcement community and promised to continue to serve with fairness for all.

For more information send email to Conrad and call him at 575-621-9427.

Enrique Vigil Is Candidate for Sheriff

Enrique Vigil spoke of his experience with the U.S. Marshals Service his administrative responsibilities in law enforcement. He emphasized concern about hate groups and sex offenders in Doña ana County.

For more information send email to Enrique and call him at 575-525-8085.

Judge Wingenroth Unopposed and Not Complaining About It

Kent Wingenroth, one of three magistrates without an opponent in the primary or the general election, said he is “honored and humbled” to do the work. He thanked PVA for providing a nonpartisan venue for candidates.

For more information send email to Kent.

Tortugas Mountain Needs Your Voice

Peter Goodman reissued the invitation to hear Brad Lancaster’s free and amazing talk on rainwater harvesting.

Peter explained that he is no longer a cohost of Speak Up, Las Cruces! but that Keith Whelpley is continuing the morning talk show KOBE-AM 1450 and has a variety of topnotch guests.

Peter asked everyone to oppose a zoning change that would allow construction of a shopping center in the land adjacent to Tortugas Mountain. You can voice your opinion at the ETZ meeting or send email to Steve Meadows before April 10.

ETZ Meeting
Re: Land adjoining Tortugas Mountain
Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m.
County Commission Chambers
845 N. Motel Blvd.

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

Alan Webber for Governor

Steve Fischmann invited everyone to tune in to his talk radio show, which airs every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. on KGRT- AM 570.

Steve voiced his support of Alan Webber for governor, saying that Alan has a vision for New Mexico and the ability to communicate his vision.  “The more time I spend with him,” Steve said, “the more impressed I am.” Alan will be present at the following event:

Celebrate the Arts “Friend-Raiser”
Alan Webber, Democrat for Governor
Friday, April 4, 5 to 7 p.m.
MVS Studios
535 North Main Street

For more information send email to Steve.

Support for Sheriff Candidate Vigil

Maury Castro spoke in support of Enrique Vigil, candidate for sheriff. Maury said he was supporting Enrique because he is the best qualified, has the most administrative experience, and has the best plan for the sheriff’s office. He noted that Enrique is the only candidate for sheriff who has taken a stand in favor of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, i.e., the proposed monument would not create a problem for law enforcement.

For more information send email to Maury and call him at 575-571-1923.

Judge Wellborn Is Running for Re-election

Rick Wellborn is seeking re-election as magistrate judge, Division 4. He praised his fellow magistrates, characterized the work as rewarding and challenging and vowed to treat people with “respect, dignity, kindness, and patience.”

For more information send email to Rick and call him at 575-649-5974.

How to Get Same-Sex Married in Doña Ana County

First, Bob Diven announced the third annual art on the street event, which is held side by side with the Farmers’ Market. Professionals, amateurs, and children will be creating chalk drawings on the pavement. You can find out all the details and see examples of past events on their Facebook page.

Avenue Art New Mexico
Saturday, April 26, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Main Street Downtown

Second, Bob spoke of his work as a humanist celebrant, which enables him to perform marriages. He has posted two videos on You Tube that explain how to get same-sex married (and just plain married) in Doña Ana County. One features Bob speaking to the camera and the other is Bob’s interview with County Clerk Lynn Ellins. [Ed: Don’t you think we could make these videos go viral?]

For more information send email to Bob, call him at 575-642-7445, and follow his Humanist Celebrant work on Facebook.

Vigil for Sheriff Tardeada

Pablo Martinez said he is supporting Enrique because of his administrative experience and because Enrique impressed him when they served together on a gang task force. He invited everyone to a fundraiser, which will feature Enrique’s chile colorado con carne and chile con queso.

Tardeada—Vigil for Sheriff
Sunday, April 6, 3 to 8 p.m.
2750 Old Farm Road

For more information send email to Pablo and call him at 575-312-6327.

Getting Out the Vote

Tricia Snyder announced a couple of opportunities to educate voters and urge them to vote against the tax increase proposed by the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District.

Sunday, March 31, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Southwest Environmental Center
275 N. Main

Collect Signatures
Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Farmers’ Market
Downtown Mall

For more information send email to Tricia and call her at 575-522-5552.

Reception for Candidate Ferrary

Roberta Gran invited everyone to a reception and fundraiser for Joanne Ferrary

Reception and Fundraiser for Joanne Ferrary April 23rd
Sunday, April 6, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Home of Wayne Hancock
4527 Maricopa Circle

For more information or to R.S.V.P. for the reception send email to Joanne or call her at 575-649-1231

For more information send email to Roberta and call her at 575-373-8490.

Taking Action

Don Kurtz said that in the wake of the 50-year anniversary of the death of Kitty Genovese, he’s been thinking a lot about who stands by and who takes action and why. Do you decide to take action? Or do you say, “My one small part is not that meaningful so I might as well not bother.” When you know that others are also doing their small part and reaching out to their network of friends, then you know that your individual response is multiplied by hundreds—and you might as well bother.

For more information send email to Don.

Empowerment Congress Invites New Members

Amanda Formica explained that the Empowerment Congress is a network of community members and leaders working to make change around quality of life priorities. They want to expand their network in Las Cruces and welcome all interested people to attend an upcoming planning session on transportation.

Transportation Committee Meeting
Saturday, April 12, Noon to 3 p.m. (and every second Saturday)
Peace Lutheran Church
1701 Missouri Avenue, Las Cruces

For more information send email to Amanda and call her at 575-521-4794.

Climate News for Rep. Pearce

Gill Sorg invited everyone to join him in delivering a message to Rep. Pearce and asking him a question. The message is the newly released report, a dire one, from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The question is “Are you finally willing to agree that climate change is real and it’s time to act?”

Climate Message Delivery
Monday, April 1, 11 to 11:45 a.m.
Office of Representative Pearce
570 N. Telshor Blvd.

For more information send email to Gill and call him at 575-644-0660.

Rep. Steinborn

Jeff Steinborn began asking if anyone had noticed that six million people (and climbing) have signed up for Obamacare. He said he was proud to have helped create the film backlot in Las Cruces. Eleven of our 12 local legislators, Democrats and Republicans, supported the project by contributing capital outlay funding to make it happen.

Jeff said he has filed for reelection. He doesn’t have an opponent in the primary, but he is getting ready to face a Republican opponent in November.

For more information send email to Jeff.

County Commissioner Garrett

Billy Garrett announced that he is running for reelection for County Commission District 1 and noted that he has an opponent in the primary. He welcomed volunteers to his campaign and hoped that his missing yard signs from the 2010 election would reappear. He reminded us that good government requires not just that we elect good people but that we support the good people once they are in office.

For more information send email to Billy and call him at 575-915-5755.

Envisioning a New Radio Station

Jan Ruben said that a brand new radio station for Las Cruces is in the early planning stages. Interested people are invited to join the team.

Organizing a New Radio Station
Wednesday, April 23, 7 p.m.
Southwest Environmental Center
Downtown Mall

For more information send email to Jan.

Judge Singleman Is Running for Re-election

Beverly Singleman asked for support in her bid for re-election as Division 3 Magistrate.  She said she’s naturally an introvert and campaigning is not easy for her, but she’s willing to do it because she likes her job. She stressed the importance of voting in the June 3 primary, where she has two Democratic opponents. (No Republican filed for the position.) “By the way,” Beverly added, “judges also perform marriages, and it’s one of the happiest things we do.”

For more information send email to Beverly.

Great Conversations About the Minimum Wage Increase

Randy Harris invited everyone to attend a series of conversations about the minimum wage. He emphasized that the conversations are being sponsored by the City Council. The purpose is not to make recommendations or give direction to the City, but rather to come together and speak with respect about an important and emotionally charged issue.

The actual participants will be individuals invited by city councilors from their respective districts. The public is invited to watch the process in the City Council Chamber, listen to the many different views on the issues, and submit written questions. If you can’t attend, the conversations will be broadcast live on CLC Comcast Channel 20, streamed live on the internet, and will archived for review on the CLC Cable Channel 20 Website.

Three Great Conversations on Minimum Wage
Tuesday, April 1
Thursday, April 3
Tuesday, April 8
6 to 7:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
1700 N. Main Street

For more information send email to Randy, call him at 575-640-1999, and visit the Great Conversations website.

JR Stewart Is Candidate for Sheriff

JR Stewart introduced his undersheriff, stressed his years of experience in law enforcement, and invited everyone to a meet-and-greet at Hotel Encanto.

For more information send email to JR.

Merrie Lee Soules for Professionalism and Integrity at the PRC

“How do I know that you’re honest?” Merrie Lee Soules said she has been hearing this question too often as she talks with voters about her campaign for Public Regulation Commission. She vowed to create professionalism and integrity for the PRC so that we can put the commission’s shady past behind us.

For more information send email to Merrie Lee and call her at 575-635-2225.

Cesar Chavez Movie and the Plight of Farmworkers

Diana Bustamante, candidate for probate judge, recommended that people go see Cesar Chavez and be aware of the plight of the many farm workers in this area and their contribution to our community, i.e., think about where your food comes from.

Cesar Chavez
Opens Friday, March 28
Telshor 12

For more information send email to Diana and call her at 575-642-7228.

Vote No on Double Tax

City Councilor Nathan Small reminded city dwellers that they already pay taxes for soil and water conservation, so the mill levy proposed by the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District would create a double tax for those within the city limits. The DASWCD could have chosen not to propose an additional tax for city residents.

Nathan thanked Rep. Steinborn for his work to bring the film backlot to the county and said it will be a great economic opportunity for our region.

For more information send email to Nathan and call him at 575-496-9540.

Fischmann Supports Soules for PRC

Steve Fischmann spoke in support of Merrrie Lee Soules for Public Regulation Commission. He reminded us that Sandy Jones, an opponent in the primary, has quite a track record as a former member of the PRC, where he opposed numerous pro-consumer measures.

For more information send email to Steve.

A Bit of Clarification about the Mill Levy Election

Mario Jimenez, chief deputy clerk for Doña Ana County, explained that the clerk’s office is assisting with the Soil and Water Conservation District mill levy special election, but the DASWCD is responsible for the rules of the election (voting places, hours, etc.). Mario clarified that voters may cast their ballot at any one of the five polling places from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 8.

Mario gave a tip of his hat to the magistrate judges, saying that they have been invariably helpful when the clerk’s office has needed them.

For more information send email to Mario and call him at 575-525-6154.

Words Matter—Make That a Living Wage

Al Kissling said that we should be talking and thinking about a “living wage” that allows people to live with dignity rather than a “minimum wage.” He added an unequivocal endorsement for Merrie Lee Soules for Public Regulation Commission.

For more information send email to Al and call him at 575-202-3772.

You Can Be Part of Creating Transit Opportunities for Our Region

Sharon Thomas thanked Amanda Formica for letting PVA know about the Empowerment Congress. She encouraged people to get involved with the Empowerment Congress Transportation Committee, which meets the second Saturday of each month, from noon to 3 p.m., at Peace Lutheran Church.  Sharon said that when you listen to the stories from the community, you understand why the work of the transportation committee is essential. People need public transportation to get to work and school, to doctors and drugstores, to libraries and concerts.

For more information send email to Sharon and call her at 575-521-9314.

Fundraiser for Friends of the OM-DP National Monument

Gill Sorg announced that the Friends of Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument are raising funds in March and April. Funds will be matched by the Conservation Lands Foundation.

And, just in case you needed a dose of reality, Gill also mentioned that the House approved legislation yesterday (March 26) that would create new hurdles to presidential designations of national monuments, a bill that Republican supporters say is needed because presidents of both parties are abusing their power to select these sites.

To make a contribution or for more information send email to Gill.

Our Man of Many Talents

Vi Cauthon reported that Dr. Clark’s Mesilla Valley Concert Band led off its February performance with “Siblings,” a march composed by Bob Diven.

For more information send email to Vi.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, April 24, 7 p.m.
Munson Center

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