PVA Meeting Recap – May 23, 2013

Special Election Is All About Safety for City and County

County Commissioner Billy Garrett explained the upcoming special election. Voting will take place between July 2 and July 30. The special election involves bonds and a proposed gross receipts tax increase. You can read the official resolutions here and here.

 If approved, three of the measures would allow the county to issue $7.8 million in general obligation bonds for construction of the following:

  1. A new Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) 911-Emergency Call Center ($6 million)
  2. Improvements to the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds ($1 million)
  3. Completion of an Animal Holding Facility to house and care for animals that are evidence in pending animal cruelty cases ($8000,000)

The fourth measure would allow the county to collect a gross receipts tax (GRT) of 0.25% (1/4 of 1%) to pay for the operation of the following:

  1. The new 911-Emergency Call Center (annual estimated cost of $4 million)
  2. The Crisis Triage Center (annual estimated cost of $2 million)
  3. Countywide Ambulance Service (annual estimated cost of $1.3 million)

If all three bond measures are approved, the new bonds would replace existing bonds that are due to expire in September. There would be no change in current property tax levels. If the GRT is approved, the retail cost of a $100 item would be increased by 25 cents. Food and medical purchases would be exempted.

Billy reminded us, diplomatically, that Democracy depends on informed citizens voting. Furthermore, he hopes we vote yes.

Billy will be holding six meetings in his district regarding the special election. For more information, send email to Billy.

Unified Action, May 2013: Speak Up for the Planet

Gill Sorg sponsored this month’s unified action which focuses on global warming. Gill shared some of the basic facts:

  • 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that humans are causing it. Read more here and see the impressive list of scientific organizations endorsing this position.

  • For the first time in human history, the concentration of climate-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has passed the milestone level of 400 parts per million. 450 ppm is considered the point of no return. Read more here.

  • We can solve this problem and we have a moral obligation to do so.

What we are asking

Register as a supporter of the Citizens Climate Lobby. Do as much as you can, but for starters—register. And let us know “I did it.

Here’s what James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has to say about the Citizens Climate Lobby:

Most impressive is the work of Citizens Climate Lobby, a relatively new, fast growing, nonpartisan, nonprofit group with 91 chapters across the United States and Canada. If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of this group.

Here are a few carefully vetted links:

What countries around the globe are doing to tackle Climate Change
350.org’s letter to Obama protesting the Keystone Pipeline and much more
Yale Project on Climate Communication
Climate Reality Project (with Al Gore and others)

For more information send email to Gill.

Don’t Forget About Fracking

Vince Gutschick pointed out that fracking is another source of climate change trouble. Fracking lets about 9% of methane escape, and methane is 25 to 72 times as strong a greenhouse gas as is carbon dioxide.

Addendum from Vince: BLM has apparently already set regulations for fracking, as I found out tonight (comments on 43 CFR 3160 closed in Sept. 2012) that do not address methane release to the atmosphere nor depletion of surface waters, even though they clearly have the authority for the water regulations. The public can still comment at the Sierra Club site.

For more information send email to Vince.

Women Who Work

Nancy Blecha announced that the group formerly known as Democratic Women of Doña Ana County is reorganizing. They are having a meeting at 10 a.m. on May 25 at the Legislative Constituent Center, 138A Main Street (downtown mall). Everyone is welcome.

For more information send email to Nancy.

Emilio’s Food Truck Is Ready to Roll

Charlotte Lipson was happy to report that Emilio Gutierrez has raised enough money to get his food truck, Emilio’s Fresh, up and running. Throughout the summer he will be selling shaved ice, nachos, and corn.

For more information and details about the grand opening, call Emilio at 575-650-3521.

Emilio is a Mexican journalist who has been seeking political asylum since 2008. You can read his story here.

AARP Schedules Helpful Talks

Jerry Gunderson, a volunteer for the AARP, announced that he will be making several presentations of interest to the retired and those who hope to retire. One of the topics will be the Affordable Care Act. The presentations are part of AARP’s plan to make their voice heard in southern New Mexico.

For more information send email to Jerry or call him at 575-556-9471.

Yes We Can … If We Work Together

Don Kurtz encouraged everyone to vote yes on the bond issues and GRT increase. He reminded us of how hard we worked to elect qualified, hard-working officials we can trust. When they ask for resources, we should pay attention.

Don thanked Gill Sorg for his persistence in the area of global warming education, noting that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless and then put the issue on the back burner. Don reminded some of the late Barbara Jordan:

Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.

For more information send email to Don.

Save the Date! PVA Meeting Plus Party on June 27

“Bring a friend to the June PVA meeting,” Terry Miller suggested. “We have a party in June! It’s a lovely evening with great people.” The party is traditionally held at the NMSU golf course club house. Their patio overlooks the valley and the night sky will be full of stars.

For more information send email to Terry.

Consequences of the Oklahoma Tornado

Bob Diven told us that his brother’s house was destroyed in the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013. His brother was buried under rubble but was rescued and is okay now. Bob said this event has made him think about the effects of overpopulation, anti-government politicians, and why he is in favor of communitarianism and its basic tenets—human dignity, liberty, responsibility, and open discourse.

A communitarian perspective recognizes that the preservation of individual liberty depends on the active maintenance of the institutions of civil society where citizens learn respect for others as well as self-respect; where we acquire a lively sense of our personal and civic responsibilities, along with an appreciation of our own rights and the rights of others; where we develop the skills of self-government as well as the habit of governing ourselves, and learn to serve others—not just self. http://debate.uvm.edu/handbookfile/pubpriv/046.html

“With this type of system,” Bob said, “we can reach out and help each other, even people we don’t like.”

For more information visit Bob’s Web site, bobdiven.com.

New Mexico Gets Dismal Marks on Health Report Card

Margaret Mendoza said we need to get the Health Security for New Mexicans Plan passed by the legislature. In general, health care in New Mexico is getting worse. “Let’s do something,” Margaret said, “Let’s replace the current system with Health Security.”

Margaret shared the results of the 2012 National Healthcare Quality Report, which shows the State in the bottom quartile for overall quality of health care and preventive care and rated “very weak” in specific areas such as diabetes, heart disease, and maternal and child health.

For more information send email to Margaret.

Rep. Pearce Does Have an Opponent in 2014

Bob Libby asked, sincerely puzzled, “Why isn’t anyone running against Steve Pearce?!”

[Note: Leslie Endean-Singh, a Democrat from Alamogordo, is running. You can visit her Web site and follow her on Facebook.]

Let’s Talk About Health Care, Las Cruces

On his radio show (KSNM 570) on Thursday, May 30, at 9 a.m., Steve Fischmann will be talking to former State Senator Dede Feldman and economist Paul O’Connell about issues surrounding health care. Steve asked people to listen and call in. Podcasts of of the program will be available on the KSNM Web site.

For more information send email to Steve.

McCamley Not Giving Up on Science at NMSU

State Representative Bill McCamley said that he stands by the public letter he and three other legislators signed. The letter expressed their reservations about whether or not Garrey Carruthers would be a wise choice for NMSU’s next president, given his history as an advocate for the tobacco companies and his position on climate change:

Perhaps Carruthers’ toughest questions came from a member of the NMSU faculty, Gary Roemer, an associate professor of Fishery and Wildlife Sciences, who asked for his view on global climate change.

Carruthers said he did not have a firm opinion on the issue and that there was not unanimity in the scientific community on the subject. Later, he added: “I don’t know. I’m an economist. I don’t do global warming. It’s a scientific judgment that I can’t make.”

Roemer later noted that there is broad consensus among scientists internationally that global warming is occurring and is fueled by human production of greenhouse gases. “I think it’s pretty appalling that a presidential candidate for this university does not have a vision for dealing with the most serious environmental crisis that humanity and our Earth have ever faced,” he said. (Albuquerque Journal reporting)

Bill, an NMSU graduate with a major in biology, plans to ask the new president of the state-funded university if he is for or against science and science education.

For more information send email to Bill or call him at 575-496-5731.

PVA Meets Again
Thursday, June 27, 2013, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite

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