PVA Meeting Recap – August 25, 2011

What Everybody Needs to Know About Redistricting

Demographer Jim Williams shed light on the state redistricting process, noting that behind every district—no matter how plain or gerrymandered its borders—lies a story. He acknowledged that New Mexico will experience “a lot of heartburn over redistricting” because of the very uneven population growth in the state over the past 10 years. The redistricting plan must meet 3 criteria, with only the third criteria being unambiguous.

1. bring districts into population alignment
2. be drawn compactly
3. be contiguous

A vast amount of information about New Mexico’s redistricting has been posted on the Web. Dedicated map lovers can use Google Earth to explore district maps with various overlays.

For more information send email to Jim.

Unified Action Update

Cheryl Frank reported on the summer spur-of-the-moment Unified Action which involved asking Representative Steve Pearce to raise the federal debt ceiling. Forty people responded with “I did its.” Pearce voted no.

For more information send email to Cheryl.

Labor Day Picnic at Presiado Park

Martina Myers, official organizer for the American Association of University Professors, announced that the NMSU group is working to become a bargaining unit for faculty at NMSU and its affiliates. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction is sponsoring a Labor Day Solidarity Picnic for all faculty, staff, and students. “Solidarity Forever” will be sung!

Labor Day Solidarity Picnic
Monday, September 5, 2 to 6 p.m.
Preciado Park, NMSU

For more information send email to Martina or call her at 575-993-4549, and visit NMSU’s AAUP on the Web.

Charlie Scholz for District 2

Charlie Scholz announced that he is running for city council, district 2. He pointed to his 5 years on the Planning and Zoning Commission, where he has served as chairman for 4 years. He welcomed volunteers to join his campaign.

For more information visit the campaign Web site.

Hector Balderas for U.S. Senate

Hector Balderas, currently the State Auditor, a k a New Mexico’s watch dog, asked for support in his bid to be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. “Progressives have to win the Senate,” he said, noting the importance of progressive priorities such as clean energy and civil rights.

For more information visit the campaign Web site.

The Green Chamber Has a Bargain for You

Gary Camuñez announced that the Green Chamber of Commerce is currently offering special membership rates for small business owners. This special reduced rate expires soon.

The chamber is sponsoring an award-winning film to be shown at the Fountain Theatre. The film documents the worldwide movement to find local solutions for economic development.

The Economics of Happiness
Saturday, August 27, 4 p.m.
Fountain Theatre, Mesilla

For more information call Gary at 561-702-3772 and visit The Green Chamber on the Web.

Immigration Legal Services

Kristin Connor spoke of the services she provides as an immigration lawyer and emphasized the unmet need for legal assistance along the border. Currently she is an Equal Justice Works Fellow, working with Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, Inc., in El Paso. (More about the Fellowship and Kristen’s project is here.)

Kristen noted that Catholic Charities in Las Cruces provides low cost legal services and is looking for volunteers to support its work.

She noted that Governor Martinez’s drivers license campaign is having wide ranging impacts. The license issue will be taken up in the special legislative session that begins September 6. Somos un Pueblo Unido is following the issue closely and publishing updates on their Web site.

For more information send email to Kristin or call her at 915-532-3971.

Everything You Need to Know about Food

Councilor Olga Pedroza invited everyone to attend a 2-day forum in which all aspects of food will be taken into consideration. The forum will cover everything from solar ovens and composting to diabetes and diet.

The goal of the Summit is to bring together residents, educators, professionals, gardeners, farmers, and other food system advocates from throughout southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas to celebrate food, learn from each other, and develop common understandings about the links between food, health, the environment, and local economies.

La Semilla Food Summit
Friday and Saturday, September 30 and October 1
Court Youth Center
Agenda to be Announced

For more information send email to Olga.

Obama for America Update for Doña Ana County

Christy French announced that although we have lost our Obama For America field director to Rio Rancho, OFA will be bringing a replacement. In the meantime county Democrats are keeping the momentum going with a big focus on voter registration.

For more information send email to Christy or call her at 575-644-9450.

Labor Day Tradition: Breakfast with Democratic Candidates

Gayle Radom announced that space is still available for the annual Labor Day Breakfast.

Democratic Party’s Labor Day Breakfast
Monday, September 5, 9 a.m.
Ramada Palms de Las Cruces
201 East University Avenue

Hector Balderas and Martin Heinrich, both candidates for U.S. Senate will be featured speakers. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door.

For more information send email to Gayle or call her at 575-532-1980.

SWEC to Host Climate Reality and a Potluck Supper

Lloyd Covens announced a special showing of Al Gore’s latest documentary about climate. You can take part in a 24-hour worldwide event to focus on the reality of climate change. The event focuses on the idea that climate change deniers have a lot of money on their side, but they don’t have reality on their side, and reality should win.

Planet Reality
A Film and Potluck
Thursday, September 15, 4 to 7 p.m.
Southwest Environmental Center

Lloyd also mentioned the third annual Salsa Fest on Sunday, August 28, and the work of 350.org to add bike parking to downtown.

For more information send email to Lloyd or call him at 575-312-8331.

Animal Rights, Human Wrongs

Alice Anderson spoke against vandalism as a response to suspected animal abuse or neglect and related a recent, local case to illustrate the point.

For more information send email to Alice or call her at 575-523-5179.

At Long Last! A PAC You Can Love

Cheryl Frank and Ann McCullough announced the formation of a brand new PAC dedicated to the election of candidates to the New Mexico State Legislature who are committed to all the right stuff.

For more information and to make your donation visit New Mexicans for Democracy PAC on the Web. You can send email enquiries to Ann and Cheryl.

Commissioner Garrett Explains County Redistricting

Commissioner Billy Garrett explained that the county has drawn the final lines for its new districts and that those changes will not take effect until January 1, 2013. Until that time, all commissioners officially serve constituents in their “old” districts. Cooperation among commissioners, to help constituents, is not forbidden.

For more information send email to Billy or call him at 575-915-5755 and visit the county Web site for maps and more.

Evelyn Erhard for U.S. Representative

Evelyn Erhard announced that she is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative for Congressional Distict 2, the seat currently held by Steve Pearce. She promised to listen to all voices and to work hard for all the people of District 2. She stressed that getting out the vote will make all the difference between electing a Democrat or reelecting Pearce. She pointed out that 130,000 18-year-olds in District 2 will be eligible to register and vote for the first time in the 2012 election.

For more information send email to Evelyn.

Councilor Small Working for District 4 and Beyond

Councilor Nathan Small spoke of the small businesses thriving in his district as well as the new businesses being attracted to the Picacho Corridor. He gave a shout out to Amara Winery at Melendres and Amador (where you can taste their award winning wines and hear live music), Le Rendez-vous Cafe & French Pastry with it’s 5-star New Orleans chef, and the Tractor Supply Company store opening soon near Johnston’s True Value Hardware established in 1936.

For more information send email to Nathan.

Maury Castro for Evelyn Erhard

Maury Castro endorsed Evelyn Erhard in her Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Representative. He spoke of her work ethic and her commitment to Democratic values and invited everyone to a fundraiser for her campaign, where he promised they will serve authentic in-ground barbecue.

BBQ for Evie
September 24, 4 p.m.
Rivera Residence, 3605 Delphi Lane

For more information send email to Maury or call him at 575-541.6099.

Councilor Thomas: “It’s time to get out your walking shoes”

Councilor Sharon Thomas reminded everyone that it’s time to support the candidates of your choice for city council.

She issued an invitation to a special presentation on sustainable energy.

Sustainability: The U.S. Army Plans for the Future
William Goran, Director, Center for the Advancement of Sustainability Innovations (CASI)
Thursday, September 8, 7 p.m.
Las Cruces City Hall Chambers

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

Pat Aguirre for Mayor Ken Miyagashima

After guaranteeing that Mayor Miyagashima will soon announce his intention to run for reelection, Pat Aguirre read a letter in support of the mayor. The letter outlined the mayor’s qualifications, his accomplishments as mayor, and his history of community service.

For more information send email to Pat or call her at 575-532-5127.

Ella Nelson for Evelyn Erhard

Ella Nelson spoke in support of Evelyn Erhard’s bid for U.S. representative. She pointed out that Evelyn is not just the nicest, sweetest, most caring person you will ever meet; she is also the toughest, most principled, and hardest working Democrat you will ever meet.

Ella and Kate Mott will host a fundraiser for Evelyn in September and everyone is invited.

Erhard Fundraiser
Sunday, September 25, 6 p.m.
MVS Studios on North Main

For more information send email to Ella.

Michael Ray Huerta for Mayor

Michael Ray Huerta asked for support in his campaign for mayor. He urged progressives to remember the needs of the poor, contrasting the importance of jobs with bike paths and poverty with recycling.

For more information visit the campaign Web site.

Xochi Torres Small for Councilor Small, District 4

Xochi Torres Small spoke of Councilor Nathan Small’s hard work to expand economic development and jobs, not just in District 4 but for all of Doña Ana County.

For more information and to join Nathan’s reelection campaign send email to Xochi or call her at 575-496-5782.

CVNM, PRC, EPE,—It’s Time to Think Energy

Theresa Westbrok called attention to the excellent 2011 Legislative Scorecard just published by Conservation Voters New Mexico.

Theresa reminded us that it’s the season for the Public Regulation Commission to review and decide upon El Paso Electric’s plan for sustainable energy. That means that it’s time for everyone interested in a healthy environment to pay attention.

For more information send email to Theresa.

A 3-Acre Pond and a Prius

Jason Burke of the Southwest Environmental Center
announced that the winner of the annual Prius raffle (tickets are on sale for $100) will definitely be announced on September 13. Details are on the Web site, where you can purchase your ticket(s).

Prius Raffle Drawing
Tuesday, September 13, 6 to 8 p.m.
Southwest Environmental Center

SWEC is making good progress on La Mancha Wetland, a 3-acre pond near the Mesilla Valley Bosque Park.

For more information send email to Jason or call him at 575-522-5552.

Gregory Z. Smith for City Council, District 2

Gregory Smith asked for support in his campaign for city council, district 2. He cited his work on the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument and his work on reopening Main Street. He spoke of the connections among a revitalized downtown, the economic health of the community, and the quality of life.

For more information send email to Greg or call him at 575-202-5654 and visit the campaign Web site.

Our next meeting will be
Thursday, September 22, 2011, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite

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