PVA Meeting Recap – February 24, 2011

Haven on Earth

LaToya Garcia, cofounder of Haven on Earth, described the new organization, which is focused on positive action for the environment and teaching children to be good stewards of the environment. The group supports recycling, works in a multi-generational garden, and is committed to seeing NMSU produce 100 tons of compost. Visit the group on the Web at havenonearthnm.org.

For more information send email to LaToya or call her at 575-621-9879.

Unified Action for January

The January action was to contact the NM Senate Rules Committee and urge them to reject the nomination of Harrison Schmitt to head the NM Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

The Action was a success, as Mr. Schmitt decided to withdraw his name from consideration.

Cheryl Frank, the Unified Action coordinator, said she received 58 “I did it’s” from participants.

For more information send email to Cheryl.

Unified Action for February

Charlotte Lipson presented the February action, which is to ask for the release of 3-year-old Heidi Frayre and her uncle Juan Manuel Frayre from immigration detention.

To participate, sign up for the Unified Action here.

More information is available on the Web site for Amigos de Mujeres de Juarez.

For additional information send email to Ella Nelson or call her at 575-524-0663.

Legislative Response Team

Jim Moore reported that 127 participants are on the list to receive calls to action from the Legislative Response Team. The legislative session has been quiet to date with only 4 requests for health, voter ID and renewable energy issues. The final days are expected to be busier with more critical votes being taken near the end of the session, which is scheduled for March 19.

For more information, or to join the Team, send email to Jim.

Councilor Sorg Reports

City Councilor Gill Sorg spent the day in Santa Fe lobbying for Las Cruces. He reported that things were going slow with fewer than half the usual volume of bills being considered and senators waiting for the budget to get out of the House.

For more information send email to Gill.

Ganging Up On Wolves

Jean Ossorio brought good news and bad news for wolves. The good news? Representative Steve Pearce’s attempt to kill all funding for the gray wolf reintroduction program failed. The bad news? All over the West, legislators are attempting to circumvent the Endangered Species Act and declare the wolves no longer endangered.

Jean urged that we visit the Mexican gray wolves on Facebook, check the alerts (updated frequently), and help!

For more information send email to Jean and visit mexicanwolves.org.

Building Green Forum a Big Success

Mark Westbrook reported that the Building Green Forum (February 24) was a big success with over 100 attendees including bankers, appraisers, builders, and realtors. City Councilor Small, Mayor Pro Tem Thomas, and Commissioner Garrett attended as did representatives from the offices of Senators Bingaman and Udall.

For more information send email to Mark or call him at 575-640-2431.

Report from Councilor Pedroza

City Councilor Olga Pedroza spoke of immigration issues and the need to work to prevent New Mexico from following in Arizona’s footsteps. She noted that the Las Cruces City Council and the Doña Ana County Commission have agreed on a redistricting plan that includes citizen input.

For more information send email to Olga.

Las Cruces Academy Experiences Growing Pains

Lou Ellen Kay, director of the Las Cruces Academy, reported that the academy is doing well in its second year and already is working to establish a scholarship fund for financially needy students. They are also looking for a new location since they are currently located in the midst of the downtown construction project. Anyone who knows of a one-acre, or larger, site should contact Lou Ellen.

For more information send email to Lou Ellen, call her at 575-521-9384, or visit the Las Cruces Academy Web site.

Emilio Guiterrez Update

Ella Nelson reported that the hearing for Emilio Gutierrez, a Mexican journalist seeking asylum in the U.S., has been postponed until May 2012, which she saw as a positive development. In the meantime, Emilio and his lawyer are looking for more international coverage and support. Emilio is hoping to raise awareness of his situation and the political climate in Mexico by speaking to local groups–formal or informal, large or small–and tell his compelling story.

If you know of speaking opportunities for Emilio, or for more information send email to Ella.

Las Cruces Arts Fair—a New Tradition

George Griffin invited everyone to the Las Cruces Arts Fair, a juried show featuring award winning artists, demonstrations, children’s activities, and more.

Las Cruces Arts Fair
March 25-27
Las Cruces Convention Center

All those who would like to hang out and drink champagne with the art aficionados can attend a VIP preview on Friday, March 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets for the VIP event are $75.

Volunteers are welcome for this event which will benefit the Doña Ana Arts Council.

For more information send email to George, call him at 575-526-9674, or visit Las Cruces Arts Fair on the Web.

Surprise! Steve Pearce Opposes Planned Parenthood

Christy French (still a candidate for Doña Ana County Democratic Party Chair!) spoke in her capacity as a board member of New Mexico Planned Parenthood. She explained that Representative Pearce has voted to cut spending for Planned Parenthood. She asked concerned members to sign a postcard protesting the action. The bright pink cards are being signed and collected all over New Mexico and will be delivered en masse to Pearce.

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

Bill Gomez for Democratic Party Vice Chair

Bill Gomez asked for support as he runs for vice chair of the Doña Ana County Democratic Party. He spoke of his experience working with the farmers of the Rio Grande Valley; he is currently focused on water rights issues.

For more information send email to Bill.

Otero Mesa Under Siege and More From SWEC

Paul Heiberger of the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) spoke of a new threat to Otero Mesa, this time from hardrock mining. Dozens of small claims have been filed.

Paul also announced eight Back by Noon hikes and other upcoming events. Details are at wildmesquite.org.

For more information send email to Paul or call him at 575-522-5553.

NMSU and the Compost Transformers

Stephanie Sepulveda announced that a group calling itself The Compost Transformers is committed to bringing an in-vessel composting project to NMSU and Las Cruces. Ohio State University has successfully initiated a similar operation and serves as the Transformers’ role model and inspiration.

For more information send email to Stephanie.

NMSU Seeks Vendors for Earth Day Celebration April 16

Joshua Holguin of NMSU OASIS Club announced that plans for Earth Day are underway. They are looking for vendors of environmentally friendly products, food vendors, and educational booths.

Earth Day Las Cruces 2011
Saturday, April 16, 1:30 to 10 p.m.
Young Park

If you would like to be a vendor or a sponsor of the event, send email to Alex Renfro or call him at 505-363-9734. For more information send email to Joshua or call him at 505-603-7788.

Don’t Scare Hollywood Away from New Mexico

Lloyd Covens announced an event in support of the film industry in New Mexico and in favor of the incentives that keep them here.

Oscar Party at Boba
Sunday, February 27
Boba Cafe, 1900 S. Espina

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

Greg Sowards Running for U.S. Senate

Greg Sowards announced that he declared his candidacy for U.S. Senate on December 16, 2012. He spoke of his conviction that communities can do better than the federal government and that it is better to deal with Santa Fe than with Washington, D.C.

For more information visit Greg online.

Look Good—Feel Good—Do Good

Bill McCamley spoke of a new local company in town that sells tee-shirts and feeds the hungry. Rojo Apparel sends food to combat hunger in Zimbabwe and Haiti—50 meals for every shirt sold.

For more information send email to Bill or call him at 575-496-5731. Visit Rojo on Facebook or check out their Web site.

Commissioner Garrett Reports on Redistricting

County Commissioner Billy Garrett urged everyone to seriously consider applying for the citizen committee that will work with consultants to develop redistricting proposals based on the 2010 census. Letters of interest are due by March 7. Those interested should contact their city councilor and/or their county commissioner.

For more information send email to Billy.

Down with Bullying

County Commissioner Scott Krahling announced the formation of the Community Unity Coalition, which will address the problem of bullying.

For more information send email to Scott, find him on Facebook and follow DiscussDAC on Twitter.

Scientist-Pecan Farmer’s Point of View

Wes Wilson spoke in defense of pecan orchards. He referred to studies showing that row crops require 4 acre feet of water per season while pecans require 5.5 acre feet to produce a satisfactory crop. He reminded us that the Mesilla Valley was once a lush forest with a meandering river. “Pecans are restoring the forest,” he said and noted that 200 ravens had stopped by his orchard on their way north and that the doves (albeit not willingly) are feeding the hawks.

For more information send email to Wes.

We Are All Wisconsinites

Jean Roach invited everyone to a rally to show solidarity for the workers’ strike in Wisconsin.

Rally for WI Workers
Saturday, February 24, noon to 1 p.m.
Farmers’ Market at Las Cruces Street

Jean said that besides doing away with collective bargaining, Governor Walker would like to gut medical aid for the poor and allow a no-bid option for energy companies doing business with the state. She stressed that the issues Wisconsin workers are facing now will soon be faced by states and localities all over the country.

For more information send email to Jean or call her at 309-696-3597.

Collective Bargaining Matters

Former auto worker Speed Powrie said that unions have been and will continue to be a big part of his life. He invited everyone to an open discussion on the pros and cons of faculty collective bargaining for the NMSU system.

Collective Bargaining and the New American Way
Sunday, February 27
Milton Hall, Room 169, NMSU

For more information send email to Speed or call him at 619-405-6520.

Ban the Bag and the Styrofoam and Vote for Terri

Now that curbside recycling is about to begin, Terri McBrayer announced that she and her husband Al, aka the Recycle Couple, will be leading a movement to ban the plastic bag and restaurant styrofoam.

Terri invited everyone to the monthly meeting of Democratic women.

Democratic Women of Doña Ana County
Saturday, March 5, 10 a.m.
Good Samaritan (Buena Vida Entrance, Downstairs Conference Room)

Last but not least, Terri mentioned that she is still running for District 37 Director of the Doña Ana Democratic Party.

For more information send email to Terri or call her at 575-541-9667.

OFA Reaches Out to Small Business

Tia Upchurch-Freelove, a local organizer with Organizing for America, described the small business outreach that OFA is involved with in New Mexico and across the country. The purpose is to open lines of communication and respond to the concerns of small business. On March 3, OFA will conduct a nationwide conference call with small business owners.

For more information send email to Tia or call her at 575-652-7027 and check out nm.barackobama.com.

Report from Councilor Small

City Councilor Nathan Small announced that on March 7, 2011, the city council will hear a report from the Green Building Forum as well as the presentation of the city’s first sustainability plan.

City Council Meeting
Monday, March 7,1 p.m.
Las Cruces City Hall

Nathan urged us to attend that meeting and show our support for the Sustainability Plan.

[All City Council meetings are televised live on CLC-TV, cable channel 20 and rebroadcast the following Wednesday at 6 p.m. Live and archive audio streams are available at on the city’s Web site and live video streams are available at clctv.com.]

Nathan also noted that the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley is in grave need of volunteers and other resources.

For more information send email to Nathan.

The State of the City Is Strong, Very Strong

Pat Aguirre reflected on the positive changes she has seen in the city in the past four years. She urged us to read Mayor Ken Miyagishima’s State of the City Address for a good overview of what the mayor and council have accomplished.

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

Health Security Is Still Alive and Kicking

Cheryl Frank reported the Health Security for New Mexicans has broad bipartisan support. The plan is cost effective and it provides universal care. “Republicans like it because it saves money,” she said, “and Democrats like it because it takes care of people.”

For more information send email to Cheryl or call her at 575-650-7607. Check out Health Security on the Web.

Mountain View Market Co-op Needs a Few Good Board Members

Paul Heiberger announced that Mountain View Market Co-op will be throwing an anniversary celebration on April 9. The co-op board is looking for 4 good people to fill vacancies on the board.

For more information send email to Paul or call him at 575-513-7285. Check out Mountain View Market on the Web.

St. Baldrick’s and the March of Dimes Raise Money

Commissioner Scott Krahling announced that he will again be shaving his head to raise money for St. Baldrick’s, a charity which funds research to find cures for childhood cancer. [Visit the Web site to make a donation and find video of Scott and Councilor Miguel Silva having their heads shaved last year.]

Scott also announced that he will be a celebrity waiter for the March of Dimes fundraiser.

Celebrity Waiter/March of Dimes Fundraiser
Thursday, March 24, 6 to 9 p.m.
Las Cruces Convention Center

For more information send email to Scott and visit the Web site for menus, the roster of celebrity waiters, tickets, and full details.

Precinct Meetings on March 24

Gayle Radom announced that Doña Ana County Democratic Party precinct elections will be held March 24 from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at seven locations that will be published in the Las Cruces Sun-News. All registered Democrats are urged to vote.

For more information call Gayle at 575-532-1780.

Green Builders Find Common Ground

Billy Garrett reported on the Green Building Forum, noting that the 100 attendees spanned the spectrum from most liberal to most conservative. Nevertheless, they found common ground. “Things can be brought together, we can build coalitions, we can create dialogue …. and we must,” Billy said.

For more information send email to Billy.

Tax Season Is Upon Us

Wes Wilson observed that the Tea Party is the only voice being heard on the subject of taxes. “We need a progressive statement about taxes. We need thinkers. We need pragmatists.”

[Along these lines, The Nation has a recent piece entitled “How to Build a Progessive Tea Party.”]

For more information send email to Wes.

Our next meeting will be
Thursday, March 24, 2011, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center
975 S. Mesquite

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