PVA Meeting Recap – March 27, 2008

Loss of a Friend

Elsa Altshool died March 29, 2008. She was a lifelong activist for peace and social justice. She attended many PVA meetings, almost always with a petition in one hand and a pen in the other. We will miss this woman of courage. A memorial service will be held at Unitarian Universalist Church, 2000 S. Solano, on Wednesday, April 2, at 3 p.m.

Neighborhood Leader Program

Miriam Deimer invited us to join the Democratic Leader program. This program enlists activists and gives them the training and tools (including an online database) to communicate with their neighbors. The goal is to build this program in every county, precinct, and neighborhood, creating a grassroots movement to ensure the election of a Democratic president and Congress.

For further information, email Miriam or call her at 575-640-6559.

Legislative Recap

A panel of Four Doña Ana county legislators gave us their views on the the recent legislative session and answered questions. The panel members were

Representative Joni Gutierrez, District 33
Representative Nate Cote, District  53
Representative Jeff Steinborn, District  37
Senatory Mary Jane Garcia, District  36

The panel gave us an amazing, firsthand picture of the workings of the legislature. They touched on the issues of health care, domestic partnerships, stem cell research, fairness in the education funding formula, ethics reform, and capital projects. They characterized the session as frustrating but not without some up sides. There was good news as far as TIDDs, uranium cleanup, and public employee health insurance. And although no universal health care plan was passed, a “robust conversation” about health care has been started.

Unified Action

Last month’s Unified Action involved a call to Governor Richardson asking him to help resolve the situation at the village of Lomas del Poleo, just south of the Mexican Border near Sunland Park. Over 50 PVAers made the call, prompting one secretary in Santa Fe to ask, “What’s going on?”

There is no official Unified Action this month since none was proposed to the PVA Executive Committee. Anyone may propose a Unified Action to the Executive Committee which will consider it at their monthy meeting, held the second Thursday of the month, 5:30 p.m., at the Mesilla Park Community Center, Room 9.  For more information, send email to Unified Action coordinator Judy Zimmerman.

PVA’s Microcredit Bank

Connie Richards brought us up to date on the PVA microcredit bank in Malawi. So far 13 individuals have received loans for businesses including timber, vegetables, groceries, and second-hand clothing. For more inofrmaiton about the project, email Connie.

Voter Protection in New Mexico

Peter Ossorio announced that Senate Bill 81 was passed (37-0), thereby preventing many possible election snafus. Remaining ambiguity is being addessed by a friendly law suit.  For more information email Peter.

Kudos for Legislative Teamwork

Bob Hearn commended the legislators present plus Antonio Lujan, Mary Kay Papen, and Andy Nunez for working together to bring meaningful capital improvement projects to Dona Ana County, one notable example being funds for animal protection services.  For more information on animal welfare in Southern New  Mexico, email Bob.


City Councilor Nathan Small brought copies of the Sun-News editorial recommending the wilderness designation for our pristine lands now under study. This is their second editorial endorsing the wilderness designation. The editorial is here. For more information, email Nathan.

Jimmy Carter to the Rescue

Rupert Clark suggested an unofficial unified action—write to Jimmy Carter and urge him to bring Hilary and Barack to the negotiation table before they tear each other apart. Rupert’s extremely well-written sample letter to President Carter is here. For more information, email Rupert.

Bill McCamley for Congress

Bill McCamley told us his reasons for running and asked for our support in the June primary.

John Gomez, Bill’s field director, invited everyone to a kickoff walk for Bill in his County Commission district Saturday, March 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information email John or visit the campaign Web site.

Lomas de Poleo—Human Rights Abuses Along the Border

Neil Harvey of the Center for Latin American Studies at NMSU thanked the PVA for the Unified Action. He said that nothing definitive has happened recently and grassroots monitoring of the situation is ongoing. He urged us to follow up with Governor Richardson, asking him where he stands on this issue. For more information, email Neil.

Nate Cote Honored by NMAST

Al Galves of New Mexico Advocates for Treatment Solutions presented an awared to Nate Cote for his work to protect the civil and human rights of people with mental illness. Nate sponsored legislation that would establish safe houses for New Mexicans with mental illness and provide a no-police response team to respond to mental health emergencies.  For more info, email Al.

Appreciation for Tamie Smith

Allan Solomon recognized Tamie Smith for her years of tireless devotion to keeping local government accountable. He then yielded his remaining time to Mary Gail Gwaltney and asked that she talk about super delegates.

Mary Gail Gwaltney for Democratic National Committee

Mary Gail treated to us to an explanation of how the Democratic Party super delegates (she is one) are elected. She closed by mentioning that she is running for reelection to the Democratic National Committee.  For more information, contact Mary Gail at 524-7678.

J. Paul Taylor Symposium: Justice for Immigrants

Sally Meisenhelder invited us to the fourth annual J. Paul Taylor Symposium on Social Justice, and recognized J. Paul Taylor, who was present. The symposium will be held at NMSU, April 2 to 4. Dolores Huerta, cofounder and first vice president of the United Farm Workers, is a featured speaker. There is no charge for the events.  Details are on the symposium’s Web site.

Wolves Belong

Jean Ossorio reminded us that March 29 will be the tenth anniversary of the effort to reintroduce wolves into the New Mexico environment. She stated that the actual results fall far short of predictions and asserted that Representative Steve Pearce has been exceptionally instrumental in preventing the program’s success. For more information, email Jean.

Candidates for Magistrate Court

Maria Rodriguez spoke to the group, asking for our support for her candidacy for Magistrate Court, District 5, in the June Democratic primary. For more information, send email to Maria.

Kent Wingenroth spoke to the group, asking for our support for his candidacy for Magistrate Court, District 5, in the June Democratic primary. For more information, send email to Kent.

Candidates for Dona Ana County Clerk

Lynn Ellins spoke about his qualifications for the job of county clerk and asked for our support. For more information, email Lynn.

Martha Lucero spoke about her experience and qualifications and asked for our support.( We were not able to obtain contact informaton for Ms. Lucero.)

AFSCME Negotiations are Rocky

Kathy Sowa brought us up to date on continuing difficulties and frustrations faced by AFSCME in dealing with the NMSU Board of Regents. Workers have received a 2% raise, not 5% as promised. For more information, email Kathy.

Harry Teague for Congress

Harry Teague spoke to us about his qualifications and asked for our support in the June primary.

Amanda Callais, regioinal Field director for Harry in Doña Ana County, announced that there will be a grand opening for Teague’s Harry’s Las Cruces office on Saturday, March 29, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The office is located at 1720 S. Telshor. For more information email amanda or visit the campaign Web site.

Al Kissling

Al Kissling announced that he “is not running for Congress,” thanked his many PVA supporters, and urged us all to vote to support the school bond election on April 1. The LCPS Web site has information about voting places as well as the building projects. For more information, email Al.

Miguel Silva

City Councilor Miguel Silva asserted that he and other newly elected councilors are committed to being wiser and more practical in how we grow the city. He reminded us that they are still dealing with many projects that were begun under the previous council’s guidance. For more information, email Miguel.

Kissling Paved the Way

Peter Ossorio paid tribute to Al Kissling, thanking him for “paving the way” for a progressive Democrat to be elected to the New Mexico’s Second Congressional District.

The next PVA meeting will be
April 24, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite
See you there!

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