PVA Meeting Recap – October 27, 2005

Current Working Groups

Building a Data Base of Progressive Activists

Ann Rohovec reported that all information from the phone campaign to reach 2004 election volunteers has been added to the data base, and the overall total of people who want to be on the PVA contact list is nearing 700. Thirty-four email addresses of interested people have proven to be wrong, and Ann would welcome help in making some phone calls to get those addresses straightened out. She can be reached at arohovec@zianet.com

Building Alliances

Ann Gutierrez reported that Building Alliances activities will be returning after the holidays, including a proposed workshop in Las Cruces with Roberto Chené, national leader in alliance building across racial and ethnic lines.

Curbside Recycling in Las Cruces

Brigitte Hines thanked PVAer’s for their participation in the two Neighborhood Walks for Curbside Recycling, where pilot neighborhoods were encouraged to fully participate. The Neighborhood Walks found high support for the recycling program, support which will be crucial as the city moves toward a final decision on going city-wide with curbside recycling.

Executive Committee

Don Kurtz urged any interested people to attend and participate in Executive Committee meetings, including the next one on Tuesday, November 15th, at 5:30 at the Mesilla Park Recreation Center. He reminded us that suggestions for PVA Unified Actions should be submitted to unifiedaction@pva-nm.org as early in the month as possible, and that the final choice of each month’s action will be made at the Executive Committee’s monthly meeting. Comments or suggestions about PVA meetings and activities can be communicated to Executive Committee members, whose names, phone numbers, and emails are available at http://www.pva-nm.org/wg_exec.htm

Framing Issues

Martha Loustaunau reported on activities of the Framing the Issue group, which developed the subtitle for the Legislative Agenda for our Nov. 10th Legislative Roundtable (“A Fair and Secure Future: Where Common Sense Meets Common Ground”) and which has been actively reframing numerous issues in progressive terms, as in “Government is the ultimate expression of community,” “diversity without divisiveness,” “generosity of spirit,” and many other excellent formulations of our political values. To get involved with this exciting group, contact Martha at mloustau@nmsu.edu or Monica Torres at mftorres@nmsu.edu

New Working Groups

Elections/Secure the Vote

John Nelson has offered to coordinate a new group which will make information about elections (dates, deadlines, etc.) readily available, and which will actively recruit poll judges and other poll workers for upcoming elections.

If you want to get involved with the “Elections/Secure the Vote” Working Group and/or if you want to be a Poll worker for the County or the Democratic Party contact John Nelson nelson505@earthlink.net or Mary Helen Ratje mhratje@comcast.net

Other Organizations/Candidates/Announcements

March Against Torture

Charlotte Williams reported on the recent March Against Torture, and thanked PVAer’s for their participation in that march and for signing the Amnesty International petition calling for an end to US torture of prisoners. There was excellent coverage of the march on KRWG-TV, but unfortunately Representative Steve Pearce refused to meet with her, despite Charlotte’s persistent efforts. To join Charlotte in this work, contact her at lascpro@aol.com

Grassroots Press

Steve Klinger talked about his fine local newspaper, the Grassroots Press, and urged people to write articles for the paper. To submit articles, place an ad, or subscribe to Grassroots Press, contact Steve at sck01@comcast.net

Candidates for Las Cruces City Council

Woody Jenkins, a candidate for city council in District 5, spoke about his long record of public service and his vision for the city, especially in terms of sensible planning and his desire to “establish livable neighborhoods in Las Cruces.” To contact Woodie, or to help in his campaign, contact him at wjenk82125@aol.com

Reed Larsen, a candidate for city council in District 3 spoke about his views on local governance, particularly the importance of making major decisions reviewable by voter referendum, and of requiring developers to pay infrastructure costs up front, before development. To contact Reed, or to help in his campaign, call him at 522-1427.

Rally in the Park

Moira Kanim announced that there will be a Rally in the Park to kick off the 2006 midterm election campaigns on Saturday, November 5th, from 2-4 pm at Pioneer Women’s Park. Speakers will include Dr. Nancy Baker and Beatrice Ferreira. Chris Schaeffer’s Puppets and the Peace Crane Wall will also be featured. For information, contact Kate Mott kazanmott@aol.com

Green Party of Southern New Mexico

Rupert Clark reported that funding for the new “bunker buster” nuclear warhead, reported on at the last meeting, has been canceled, but that it may be resurrected in later legislation. He will keep us posted on developments. For information on state and local Green Party activities, contact Rupert ruporch@netscape.net

Las Esperanzas

Jeanne Abkes of the Las Esperanzas neighborhood organization (the neighborhood in the Mesquite Street area) discussed the recent Supreme Court decision which would allow private developers to use eminent domain to condemn land for their own projects. This is a particular concern to residents of old Las Cruces neighborhoods as downtown renovation activities begin to heat up. The remedy is state legislation to protect property owner rights — if you’d like more information, contact Jeanne jmabkes@yahoo.com

American Association of University Women

Dolores Halls announced that the New Mexico chapter of the AAUW has received a grant which will provide for issue forums in towns and villages of New Mexico, and she invited suggestions and the participation of interested people. The AAUW will also be involved in Get Out the Vote activities in the 2006 election. For information, contact Dolores dhalls@nmsu.edu

Governor Bill Richardson and Lt. Governor Diane Denish

Gayle Radom brought petitions to get Bill Richardson and Diane Denish on the 2006 ballot. A special effort will be made to collect signatures at polling places for city elections in on November 8th. If you would like to carry petitions for these two candidates, or help with the election day effort, contact Gayle g_radom@msn.com

Vagina Monologues

Sarah Amador announced a February production at NMSU of Vagina Monologues, and invited us to audition for parts in the play — which has roles for women of all ages and backgrounds. Proceeds from the play will go to the Women’s Studies Program and the Feminist Student Organization at NMSU, as well as to Amigos de las Mujeres de Juarez. For more information, contact Sara samador@nmsu.edu

League of Women Voters

Vicki Simons brought copies of the LOWV’s Voter Guide for the November municipal elections, and the Who’s Who, which contains contact information on all elected officials from Doña Ana County. Information on the League, including an electronic version of the Who’s Who brochure, may be found at http://www.zianet.com/lwv/


Cathilia Flores reported that the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees’ organizing campaign at NMSU is continuing with enthusiasm and success. She especially thanked PVA members for their support. For more information about AFSCME and the NMSU campaign, contact Cathilia cathilia@gmail.com

Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Master Plan

Janet Darrow reported on a meeting tonight at which the city’s Master Plan for parks and recreation was presented. The study and recommendations, compiled by an outside consulting firm, reflect strong citizen interest in open space and trails as well as improvements to the city’s swimming pools. Continued public input will be important to realize these goals, and to prioritize budgetary aspects. A citizen input meeting will be held this Wednesday (Nov. 2). at 6pm at City Council Chambers, and public comments will be accepted until Nov. 11th. Copies of the Master Plan are available at City Hall, at Branigan Library, and can be downloaded from the City of Las Cruces website. Contact Janet janetdarrow@comcast.net for information about upcoming steps in the process.

Committee to Beat Pearce

Charlie Scholz discussed the status of current efforts to unseat Representative Pearce in the 2006 election — they’re still looking for a candidate. To participate in the group’s activities, contact Charlie at cscholz@zianet.com for details.

Democratic Party Houseparties

Jean Apgar announced that Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee, has called on Democrats to have houseparties on November 15th. For information, contact Jean Jeanlcnm@aol.com

PVA Legislative Agenda

Jim Moore presented a draft of the PVA Legislative Agenda, the list of legislative proposals and concerns that will be sent to legislators prior to our November 10th Legislative Roundtable. The meeting will be conducted in PVA style, which means that each legislator will have 3 minutes at the beginning of the Roundtable to respond to the issues and concerns we sent them. Then PVAer’s in attendance will have a maximum of a minute and a half to address the legislators, further explaining points on the agenda or addressing other issues. Legislators will have a final three minutes to respond to what they heard and/or make any other comments about the upcoming legislative session.

After the agenda was passed out, several items were briefly expanded upon by people who had proposed them, including David Lyons, Cathilia Flores, and Nancy Harris (the living wage proposal), Vicki Simons (health care reform), Kevin Bixby (environmental legislation), Emily Cohen (human rights issues), and Mary Ballard (good government proposals from Common Cause).

Contributors to the Legislative Agenda included:

New Mexico Voices for Children
New Mexicans for Fair Taxes
Common Cause of New Mexico
Conservation Voters New Mexico
Southwest Environmental Center
Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy
NARAL, Pro-Choice New Mexico
Equality New Mexico
Las Cruces Roundtable

Two additions were suggested for the Agenda: state action to protect landowners from eminent domain seizures by private developers, and repeal of the death penalty. Jim asked these issues’ proponents to send him language for the Agenda as soon as possible.

Unified Action

David Lyons reported that 74 PVAer’s participated in last month’s Unified Action on the minimum wage, and he thanked all of us for our support.

Philip Zakahi discussed the Unified Action as a general concept, pointing out that it is an important part of who we are as a group. He presented this month’s Unified Action, which involves each participant’s attendance at the November 10th Legislative Roundtable, so that legislators can see the broad support in this community for progressive issues. The Unified Action can be reached at http://www.pva-nm.org/ua_oct_05_roundtable.htm

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