PVA Meeting Recap – October 25, 2007

Unified Action

The Unified Action this month focuses on next week’s municipal elections and provides a way for us to advocate for the candidate or candidates we believe are best suited to lead Las Cruces at this time. You don’t have to live within the city limits to participate. For details go to the Unified Action page.

As always, please let us know “I did it!” by replying to this recap email, or by using the link provided.

In last month’s Unified Action, over 70 people sent back “I did it’s” to indicate they had volunteered for, or contributed to, a local municipal campaign. As an added bonus, Unified Action Coordinator Judy Zimmerman had a drawing for September UA participants, in which she gave away gift certificates to Milagro, Spirit Winds, and The Shed.

Upcoming Legislative Session

Our fine state representatives Joni Gutierrez and Jeff Steinborn provided a preview of the January legislative session, with special emphasis on two areas—Health Care Reform and Ethics Reform.

Joni is a member of the legislative Health and Human Services Interim Committee charged with evaluating health care options. She outlined the numerous proposals that will be presented during the 30-day session in Santa Fe. A study done last year by the Governor’s Task Force on Health Care Reform indicated that the single-payer option, Health Security New Mexico, would be by far the most inexpensive plan, but there are already a long list of other plans that will be introduced, including one by Governor Richardson. Joni said that it is essential that we contact our legislators now and throughout the session to advocate for the health plan we prefer.

Jeff is a also a member of the Health and Human Services interim committee, but he co-chairs the Governor’s Task Force on Ethics Reform, so he used his time to outline recommendations for ethics reform legislation, including limits on individual campaign contributions and an ethics commission which would investigate allegations of unethical behavior by elected officials. A creative recommendation, proposed by Jeff himself, would require that lobbyists wear name tags during the session containing a list of the clients they represent.

Microcredit Bank

Connie Richardson reported that the Microcredit Bank in Malawi, funded by $5,000 in generous contributions by PVAers, is already in operation! Stay tuned for the first full report on its activities, due in mid-November. For more information, contact Connie at connie00@comcast.net or visit the Microcredit Working Group information page.

Pet Expo and Vigil

Bob Hearn reported on the good work being done at the local animal shelter and the sad news that thousands of dogs and cats are still euthanized there every year. A vigil for those lost lives, including a “Wall of Hope” with pictures of 12,000 euthanized cats and dogs, was featured at the annual Pet Expo held at Young Park October 27. Spay and neuter programs are one important way in which the number of unwanted animals can be lowered. For more information on these and other animal shelter programs, send email to Bob.

Democracy for America

Amy Dalzell introduced herself as the Las Cruces/El Paso coordinator of Democracy for America, a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government—from school board to the presidency. For more information, visit the organization’s web site or send email to Amy.

NAACP Salute to Veterans

Lola Lestrick and Tim Reed invited us all to a gala evening banquet and showcase in honor of African American veterans with who have served in our armed forces. The banquet will be Saturday, November 17, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 and should be purchased before November 3. For ticket information, call 541-9093 or 382-5678.

Information on the Municipal Courts

Municipal Court Judge Jim Locatelli, while making it clear that he can’t endorse candidates, offered to discuss the duties and functioning of the local municipal courts to any interested people. For more information, send email to Jim.

Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission

Charlie Scholz reminded us that the next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Las Cruces will be Tuesday, November 13, at 6 p.m. It will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 20. For more information, send email to Charlie.

Voter Protection

Manny Arrieta described the problems associated with the “unique identifier,” which is a number associated with each individual voter, and which would be used if there is a question about someone’s eligibility to vote at the polls. One of the chief problems is that few people have any idea what their own “unique identifier” might be. Attempts will be made to rectify this problem at the next legislative session. For more information, call Manny at 523-0330 or send email to Peter Ossorio.

Municipal Candidates

Ken Miyagishima, candidate for Mayor, thanked the many people in attendance who have volunteered for his campaign and asked for our active participation in the final days of the campaign. To volunteer, send email to Terry Miller.

Theresa Westbrock spoke on behalf of Nathan Small, candidate for city council in District 4. To volunteer for Nathan, send email to Theresa.

Bob Hearn spoke on behalf of Miguel Silva, candidate for city council in District 2. To volunteer for Miguel, send email to Bob.

Quality Growth Alliance

Sharon Thomas announced that Andy Laurenzi of the Sonoran Institute will speak about growth issues in Doña Ana County on Tuesday, December 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Doña Ana County Government Building on Motel Boulevard. The presentation will focus on best practices in terms of state land use, neighborhood development, and regional planning. Also, the QGA will be an invited participant in the Vision 2040 regional planning process, which will have its first advisory meeting on November 7. For more information, send email to Sharon.

School for Gifted Students

Louellen Kay spoke about her plans for developing a school for gifted students in Las Cruces. Interested people, including possible teachers and donors for scholarships, should send email to Louellen.

Southwest Energy Alliance

Steve Fischmann introduced Gail Ryba of the New Mexico-based Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy, who will be doing work throughout the state on energy efficiency. For more information send email to Steve or call Gail at 505-955-9578.

Bill McCamley for Congress

Bill introduced his campaign manager Mike Ward and reported on his campaign’s increasing momentum, spurred on by incumbent congressman Steve Pearce’s decision to run for the U.S. Senate rather than seek re-election to Congress. For more information, send email to Bill.

Don Wiviott for US Senate

Don Wiviott, candidate for the U.S. Senate seat which will be open following Pete Domenici’s decision not to seek re-election, visited us from Santa Fe and asked for our support. For more information, visit Don’s Web site.

Al Kissling for Congress

Al Kissling reported on his campaign’s progress and its presence in all 18 counties of the Second Congressional District. Full congressional campaign activities will resume on November 7; until then, Al has urged all of his volunteers to work for the election of progressive candidates in the Las Cruces municipal elections. For more information, send email to Al.

Poll Workers Needed (and compensated!)

Mary Lujan announced that poll workers are needed for the 2008 primary and general elections, and that the county is paying workers $150 for each election in which they serve. For more information or to sign up, send email to Mary.


Sarah Herman reported on a petition being circulated calling on the city to initiate curbside recycling, and said that the next big push for signatures will occur after the municipal elections. For more information, send email to Sarah.

Repealing Bush Administration’s Global Gag Rule

Renee Murray circulated a petition calling for elimination of the Bush Administration’s Global Gag Rule, which has prohibited any U.S. funding for overseas health clinics which provide abortion services or counseling that includes abortion as an option. She also reminded us that the local NARAL chapter meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Unitarian Church. For more information, send email to Renee.


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

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