Southern New Mexico Common Cause

Minutes of the Governing Board Meeting

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

         Meeting Location: J.W. Flours Restaurant, Las Cruces, NM 88001

         Members Attending:


      Phil Banks, John Bloom, Steve Carter, Lynn Ellins, Steve Fischmann, Rose Garcia, Dolores Halls, Jim Kadlecek, John Lazaruk, Mike McCamley and Tamie Smith


      Members Not Attending:


      Mary Ballard, Gus Bigelow, Alex Burr, Ron Gurley, Woodie Jenkins, Vicki Simons and Charles Welch


1.    Call to Order: Lynn Ellins called the meeting to order at 11:51 AM

2.    Approval of November Meeting Minutes:

 The November, 2006 meeting minutes, as amended, were approved by voice vote..

3.        AnnouncementsRose Garcia has been given a clean bill of health by her Doctor. She is now at 100%.  

4.    Projects:

A.     Board of County Commissioners – (Tamie Smith) R. Homans spoke for the State of New Mexico and briefed on the Spaceport at the last meeting. Several Counties made presentations.  The meeting was long and there wasn’t too much public input. One issue was there should be a statewide sales tax versus the sales tax up for election only in Dona Ana County and three other counties. The spaceport is apparently too close to the historic Comino Real Trial. This was an issue that created a lot of talk. Dona Ana County has established April 13, 2007 as the election date for vote on % increase in the Sales Tax in Dona Ana County. The proposal has 75% of the new sate tax revenue going to the Spaceport. The remaining 25% of the sales tax revenue will, if it is approved, go to the schools for Space oriented education. Dolores Halls wanted a copy of Mr Homans presentation.  She attended the last County Commissioners meeting and said it was too long and the public was not allowed to present many issues or ask many questions. She said that there were many questions that needed to be answered. Steve Fischmann commented that the BLM is very proactive about the Spaceport. John Bloom said that the closeness of the Spaceport to the Comino Real Trail is an issue that is in question and that it must be addressed. He also said that the Spaceport initiative appears to be on a “Fast Track.” Tamie Smith spoke about the many issues that were ‘Being Taken-Care of.’ If the Spaceport will benefit the entire state why is the sales tax only being voted on in Dona Ana County and three other counties.  The % tax should be for everyone in the state of New Mexico. She was paraphrasing those who have issues with / against the Spaceport initiative as it now stands / as it is now written. They who have comments against the Spaceport do not want the it to go away. Jim Kadlecek stated that the Spaceport subject was a process issue and that maybe we (SNMCC) should address it as a process. Lynn Ellins said we (the SNMCC Board) should think about this issue (being a process) and if we (SNMCC) should do anything about it for bringing up at the next meeting.

 B. City Council – (Tamie Smith) The City Council voted to put the Spaceport Tax on the ballot. The Mayor gave his ‘State of the City’ address and he was glad that the East Mesa was ‘being taken care of.’ Steve Fischmann commented about the El Paso Electric Power issue.  Electric Power is necessary. We have to have it. But the agreement between the City of Las Cruces and the El Paso Electric Company was presented as a very high rate increase for possibility 15 years. The presentation was skewed toward El Paso Electric. The skew was supported by the City Council’s lack of doing something or doing something. But it was defeated.  An agreement was passed to add two years to the agreement at a much lower cost to customers. Steve Fischmann added that the customers of El Paso Electric Company were still paying a higher cost for Electric Power than the likes of Albuquerque City. They were still paying for power received from Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant over in Arizona.

 B.     Board of Education (LCPS Board) (Phil Banks) The School Board election for districts 4     and 5 is coming up.  The issue of replacing the new Superintendent was very big. It seems that there isn’t agreement on who will be the Interim Superintendent. Those who are running will be able to sit-in on any deliberations of the LCPS Board.  The former LCPS Superintendent Diaz is having a closed session trying to keep the attendees (public) away. Sex education was talked about and was volatile. The issue, as talked about, was whether to have parents opt-in or opt-out of sex education for the student.

D.    NMSU Board of Regents – (John Bloom) The ‘big’ issue at the last meeting was the ‘pounding’ of UNM during the NMSU home game. (The comments were from NMSU alumni.) The Regents will continue to negotiate with the City of Las Cruces about the pending location of the Convention Center. The Executive Session was held after the public meeting with no report on the closed session. The closed session report should be presented at the next meeting on the 29th of January. Do not expect much reported about the Community Center (Convention Center).

 E.  Planning and Zoning Commission – (Lynn Ellins) The County Commission reversed the P&Z Commission recommendation on rezoning on the basis of procedural issues. Steve Fischmann said that zoning seems to be very nebulous. Zoning shouldn’t be an industry that holds regulations hostage. Lynn Ellins said that progress on the Comprehensive Plan is being made. Strides forward are being observed. It is not yet finished and it is not yet a “document.” Rose Garcia said that the Comprehensive Plan may be addressing the “zoning” of districts with the influence of Commissioner Butler. Steve Fischmann added that the plan (project) needed to receive $700,000 rather than $400,000. The plan is “going” towards (something like) a Growth Plan.

 5.    New Business:  (Phil Banks) There will be a state Volunteer Meeting.   Bills are being presented to the state legislature of vital interest to Common Cause (Common Cause New Mexico). Common Cause New Mexico was looked at and considered to be in a favorable position (condition) at the NM (state) level. Rep Cervantes is interested in Election Day registration. He will introduce a bill requiring it. He personally is in trouble as a (state) representative in the Legislature.

 6.  Old Business – None

 7.  Other None.

 8.  Next Regular Meeting:  February 21, 2007

  9.  Adjournment:  Lynn Ellins adjourned the meeting at 12:58 PM

 Respectfully Submitted,

Michael McCamley

SNMCC Board Secretary


Date Approved and Signed