Southern New Mexico Common Cause
Minutes of the Governing Board Meeting
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Meeting Location: J.W. Flours Restaurant, 2350 E. Nevada, Las Cruces, NM 88001
Attending: Sue Witham (guest), Dolores Halls, Jane Asche, Phil Banks, Bob Lowe, Charlie Welch, Jim Kadlecek, Gus Bigelow, Don Brown, Rose Garcia, and Vanessa Quiroz (intern)
J. Kadlecek called the meeting to order at 11:40 a.m.
The minutes of the SNMCC Board Meeting of November were not complete at this time.
Sue van Frank has resigned as Secretary, Vanessa Quiroz (intern) will take over as secretary as part of her internship.
A. City Expenditures of Federal Funds J. Kadlecek
Common Cause has shown an interest in how the city spends federal funds. Chris and Jim met with city staff in order to collect information on how the city spends these funds. The city had not allowed for adequate public input in the funding process. The city has now begun gaining public input for future expenditures as well as requesting citizen input on the 3 year plan. Common Causes presence has been noticed and we will continue to follow up with this to ensure public notification and participation.
B. Conflict of Interest/Code of Ethics
The Attorney General recently had a training session for city officials, unfortunately not everyone was required to attend. The issue of concern was the rolling quorums, especially since the City Council has been using rolling quorums to handle city business. This Mayor has violated the Open Meetings Act by requiring that members sign a letter prior to the actual vote.
Another concern is that the Mayor has limited public input during City Council meetings to three minutes, per individual, at the end of the meetings.
Common Cause will work on establishing a training sessions for all board and commission members, since no training is currently available to them. This would work best as a collaboration between organizations and the NMSU faculty in order to encourage good government.
C. Home Rule Charter J. Kadlecek
The City Council and the Mayor have been informed of our intentions to review and suggest revisions to the current city charter. Other organizations have also been contacted to participate in the committee. Publicity will be created to encourage citizens to participate as well.
D. Monitoring of Public Meetings J. Asche
This has been working to encourage good government at the local levels for the past few months, now a new schedule is needed for January through April.
C. Welch attend County Commission meetings and Paul Curry has been encouraging public input prior to every vote, causing some confusion for incumbents.
J. Asche commented on drafting a letter on behalf of Common Cause commending Mr. Curry for his actions to keep the public involved.
J. Kadlecek asked for a supporting motion.
B. Lowe seconded
Motion passed C. Welch will draft a letter to the editor on behalf of Common Cause commending Currys efforts.
Common Cause currently monitors the following organizations:
Las Cruces City Council
Las Cruces School Board
Dona Ana County Commission
Las Cruces Housing Authority
NMSU Board of Regents
We will continue to monitor the Board of Regents meetings when they are in Las Cruces, due to their closed door policy. But, the Housing Authority meetings are not a major concern and we can focus our time on other meetings.
E. State Common Cause Meeting G. Bigelow
There was a good discussion of issues that National Common Cause wishes to pursue for the upcoming year.
The principle bill discussed was the voluntary public financing of public regulations commission, the issue of entry into public financing of elections in all of New Mexico.
Electronic filing of campaign reports, in the past donations have only been submitted to the legislature, the new bill will allow citizens to access campaign donations and expenditures on line prior to the end of the election.
Lobbyist disclosure bill, this will allow of the reporting of bills that are being lobbied on.
Disclosure of contributors employer. This will ensure that when searching for donators, we do not just see a name, this will also show who the donator works for in order to make corporate connections.
A memorial was discussed to support free airtime for federal legislation.
Others issues of concern are:
Remove gross receipt tax on food
Open conference committee meetings
Optional/instant run off elections
Increase the length of the legislative sessions
Limit the amount of bills introduced
Require voter identification
Establish a system of universal health care provision
Increase corporate accountability
On another note, Nationals suggested CCNM not get an allocation, but after lobbying we managed to get $5,000, which is less than the $23,000 budget that we had. Unfortunately, Nationals is in a tough financial situation. Fewer than half of the states now have an active Common Cause.
A. Fundraising J. Kadlecek
We wish to pay the intern, as well as pay for incidentals, correspondences, ads, etc. We will look into fundraising issues such as letter to the membership and grants. If we create a letter asking members to donate money to this fund we can have checks written to Common Cause and they will funnel to money to SNMCC.
We can also create an account with Rose Garcias Rito Medina Policy Center in order to raise funds or we can set up an account with Nationals. The only concern would be that all fundraising follow guidelines for the 501c3 or 501c4 organization.
Meetings will continue to be the third Wednesday of the month
J. Kadlecek adjourned the meeting at 1:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by,