May 23, 2024

We don’t have a Unified Action every month, but this month we have two! Here they are:

Unified Action #1

What we are asking

Reach out to the people in your Personal Influence Network and tell them about the Primary Election

For more on this important and time-sensitive action, click here.

Unified Action #2

The Issue

Sharon Thomas explained that this unified action supports changes to the land development code. Most neighborhoods in Las Cruces, and much of the nation, are zoned single-family only and segregated from local services, shopping and other housing options. In 2020, the City adopted a new comprehensive plan which envisioned greater mixed-use of residential, local services, commercial development, and a variety of housing types and transportation options. Now we have an opportunity to update our land development code and implement the vision of our 2020 comprehensive plan. Next month, on June 24th, the City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission are holding a joint workshop to discuss making these and other updates to the land development code. 

What we are asking

Ask the Mayor, City Council, City Manager, and Planning and Zoning Commissioners to support these changes to the land development code

*don’t worry, you will get an email about this Unified Action closer to the joint workshop!

District 1 Community Meeting on June 8 

Cassie McClure, District 1 City Councilor, has scheduled a community meeting to address the issues Sharon Thomas discussed. Cassie wants your help in constructing a stronger narrative that tells the whole story about housing, one that challenges the dominant story. In addition to emailing the Mayor & City Councilors, Cassie wants to hear from you about how to bring dignity to those who might not feel heard.

District 1 Community Meeting with City Councilor McClure
Loma Heights Elementary School
Saturday, June 8 (time TBD) 

For more information, email Cassie.

Gerald Byers is running for re-election for District Attorney

Gerald Byers is the incumbent District Attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County. He told us that he’s a prosecutor with 27 years of experience, and was elected to the position of DA in 2020; he took office just as the Covid pandemic hit Doña Ana County. He highlighted several projects he initiated, including creating a border prosecution team that worked to prosecute those who are smuggling migrants, and fully funding and staffing the attorneys in the DA’s office. 

For more information, visit the campaign website.

Sierra Club’s Endorsements

Gayle Eads reminded everyone that the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter endorses candidates who are running in a primary to represent the house and senate in New Mexico. This year, the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter endorses Rep. Angelica Rubio, the incumbent representing District 35; Dr. Jon Hill, who is challenging Willie Madrid, the incumbent representing District 53; and Amanda Lopez Askin, the incumbent County Clerk. Gayle encourages you to vote for these candidates.

For more information, email Gayle.

Support for changes to the City’s land use regulations

Beth Bardwell spoke about why she supports changes to the City’s land use regulations. She said that the changes will increase housing options, “benefiting us all, at all stages of life.” The changes to the regulations allow for mixed-use neighborhoods that increase walkability and complete streets, with support for walkers, bicyclists, and cars.

You can read all about it here:

For more information, email Beth.

Dr. Jon Hill, running for State Representative, District 53

Jon Hill is a candidate for NM Representative in District 53. He prefixed his update by thanking PVA for its support, and the energy and ideas he gains from PVA’s monthly meetings. Highlights of his campaign include reaching 600% of signatures on the nominating petition; knocking on 800 doors; building a phone call & text group; receiving contributions from 50+ individuals; and, getting out his message via phone & text groups as well as media outlets (Bulletin, KRWG, KTAL, submitted an op-ed to Sun News).

For more information, visit the campaign website, or call 575-800-4641.

Paying tribute to Vi & Ron Cauthon

Terry Miller shared her appreciation for Vi and Ron Cauthon’s contributions to PVA, when it was just getting started, and the many ways they have served their community ever since they hit town! When they weren’t knocking on doors, Vi and Ron were writing letters to the Sun-News editor, volunteering for campaigns and organizations (like the Children’s Reading Alliance), and making more and more friends along the way. Now, they are returning to Tulsa, OK to spend time with their family. Oklahoma Democrats have two more votes they can count on! Thank you, Vi & Ron! You will be missed. [We hope you will still read the recap and keep in touch!].

For more information, email Terry.

Rosenda Chavez Lara is a Candidate for Doña Ana Magistrate Judge Division III

An experienced attorney, Ms. Chavez Lara offered several examples of clients in Doña Ana County who do not receive support when seeking help with problems such as losing their home or setting up a medical power of attorney. She argued that the court is not responsive to people who do not have financial resources and/or speak Spanish. Thus, she emphasized the need to: create a Self Help Center; utilize County Courts; and explore Specialty Courts. She announced the following Meet & Greets:

The first of the Meet & Greet took place on Saturday, June 1st, 5:30-7:00 pm. It was hosted by Diane & Bill Bolak, Rosemarie & Fidel Sanchez, and Virginia Beckworth.

There are 3 more opportunities to learn about Ms. Chavez Lara’s experience and plans for the future: 

Thursday, June 6th, 5:30-7:00 pm
Hosted by Ret. Judge Marci Beyer
6665 Vista de Oro, Las Cruces, NM 88007 (Picacho Hills)

Saturday, June 8th, 2:00-3:30 pm
Hosted by Kellie Dinsmore and Jane Grider
441 N Miranda, Las Cruces, NM 88005

Saturday, June 29, 2:30-4:00 pm
Hosted by Ret. Judge Mary Rosner  
523 Brownlee Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88005

For more information or to RSVP, please contact the campaign at or 575-635-9441.

Judge Jannette Mondragón Seeks to Continue Judgeship

Judge Mondragón greeted us in several Native American languages to highlight her appointment by the Governor as the first Native American judge to serve in this district. She is honored and excited to serve her community. She’s an alumna from NMSU and UNM, married to a combat disabled veteran for 20 years, and a mom to two children. She served as an Assistant District Attorney but said she returned to Doña Ana County to bring her knowledge and experience to her community. She wants to use all the resources of the courts to address the needs of the people she serves, and is asking for your support so she can be on the ballot.

For more information, visit her Facebook page.

Rocky Bacchus Supports Fernando Macias for DA

Rocky shared that he and his wife recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary! He wanted to highlight his support Fernando Macias in the primary for District Attorney, due to his extensive experience in leadership positions. Rocky said he had talked with a number of DA candidates, and recommends Fernando Macias due to his experience in managing people. Rocky also praised the work that Rep. Joanne Ferrary, Sen. Bill Soules, and Rep. Nathan Small have done.  

For more information, email Rocky.

El Paso Electric’s Purchase of Energy and Effects on Heating Costs

Allen Downs reported on El Paso Electric’s (EPE) approach to purchasing energy and the higher rates we pay as a result. The Palo Verde Nuclear power plant in Arizona has three units and unit three energy is sold to NM rate payers at a proxy price that is based on the cost of natural gas. During the cold snap in February 2021, gas prices skyrocketed. EPE sold us unit three energy for the entire month of Feb. at a price around 23.5 cents per kWh. Merrie Lee Soules and the City of Las Cruces argued that during that Feb., Palo Verde three was not the lowest cost energy available to EPE, and EPE should have used local generation or “purchased power”–energy from other utilities–when it was available at a lower cost. This issue was taken up in two hearings but the examiners retired. A third hearing examiner has determined that the power purchased was not reliable and thus not equivalent to Palo Verde energy and that EPE should be allowed to charge the very high proxy cost. If the Commission approves, we can expect to see an increase in our monthly bills. On the bright side, EPE has agreed to no longer sell unit three energy to NM rate payers.

For more information, email Allen.

Show your support for the Branigan Library!

Jennifer Kreie alerted PVA to an upcoming City Council work session on the Branigan Library, and encouraged everyone to show support for the library by attending this work session. Consultants will present their plan for ways to upgrade and expand the library. Jennifer said we need to encourage the City Council and the Mayor to invest funds in this vital community resource. Stand up and stand out by wearing a button that Jennifer and members of Friends of the Branigan Library will distribute (they’ll be wearing t-shirts). 

City Council Work Session
June 10, 1pm

For more information, email Jennifer or 575-571-0300. 

A couple thoughts from Peter Goodman

Peter Goodman has addressed the challenges Alma d’Arte has experienced in several of his recent columns and he would welcome the insights and recommendations that could help this school in achieving its goals. (You can read Peter’s blog here). He also made a request for donations to KTAL to replace critical equipment that is no longer working. Donations can be made on the KTAL website ( Never one to hold back, Peter also had some thoughts about the Democratic primary for DA, and again, read all about that on Peter’s blog!

For more information, email Peter.

Want to help re-elect Senator Martin Heinrich?

Charlotte Lipson announced a fund-raiser for Senator Martin Heinrich, which took place on Friday, May 31st, 2024 from 2:00-3:00pm. 

If you would like to donate to his campaign, go to

Contributions can also be sent to: 
Martin Heinrich for Senate 
P.O. Box 25763 
Albuquerque, NM 87125

For more information, visit Sen. Heinrich’s campaign website.

Violet & Ron Cauthon say farewell

“PVA has been the most rewarding volunteer organization my husband, Ron, and I have ever been involved with. We will return to Tulsa, OK in July to be with our children. We will miss all of you!” – Vi Cauthon

For more information, email Vi.

Taste of Las Cruces

Eric Walkinshaw invited everyone to attend the Taste of Las Cruces on June 20@6pm. [This is the same evening as PVA’s June meeting, which starts at 7, so Eric suggested going to Taste of Las Cruces at 6, and then, PVA at 7!] This tasty event is the primary fundraiser for Casa de Peregrino (CdP). Eric said thanks for any contribution to CdP’s 45th Anniversary that raised close to $45K.

Taste of Las Cruces
Thursday, June 20, 6pm
Las Cruces Convention Center

For more information, email Eric.

Shaharazed Booth is running for DA (and appreciates the PVA community)

Shaharazed Booth believes it’s time for change in the DA, and she’s prepared to be that change. In this moment before the primary votes are counted, she wanted to express her appreciation for the opportunity to become part of the PVA community. The first time she attended a meeting, she stood in the back of the room and at this meeting she found her place in front. She encourages everyone to vote and to proudly tell others who you support.

For more information, visit the campaign website.

Nathan Small on Celebrations and the Challenges Ahead

Nathan echoed the appreciation for PVA that others expressed at the meeting, adding that PVA has been a foundational for him. He highlighted the good news: we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument and it has been a tremendous success, serving as a model for other states; in his position as Chair of the NM House’s appropriation committee, the committee was able to make big investments in water. But none of this is guaranteed; there’s both lots to celebrate and lots to do in the political season ahead. 

Nathan announced:

Foundation for Open Government, Budget Town Hall
Tuesday, June 18th, registration at 6:30 p.m. and the session to begin at 7 p.m.
New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

For more information, email Nathan.

Support for Unified Action #2 (above)!

Jorge Aguirre named the anticipated resistance to changes in to the City’s land use regulations that allow for dense housing. He said the dominant narrative is, “My property–my personal wealth–is more important than people.” Jorge continued, making visible the current approach which ends up with unhoused people in jail, which is more expensive! And the resistance to living in a community that is dense and thus challenges the belief that the white picket fence is the way to control who can be a neighbor. In naming skin color as key to this resistance, Jorge made visible the assumptions and biases that will be expressed in the coming work sessions. He concluded by saying, “We want things to be better for everyone!”

We got some sad news: Earnestine Simmons died. She will be missed.

PVA meets again:

Thursday, June 20, 2024, at 7pm

Followed by our annual party! 

Join us to celebrate PVA’s 20th anniversary!