February 22, 2024

Featured Presentation

We were honored to have investigative reporter/Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gretchen Morgenson join us to talk about her new book (co-written by Joshua Rosner), These are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs-and Wrecks-America. Here’s the link to view or buy. 

Gretchen spoke about how private equity businesses take over other companies to the detriment of the rest of us. She said these companies do this quietly and often won’t advertise that they have taken over. As an example, Memorial Medical Center is managed by LifePoint Health, which was bought by the private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Do you have a story to tell about Memorial Medical Center? Email Gretchen!

You can watch Gretchen talk about this issue in this PBS interview with Amanpour & Co.

Buy the book!

Did you know that Charlotte Lipson and Gretchen Morgenson are longtime friends? Charlotte thanked Gretchen for coming to PVA, as well as the Barnes & Noble staff for coming to help sell (signed!) copies of These are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs-and Wrecks-America. Again, here’s the link to view or buy.

For more information, email Charlotte.

Thank you, Legislators

Rocky Bacchus wanted to thank our local NM state legislators for their hard work in Santa Fe. He pointed especially to Sen. Bill Soules, Sen. Jeff Steinborn, Rep. Nathan Small, Rep. Doreen Gallegos, and Rep. Joanne Ferrary. Rocky also endorsed Fernando Macias for District Attorney, citing his experience in management.

For more information, email Rocky.

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, running for re-election, Senate District 36

Sen. Jeff Steinborn announced he is running for re-election. He talked about some of the really important work that was recently accomplished at the session in Santa Fe, as well as noting a few disappointments. Here is the legislation that Jeff worked on.

This is the link to sign his nominating petition at the Secretary of State’s website.

For more information, email Sen. Steinborn or visit his campaign website.

Rep. Doreen Gallegos, running for re-election, House District 52

Rep. Gallegos gave us her legislative update; she talked about working hard as Chair of the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee. Here is the legislation that Doreen worked on.

This is the link to sign her nominating petition at the Secretary of State’s website. 

For more information, email Rep. Gallegos.

Too old?

Dr. Jerome Walker said that both President Biden and Donald Trump are too old to run for president. He opined that the president should step down at the Democratic Convention and allow for someone younger to be the Democratic nominee. Jerome had a letter to the editor published in the Santa Fe New Mexican, on January 6, 2024. Here is the link.

For more information, email Dr. Walker

Too old, x2?

Wesley Leonard agreed with Dr. Walker – he believes Pres. Biden is now too old to do the job.

For more information, call Wesley at 505-977-1605.

Support KTAL

Peter Goodman reminded us to listen to and support KTAL Las Cruces Community Radio

For more information, email Peter.

Something to know about your next electric bill, plus a Lincoln speech

Allen Downs informed us that the Advanced Metering System monthly rider will be going up from $0.38 to $1.60 starting on your March electric bill. 

Allen recommends reading Heather Cox Richardson’s daily “Letters from an American,” where he was inspired to read Pres. Lincoln’s Lyceum address (January 1838). Allen read to us portions of this speech, which warns of mobs disrespecting the rule of law and includes the following: “If destruction of our democracy be our lot, we must ourselves be its author…There is, now, something of ill-omen, amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the disposition to substitute passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts…”

Lincoln’s Lyceum Address can be found here

For more information, email Allen.

Rep. Joanne Ferrary, running for re-election, House District 37

Rep. Ferrary gave us a legislative update and spoke about her Liquor Tax Changes & Uses legislation. Here is all the legislation that Joanne worked on.

She also announced the following event, where you can sign nominating petitions:

Petitions in the Park
Sam Graft Park, Sedona Hills Pkwy
Saturday, February 24, 12-2pm

Joanne is running for re-election. This is the link to sign her nominating petition at the Secretary of State’s website. 

For more information, email Rep. Ferrary or visit her campaign website

Upcoming presentations for your calendar!

Stewart Oberman wanted us to know about some great upcoming presentations being sponsored by The Academy for Learning in Retirement (ALR). All the presentations will take place at the Doña Ana Community College, East Mesa Campus, 2800 Sonoma Ranch Blvd., Las Cruces.

State Senator Bill Soules: 
The Sausage Factory: How the NM Legislature Does and Does Not Work
Tuesday, March 5th, 10:30am

Former Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias:
The Role of County Governance
Thursday, March 7th, 10:30am

Ifo Pili, Las Cruces City Manager:
Principles of Local Government
Wednesday, March 13th, 10:30am

Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart: 
Opportunity or Obstacles – Which is Which? 
Friday, March 15th, 10:30am

For more information, including how to see these on Zoom, visit the ALR website.

Separation of church and state

Jim Hoerst said he believes there should be separation of church and state at the county commission meetings. He is concerned because “there is a Christian Dominionist movement in Las Cruces–they believe that Christians should be in charge of the American government.” He said if you agree with separation of church and state, you should contact your county commissioner.  

For more information, email Jim

Must see film coming to Fountain Theatre

Mary Martinez White, who works with the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, told us that when asked to mention in the movie Oppenheimer the harm that the nuclear bomb caused in NM, the writer, director, and co-producer of the movie, Chris Nolan, declined the opportunity, stating, “Not interested.”

Mary announced the following film to see, which is being shown as part of the Las Cruces Film Festival:

First we Bombed New Mexico
Fountain Theatre, Mesilla
April 3-7

For more information, email Mary or visit the film’s website.

Dr. Jon Hill, running for House District 53

Dr. Jon Hill gave us some background as to why he’s running for the state House. He has extensive experience in education, having been a teacher, a principal, and a superintendent. He said he has lots of good stories to tell! If you would like to support his run, he has three asks: 

  1. Here is the link to sign his nominating petition at the Secretary of State’s website
  2. Donate to the campaign
  3. Volunteer for the campaign

For more information, email Dr. Hill or use the hashtag: #drjonhill.

Your Notice of Value is coming soon

County Assessor Eugenia (Gina) Montoya Ortega emphasized that the Assessor’s Office is there to serve. The office at the Doña Ana County Government Center is open from 8am-5pm all year long. The office will be sending a Notice of Value (NOV) to homeowners soon.

For more information, visit the Doña Ana County website.

Rep. Lara Cadena, running for re-election, House District 33

Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena gave a legislative update. She gave a special shout out to Rep. Joanne Ferrary because of the conversation she started about alcohol taxes. Here is the legislation that Micaela worked on. 

Micaela is running for re-election. This is the link to sign her nominating petition at the Secretary of State’s website.

For more information, email Rep. Lara Cadena or visit her campaign website.

Rep. Nathan Small, running for re-election, House District 36

Rep. Nathan Small worked hard this session, passing several important bills, including the General Appropriation Act of 2024. Nathan, who is Chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, said this is the strongest budget ever. Here is all the legislation that Nathan worked on. 

Nathan is running for re-election. This is the link to sign his nominating petition at the Secretary of State’s website.

For more information, email Rep. Small or visit his campaign website.

Fernando Macias, running for District Attorney

Fernando Macias announced that he is running for District Attorney. He said he has a lot of experience; he has been a state senator, Doña Ana County manager, district court judge, and county commissioner. He said he will build a formidable prosecution team and fully staff the office. He hopes to reduce crime and build a safer community. 

For more information, visit the campaign website.

Sen. Carrie Hamblen, running for re-election, Senate District 38

Before giving us her legislative update, Sen. Hamblen spoke about remembering and honoring the 16 year old, non-binary, Oklahoma girl who tragically died after being attacked and beaten at her school. Her name is Nex Benedict. You can read this Human Rights Campaign article to learn more. Carrie said this is why representation matters.

Carrie is running for re-election. This is the link to sign her nominating petition at the Secretary of State’s website.

For more information, email Sen. Hamblen or visit her campaign website or use the hashtag: #Hamblenfornmsenate38.

Do you know about Annunciation House?

Kurt Anderson is concerned because Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to shut down Annunciation House. Here is an article about the issue. Annunciation House says the following on their website:

“Annunciation House is a volunteer organization that offers hospitality to migrants, immigrants, and refugees in El Paso, Texas. Rooted in Catholic social teaching, the volunteers of Annunciation House live simply and in community, in the same houses as the guests we serve, who are mostly from Mexico and Central America. We also participate in advocacy and education around immigration issues. We seek to be a voice for justice and compassion, especially on behalf of the most marginalized of our society.”

Kurt said, “Send money to Annunciation House, so they can pay for the lawyers.”

For more information, email Kurt.

Sen. Bill Soules, running for re-election, Senate District 37

Sen. Bill Soules gave us a legislative update. Here is the legislation that Bill worked on during this past session.

And you guessed it, you can sign his nominating petition online. Here is the link.

For more information, email Sen. Soules or visit his campaign website.   

Manny Sanchez, running for re-election, County Commission, District 5

County Commissioner Manny Sanchez spoke about the important work he is doing in the district, especially in the colonias. He does not need your signature on a nominating petition, but hopes to have your support in his upcoming campaign and election.

For more information, email Commissioner Sanchez.

Not too old.

Judy Long said she is proud of her age and has earned every gray hair on her head! She said she is concerned about ageism and the presidential election and does not think Pres. Biden is too old to campaign and/or be re-elected.

For more information, email Judy.

The need for multiculturalism in our schools

Elisa Sánchez said she agrees with Senator Carrie Hamblen in that representation matters. “We are a minority-majority state,” she emphasized, “and should therefore have a multicultural education system.”

For more information, email Elisa.

Local artist’s corner

Chris Bardey spoke about the Governance Council at Alma d’Arte Charter School. “Alma needs a new Governance Council,” said Chris. “Council members serve families, kids, and the community. The school also needs a head administrator that respects and listens to students, parents, and staff, and supports, rather than antagonizes/alienates them.” He encouraged everyone to come to the following meeting:

Governance Council Meeting
Alma d’Arte Charter School, 402 West Court Street
Monday, February 26, 6pm 

Chris also announced the following meeting of Ask Alice, which aims to “provide a vibrant platform for artists and creatives.”

Ask Alice/Creative Industry Division Workshop
Branigan Memorial Library
Thursday, February 29, 6:30pm

For more information, email Chris.

Postcard writing for Gabe Vasquez

Gayle Eads reminded us that there are many ways to help candidates get elected. If you want to help Congressman Gabe Vasquez, for example, you can write postcards to voters. These postcards are often sent to low-frequency voters; sometimes this simple postcard makes all the difference to push a person to vote. Blue CD2 provides the postcards and you provide the stamps. Typically, you are asked to do 50 postcards. Contact Gayle for more information or to help.

For more information, email Gayle.

Ramona Martinez, running for District Attorney

Ramona spoke passionately about the work she does as a lawyer, every day. She acknowledged it can be frustrating work, and our current District Attorney’s office isn’t making it any easier. She said that recently she was working with a victim of a violent crime, who has waited two years for an indictment. Ramona asked herself, “How can I better help victims of crime? Wait, I’m doing it! That’s why I’m running for District Attorney!” You can sign her nominating petition by going to her website: https://www.ramonafornm.com/

For more information, email Ramona or visit her campaign website.

A perspective on the Israel-Hamas war

Ed Frank said that he is frustrated about some of the recent coverage and perceptions of Israel, concerning the war against Hamas. He doesn’t agree with the way the war is being run and he is not a fan of the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. He thinks the conditions in the West Bank are oppressive for Palestinians; Ed also feels for the Palestinian people in Gaza. “However, Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. When people say Free Gaza, they should be aware that Gaza is free from Israel. They need to be freed from Hamas.” What’s also concerning, he said, is the booing, and worse boycotting, of Jewish performers. One incident occurred in Santa Fe, where Meow Wolf staff refused to work on a concert for a Jewish performer; read about that here. Ed recommended the following book: Israel, by Noa Tishby.  

For more information, email Ed

Be sure to watch the Las Cruces City Council Meetings

Janet Nordmann encouraged us all to watch the Las Cruces City Council meetings. For how to watch (if you can’t go in person), visit the city’s website. Janet said she had a difficult time watching the February 20, 2024 meeting’s public comments (here’s the link) because one councilor was continuously attacked. She would like for the Council to explain how the meetings, and especially how the public comments are organized.

For more information, email Janet.

Round Two

PVA Rules: After everyone who wishes to speak has had a chance to speak once, everyone who wishes to speak a second time may do so.

To be sure that we left smiling, Allen Downs told us a story about a magician who needed to be a little more detail oriented. 🙂

And with that we called it a night.

If you have questions, comments, or corrections to the recap, please email Cheryl Frank or text her at 575-650-7607.

PVA meets again:

Thursday, March 28, 2024, 7 pm

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