April 25, 2019

Doña Ana Communities United Explains their Timebank Project

We had several people who work for DACU explain the purpose of their work.

Doña Ana Communities United (DACU) creates welcoming spaces for all people, especially those whose voices and stories go unheard. We build genuine relationships, carry out uplifting projects, and engage with local government.

DACU Mission

“We focus on health inequities and try to help people who don’t necessarily have a lot of connections,” said Director Kari Bachman. One of the current projects is a timebank, which is an exchange of services free of charge. Watch this 3 minute video to learn all about it (you might even see people you recognize!).  Among the many benefits of a timebank are: community and relationship building, a chance to practice and exchange skills, and a fun way to get involved with people outside your circle.

To get involved, visit the website or email Kari.

Senator Bill Soules Gives his Legislative Summary

After a post-legislative-session-scuba-diving vacation, Senator Soules feels rejunvenated. He spoke about putting a half billion dollars into education, which will mostly go to teacher salaries, and helping at-risk children. He encouraged people to attend the next Conversations with Democrats, where the author of Anna, Age 8 (Dominic Cappello) will be talking about ACES – Adverse Childhood Experiences. Unfortunately, when it comes to ACEs, New Mexico leads the nation. 🙁 Bill was pleased to report, however, that he was able to pass some important legislation concerning bullying prevention, opiod use, and prevention of child abuse.

For more information, email Bill.

Will Jack Eakman be Running for Reelection?

City Councilor Jack Eakman said people have been asking if he will be running for reelection. He announced his answer, for the first time, at our PVA meeting. The answer is that no, Jack isn’t running for reelection. “I have loved being a city councilor,” he assured us. He is looking to do some other activities and travel. “We must seek out the best candidates for District 4 to keep the city on pace,” Jack implored, informing us that there are 193 days until the November 5 election.

For more information, email Jack.

Will Ed Frank be Running for Reelection?

Current President of the Las Cruces School Board, Ed Frank, had some fun facts about LCPS for us. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back because Las Cruces has the highest graduation rate in the state! Did you know we have a 99 year old crossing guard? Check out Crossing Guard Stan, as well as some really cool student successes, on the District Facebook Page. Ed emphasized that the district is committed to raising teacher salaries, maintaining good benefits, and making LCPS a great place to work. He said that four years ago, the district had a $3 million cash balance, compared to this year, in which the district has a $17 million cash balance. (This is something that affects the bond rating.) The district is also committed to helping and protecting migrant families, providing services for 324 families at this time. For these reasons, among others, Ed has decided that yes, he will run for reelection, and hopes to have your support.

For more information, email Ed.

DACU Reaches Out to Everyone

DACU Mapping Coordinator Enrique Solis said Doña Ana Communities United often focuses on the forgotten people and neighborhoods. He asked people to attend the City Council Work Session on May 13 and weigh in on the integrated pest management plan. You can read more about this here.

City Council Work Session
May 13, 1pm
Las Cruces City Hall

For more information, email Enrique.

Will Kasandra Gandara be Running for Reelection?

There are 3 council seats up for election this November. Now that we know Jack’s plans for November, what about City Councilor Kasandra Gandara’s plans? Kasandra wanted to let us know that: Yes, she is running for reelection, and she hopes to have your support. “I set out four years ago to be a champion for children, families, and the elderly, and that is still my goal,” said Kasandra. She wants to continue working in conjunction with the five year strategic plan, continue supporting the mano y mano program for the homeless, and focus on leadership.

For more information, email Kasandra.

No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes

Jan Thompson announced a vigil for “those crossing the desert, those who have died in the desert, and all those whose lives are devastated by the detention and deportation machine. Join us in remembrance of those who have been murdered by deadly border policy and in solidarity with those struggling for their freedom today.”

Peaceful Vigil in Remembrance of All who have Perished in the Desert
May 3, 6:30pm
Albert Johnson Park (in front of library)

Also, Jan explained that Dr. Scott Warren is facing felony charges for providing humanitarian aid to migrants. “Humanitarian aid is never a crime,” said Jan, with passion. You can sign a petition for Dr. Warren. Here is an excerpt from the petition:

Our son Scott is facing three federal felony charges for providing humanitarian aid to two migrants in the southwest borderlands of the United States. We’re asking you to sign this petition demanding that the US Attorney’s office drop all charges against him. He has been charged with two counts of felony harboring and one count of conspiracy for, according to the charging documents, “providing food, water, clean clothes and beds”. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

For more information, email Jan.

If you are in Laramie, Wyoming…

A PVA group has started in Laramie! Founding member, Marian Erdelyi, told us about their exciting new PVA group, which has been going great. They have been meeting for nine months. You can check out their Facebook page and read their recaps here. Marian and her husband Jim spend a month in Las Cruces every year. “I hope when I come back next year,” said Marian, “there will be even more PVAs!”

For more information, email Marian.

New Commissioner Checks In

Remember when Maggie Reynolds announced who the District 5 Commissioner would be at last month’s PVA? Here he is – Commissioner Manny Sanchez, who attended PVA to say thank you. He wanted to make it clear he will be a tireless advocate for the North Valley (this elicited a Whoop! from time keeper and North Valley resident, Mary!). Manny also complimented the work being done to help asylum seekers who are being dropped off in the city. “I’m impressed with the people and the leaders,” he said.

For more information, email Manny.

Wanted: Good Candidates for DAC Soil & Water Conservation District

Craig Fenske, DASWCD Supervisor for District 4, reminded everyone that there are 3 Supervisor positions up for election this November. This is an important, often overlooked, board. Just FYI:

Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District (DASWCD) is authorized by the Soil and Water Conservation District Act to conserve and develop the natural resources of the state, provide for flood control, preserve wildlife, protect the tax base and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of Doña Ana County. DASWCD is a governmental subdivision of the State of New Mexico.

Sound like something you might be interested in running for? Let Craig know!

Craig also announced an agriculture demonstration by students from the Las Cruces High School Environmental Science and Power program:

Legacy Community Garden Demonstration
Thursday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
First Christian Church, 1809 El Paseo Road.

For more information, email Craig.

HAZLO Foundation Helps Kids

Bob Libby introduced The HAZLO Foundation, which helps students develop life and academic skills by working with trained mentors to make real-world projects that the students propose. The Foundation is set up at Lynn Community School, and was made possible by a grant from Jack Soules.

“Donations are welcome,” said Bob, who added that, “the money will help kids.”

For more information about making a donation, email Bob.

Reflections on the Session, Plus an Important Movie

Senator Jeff Steinborn, reflecting on 2019 successes, said he was really happy to finally pass the Coyote Killing Ban; he also commended the team who worked to pass the Outdoor Recreation Division; Jeff was also pleased that the pharmaceutical purchasing council was established. When looking to the future, Jeff mused, “There is still so much to be done.”

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, which Jeff works for, seeks to protect the Gila River. He recommended the following movie and announced a special showing at the Fountain Theater.

Hearts on the Gila
Mesilla Valley Film Society
Screenings: April 27
Show Times: 4:30 & 7:30
Admission: All seats $10. Tickets for 7:30 screening available at the door.

For more information, visit his Facebook Page or email Jeff.

Art Raffle to Support Refugees

Terry Huck, Secretary for Justice for All, announced two upcoming events. First, a Justice for All meeting:

Justice for All Meeting
May 14 at 6:15pm
350 El Molino, Las Cruces

The second event Terry brought to our attention is an art raffle, in which all the proceeds will go to supporting refugees, DACA recipients and their families, and others adversely impacted by immigration policy.

  • Humanitarian Response Art Raffle: five pieces of original art by renowned artists will be on display at the Raven Art Studio, 300 N. Main Street, which is also where you can buy tickets.
  • Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20 with all proceeds going to support refugees, DACA recipients and their families, and others adversely impacted by immigration policy. Art pieces will remain on display at the studio until the drawing on Friday, November 1.

For more information, visit the Facebook Page or email Justice for All.

Why did Maggie Toulouse Oliver Launch her Senate Campaign in Las Cruces, you ask?

NM Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, announced she is running for Senate (Sen. Tom Udall is retiring). She came to PVA from her official campaign launch at Salud! De Mesilla, right here in Las Cruces. She said she wanted to officially launch her campaign here because of the compassion Las Cruces has been showing to refugees and asylum seekers. “Compassion for refugees is the heartbeat of this state.” She wholeheartedly supports Medicare for All as well as the Green New Deal. If elected, Maggie (often referred to as MTO) would be the first female U.S. Senator elected from New Mexico.

For more information, visit Maggie’s Facebook Page or website.

Joanne Vouches for the Importance of the Emerge Program

Rep. Joanne Ferrary (an Emerge graduate) announced an Emerge Reception, where the class of 2019 would be highlighted. There are several DAC women in the class. You can read more about the event here.

Emerge Reception
Friday, May 3, 5:30pm
The Office of McGraw & Strickland

Joanne added that she was proud of the same-day voter registration bill that was passed, with the help of Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

For more information, visit Joanne’s Facebook Page.

Reppin’ for Xochitl

Linda Cisneros is a new member of Representative Xochitl Torres Small’s Las Cruces office team. She said Xochitl (who is a long time PVAer) specifically asked someone from her office to attend PVA meetings and listen to local issues. In case you didn’t know, Linda said, “Fun fact: New Mexico’s CD2 is the largest congressional district in the country (that doesn’t comprise a whole state).” Yup! That’s a lot of ground to cover. Linda noted their office location – 240 S. Water Street – and invited us to drop by anytime.

For more information, visit Xochitl’s Facebook Page.

Indivisible Las Cruces Going Strong

Greg White let us know the next Indivisible meeting will be:

Indivisible General Meeting
Tuesday, May 14, 5pm
Branigan Library, Roadrunner Room

The topic is immigration and Anselmo Delgado-Martinez, Executive Director from El Calvario Refugee Mission, will speak about “his organization’s central role in helping as many as 90+ migrants from poverty and violence each week find temporary shelter, basic commodities, and transportation to more permanent residences with families or sponsors across the United States.”

For more information, email Greg.

It’s Already Time for those Political Attack Pieces

Don Kurtz noted that as soon as Senator Bill Soules voted against the controversial Energy Transition Act (SB489), a political attack piece went out to his district, saying that he was against New Mexicans enjoying a clean environment. There were a lot of opinions about this bill – it was supported by many environmental groups and was ultimately passed and then signed by the Governor. New Energy Economy, on the other hand, opposed the bill for a host of reasons, among those being, “100% recovery from ratepayers is unfair and disproportionately hurts low-income ratepayers… [SB489] rewards corporate malfeasance in exchange for a higher renewable portfolio standard with the customers paying ALL the costs” (NEE email, Feb 18, 19).

“This attack piece went out to punish and misrepresent Bill. You know him, so let people know the truth – he is actually a champion for the environment,” said Don, announcing that Senator Soules will be awarded the 2019 Climate Truth Tellers Award.

2019 Climate Truth Tellers Award
Hosted by New Energy Economy
Thursday, May 9, 5:30pm
Salud! De Mesilla, 1800 Avenida de Mesilla
Tickets – $40 per person *

* Funds generated from this fundraiser will support New Energy Economy’s 2019 initiatives before the Public Regulation Commission and New Mexico Supreme Court.

For more information about the New Energy Economy event honoring Bill Soules with the 2019 Climate Truth Tellers Award, click here.

Ngage Seeks Your Ideas

Rich Ferrary told us that Ngage is trying to expand their board. They would like to hear ideas from people. Ngage is focused on improving educational outcomes in Doña Ana County, by “[coming] together to focus on finding community solutions to problems.” Rich added that this work is done with a progressive perspective. You can read more here. Let Rich know if you are interested in being involved.

For more information, email Rich.

Suggestion for Bookclub?

Alice Anderson recommended the following book (available at the library):

The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations, by David Pilling.

Excerpt from Amazon book description:

The Growth Delusion offers witty and unexpected insights into how our society can respond to the needs of real people instead of pursuing growth at any cost.


For more information, email Alice.


Merrie Lee Soules expressed some serious concerns about our energy future. The Public Regulation Commission, under the NM Constitution, has the responsibility of regulating public utilities. However, Merrie Lee noted that in the recent legislative session legislators “voted no on competition, and voted to weaken the PRC.” Our utilities are regulated monopolies, but she said that we need to be aware, decisions are being made now about the structure of our state’s energy economy that will affect us for years to come.

For more information, email Merrie Lee.


Domenic Cappello, author of Anna, Age Eight, spoke about the Anna, Age Eight Institute, which is proposing to employ interrelated strategies, supported by data and technology to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma. This center is the first of its kind. Read more here. Dominic also praised some local “resilience leaders” such as Councilor Gandara, and State Senator Bill Soules. Check it out.

You can get Anna, Age Eight for free here.

For more information, visit Dominic’s Facebook Page.

True or False: Pushing El Paso Electric in the Direction of Renewable Energy is a Piece of Cake…

Allen Downs gave us an update of the struggle with moving EPE towards renewables.

“Every three years utilities must produce an Integrated Resource Plan (the IRP). The primary goal of the IRP is to identify the most cost effective portfolio of resources. And each IRP looks forward 20 years. 

EPE used a software tool called Strategist to determine what combination of resource additions will meet peak demand over the next 20 years. The total projected need is about 1700MW. But EPE limited total solar resources to about 500MW and limited wind to zero because EPE claims wind could not be counted on to produce any power at the time of peak demand. [Remember, according to the current president, with wind power, if the wind isn’t blowing, you can’t watch television. –Ed.

For the first need in 2022, Strategist picked 350MW of solar. But for the next purchase in 2023, there was not enough solar left to meet the need, so Strategist was forced to choose something else. It chose a 320MW combined cycle gas plant.

Because EPE limited the amount of available renewables to a fraction of the total need, Strategist was forced to pick mostly fossil fuel generation no matter what the relative cost. The rule garbage in – garbage out applies.

This problem has been pointed out to the PRC in formal filings by intervenor Phil Simpson, so far to no avail.

But it is important that we continue to make our voice heard and we are grateful to have the City and County leading the way.”

For more information, email Allen.

New DPDAC Leadership Off and Running

Newly elected DPDAC Chair, Mona Trempe, said a lot has been done in the four weeks since the County Party election. For example, all the County Party offices have been fully staffed, a Communications Team has been established (this team includes college students, who have said with certitude that, “Facebook is for old people.” LOL!), a training was held for District Directors, and a group would be heading to the State Central Committee Meeting to elect new DPNM officers.

For more information, visit the DPDAC website or email Mona.

Offers & Requests                          

Timebank coordinator, Mairead McCarthy, reiterated the opportunities a timebank creates. It is also well explained on their website:

Timebanking is based on five core values: assets, reciprocity, redefining work, respect, and community. With these five core values in mind, we strive to make our timebank an equitable and welcoming space for all.

Assets: Everyone has many valuable gifts to offer. We honor all individuals’ unique talents. We seek opportunities to help others express their gifts.

Reciprocity: Timebanking is not charity. Just as we all have gifts, we all have needs. Each timebank member provides services and receives services. By taking on both roles, we come to value ourselves and each other as whole human beings.

Redefining Work: In the timebank, all time is valued equally. We honor all work, especially work that is undervalued in the market economy.

Respect: We accept members as they are. We engage others without judgment and seek to broaden our own perspectives.

Community: We are stronger together. The timebank is about building a circle of diverse relationships, not just exchanging services or forming exclusive friendships.

Would you be interested in being a penpal with an incarcerated person? Let Mairead know!

Also, “DACU Director Kari Bachman broadcasts her weekly radio show Just Community on our local Las Cruces radio station KTAL-LP 101.5 every Thursday morning from eight to nine o’clock. The show features voices that are less often heard in our community.” You can stream the show during broadcast time on the KTAL website. If you know someone who would make a great guest on the show, contact Kari or Mairead.

For more information, email Mairead.

Tessa for Two

City Council candidate Tessa Stuve announced her campaign kick-off:

Sunday, May 5, 3-5
At the home of Rosemarie & Fidel Sanchez

Check out this Youtube video to hear from Tessa why she is running for this seat.

If you want to support her campaign or for more information, visit Tessa’s Facebook Page.

A Couple of Things You Can Do to Save The World

Rocky Bacchus said he gives a thumbs up to Sen. Bill Soules and PRC commissioner Steve Fischmann for their support of renewable energy. Rocky has consistently asked, “Should we pay more or should we pay less for energy?” Solar is cheaper but convincing EPE of this has been a steep, uphill battle.

What can you do now? Rocky has some suggestions: go solar, pass PACE, and encourage Senators to support community solar (a game changer, said Rocky).

For more information, email Rocky.

Practicing Gratitude

School Board member Maria Flores has enormous empathy for the asylum seekers and refugees coming into Las Cruces. She said she has been practicing gratitude. [And, we are grateful for Maria Flores-Ed.] “It took a lot of courage for Superintendent Ewing to open Las Cruces High School to refugees over Easter weekend,” said Maria. She is grateful to see all the love in Las Cruces.

For more information, email Maria.

Talk Louder

Elisa Sanchez expressed dismay about how insecure our elections are. “Our elections were interfered with. Trump won’t do anything. So, don’t be quiet,” advised Elisa, adding, “Talk. Write. Make it a priority to secure the electoral system. The future is at stake, so talk loud.”

For more information, email Elisa.

Conversations with Democrats

Connie Chapman announced an “eye-opening, possibly uncomfortable conversation,” with speaker Dominic Cappello. The topics is ACEs.

Conversations with Democrats: What Happened to Eight Year Old Anna?
Saturday, April 27, 2pm
Holy Family American National Catholic Church
702 Parker Road, Las Cruces

For more information, email Connie.

PVA Meets Again:
Thursday, May 23, 2019, 7pm
Munson Senior Center