April 23, 2020 – Virtual PVA

The April Unified Action is to:

Ask NM State Leaders to Call a Special Session and Authorize Direct Vote-by-Mail for the 2020 General Election

Click here for more details.

Mountain View Co-op Has Curbside Delivery (yes, they have toilet paper!)

Stew Oberman wanted to pass along an easy way to get your groceries without having to shop inside the store. It involves the following steps: Look up items available at Mountain View Co-op here. Make a list of produce, dairy, bulk and packaged goods (they have paper products!). Send your list to this email. Or you can call in your order at 575-523-0436. If you email, they will then call you back with any questions and to get your credit card info. Then, drive to the Mountain View Co-op parking lot and call them. They bring paper (not plastic) bags out to the car. Head home and try a new recipe. Enjoy! For more information, email Stew

When (and how) will our Economy Recover?

Debra Hathaway, candidate for County Commissioner in District 4, talked about the likelihood that returning to work will occur in phases and that business leaders, policymakers and public health experts will need to work together to address the following priorities: 

  1. Essential services and resources required to return to work. (e.g. childcare)
  2. A way to demonstrate immunity or a negative COVID-19 test
  3. The addressing of regulatory and liability concerns related to medical privacy associated with widespread temperature checks, medical tests, etc.
  4. Support for vulnerable workers and businesses, especially those dependent on high occupancy, like restaurants or entertainment venues

Debra emphasized that how our state and county’s public and private sectors manage a temporary period of semi-normal will have a significant bearing on how quickly our county establishes a new normal, and a renewed sense of public safety and confidence. For more information, email Debra or visit her campaign website.

Tracy Perry aims to be a voice for the voiceless in District 38

Tracy Perry said she is running for state senate in District 38, to be a voice for people who currently do not have a voice and to provide good leadership, especially for healthcare and the economy. A professional healthcare worker for most of her career, she now works for Direct Therapy Services, which assists people with disabilities. For more information, we can follow Tracy on Facebook and we can contribute to her campaign here. She reminded us that we can easily apply for an absentee ballot online using this link, and that we can call her anytime at 575-446-9078. For more information, contact Tracy.

Ask not what our community can do for us…

Frank Belyan and Paul Mach quickly realized that they are doing all right, and that there are many people who could very much use the $1200 federal stimulus payment that each of them will receive. They began researching how to help those in need and identified the Together Las Cruces Fund, administered by the Community Foundation of New Mexico. The Together Las Cruces Fund is providing one-time grants of between $100 and $500 to people who have lost their jobs. Frank and Paul are dividing their stimulus payments among their favorite causes (that now include the Las Cruces Fund!) and they hope that many of us will contribute as well. You can make your own contribution (or seek a grant) by visiting the Together Las Cruces Fund here.  For more information, email Frank and Paul.

Judge Henderson seeks public financing

Shammara Henderson was officially sworn in last month and has begun her duties as our newest Judge on the NM Court of Appeals. It’s difficult to be starting a new job at this time, but she’s working from home and tackling many new cases. She hopes to qualify for public financing – she needs to collect 1,253 $5 contributions and Public Financing forms by June 25 to qualify. Any registered voter (and you are all registered voters, right?!) can actually help Shammara from home. You download this form and return it with $5 in the mail (specific directions and the address are included with that link). For more information, visit Shammara’s Facebook page

Melissa Ontiveros campaigns in virtual mode

Like many other candidates, Melissa Ontiveros, who is running for New Mexico State Senate District 31, has spent the last month moving her campaign to “virtual mode”. What this means is that she has found creative ways to reach out to voters instead of face to face events or knocking on doors. While campaigning and talking to voters, she has found some common themes in what they want in a leader; most of all, they want a leader who listens and responds to their concerns and needs. “I am asking that if you live in District 31, give me the honor to have your vote. Let me prove that I will make my community my priority.” She also wants to encourage us to request an absentee ballot to vote in the June 2 Primary from the safety of your home. For more information, visit Melissa’s Facebook page or campaign website

Our Personal Impact Networks and the Upcoming Primary

Don Kurtz reminded us that it will soon be time to activate our Personal Influence Networks, the people to whom we will send an email reminder that the primary election is coming up, along with our recommendations of good candidates for office. Don plans to send his own PIN communication out around May 5, which is when the first absentee ballots will be mailed to those who request them. He will remind people on his list of the importance of returning the postage paid request for an absentee ballot when they receive it from the county clerk, and of how important our vote for good progressive candidates will be in what is likely to be a low turnout primary election. For more information contact Don.

Gill’s talkin’ real fast to fit all this into 2 minutes

Councilor Gill Sorg wanted us to know that the City (and State) is here to help. From the new NMConnect mobile app, which provides behavioral health resources and/or direct connection to a peer counselor, plus up-to-date COVID-19 information, to the many ways the City of Las Cruces can help small businesses, you can find these items and more on the City’s website. Spring/summer water restrictions began April 1st. The annual restrictions prohibit the watering of outside vegetation between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The schedule allows residents with even-numbered addresses to water outside vegetation on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Residents with odd-numbered addresses are permitted to water their vegetation on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. No watering is permitted on Mondays. Did you think that was all? Nope! The Las Cruces Museum System seeks proposals for exhibits with themes of cultural and of historical significance relating to our borderlands region and submissions from artists (solo and group) from formal and informal scholars and organizations. The deadline is May 8. To apply, complete this form. The museums are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are offering virtual programs, exhibit tours, and special events at Facebook.com/LCMuseums. For more information, email Gill

DPDAC encourages you to vote by mail and get involved (psst, do #3!)

Chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County, Mona Trempe, reported that despite the efforts of most County Clerks, the Secretary of State, and the Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM), the New Mexico Supreme Court denied the request to have an “all mail” primary election. Unfortunately, this will risk the health of poll workers and anyone who votes in person. Fortunately, every voter in New Mexico is eligible to vote by absentee ballot and applications will be mailed to all voters who have not yet requested them. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Confirm that your voter registration is up-to-date 
  2. Request an absentee ballot NOW either online at NMVote.org or by calling the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office at 575-647-7421 
  3. Spread the word by getting 5 friends to do the same three steps

Btw, DPNM is coordinating a state-wide phone banking program that will use a consistent script and will minimize duplication of calls. Finally, the post-primary process for selecting delegates to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) has been streamlined state-wide. That is, there will NOT be precinct meetings or county conventions. Instead the process will include only the Congressional District and State Conventions (online). Check out the calendar to see important dates to keep in mind. For more information, email Mona

Support Navajo Nation 

Jan Thompson wanted to spread the word that Navajo Council Delegate Daniel Tso, long-standing Protect Chaco organizer, is humbly asking you, to support the Greater Chaco Navajo communities. The Torreon Community Alliance, a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, has started a GoFundMe campaign to help facilitate this call to action by Councilor Tso. The funds raised will be used to directly support the local Greater Chaco Navajo chapters of government in their mobilization of resources to mitigate the impact COVID-19 will have on the Diné people. All donations are 100% tax deductible. For more information, email Jan.

Neomi Martinez-Parra mounts strong challenge in state senate race

Neomi Martinez Parra shared fresh poll results in her challenge to John Arthur Smith in Senate District 35, which includes the west side of Doña Ana County:

  • John Arthur Smith 35%
  • Neomi Martinez-Parra 33%
  • Undecided 28%

Neomi believes she can (with our help) change the course of history in New Mexico by becoming a senator who listens to the people of her district and fighting for education, health care, and much more. Here is how you can make phone calls for Neomi from the comfort of your home. You can make a donation to her campaign here. She asks that you talk to all your friends about the importance of her race and her great chance of winning! For more information, visit Neomi’s website.

Doña Ana Communities United offers help during social isolation

Doña Ana Communities United (DACU) is a community-based organization that aims to increase health equity. They do this by utilizing 3 main initiatives: Mesilla Valley Timebank, Social Equity Mapping, and Just Community Radio Show (every Thursday from 8 to 9 AM on our community radio station, KTAL-LP 101.5 FM). DACU has started a new city-wide project which aims to keep members of our community connected while in social isolation. If you or someone you know can use some connection via phone, text, or email, please contact their coordinator at (575) 323-1422 or email Samantha. Visit their website for further information and for upcoming events. 

Volunteer Call Group for Rep. Joanne Ferrary

Pat reported that a call group on behalf of Rep. Joanne Ferrary has been created and they are having fun! The sole purpose of the group is to contact people from District 37 voter lists and inquire how people are faring during the coronavirus pandemic. Joanne’s campaign provides a list, script, and resource guide. In the event people have special needs, they can be referred for help. Serious issues are referred to Joanne, directly, so she may assist anyone in need. Volunteers are also reminding those they call to follow the Governor’s stay-at-home orders, wash their hands, and fill out the census. Pat says it has been a very productive exercise, talking with people and comparing our common experiences. In the past, many avoided answering the phone, but in these unprecedented times people have been grateful for the contact. Pat has found that people like being told that we are proud of them for staying home and protecting their families. Some residents have blessed Joanne for checking in on them. If you want to help make calls, contact Pat Aguirre at 575-532-5127 or (805) 208-0193.

State Rep. Rudy Martinez’s Reelection Campaign Update

State Representative Rudy Martinez wishes everyone health and well being in these challenging times. His re-election campaign consists mostly of calling voters to encourage them to vote absentee. He is grateful for his dedicated team in Doña Ana, and would love to have your help making sure constituents understand how the process works this year, so that people can stay safe without giving up the right to vote. If you’d like to volunteer or donate to the campaign, please go to www.rudymartineznm.com or email Rick.

Our friends in Sierra and Grant Counties can write in Karen Whitlock for State Representative 

As a candidate for State Representative District 38, Karen Whitlock, needs 106 Democrats to write in her name on the Democratic primary ballot so that she can appear on the general election ballot in November. Otherwise there will be no Democratic candidate in that race. Karen’s campaign manager, Rick Lass, asks that we please drop a quick email to friends who live in those counties urging them to pledge to write in Karen by going to the website www.karenwhitlock38.com or by emailing Rick with PLEDGE in the subject line at ricklassnewmexico@gmail.com. Please stay safe and stay healthy.  (And fill out the census!) For more information, visit Karen’s campaign website.

Workforce Solutions website will be live and functional soon!

Senator Mary Kay Papen said she continues to work hard to help make sure that the State of New Mexico is responsive to the needs of the people during this pandemic. Every week she has a call with Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Majority Leader of the NM Senate, Peter Wirth, and Speaker of the House, Brian Egoff. One of the big issues this week was that there are still over 26,000 people who have not been able to access their unemployment benefits. The Governor reassured us that the Workforce Solutions website should be fully functional by this Friday, April 24, 2020. The Governor also said that she is putting together a team of 10 business people who will be advising her about getting New Mexico open for business and getting people back to work. “Please call me, if there is anything I can help you with, I will try,” said Mary Kay. For more information, you can reach Sen. Papen at (575) 649-7853.

Free locally made masks for medical professionals and non-professionals

Kathy Wooten let us know that Alice Davenport, a local professional seamstress, has been making masks at no charge for several weeks. She makes both “professional” masks for medical use and caregivers, and “regular” masks for non-medical use. She has produced more than 58 dozen medical masks, and 86 dozen regular masks (wow!). Her alterations business is officially closed as non-essential. Here’s how to get a mask from Alice:

  1. Call Moonbow Alterations at (575) 527-1411, Alice Davenport. There is no answering feature, or Caller ID on her phone. She will answer unless she is involved with mask delivery.
  2. Let her know which kind of mask is needed, and how many, and set a time for pickup.  She is centrally located at 225 E. Idaho, space #32.
  3. Upon arrival, call again to confirm your presence.  She will bring out masks for you to choose from.
  4. IF you feel that you want to make a donation in kind, or in money, to help the project continue, it is gratefully accepted, but there is no charge to anyone.

For more information, contact Kathy.

Your donation really helps our local food pantry

Eric Walkinshaw, Casa de Peregrinos Board Chair wants us to know that Casa de Peregrinos (Doña Ana County Food Pantry) is still in need of donations to serve the higher demand for food that we are experiencing due to the COVID19 crisis. If you are able, please go to the Casa de Peregrinos website to donate. We would also appreciate making a monthly recurring donation. For a monthly donation scroll down the homepage to a red Recurring Donation window where you have the option to donate $5, $10, $25, or $50 per month. “I am afraid that this crisis is not ending anytime soon, so the monthly donation helps us to better plan to meet this growing need,” Eric said. For more information, contact Eric.

Thoughts on the Yazzie Martinez court decision

Elisa Sanchez explained that the State of NM has filed for dismissal of the Yazzie Martinez case arguing that they have met the decisions dictated by the Judge by: increased funding, legislative action, and programmatic changes. However, Elisa contends that past experience, both at the national and state level, exists to indicate that oversight is necessary to hold the Public Education Department and the local education agencies responsible for implementing a major social change in a statewide education system. “Too many questions remain unanswered,” she says, adding that, “until this state has institutionalized everything that Yazzie Martinez wants, the State must continue to work at creating a public education system that ensures success of ALL students. Please oppose the dismissal of Yazzie Martinez.” For more information, email Elisa.

Short and sweet

Yvonne-Magdalena Flores said, “Please encourage County Commissioners to vote no on Solis’ proposed resolution to open businesses–it goes against all the information we have.” The vote is next Tuesday April 28. For more information, email Yvonne.

Update from District 2 Councilor Tessa Abeyta-Stuve 

“Greetings fellow Las Crucens,” says Tessa, “March and April are certainly turning out different than any of us could have imagined. Through the efforts of social distancing we are seeing a positive impact on the rate of infection here in Doña Ana County, as compared with other parts of the region.” Tessa also realizes that this can isolate some of our eldest population; the city has been delivering 1,200–1,600 meals daily to seniors. “I enjoy reading the positive stories of how our community is still finding ways to support each other and make the most of the time at home. I wish you all well and look forward to seeing you again in person soon.” If you are interested in following the local activity related to COVID-19 you can stay updated by clicking here. If you want to get on Tessa’s contact list for updates, click here. For more information, email Tessa or call her at (575) 541-2068.

Senate District 38 candidate Carrie Hamblen to host Virtual Town Hall

Carrie Hamblen, candidate for the Senate District 38 seat, is hosting her first Virtual Town Hall via Zoom on Saturday, May 2 from 2 to 3pm to discuss her campaign, the needs of District 38, and what she will bring to the New Mexico Senate. As a community organizer for over 25 years, Carrie is grateful for the relationships she has formed in Las Cruces with many nonprofit organizations, businesses, and public leaders, creating change in a number of areas in Las Cruces. To RSVP for the Virtual Town Hall, and receive the meeting link, email Carrie by Friday, May 1. “The time is now for a new perspective,” says Carrie, and she hopes she can count on your vote on or before Election Day. Early voting begins May 5th, the Primary is June 2nd. Carrie is available for a phone conversation at 575-496-5242 or you can visit the campaign website

County Treasurer Eric L Rodriguez, running for reelection

Eric Rodriguez, in asking for our support for another term as County Treasurer, points out that he has brought many important improvements to the office. They include e-billing options, convenience payment locations for our rural taxpayers, pre-payment plans to reduce the tax burden for lower income households, and enhanced external payment options. He has also maintained clean audits, reduced liability risks and helped contribute to a county credit rating increase. The county portfolio saw a 70% revenue increase and there has been a 60% reduction in delinquent accounts turned over to the state, retaining over $240,000 in 2019 alone. Eric invites us to visit the Treasurer’s page on the County website, to follow him on Facebook, or check out his campaign website. For more information, email Eric.

Gina Montoya Ortega running for Dona Ana County Treasurer

As co-owner of the small business, La Fiesta Bakery, Gina says she is running to instill dignity, integrity, and pride into the Treasurer’s Office of Doña Ana County.

Gina’s goals are to:

  • Establish an excellent reputation
  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Increase our credit rating
  • Maximize the rate of return on our investments
  • Present accurate financial reports
  • Establish equitable tax collection practices
  • Ensure the safekeeping of public records
  • Increasing transparency by publicly reporting on all audits
  • Improve and update the departments website

For more information, visit Gina’s Facebook page.

Commissioner Sanchez asks for your support for April 28th meeting and upcoming election

District 5 County Commissioner Manny Sanchez wants everyone to know about a resolution on the agenda for the next County Commission meeting on April 28th pushing the Governor and Secretary Kunkel to open non-essential businesses immediately.  Manny believes that now is NOT THE TIME to do this and we should continue to follow the emergency orders to ensure we keep our communities safe.  Contact your Commissioners and let them know your opinion.  Manny also asks for our support to continue serving Doña Ana County as Commissioner.  He has been listening to the needs of his constituents and wants to keep the County moving into the future by increasing access to broadband service, using renewable energy at County facilities, and working with local partners to grow emerging industries such as film, hemp, and commercial space. For more information, visit Manny’s website or email him.  

Got a question for Steve Pearce?

Cheryl Frank wanted us to know that as part of the special series on Covid-19, the guests on the KRWG radio show “Voice of the Public” will be the Chairs of the two major political parties in New Mexico. Steve Pearce will be on for the first half-hour and Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, will be on in the second half-hour. This is a live call-in show (the number is 575-646-2212), so please take the opportunity to ask your questions. You can hear the show Friday, April 24, from 1-2pm on the radio at 90.7 FM or livestream at krwg.org. For more information, email Cheryl.

EPE and PRC update

Allen Downs gave us an update on El Paso Electric (EPE) and the Public Regulation Commission (PRC): We have a recommended decision in El Paso Electric’s solar and storage purchased power case. The Hearing Examiner recommends approval of 2 of the 3 requested resources, a 100MW solar purchased power agreement (PPA), and a 100MW solar plus 50MW storage PPA. She has recommended against a 50MW storage contract that was opposed by most interveners. We expect a final decision by the PRC before the end of May. This expected outcome is a testimony to the efforts of City, County, and individual interveners Merrie Lee Soules and Phil Simpson. Testimony will be filed on April 24 to oppose EPE’s request for approval to buy a new 228MW gas fired generator. Due to complaints about El Paso Electric’s incomplete response to discovery, and to problems caused by the Corona virus pandemic, the hearing has been rescheduled for 20 July. EPE should NOT be allowed to buy a gas generator which will become useless in 25 years when EPE will be required to get 100% of the power sold in New Mexico from “non-carbon” (nuclear or renewable) resources. Remember Merrie Lee’s Soule’s battle cry – (Say it out loud again!) NO MORE FOSSIL FUEL GENERATION. For more information, email Allen.

Susie Chaparro, running for County Commission, District 4

Irma Susana (Susie) Chaparro has announced she is running for Doña County Commission, District 4. She is a Democrat and life-long resident of Las Cruces, a certified court interpreter, and owner of a local interpreting and trial consulting firm. She serves as Board President of La Casa Inc., a non profit agency, that operates New Mexico’s largest domestic
violence shelter. Chaparro is a former Magistrate Judge. She was the first judge in the nation to include Spanish speaking jurors on jury panels. Her priorities include moving forward with infrastructure improvements throughout the county and working on increasing use of renewable energy. For more information, email Susie.

Sen. Cervantes talks budget and asks for support

State Senator Joseph Cervantes explained that the senate in January passed a budget that assumed oil prices of $50/barrel, which seemed prudent, since oil was at that time $70/barrel.  In the past weeks the price has been under $20/barrel and at times even at zero — this when over 40% of the state budget comes from oil and gas production.  Fortunately legislators put 20% of the budget into a reserve that will allow us to complete the fiscal year in June without severe cuts to salaries and jobs. In the coming 6 months, though, Joseph tells us, New Mexico will confront budget and financial challenges that none of our elected officials have ever encountered. This will also be true for cities and counties as well, since all depend not only on oil revenues, but on severely declining gross receipts taxes on sales, and income and business taxes.

Joseph asks that we support his re-election to the senate because we are going to need the experience that he has gained through 20 years in public office. This experience includes carrying controversial progressive legislation like gun background checks, removing guns from households with domestic violence, decriminalizing personal marijuana possession, creating an ethics commission, and passing transparency laws.  Joseph’s experience also includes his 30 years as a business owner committed to paying his staff’s salaries and maintaining their healthcare even in times of crisis, and that of a father who raised three daughters in our Las Cruces public schools, who are now all in college, and who need to know the future of New Mexico is still worth their loftiest hope and dreams. You call follow Joseph on Facebook @joe4nm where he hopes to hear your ideas on how we can best come together through the coming challenges.

Make a public comment for the Mexican gray wolf

Peter & Jean Ossorio are longtime advocates for recovering the Mexican gray wolf. They have tent camped in AZ/NM wolf country 400+ nights and seen over 45 of them. In 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published a formal management rule which failed to provide for Mexican gray wolf recovery and was arbitrary and capricious. (That’s not their opinion; that’s what a federal judge said in her Order directing the Service to drastically revise its rule by November 2021.)  Part of that process is taking public comment.  This link contains the official announcement, the deadline, and how/where to send your comments. This link leads to a home page with a button (upper left) to find several talking points which might help you form comments. Peter and Jean recommend stressing that: the service should commit to monitoring and maintaining specific measures of genetic diversity and reducing excessive inbreeding in the wild population. Their idea of putting new-born pups in wild dens and seeing how many survive for two years might or might not be sufficient to improve the genetics of the wild population but the service refuses to establish a specific result on the ground, let alone stop killing and removing wolves until the genetics improve. Peter and Jean thank you for your support of New Mexico’s native lobo. For more information, email Peter and Jean.

Hope

Ann Gutierrez said that if we feel anxious or depressed, we can remember this quote from Maya Angelou: “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay.” Thanks, Ann!

PVA meets again:
Thursday, May 28, 7pm
Virtual or In-Person – TBD – We will let you know!