August 26, 2021 – Virtual PVA

Casa de Peregrinos update

Board member, Eric Walkinshaw, thanked those who have donated to the food pantry. “Food costs are going up,” Eric explained, “and food rescue opportunities are decreasing, so we’re having to buy more food outright.” He announced a hunger strike fundraiser happening on September 23, 2021; participants fast for 24 hours while raising money for CdP. You can read more about that here. Eric also announced a charity golf tournament on September 24, 2021 at Sonoma Ranch Golf Club (50% will go to Casa de Peregrinos). For both the hunger strike, and the golf tournament, you can contact Bianca Menchaca at bjmenchaca81@gmail.com. Finally, Eric spoke about the new facility being built, which is desperately needed. The current facility was built to distribute 500,000 pounds of food a year – but it is up to 5 million pounds of food being distributed. They hope to be up and running by the fall of 2022.

For more information, email Eric.  

El Paso Electric update

Allen Downs wanted to give you an update on El Paso Electric: The Public Regulation Commission’s final decision in the El Paso Electric rate case ordered a rate decrease of a little more than $3.3 million dollars. However El Paso Electric is challenging the decision in court. Allen assumes EPE will be asking for additional money, and I’m sure it will be a while before we know the result. Meanwhile the rates approved in the rate case are now in effect. Your electric bills have been decreased due to the efforts of the City, the County, and individual interveners Phil Simpson and Merrie Lee Soules.

In another case, El Paso Electric has asked for permission to abandon one of its oldest gas fired steam plants known as Rio Grande 6. Parties to the case including El Paso Electric, the City, and Merrie Lee Soules have worked out a compromise whereby El Rio Grande 6 won’t be abandoned until solar and storage replacement resources are up and running. Today there was a hearing on the agreement and Allen believes the Commission will accept the compromise.

El Paso Electric’s Transportation Electrification Plan is currently being considered by the PRC with the goal of encouraging residents of our area to buy electric cars. One of its provisions is a

rate rider that will allow electric car owners to pay less than one cent per kilowatt-hour for electricity used between midnight and 8AM. So get an electric car and save on your electric bill.

So next time you see a City Councilor, or County Commissioner, please thank them for their part in saving New Mexico ratepayers millions of dollars per year going forward. And don’t forget

Merrie Lee’s battle cry – NO NEW FOSSIL FUEL GENERATION!

For more information, email Allen

Becky Corran, running for City Council, District 5

Becky spoke about wanting to be thoughtful about the growth in the district/city, and continuing to support Elevate Las Cruces. She wants to be sure to collaborate with community members to make sure their voices are heard. “Another priority,” she said, “is to focus on the potential of people who have been historically marginalized, including those who may have a hard time finding jobs.” Finally, she spoke about reducing the impact the City has on climate change.

For more information, visit the campaign website or Facebook page.

Becki Graham, running for City Council, District 3

Becki spoke about promoting equitable economic development opportunities, such as the El Paseo-Solano revitalization corridor and supporting living wages. Becki works at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center, an economic development organization. She is married to a Las Cruces firefighter and applauded the Fire Department’s innovative solutions to public safety, such as coordinating with social workers and paramedics as part of the Mobile Integrative Health program. 

For more information, visit the campaign website or Facebook page.

Bob Wofford, running for LCPS School Board, District 3

Bob is a retired English teacher, and taught at Las Cruces High School for over 30 years. He is seeking the School Board district that Maria Flores currently represents (she is not running for reelection). He has also been a college board consultant for 15 years, where he gets to teach future teachers how to teach advanced placement classes. He sponsored the Amnesty International club and the Gay/Straight Alliance at LCHS. As a school board member, he looks forward to supporting teachers, educational assistants, and all those who work in the schools to help students succeed. He understands first hand how the teachers, support staff, students, and parents all need to work together for student success. Finally, he said, all of these components need a supportive school board! “Though I am retired, I still have more to give” Bob said, adding, “Fortunately, the school board is an unpaid position, so I will have the opportunity to give!” You can sign up to volunteer with his campaign here.  

For more information, email Bob.

Walking the walk

City councilor Yvonne Flores’ campaign manager, Connie Chapman, announced that Yvonne’s reelection campaign is up and running. Connie invited volunteers to help door knock on:

Saturday, August 28th, at 9:30am
The group would be meeting at:
Sam Graft Park, Sedona Hills Road

Connie also explained that in addition to Yvonne Flores, she is helping both Becky Corran and Becki Graham on their campaigns, so if you want to help, get in contact with Connie. 

For more information, email Connie or visit Yvonne’s Facebook page.

Interested in the future of our watershed? 

Craig Fenske, who is a supervisor for the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District, announced a series of forums related to the Master Watershed Conservationists project. The first of the series will be over Zoom on September 9, and the link to register for this program is: https://daswcd.org/. The first of the series is called The Future of our Watershed in the Hatch and Mesilla Valley. Connie Maxwell from the NM Water Resources Research institute is heading up the panel discussion.

For more information, email Craig.

We won’t bury the headline: Rep. Joanne Ferrary is running for reelection!

“You are the first group to know,” Joanne told us, “I will be running for my fourth term!” Meanwhile, she’s hard at work with interim committees such as the Legislative Education Study Committee, the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, the Tobacco Settlement Revenue Oversight Committee, the Ethics Committee, and the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee. Whew! If you want to donate or volunteer for her campaign, click here.

For more information, email Joanne.

Access to the COVID vaccine

Rich Renner, from the advocacy group RESULTS, spoke about how effective vaccines are, largely because of the public investment in science and technology. Unfortunately, Rich said the vaccines are not being produced rapidly enough or distributed to everyone who needs them. While in the U.S. over 50% of the population is vaccinated, in some poorer countries only 1% of the population is vaccinated. “We need to make enough vaccines for everyone and do it as fast as possible,” said Rich. He asks us to contact our representatives, senators, and President Biden and urge them to 1) provide funding to scale up production of the vaccines, and 2) to share the vaccine technology and licensing of the intellectual property with other nations and companies.

For more information, go to RESULTS.org or email Rich

KTAL community radio needs your help 

KTAL radio host Peter Goodman, said “I’m here to ask for money.” The KTAL radio station needs to continue to raise money in order to stay on the air. Their programming is interesting and you will hear many familiar voices. Peter’s show is Wednesday mornings and will definitely capture your attention! Over the next couple of months, he will be hosting candidate forums, so you don’t want to miss those.  

KTAL is found at 101.5FM. You can donate (and listen to KTAL) at www.lccommunityradio.org

For the People Act

Maribeth Hulsey announced that Common Cause and other progressive organizations have phonebanks every single day of the week urging West Virginians and activists in other target states to make calls to their wavering Democratic senators in support of S1, For the People Act. This historic bill will end gerrymandering, enact automatic voter registration nationwide, and limit big money in our politics, plus much more. You can click here to sign up for a For the People phonebanking shift(s) this week! There is a training at the beginning of each shift. As well as phoning, financial support is essential: https://www.commoncause.org/support-common-cause/

For more information, contact Maribeth

Yvonne Flores, running for City Council reelection, District 6

Yvonne spoke about her current work on the City Council and her desire to continue serving. While she admits that the wheels of progress turn slowly, she also says she’s tenacious. She is the liaison to the City Art Board and the Airport Advisory Board, and she speaks highly of both boards. “The airport is literally taking off,” said Yvonne. She invites you to get involved with her campaign and asks you to “like” her Facebook Page 

For more information, or to donate/volunteer, go to Yvonne’s campaign website

Laura Montoya, running for State Treasurer

Laura zoomed in from Rio Rancho to tell us about her campaign for State Treasurer. She has over 20 years experience with federal, state, tribal, and local government. For example, she was the former Sandoval County treasurer. She believes in being a good public servant for the people, with transparency at the forefront. 

You can watch this video for more information or visit Laura’s campaign website.

Project Turnout (the Dems)

Adam Sommers is the secretary for the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County. He announced that DPDAC is excited to help turnout Democrats for the upcoming municipal election. “The County Party has a vested interest in ensuring that Democrats are elected.” The party will be mailing out information about the election to thousands of Democrats. This obviously costs money, so click here if you are interested in contributing to this project. Adam also invited candidates to reach out to him about coordinating on this project. He can be reached at (575) 993-1648.

For more information, visit the DPDAC website or contact Adam

Former Teacher of the Year endorses Pam Cort for School Board, District 2

Cheryl Carreon, who recently retired after 31 years of teaching, said that she was really excited to learn that her friend Pam Cort (a fellow Teacher of the Year) would be running for School Board. “Pam is a lifelong educator,” said Cheryl, “and she understands first hand the needs of the educators, staff, and of course, the students of our district.” Pam was appointed to the School Board in July when the seat became vacant. Cheryl asks you to “like” Pam’s Facebook page and consider volunteering on her campaign.

For more information, contact Cheryl.

Pam Cort, running for LCPS School Board, District 2

As mentioned above, Pam was appointed to the LCPS School Board in July. “It’s been an interesting month!” said Pam, who wants to continue serving the district. Pam is a retired teacher, having taught for 31 years, and 26 of those were at Las Cruces High School. She’s the grandaughter, daughter, and mother of public school educators. In 2012, she was selected as Las Cruces district Teacher of the Year and in 2013, she was selected as NM State Teacher of the Year. She noted that being Teacher of the Year gave her a more expansive view of education, and she further noted how state and local policies affect all aspects in the classroom. You can sign up to volunteer with her campaign here

For more information, visit Pam’s Facebook page

Afghanistan. 

Ali Scotten spoke about the Truman National Security Project, which has been heavily involved in the Afghan evacuation efforts. “Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees are currently being housed at Holloman Air Force Base as well as Fort Bliss – these refugees are going to need a lot of help to resettle.” The Las Cruces City Council will be voting on a resolution to welcome the refugees, and Ali urges us to contact our city councilor (and county commissioner) and ask them to vote yes on this resolution because “these Afghan refugees are going to need all the help we can give such as food, housing, and medical care,” Ali emphasized. The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is taking the lead on the resettlement process and you can donate to the Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies Fund.

For more information, contact Ali

The Alameda Road Diet (plus, some personal candidate endorsements!)

Amy Simpson wanted to endorse both Bob Wofford and Pam Cort for LCPS School Board. “They are incredible people and incredible educators.” 

Amy has been working on getting the city council to consider a Road Diet for Alameda. “No matter what side of town we live on, whether we rent or own, walk, ride, or drive, we all deserve safe streets.” Amy explained that our neighborhoods are disconnected because of unsafe speeding and streets that are not safe to walk along. During the last 10 months, we have had 9 pedestrian accidents, and 7 were fatal, including our former LCPS Superintendent and friend, Dr. Karen Trujillo. New Mexico is #1 in the country for pedestrian fatalities. This is unacceptable, especially because these deaths were preventable. Amy hopes the city will at least re-stripe the road, which will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety and be cost effective. Amy provided the following links for us:

For more information, contact Amy

In support of the LCPS Equity Policy

Elisa Sanchez told us that she is concerned for the LCPS School Board. “The School Board has been under attack from some people with misinformation about the Equity Policy. This policy is really important!” she said. Elisa would like to see all our schools be bilingual and decolonized. She urges us to let the school board members and candidates know that the equity policy is a good thing. Elisa remembers being 9 years old, in fourth grade, and studying New Mexico history; she says this was the only time she felt proud of who she was, as she saw herself reflected in the school curriculum. 

For more information, contact Elisa.   

Sierra Club’s current initiatives and opportunities

Organizer for the Sierra Club, Antoinette Reyes, told us that Sierra Club, Chaparral Coalition for Community Health and the Environment, Earthworks, and the Environmental Integrity Project recently secured an agreement with El Paso Electric that they not construct any new fossil fuel units for the next four years. Check out the press release here. Sierra Club is currently looking for mentors for 4th to 6th graders in Las Cruces, helping them to lobby and advocate for issues that they are passionate about. If you are interested in being a mentor for the Global Warming Express after-school program for 4th to 6th graders in Las Cruces, contact genie@theglobalwarmingexpress.org.

For more information, contact Antoinette.  

Gill Sorg, running for Doña Ana Soil & Water Conservation District

City Councilor Gill Sorg explained that after 12 years, he is not running for reelection to the City Council. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily, though,” said Gill, who announced that he will still be on your ballot, as he is running for the Soil & Water Conservation District. He hopes to have your support!

For more information, contact Gill.

Speaking of the Doña Ana Soil & Water Conservation District

Kurt Anderson, who is a DASWCD Supervisor (Position 1), urges us to vote for Gill Sorg and Joshua Switzer for the Soil & Water Conservation District. “Gill has a background in agriculture and Joshua is a local farmer who regularly sells his goods at the Farmer’s Market.” 

For more information, contact Kurt

Candidates: thank you for stepping up

Don Kurtz wanted to thank the candidates we’ve heard from and praise their experience and desire to serve. He urges us to start conversations with our friends and neighbors and let them know about these candidates. This has proven to be a really effective way to spread the word about the qualified candidates you care about. 

For more information, contact Don

He likes us. He really, really likes us!

Shannon Reynolds wanted to take a moment and say he’s missed our PVA meetings! He is excited for the upcoming municipal election, and reminds us that as soon as that is over, we’ll need to focus on the 2022 election.

For more information, contact Shannon

Appreciation for Señora Flores

Ann Gutierrez wanted to give a huge shout out to Maria Flores, who has served 12 years on the LCPS School Board (her term finishes this year). “We owe her a debt of gratitude for the fine work she’s done on the board. She has been a champion for all the students, the teachers, and the staff of the Las Cruces Public Schools. She studies and deliberates what is before the board, she thinks about what’s best for the children, and votes her conscience. She has been such a fine public servant in our community and I just want to thank her.”

For more information, contact Ann

Speaking of the School Board

Peter Goodman was reminded of this comic, recently posted in the Sun News:

Social Media Expert gives us the lowdown

Cheryl Carreon urges us to go to candidates’ Facebook pages and share and “like.” This is a free and powerful tool. When you do this, it increases the metrics and those pages are seen more. She also echoes Ann’s sentiments and thanks Maria Flores for all her hard work on the School Board. 

For more information, contact Cheryl.

Her tireless service was a labor of love

Maria Flores thanked everyone for their kind words. She supports Pam and Bob and wishes them luck!

For more information, contact Maria.  

PVA happens again:
Thursday, September 23, 2021, at 7pm
In-person or via Zoom, we will let you know!