March 24, 2022

Welcome back!

Ann Gutierrez welcomed everyone back with un gran abrazo. She noted that it’s been a very tough two years since PVA last met in-person in February 2020.

Unified Action

Beth Bardwell pointed out the need for affordable housing in Las Cruces and laid out the ways in which the whole community benefits from affordable housing. The city will soon have an online survey, asking citizens to tell them how best to spend General Obligation bond funds.

The unified action is simple: 

  1. PVA will send a link to the survey as soon as it is available. Look for it.
  2. Click on the link and let the city officials know that affordable housing is important to you.

For more information send email to Beth.

Ruben Reyes, running for County Assessor

Ruben outlined his experience and qualifications which include 27 years working in the assessor’s office. He said his goal is to bring integrity, transparency, and fairness to the assessor’s office. He said it’s important for people to understand how their property value is determined and that understanding would make paying taxes a little easier “even though [he was quick to add] paying taxes is never easy.”

For more information send email to Ruben and call him at 575-805-7707.

Chris Schaljo-Hernandez, running for County Commission

Terri McBrayer spoke in support of Chris, who is a candidate for Doña Ana County Commission, District 1. She explained that Chris had planned on attending tonight’s meeting but needed to stay home with a sick child. She said that Chris has served as chair of the Doña Ana Democratic Party, has helped a lot of people get elected, and has been active in county affairs.

For more information send email to Terri and visit Christopher Schaljo-Hernandez for Doña Ana County Commission on Facebook.

Legislators got this right

Rocky Bacchus was thoroughly pleased that the omnibus tax bill included huge increases in solar tax credit and incentives for efficient building. The new rules apply to everyone in the state with no income barriers. Rocky thanked JoAnne Ferrary and Bill Soules for sponsoring the bill as well and Nathan Small, Joe Cervantes, and Jeff Steinborn for voting for it.

For more information send email to Rocky.

Support for Robert Lara, candidate for district court judge

Yvonne Flores spoke in support of Robert Lara for district court judge. She cited his experience in the courtroom and behind the scenes including 14 years as a lawyer and 6 years clerking for all the district court judges.

For more information send email to Yvonne.

State auditor candidate says, with feeling, “It’s so nice to be home!”

Zach Quintero asked for support in his run for state auditor. He mentioned that he is a proud native of Doña Ana County and pointed out that it has been 16.5 years since a Doña Ana County Democrat has been in the executive branch of state government. Zach said he has secured many endorsements statewide including union endorsements. He recently served as an ombudsman appointed by Governor Lujan Grisham to investigate elder abuse, neglect, fraud, and financial exploitation. He has already put 11,800 miles on his campaign vehicle, the Red Chile Prius, and will keep on traveling the state to talk with voters.

For more information send email to Zack, follow him on Twitter, and visit the campaign website.

Just here to say “Thanks!”

Judge Joel Cano explained that he is running for another term on the magistrate court but he doesn’t have an opponent. He thanked PVA for providing a place for candidates to speak and connect with voters and thanked the volunteers who have supported his campaigns over the past 12 years.

For more information send email to Judge Cano.

Nathan Small has good news, bad news, and greetings from Xochitl

Representative Small said that his wife, Xochitl Torres Small, sends greetings from Washington where she is attending a Senate hearing in her capacity as USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development. She loves the work but misses home.

Nathan said the legislators had produced a values-based budget with funding for education, health, housing, economic development, water, and natural resources. He called it “the best budget in New Mexico history” and also the largest.

Nathan warned that the November elections will be hard fought including In his own district where he faces a strong Republican opponent.

For more information send email to Nathan and follow him on Twitter @NathanLCNM.

Senator Joe Cervantes is celebrating

Cervantes said he was in a good mood for at least the following reasons:

  1. The New Mexico Civil Rights Act is signed into law. It will allow the filing of lawsuits to recover financial damages if a public agency or officer violates a person’s rights under the state Bill of Rights. The law also bars “qualified immunity” as a defense.
  2. After 20 years of effort on his part, a new congressional map has been adopted. 
  3. He’s not up for reelection this year.

Volunteers wanted: Gabe Vasquez, running for CD2

Rosemarie Sanchez spoke in wholehearted support of Gabe Vasquez for New Mexico’s Second Congressional District. She said Gabe welcomes volunteers to his campaign and also … money. The next big deadline for reporting campaign contributions is March 31, 2022.

To donate to the campaign or to volunteer visit the campaign website and email Rosemarie.

Gabe Vasquez asks for support in a huge, tough district

Gabe spoke of his accomplishments on the Las Cruces City Council, bringing innovative resources to his district and a fresh perspective to city government. He alluded to growing up on “the other side of the train tracks,” to hanging out in his grandfather’s TV repair shop, and to the values he learned there.

He promised he would be working hard, traveling in his hybrid to all the communities of CD2. “We’re going to win this,” he said, “but I need your help.”

For more information send email to Gabe and visit the campaign website.

Daniel Sambrano, running for county assessor

Daniel Sambrano, a first-time candidate, asked for support as he runs for county assessor. He spoke of 16 years’ experience working in the assessor’s office. He likened the department to “a ship docked at port” and said he would like to get things moving in a positive direction. He thinks it’s important to get the assessors and appraisers “the education they need.”

For more information send email to Daniel.

Laura Montoya, running for state treasurer

Laura Montoya emphasized her 23 years of financial experience in federal, state, tribal, and local government. She served as Sandoval County Treasurer for eight years. She mentioned that she is putting a lot of miles on her campaign vehicle, the green chile Honda. 

For more information send email to Laura and visit the campaign website.

Senator survives another rough and tumble legislative session

Jeff Steinborn reported that the powerful Senate Finance Committee, where he has been a member for the past two years, was exceptionally busy this year. Among the many bills passed was one providing for cleanup of abandoned uranium mining sites and another banning shipment of high level nuclear waste to New Mexico.

Jeff announced that he endorses two “great candidates” in statewide races: Laura Montoya for treasurer and Zach Quintero for auditor.

For more information send email to Jeff.

Sheriff’s department is flourishing

Sheriff Kim Stewart listed a slew of accomplishments for the department under her leadership starting with a new policies and procedures manual that is online and available to all. Other achievements during her first term include the following: 

  • the department is the only sheriff’s department in New Mexico to be fully staffed
  • the DNA lab gets speedy (within 90 minutes) results
  • The department is “diverse compliant” which makes them eligible for federal grants
  • the sheriff sits on six national, state, and local law enforcement panels 

For more information send email to Kim.

County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds seeks a second term

Shannon noted that the past four years have been a steep learning curve for him. He spoke of the many accomplishments of the commission including extensive COVID relief programs and expanded public transportation.

For more information send email to Shannon and call him at 575-650-7388.

Downwinders schedule peaceful protest at the Trinity Site

Mary Martinez White explained that the bomb at the Trinity site was “a problematic bomb.” Ten pounds of raw plutonium went up into the stratosphere and rained down from 30,000 feet across New Mexico contaminating soil, water, livestock, and humans. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act has benefited Arizona, Nevada, and Utah but not, inexplicably, New Mexico. Mary asked that people contact Senator Heinrich and “ask that he actually do something.”

Everyone was invited to join the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium in a peaceful protest.

Annual Peaceful Protest
Saturday, April 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Stallion Gate Entrance at the Trinity Site (Highway 380)

For more information send email to Mary and call her at 505-629-8516.

Democrats are on the ballot in all 24 local races

Eddie Estrada, chair of the Doña Ana Democratic Party, brought news of the upcoming primary election. Democrats filed in all 24 local races on the ballot. Republicans filed in 8. Eddie said he thinks that speaks to the health and strength of the Democratic Party in Doña Ana County.

For more information email Eddie and visit his website.

County Commissioner Lynn Ellins seeks a second term

Lynn Ellins agreed with Shannon Reynold’s assessment that the county has had significant achievements over the past three-and-a-half years. Lynn said his history of public service began when he was a young naval officer and includes his position as chief deputy secretary of state in Colorado and two terms as Doña Ana County Clerk before his election to the county commission. He played a key role in New Mexico becoming a marriage-equality state in 2013.

For more information send email to Lynn.

News and opinions from a newsman

Peter Goodman said that the number one, most important thing we can do for Ukraine and for the climate is to stop driving our vehicles (whenever possible).

Peter invited us to listen and contribute to KTAL Radio 101.5 FM. Volunteers are welcome and so are suggestions for shows. A new feature is their live broadcast from the Farmers’ Market, 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday.

Terrible, horrible, very bad fossil fuels

Lucas Herndon, energy and policy director for Progress Now NM, spoke of his frustration with New Mexico’s dependence on oil and gas and the governor’s flip flop which ended with “an executive order to continue pursuing hydrogen despite the will of the people.” Lucas urged everyone to understand that “Any politician who takes contributions from the oil and gas industry does not have your best interests at heart.”

For more information send email to Lucas and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Speak up, Las Cruces

Shirley Baca spoke up for “Speak Up Las Cruces,” the community radio program she co-hosts with Peter Goodman and Walt Rubel. The show airs every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., is rebroadcast on Wednesday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and you can stream it. They have a stunning variety of guests. In April they will start doing political interviews, and there will be plenty of news about candidates.

For more information send email to Shirley.

Judith A. Baca, aka Judy, running for probate judge

Judy Baca asked for support in her bid for probate judge. She outlined a wealth of experience including 28 years with the Third Judicial District Court and 14 years with the Las Cruces Police Department’s victim assistance unit.

For more information send email to Judy.

Robert Lara Seeks Judgeship, District Court #2

Robert Lara announced that he has just received word that he has qualified for public funding for the primary phase of the race, the only candidate in Doña Ana County to do so. Robert laid out his experience in private practice and as staff attorney for the district court.

For more information send email to Robert.

What the heck is going on?

Earl Nissen spoke as a friend of Dorris Hamilton and pointed out the draconian nature of her guardianship. He said a group of her supporters have found 100 cases in which the attorney CaraLyn Banks and Judge Manuel Arrieta were “united in these guardianship cases.”

For more information send email to Earl.

Celebrating Women

Elisa Sanchez spoke to everyone: “Close your eyes and think of a woman on whose shoulders you stand.” She spoke of learning from the example of her mother, who was active in the women’s auxiliary depicted in the movie “Salt of the Earth.” “I learned from those women that unity is power. Commitment is power. And that working together we can accomplish anything we want.” Elisa invited everyone to a celebration honoring women which will be held Saturday, March 26, starting at 1 p.m. on the Downtown Plaza. 

For more information send email to Elisa.

Jessica Streeter, running for district court judge

Jessica Streeter, recently appointed by the governor to the position of judge on the Third Judicial District Court, said that she grew up in Doña Ana County, graduated from NMSU, and attended law school at UNM. She noted a broad range of experience from public defender to criminal and family law and estate planning. After working in Albuquerque and Roswell, she and her husband came back home to Las Cruces to raise their family. She has been in private practice here for three years. 

For more information send email to Jessica.

Casa de Peregrinos will have a new home

Eric Walkinshaw invited everyone to the groundbreaking for Casa de Peregrinos’s new and expanded food pantry facility.

Groundbreaking for Casa de Peregrinos
Thursday, March 31, 9:30 a.m.
Old Horse and Hound, 991 West Amador

Completion of the new facility is scheduled for the summer of 2023.

For more information call Eric at 575-932-8524.

PVA meets again April 28, 7 p.m.