May 26, 2022

Featured Presentation

Earl Nissen and Peter Goodman spoke of the need for a Citizens Police Oversight Committee (CPOC) in Las Cruces. Many cities are using CPOCs to improve communication, resolve complaints and disputes, and build trust between law-enforcement and the public it serves. 

The City Council will soon consider either an ordinance creating an oversight committee or formation of an exploratory committee to study the idea. Earl and Peter urged us to be aware of the issue, discuss it with our neighbors and city councilors, and consider speaking on the issue when it comes before the City Council. 

For more information call Earl (575-496-3405) or Peter (575-489-7090) and visit the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement online.

Unified Action

Cheryl Frank introduced the Unified Action for this month. It’s simple: Reach out to the people in your personal influence network, urge them to vote, and let them know which candidates you believe are most qualified.

For more information send email to Cheryl.

New districts for Las Cruces

Lydia Hammond invited everyone to participate in the Las Cruces redistricting project that is currently underway. Once approved, new districts will be in effect for the next 10 years. You can submit your comments online or attend the next meeting.

Redistricting Meeting
June 22, 5:30 p.m.
Las Cruces City Hall

For more information send email to Lydia.

Fired up!

Rocky Bacchus said that El Paso Electric has a proposal that will discourage home owners from moving to solar energy. Rocky pointed out six ways that the EPE proposal would be bad for consumers and bad for clean energy. He urged us to contact Steve Fischmann, our Public Regulation Commission commissioner, and ask him to monitor the June 6 hearing and oppose the Smart Meter Stipulation. Rocky added that “Steve is a good commissioner who truly cares and appreciates constituents.”

For more information send email to Rocky.

Goodbye SWEC, hello Wildlife for All

Kevin Bixby announced that SWEC (Southwest Environmental Center) has a new name–Wildlife for All–and a broader mission which is to “reform wildlife management in the U.S. to be more ecologically driven, democratic, and compassionate.” Kevin explained that currently each state comes up with its own wildlife management plan . . . the result is not good for wildlife.

For more information send email to Kevin.

How should our city look?

Sharon Thomas, former city councilor and urban planning devotee, said that Realize Las Cruces, the comprehensive city plan, is now ready for the implementation stage, and it’s time for citizens to speak up and answer the question: How do you want our city to look?” You can comment at the Realize Las Cruces website, and there will be meetings for public input in July, August, and September. The website will post meeting times and places.

For more information send email to Sharon.

Support for Ruben Reyes for county assessor

Martha Lopez spoke in support of Ruben Reyes for county assessor. A recent retiree from the assessors office, she praised Ruben’s effectiveness as a supervisor and said that under his leadership all the surrounding communities, including El Paso, turned to the Dońa Ana County Assessor’s office for technical assistance. “When Ruben left, all that changed,” she said.

For more information send email to Martha.

What is economical, eco-friendly, and has four wheels?

Allen Downs implored us to make our next car an electric car. He said that operating costs for an EV could be equivalent to paying 75 cents per gallon of gas. He reported that the New Mexico Department of Transportation is working to use funds from the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to put DC Fast Chargers at 50 mile intervals along major travel routes in New Mexico over the next five years.

For more information send email to Allen.

Public banks for New Mexico

Elaine Sullivan of the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity explained that public banks are coming to the U.S. in the next two to three years. Currently her group is focused on educating legislators, decision makers, and the public on the basics of public banking. Elaine said that public banking is founded on long term planning that will bring us out of the depths of poverty.  “Now is the time,” she said, “to let your legislators know that you support public banking.”

For more information send email to Elaine.

Getting Las Cruces ready for public banking

Jennifer Kreie said that the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity is at work in Las Cruces, gathering information and starting conversations with small business owners and others in the community. She said that “local economic prosperity is the long term goal” of community banking and invited interested persons to sign up for more information.

For more information send email to Jennifer.

Public Finance 101

Mary Martinez White, a former Dońa Ana County treasurer, referred to a statute that allows the county treasurer to invest only within the county boundaries. So the treasurer invests in the local banks, and the banks invest where they can make a good profit. “That,” she said, “is something that needs to change.”

For more information send email to Mary.

GOTV pep talk

Yvonne Flores spoke of the importance and urgency of getting out the vote. She noted that in Anthony only 7 people voted on the first day of expanded early voting and no one at all voted on Wednesday. Clearly, getting out the vote is going to take some serious effort.

For more information send email to Yvonne.

Darshan Patel, running for NM 2nd Congressional District

Darshan Patel spoke of growing up in Albuquerque, teaching high school math, getting his degree in medicine from UNM School of Medicine, and practicing medicine in rural New Mexico. He said he decided to run for public office in January of 2022 when he was taking care of patients who were dying of COVID. “These were all preventable deaths,” he said. He identified three issues that he is committed to: universal access to health care, gun safety, and science-based action to protect the environment.

For more information send email to Darshan, visit the campaign website and call 505-633-6693.

Turn the ballot over!

Shirley Baca spoke in support of her sister, Judith Baca, candidate for probate judge. She referred to Judith’s relevant experience–28 years as a court assistant and 12 years with the police department. She said Judith is committed to educating citizens about the probate court and the importance of making a will. She also pointed out that probate judge is the only contest on the back side of the ballot.

For more information send email to Shirley.

Raúl Torrez, running for NM Attorney General

Raúl Torrez spoke of the urgent need for serious gun safety laws. In light of the end of Roe, he advocated for new laws that would strengthen and clarify reproductive rights in New Mexico.

Raúl invited everyone to a meet and greet next week.

Meet and Greet with Martin Heinrich
Thursday, June 2, 9 a.m.
The Bean at Josefina’s

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

Commissioner Reynolds endorses Raúl Torrez for AG

Shannon Reynolds challenged everyone to take voting seriously. He shared the message that’s gone viral: “Vote as if your skin is not white, your parents need medical care ….” With that, he endorsed Raúl Torrez for attorney general.

For more information send email to Shannon.

Support for Stewart and Patel

Aletta Wilson spoke in support of Darshan Patel, emphasizing his ”passion, compassion, and empathy.” She praised the job Sheriff Stewart has done in her first term. She urged us to vote for both of them.

For more information send email to Aletta.

Ruben Reyes, running for county assessor

Ruben asked for support in his bid for county assessor. He said he is running because current employees of the office asked him to. He spoke of his specialized training and experience. He thanked his former colleagues who spoke in his support this evening.

For more information send email to Ruben.

Tara Jaramillo has a long list of endorsements

Pat Aguirre spoke in support of Tara Jaramillo, candidate for State Representative for the newly drawn District 38.

She listed some of the many endorsements Tara has received including Conservation Voters, Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, National Education Association, and Teamsters Local 492. Pat reminded us that each endorsement involves completing a lengthy, time-consuming questionnaire. She noted that Tara is a businesswoman whose therapy and home care agency, Positive Outcomes, employs 500 people.

For more information send email to Pat.

Support for Ruben Reyes

Terri McBrayer added her voice in support of Ruben Reyes for county assessor and praised his communication outreach, his person-to-person approach, and his work ethic.

For more information send email to Terri.

Judge Wingenroth says thank you

Kent Wingenroth expressed his thanks to PVA for providing a forum for candidates to speak. He remembered how nervous he was when he first came to PVA to introduce himself and ask for support in his bid for magistrate judge. “I was a mess,” he said, “but people helped me out.”

For more information send email to Kent.

Chris Schaljo-Hernandez for County Commission

Chris asked for support in his bid for the Doña Ana County Commission, District 2. He spoke of the lack of infrastructure in the sprawling rural district and the services that are needed. He noted his experience as a small business owner (Salud! de Mesilla) and former chair of the county Democratic Party.

For more information send email to Chris.

A doctor’s story

Laura Garcia told us that her son has recently opened a mental health clinic in Santa Teresa. She was at his clinic and was talking to one of the local doctors – one of the only doctors left in southern NM who provides medical abortion. He said his lease was suddenly ended and he is now in need of an office. Laura is hoping to help. This doctor was seeing approximately 250 patients a month, and about 170 were coming from Texas.

For more information send email to Laura.  

Leave no stone unturned

Gayle Eads said the postcarding campaign is going strong and everyone is welcome to join. The group will be sending postcards until November. Gayle pointed out that postcards reach people that social media doesn’t. Aso, who can ignore a handwritten note?

For more information send email to Gayle.

El mismo burro y el mismo maíz

Elisa Sanchez introduced herself as “el mismo burro y el mismo maíz”–the person who says the same thing every time. She called out candidates who have used negative, misleading, and/or mean-spirited advertising. “We need to be civil with each other,” she admonished.

For more information send email to Elisa.

After Roe v. Wade

Lucas Herndon spoke of the inevitable overturning of Roe v. Wade and the need for a counterattack. He urged us to vote, but beyond that donate to pro-choice organizations, support clinic workers, and keep in mind that “the other side doesn’t care about civility.”

For more information send email to Lucas.

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.

Peter Goodman had three things on his mind: (1) “What a hell of a wonderful group of people you are!” (2) Kim Stewart has done something special as sheriff. For just one example, she has filled all the vacancies in the department. Do something special to help her get reelected. (3) Although Peter doesn’t agree with Raúl Torrez on everything, he’s supporting him for attorney general.

Pat Aguirre pointed out that JoAnne Ferrary has been targeted with uncivil attacks by Republicans and conservative Democrats, whom she refrained from naming.

Earl Nissen endorsed Kim Stewart for sheriff, noted that Dorris Hamilton is still “held hostage” by Judge Arrieta and Carolyn Banks, and observed that the triage center remains in abominable disarray.

Elisa Sanchez called attention to the fact that it has been two years since the murder of George Floyd, and the same amount of time has passed since the murder in Las Cruces of Antonio Valenzuela in the same manner. The difference is that no one is remembering Antonio, no one is saying his name.

And with that we called it a night.