Here’s how I’d vote in this year’s city council elections.
Two city council races offer clear choices: District 2 incumbent Yvonne Flores vs. William Beerman; and Becki Graham vs. Bev Courtney in District 3, where write-in candidate Gregory Shervanick is also running because, “the City, with major projects and a large budget, needs to have ethics, transparency, and accountability.”
A retired lawyer, Councilor Flores has worked hard and effectively to improve the City. She’s open to new ideas, and studies issues critically. Graham seems an excellent candidate who supports a living wage but also helps encourage businesses as a researcher and program manager at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center. Graham is in tune with Gabe Vasquez, whom District 3 voters elected in 2017; and being married to a LCFD fireman likely provides useful insights. Courtney, who teaches shooting and gun safety, cares deeply, but has done little to prepare herself for the kinds of detailed issues the council decides. Shervanick attends many council and city advisory board meetings.
If you believe Donald Trump was a fine president, cheated of re-election by some vast, conspiratorial chicanery, you may wish to vote for Courtney (a good-hearted, longtime resident making her third run for this seat) or Beerman. In our interview, Beerman played up his past work as an auditor, but also confirmed and reasserted that he considers recently-fired NMSU professor David Clements “a great American hero.” (Clements broke NMSU vaccine-and-mask rules, spouting disinformation, then encouraged hundreds of thousands of unknown sympathizers to persecute a fellow professor, about whom he lied.) As foot-soldiers in Donald Trump’s slow-motion coup – Trump’s effort to undermine democracy by getting flunkies into positions to overrule voters and throw states’ tallies his way in 2024 – these folks are not innocuous. If Beerman truly wants to help the City, and has good ideas, there are several advisory boards on which he could usefully serve. (Beerman also sees “socialism” as one of two “problem areas” he highlights about Las Cruces.)
In the four-way District 5 race, Becky Ann Corran is the star. She’s a Professor of Public Health who’s worked with diverse communities as an advocate, and has a demonstrated interest in solving public problems. As District 5 is a “ranked-choice-voting” race; I’d list David Telford second on my ballot.
Telford, a BravoMic radio ad consultant and marketer, is a self-described moderate for whom businesses are a high priority. Normand Robert Paquette insists he’s “a public servant,” and even ducked one substantive question I asked him by repeating the “public servant” riff instead of answering. His Facebook site hints at “conservative values,” but offers mostly platitudes and a neighbor’s endorsement.
Ronnie Sisneros says he joined the Republican Party in 2016. Likely for Donald Trump. (I do like that Sisneros says he values the Mesquite Historical District.) The County Republican Party endorses Sisneros and Pacquette.
I can and will vote to add Gill Sorg and Joshua Switzer to the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District Board. Josh is a dedicated organic farmer (whose produce we’ve bought at the Farmers’ Market since 2012) and a truly non-political person who knows this land and loves it. Josh would be a breath of fresh air. Gill ranched in Montana, and did it the right way. Gill also has a science background. (And, yeah, his years on the City Council might equip him with contacts and knowledge that could facilitate DASWCD’s work.)
Anyway, please vote!
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[The above column appeared this morning, Sunday, 17 October 2021, in the Las Cruces Sun-News, as well as on the newspaper's website.
[Normand Robert Paquette repeatedly self-identified as “a public servant,” and has been noted for his charitable work. However, I feel it’s fair to ask candidates a little about their views beyond how they’ll handle their actual local duties if elected. For one thing, sometimes everyone says all the same things (stronger community, better police force, public safety, better service to businesses seeking permits, and “I love Las Cruces!”) about those local races. Some listeners may want to hear a little more about a candidate’s wider views. (The races are technically non-partisan, but Paquette’s, Courtney’s, and Sisneros’s candidacies are mentioned with approval by the County Republican Party.) That’s particularly so now. We have just seen (depending on your view) a very dangerous and destructive presidency OR a brief interlude in which Donald Trump pushed our country back toward old-time Christian values; Mr. Trump either got cheated out of election by a vast criminal conspiracy or is involved in a slow-motion coup attempt, using bogus claims of election fraud (rejected so far by all courts and many Republican officeholders) to justify limiting voting and setting up systems in which Republican politicians could veto the choices of their state’s voters to throw the election to their candidate. January 6 was January 6. Many Republicans and most all Democrats do not favor Trump’s efforts; but many Republicans do favor them, notably in swing states such as Georgia, Texas, and Arizona. Knowing whether or not a candidate favors that anti-democratic effort seems material to a decision on local offices. So I was annoyed when Pacquette blew me off, repeating his “I’m a public servant!” riff as a response to whatever I asked, rather than answering. He referred me to his website. His Facebook page says he’s won a mayor’s endorsement for community service, and his favorite books are Dale Carnegie and the Bible. (I should note that in election fora I try to elicit information, and rarely argue with candidates.)]
[With the Dona Ana Soil andWater Conservation District races, we talked with Gill Sorg and Josh Switzer, candidates in Positions 3 and 4. (They are in separate races, but all residents of the District can vote in both district races.) As to their opponents, who did not deign to discuss their DASWCD candidacies with us on radio, Jose F Makk apparently installs irrigation systems at golf courses and homes, while Joseph A. Skaggs owns a company that drills wells. Sadly, the Sun-News didn’t do candidate profiles on this race, nor do I see any in the League of Women Voters Voter Guide in the Bulletin. But I sure like and respect both Gill and Josh. Both truly care about conservation and the community.]
[I may discuss the school board race in my next column. I’ll be talking to the candidates on Radio KTAL [“Speak Up, Las Cruces!” 8-10 a.m. Wednesday, and specifically: 8:30, School District 1 Ray Jaramillo and Alberto Balcazar; 9, District 2 Henry A Young and Pamela M. Cort; and 9:30, District 3 Robert C Wofford Eloy Francisco Macha Camborda, all on 101.5 FM or streaming at http://www.lccommunityradio.org/], Las Cruces Community Radio. (I haven’t met all the candidates, and will wait to see if the discussions alter my initial preferences or strengthen them.)]
[ALSO: “Almost, Maine” at the Las Cruces Community Theater was fun Saturday night, and likely will amuse additional audiences this coming Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon, the last weekend of the play’s run. Audience modest, and therefore fairly safe for folks worrying about COVID19.
Contact LCCT at https://www.lcctnm.org/ or (575) 523-1200.]
|© Peter Goodman 2021|