KRWG

Continuing To Move Las Cruces Forward

Nov 22, 2019

Commentary: I am honored to have been re-elected as Las Cruces mayor.  I love this city and the people who live here, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve you for another term.

Election campaigns inevitably draw attention to our differences, but what struck me this year, as I campaigned, was how much the many candidates agreed on what we want for our city.

We all want safe neighborhoods and infrastructure that makes our lives more productive. We want recreational opportunities for people of all ages.  We want entrepreneurs to work their creative magic in our community.  We want to live in harmony with our neighbors, treating with compassion those who struggle among us, and remaining eager to find solutions for the challenges they face.

My opponents in the mayor’s race are themselves longtime contributors to our city’s well-being, and I look forward to our continued work together.

I’m also excited that voters re-elected Councilor Kasandra Gandara, a leader in so many areas of importance in our community.  I’m thrilled that two newcomers, Tessa Stuve and Johana Bencomo, will be joining us on the council.  Young and energetic, both will bring valuable experience and insights to our work.

I’m grateful for our hardworking city staff and to the residents of our community, partners in setting in the direction our city will take.

Clearly one of our first decisions will be the selection of a new city manager, one with solid administrative skills and an appreciation of our uniqueness as a city.  I will be looking for someone with the energy to identify and capitalize on new opportunities, while maintaining a culture of active responsiveness to our residents’ needs.

I hope to revitalize the strategic planning process so that it matches new policy with the many aspirations of our council and community.  I would like the city to take a more active role in assuring that mental health services are readily available for our residents.  I want us to continue to embrace opportunities in renewable energy, both as a city and in our community as a whole.

Within these broader objectives, I am particularly excited by three specific initiatives.

First, based on our positive experience with the Tax Increment Development District (TIDD) downtown, I would like for us to look to the El Paseo corridor as our next TIDD.  It’s easy to imagine this key corridor enlivened with new businesses, apartments and restaurants, and with frequent trolley-like transportation service connecting Downtown with NMSU and our expanded convention center.

Second, I’m excited by our development of 110 acres of prime real estate across from the Mountain View Regional Hospital, land that Las Cruces acquired earlier this year from the City of Albuquerque. Rental of commercial real estate along Lohman would provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual revenue for city activities, while non-commercial space could be master-planned by the city and our residents to include open areas, a nature park and model residential community.

Finally, I’m eager to investigate larger-scale initiatives for mixed income housing that can address the need for attractive, affordable living options and enhanced community life.  The experience of other cities can inform us as we work with area housing providers and the local development community to discover the best options for ourselves.

The above are just a few of the many possibilities we will be considering in coming months, and we welcome your own thoughts and active participation in the process.

These are exciting times for the City of Las Cruces.  Thank you for the opportunity to be your mayor.