These letters published in the May 1 2022 print edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News.

What we should do with GO bonds

The American Association of University Women-LC (AAUW-LC) supports an affordable housing obligation from the general obligation (GO) bond. As a national network, AAUW has been empowering women since 1881. AAUW-LC, established in 1923, has long supported women in our county through scholarships, research and advocacy.

Affordable housing is critical to women and their families. Our city, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a housing crisis. Currently, there is a shortage of 5,600 affordable rental units in Las Cruces. Low- and moderate-income women, many whom are single-heads of their households, struggle to meet this basic need for their families.

In the US, single parenthood often means socio-economic risks, like lower educational attainment, higher unemployment, and lower wage jobs. Our city can change these risks by ensuring families have stable affordable homes.

Historically, nonprofit and for-profit developers in our city leverage the city’s investment, raising additional funds from various resources. For example, the city is investing $2.4 million in the Three Sisters Apartment project on Walnut Street with projected costs of $17 million. In combination with housing tax credits and other resources, the developer is attracting $6 for every $1 the city is investing in the project.

Using this model, the $6 million GO bond investment could bring approximately $42.5 million in affordable housing to Las Cruces. These funds will build over 170 new affordable housing units, assuming similar per unit housing costs as the Three Sisters project.

Using GO bond funds for an affordable housing investment is a justified, reasonable use of these funds.

Ruth Jaure, Las Cruces

Las Cruces needs affordable housing

Mesilla Valley Community of Hope is a nonprofit organization that serves the homeless and near-homeless population in our community. Our vision is a world in which homelessness and poverty are eradicated.

We work to provide the homeless population with shelter to permanent housing as quickly as possible. Last year we helped over 1,000 people find safe, decent affordable housing. Often, we couple affordable housing with coordinated services to help people maintain a stable home.

The benefits of providing this supportive housing to the most vulnerable — people with mental illness, chronic health conditions, histories of trauma — are direct and straightforward. Supportive housing resolves homelessness, improves mental and physical health, and lowers the public costs of medical, police, and jail services.

Despite our best efforts, over 150 people were sleeping on the streets in January. We have the vouchers to house more people, but we cannot find affordable apartments to rent.

In the last few years, we have seen a tremendous reduction of available housing units. Part of this is because of the rapid increase in rents; in large companies taking over smaller property management companies and imposing stricter tenant rules and eligibility screening; and the massive increase of properties being used as vacation rentals.

We have an opportunity to help the city meet its goal of providing attainable housing for all residents. Please join us in asking our city council to support a $6 million general obligation bond to build more affordable housing for all residents including those who are most in need.

Nicole Martinez, MVCH director, Las Cruces

Tough decisions

It was 75 years ago, but it’s still fresh in my mind. I was playing with my friends throwing a ball around with Lucky. Lucky was a little cocker spaniel that we all knew and played with. We were having a good time kicking the ball around keeping it from Lucky, when one of the kicks sent the ball out into the street. Lucky went after it and was clipped by a car. He made it back to the grass and collapsed. We yelled for our parents to come out and “save Lucky.” When we tried to pet him he would nip at us because it probably hurt. “I’ll call the police they’ll know what to do,” said my mom.

In a few minutes a police car pulled up and an officer came over and asked what was going on. We all cried “save Lucky.” The officer bent over and tried to move Lucky but Lucky would cry and try to bite the officer. “Alright,” said the officer, “stand back.” There were a few parents and a number of kids waiting to see how the officer was going to save Lucky. Instead he took out his huge gun and with one loud “bang,” shot Lucky. Most of us had never seen a real gun or heard one go off before and a few kids peed their pants. Our parents stood there with their mouths wide open. The officer then picked up our dog by the tail and threw him in a nearby dumpster. We all ran to the dumpster crying “Lucky, Lucky.” Our parents said at the ensuing hearing, “We’ll think twice before we call the cops.”

William Grigaliunas, Las Cruces

Special situations call for special tactics

Several years ago, if I recall correctly, a man wielding a knife on the I-25 overpass on Lohman was fatally shot by police. Then, and even more so now, I wondered why police don’t have special weapons when encountering such situations.

Anyone trained in self-defense or martial arts could easily have held off and disarmed a 75-year-old woman with a simple six-foot pole. Doesn’t SWAT stand for “Special Weapons and Tactics”? The police should have a SWAT team armed with six-foot poles to confront knife-wielding subjects in such situations.

What good is 70 hours of crisis intervention training if a 75-year old-woman, with no firearm, ends up being shot anyway?

Phil Yost, Las Cruces

Reyes for county assessor

On April 22nd Sun-News reporter Michael McDevitt profiled Ruben Reyes, candidate for Doña Ana County assessor. In addition, I want to add some personal words about Mr. Reyes and the office he seeks.

Having worked with Mr. Reyes personally for nearly 15 years in the Assessor’s Office, I know him to be a man of integrity who cares deeply about his profession. He is someone dedicated to providing an outstanding level of customer service. He has a wealth of experience in all aspects of Assessor’s Office services including appraisal, mapping properties, processing of recorded documents for ownership purposes, and other responsibilities.

The Assessor’s Office has suffered from uninspired and sometimes largely absent leadership for many years now. The taxpayers and citizens of Doña Ana County deserve better from this critical office that affects each and every property owner and taxpayer. Mr. Reyes is uniquely qualified to provide the kind of leadership that is so desperately needed. In addition to his professional qualities, Mr. Reyes has faced personal challenges over the years that he has met with courage and success. He is a dedicated family man with strong personal beliefs that he exhibits in his life.

In this race, Mr. Reyes is facing political forces who seek to derail him in this endeavor. They have controlled this office for a very long time, and they do not want to relinquish their control of it. But the Assessor’s Office belongs to the people of the county, and it is those people that Mr. Reyes will serve.

These words are my personal opinion which has not been vetted by Mr. Reyes or his campaign. Please give your support to Ruben Reyes in the June 7 primary.

Don Cillo, Temple, Texas

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This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Letters to the editor: On affordable housing