April 17, 2015

Las Cruces City Council to delay vote on recall signatures

The Las Cruces City Council will not vote next week on three resolutions related to recall elections for three city councilors, according to a city official.

gavel on stack of documents

Udell Vigil, a spokesman for the city of Las Cruces, told New Mexico Political Report the council will remove the items from the agenda due to a pending civil case.

“The three resolutions will remain on the agenda, but they will be pulled by the council at the start of the meeting, which means they’re not going to consider them,” Vigil said.

The council was scheduled to vote on whether or not to ratify signatures from three petitions aimed at recalling councilors Olga Pedroza, Nathan Small and Gill Sorg.

Esther Martinez-Carrillo, the city clerk, deemed a number of signatures collected by a group called New Mexicans for a Better Tomorrow as invalid. The group, which has been pushing for a recall since last year, has said the councilors are too progressive in their politics and accused them of unethical political behavior.

On Thursday, the group filed a Writ of Mandamus challenging Martinez-Carillo’s method of verifying the signatures. Later in the day, District Court Judge Mary Rosner replied with an order to take another look at the signatures.

The clerk’s office now has 20 days to review signatures on the recall petitions or explain to the court why they did not comply.

Councilor Pedroza said she sees the court filing and recall attempts as a distraction attempt that is working. She said she has been trying move forward and continue with work as usual, but it is becoming more and more difficult.

“I cannot dedicate 100 percent of my time like I used to the work of the council,” Pedroza said.

Vigil said with pending litigation, city officials cannot comment on the court order.

A message left with New Mexicans for a Better Tomorrow was not returned.

See Rosner’s decision below.


  • Andy Lyman

    Andy Lyman is an Albuquerque based reporter. He previously covered the New Mexico's legislative session for the New Mexico News Network and served as a reporter and host for numerous news outlets.