• Gregory Z. Smith

Leadership on Current Issues

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

  • School Safety - I worked at local architectural firm that helped with the design of Centennial High School, which is at the eastern end of District 2. So, I am very conscious of decisions made regarding that campus, its communities of learners, spaces designed to produce positive educational interactions, and other aspects of that unique learning environment. Sadly, what most people see and comment upon is the fence, "it looks like a prison". Even so, bullets have been shot at the school and horrendous threats have been made there and at Las Cruces High School (also in District 2) through social media. As a community we seem to agree that school safety has three main aspects:  1. Community mental health services 2. School security 3. Access to weapons with intent to do harm We have been working on the first two issues but the third issue is the most difficult to balance: the right to bear arms versus the danger of their use at schools or other public spaces. I brought two resolutions to the City Council that asked our legislators to address the last issue. The second passed after much discussion and public input and dovetails with a similar request from the New Mexico Municipal League.

Centennial High School from Sonoma Ranch Road

  • Opposition to Border Wall - Centuries, perhaps millennia, of trade north and south, predate our border with Mexico, just over 30 miles south of here. Families, friendships, and businesses straddling the border. We have new opportunities at Santa Teresa and San Jeronimo that will likely be stifled by the message a wall will send to our neighbors. While there may be very real concerns about border security, a wall cannot effectively treat the symptoms of the issues, much less the issues themselves. We need current immigration and drug legislation, along with a reality based approach to addressing problems in Mexico and Central America. After we have passed new legislation and initiated new programs, we can determine what security is truly needed on the border and what technologies are required. Resolution passed 6-1

  • Municipal Minimum Wage - This is one of the most divisive issues ever voted on by the Council during my tenure. I supported the review we had in the summer of 2018 so that we could assess if what we imposed was good, bad, or non-impactful for our community. While the report was essentially inconclusive, as long as we continue to impose a municipal wage, I will continue to support doing research on the effectiveness of what we have imposed. If we have done harm, we have an opportunity to address what is harmful. If we have done something beneficial, we have an opportunity to improve the benefits. If what we have done has made no difference, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I supported research and dialogue before initiating minimum wage in 2015, and at that time, I supported imposing a minimum wage only if it was appropriate for Las Cruces.


View of the Organ Mountains from Our Home in Mesilla Park


© 2018 Greg Z. Smith