In America and Taos: The Absurd is News

15 August, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

The Nation By now the 24 million Americans, who watched the Republican debates, know that Donald Trump represents the culmination of a new “made-in-America” artform, the triumph of the “reality-show” over realpolitick. Call it “Camus Revisited” or the ascension of the Absurd. Trump appeals to the pop-culture side of politicks and the deep resentment of citizens, who lament the betrayals of Senator Cruz’s quaint “Washington Cartel” (of which he is a member). The Donald quacks for all the misogynists, who despise ...

Taos Rhymes with Chaos

3 August, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

News Summary Falling Upward Jimmy Carter: “It [unlimited money in politics] violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president.” Gov. Martinez nominated for judge one Emilio Chavez, who the Judicial Standards Disciplinary Board recommended be “censured” and “fined” and even “suspended” for 90 violations adding up to “prosecutorial misconduct.” The wily DDA is slated ...

Bad DAs: Chavez “Censured” and Gallegos “Reprimanded”

5 August, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

(The governor’s office issued a press release saying:  “Emilio Chavez is exceptionally qualified. He’s prosecuted more than 1,400 cases and is well respected in the law enforcement community.” The supreme court will weigh in at some point.)   Editor's Note: The so-called "attorneys," mentioned above and affirmed below as alleged "wrongdoers" by their colleagues, have been the subject of numerous news stories and editorials by this "ax-grinding blogger" as both a reporter and editor in print and online over the years. But I am only the messenger. The report below does not go nearly far enough in detailing, especially DA Donald Gallegos's egregious violations of the rule of law in terms of alleged "selective political prosecution" and cases of alleged and documented "prosecutorial misconduct," cases frequently carried out by his subordinates who have ignored the perpetrators or the rights of victims. Over the years ...

Cesar Chavez: “Si Se Puede”: See “Salt” and Other Events

29 July, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Chicano Cultural Tourism Event: July 31-Aug. 2 “This event will be a powerful commentary on how the history of our area shapes the present landscape and economic possibilities, uses of land and social issues." Judi Cantu, Taos Councilwoman and event co-creator. The word “Chicano,” according to various sources, first appeared in the 19th Century scholars say and gained usage as a transliteration of the roots referring to “Mexicano.” The 60s term “Chicano” became a popular name for referring to the descendants of Spain, who settled in Mexico, and later migrated to the United States and who acknowledged their multicultural Mesoamerican indigenous roots. The Chicano movement addressed the socio-economico politico-cultural issues of the 60s, while seeking a unified front in order to address issues of injustice aimed at the descendants of the “brown” multicultural victims of discrimination, whether in the fields, the mines, at ...

Greetings Taos Schools and Community!

22 July, 2015
By: Contributor

(Editor's Note: Taos Friction reprints excerpts from the letter Mr. Francis Hahn, a union rep, sent out to the community about the school board's consideration of the controversial "Chrysalis" re-location from the Canon school to the high school.) “It’s about kindness. It’s about treating everybody the way you want to be treated.”--Dr. Torrez  By Francis Hahn This is your friendly neighborhood union rep with the School Board Report for Tuesday, July 21st, 2015. Board members Chavez, Sanborn, Flores, and Goler were present. Member Silva was absent. It was a packed meeting, with easily over one hundred people in attendance to support the Chrysalis Alternative School and oppose its relocation to the back wing of Taos High School. Board President Chavez began the meeting by making a motion to move presentations regarding the El Prado Community Center, by County Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn, and issuance of $2.5 million ...

The Historic County Courthouse

21 July, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

This week on Wednesday, July 22, at 6 pm, the Taos County Commissioners will host an open workshop on future plans for the Historic County Courthouse, built in 1932, upstairs in the Mural Room. During the last couple of years the Commissioners have operated the historic building as a host for a few shops downstairs and non-profit offices upstairs as well as public events, including plays, concerts, meetings, exhibitions, lectures, readings, and banquets upstairs in what is called the “Mural Room.” The Mural Room or courtroom features ten stunning historic WPA era frescoes, which Federico Vigil restored in the early 90s along with executing an eleventh fresco on the west wall. The high ceilings, wooden floor, and especially the “feeling” of the room contribute to an outstanding public space, welcoming performers and audience members alike. The building itself a kind of ...

TMS endangers Students

20 July, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Taos Schools and Community Apparently, administrators at Taos Municipal Schools are trying to hijack the Chrysalis program and relocate the students from the bucolic Canon school to Taos High. The union and the Chrysalis teachers refer to the movida as “dangerous” and hostile to students, teachers, and parents. The Taos Municipal School Board will consider the action on Tuesday, July 21, at 6 pm at the boardroom. Forcing Chrysalis students to participate in Taos High’s “general population” suggests administrators are blind to the effects of their actions. Save our Students. Save the Canon School. Save Chrysalis.    

Taos Night of Nights: July 24: Nichols on Stage

12 July, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Tentative Schedule for Lit Fest Below (incomplete) In what promises to be a new standard for stand-up comedians and scribblers et al at large, John Nichols has released the title of his talk for Friday July 24, 7 pm at the Mural Room in the Historic County Courthouse: “60 years of typing and they put you on the day shift: five decades of B.S. and counting: my life writing novels, memoirs, screenplays, and embarrassing polemical jeremiads.” John is expected to reveal the secrets of the trade and trade anecdotes for laughter. Admission, a “suggested” donation of $10 will go to pay for the lights and sound system so that performers can be “seen and heard” at the Community’s favorite cultural site on the Plaza. Sponsors of the event include Taos County, Taos County Art and Artifacts Review Committee, Taos Council of the ...

Taos: Dribs and Drabs of This and That For Locals Only

3 July, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

“Taos is a State of Mind…” Tricia Hurst ("There's no money in it," Flavio) What I love most about Taos right now are the rainy days and misty mornings. If one can’t see one’s own shadow, one can drift through the day without confronting the alter ego. Are we metaphysical beings or just products of our own fanciful metaphors when we speak? Quien sabe? Town of Taos Upon my return from an annual summer vacation, a visit to the Cal-Neva border, the scene of my youthful adventures at Lake Tahoe, I was shanghaied into attending a marketing meeting of sorts: there was no quorum and only Councilor Hahn showed up from the town; the mayor drifted in and shook hands before leaving, while the manager hurried in and out as if pursued by the furies. Those who showed discussed the new Atlas (Shrugged) ...

Town of Taos Highlights: Council Finds Its Voice

11 June, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

“We can make anything work,” said Chief Weaver. “My job is to say yes.” Tourism Muddle On Wed. June 10, once again the mayor, manager, and council decided to hire out of Towners, this time a marketing consultant (Atlas Shrugs?) which name I didn’t catch, but one that will receive thousands of dollars for a job Taosenos could do. Still, due to an inspired performance, Fragile Fred Peralta, who is just recovering from being laid low by a mysterious illness, with support from Councilor Gonzales and Councilor Cantu, voted to table a muddled “events award” process until they have more “information” about both the organizations and the “secret (Bellis) committee” that vetted applications for thousands of dollars in grants. The new events program aims at funding events between June 1 and Dec. 31 (already behind schedule) and includes small grants of from $1000 ...

Taos: The Town that Time Forgot

6 June, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

On Tuesday, June 9, the Taos County Commissioners will consider the appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of the Town of Taos’s expanded runway project. While Charmin’ Joey builds roads and runways, the opponents protest against what they characterize as subsidies for militarists, elitist skiers, and members of the 1/10th of 1% Billionaire’s Club. Now comes news of unsavory allegations in the Bahamas, according to court documents circulated on the WWW. “For decades, Mr. Nygård, his neighbors, and native Bahamians lived in peaceful harmony, sharing in Bahamian culture and ideals and enjoying many celebrations together. In the early 2000s, however, hedge-fund billionaire Louis Bacon purchased an estate that borders on Mr. Nygård’s property, and over the past ten years, Mr. Bacon has terrorized, intimidated, and corrupted native Bahamians and Bahamian government officials, and has made it his mission to ...

Good News on Potholes

26 May, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Lately, the “Bad Gringo’s attitude has come under attack, due to writing “negative” stories about the Town of Taos. So the Friction is publishing the above photo in praise of a pristine Town Street, completely free of potholes with immaculate sidewalks. You can reach this unmarked street; I am calling West Estes Road, on Paseo Pueblo Sur by driving south and turning west just north of the Guadalajara South restaurant and Vigil’s in-town gravel operation. The street runs .6 of a mile west to a stop sign and then proceeds at a ninety-degree angle .1 of a mile where it joins the east-west Chamisa Road, which needs maintenance. Although the .1 is meant to be part of the Salazar Extension, said extension is blocked on the north and south sides by piles of dirt and remains a dream. Although this “pristine street” ...

Elitism at Town and Confusion at County

23 May, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Water Issues In the current issue of La Jicarita, editor Kay Matthews has explained ( has explained how the western United States drought is challenging river compacts and will ultimately haunt water sources right here in Taos County. Although Taos County Commissioners voted to protest the transfer of water rights from “Top of the World” to Santa Fe County, previously the commissioners voted to drop a transfer protest against the transfer of water rights from the Gallagher Ranch up by Sunshine to El Prado Water and Sanitation District. The Red River adjudication allocated water rights to Gallagher, a rarely farmed farm, due to Donald Rumsfeld’s investment and intervention. Once adjudicated he, allegedly, sold same to El Prado. We don't know if he tortured John Painter. (Painter may have erased the history of the venture with his handy wite-out.) County Commissioners ignored the transfer ...

Taylor’s Long Walk to Taos

17 May, 2015
By: Contributor

By Taylor Streit Since there’s a plan in the works to carve a trail 500 miles along the Rio Grande, I thought I would contribute my two cents. I’ve spent a good portion of my life along its banks: fishing and making a living, guiding fly fisherman but also bird-watching, hunting and soaking up the solitude. Since I figure it was all pretty well done to start with, I’m not much in favor of any sort of development out of doors. This proposed trail means to encourage “use.” I guess that is a good idea to most but seems contrary to me. Let’s imagine what a trail marching north to Colorado along the Rio might be like, starting from Mexico. Commencing at Juarez, you slide down a concrete embankment to get to the Rio (wear some bright yuppie backpacker gear so you ...

Paranoia: Smoke and Mirrors at the Town of Taos

14 May, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

“We came into office talking about openness and transparency but this smacks of an old-bro deal,” [Fritz Hahn] told Cantu (The Taos News online post) "The yard sale to honor Cesar Chavez and the Xicano Movement is unbelievably insulting and naive. Taos will become the laughing stock of Aztlan if that were to occur. How about one for Martin Luther King? How bout Jesus himself? Yes! Clean the Closet for Christ - Amen brorthers and sisters! And use public money to do it. Yes! Celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation with a 7 mile yard sale, Free yourself from your unwanted possessions! Yes Sir! Wait! A 9/11 mile yard sale. You honor a social movement and icons with parades, alters, celebrations, and charitable acts - not crass yard sales so people can get rid of crap in the yard, barn, garage and closet." —Helen ...

Public Works, Planning and Zoning, Taxes and Controversy

6 May, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

El Sombrero Negro: the Cowboy and Public Works One can never truly tell whether “incompetency” or “conspiracy” is at the heart of subverting the procurement code or due process in greater Taos. Over at the Public Works Department, French Espinosa’s shadow government, the contracts for cuates program frequently gets renewed, due to inaction, with lucrative results for engineers. For instance: in 2006 the Town entered into a contract with Souder Miller & Associates for $643,083.92 for engineering water improvements in the Weimar area during the Duran administration. The contract expired on 12.31.2007 and was renewed 1.29.2008 and the budget was revised. The Weimar Foothills water line distribution project was added. In May of 2010 the contract was amended and the budget revised. On July 1, 2014 the Town entered into another contract for $337,552.67, which contract includes a fee of “104,802.01" to ...

Merchants Speak, Council Listens, Public Works Info

30 April, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Due to my obligations as an instructor at UNM’s Bachelor and Graduate program I arrived late at Councilor Cantu’s meeting with Taos Plaza Merchants last night. As a practiced politician, Councilor Andrew Gonzales spoke eloquently, admitting that he might have been wrong to support the Farmer’s Market in the past and said he would introduce a motion at the next Council Meeting to offer alternatives that could resolve the controversy on the Plaza. Indeed, several creative suggestions were offered as alternatives to closing the Plaza: the return to Town Hall on Camino de la Placita; moving to Kit Carson Park; reconfiguring the set-up and spreading throughout the alleys to the Dunn House Parking Lot; and moving back to the original site at the Taos County Courthouse Complex. Moving back to the Courthouse has been the position of Daniel Carmona, I believe, ...