Taos: Rated X for High Cost of Living

15 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

See Tax and Spend Elites Perform on Nov. 17 at County Meeting Social Injustice! If your elected and appointed leaders aren’t picking your pocket for the sake of filling up their purses, then they are privatizing the local culture for the sake of crackpot ideas on the Paseo or for out-of-town two-steppers. As gross receipts taxes and property taxes rise, so do the salaries and perks for primos and elites at the Coop or in the executive suites of town and county government. ...

Town Blamed Artist for Crimes Against Procurement Code

13 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Brief History of Swimming Pool Shenanigans Horse Fly, Oct. 15, 2004 Town Correspondence By Bill Whaley The Town of Taos follows the state procurement code, Open Meetings Act, and Public Records Inspection Act, but whimsically. Horse Fly has detailed issues of non-compliance with regard to the landfill site in past issues. The town did not issue an RFP—allowing for competitive bids—when it renewed its contract, a contract worth millions, with Waste Management for five years at the beginning of 2004. In excerpts from the Horse ...

KCEC Trustees Celebrate “Rate Increase”

24 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Travelers Happy! At their dress rehearsal Monday meeting (Nov. 23) for the last regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Trustees discussed plans for their annual visit to New Orleans the week before Mardi Gras in February 2016. Having taken the courageous step to vote for a rate increase, trustees were assured by their CEO, Luis Reyes, that a protest was unlikely to gain the support necessary to force a public hearing at the Public Regulatory Commission in early 2016. CEO Reyes has announced rate increases of 41% for monthly meter charges and a second 20% charge for residents who use 250 to 500 kilowatts of electricity a month. Critics say the rate increase is aimed at seniors and low-income users as well as conservationists. Of 11 trustees only Virgil Martinez voted against the rate increase. Still “the ...

Coop and Town: The Scandal that Keeps on Giving

13 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Kit Carson Electric Coop Trustees and their Energized CEO all ordered “colostomy” bags yesterday after getting disemboweled by J.R. Logan’s Taos News story, “Debt a factor in Kit Carson electric rate hike." Coop critics and cockroaches, protesters and concerned members cheered the mild-mannered reporter for shedding light on the “debt” at the Coop. According to Logan’s story the Coop owes a collective $84 million but everyone believes, there’s more, much more where that came from, including the “$37” million being charged by TRI-State G&T for an “exit” fee. Among other misguided stabs into the competitive markets, free markets where they can’t compete without the benefit of a monopoly, the Trustees voted to venture into a Call Center, Propane, Internet, Broadband, and Command Center businesses. Thanks to five years of advocacy back at the turn of the Century, CEO Reyes managed to lobby ...

Clarifications and Continuations about KCEC v. E911

11 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

An expert writes to us from the massive County Complex with special knowledge about the $1.6 million upgrade and reminds Friction readers of the following (herein paraphrased) concerning the current E911 facility. True, the town could have made the old building on Civic Plaza Drive ADA compliant for only a few hundred thousand dollars. But the equipment and software had several issues: repeater problems in the outlying areas, including Amalia, Questa and southern Taos County. Every report recommended new radios, repeater upgrades and software upgrades. (Editor’s note: under town management the E911 system suffered from neglect.) The bulk of the $1.6 million was used to address these issues so that members of the JPA, Taos Ski Valley, Town of Taos PD, Taos County Sheriff and Questa PD could all share any data, with the new Computer Assisted Dispatch (CAD) system, including the Detentions Center, ...

Taos and The Coop Culture

6 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

La Cucaracha and Thelma's Girls? Deep Background Some of you remember when Saki rented the back room of Hotel La Fonda to Thelma and her lap dancers and the joint was called “La Cucaracha.” Peter Adang, the KCEC Trustee and blogger is singing tunes today for the new joint at the Boardroom on Cruz Alta St. Here’s an excerpt from his latest blog. Peter's Insight “ Singer Taylor Swift has a song “Shake It Off” with a line apropos of Kit Carson’s critics. “[T]he haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate….” I can name a number of these “haters” who revel in any problems faced by the Cooperative. The Germans have a word for it—schadenfreude.” It means enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others, or satisfaction felt at someone else’s misfortune.”—Peter J. Adang, KCEC Trustee Blogger (Nov. 2015)   In May of 2011, Judge Peggy Nelson ...

The Cockroach of the Kit Carson Coop!

4 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

(Part I) Oh dear, our leader, Pobrecito Pedro, “the Cockroach of the Kit Carson Coop,” Peter Adang, attorney retired, the KCEC Trustee and current blogger, has chastised us, his former cockroach colleagues, who stood with him when he protested the rate increase at the PRC hearings a few years ago and chastised the “nasty nine” (Trustees) for various excesses and even led the charge and sought in District Court the “recall” of nine trustees before he got elected by activist “cockroaches” in 2012 to the Board of Trustees at KCEC. Then he had his “come to Luis” moment. Apparently, the Coop voted in a special open meeting on Oct. 26, according to the Chief Cockroach to raise rates. He says he published the info on his blog; a blog I’d never known existed. The Coop is asking for rate increases, including increasing the ...

Local Politics Emulates National Policies

3 November, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

(Ed. Note. We have two events coming up. Friday at 5pm we will gather at a yet to be determined location for the Rachel Maddow forum. Then November 14th at Taos Mesa Brewery for the CBS Twitter debate. Mark your calendars! Follow us on Facebook via the links below. Visit the Bernie Sanders page and dial in your zip code to RSVP to the upcoming events! Thanks to Kate, Abe, Margarita, and Renee for starting their own exciting Sandernistas group in Taos! Please forward this to your interested friends. David Cortez) “The Sound of Music.” Rated R Fewer Americans each year have the ear or eye to detect reality, due to the “virtual” American culture, now being transformed by the debates described by the masters of “double speak” as “political” and “presidential.” Just because you don’t see “it” on the Cable or Broadcast ...

Kit Carson Rate Increases…going up and up.

27 October, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

The Bandido Culture Since the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) has failed to meet TIER, “the median times interest earned ratio, which measures the ability to generate earnings adequate to meet interest payments on long-term debt,” the Trustees have either voted in one of their “secret” meetings yesterday or will vote during their regular meeting today to ask the PRC (Public Regulation Commission) for a rate increase. Trustees have been saying for months that the Coop is failing to meet its minimal return of something like a 1.25 % on investment. While the Trustees are more interested in travel than operations, still we members of the Coop believe they should pay more attention to business and attend fewer hospitality suites in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Denver, Washington D.C. Disneyland and Las Vegas. The Coop has lost, according to hearsay, because they won’t publish or ...

Demos Debate: Hillary Grins and Bernie Dances

16 October, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

"The Intercept report revealed, among other new disclosures, that at one point in 2012 Obama had approved 20 people for assassination in Yemen and Somalia. More than 200 were killed by drones in those countries that year, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism." (theguardian, 10.16.15) In general terms, the production on Tuesday night of the Democratic Party debates in Las Vegas, the model city for Wall Street, home to casino-capitalism couldn’t have been more different than the recent republican carnival-like sideshows. Democrats discussed issues like adults; republicans name call and appeal to bigotry like kids on a playground in middle school. Even the debate’s also-rans, James Webb, an old-fashioned republican in democrats' clothing, Martin O’Malley, former Baltimore Mayor (?) and Maryland governor, and Lincoln Chaffee, a candidate who got left behind by the republican party, seemed more attractive and in ...

Political Rock Star Sings for you tonight at KTAO

13 October, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

The Plutocrats are Coming Join the Democratic Socialists and supporters of “Equality” at 6:30 this evening at the KTAO Concert Club: Bernie Sanders, America’s Last Best Hope, Debates the Wall Street Clinton Gang tonight on Television. On Oct. 10, The New York Times, in an article by Nicholas Confessore, Sarah Cohen and Karen Yourish,  outed the “overwhelmingly white, rich, older” males, who are members of “Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control [who] contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found.” Bernie Sanders is an avowed grass-roots democratic socialist (like George Orwell). The Times continues: “ Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.” And this ...

Town’s Secret Building Inspections for Primos and Cuates

7 October, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

(Breaking News) The County has encouraged staff to issue an RFP for a Farmer’s Market on the Complex parking lot for next summer. I’m betting about half the growers and vendors will join the exodus from the over-crowded Plaza to take advantage of local traffic on Paseo del Sur and a chance to "expand."   Everybody in Town is pretty happy with Cutler Paving on the Plaza. Congrats to the mayor and council. The Kansas Company is working quickly to resurface the historic district. With good weather and well wishing, the Mayor will be able to congratulate himself and his so-called manager. According to insiders at the Town, the Department of Public Works, where the little Cowboy ropes in contracts for friends, the Council and Mayor could have used “Cutler” for years and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars while restoring the ...

Taos: A Sound and Light Show

2 October, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

When the established press, a mainstream newspaper like The Taos News, a community organ more interested in boosting ads and sales than publishing reports of chicanery, criticizes the town administration for not providing “basic services,” i.e. “a chief building official” one can only wonder whether Mayor Dan Barrone, a lumberjack at heart, has lost his work gloves. The Mayor brags that GRT are up and takes credit for an upsurge in the mainstream economy due to local events like the “Paseo” and “Fall Arts” or the “Mother’s Day Concert,” all of which were organized by volunteers and do-gooders, historically and currently.   Meanwhile The Taos News wonders whether “the town administration’s attention has been focused on marketing, putting on events in the hopes of drawing more visitors and, hopefully, more residents. But that doesn’t do anyone much good if the town isn’t able ...

Exploiting Taosenos: SignBusters and Honoring Those We Serve

22 September, 2015
By: Contributor

            Lawlessness in Community During the last mayoral election, Chicano Chamber VP Gene Sanchez, who supported his handpicked candidate, Fritz Hahn, for Town Council, advised the eventual winner that the Town should do a “forensic audit”. Sanchez claimed the reserves had disappeared from the town’s treasury and wanted to know who was responsible and why violations of the procurement code seemed so egregious. Once Hahn and Barrone, the Mayoral candidate, Sanchez also supported, got in to office, the Two Gringos hired a third as Manager, Rick Bellis. Sanchez said he was particularly concerned by the scandal involving Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and the Town of Taos regarding the violations of the anti-donation clause, during the design and construction of the ill-fated Kit Carson Command Center. At the Sanchez office, file folders, including taped recordings of interviews with architects, back up claims that outline ...

History and Controversy: “they report, you decide.”

14 September, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

In so far as the word "knowledge" has any meaning, the world is knowable; but it is interpretable otherwise, it has no meaning behind it, but countless meanings [i.e.] "Perspectivism." It is our needs that interpret the world; our drives and their For and Against. Every drive is a kind of lust to rule; each one has its perspective that it would like to compel all the other drives to accept as a norm.—Friedrich Nietzsche; trans. Walter Kaufmann, The Will to Power, §481 (1883–1888)'[5] Last Thursday night, Sept. 10th, a crowd filled the Harwood auditorium for the first history lecture of the fall UNM/SMU series. Organized by Taos’s own UNM anthropologist (emerita) Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez, author of “Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place,” and other scholarly work based on the Taos area, the title of the evening’s lecture was, “Who Writes ...

Taos County: A Steady Hand on the Tiller

9 September, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

A Dirty Little Secret: Practical Politics Here’s a dirty little secret about Taos County I just learned: the County has 5/12ths of its total budget sequestered in the reserves: two million more than it needs, I’m told. Huh? Huh? I remember when the reserves fifteen years ago were more like zero and it took several years to find a "trial balance." In those days DFA (Department of Finance, Local Government Division) used to check daily and appear regularly to lecture the Commissioners about a return to fiscal sanity. The initial calls to DFA were made by the feisty Director of the County’s Finance Department, “Lovely” Lorraine Coca-Ruiz. Then everyone had a nickname, including the legendary Becky “Lifetime” Parraz. Though Becky was passed over for County Manager, she would have served the media better as a “quotable” official. But the County’s choice of ...

Labor Day Democrats Prepare for “Bernie Man” Birthday

6 September, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Local progressives and independents are preparing to celebrate “Bernie Man’s” Birthday at the Taos Mesa Brewery, 6 pm, Tuesday, Sept. 8th. Earlier on that same day, Taos County Commissioners will select a new county manager from applicants, Leandro Cordova, Finance Department; Brent Jaramillo, Deputy County Manager; and Rebecca Mondragon, Planning Department, who made history as the County's first elected female commissioner. Commissioners will also consider the ramifications of remodeling the Historic County Courthouse and renting spaces at market rates, commensurate with payments for the loan meant to finance the remodel of the historic building. Commissioners have yet to announce and decide the “purpose of the building,” which will dictate the location of ADA bathrooms, and elevator, and other infrastructure items. We don't know yet if Commissioners plan to include a Beer Parlor and Pizza Shop or Trinkets for Tourists, an Art ...

Town: “It’s Not Our Fault”

4 September, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

(Editor's Note: I herewith apologize for the long winded narrative below and my unceasing addiction to local politics.  But when the town screws over my merchant friends, I feel compelled to sing of the "unjust" and "incompetent" ways at Town hall. Yes, I know there's nothing new under the sun.)  "I got your message re: building inspector; am appreciative, Louis & Rick are 'on it' and I'll be following up as well." Fritz Hahn The following exchange and analysis refers to the inability of the Town’s Planning Department to check plans and inspect building projects, which negatively affect economic development. I know of two projects that have been delayed by the Town Plannng Department because the Town refuses to hire a qualified building inspector. Now the Town is advising developers to go to Santa Fe and/or Albuquerque and visit with the state’s ...