The Mayor and Manager’s Movidas

6 October, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Local government: watching the County, learn about the Town When Taos County Commissioners meet today, Oct. 6, 2015, the agenda includes a number of “nuts and bolts” issues, which are standard, the usual stuff, including recognition of employees. But the agenda also includes a couple of items that speak to the Town of Taos, including an item suggesting the Town and County might meet later in the month to discuss issues of mutual interest. Recently, the County “put off” voting for a ...

Paving the Plaza or Not?

2 October, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

According to a press release from the Town of Taos, upon approval next week by the Mayor and Council, a $500,000-paving project will begin in the historic district. The press release states the following, “If East and North Plaza are paved, they also will need to be closed during that phase of work. Work on the Plaza will be phased to allow through traffic and parking to continue on at least two sides of the Plaza at all times. Active ...

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 ...

Chief Responds to Work Slowdown at Taos PD With Quota Memo

2 September, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Lawsuit for Unfair Termination, due to Office Politics Flavio Reports Details Garnered from Waste Baskets Hello from Taos Friction. The pesky insect has returned from a summer sabbatical and book tour to the West Coast, aka Carson Valley, Nevada and South Lake Tahoe, California. Under the tall Ponderosa Pines I read a few excerpts to friends, family, and high school classmates at the family log cabin during a cool breeze off the lake. I was surprisingly gratified by the response to Gringo Lessons as I have been by book sales aqui en Taos. Here’s a common refrain: “Bill I enjoyed Gringo Lessons but you’re lucky to be alive.” Thank you my friends and friendly readers. Background Now for the news from the deepest bowels of the Taos Police Department (Taos PD), where cops and clerks are slowly becoming the stilted products of gridlock. Due ...

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) ...