Harwood’s Women Artists: Antidote to Barbarism

16 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Downstairs On Thursday evening last week I attended a film at the Harwood and the staff mentioned the “Work By Women” show. In the semi-darkness I meandered, looking at the art, comforted by the familiar figures both past and present. Late the next afternoon on Feb. 9, while walking my dogs at the Gorge, a friend texted and reminded me to beat it back to the crowded opening. With the lights on the work grew even more refined, the style and ...

Revisiting Strategies, Fracking, and Political Will

8 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Editor's Note: The article below from the link provided by La Jicarita and written by Paula Garcia, Chairwoman of the Mora County Commission, summarizes the "Drilling Mora County" controversy. In effect local governments and citizens need to decide how a county or local government can determine the best strategy for defending the community against fracking. Garcia argues that local land use regulations have the best chance of succeeding. The film below by David Cortez narrates the failed tactics of the ...

Chicano Chamber Endorses: Fernandez, Cantu, and Maestas

21 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

“How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless [politico]”—Shakespeare Full Disclosure: The Chicano Chamber no longer holds “official” meetings, due to a lack of quorum. So the internecine power struggle between the “Cordova” faction and “Sanchez” faction to take over the organization has failed to gain traction. Now the members merely ask and act on the rhetorical question: “What would Juma do?” (1942-2013). The Chicano Chamber, formed on the basis of “Confianza,” incorporates community customs or reciprocity among residents, wherein relationships are honored by extending especially favorable treatment to locals, kinship groups, and kindred spirits. In the vernacular it means do, not as los “vendidos” do, but do as los “vecinos” do. (Contrary to popular belief a “newcomer” like a “native newcomer” can join the fray as long as he or she does what Taosenos do. Some have the ...

Taos Election Friction Acceleration

15 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Mayoral Candidates “Outsourced” Wise Man Quashes Case Against Sign Man KCEC CEO Attempts Friendly Takeover of Town In the current political maelstrom, produced by the Town’s wannabe rocker, Manager Rick Bellis, “custom” (deconstruction or reinterpretation of the law) comes under fire from the courts as Act III opens in the “divisive drama” of the Barrone Administration. An outsourced Mayor, Dan Barrone, and his sidekick, Fritz “The Hammer” Hahn, are under siege by a scorned woman. When the “Hammer” busted Councilor Cantu’s attempt to fire Bellis and prevented her from serving as Mayor Pro-Tem, Friction was reminded of El Fambro, who similarly quashed Commissioner Candyce’s turn to preside at the County. Hahn knows as little about women as he does the Abeyta agreement, which is being discussed behind closed doors in Santa Fe today—outside the purview of the public. In (Act I) Bellis and Barrone danced ...

Taos Municipal Elections: Elephants, Social Engineering, and Customs

7 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Last night’s forum, sponsored by “Taos United” succeeded in presenting a more interesting and fair conversation among candidates about issues than the previous forum. However, the lack of follow up, detail, and in-depth discussion created a kind of virtual reality, wherein ignorance triumphed over the community we know and see. One of the Anglo organizers said that we don’t know what’s going on because there’s never anything in the news. The broken chain between generations, young and old, Hispanic and Anglo, speaks to alienation. When you become a stranger in your historic home of 400 years, affection turns to ashes. Below I list a variety of  issues. Call them elephants in the room. My comments are based on twenty years of field work and scrutinizing the community as well as more than fifty years of sentimental living. 1. Alienation and Family The current ...

Apodaca: Candidate for Governor

4 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

(Taos United presents a forum for Town of Taos Municipal candidates on February 6, 2018  Tuesday from 6:00-8:30. Doors open at 5:30 at Bataan Hall  Civic Center Plaza. The event is free and promises to be "free-wheeling" as audience members will be encouraged to engage with candidates, contrary to the previous "schoolmarm" event.) Last night (Sat. Feb. 3) New Mexico candidate for governor, Jeff Apodaca met with about twenty interested citizens at the El Monte Sagrado boardroom in a whistle stop non-stop tour of the state to “Turn New Mexico Around: a Plan to Create New Jobs & Grow New Mexico’s Economy” Not only does Apodaca know the state intimately, he's passionately interested in changing the culture and turning the New Mexico around, based on internal investment. His presentation involved an impressive and detailed analysis of the entire state and potential opportunities due to re-investing ...

The Schoolmarm’s Forum

2 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

A Review Last night’s forum for municipal candidates depicted a remarkably poor presentation by Editor Stacy Matlock of The Taos News, who asked questions of council candidates in the manner of a friendly, if patronizing schoolmarm. The two mayoral candidates were seated off to one side, as if banished to the corner of the room. Nor were candidates allowed to challenge or ask questions of each other. The public, who responded mildly, occasional applause, was admonished to keep silent. Order, above all, was maintained and entertainment banished in favor of "decorum." After an hour or so, the ruddy-faced Mayor Barrone was allowed to read from a sheet about his accomplishments (myriads). The articulate challenger, Darien Fernandez responded with energy, logical ideas, and examples, while representing the millennial generation, much like the well-spoken and energetic council candidates, Andrew Gonzales and Pascualito Maestas. Councilor Judi ...

HCH, Town Elections, Abeyta

1 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

News and Questions from the Loyal Opposition Holy Cross Hospital The board, Taos Health Systems, can’t manage the operations and want the County Taxpayers to bail them out…again. Voters passed a tax increase to help with maintenance a couple years ago, thanks to a push from Taos County Commissioners, especially Tom Blankenhorn, who fancies himself a local Health-care fixit advocate. I opposed it then and oppose it now: it’s throwing good money after bad. A couple of years ago Commissioner Romero suggested sending out a "Request for Proposal" for a new operator like UNMH or Presbyterian, local but with deeper pockets and professional northern New Mexico experience. But Blankenhorn et al voted against Romero's idea. It may be against the law to allow funds allocated for capital improvements to be used for “operations.” I haven’t checked the statute. The culture at HCH has been in ...

The Politics of Capitalism Revisited on Local Residents

12 January, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Editor’s Note: Today’s public meeting for the Abeyta signatories has been moved to Santa Fe. Why? Attorneys for Abeyta have turned the historic customs of sharing and fighting over water into a complex capitalization, bureaucratic in nature, which seems to undermine the concrete act of cleaning an acequia. You might say the Attorneys are cleansing the acequias and mutual domestics of self-determination. In order to save the acequias or mutual domestics, the attorneys are killing off  public participation. Only El Prado Water and Sanitation District has refused to participate in the out-of-of town meeting today. The next scheduled public meeting for Taos is Feb. 15. Trumpism: A Prologue “Trumpism is a religion founded on patriarchy and white supremacy.” Charles Blow, NYT. “Trump has turned the White House into an outhouse,” Flavio, the Custodian As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in the 1960s to a ...

Town Elections: Who’s In, Who’s Out!

10 January, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

New and Familiar Names Of course I’m disappointed in who didn’t file for Mayor, Council, or Municipal Judge. The candidates below, represent some “new” names, however, and may help revitalize the grass-roots element of community. Three women are running for Town Council, a sign of the times. Among other achievements, incumbent Mayor Barrone, according to election documents, claims he lives with his son and daughter-in- law on Zia St though most of his friends, relatives, and fellow-church goers say he lives in Lower Las Colonias next to the sawmill. Barrone’s challenger, incumbent Councilor and candidate for mayor Darien Fernandez may benefit from the field of eight council candidates, which should generate voter interest as he takes on the man, who feeds the populace and paves the streets. But Barrone is saddled with an Albatross, Manager Rick Bellis, who, in four years, has achieved ...

Taos: The Next Generation is Here

8 January, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Pascualito Maestas for Taos Town Council Trust, Truth, and Transparency On Saturday I met with Pascualito Maestas at Wired to discuss his candidacy for Town Council. As his web site, votemaestas.com notes, he is a graduate of Taos High School and Navy vet, earned degrees from the University of South Florida in Economics and International Studies. Upon returning to Taos, he worked with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Taos Alive, The DreamTree Project, and currently teaches econ, calculus, precalculus, and algebra at Taos High. Next year, he will begin working with Not Forgotten Outreach, a program of affordable housing with sustainable energy production, organic agriculture, a public Veterans Memorial Park for military families. In addition to portraying a new generation of “Millennial Leadership” and involvement for the community, not unlike Nathaniel Evans and Darien Fernandez, Maestas captures the crux of the current political conflict ...

Barrone and Bellis Hip Hop to iHop and Beyond

3 January, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Taos Trumpism Taos Friction posts a list of accomplishments from the last couple of years on its web site below, included in a more than 4000-word self-congratulatory letter to Town Employees from Mayor Hip Hop and his hipster Town Manager Rick Bellis. The Town of Taos, as currently understood by the Mayor, Manager,  Councilor “Hahn the Corporate Enforcer” and Councilor “Evans the Cheerleader,” has perfected their own version of Trumpism: “Making Taos Great Again” (MTGA). Here’s Bellis and Barrone: “The point is, Taos is attracting big investment. People see Taos coming back and being a growing star on the national and international stage, especially with improvements at the Taos Ski Valley and airport. But it isn’t the tourist industry that is growing again. A new I-Hop is opening to provide 24 hour food service for first responders, hospital workers and for after ...

The Culture of Place and the Struggle of Community

17 December, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

“The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” (Proverb) We know that our community leaders mostly have the “best intentions” in mind. But the “collateral damage” cannot necessarily be justified. Too many signs, too many lights, too much hype, too many conflicts obscure the obvious beauty and prevent the spontaneous pleasure of discovery, discovering daily the implicit spirit and fragile nature of community. Here in Taos both natives and newcomers recognize both the physical beauty and the spiritual force of place. The recognition of mountains, deserts, Rio Grande Gorge, the land, animals, vegetation, and complex geology above all contribute to a sense of one’s place among people with natural and cosmic connections. Those who can see the beauty and feel the sublime energy respond to the notion of the sacred and secular in various ways. The “Doings” at Taos Pueblo honor ...

The battle joined, the resistance rises: Shelby, Barkley, and Moore.

13 December, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

First Virginia, Now Alabama: Election 2018 Last night Alabama’s progressive Doug Jones beat retro Roy Moore in a senatorial victory that expressed the common decency of Americans and sent the fascists, dogmatists, blind and deaf extremists down to defeat. The sexual predators and the Bannon-whites were on one side, women, African-Americans, and ordinary white people on the other in Alabama. The Democratic Party has managed now twice to run “statewide” races in non-presidential years in both Virginia and Alabama. The only person I know in Taos with Alabama roots is our own uncommonly decent Magistrate Judge Jeff Shannon. Course he’s a military brat and a fugitive from the state but he represents the best of Bamans. We need to remember that because we have some "little" fascists right here in Taos at the town and the powers that be at the Abeyta ...

The Abeyta Settlement: Parciantes, Patrons, Secrecy

7 December, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

In 2006, as I remember, I attended a photo op hosted by Taos Pueblo for Governor Bill Richardson and representative signatories of the “draft” agreement, formalized later as the Dec. 12, 2012 document called the Abeyta Water Rights Adjudication, a Settlement Agreement Among the United States, Taos Pueblo, State of New Mexico, Taos Valley Acequia Association (TVAA) and its 55 members, the Town of Taos (Town), El Prado Water and Sanitation District (EPWSD), and 12 Mutual Domestic Water Consumer’s Associations (MDWCA). You can download the 123-page document from the Town’s web site. Here’s an introduction to what hasn’t happened and the issues at large “From La Jicarita, an Online Magazine of Environmental Politics in New Mexico,” in an article written by editor Kay Matthews, a local journalist specializing in water issues involving the Aamodt and Abeyta “alleged” settlements. The “alleged” refers to ...

Coming To A Theatre Near You! Apocalypse 2.0

4 December, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Trailer Fades in: Theme from Jaws plays softly but reaches a crescendo toward the end. At Breakfast on the Hill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I Love the Smell of a Tax Cut in the morning.” House Speaker Paul Ryan, giggling: “Demos don't surf.”   On Fox TV Pres. Donald Trump: “They train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write 'fuck' on their airplanes because it is obscene.”   White House Press Conference Sarah Huckabee Sanders to reporter: “Hey, man, you don't talk to the President. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he'll...he'll say, "Do you know that 'if' is the middle word in life? If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust ...

Tax Bill Aims to Destroy America

1 December, 2017
By: Contributor

Here are the names and numbers of 6 (Republican) Senators to call to express your opposition to the tax bill. Please tell them how this will adversely effect you and millions of others like you. Tell them how bad this is for ALL Americans (except of course for the very rich). See talking points below. These calls will make a difference. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin - call 202-224-5323 Sen. Steve Daines of Montana - call 202-224-2651 Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee - call 202-224-3344 Sen. Susan Collins of Maine - call 202-224-2523 Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona - call 202-224-4521 Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida - call 202- 224-3041 From United Steelworkers: The GOP tax bill would give huge tax cuts to big corporations that outsource jobs. This bill promotes further outsourcing by moving to a so-called “territorial” tax system that shields multinational companies from paying taxes ...