Coal for Batra & Bellis, Candy Canes for Blake and Bacon

15 December, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

On Culture, Politics, Friends, and Christmas For me the Christmas holidays signal a period of escape from duty and time for an indolent reflection on the past year. Whether skier, parciante, or merchandiser, we wait collectively for snow while the sharp temperatures focus attention on the perpetual tasks associated with Taos: firewood and heat, a vehicle that starts, visitors, the celebrations associated with the holidays, doing errands while seeing family and running into old friends. Tonight at 5 pm I’m going ...

Parciantes Protest Abeyta-Taos Pueblo “Water Settlement” details

5 December, 2017
By: Contributor

Today, December 5, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Taos Convention Center, El Taoseño room, 120 Civic Plaza Dr, TVAA (Taos Valley Acequia Association) will hold a follow-up meeting to the April 24th, 2017 meeting with the BOR (Bureau of Reclamation).Though attendance was restricted at the last meeting, a multi-stakeholder group made up of parciantes of the Arroyo Hondo Acequias, Arroyo Seco Acequias, and citizens of Taos County, the Town of Taos, and Taos Pueblo were present at the ...

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 ...

Taos Culture Course Announced: Literary Non-Fiction

19 November, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Locals and Taosenos, whether Native or Newcomer, will find the literature described in the course below helpful in surveying Taos History and Culture this spring. Length: 10 Weeks Jan. 29—April. 2, 2018 Day: Mondays from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Place: Manzanita Market, 103 N. Plaza Information: (575) 776-4115 Discussion Leader, Bill Whaley Course Cost: $50.00 This Spring Bill Whaley and the Manzanita Market offer local residents a course in Taos Culture focused on the identity of the place and people in what N. Scott Momaday and others call “the soul of the Southwest.” Lectures and discussion will consider four major works: Hampton Sides’ Blood and Thunder; R.C. Gordon-McCutchan’s Taos Indians and the Battle for Blue Lake; Lois Rudnick’s Utopian Vistas; and Sylvia Rodriguez’s Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place. The selected literary works are chosen for their insights, research, and accessibility. If not available ...

A Taos Family History: Manby, Martini, and Minnow

17 November, 2017
By: Chaucer Henderson

Are you a Martini or a Minnow? Part I The exact origin of Minnow Martini Martinez is unclear. Some descendants claim Minnow-Martini is a descendant of mixed Spanish-Italian parentage, a progeny of an Italian mercenary, who deserted the Onate conquest and settled in the Arroyo Seco-Salto area of Taos. One branch of the “Martini-Martinez” clan claims a primo traveled with John C. Fremont to California. Frémont, a major in the U.S. Army, took control of California from the California Republic in 1846. The major was convicted in court martial for mutiny and insubordination over a conflict of who was the military Governor of California. The primo, now a “Martinez” deserted the army when Fremont was charged and built a Cantina-Post Office in what is now his namesake, Martinez, California. Descendants say Kit Carson introduced Martini-Martinez to Fremont, who helped the “Fixer” escape Taos after ...

Big Money, Groping, Grabbing, and Gaslighting

16 November, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

“Even if the news is fake news, it’s true.” Money and Power Excess: According to the Guardian, “Salvator Mundi, the long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ commissioned by King Louis XII of France more than 500 years ago, has sold at Christie’s in New York for $450.3m, including auction house premium, shattering the world record for any work of art sold at auction.” According to the story the big guns were bidding up the price 20 to 30 million dollars at a time. Currently the Republican majority in the House and Senate aim to pass tax and health care legislation aimed at reducing tax rates on wealthy corporations and billionaire donors (Adelsons, Koch Bros. Mercers) by cutting Medicaid, eliminating tuition and interest deductions for college students, state and local tax deductions for home owners in the short term and reducing Social ...

The Reality Chronicles: In Search of Social Justice

9 November, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

The ideology of Capitalism promotes Social Injustice, contrary to the ideals named in either the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution, which two weapons are used by the courts to rationalize and reinterpret the notion of lawful equality as a benefit for the elite hoarders in their offshore accounts, the hoarders who own our representatives.   As social and political critic Thomas Franks says, “This week we are coming face to face with a big part of the right answer: it’s that the celebrities and business leaders we have raised up above ourselves would like to have nothing to do with us. Yes, they are grateful for the protection of our laws. Yes, they like having the police and the Marine Corps on hand to defend their property.” Capitalism thrives on human weaknesses, enslaving by means of lust and greed. The working ...

Taos: A Way of Life

4 November, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Elegies and Encomiums To me Taos is not the Third Best Place in the World to spend a Christmas Vacation: it is the best place. After all I have spent more time at Christmas here than anywhere else. One must occasionally confront the reality of one’s life. Twice, I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in my apartment upstairs in the Plaza Theatre reading books, just published, in their entirety. The first time I read in 1979, J.P. Donleavy’s just published novel Schultz, a second time with an autobiography by Lee Iacocca in 1984. The two books offered escape from holiday dinners and freed me confronting family and friends at events fraught with emotional angst. If memory serves I purchased both from Brodsky’s bookstore. I considered both of them timely gifts and was grateful to our local bookseller. From my apartment high above ...

Taos Local: Strong at Heart

31 October, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

In an effort to answer questions of private angst and worrisome public stats, the lists and graphs posted on the walls of the old County Courthouse last night, suggested a grasp of community issues, expensive housing, poor pay, rural decline, lack of employment, the need for more compassion and fairness and more representative government with transparent politics, and better community relations among the natives and newcomers, which might solve these problems and implement solutions. Indeed the facilitator mentioned that Vision 2020, the Town’s previous 1999 planning analysis listed many of the same “problems.” Since then a former town planner mentioned several similar gatherings aimed at resolving the same issues, including the 2012 community charettes and others. With the exception of some Town Council members (one non-native County Commissioner), I saw no active native Hispanic community leaders from the Town or County, not ...

Monday Night Mainstream Philosophy

28 October, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Strong at Heart presents “On Taos Time: A Discussion About Our Past, Present and Future.” The event is scheduled for Oct. 30 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Old County Courthouse Mural Room on Taos Plaza. Free food and childcare will be provided, according to a press release. The promoters of “Strong at Heart” represent municipal “mainstreet” philosophy, a philosophy of rural regeneration that fits neither the character nor the reality of living Taos, an organic community rooted in history, including the history of violence. This uneasy but intense polis resists hierarchy and “social norms.” As Emerson said in Self-Reliance, “The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Whoso would be a [Taoseno], must be a nonconformist.” The journalist in me wants to attend the “Strong at Heart” ...

Texas Red v. California Blue

23 October, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Jerry Jones (white) v. Colin Kaepernick (black) Sports: the Paradigm of Protest Despite having fallen from their previous status as Super Bowl winners and contenders, I am very proud of my 49ers. A life-long fan I grew up listening to the Niners on radio, as I did listening to the S.F. Giants and the greatest and most exciting ball player of the age, Willie Mays. Willie’s presence at away games generally raised attendance by 20% at other ball-parks, where fans were colorblind in Willie’s presence, who played the game with joy. Willie, in effect, was the quiet precursor of Muhammad Ali, wherein one man changed the way Americans and world-wide fans can appreciate a great athlete and a man of principle. The Niners today represent a principle of social justice. On Sunday while Dallas Cowboys stood for the anthem seven Niners knelt in ...

New Mexico to Nevada

5 October, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

According to Wikipedia: (Adam) “Laxalt (Nevada Attorney General) is the son of the late former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of former Nevada Governor and U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV). Adam Laxalt, was not publicly acknowledged by Domenici until 2013.[2] At that time, Domenici acknowledged that Laxalt was his son and was a result of the affair and said: "I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior." Republican Paul Laxalt was governor of Nevada and a friend of California governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan and Laxalt used to ride horses together at Laxalt’s Marlette Lake hideaway in the Sierras before Laxalt became a senator and Reagan President of the U.S. My step-father and rancher used to call Paul up when he had "water" problems during irrigation season. The state only had a few hundred ...

Hank Saxe: Fragments of the Historic Zeitgeist

22 September, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

At Bareiss Gallery, Hank Saxe’s 27 ceramic sculptures form part of the show entitled “Earthly Elements.” The exhibition also includes images on paper and canvas by Brian Shields and Dora Dillistone. The show continues through Friday 29 September. You’re invited to a conversation about the art hosted by Jina Brenneman on Sunday the 24th at 4:30 pm. You can view the show from noon to five pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday this week, Thursday and Friday next week or by appointment: phone Cynthia at 575-770-7096. Hanks work can be further explored online at   [caption id="attachment_11803" align="alignright" width="300"] La Coqueta[/caption] Who can resist “La Coqueta,” the snake, temptation, and carnal knowledge reminiscent of Adam and Eve or Freudian dreams or the way “Red Tail,” re-visits notions of earth, work and libido. Closer to home, the working class brothers, named Roper, Goldtooth, Corvus ...

American Melodrama: Survivor Show in the White House

7 September, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

“Say What?” Mitch and Paul Drown Sorrow in Scotch A Review To escape the pain as the earth burns and drowns, we fiddle with the channel changer to catch the latest doings of the Donald, the producer of the Greatest Show on Earth. For the eyes and ears of the pundits and politicos are focused on the return of The Three Stooges, stand-ins for the three branches of government. Larry, Curly, and Moe are back. Yesterday the Star of the Nightly and Daily Survival Show reversed course, dumped Republican teammates Mitch and Paul while embracing sworn enemies, Democrats Chuck and Nancy. The art of the deal stunned fraught loyalists and conservatives while giving hope to liberals. Breitbart News, the White Nationalist mouth organ, spanked the traitorous Trump. As Mama Irma pounds the Caribbean Islands and the Floridians flee, Father Harvey drowns Houstonians in the ...

PRC Final Order Concurs with Complaint

31 August, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

To whom it may concern, According to the August 30, 2017 PRC final decision in the Whaley v. KCEC matter, the Coop has rebated about $243,979.78 to 20,369 members: non-residential, about $77,000, and residential about $166,000. The matter concerned retroactive or over-billing charges as of Sept. 7 and Dec. 7 2016, charges that coincided with KCEC’s rate increases. Though KCEC claimed the retroactive billing charges were “inadvertent errors,” the Coop refused to “rectify” the overcharges despite customer complaints until brought to the attention of the PRC by Interveners Rose DesGeorges, Jerome Lucero, and Bill Whaley. As well the PRC ordered KCEC to “post” information clarifying billing and usage terms on their web site and a graph detailing rebates to various customer classes as requested in Whaley’s complaint. Though recommended by staff and requested by Intervener Lucero, the PRC did not order an ...

Taos: A 4-Story Hotel and the Commodification of Solar Energy

22 August, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

The town killed the acequia system, see Spring Ditch, in order to expand and save itself. In order to save itself, the Coop is killing itself with debt. Now the Coop has found a source of free sunshine to sell and the Town is willing to buy. --Flavio Incompetence or Conspiracy? Today at 3 pm the Manager, Mayor, and Taos Town Council will consider approval of a three or four story hotel and a 30-year power purchase agreement with Kit Carson Electric Cooperative for solar power. (See excerpts from agenda below.) Both the Hotel and the proposed power purchase agreement clash with the historic culture of Taos, a culture that draws tourists and second homers, the only ostensible producers of cash. The proposed hotel, a corporate box, contrasts sharply with the historic earthy architecture based on the age-old adobe paradigms, where shape and height ...

Richard Trujillo, May 19, 1941—June 29, 201

14 August, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

At noon on Sunday, August 20th, friends and family will gather at 25005 Highway 64 West (near the old Blinking Light) by the Red Caboose to tell stories about Canon’s last Vato Loco, the author of the Barbarian Dialects and Tio Zuco’s Weird Tales of Crime and Humor. Richard aka “Chumes” is survived by twin sister Virginia Oakeley, nieces Wanda and Joyce, cousin Frank Salazar, and numerous Vargas cousins. Join La Familia y Amigos in expressing love and outrage at Richard’s Memorial garden. (No guns or knives allowed.) Phone Deb at 613-3766 or Bill at 776-4115 for information.

Roxie: Found

By: Bill Whaley

The Prodigal Roxie was lost, now she's found. A Gentleman from the foothills in Weimer found the above, called Gene and Jules, and sure enough, she greeted them with joy and kisses. Skinny but happy. Amazing. We're all very happy. Thanks for your sympathy and good wishes.  

Fambro V. Northrup

10 August, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Summary of the Scene On Monday, August 7, Municipal Judge Jim Fambro, a Taos High Graduate, County Commissioner, once and former fire chief, local hero, husband of the town’s finance director, and part-time town employee found the sign man, Jeff Northrup, first amendment advocate, who has lobbied for cheap gas, better care for animals, who has disparaged organized religion’s sins re: historic wars, scandals, and prejudice against LGBTG people, “guilty” of “rock throwing.” And fined the Sign Man $300 plus court costs. Northrup’s taped confession of “throwing a rock at a vehicle” driven by admitted provocateur Damascio Martinez, a former town employee and aging “Hondo Dog,” who  admitted in court to running over the Sign Man’s signs and “taking” said signs, due to their “offensive content”  denied taking Northrup’s “cell phone.” Charges were dismissed against Martinez because the witness was in jail, ...

D.C. Taos, “Errors” and “What Rule of Law?”

8 August, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Washington D.C. By now you know the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and his dream-team band of prosecutors have thrown up yellow crime scene tape round the White House, where “conflict of interest” (i.e. the emoluments clause) and Trumpean trades with the Russians are being studied. After he fired their boss, Chief Comey, some 30,000 FBI agents are zeroing in on the interloper. Apparently, the Golfer in Chief and his Mafia-like familia have mortgaged the country to the pawnbrokers of last resort in the Kremlin. I know because I read about it in the daily news. KCEC. Over in Taos, New Mexico, the littlest Trumpet, one KCEC CEO Luis Reyes, has (at last) confessed to an “inadvertent error” and filed a brief with the PRC. Below are two key quotes from KCEC’s high priced sharks at Cuddy-McCarthy. Interveners estimate KCEC has spent a ...

PRC Staff questions KCEC Rebate Process

30 July, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

IN THE MATTER OF THE FORMAL COMPLAINT OF BILL E. WHALEY AGAINST KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. (CaseNo.17-00017-UT), which arose out of the KCEC request for rate increases in Case No. 15- 00375-UT, the PRC Staff and Complainant have raised a number of issues. The complaint above and list of claims and questions grew out of KCEC’s request for a rate increase in December of 2015. After being granted the rate increase on Sept. 7, 2016 for non-residential customers and Dec. 7 for residential customers, the member-Interveners discovered KCEC had retroactively billed members. Intervener Rose DesGeorges and Jerome Lucero raised the issue with the PRC in early Jan. 2017. Intervener Whaley filed a “formal complaint” on or about Feb. 1 of 2017. Since that time the PRC has issued four bench request orders in an attempt to clarify what KCEC’s claims is ...

Heretics in Washington D.C: “None Dare Call it Treason!”

19 July, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

  The Russian Connection “Beware of Donald Trump. Witlessly or willfully, he’s doing the Kremlin’s bidding. Anyone who enables him — on his payroll or in the press, by sucking up or by silence, out of good will or cowardice — is Vladimir Putin’s useful idiot. This is a national emergency, and treating it like normal is criminally negligent of our duty to American democracy. “ Marty Kaplan, | Dec. 13, 2016, MONEY AND POLITICS.) This morning headlines and “fake” new stories from the New Republic to Bill Moyers’ Money and Politics, from the Atlantic to The New York Times and Washington Post as network broadcast to cable television et al describe the Kremlin’s man in the White House, Republican President Donald Trump alternately and figuratively as a Russian Mole and Putin’ s Puppet. For those of us who were once mesmerized by John ...

Taos Helipads and Hotels: fear and rumbling

13 July, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.” Ed Healy Helipad On July 12 the Taos County Commissioners unanimously approved the Healy “Helipad,”upholding the Taos County Planning and Zoning Commission’s prior unanimous approval and the prior administrative decision and approval of the County’s indefatigable and thorough Director of Planning, Edward Vigil. The Helipad, located on the hill across the road from the Hondo-Seco Fire department, will serve as an emergency landing site for helicopter evacuation of trauma victims. About three weeks ago a medical chopper landed in the field below the proposed site. Proponents estimated the number of helicopter landings at two or three a year. In addition to retaining walls, erected under the supervision of permits from the county, the site includes the construction of a “distribution box” for a lateral acequia that improves irrigation flow for three property owners. The protests to the Helipad ...

The Vato Loco’s Last Ride 

29 June, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Richard Trujillo, May 19, 1941—June 29, 2017 My friend Richard died on June 29, 2017 at UNMH, a morphine drip smoothed the way after 8 days in ICU. Late last year cinders from his wood stove set his house on fire. The fire department got the call but couldn’t find his house on Cosme Lane just off Los Pandos. His cousin Frank Salazar found him trying to live in the burned out hulk, suffering from what appeared to be an ear infection and worse, moved him to Holy Cross where an MRI indicated a mass at the base of his skull, a tumor. From there, friends, Debra Villalobos and Bill Whaley, with help from Peggy Nelson got him moved into the Taos Living Center, where he thrived at first and found the facility hospitable. “Everybody here is cool with me,” he said, ...

Batra Saves Town From Political Ignominy

28 June, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

(Editor’s Note: In the interests of compromise, developer Batra withdrew his controversial four-story proposed Holiday Inn Express at the June 27, Town of Taos Council Meeting. Indeed Jay Batra saved town government, specifically Mayor Barrone, Manager Bellis, and Councilor Hahn from their own lack of leadership. At one point, young Councilor Evans had to assist the Mayor in managing the meeting, young Councilor Fernandez played advocate for the community and cross-examined both Bellis and Batra. Councilor Cantu kept the real “heart” of Taos alive. And the citizens prevailed not over the hotel but over removing one story from the dirty tales of manipulation promoted by the “good old boys.” Et tu Pavel?) Batra plans to discuss a “three story” Holiday Inn with the franchise owner and return in August. By Danielle Vigil, a Taos Native June 27, 2017 I have been to all the ...

Local Artist and Citizen Speaks Out on Proposed Hotel

27 June, 2017
By: Contributor

  The following are comments for the Town of Taos Council and Mayor, to be presented in regards to Mr. Jay Batra's plans for a four story Holiday Inn Express lodging on South Santa Fe Road in the Town of Taos, near the boundary with Ranchos de Taos. The hearing by will be today, Tuesday, June 27th, 3:00 PM at Taos Town Council Chambers. Comments by Hank Saxe. The Town of Taos planning department established architectural design standards for buildings with the intent of having new construction conform with a traditional style that both residents and visitors respect and cherish. These standards require that buildings over a certain size be designed with attention to massing and setbacks, in order to create structures with the complexity of local historic adobe architecture, even when created with modern building materials.   Last fall, the town council, with the ...

Last Call: Proposed Holiday Inn Looms Large

26 June, 2017
By: Contributor

By Lawrence Baker If you think you know what the Holiday Inn Express will look like when it’s built, think again. It will be massive as this picture shows.   The architectural rendering given to the Taos News and published several times is misleading. That view, provided by the developer, Jay Batra, and his architect, Taf Hussain, is a perspective drawn from 20 feet off the ground and not from street level. A local architect said that architects will frequently draw a building from a different perspective in order to minimize the visual bulk of the building. A photograph of the Hampton Inn next door, taken from the same angle as the rendering, is superimposed on the rendering to show relative size.   The Holiday Inn Express will loom even larger than shown here because it faces Paseo Pueblo del Sur while the Hampton Inn is ...

Porcine Tales and PRC Orders Affecting Taos

23 June, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

  Today’s Albuquerque Journal North in a story by Andy Stiny focuses on the Batra, Bellis, Barrone and Lukes’ “skyline heartbreaker.” Here are a few worthy quotes: “Opponent (David) Maes…said of the planned hotel’s Pueblo Style design, “It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig.” David Maes (is)president of the 25-member Ranchos Neighborhood Association, which voted unanimously in September to opposed the project and its 48-foot height. The church is 27 feet tall and the historic Martinez Hall, across the road, is 30 feet, said Maes. (Perhaps Maes can join the Mayor in the annual "pig sticker" Xmas event.) “One of the commissioners found 16 tires, valued at $10,000, slashed on vehicles at his propane business. Was the incident, in which two shadowy figures were seen on surveillance video entering at night, connected to Commissioner Billy Romero’s vote? “In my opinion, ...

A Reasonable Request for Making Peace in the Valley

18 June, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Unreason rules in today’s political environment. Dueling factions remind us of Yeats’s famous lines: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” Surely we can do better than gunning down baseball players on the East Coast, UPS workers on the West Coast, family, friends, and random victims here in Rio Arriba and Taos County. In Taos natives and necomers seek a self-sufficient lifestyle in the midst of the semi-arid high desert and the Sangre de Cristo mountains in a visually stunning and culturally rich enclave remote from mainstream America. There are no Interstates, no railroads, no bus and air service. Yet the museums and galleries are full of art and artifacts created by local artists, the bookstores full of literature by local authors. The communities, Tribes, neighborhoods, acequias, villages, towns, county, schools, Electric Coop, myriad non-profits, etc. all ...

The Prophetic Changes Predicted by Sport and Pop Culture

14 June, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

During the last few decades, political factions and pundit cheerleaders have emulated sport. The era of NBA Super stars, long ball in baseball, and loyalty to the home team became the organizing principle of right wing radio and television voices like Rush Limbaugh and Fox Television pundits. Rush started out in baseball’s Kansas City Royal organization. Now the era of the superstar is giving way to teamwork, small ball, and recognition of old-fashioned excellence as the way to championships. The San Francisco Giants of 2010, 2012, and 2014 won World Series victories due to unknown heroes for a day, steady pitching, close fielding, and tenacious hitting by authentic but nameless baseball players. Nobody on the Giants’ winning teams had the pedigree of either Willie Mays or Barry Bonds but the players played the game in total. Indeed, the Golden State Warriors’ ...

Letter to Holiday Inn Express: Is Compromise possible?

10 June, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Sent to:,,,, Date: May 30, 2017 3:04 PM Ladies and Gentlemen, The prospect of having a 4-story Holiday Inn Express in Taos has caused enormous alarm and anger among residents in the Taos Valley and a huge public relations nightmare for the Holiday Inn brand. The people are confused and dismayed that a developer would unrelentingly try to ram down the throats of Taos’ residents a project that is so hated and despised. You need to know that not long after the ordinance was passed last October, an Appeal to the 8th District Court was filed. If the Appeal prevails, New Mexico law says that whatever progress has been made on the project will have to be undone and the land restored to its original configuration. If Holiday Inn wishes to challenge the ...

KCEC Update and annual meeting

4 June, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

KCEC Rate Increases and Retro-active Billing “Errors” KCEC (Coop) filed for a rate increase back in Dec. of 2015. Approximately 80 members protested and about seven active Interveners, Arsenio Cordova, A. Eugene Sanchez, Rose Des Georges, Jerome Lucero, Peggy Nelson, Fabi Romero, and Bill Whaley continued to protest and testify at Public Regulation Commission (PRC) hearings during the spring, summer, and fall of 2016. The hearing examiner and PRC granted approval of rate increases for non-residential (commercial and local government) members on about Sept. 7, 2016 and for residential members on about Dec. 7, 2016. The administrative regulations required that Interveners and KCEC restrict testimony relevant to the “test year” 2014 during hearings. As well the hearing officer, per the statute restricted testimony and evidence relevant to operations of the electricity operations, meaning that the Coop’s diversification program i.e. Call Center, ...


29 May, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Excerpts Below: PRC Second Bench Request, KCEC Response, and PRC THIRD Bench Request. The three items above all arrived on the eve of the Memorial Day holiday. The KCEC request for a rate increase hearing occurred at the end of 2016. Despite promises to the contrary made to the Board of Trustees by CEO Luis Reyes, protesters and Interveners qualified to contest the increase. Interveners allegedly save Coop customers, both residential and non-residential a couple million dollars. After getting the rate increase, non-residential in Sept of 2016 and residential in Dec. of 2016, KCEC “retroactively” billed all members at the higher rate, a rate that hadn’t gone into effect per the PRC approval. Consequently in early 2017 Interveners Des Georges, Lucero, and Whaley filed motions and formal complaints asking the PRC to order rebates to members and for PRC staff ...


26 May, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Editor's Note: The PRC has joined the Whaley and Lucero complaints below, including questions about the $37 million Guzman Energy separation from TRi-State for which KCEC did not get permission from the NMPRC. BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF THE FORMAL ) COMPLAINT OF BILLE. WHALEY AGAINST ) Case No. 17-00017-UT KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, ) INC. ) THIS MATTER comes before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (" Commission") upon the formal complaint ("Formal Complaint") filed with the Commission by Bill E. Whaley ("Whaley" or "Complainant") against Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. ("KCEC"). Whereupon, being duly informed, THE COMMISSION FINDS AND CONCLUDES: 1. On May 22, 2017, the Commission issued its Second Bench Request Order which ordered KCEC to file a status report ...

PRC Orders KCEC to Comply (Again!).

25 May, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

The PRC has issued a second request (see paragraphs 9 and 10 below in the Second Bench Request Order issued May 22, 201700. A few months ago, 2015 Intervener Whaley filed a formal complaint, alleging that the Coop retroactively billed the members of the Coop. According to staff, see below, KCEC admitted to charges of over-billing 6500, due to Intervener Des Georges’s protest. Later staff found and the Coop admitted to another 16,000 overcharges. Then KCEC made a fuss about being unable to read the rest of the meters re: the balance of “retroactive” charges. Hence the second bench request. This Intervener does not know why KCEC decided to “bilk” its own members, who allegedly “own the Coop.” Could it be that KCEC desperately needs the dough to fund the Broadband project, solar projects, and pay exorbitant fees to ...

The Emails

8 May, 2017
By: Contributor

For years now, much of the Town of Taos government has displayed a pattern of increasingly blatant, problematic behavior. Hostility toward public input, contempt for due process, and a distressing lack of critical oversight have been markers of the Barrone administration. Perhaps most distressing is the willingness of so many to go along with the deceitful machinations of one individual. Under the guidance of Town Manager, Rick Bellis--in relentless pursuit of his own agenda--the Town of Taos has seemingly become an agent for large corporate developers, who time and again have enjoyed special treatment, while many small/locally-owned businesses are left to fend for themselves. Below you'll find a series of emails between Rick Bellis and Jatin Batra, developer of the proposed Holiday Inn Express. Reminiscent of the questionable Smith's/Couse Pasture dealings, these emails bring to light the unethical and longstanding favoritism ...

The Last Polemicist: rated X for unpalatable

2 May, 2017
By: Contributor

Reign of Idiots Posted April 30, 2017 on By Chris Hedges   The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors, “experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot entertainers and producers ...

The Sublime and Songster Sextet, Clutter Funk and KCEC Pariahs

29 April, 2017
By: Contributor

Taos Sublime The current Harwood show features “The Taos Sublime” in “Continuum: Light, Space & Time: Blumenschein to Bell.” Not only has Harwood Director Dr. Richard Tobin and his team curated works from many of your favorite artists in the collection, the indefatigable Richard has published a brochure on the show, explaining the history and aesthetic of Taos artists and art. In effect Tobin re-interprets the traditional notion of the “sublime,” a concept representative of awe, terror, and the puny place of humans vis-à-vis overwhelming natural wonders. He follows the history of the sublime as the concept evolved through variations down through the centuries and finds in Taos a fusion of the sublime-humble style represented by Taos Pueblo and Hispanic traditions. As well the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, referred to in the near-by and far away or Agnes Martin’s move from the ...

The Tomahawk Chop

20 April, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

We Americans (and Taosenos) are entering unchartered territory. Our madcap President, the real estate developer and golfer, decided to bomb Syria with Tomahawks missiles while dining on chocolate cake because El Assad allegedly poisoned and/or killed his people with Sarin gas. But, according to the “suppressed” news, the old Al Qaeda organization may be the responsible party. Call it “Wag the Dog” when you get a bump in the polls for a little war cry. While threatening North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with an “armada,” the tweeter in chief and his aides, spokesperson Sean Spicer, VP Mike Pence, Sec. of defense Mad dog Mattis and National Security Adviser HR McMaster reinforced the impression. But the vaunted USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier traveled in the opposite direction some 3500 hundred miles away from the Korean Peninsula. Say what? Trumps’ Muslim ban was stopped by the courts; ...

Jury Convicts Sopyn of 2nd Degree Murder

8 April, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

“Actions speak louder than Words”…DDA Ron Olsen Despite a weak case, due to a shoddy investigation by the Taos County Sheriff’s office, and despite the presence of an unreliable narrator, witness Gary Medina, a used car salesman from Vegas, despite the expert witnesses (ballistics, toxicologist, medical examiner, and scene reconstructionist), and despite the presence of two reputable and capable defense attorneys, John Day and Tom Clark, despite all this, Deputy District Attorney Ron Olsen in a simple and eloquent statement, a cliché really, summed up the state’s case against Mick Sopyn: “Actions speak louder than words.” In his closing statement, Olsen eloquently summarized the evidence against Sopyn that pointed toward second-degree murder. He described how Sopyn walked into his bedroom, grabbed a shotgun, loaded it up with four shells. and racked up or slid the pump back to chamber a live round. ...

Update: The PRC, KCEC, and the Members

31 March, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

To Vote or Not to Vote? At the current time the members of the Kit Carson Electric Coop are confronted with a variety of issues, due to the upcoming May election of trustees. The incumbents have neglected their stewardship of the coop and should be asked why they have pursued a policy of “borrow and spend” while throwing good money after bad. The following questions (1 through 10) have been raised by Interveners from the information learned during last year’s rate hearings.   While much of the information was declared “irrelevant” in regard to the specific rate increase due to arcane rules, the information gives a snapshot of the Coop’s policies and procedures regarding failed diversification and electricity operations of the Coop at large. 1. Since the year 2000, the Kit Carson Coop has incurred about $6.5 million in debt for diversification projects collateralized ...

Melodrama Heightens Call for Action

29 March, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

  It must be difficult for the “Tweeter in Chief,” Donald Trump, a fugitive from Reality TV to assume the reins of power in a political realm for which he has little experience. The demise of the “repeal and replace” health-care tax break for the elites serves as a lesson in the realpolitick of Washington D.C. Now the Trump-Ryan-McConnell team proposes to take on tax reform and infrastructure while seeming to ignore the Republican Freedom Caucus, which historically opposes deficit spending. So how do you lower taxes and reduce revenue while proposing to spend more money? Reagan proved that the trickle-down tax breaks didn’t stimulate a compensatory rise in revenue or jobs. Meanwhile The Donald carries on his war with the media even as his approval ratings slide down the slippery Gallup Poll to 36%. His virtual colleagues in the House of Representatives, ...

PRC Staff: More than 22,000 Retro-billed at KCEC

16 March, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Update: apparently KCEC has "retroactively" over-billed about 22,000 KCEC member-customers, including non-residential and residential meters. Both the August 2016 non-residential and December 2016 residential accounts are being analyzed by staff in cooperation with the Taos Coop. Previously KCEC admitted to a number of about 6500 residential discrepancies, called "inadvertent" by CEO Reyes. But Intervenes DesGeorges and Whaley have long disputed those "inadvertent" findings. Both Reyes and the Trustees should be suspended and/or fired like the five lineman caught drinking on the job, whom we hear were fired. The Chicanery at the Coop must stop. For once the old saying means something: "Cheaters never win." Below Friction posts the PRC Staff response. During the hearings the PRC Staff was a bulwark against KCEC's manipulation of the numbers, the muddled financial reports. Hats off. Truly the Trustees should be ashamed of misleading members ...

James Baldwin and the Strange Fruit Hanging…

13 March, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

The Magnolia Pictures Raoul Peck directed I am not your Negro features the philosophical insights of James Baldwin’s commentary on the death of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and depicts the journey of race and confrontation with reality, the tragic reality of American history. As Baldwin says, you can’t understand the present without knowing the past, a past that haunts America with the Strange Fruit referred to in the Billie Holiday song, the fruit hanging from tree limbs. (See Baldwin's essays in the collection The Devil Finds Work  for background and foreground.) When Baldwin himself isn’t speaking directly in documentary footage, Samuel Jackson narrates in steady tones from Baldwin’s insightful essays about popular culture and the myth-making movies that perpetuate White Supremacy. Black and white footage from the fifties and sixties depicts civil rights conflict. The devilish images caught on ...

Chaos is Thy Name

9 March, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

An Outlaw President: the Rise of Nativism and White Supremacy The revolution and the resistance are being televised: Call it the American Death Spiral of Civility and Civilization or is America waiting to be reborn from the ashes? For more than 80 years, beginning with the New Deal and the Fair Deal, Americans have made social progress, creating a more tolerant and more just and equitable America. But now the anti-Christ in the House of Representatives proposes (more) tax cuts for the wealthy while installing (more) Death Panels at health insurance office for the poor and disenfranchised (our numbers are growing). The rise of Nativism and White Supremacy has resulted in racists policies: “Ban the Brown,” “Block the Muslims and Mexicans.” Do not pass go but go directly to jail: deport thyself! Secret Anti-Semites vandalize the markers of the dead in as the ...

Separated at Birth: Councilor Hahn and Trustee Bresnahan?

3 March, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

The Selective Memory of a Town Councilor and a KCEC Trustee According to The Taos News, “Hahn compared the opposition to four-story hotels to the fight against a big-box Walmart. “When we were fighting [that], we had no time, but we organized quickly and we were able to stall, deflect and eventually defeat the ordinance,” he said. Hahn also claimed that group of dissenters was able to gather 11,000 legitimate signatures.” Town Councilor Fritz Hahn has taken it upon himself to attack the activists Lawrence Baker and her colleagues, who claim a four story hotel will have negative effects on the appeal of Taos’s unique culture, architecture and history. Baker et al represent town meeting attendees and more than 3000 signatories who would preserve and protect the community from cookie cutter corporate economics. I don’t remember if there was a petition with 11,000 ...

Nihilists Descend on New Mexico

2 March, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Dude. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT... "Walter Sobchak (John Goodman, The Big Lebowski When the media broadcasts lies, damn lies, statistics and big data along with alternative facts and squirrely claims, it’s time to confront the politicos who persist in their hypocrisy, politicos like Udall and Heinrich as well as the newly elected Hispanic Senator from Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto. The recent celebration at Taos Mesa Brewery led by Cheerleader Heinrich feels like a hangover pounding on the temples today. The vote for Trump’s Secretary of the Interior by the spineless duo from the Land of Enchantment, a man who would lay waste to public lands and accelerate Climate change, focuses attention on the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the liberal class aka democratic party in New Mexico and nationally. Sure, Taosenos, ...

Taos Coop,Town, Letter Writers

27 February, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

  Gotta CDL? or an Interlock ? Seven (7) Kit Carson Electric Cooperative employees in three trucks were busted in Ojo Caliente for “drinking beer on the job,” according to Flavio. The bust is seen as a boon for Martinez Tracking and a boost for stockholders of “New Mexico (Ignition) Interlock Devices, Inc. Flavio, apparently, was called in by state police to pick-up beer cans strewn around the cabs of Coop vehicles. Off-the-record, Employees said they wanted to have some fun at home since they weren’t invited to San Diego by Luis and the Trustees. Insiders speculate that employees may have purchased the booze from associates of Art Rodarte, longtime trustee representing the Ojo Caliente district at Oliver's store in Ojo.  According to Flavio, the state police are investigating. In other Coop news Friction hears the upcoming trial of Trustees Virgil Martinez and Chris Duran ...

Resistance: I am the grass/Let me work…Carl Sandburg

25 February, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Trump’s Rasputin, Steve Bannon revealed his plans this week to “deconstruct” or destroy the “administrative state” to fellow conservatives and white supremacists, including republicans who support the rise of fascism in America. Meanwhile, the resistance is confronting at town hall meetings republican senators and representatives, who are unused to shouts from outraged liberals. Apparently, we Americans are engaged in a perilous journey today as the Republic is under siege from within by "the enemy of the people," the perverse elected officials who had sworn an oath to preserve and protect the constitution but have other plans. This morning I was reading James Baldwin’s “The Devil Finds Work.” Frequently I teach Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son” and “Devil” expands on the themes found in “Native Son” about what it’s like to be Black and subject to racism and fascism, the latter ...

Deep State Set To Dump Trump

21 February, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

“I went home with a waitress the way I always do How was I to know she was with the Russians, too? I was gambling in Havana - I took a little risk Send lawyers, guns, and money Dad, get me out of this: “Send lawyers, guns, and money The shit has hit the fan Send lawyers, guns, and money...”Warren Zevon As the security services gather evidence and subvert the triumphant Trump, it appears that the American establishment, media and governing classes, including the permanent American bureaucracy, are preparing to “Dump Trump.” Political forces aim at forcing the issue of the 25th amendment, a necessity in the Washington power struggle from the point of view of the establishment. Consequently, Taos Friction predicts Mike Pence will be elevated to the role first of “Acting President” to save appearances, due to the reality of a minority ...

PRC Orders KCEC to Respond to Whaley’s Complaint for Retroactive Billing

20 February, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

(Typos represent the scanned PDF transformed into a word doc.) BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF THE FORMAL ) COMPLAINT OF BILL E. WHALEY AGAINST ) Case No.17-00017-UT KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, ) INC. ) NOTICE OF COMPLAINT AND . ORDER REQUIRING ANSWER THIS MATTER comes before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission ("Commission") upon the formal complaint filed with the Commission by Bill E. Whaley ("Whaley'' or "Complainant") against Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. ("KCEC"). Whereupon, being duly informed, · · THE COMMISSION FINDS AND CONCLUDES: 1. On February 1, 2017, Whaley filed a formal complaint ("the Complaint"), attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit A, which includes, but is not limited to, the following: a) Complainant claims KCEC engaged in "retroactive billing" or billing for an increase in energy services delivered prior to December 14, 2016, the effective date of ...

Tax for Public Safety and E911 Dispatch Center

By: Bill Whaley

(Original Post here. The tax passed and voters support the revenue aimed at stabilizing e911 services. Below, Friction offers a brief history of the need, advocacy, and KCEC's nefarious role.) High Taxes and Higher Electricity Charges I want to tell you why I voted for a public safety tax in the interests of fire, EMT brigades, and the local police, despite my opposition to taxes recently passed by the Town, El Prado Water and Sanitation, the hospital, and etc. (I don’t know enough about El Valle de los Ranchos to comment.) The GRT in town is now at 8.3125%, one of the highest “sales levies” in the state. Like the Coop’s high electricity rates, the GRT is a distinct disadvantage for low-income residents and for entrepreneurs considering investments in new businesses. Call high GRT and high electricity charges “anti-economic development.” I opposed the prior ...

Reality Bites from the White House Survivor Show

14 February, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

One Flynn flam man gone! Security adviser, four-star general, Mike Flynn resigns and chaos ensues in the Trump White House. Spicer calls on Saturday Night Live: Politics as melodramatic art form. Who will survive? According to The Guardian’s Julian Borger in Washington (Tuesday 14 February 2017 08.55 EST), reports indicate an insider's bedroom coup has replaced former insiders and NSC professionals at the White House. Borger writes, “Alongside him (Steve Bannon) are Stephen Miller, another rightwing ideologue, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and advisor. They have set up the Strategic Initiatives Group, a parallel institution to the national security council inside the White House, which produces policies, in the form of quick-fire executive orders and memoranda, without consultation with the staff experts on the National Security Council (NSC).” News reports also suggest that the Trump campaign team (managed by Kushner) were in contact with ...

Lament for La Cultura: Part II

2 February, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Just as the History of Resistance to change is omnipresent in Taos so is the History of Political Complexity, where local Chicanery would undermine the local culture. When Chris Lujan of Taos Pueblo presented his “Standing Rock” dancers, on January 20, so I thought of Taos Pueblo’s triumphant victory in their "Battle for Blue Lake," which victory set a standard for Tribes across the nation in terms of preserving sacred land and water. I also thought of RISE and their “Uncertain Journey” in the victorious battle against the Kachina Lodge Casino project (part of a book I’m writing about the Horse Fly years). And, of course, I thought of the political opposition to the Standing Rock represented by Trumpery. And certainly local animus was aimed at the Tribe’s rendezvous with Blue Lake in the sixties, opposition by county commissioners, some Town Councilors, ...

The Year of the Women: Kudos to Valerie

31 January, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

  The March for civil rights and expression of political power by American women continues to rock Washington D.C. and Taos, New Mexico. Last night television news posted photos of four judges, all women, who temporarily blocked Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslims from countries without Trump hotels. Then the Tweeter fired Sally Yates, the acting AG who questioned the constitutionality of the order by the increasingly neurotic President. Here in Taos the Town Council censured Councilor Judi Cantu for being a “pest,” in a continuing culture of patriarchal misgivings about women who get elected and speak up to conventional males. Cantu follows in the line of other women who spoke up and were punished by humiliating gestures, including former Council Woman Erlinda Gonzales, County Commissioner Rebecca Parraz, County Finance Director Lorraine Coca-Ruiz, KCEC Trustee Luisa Mylet, and Taos Municipal Schools board ...

PRC Takes with the Right and Gives with the Left

29 January, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Friction hears the Town of Taos has called a meeting without proper notice for Monday morning Jan. 30th at ten am. for the purpose of censuring Councilor Judi Cantu. Friction urges the Town to turn their heads toward the deluge of mud and snow on the streets  as well as aberrant KCEC retroactive and otherwise negligent treatment of community, including the questionable increase of electricity rates un-related to electrical service. Both the PRC and the Coop have neglected their duty to the consumers and business  customers in Taos.  Let Judi be Judi. Somebody has to keep and eye on Rasputin the 70s era rocker and his groupie! (The Forbidden News of Taos) On Wednesday, January 25, the Public Regulation Commission ruled in favor of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) motion’s to ignore Intervener’s motions to rehear the 2015-2017 rate case in a unanimous decision. Meanwhile ...

PRC Confronts KCEC Community Abuse on Wed. Jan. 25

24 January, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Prologue Let truth and error grapple. Who ever knew truth to be beaten in a fair fight? John Milton My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. George Orwell And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer. I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. Virginia Woolf I am shocked, shocked to discover that KCEC, after getting a rate increase is now retroactively billing members prior to rate approval and has robbed or is in the process of robbing its members, except for the “6500” victims it has so far acknowledged in a PRC filing. Below I offer up the closing paragraph of my plea, submitted to the Public Regulation Commission (PRC). The PRC generally relies on its staff to ...

KCEC Cops to Overcharging Residents: Denies Screwing Local Businesses

22 January, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

Blames Software? Or maybe it was Virgil’s Fault? Copy of Letter From Bill Whaley To Town and County: Mayor Dan Barrone, Councilors Fritz Hahn, Judi Cantu, Darien Fernandez, Mgr. Rick Bellis; Count y Commissioner Gabe Romero, Tom Blankenhorn, and Manager Leandro Cordova To Whom it May Concern: Below I attach Cuddy-McCarthy’s Jan. 19 responses to Interveners’ motions for rehearing, filed Jan. 6. Regardless of the merits of the motion, the arguments and case studies cited represent various opportunities for legal insight and remedy or redress. (We Interveners also have a lot of information.) Despite our best efforts at this late date on behalf of government and non-residential rate-payers (businesses), I assume we will lose the case on Wednesday in front of the PRC on January 25. But toward the end of the document, KCEC acknowledges their “error” re: 6500 residential rate “retroactive billings.” Now they ...

Battlers Arraigned in Judge Dickie’s Muni Court 9 AM Tuesday

9 January, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

The Man who voted “NO!” against the Kit Carson Electric Coop rate increase will be arraigned in Judge Dickie’s Court Tuesday Jan. 10 at 9 AM sharp in the Town of Taos. Chicano Chamber President, Arsenio Cordova says, “ I expect Trustee Virgil Martinez’s supporters to pack the courtroom.” You can see the brunt of the beating on Virgil’s face below. Virgil, “I Feel Sorry for Taos County, “gave way 20 years to the younger man, Trustee Chris “No Mas” Duran. Both men will stand and deliver pleas in front of the Judge. Martinez and Duran are expected to plead “not guilty” to charges of “Public Affray” and “Battery” as well as possible other misdemeanor charges. Attorney Alan Maestas represents the Man from Cerro, whereas Duran, the Man from the Penasco Valley (pictured) is represented, last we heard by Santa Fe sharp shooter, ...

Taos Gangsters on Cruz Alta St: “Its illegal!”

8 January, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

El Reyes and the 11 Families During the last few months of 2016, El Reyes (aka KCEC CEO Luis Reyes), who controls ten of 11 local “mafia” families (aka “Trustees”) at the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc., has allegedly “taken” hundreds of thousands of dollars from non-residential and residential rate-payers, including local government entities (town, county, schools, hospitals, villages, etc.) due to avaricious policies re: electrical charges. If you don’t pay KCEC, the Coop has the authority to “cut-off” your power. In the criminal world of dons, hit men, and “omerta,” we call these practices “extortion” or “blackmail” and “bribery.” According to an “application for rehearing” filed at the PRC on Jan. 6, 2017, of the endless KCEC/PRC 2015-2016 rate request hearings, Intervener Rose Des Georges alleges that KCEC has engaged in a number of “retroactive” billing procedures i.e. billing residents for higher ...

KCEC Interveners and Members Meet Tonight: Las Pistoleras in El Prado: 7 pm on Thursday. Jan. 5.

5 January, 2017
By: Bill Whaley

  Introduction Due to what KCEC Interveners are calling an emergency due to “arbitrary and capricious” billing practices at Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, KCEC members are invited to an “informational” meeting tonight at 7 pm. The latest round of monthly electric bills show a “retroactive increase” on system billings, according to several electrical bills. At tonight’s working session, Interveners and members will discuss possible remedies to “mismanagement” of both the electric side and diversification at the Coop. Remedies include filing complaints with the PRC and a more drastic "class action lawsuit." During the hearings commercial electricity users were unrepresented and Interveners believe unfairly targeted by KCEC and the PRC Commission. The non-residential users allegedly had their due process rights ignored by the Commission and may have recourse in the courts. Neither the Town nor the County opposed the rate increases and may also be ...

Taos 2016: Lumps of Coal and Candy Canes

31 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

  Elections Lumps of Coal: The lamp of democracy appears to be flickering as eighty years of New Deal progress in economic and social justice are being foreclosed upon by the politics of greed, grievance, and government as the enemy of the people. Candy Canes: The Bernie Sanders movement and brigade of millennials indicate a brighter future for democracy if they can beat worldwide die off of the human race due to climate change. Energy Lumps of Coal: The cruelest body of elected representatives i.e. the Coop Trustees are raising members’ rates to pay for the shameful excesses of non-electric ventures, the Travel fund (San Diego in the new year), the CEO’s super salary and three-weeks of paid vacation. The Trustees award themselves kudos for the “mismanagement” of the Coop since the turn of the century. Candy Canes: One Trustee, Virgil Martinez, at the Coop voted ...

KCEC eats its own

17 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Off the Record: Virgil’s Trial by his Peers On the Q.T. Illegal Solar Gardens Very Hush Hush: KCEC Electric bill Each time you read your electric bill think: Virgil, Luis, Guzman, Diversification, and Solar Dreams. News reports claim the “The Battling Trustees” are being charged with assault, battery, and public affray in the Chris “No Mas insults” beat-down of Virgil “No Stinkin Rate Increases.” Sharp-eyed Attorney Alan Maestas is looking for a jury of Virgil’s peers to render a verdict on the fracas. The twenty-year younger man Duran on tape pounded the supine senior citizen Martinez into the hard floor. But the community owes Virgil a “thank-you” for voting “no.”Chris may be the man who quashed Virgil but “Rocky of Cerro” keeps on coming back. Try to find a jury! Off the Record: A Teaser for the 12 Days of Christmas Commercial customers, i.e. Taos businesses ...


11 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Editor’s Note The image below summarizes Trump appointments, aimed at satisfying the right wing Plutocrats; the column below by Summer Brennan summarizes in word and deed how the fascist march is proceeding toward Washington D.C. The opposition is forming round Bernie Sanders nationally.   Here in Taos, we have "little fascists" at the KCEC, who are imposing their “undemocratic will” on members, commercial and residential rate payers, while also "taxing" institutions and local government, which also pass on the "tax and rates" to us. Similarly the Town markets a new and tacky look for tourists with tawdry Christmas banners, garish lights, and anti-cultural closures of the Plaza. At local elections we once elected Town and Coop Vecinos on the basis of an age old paradigm: protecting the local culture and embodying local values of compassion and self-determination. What was once minor corruption in terms of ...

KCEC: Nitty-Gritty Coop News

9 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Poetic Justification In a “My Turn” piece (Taos News, Dec. 8-14) KCEC Trustee Chris Duran makes a number of claims that exemplify his alleged “lack of credibility,” which questions include the provenance of the agent-author of the piece itself. We can assume someone beside Duran wrote the “My Turn” given its flow and style, impersonal tone and objective analysis of subjective motives.   Certainly we congratulate Duran on hiring John Day, whose experience defending KCEC robbers, cops accused of homicide and crooks accused of murder for he's the go-to guy for those in serious trouble with the law. As a suspect in what Taos Friction refers to as the KCEC “beat-down” case, Mr. Duran is certainly prudent. The equally prudent trustee Virgil Martinez has hired the “poor man’s lawyer,” the renowned Alan Maestas, who fights for justice on behalf of local targets of los ...

PRC & KCEC Screw Taosenos

7 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

(Explanations will follow later the decision posted below but read it and weep because your electricity bill at home is about to take a big leap. Remember Virgil Martinez: the only trustee, who voted no! And a representative of the board laid him out like a sack of potatoes. Now the Trustees are coming for your purse and pocketbook! Viva Virgil!) BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING OF PROPOSED NEW RATES BY KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., Applicant. ) ) ) ) Case No. 15-00375-UT ) ) ) FINAL ORDER ADOPTING RECOMMENDED DECISION THIS MATTER comes before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (Commission) upon the Application filed by Kit Carson Electric Cooperative on December 3, 2015 for new rates (Application) and the Recommended Decision (RD) issued by Heating Examiner Elizabeth Hurst on October 31, 2016; whereupon, bein g duly advised ...

Kit Carson Rates Go Up; Trustees Go Down

6 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Thanks to peripatetic El Norte Journalist, Andy Stiny, who covers all things creative and unusual, the controversial street fight at the Kit Carson arena on Cruz Alta Street in Taos continues to furnish avid readers with the “news that never stops.” The one-sided grab and go fisticufffs among middleweights, ended with Trustee Virgil Martinez of Cerro, above,  the loser by a TKO to a younger, fitter, stronger Trustee, the challenger, one Chris Duran, son of Felix, we’re told. But Stiny’s news story in today's Journal North, revealed other tidbits. Contrary to Taos Friction’s skeptical attitude, the Coop did furnish the Taos Police Department with a “really, really blurry” video, according to Officer Maggio of the town, quoted by Stiny in Journal North. Maggio told Stiny he’s seeking counsel from the town attorney before proceeding with a filed police report about the ...

Tony Reyna (1916—2016)

5 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

(Editor’s Note: Taosenos shall dearly miss Tony Reyna, a venerable and elegant presence in the community. The photograph above and the piece below are excerpted from Paul O’Connor’s Taos Portraits. On the day we discussed his life and times for the book, Tony said he was determined to live to be 100. As with all artists featured in “Taos Portraits,” Tony had the final say on the copy. I was always very proud that Tony purchased each month a small ad in Horse Fly, indicating his tacit support for RISE and the Pesky Insect, as Frank Concha of Taos Pueblo used to call me.) Tony Reyna (1916—2016) When you cross the cattle guard or boundary of Taos Pueblo, one of the first buildings you see on the right is “Tony Reyna’s Indian Shop—Indian Owned and Operated Since 1950.” Tony built his shop ...

Gang Alert: Coop Calls Emergency Meeting?

3 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

After I heard about the “emergency meeting” called by the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Coop) for Monday, Dec. 5, at 10 am, I read the by-laws re: “Section 9. Removal of Trustees and Officers” and “Section 2. Qualifications and tenure.” (You can find them on the Coop web site.) But the by-laws are vague and ambiguous regarding “Trustee” conduct, i.e. subject to endless and inconclusive interpretation. The simple "beat-down" or "minor tussle"  between Trustee Duran and Trustee Martinez doesn't seem to count for misconduct, according to the by-laws. Since the board makes policy, except for criminal felonies, at the Coop “everything is permitted.” Call board policy the self-determining “exceptions to the rules.” A fistfight doesn’t disqualify a board member from trusteeship anymore than a DWI charge, an allegation of sexual harassment, running off with a lineman’s wife or girlfriend, or ...

“I feel sorry for Taos County”— Virgil Martinez

1 December, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Failure is Thy Name! The Beat Down! The man pictured, Virgil Martinez, has been subjected to a “beat down” by a fellow Trustee during executive session at the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29. See the Albuquerque Journal front page today. The thuggery follows on the heels of fifteen years of exploitation under the slogan, “diversification,” a utopian public relations gambit by KCEC management and elected trustees. Not only does the Coop levy increased charges on commercial and residential members but it has also increased rates for local government. Citizens are getting hit with the triple whammy. Virgil got hit with fists and was beaten down to the hard hallway floor outside the Coop’s meeting room by a man twenty years his junior, while Trustees ignored (or manipulated) the fracas. Virgil stumbled off to drive himself to the hospital as ...

Fascism on the March

22 November, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Dear Reader, Last night I watched a video of the Neo-Nazis cheering for Trump and the coming “white-man’s America.”  See Trump’s appointments to high office: Breitbart News’s Steve Bannon as Chief Counsel, extremist Mike Pompeo as CIA chief, and retrograde racist Alabamian Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. The Triad combines the advocacy of white supremacists, expanded NSA Surveillance, and the continuing degradation of voting rights and torture. The Trump aim appears to promote the permanent institution of a “police state.” Under current terrorist policies any foreign national or American citizen can be denounced and detained without cause or a trial, given the state of the Kangaroo FISA court. (See a fine piece written with compassion and argument from Chris Hedges on Truthdig, called “We Are All Deplorables.”) Last night on mainstream broadcast news, a cross-section of establishment figures protested against the Trump Pics, policies, and ...

The Bittersweet Taste of Reality: an activist’s addiction

19 November, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

A few Thoughts “The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.” William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming “Undefeated Despair.” (John Berger’s description of Palestinian attitudes) “Mike Pence booed at Hamilton performance and hears diversity plea.” The Guardian, 19 November, 2016. (The cast lectured the VP elect at the end of the performance.) The Bubble Bursts Experience and education stimulate reflection on the complexity of socio-political ideas of justice and freedom. As the ancients, moderns, and current philosophers teach, a conscious human being thinks as a morally imaginative and free person. Thinking and freedom go hand in hand. Sometimes, as the existentialists claimed, action comes first. The bubble that burst for so many with the elevation of Trump speaks to the substitution of public relations language for critical thinking. As Marx predicted in his little book, The Communist Manifesto, capitalist propaganda overwhelms ...

Dirty Hands: Trump to Taos

15 November, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

A News Advocate’s Opinion According to news reports, the Army Corps of Engineers has advised the Standing Rock Tribe that they will take a second look at the Dakota Pipeline re: the desecration of Tribal lands and the threat to water resources. In addition, news reports in the Guardian say one Donald Trump has investments in the pipeline project. So the “conflict of interest” issues have arisen quickly as the worldwide real estate magnate and investor, also President-elect prepares to sit in the oval office. The blatant disregard for ethics is mind-boggling.   Here in Taos a similar “conflict of interest issue” will play out in the Town of Taos municipal court at 10 am on Thursday, November 17. The sign man, Jeff Northrup, has been accused of “trespassing” and will face charges in the municipal court of Judge Jim Fambro, a sitting ...

Kit Carson and Taos: the Yo Yo News

11 November, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

The Story Below May be Bad for your Health! Phone PRC Commissioner: Valerie Espinoza  1-888-427-5772 Between November 14 and Dec. 9, the Public Regulation Commission will hold a final hearing to consider the  Kit Carson Electric Cooperative request for an increase in residential rates. The process has gone on for almost a year. My residential power bill, dated 9/17/16 thru10/17, skyrocketed due to the “Fuel and Purchased Power Cost Adjustment Clause” (FPPCAC): two meters cost an additional $32 each for the fuel charge, plus the meter charge of $14 and the kilowatt cost. (Study your bill.) KCEC is going wild. Why? First, the PRC allowed KCEC to pass the cost of fuel used to generate power on to members last March. KCEC missed the deadline to file but the Commissioners excused their tardiness for the second year in a row. The PRC also ignored Interveners ...

Trick or Treat Part II: KCEC’s Rate and Debt Charges

31 October, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Ali Baba and the 42 Thieves If you own a business, you might ask yourself why KCEC “commercial” or non-residential electric bill rocketed up last month but appeared to decline this month. And there’s more increases scheduled if not yet approved for residential users. 1. Compare the number of days KCEC charged for each month. 2. Look at the cost of fuel in the “Fuel and Purchased Power Cost Adjustment Clause. Regulators govern the per kilowatt cost but the electric Coop can adjust for the cost of buying fuel to generate power on residential and non-residential rates. 3. The PRC allowed KCEC to proceed with a non-residential rate increase despite protests by interveners in written form and their presence at the meeting. 4. Chairperson Valerie Espinoza hurried to adjourn the meeting (above) because the staff had prepared a birthday cake for her. 5. Business owners will soon ...

Considering the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and Whitey’s Full Stop.

24 October, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Sunday we sat on the bench next to the Rio Grande Gorge, staring north at the Bridge. The bench is engraved with the names of two Taos children and commemorates their short lives, snuffed out by an automobile accident. Perhaps there is nothing more tragic for a parent or grandparent than outliving their progeny, who embody their hopes and desire. As I looked at the oval steel spans beneath the steel-asphalt roadway, I thought of the anonymous jumpers and their relatives. I’ve never seen anyone jump but I have seen their cars, abandoned in the middle of the bridge shortly after the subjects decided to depart this life. Yesterday was a clear fall day. In my mind’s eye, I could see the mythic Icarus falling; he who made wings out of feathers and used molten wax as glue. With typical human ...

“When they go low, we go high” –Michelle Obama

14 October, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Finally, yesterday I saw in the person of Michelle Obama and felt the dignity of human aspiration restored to an otherwise degenerate presidential campaign. She called on the angels of our nature to reconcile basic human relations, not only between men and women but between our hopes and aspirations of what it means to acknowledge the duty and desire owed to ourselves as human beings intent on creating a more just society. The First Lady spoke to the courage of transcending the fear embodied by bullies who would ignore the dignity of all human beings. Michelle reminded us of our potential for rising above the threat posed by nasty discourse and cheap shots in this media driven election, the campaign rhetoric that focuses on the worst elements. At another critical time in the life of the American experiment Abraham Lincoln delivered ...

Politics and Business at Town and Coop

7 October, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

The Kit Carson Coop The Interveners in the Kit Carson Electric Coop (KCEC) PRC rate case, guided by retired Judge Peggy Nelson, are filing findings and conclusions in their protest against an increase in electricity charges for residents. Back in March the PRC approved a motion from KCEC to narrow the hearings to “residential rates.” Recently the PRC quickly approved an increase for “non-residential or commercial rates. They did it in a hurry due to a scheduled birthday party for one of the $90,000 commissioners.   Residential rates could go up toward the end of the year but they have been delayed and contested, thanks to the Interveners. From what I hear small and large business owners, as well as the Town and County have recently experienced “sticker shock” as their new electricity bills arrived. The nine Interveners didn’t get any support from ...

Season of Artfulness: Martin, 203, O’Connor, Merimee Emerge

15 September, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Agnes (Again!) Local favorite, artist Agnes Martin emerges tonight “Before the Grid” on screen at the TCA in a premier, directed by Kathleen Brennan and Jina Brenneman at 7 pm. After Agnes withdraws for the evening, the audience can have at the directors with a Q & A. Buy tickets now and show up at 6 p.m. to say hello. (Highlight: Jim Wagner on the lady of his dreams!) Always Modern Attend the quasi-official kick-off for this Fall’s Art “party” and visit the post premier(s) after Agnes and Arte de Descartes Friday at 203 Fine Art, September 16th, 5 - 8 pm. The show of Non-Objective Taos Artists features Shaun Richel, Mimi Chen Ting, Marcia Oliver, Lisa Burge and Peter Chinni. The 203 press release hints at presenting representatives of the Salon des Refuses, who ignore the Grand Fall Arts Country Fair Show ...

Taos Community News Update

3 September, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

  KCEC Rate Hearings On Wednesday, Sept. 7, the Public Regulation Commission will hear a motion from Kit Carson Electric Cooperative to lift the suspension of non-residential rates. On March 2, the PRC issued an order in response to KCEC’s motion to “narrow” the focus on hearings to “residential rates” due to KCEC member-protesters and subsequent interveners, who sought a hearing in front of a Hearing Examiner. At the time the PRC suspended both “residential rates” and “non-residential” rates for nine months. Since then KCEC, KCEC member-interveners, and the PRC staff have engaged in a series of “fact-finding” exercisers in order to determine whether KCEC’s rate request is ultimately “just and reasonable.” Now KCEC wants to change the rules of the hearing process. Members did not receive “notice” back in March of KCEC’s request for non-residential rate increases per the hearing process. The ...

PRC Hearing Examiner Dismisses “Stipulated Agreement”

19 August, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Hearing to continue Sept. 19 Somebody (?) Blundered On August 18, Elizabeth Hurst, hearing examiner in the contentious KCEC rate case dismissed a “stipulated agreement” between the Coop and PRC staff. Hearing officer Elizabeth Hurst writes, “The Non-residential rates contained in the Stipulation and Revised Stipulation were not included in limited scope as set forth in the Commission' s Order on Motion to Narrow Scope. Therefore, the Hearing Examiner finds that the Non-residential rates contained in the Stipulation and Revised Stipulation are beyond the scope of the Hearing Examiner's authority, and the Hearing Examiner cannot hear the Stipulation or Revised Stipulation.” Earlier in March KCEC moved to narrow the scope of the rate request case to residential rates, a motion approved of and ordered by the Public Regulation Commission, which also requires the Coop to notify members. Protesters and Interveners filed objections based ...

Community Watch List

8 August, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

The Movida Makers Let us all congratulate the Town of Taos on the presentation of “Alabama Shakes” in concert. Apparently eight or nine thousand concertgoers from out of town filled the Kit Carson Park and, according to the cheers, attendees were much pleased. The well-organized sound and staging, parking lots and venue deserve mention. From the patio of my casita I thoroughly enjoyed the residual sound effects as I did seeing out-of-towners crowd the sidewalks and streets. Congratulations are in order to Mitch Miller and his in-house roadies, the town personnel, who organized the event and kept watch. The Town tourism sector this year indicates an increase in travellers who are spending time and money while staying home in America and coming to Taos. The pleasure of the music serves as a welcome antidote to the discouraging chaos of presidential politics. The ...

Kit Carson Coop Rate Hearings Re-booted

3 August, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

In a temporary victory for members of the Kit Carson Electric Coop, the hearing examiner, Elizabeth Hurst, in the Kit Carson rate case yesterday, issued an order calling for a delay and re-scheduling of the hearing process. (See order excerpted below.) Taos Interveners, members of the Coop, by protesting the rates and asking for a hearing have not only staved off rate increases for 2016 but forced the delay of a final decision, which will, in all probability, not take effect until 2017. Interveners estimate that the delays due to protests will save members (conservatively) an estimated two million dollars this year. The proposed “stipulated agreement,” mentioned in news reports last week, by PRC staff and KCEC created a snafu, due to violating the PRC guidelines. The original order “narrowed” the issues and was sought by KCEC itself. But the Coop got greedy ...

On Hillary Clinton and The Challenges

29 July, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Two nights ago President Barack Obama said Hillary Clinton had more experience than either himself or former President Bill Clinton. Time and Circumstance offer individual leaders the opportunity to realize potential. The best example of a leader who stood up to world conflagration and refused to surrender was Winston Churchill, who swore he’d fight the Nazis in the street and announced that he and the British would fight back with blood and sweat, toil and tears. It strikes me that Hilary Clinton must do the same. First, she’s got to beat a Republican degenerate and demagogue, a silly man whose only program involves trumpeting about the “art of the deal.” Last night the Democratic Convention culminated by displacing former Republican positions of “patriotism” and "faith" while confronting the face of Republicans who refuse to govern. If Clinton wins, and she must, she ...

Kick the Can: History Unfolds abroad and at home

27 July, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

(Part I) When I watch the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, the young Bernie faces, so passionate and engaged, remind me of the desperate days of Chicago ’68, when Mayor Daley unleashed the police riots, provoking demonstrators on the floor of the convention and in the streets. The Chicago riots focused on the opposition to Vietnam, the inequity seen in the poor people’s brigade, and the Black Panther protest. Today we see the Bush-Obama endless wars, the culmination of the Clinton-Bush-Obama systemic corporate commodification of taxpayers on behalf of the 1%, and the rise of Black Lives Matter issue in reaction to white supremacy and police violence. The issue of “blowback” comes to mind: the downing of the World Trade Center due to foreign policy blunders and the gunning down of Dallas and Baton Rouge Cops, due to aberrant individuals in response to cold-blooded ...

Coop News and Jailhouse Blues

21 July, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

This journalist congratulates J.R. Logan and Cody Hooks of The Taos News for writing (at last, alas) a series of revealing stories about the KCEC. As one of about 8 interveners in KCEC’s rate request case, now in the process of being heard and not being heard by the PRC, I used stories from The Taos News in response to hostile interrogatories about where I got information for Taos Friction: information on KCEC’s $100 million dollar debt, for instance, and news about KCEC’s intention to borrow more money to finish the Broadband project (about $7 to 12 million). Why I read all about it  in the weekly news. However, this morning’s headlines, “Co-op, PRC staff reach settlement terms in rate case” is less a fact than wishful thinking on the part of the above-mentioned parties. Certainly, the Coop and the PRC ...

APD Slaps Sopyn in Jail

6 July, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Judge Sets “$200,000” Cash Bond Danger to Community Shortly after Judge McElroy let Mick Sopyn fly away “one more time” on June 23, despite having “violated conditions of release” several times, including getting busted in Albuquerque for DWI, the perp “violated” again on 28 June, 2016, about five days after playing the Judge for a “sucker.” His words not mine. (See Taos Friction post below, 1 July 2016, “The Scofflaw and the Judge.) According to APD officer Patricia Young in the criminal complaint, “Sopyn backed his truck into her [the victim’s] vehicle on June 28. The officer ran Sopyn’s information and discovered he also had a revoked driver’s license. “Sopyn stated he knew he wasn’t supposed to be driving.” On the same day, June 28, Judge McElroy in Taos had signed a court order defining Sopyn’s “conditions of release,” which included a “Scram” device (bracelet) ...

The Scofflaw and the Judge

1 July, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

“I was taken for a sucker.” Judge McElroy District Court, June 23, 2016 On Thursday afternoon, June 23, 2016, a few minutes past 2:30 pm, Judge Jeff McElroy convened District Court to hear the “motion to revoke conditions of release” in the matter of State vs. Micola (Mick) Sopyn, case No. D-820-201400180. The Judge said he understood that there’s a “proposed resolution.” Prosecutor Ron Olsen (the third in a succession of prosecutors) sat stage left and represented the DA’s office. Attorney Dan Marlowe, stage right, represented defendant Micola (Mick) Sopyn, the subject of the hearing. Sopyn was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Amber Hava and tampering with evidence in the same incident on July 11, 2014. The defendant, Mr. Sopyn, had entered the courtroom in a wheel chair, pushed by a friend, prior to the Judge’s emergence from chambers. The bailiff ...

Kit Carson Coop: Beneath the Surface and Under the Stars

22 June, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

As an intervenor in the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (Coop) request for a rate increase I have signed a confidentiality agreement. The agreement, however, is full of holes and contradictions. For instance, certain information in my first set of interrogatories was denied due to “confidentiality.” After signing the agreement and submitting a second set of interrogatories, some of that same information was referred to as already having been surrendered in my first set. We intervenors are representing ourselves “pro-se” while the Coop is represented by and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Cuddy-McCarthy law firm. From a member’s perspective, I believe the Coop is using the PRC and its lawyers primarily as a way of covering up the failures of “diversification” (Call Center, Command Center, Propane, Internet, Broadband). Millions of dollars and thousands of hours have been spent on ...

Friction Endorses Hope v. Hate (v. The Status Quo)

1 June, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Bernie Sanders offers a vision of hope, based on the best of America’s New Deal past even as Donald Trump stimulates hate based on fear of the future. Given the Memorial Day just past in which we honor not war but the veterans of war, a reader points out the story wherein Trump commented on John McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump received four student deferments from military service between 1964 and 1968, according to Trump, the fear-mongering candidate, panders to vets and angry mobs. Just as he was too selfish to serve then, now he refuses to release his tax returns, which would reveal the ruthless side of the American Entrepreneur. The ruthless businessman turned “Reality TV show candidate” presents the New ...

Taosenos Shun Los Politicos

13 May, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Dark Days in Taos The Boycott The Hispanic community and other interested locals have given up on local politics. As J.R. Logan in The Taos News says, “Low turnout marks Kit Carson Board election.” Voting in recent elections for District 1, the Taos Valley, has declined from 1900 in 2011 to 1506 in 2012 to 1334 in 2013 to 851 in 2016. Taosenos are shunning the Coop. The pyrrhic victories by Luisa Mylet and Bob Bresnahan in this year’s election over Jason Silva, a member of the school board and Andrew Chavez, a former county commissioner, make the point that members are disgusted with the incompetence and corrupt practices not only at the Coop but throughout the community. Another story in the Taos News is headlined: “Taos Middle School to restructure after failing grade.” A grade of “F” was issued to the middle school, ...

The Lone Ranger, Tonto, and a Silver Bullet at the Coop

6 May, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Yesterday, at Smith’s grocery store I met the Lone Ranger. The modern version substitutes sunglasses for a mask and a cap for a cowboy hat. He said his name was Bob Bresnahan, candidate for the Coop Board of Trustees. I knew better.  The silver-tongued talker alluded to use of “silver bullets,” symbolic of solutions forged today by the gods of green energy. He responded with practiced answers on controversial topics associated with the Coop’s optimistic plans for the future. His companion, Tonto, below,  hovers behind the scenes in his office, KCEC HQ in “Barrio Cruz Alta.”  1) About the Tri-State contract buyout of some $38 million, Bob presented me with thumb and forefinger curled in a circle, almost touching one digit to the next, saying that KCEC was this close to a deal and could buy electrical energy at half the price Tri-State ...

PRC Fines KCEC, Candidates for Coop Elections set

29 April, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

$2000 Fine by the Public Regulation Commission. Mismanagement (Again) In an order which granted “the application of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. ("Kit Carson" or "KCEC") to continue its fuel and purchased power cost adjustment clause ("FPPCAC") as part of its approved tariff for electric service to its customers,” the PRC also fined the Coop for a missed deadline. The order, dated, April 20, 2016, says: “A $2,000 fine is assessed against KCEC for failure to timely file its Application for continued used of its FPPCAC within 4 years pursuant to Rule 550.17.A.” The order also includes a paragraph, listing the Coop’s previous “missed deadlines.” “The Commission finds that KCEC has been untimely in filing its FPPCAC continuation filings repeatedly and accordingly finds that KCEC should be sanctioned. In KCEC 's 2002 continuation filing, Case No. 3773, the Commission ordered a $2,000 fine for ...

The Loyal Opposition Weighs Options

17 April, 2016
By: Contributor

Farmer’s Market Taos: A Festival of Ordinance Violations From the Desk of Pascual Maestas Tuesday’s Town Council meeting was everything one would have expected in traditional Taos fashion: passionate arguments on both sides followed by hasty, emotional decision making on the part of the Council without thorough legal review or economic analysis. I will leave the economic analysis out in this opinion piece, the numbers simply aren’t in to crunch (although we received promises that they will be: we shall see). Instead, there are some legal gray areas that aren’t really that gray.   Town Attorney, Floyd Lopez, incorrectly called the Ordinance 5.08.070 preventing any fiesta, carnival, or festival from shutting down the streets around the plaza a resolution. He then claimed that the current administration was not bound by the resolutions passed during previous administrations. Although this is correct, the ordinance is an ...

Town Administers “Coup de Grace” to Merchants

13 April, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Judi in Wonderland The Bad On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 the Town Council, not the mayor, not the manager, but Councilors Hahn, Evans, and Fernandez delivered the Coup de Grace (death blow) to the Plaza Merchants. In view of the Council, it's time for the Plaza Merchants to enter the realm of rigor mortis. They need a billionaire who can afford the upgrades. According to anecdotal estimates and testimony about 70% of merchants oppose not the Farmer’s Market but the closure of streets to traffic, which, according to observers and the evidence, reduces revenue. While approving a three-year contract with the Farmer’s Market group, the Council affirmed the Mayor and Manager’s “arbitrary and capricious” authority to implement a patchwork vision based on cultural evens like Xmas tree lights and pig sticking. The Manager asked Interim Chief Maggio to testify ...

Taos at Risk

12 April, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

If today’s agenda is a guide, the Town of Taos may provide a forum for a renewed conversation about the future of the community at 3 pm. Two items on the agenda could stimulate the discussion, while a third and a fourth, see postscript below, are being ignored. The Farmer’s Market appears headed back to the Plaza but the devil, personified by Rick Bellis, is in the details. Fresh food and the Farmer’s Market signal a rebirth of ideas, self-sufficiency and a renewed interest in indigenous commerce. But trouble is brewing because the pre-election council, Mayor and Manager, ignored the conflict posed by the Plaza Merchants. While the Bent St. and Dunn House merchants see the Market as a plus because it revives interest by locals in their shops, many of whom are closely related to the “new demographic,” the brick and ...

Letter from the Front: Insurgents fight for the Souls of Two Parties

3 April, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

By now it’s a commonplace that the frightened GOP establishment is fighting a hostile take-over by media reality candidate, Donald Trump. The Wisconsin primary on Tuesday might provide a bump in the road as the fanatical Cruz supporters are expected to turn out and give the Evangelical wing a victory. In either case, Trump and Cruz are symbolic of GOP extremism and the tendency toward fascism, supported by a GOP. This is a GOP, which refuses to participate in the traditional and constitutional duty to govern as elected representatives and has reversed the historic gains of average Americans going back to the New Deal age of Franklin Roosevelt.   Meanwhile the Democratic party establishment, led by the Obama/Clinton wing is becoming more and more nervous by the day as insurgent supporters, led by Bernie Sanders reject the twenty-year tilt toward reactionary Republican politics, ...

Taos Town Council Finds its Voice: Super Store Cabal Shut Down!

19 March, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

  According to reports, Councilor Cantu moved to deny rezoning for the “secret” Smith’s Super Store Cabal on Thursday, March 17, 2016. Councilor Evans seconded the motion and Councilor Fernandez voted in favor. Only Councilor Hahn, the one-time anti-corporate anti-big box activist, who has flipped and follows the lead of the Bellis-Barrone secret doings, voted against Judi’s motion. (You might remember how two years ago Councilor Cantu was "abused" by the Cabal and an ignorant and hysterical mob (mostly Angloists). Yet Judi, "steady as she goes" supports  Taos and Taosenos as she sees it, regardless of who shows up to hearings.) We who believe in small town democracy and work toward self-determination are grateful to the three council members. In their first public act of consequence, Councilors Nathaniel Evans and Darien Fernandez have proven themselves equal to the task by restoring “transparency” and ...

Taos: Conflict, Transparency, and Close Reading

17 March, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Recently, a friend wrote and suggested I apply more “nuance” to my broadsides, herein aimed at stirring up the citizenry and giving voice to the voiceless. My “developer” friends also accuse me of standing in the way of progress. Both criticisms are taken in good faith. But none of my critics apparently read my remarks closely. For months, if not years, I have voiced support of the Farmer’s Market but criticized the management by the town for not also observing the rights of Plaza Merchants. Both parties could be accommodated with minor tweaks in terms of location, maintaining traffic lanes, etc. I have been on the Plaza watching the Town ineptly manage events and shut down the Plaza unnecessarily. The town bullies merchants by using their own top-down “police powers” to undermine the rights of the brick and mortar tenants. The reduction ...

Redevelopment Divisive: Mayor, Manager, and “You People”

13 March, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

(Editor's Note: this piece is long but broken up by subheads. Read it and weep.) On Thursday, March 17, Mayor Barrone and Manager Bellis will conduct a public hearing for the Town Council and interested citizens on a rezoning proposal for the redevelopment of the area south of the Plaza on the west side of the highway from McDonalds to Los Pandos Road, including a substantial portion of the Couse Pasture. The Council is expected to rule yea or nay or could continue the hearing and decision. Background Historically, Irving “Kibbey” Couse, son of E.I. Couse of the Taos Society of Artists, sought to expand on and cement his father’s legacy, working with his sisters Ginny and Elizabeth at the studio and home on Kit Carson Road. Though two of the siblings (Kibbey and Elizabeth and in-law, Ernie Levitt) have died Ginny carries ...

Taos: Town Stonewalls Community

10 March, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose! (The More things change, the more they remain the same.) The Town of Taos administration is stonewalling neighborhood activists on Montoya, Burch, and Los Pandos streets, the area immediately adjacent to the proposed Smith’s Big Box development. Now, a new swath of residents knows what the Chicano Chamber of Commerce and the Plaza Merchants have been protesting against. Bellis, Barrone, Hahn, and Lopez portray a policy that can be characterized as “my way or the highway.”   The current town council rubber stamped the mayor’s nominees, manager, attorney, department of finance director, etc. despite a desultory record of allegedly deceptive practices and/or manipulating the “procurement code” to serve special interests. Now the Council seems poised to quail under pressure and approve rezoning for an outside developer. Historically during times fraught with “zoning” and “development” issues, the council frequently ...

The Absurd becomes a “reality”

3 March, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

When the elected representatives of the public ignore the rule of law or the customs and traditions of socio-political organization of long-standing, chaos and uncertainty prevail. Pronouncements that make no sense can be categorized as “absurd.” Certainly the rise of economic inequality, compounded by social inequality, in a formerly democratic capitalist state, like America, indicates that the experiment in democracy is teetering on the brink of extinction. America is already an oligarchy tending toward totalitarianism. Whether Clinton is elected to represent the softer side of the status quo or Trump the harder edge, the future looks a bit dim and more like "soft fascism" each day. Think Flint and Black Lives Matter. In New Mexico both the Supreme Court and Public Regulation Commission have blinded themselves to their duties and twisted round their thinking in the desire to please themselves and the ...

The Politics of Hate and Democratic First Responders

1 March, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Today, Super Tuesday, will feature a referendum on “the politics of hate (racism),” or the “southern strategy” implemented by Richard Nixon years ago as a staple of presidential politics. Ironically, the democratic candidates, particularly Hilary Clinton, will benefit also from the legacy of slavery, one of America’s two original sins: the genocide of Native Americans was the second. Black voters see Hilary as a fellow traveler of Obama. Meanwhile the Republican Party has transformed the party of Lincoln into a subversive attempt to transform constitutional democracy into the plaything of billionaires and demagogues. Democrats have followed in their wake and moved to the right. Republicans ignore traditional notions such as bi-partisan foreign policy, equality under the law, and have re-interpretated the first amendment in favor of corporations and the second amendment in favor of serial killers. In their racist zeal Republicans invite ...

Town of Taos Election Issues

26 February, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Apparently Town of Taos Manager Rick Bellis has taken a page out of KCEC CEO wunderkind Luis Reyes’ notebook. (The current town council even has its own version of KCEC Trustee Peter Adang.) From the point of view of Town residents, Bellis is either a villain or a hero, a liar or a pragmatic manager. The current Town election, scheduled for March 1 will settle little in terms of simmering controversies except for more of the same. None of the candidates appear to be familiar with the deeper cultural issues that have surfaced in the last year. This writer supported the winners in the last municipal election, as he once did Peter Adang’s election to the board at the Coop. So much for democracy, local politics, and the rise of demagoguery: we have our own Trumpism. Still I shall discuss briefly ...

Report from Cornel West

22 February, 2016
By: Contributor

(Editors Note: Thanks to the Boston Globe, Taos Friction reproduces the post below. We urge  democrats to support Sanders, regardless of fear and loathing for Trump. By supporting Sanders, the movement pushes the Clinton opportunists  back to the center left. We made the mistake with Obama of not holding him accountable.   On a personal note, during graduate school, two other graduate students and I sat in the middle of the Quad on the grass at university and discussed the state of the world with Cornel West. His charismatic presence and his speech combine the passion of the philosopher and theologian with the soul of a born rapper.   This might be the only election in our lifetime wherein we can make a statement by voting to uphold the original American ideas and values written down in the Declaration of Independence.) Clinton vs. Sanders, ...

Realpolitick: The Rise of Spectacle and Fascism

16 February, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

“Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves.” Walter Benjamin— (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction).   The rise of Trumpism, based on the skillfully applied lessons learned from showbiz by a master manipulator has injected the Republican party with a way for supporters to identify Trump as their proxy for anger. In the process Trump has destroyed a sacred cow, speak no ill of another republican. He ridicules George W. Bush for starting the Iraq War and not keeping American safe, lambasts fellow candidates, who are bought and paid for by big money, and promises to “make American Great Again” while he builds a wall and deports 11 million brown people. Donald thinks big. Socialist Demo Bernie Sanders offers American idealism to millennials and long-frustrated leftists, children ...

Kit Carson v. PRC and members: HCH and ToT v. Taxpayers

12 February, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Unfit to Print On 11 February 2016, the Kit Carson Electrical Cooperative (Coop), through its attorneys, Cuddy and McCarthy, filed a motion for a rehearing at the Public Regulation Commission (PRC). As Taos Friction has noted, Coop Trustee and blogger Peter Adang revealed that the Coop had experienced a $1.4 million dollar swing toward the negative side of the ledger in 2015: the coop earned a $600,000 profit in 2014 but lost $800,000 in 2015. Now the Coop screams for "due process" and wants to "cover up" its peccadilloes.   The Coop presented the PRC with a desperate request for a rate increase in January but the request was suspended, since more than the 25 affected members, per the regs, protested. In addition to the rate request for an increase of 19%, a charge aimed at the bottom tier of users, both conservationists ...

Pick pockets, cronyism, do-gooders, and the political class

9 February, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

“The perception that government in New Mexico has a high level of cronyism is one factor dampening private investment in the state, according to a report released Thursday. “From day one, what business leaders tell us is that corruption and cronyism matter, and they have consequences to economic growth,” said Michael S. Rocca, an associate professor of political science at The University of New Mexico who led a team of researchers and graduate students to author the report “Crony Capitalism, Corruption and the Economy in the State of New Mexico.” Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 10:45 pm | Updated: 6:39 pm, Fri Jan 29, 2016. By Bruce Krasnow, The New Mexican Currently the Mayor of Taos is trying to fix the leaking coffers by promoting a big box adjacent to the historic district and Couse Pasture. The “fix” is in, according to ...

Flint: The Failure of Democracy

5 February, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “ --Declaration of Independence (A long forgotten document?) Surely in today’s America, a belief in civilized values should enable citizens, families and children to survive and have access to moral law, despite racism, poverty, and economic inequality. The Statue of Liberty is inscribed with the words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The notion of being able to “breathe free” originally welcomed immigrants to America who fled repressive regimes. Today, Americans flee Flint to come to Washington D.C. and plead for clean water, modern sanitation, and the right to breathe free whatever clean air remains. At the House of Representative ...

Bernie Beats the Drum for Justice

3 February, 2016
By: Contributor

(Editor's Note: I grabbed the comments below from Michael Moore's Facebook page and dedicate the endorsement to my Democratic friends who are voting for a "sheep in wolf's clothing" this primary season. Politically speaking Bernie Sanders' opponent, Hilary Clinton, is a moderate Republican, unusual today in an atmosphere of political extremes, even if she calls herself a democrat.)   Bernie's campaign on the issues of fairness and justice addresses the foundation of American political reality and practice: economic determinism and inequality. If we had "economic justice," we could transcend differences and begin correcting social ills as so many of our European neighbors have done.  But  the Corporatists and Billionaires have privatized  government by politically dividing the working and middles classes and diverting the voters in both parties by pointing at social and civil ills, including issues of sexism, GLBT rights, right to choose, ...

2016 Earth Science Achievement Award Celebrates Dr. Fred Phillips and Trudy Healy

1 February, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

At the Roundhouse Rotunda in Santa Fe on Thursday, Jan. 28, I wandered into an unusual but very New Mexico scene: familiar folks in the public and political sector celebrating contributions to science. The highly respected New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources presented the 2016 New Mexico Earth Science Achievement Awards to Dr. Fred M. Phillips for “outstanding contributions advancing the role of earth science in areas of applied science and education” and, Taos’s own mayordomo daughter, Trudy Healy for “outstanding contributions advancing the role of earth science in areas of public service and public policy.” Dr. Phillips, just published a book, co-authored with Emlen Hall (the latter an old friend of John Nichols) Reining in the Rio Grande (UNM Press 2015). Described as a study that examines human interactions with the Rio Grande from prehistoric time to the ...

Courts, Cops, Prosecutors, Coop

29 January, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

“In his affidavit in support of his search warrant application, Defendant Wentz [a town cop] falsely swore to a judge of the Eighth Judicial District Court that the data he received from the cellular telephone providers were “lawfully obtained” (See Lawsuit below.) Naturally, you dear readers, are getting sick of stories about unethical conduct in our bucolic community, which sounds more like a corrupt burg out of a Raymond Chandler novel than the pastoral Chamisaville (Mayberry?) mentioned by John Nichols in his Milagro Trilogy. Here in real live Taos this post includes more about incompetence at the Coop, cops who take shortcuts at the Town of Taos, and the 8th Judicial District Court and DA’s office, where violating the rights of “victims” and “suspects” is historically routine. To be fair, the Administrative Officer of the Courts, apparently says that former DDA Emilio ...

KCEC Trustees Display Contempt for Empty Treasury

27 January, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

"The unaudited loss for [the Coop]  2015 is roughly $800,000 versus a $600,000 net margin in 2014." Peter Adang, KCEC Trustee Culture at Risk “Sin Verguenza” Last week the KCEC Trustees, their private contractors, and employees filled the chambers at the NM Public Regulation Commission to plead for a rate increase because the Coop has fallen below minimum revenue benchmarks required by their lenders. Though the Coop dismissed all but 8 protesters, the PRC found 63 legitimate protests out of little more than a hundred filed. The PRC ordered up a hearing to investigate the rate request. Now, despite pleading penury, the Trustees are spending an estimated $20,000 for travel expenses in order to attend the Region 10 Coop Convention in New Orleans the first week in February. According to Flavio, an insider who picks up discarded memos and financial work sheets from waste-paper ...

NMPRC Order Filed and Open for Discussion

22 January, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

In an effort to encourage transparency, Taos Friction posts the latest order from the NMPRC regarding the KCEC rate case.  Too often business is done by Kit Carson Electric Cooperative behind closed doors. But thanks to activists, member-protesters, perhaps the community will get a look during the hearing at what KCEC is doing with the millions of dollars it has borrowed. In particular Taos Friction dedicates today’s post to Jerome Lucero, a one-man phone bank and activist who works tirelessly to shed light on the technical intricacies of electrical engineering and has revealed much about Coop charades in Mora-San Miguel and Taos. In fact, Jerome "spoke truth to power" at a famous PRC meeting in 2006 regarding Tri-State G&T piracy in New Mexico and was fired for blowing the whistle on the giant unregulated monopoly. Unfortunately, KCEC CEO Luis Reyes learned ...

NM Public Regulation Commission Sets Hearing for KCEC

21 January, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

In a win for members who are protesting the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative rate increase, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Wed. Jan. 20, 2016, voted to send the request for a rate increase forward for a full-blown hearing. KCEC will now complete a filing for the request and member protesters will prepare for a testy discussion of the issues in a public setting. According to Chief Counsel Richard Blumenthal “33” protests, eight more than were necessary, met “substantial compliance” and were considered legitimate. KCEC argued earlier in written form that only 8 met the threshold. Of about 112 protests filed, the PRC staff said 63 met the threshold but Blumenthal only approved 33. The minimum necessary to force a hearing is 25. Prior to the Jan. 20 hearing, KCEC CEO Luis Reyes had reportedly assured the Board of Trustees ...

In Memory of MLK: A Call for Freedom and Recognition at home

18 January, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

In Isaiah Berlin “Four Essays on Liberty,” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), the philosopher and historian of ideas, writes about “negative freedom,” “positive freedom,” and a third order of freedom or “lack of freedom” which amounts to “the lack of proper recognition.” Berlin’s notion of “hankering after status and recognition” addresses much that seems culturally relevant or did about local politics. Regardless of the “negatives” in a politico’s record, native citizens and residents tend to vote for the “one from here.” In the past if you were not from here, it was a death knell for elective office. Folks always voted for someone they knew. But today locals have lost interest in self-government. They seem discouraged as much by local vendido politicos as by the “rigged system“ like the one at the Coop, wherein nothing changes. The improved economic status of many ...

Social Justice: Taxpayers and Employees Pay for Corruption

13 January, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

The Arbitrary and Capricious Politics of Retaliation Cover Ups Uncovered Facts begin to Emerge Taos County This morning’s news concerning Taos County’s firing of its detention center director speaks volumes. The jail administrator, Johna Gonzales, was the last weak link in County Government, due to the arbitrary and capricious nature of her administration, alleged romances, and mercurial approach to management. The new County Executive, Manager Leandro Cordova, former finance department chief, is known for running a tight ship. By his side, Attorney Bob Malone, is a stickler for the “rule of law.” Former Detention Center Jail Administrator William Cordova, who helped smooth the transition from the old jail to the new facility, is the only administrator at the detention center to evade scandal: not a single lawsuit was filed during his administration for suicide, escapes, abuse, etc. But he and his assistant Mary Mylet were ...

Community Issues: On Social Justice

6 January, 2016
By: Bill Whaley

Introduction (Part I) “Injustice is a kind of blasphemy. Nature designed rational beings for each other’s sake: to help—not harm—one another, as they deserve. To transgress its will, then is to blaspheme against the oldest of the gods. “And to lie is to blaspheme against it too…To lie deliberately is to blaspheme—the liar commits deceit, and thus injustice. And likewise to lie without realizing it...Nature gave (him) the resources to distinguish between true and false. And he neglected them, and now can’t tell the difference.” (Book 9.1, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations) The other night, after reading one of Kit Carson Cooperative Electric, Inc.’s “false claims” written by CEO Luis Reyes, one in letter form the other a spread sheet posted in The Taos News, I was reading the above passage, an excerpt from the Meditations, written by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180) in the fine ...

The Coop and the Cult of Magical Thinking

30 December, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Luis, Luisa y Los Hitos As many of my readers know, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has scheduled a meeting on Jan. 6th to hear whether or not the PRC should hold official hearings on the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc.’s (Coop) request for a rate increase. At least 82 members protested the rate increase. According to The Taos News, CEO Luis Reyes disputed and otherwise threw out 90% of the protest for ambiguous reasons. Back in 2010 El Reyes threw out 99.98% of the protests but the PRC held a hearing anyway. Luis likes to make things up. The 2010 hearing ended abruptly but was never completed. Apparently, the PRC bowed to the wishes of the USDA/RUS who insisted on encumbering the Coop’s assets due to the federal grant and loan of 60 million dollars, so the PRC bowed to ...

Christmas Politics: PRC, KCEC, Town of Taos

24 December, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

During the next few days Santa will be keeping an eye on the great Walmart experiment: lighting on the Historic Plaza in downtown Taos. Goodbye Traditional northern New Mexico and Hasta la Vista poquito Farolitos y Luminarias. Hello Saint of Le Plastique and plastic Disney figures. Here comes Santa with a big fat roast pig on New Year’s Eve. Taos celebrates the expanding carbon footprint in this the Century of Climate Change. Hey, KCEC’s CEO Luis Reyes touched the pulse of the PRC yesterday but they rebuffed his sleight-of-hand attempt to squeeze in a rate increase before the end of the year. Now the CEO claims more than 70 protests of 88 filed don’t fit the “form.” But the PRC waived him off until probably Jan. 6 when the Commissioners will make a decision about Scrooge and the 10 Dark Angels ...

Caveat Emptor: Questions for the Coop

17 December, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Beware the CEO’s BS at the Coop: the man is losing touch with reality. Unlike the Traveling Trustees at Kit Carson Cooperative Electric, Inc. who gather round their CEO like true believers, I am no businessman. No doubt, the Trustees can tell you why they have borrowed $100 million, while encumbering the assets of the $134 million Coop. The only truly honest Trustee, Virgil Martinez, has said, “We should all be in jail. I’ll go if they’ll go.” Despite the high gloss on technology at the Coop, I’ve never had an “email” message or “smartphone” note from a Trustee. Yet they do know how to use the telephone. Though they are in the Internet/Broadband business, the business of “adding” and “subtracting” seems like Calculus to the Trustees but without a guide like the teacher, Jaime Escalante, played by Jaime Olmos, in “Stand ...

Taos News Announces Lumps of Coal for Incompetents

11 December, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

KCEC’s Consultant critical of Coop RUS’s Bruner Breaking KCEC TCC Bailout for HCH PD Chauvinism Taos Kitsch I love it when the mainstream press confirms prior stories posted by Taos Friction. Call me Scrooge. Coop Consultant  For instance, in the Dec. 10, 2015 edition of The Taos News, a story by the intrepid J.R. Logan, who actually reads documents, published remarks by KCEC’s rate consultant Steven Seelye. The Coop’s own consultant used language like “ `financial distress,’ and `underlying financial underperformance.’" (Why can’t he say, “mismanagement?) Logan summarized, saying “it (the Coop) is struggling to meet several accounting benchmarks used by lenders to judge the financial stability of their borrowers…operating well below nationwide industry standards.” According to Logan’s own study, “Kit Carson is among the poorest-performing co-ops in the state.” Instead of paying cash, the Coop borrows and spends. The County and EPWSD: tax and spend. In a second article ...

Kit Carson Electric Coop Members Alert!

6 December, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

From the Taos News Online news site: "Where are my capital credits?" Below is an excerpt from The Taos News “Kit Carson rate hike sees early protests (17),” Cody Hooks Updated Dec 5, 2015 (Taos News Online) Warning from the PRC: “Protests submitted via email and signed letters are questionable as to their validity in the matter. This would be determined by the commission and Kit Carson,” Padilla said (PRC spokesperson) “By law, the PRC needs 25 valid protests to go forward with a rate-hike investigation. The last time Kit Carson went out for a rate increase in 2010, the co-op argued that all but a handful of more than 300 protests were invalid, though the PRC eventually went through with an investigation.” Dear KCEC Members: KCEC CEO Luis Reyes has already told the “Traveling Trustees” that the PRC will not hold a hearing because the minimum (25) ...

The Struggle for a Community’s Soul

3 December, 2015
By: Bill Whaley

Prologue “If we do nothing, we sort of sleepwalk into a total surveillance state where we have both a super-state that has unlimited capacity to apply force with an unlimited ability to know (about the people it is targeting) – and that’s a very dangerous combination. That’s the dark future. “The fact that they know everything about us and we know nothing about them – because they are secret, they are privileged, and they are a separate class… the elite class, the political class, the resource class – we don’t know where they live, we don’t know what they do, we don’t know who their friends are. They have the ability to know all that about us. “This is the direction of the future, but I think there are changing possibilities in this.” Edward Snowden, The Guardian. The quote above from Edward Snowden suggests ...

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 ...