17 October, 2014
Two more weeks then until the fun begins.
For readers who want to read the lawsuit asking for an injunction on the Airport expansion issue, Taos Friction has posted the 90 page document. The County and Town have about 2 weeks to respond to the injunction, which asks for an order to stop the permitting and construction process. If granted the order also requires notification. According to Friction sources, the county planner has been working on the administrative approval process.
20141014 Msj Finalized
9 October, 2014
On Oct. 9, 2014, Judge John Paternoster convened district court to hear an emergency motion for sanctions filed by Defense Attorney Todd Coberly, representing the defendant in State v. Issac Martinez, aka the Kit Carson Robbery Case. The motion was filed against Deputy District Attorney Emilio Chavez for the “abuse of subpoena powers”
Allegedly three subpoenas were issued by Deputy District Attorney Emilio Chavez after grand jury indictments of the alleged Kit Carson Bank Robbers to aid Taos Police Officer Wentz in his investigation. The motions we're filed some two months after a motion to quash evidence garnered by the earlier “hometown or bad subpoenas,” subpoenas issued over the DA’s signature to cell phone companies but without court or grand jury approval. The subpoenas in question on Oct. 9, 2014 above followed in the wake of grand jury indictments, subsequently quashed by ...
6 October, 2014
Though I won’t go into depth here about what it means to be a Taoseno, I will say that you need a dose of suffering leavened by a sense of humor to understand the tragi-comic feeling that forms one’s psyche here in “The Soul of the Southwest.” Contrary to stilted remarks by politicians or letter writers in The Taos News, do-gooders and newcomers should know that one must “suffer to be wise.” It’s not about paying your taxes or contributing to the community coffers.
For an outsider to become a “Taoseno,” he or she must experience the joys of victory and the pains of defeat. Then turn and look over his or her shoulder and laugh, however briefly, at the irony of redefining one’s life in Taos terms. As I often remind political activists, including experienced politicians, you’ll begin to understand ...
2 October, 2014
Disciplinary Board Charges DA Gallegos and DDA Chavez with 5 Counts Each
ADA Simms Part of the Gang
(We hear Donald’s gone hunting and Emilio has lawyered up!)
In a twenty-page five-count complaint filed on Oct. 1, 2014 by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of New Mexico (the Board) against Attorney Donald Gallegos, the Taos District Attorney is charged with violating rules “by engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice” as well as violating numerous “provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct.”
Similarly, in 19-page five-count complaint filed against Attorney Emilio Chavez by the Board, the Taos Deputy DA Chavez is charged with “engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice as well as violating numerous “provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct.”
While the matter came to light during a hearing on motions concerning the alleged KCEC Robbers (Ma ...
25 September, 2014
The Mayor and Town Council have declared Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2014 to be Hispanic Heritage month: See below.
“NOW BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Taos that September 15th through October 15th shall heretofore be declared annually in the Town of Taos as Hispanic Heritage month in honor of the many contributions of our current and past residents, community leaders, artists and artisans, farmers and caretakers of our lands and water, teachers, healers, mothers and fathers, and families that have contributed so much of themselves every day to make this community and our State, rich in spirit, rich in culture, rich in history and rich in family, community and promise.”
Signed this 23rd day of September, 2014 by Mayor Barrone, Councilors Peralta, Cantu, Gonzales, and Hahn.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage, Taos Fall Arts, Taos ...
21 September, 2014
So the Harwood Museum of Art jumped on the Taos Fall Arts season a week early, capitalizing on the autumn equinox and presenting what must be considered “a mind-blowing mix” of multicultural pop and performance art on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 20th. A lowrider art car roared, its straight eight engine and dual carbs sat under a guided missile blower while the sound blasted hundreds of happy ears. Not only were the ears sitting on multicultural brown and white shoulders but the crowd looked young, younger than springtime despite the Autumn Equinox.
Then came the “Glam-Trash” fashion show, fashions recycled from credit cards and milk cartons, Smith's throwaways and treasures gathered from the street, presided over by a giant white-faced top-hatted stilt-walker, slipping and sliding to music that matched the sensual presentation by the sexy models. Neither the Harwood nor Ledoux St. ...
18 September, 2014
On September 26 the Fall Arts Festival will open and feature a display of historic WPA photos at the Old County Courthouse in the “Mural Room” where ten social-realist frescoes depict themes of law and justice. Perhaps the most popular fresco, among tourists, especially visiting lawyers and legislators, is “Demasiadas Leyes Oprimen or Superfluous Laws Oppress” followed by “Ley Suficiente Protégé or “Sufficient Law Protects.”
In a country where the “rule of law” itself seems under siege whether by Congress or the Supreme Court, the frescoes almost seem sentimental. Yet the WPA era represents a version of social justice, created at a time when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized the threat of inequality and social unrest to the country as a whole, due to reaction against elite bankers and industrialists.
Recent events in Taos, the brouhaha over the Kit Carson Park, the ...
9 September, 2014
With apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson, who wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade, we heard the charge on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, when the Town of Taos Council, Councilors Peralta and Gonzales, and Mayor Barrone voted to approve funding for phase one of the long-sought, since 1988, crosswind runway. Yet Councilors Hahn and Cantu voted “nay.”
But not so fast:
"Forward, the Town of Taos"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the councilor knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to pass and say not why:
Into the valley of the Airport Rode the Mayor and Two Councilors.”
In what appears to be a finely crafted lawsuit, crying out for due process and public hearings, six citizens (writer John Nichols, landowner Dilia C. Martinez, Taos Pueblo’s Phillip H. Reyna and Ernest Concha, ...
3 September, 2014
(Editor’s Note: your pesky insect i.e. La Mosca is taking a graduate course in “online pedagogy” at the University of New Mexico’s Department of English each Tuesday in Albuquerque. Though the University’s Bachelor and Graduate program on Ledoux St. still offers live or face-to-face onsite classes, more and more onsite classes are migrating (legally) to online status. I am learning how to march up and over the digital divide. Next semester I shall offer my English. 320 Writing and Revision course as a hybrid: partially online, partially on site.) WPA c.1930-40s PHOTOGRAPHS OF TAOS COUNTY
The Taos Fall Arts Festival opens Sep 26 (Friday) and runs through Sunday, October 5. 10am-6pm each day at various venues like the Mural Room in the Old County Courthouse. Under the guidance of the Taos County/Arts and Artifacts Committee and with funding from the ...
23 August, 2014
Marketing & Tourism, Farmers Market, Airport Expansion and more…
David Cortez has been attending meetings and chatting with town manager Rick Bellis over the past few weeks. Below, he brings you this report on what’s up around town.
The circumstances surrounding the new name for Kit Carson Park charged up the local populace and brought the new Town Manager Rick Bellis national news coverage, even as the controversy diverted attention from less glamorous issues like potholes, painting crosswalks, and watering the flowers.
Just as Kit Carson seemed more at ease in his final resting place at the park cemetery, here came the Farmers to make trouble for the manager and Mayor Barrone, as the town seems to be in a state of flux around many issues.
“Taos is coming back to life.”
While some downtown business owners opposed the relocation of the Farmer’s Market from ...
15 August, 2014
When a nation commits itself to the “tactics of terror” abroad i.e. drones, assassination, the deaths of innocent in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Palestine, and, as the plutocrats become addicted to “national security” contracts for the manufacture and purchase of weapons, so the corporate oligarchs turn on their own citizens and send out their so-called guardians, dressed now in desert fatigues to hunt down the homeless or the black and brown man, the protester and the dissenter.
The Albuquerque Police Department dare not shoot dogs, so they shoot the homeless and disenfranchised, producing body bags to send a message: don’t tread on us or our masters. We are using you as target practice. Now, we see in vivid color, the pictures from Ferguson, Missouri, cops dressed in military garb, riding armored vehicles designed for urban warfare, high-powered weapons trained on the ...
10 August, 2014
On a recent Saturday morning at the Farmers Market on Taos Plaza, I ran into Town of Taos Mayor Pro Tem Fred Peralta just outside the front doors of the Old County Courthouse, where my wife has a shop, Just Deb’s. Deb sells art and handmade cards when she’s not working with fitness clients or her beloved ancianos at the Taos Senior Center. I help out and we also oversee the County’s Art and Artifacts Review Committee display of historic photos. We sell the occasional historic photo or one of Deb’s cards and on a lucky day one of her collages or tea bag quilts. I am no shopkeeper by nature but do hold the keys to the Mural Room and open up the place for viewing the historic frescoes each day.
Fred likes to talk about economics and, as ...
4 August, 2014
(Culture) Most folks in American understand how Corporate Capitalism hijacked representative democracy and turned a nation of citizens into a nation of consumers. If we aren’t a Walmart shopper we are the targets of an Amazonian commodity tracker. Whether you buy a gallon of gas at the corner gas station or a bar of soap at the grocery store somebody makes note of it.
The woman from El Prado, who works at home, follows me as I browse the Internet and a night spent at Motel 6 during my summer trek to Lake Tahoe has turned into an obsessive-compulsive disorder as the national chain chases me round with their logo. With help from the telecoms and high tech networkers, the National Security Agency (NSA), see Ed Snowden’s notes, has turned us all into “targets” as NSA listens and watches.
If we misbehave ...
14 July, 2014
Someone asked: Who are we today? Taosenos, we are a motley patchwork of violent people. Let us consider the facts.
While we were considering the Kit Carson Memorial Park and the “History of Violence” in Taos, lauding peace, and attempting to reconcile historic hostilities, the bloody headlines were being written by our vecinos. I never met a gang-banger or drug dealer who gave a damn about Popay, Kit Carson or Gov. Bent and Padre Martinez. Nor can I say or can anyone prove that the historic past turned a person into a vehicle of death. One could look closely, however, at the immediate family and his or her peer group i.e. at the incest, molestation, rape and murder, not to mention alcohol and drugs that are common at gatherings aqui en Taos.
A young woman has died, a man is in jail, ...
8 July, 2014
Editor's Note: On Tuesday, July 8, the Town of Taos rescinded the name change from Kit Carson Memorial Park to Red Willow and decided to leave Kit Carson Memorial Cemetery as is while appointing a committee to come up with a suitable name for the rest of the park. According to reports, the Tribal Council of Taos Pueblo objected to the Town's usurpation of the Pueblo's "Red Willow."
The controversy surrounding the name change has been good for students and academics with an interest in Southwest Studies (American Studies, Anthropology, Archeology, History, Literature). Hence the book list below is posted. Fritction will continue to update the book list as readers write in and advise us.
Meanwhile, we don’t expect politicians to read the recommendations anymore than they generally read their packets prepared by staff. Frequently, however, activists in the community come to meetings ...
3 July, 2014
Last night, July 2, at the board room of Taos Health Systems (THS), the 501 © 3 non-profit operator of Holy Cross Hospital, a citizen’s forum, chaired by County Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn, met to discuss health and financial issues affecting Taos residents. The Committee (Taos Community Health care and Hospital Study Committee) was initiated at the request of concerned citizens by former Town of Taos Mayor, Darren Cordova. Citizens volunteered to serve on the committee, conceived of as a liaison between town and county government and the THS board.
Hospital employees, staff, and most citizens in the community see THS, a non-transparent self-selecting board, as a rubber stamp for Quorum Management. For all intents and purposes THS serves more as a social circle for the aspiring classes than a serious oversight group. At last night’s meeting former HCH CEO Peter Hofstetter ...
28 June, 2014
June 24, 2014
By Tom Blankenhorn
Questa Mine Closure
A Vice President from Chevron Mining addressed the Board regarding the Questa mine closure. He informed us that the closure would be permanent because of the high costs of mining that steep canyon, and the low price of molybdenum. In addition, no mining can be completed during the reclamation, which will take approximately 20 years at a cost of about one billion dollars. Given those factors, it would not be reasonable to anticipate any re-opening of the mine for at least the next 20 years.
The Board asked the Chevron representative how much of the one billion dollars in reclamation expenses would be taxed as a local gross receipts tax. He did not know the answer, but promised to get back to the County with that information. Additionally, he informed us that about 35 of ...
25 June, 2014
Top Down or Bottom Up?
At the Taos County Commission meeting, Tuesday, June 24, the culture gap between governing styles of the Town and County, call it a concern for fairness, was never more evident. As readers know, Taos County stepped up and basically took responsibility for the E911-Dispatch service when the Town of Taos and Kit Carson Electric Coop failed to deliver on promises for the alleged Command Center. The argument is borne out by the evidence: poor equipment, misguided systems, and irresponsible use of grants and mismanaged operations in the development. So the County is spending a ton of dough on behalf of the health, safety, and welfare of the whole community.
Commissioners also stepped in to take-over the federally funded but poorly managed state and local program for seniors. Due to poor management by a nonprofit board and ...
23 June, 2014
The response to the renaming of Kit Carson Park by the Taos Town Council has resulted in a wonderful discussion. Ironically, the supporters of the change have engaged in a “propaganda” campaign while the loyal opposition has written letters, columns, and posted responses on various news sites, smacking of scholarly argument based on evidence. But scholarship always loses out to “propaganda’s” perverse rhetorical effects and the power of politics. You can win the argument but lose the battle for hearts and minds.
It appears that the representatives of the Town and their supporters of the name change have engaged in a kind of retrograde 1970s “politically correct” reductio ad absurdum marketing approach to history. They are punishing the dastardly white man, a symbol of untoward anti-social acts and heinous barbarism (historically and currently). By elevating “hurt feelings” to a principle of ...
18 June, 2014
When the Town of Taos Council recently voted to change the name of Kit Carson Memorial Park to Red Willow Park, they did so without an attorney present or, according to reports, having read the “Quitclaim Deed” and “Joint Powers Agreement” excerpted below. An attorney would probably have advised caution, given the opportunities for legal interpretation.
Regardless of the eventual legal position taken by state agencies, which permission was not sought or received, a member of the public could file an injunction, seeking clarification of the documents in court concerning the Town’s right to change the names. Here’s the discussion.
On Sept. 18, 1990, a “Quitclaim Deed,” transferring property (aka Kit Carson Memorial State Park) to the Town of Taos, and signed by the Commissioner of Public Lands State of New Mexico on behalf of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and ...
16 June, 2014
The renaming of Kit Carson Park, whether due to hurt feelings and the feelings of grand children or personal grievances is a done deal: “We don’t need no stinkin history books in Taos.” The registered voters weren’t included in the process but that should come as no surprise.
Though Councilor Hahn has expressed doubt about the airport to his supporters, he voted to fund the project. He apparently encourages his supporters to talk about controversial decisions after the fact.
Well, we’re talking now to Father Fritz and Mother Judi.
Apparently, the Town took the same approach to the Farmer’s Market, which was moved, summarily, to the Plaza. Some Plaza merchants protested, some farmers protested. But Mom and Dad, Boss Bellis and Mayor Barrone know what’s best. Sometimes you’ve got to take your castor oil. I support the project but am becoming weary of ...
12 June, 2014
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana)
After all these years, I’m not sure why the Town of Taos decided to double down and exchange the name “Kit Carson” for the name “Red Willow” on a local park. According to most history books, the name “Taos” is Tiwa for “Tuatah” or, if translated into English, “Red Willow.” If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Town of Taos, Taos County, Taos etc. etc. have all honored our neighbors at Taos Pueblo north of the cattle guard. Though La Tuatah isn’t much used in public, there was once a motel, La Tuatah, set on the ridge above the once and future Spring Ditch, an acequia unjustly quashed by the Town of Taos.
Will the Town be changing the name “Rio Grande” into “Big River” ...
6 June, 2014
Despite the rumors, according to County Commissioner Larry Sanchez, who attended a meeting with the board of Ancianos today, Friday, June 6, 2014, the non-profit fiscal agent for state and federal pass-through funds, the senior centers throughout Taos County in Amalia, Questa, Chamisal, and Taos will remain open five days a week.
“The program is getting 15,000 from the Town and $12,000 from the County,” said Sanchez. “We don’t want to lose it [senior program]. Sanchez also said the countywide senior program should get another $19,000 from Triple A, a state pass-through agent for federal funds. “We want to keep it open Monday through Friday, five days a week” through the end of the month, said Sanchez.
Commissioner Sanchez confirmed that the County would take over the program on July 1 when the new fiscal year begins. Sanchez was especially concerned that “meals ...
30 May, 2014
This morning, Friday, May 30 at 8:30 am, Town manager Rick Bellis will hold a courageous meet and greet on the Plaza with Plaza Merchants to discuss plans for revitalizing the historic center of Taos. Counselor Gonzales is worried about spending "political capital." I hope Chief Weaver attends to protect Rick's life.
Primary Voters: Friends have asked how I’d vote, even if the NSA was listening or watching. It might be our last “free” election. According to rumor if turnout drops below 20 percent in Taos County, future candidates will be chosen by lot or rolling the dice. (We’re use to that.)
County Commissioner, District One, Jim Fambro
County Commissioner, District Two: Vote for Virgil Martinez in November
County Commissioner, District Five, Candyce O’Donnell
Taos County Sheriff, Betty Martinez-Gonzales
Taos County Magistrate Judge, Ernie Ortega
Taos County Assessor, Bobbi Dehererra
Taos County Probate, Paloma Romo
Democratic Governor: Lawrence Rael
28 May, 2014
(Editor’s Note: Turmoil is building at HCH and a board meeting will be held tonight with medical staff. Doctors encourage citizens to attend the 6 pm meeting at HCH. Let’s hope Silver will put the board on the couch. Somebody’s got to do it. BTW: You might just see the surging Lawrence Rael, candidate for Gov. in town today. He needs your vote. The north needs Rael.)
Art is Long: Life is short.
Occasionally, this Pesky Insect wakes up and walks around town, enters this or that gallery or museum and attends a Town Council meeting to enjoy the fruits of one’s friends who are engaged in the arts or the arts of governing. Last night I stayed at the Town Council meeting until almost midnight and then came home to watch the windup streaming on my laptop at close to 1 am. ...
27 May, 2014
“Rael is for Real”
By David Cortez
Candidate for Governor, Lawrence Rael will be at the Casa Valdez in Taos this evening at 6 pm. He's climbing in the polls and speaks to all New Mexicans. In his own words:
“Like far too many New Mexican families, my childhood was a struggle - touched by the heavy hands of alcohol and poverty. One evening when I was 3 years old my father was hit by a drunk driver and killed. That night my life changed forever, and my mother faced the daunting responsibility of raising 7 children on her own.
I’ll never forget how it felt to wake up without a father, and I will never forget that my experience is not unique. Thousands of New Mexican families have also lost a father, a sister, a son.
I am running for Governor because I know ...
23 May, 2014
The Wire and the Press
Here you have the tale of The Plumber’s Mansion, a helluva story. Why, in search of headlines and glory, the excellent local weekly posts, publishes, and prints not only photos of the “drug ring” but also a libelous photo of a passerby. Now Taos itself, the once and future “Soul of the Southwest, sinks into the morass of melodrama. Folks are asking: Why didn’t The Taos News take the time to publish the names under the mug shots? Then the editor could have avoided publishing a photo on the front page, reportedly, of a man jailed on a pedestrian DWI charge, a man who was no part of the so-called “drug ring.”
But the editor and reporters forgot to check the facts and libeled a local family, as they did me once while printing lies uttered by ...
18 May, 2014
The Ward Lockwood image of “Justice Begets Content” on the right is a reproduction of the historic fresco in the courtroom of the Old County Courthouse. The image seems particularly apt when describing weekend events. One can consider justice a form of harmony and fairness; call it access to social, political, and natural resources in the polis or community. Most human beings have an instinct for “fairness” and celebrate “justice” when they experience its expression.
On Friday night the Sagebrush Convention Center was packed as family members and friends celebrated UNM Taos graduates, who received their GEDs (over a hundred), Associates and Certificate degrees from the Branch, and Bachelor’s and Graduate Degrees from the Extended University in Taos. The varied list of accomplishments included a list of specific skills that will lead to jobs as well as degrees in liberal ...
16 May, 2014
Editor's Note: Tonight UNM Bachelor's and Graduate Program will celebrate 43 grads who will get their bachelors' diplomas at 5:30 in the Sagebrush Convention Center. Three cheers for students receiving GEDs, Associate Degrees and various four-year degrees. Hip, hip, hooray.
One Degree of Separation
Take time out to celebrate Dennis Hopper’s birthday on May 17 this Saturday and think about how life imitates art. Not far from the Honorary Mayor of Taos’s final resting place, a combo of federal, state, and local cops busted a plumber for "allegedly" dealing and financing the dreaded substance, i.e. cocaine, so celebrated in the Opening Scene of Easy Rider. There local stand-ins, like Antonio Mendoza sold Billy and Captain America some dope as hope to recreate the American Dream. As Captain America (Peter Fonda) says at the end of Easy Rider, "We blew it."
Right there in the ...
13 May, 2014
It seems the layperson, confronted by the Taos Pueblo/Abeyta Settlement can raise questions and/or accept on faith the conclusions of community leaders and their experts like engineers, hydrologists, lawyers, and various consultants. While the Settlement talks have gone on for 17 years, the original lawsuit, affecting the adjudication of Taos Pueblo’s water rights, was filed in 1969 by acequia parciantes and called “Abeyta” because the litigants were listed alphabetically. As for what is written below, this reporter cautions the reader that the report reflects my understanding of the project but it is “always subject to revision.”
At an information meeting for "objectors" at Town Hall, among the experts present on Monday night, May 12, were hydrologist John Shomaker and representatives from the Office of the State Engineer, Bureau of Reclamation, and Department of Justice. Longtime negotiators representing the parties to the ...
11 May, 2014
New Mexico cop and kill stories have become a feature in international publications like The Guardian, a fearless British newspaper, which revealed the Snowden leaks and even the corporate apologist, The New York Times. While decent folks find the APD record deplorable and the Albuquerque Journal's historical record keeping admirable, the Journal itself and local news media in general have ignored Governor Martinez's massacre of New Mexico water resources. As is always the case, stores about blue collar crime and bounty hunters divert attention from white collar fraud and taxpayer pocket picking.
As Taosenos are finding out—Trudy Healy warned you—the Gov. and her state-appointed lapdogs want farmers off the land and agriculture interests to cease and desist competing for water. By denying your agricultural exemptions the state can increase your taxes and force you to sell. Since you aren't using the non-existent ...
6 May, 2014
Editor's Note: See http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/23511-new-mexico-governor-martinez-accused-of-wholesale-disregard-of-the-law for the real story on what Gov. Martinez and her Tea Party cohorts are doing to the state of New Mexico. The democrats might be screaming but there's the sound of silence at the Albuquerque Journal, a republican newspaper. Read it and weep but vote for a democrat in the June primary. The state you save may be your own.
Foot soldiers in the war against nonconformists.
In Oklahoma, the state executes the condemned as if it were administering an overdose at a shooting gallery. Here in New Mexico, the triple threat Albuquerque Police Department (APD) acts as “judge, jury, and executioner” under the guise of an old fashioned firing squad when SWAT Teams are called out to confront the mentally ill. The "SuperDrone" (President Obama) has become the No. 1. hero of Marvel Comic fans here in the US ...
25 April, 2014
Unlike the SRO crowd at last night’s tourism/marketing meeting held at the old County Courthouse, the audience for the forum at the KCEC boardroom filled about one-third of the available chairs. According to those who attended the meeting on tourism, they learned a couple of things, including the difference between permanent “branding” and annual “slogans.”
Taos apparently has no brand like the state of New Mexico aka “The Land of Enchantment.” Rather the Town’s public relations’ firm develops yearly slogans reflecting a kind of organizing principle: Summer of ’69, Sacred Places, Remarkable Women, etc. Historically, litterateurs, some marketing professionals, and the man or woman on the street has referred to Taos as “The Soul of the Southwest”. According to a study by LEAP Partners presented at the historic Town-County joint meeting, the tourism or hospitality industry is responsible for 40% of ...
23 April, 2014
Cuates, Primos, & What Trickle Down?
"I'm incompetent, but I'm not a crook," a tearful Gallegos proclaimed to a throng of supporters after hearing.— Jeremy Palowski, Journal Staff Writer. (See: http://steveterrell.blogspot.com/2005/11/through-years-with-fran-gallegos.html.
The former judge, though censored and driven from office after a decade of “incompetence,” was never punished. Indeed Fran Gallegos became a slogan for “business as usual" in northern New Mexico. Recently, at a county commission meeting, a recent arriviste and do-gooder, made the same point about the troubled administration of the Ancianos program here in Taos, saying that neither the previous board nor administrators nor their supervisors understood that “business as usual” was unacceptable. "They didn't know."
The speaker didn't mention "co-mingling funds" but said past administrators for years had been borrowing from the checking account for advances or private loans to employees for buying automobiles, or traveling to far away ...
22 April, 2014
Here in remote Taos Valley, the Taosenos are entering a fourth year of drought (whose counting?). The drought threatens the local agricultural and acequia culture, a culture historically limited by the thin topsoil of the high desert and short growing season, a decidedly obvious lack of natural resources in comparison to the more verdant riverine areas only forty miles south. Even as the indigenous, historic, and transient cultures have frequently resorted to both organized and unorganized principles of prayer, and not unlike the radical evangelicals, who believe the Mid East conflagration might lead to the “rapture,” so the local hopeful have called for a Global Climate Convergence Conference.
Just as desperate empiricists during dry years call on Taos Pueblo to perform rain or snow dances, so today’s hopeful ones call on the Great Spirit to soften the hearts of the selfish ...
18 April, 2014
By David Luis Leal Cortez
DC: The GCC is a national thing. Who is behind it locally and nationally?http://globalclimateconvergence.org/about/whoweare/
RS: A broad, diverse group of individuals and organizations are collaborating on the Global Climate Convergence, which has events happening in over twenty major cities. These groups include the Green Party of the United States, Hip Hop Caucus, United Workers, Organic Consumer Association, Green Shadow Cabinet, Alliance for Democracy, Backbone Campaign, International Socialist Organization, New Progressive Alliance, the Move to Amend Coalition, the Liberty Tree Foundation, and many others. (For the whole list see the link above.)
For local events see http://www.globalclimateconvergencetaos.com/
On the local level, the GCC has been organized by myself, Dariel Garner, and Erin Sanborn as citizens concerned about Peace, People, and Planet Over Profit. Many organizations have joined into our local Convergence as participants and event co-sponsors, including Code PInk Taos, Peaceful ...
16 April, 2014
Local Politics: Taos Friction has been checking in with El Mitote. Could it be the year of the woman? Judge Betty is running hard against the homeboys and we hear Candyce O'Donnell's campaign is building momentum. According to term-limited Commissioner Joe Mike Duran, Candyce made a good impression in a Penasco meeting. She could garner big numbers in the Weimer area and benefit from a vote split.
Flavio tells us Judi Cantu's campaign canvasser, operative David Cortez is now helping Candyce. She still needs to raise money but with Tafoya's campaign slowing, Silva suffering from years of association with corrupt town politicos, and voter fatigue affecting Manny Pacheco, Candyce could be narrowing the gap. She has been to more county commission meetings in the last 27 years than anybody else except Flavio himself, the local custodian.
Hey we just had the first "blood ...
14 April, 2014
As a pundit, it’s fun to make predictions and share one’s thoughts re: the upcoming primary in Taos County. During the recent Town of Taos election the issues were critical and the records of the incumbent were available. Due to a lack of news coverage and the nature of neighborhood politics, the County elections are more subject to personal relations. Unlike the municipal elections, none of the candidates appear to have well-organized and multi-faceted campaigns compared to the Barrone, Cantu, and Hahn juggernauts.
Historically, the natives tend to vote for family members and members of their villages. The newcomers often vote on the “issues.” Ethnic background plays an obvious role as does party affiliation. At the same time, los vecinos sometimes avoid voting for a neighbor or family member they know too well. Nothing is carved in stone. Low turnout or ...
12 April, 2014
APD Dukes it Out with DOJ
“Section 14141 makes it unlawful for government entities, such as the City of
Albuquerque and APD, to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” —DOJ According to news reports across the nation and the world, the APD’s re-introduction of the death penalty into New Mexico under a “shoot to kill policy” is unconstitutional. Apparently, the Government has rules when it comes to shooting the homeless and mentally challenged.
Grapplers: Not Killers
Up in Taos, the Police are less bloodthirsty than the APD. According to a report in The Taos News by ace reporter Andrew Oxford (Aug. 3, 2014), a cop reported, after a high-speed chase through the Horse Shoe, down into Pilar, and up and over ...
11 April, 2014
On Thursday, April 10, Taos County Commission Chair Gabe Romero called to order a “historic joint meeting.” Chairman Gabe sat between Commissioner Blankenhorn and Commissioner Barrone, the latter, the newly elected Mayor of the Town of Taos. On the Mayor’s left sat Councilors Fred Peralta, Andrew Gonzales, Fritz Hahn, and Judi Cantu. The meeting lasted from 9 until 5, with brief discussions of and agreements to proceed on issues of inmate and water rights charges between the County and the Town.
More importantly, the Town and County agreed to proceed on a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) or principles for the E911 Operation and Dispatch Center to be located at the County Complex in the near future. The Department of Finance Authority’s representative from the Local Government Division, Wayne Sowell, was present and blessed the proceedings. According to the proceedings, the ...
8 April, 2014
Editor's Note: Below are excerpts at the top plus the complete opinion of Judge John Paternoster below re: a defense motion to quash grand jury indictments against alleged bandidos in the Kit Carson Coop Robbery Case. According to the decision and order, evidence obtained by Detective John Wentz and presented to the Grand Jury by Deputy District Attorney Emilio Chavez was illegally obtained. So the indictment has been quashed.
Below the excerpts, Taos Friction posts the complete opinion. "Typos," including missing paragraph numbers, occasionally interfere with clarity, due to email transmission and conversion from PDF to a style sheet for the post. But due to the importance of the decision, Friction posts the complete document.
"THE MOTIONS TO QUASH ARE WELL-TAKEN, AND SHOULD BE GRANTED. IT IS SO ORDERED"
"The Taos District Attorney's office has issued 49 of these same "John Doe"subpoenas duces ...
6 April, 2014
Fortunately, the ballot is still a secret. Unlike the recent Town elections, where the issues were critical, I don’t see a trend or a threat to local county government in the upcoming elections. Some candidates have a record of public service and superior qualifications while others possess a record of poor public service and seem under-qualified. Some are newcomers. I have confidence in the voters.
Due to long time loyalties and past support, I cannot be objective in making public declarations when it comes to County candidates, though personally I am eligible and will vote for Virgil, Judge Betty, Bobbi DeHerrera, and Judge Ernie— those who have demonstrable records in support of the community. If you have questions, buttonhole the candidates.
At the Town we were desperate for change and we were lucky enough to elect three solid candidates. In the County ...
26 March, 2014
In the greater context of cultural forces, today, under the aegis of class warfare, we see the corporatists extracting wealth from the working class, as our governors have substituted a “culture of cruelty” for a “culture of compassion.” In Christian terms, it is Yahweh or the Old Testament God the Father, who demands Obedience, lest he smite you v. Jesus, the God of Love, Mercy, and Compassion, who said, “Let ye who is free from sin thrown the first rock” or “love your enemy.” But the cops serve the masters and must keep order among the hoi polloi. We know what happened to protesters like Jesus and Socrates before Him. Now it's time for the homeless to die.
The failure of leadership at the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), which resulted in the death of a homeless man, according to a viral ...
21 March, 2014
Taos County. Taos County honored Water Trust Board veteran Trudy Healy at Tuesday’s March 18 meeting with a plaque and home-cooked banquet, the latter prepared by Department Heads and helpers at two banquet tables in the foyer of the Complex. Gubernatorial candidate Sen. Linda Lopez attended. Healy commented on recent honors received at the Roundhouse for her ten-year service to the state but said there’s nothing like being acknowledged by your hometown. She only wept a little bit and warned Taosenos to stay alert when it comes to water issues.
The Commissioners also amended the ordinance governing the Water Board Advisory Committee so that each commissioner could appoint one (1) representative, reducing the number of members from nine to five and the quorum to three.
The ISC has called for a Taos Regional Water Regional planning meeting on Monday, March 31, 2014 ...
18 March, 2014
Marketing: Somebody reminded me yesterday about prior slogans associated with the Taos marketing campaign. I’ve always found the notion of “slogans” and “branding” rather ambiguous, like the term “networking.” What’s wrong with making “friends?” Though I'm told by my business betters slogans and “branding” are necessary.
Still “The Soul of the Southwest” meets the peculiar triumph of kitschy karma that describes Taos. I first heard the term from N. Scott Momaday in a piece he wrote for the New York Times Magazine back in 1983 or 1984 and I’m sticking with it. Under this rubric you can include all your promotional elements, be it getting higher, skiing, the Monument, or the Arts. You can say it sincerely or with utter sarcasm. Taos appears to be a bit tattered around the edges but I think we can all agree that that the ...
16 March, 2014
"There’s a word for it: Taos. Hard to describe. Impossible to forget.”__Joanie Griffin
"There's a word for it: Trapped! Hard to succeed, impossible to escape."--Taos Local
“We Can Do Better!”—Greg Pease
In the recent Town of Taos election, voters and citizens, residents and activists in the greater Taos Community recognized the hijackers at town hall and threw them out. The mainstream weekly in Taos missed the story and endorsed the status quo, which suggests the editor and publisher are out of touch with the community.
Further, recent stories in the weekly focused on the divisive issue Taosenos were trying to overcome. Apparently the reporters have mistaken "collaboration" between county and town for “conflict of interest.” Voters, however, in the election of Commissioner Barrone as Mayor, along with Councilors Judi Cantu and Fritz Hahn signaled their commitment not just to the town or county but ...
12 March, 2014
At Tuesday’s March 11 Taos County Commission workshop meeting with Taos Pueblo Gov. Clyde Romero and Tribal Secretary Ian J. Chisholm, Commissioner Joe Mike Duran beamed like the kid who got a new bicycle for Christmas. County Manager Steve Archuleta introduced himself to me as the “new county manager,” saying, “the county is moving forward now.” Did I mention that Mayor Barrone of the Town of Taos sat with his fellow commissioners? Yes, they jolly-well congratulated the lumberman in his casual shirt and jeans.
The good will spilled over from the Town of Taos to Taos County to Taos Pueblo to Santa Fe County and Santa Fe and Vertical Real Estate, which company owns the “Morrison Memorial Tower,” a longtime inadvertent intervenor in the sacred viewshed, according to Gov. Romero and his estimable assistant, Tribal Secretary Ian Chisholm.
It turns out that ...
9 March, 2014
In a district court hearing on Thursday, March 6, 2014, Judge John Paternoster decided, for all practical purposes, in favor of several points, re: Attorney Alan Maestas’s motion to compel discovery, in his defense of Oriana Farrell.
Farrell is the black woman from Tennessee, whose minivan, full of kids, was stopped by a white state police officer, Tony DeTavis, near Talpa, a neighborhood in the vicinity of Taos last October for speeding. As Internet buffs and news-watchers know, the cobbled together video of the incident went viral, became a cause celebre at criminal justice classes nationwide, and, subsequently, the focus of local attention, due to the actions taken by state police Officer Elias Montoya, who shot at the tires of the van in an effort to disable the fleeing vehicle.
If you watch the Nov. 23 release of the 18-minute video of ...
5 March, 2014
Collaboration Wins It!
So the new Mayor, Dan Barrone (1104) smashed the incumbent Darren Cordova (453) and former mayor Fred Peralta (210). New Town Councilors Fritz Hahn (893) and Judi Cantu (714) beat the pants off Rudi (583), Pavel (381), Amy (288), Cindy (159), and Darien Fernandez, write-in (62). Adios Los Vendidos: Darren, Rudy, Fred. You won’t be poaching gross receipts tax and property from the County anytime soon. BTW Dickie at (1155) out-maneuvered Cyndee Perez (492).
Cordova can get all the celebrity endorsements he wants down south, from Governors to Mayors, but Fritz turned north and got his benediction from one Virgil Martinez of Cerro and Mr. Suitors Martinez of Valdez, among others, including the Chicano Chamber of Commerce in El Prado. The barbershop quartet still sings, “Down by the old Acequia, running clear and deep, down by the old acequia, ...
28 February, 2014
On Thursday, Feb. 27, campaign ads in The Taos News as well as campaign ads on radio really spelled out the issues in the Town of Taos mayoral and council race. Nothing less than a shift in local culture is at risk. The customs of El Norte are being challenged and demeaned.
Let’s look at yesterday’s ads in The Taos News. Mayor Cordova’s team paid for ads that show Governor Susanna Martinez and Mayor Berry of Albuquerque, two Republicans, endorsing the incumbent mayor. Further, Mayor Coss, the alleged “progressive” mayor of Santa Fe, has endorsed Mayor Cordova—despite the latter’s record of opaque government and public misdeeds re: contracts for cuates i.e. privatizing the public purse.
Gov. Martinez herself lost Taos big time in her gubernatorial election. Her “oil and gas” and “Tejano” values are at odds with about 85% of Taosenos. Recently, ...
24 February, 2014
FEMA indicated that Taos County was nominated for the honor by other agencies who were asked for recommendations, including federal partners that work with the County, such as the US Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the FEMA Region 6 Office overseeing New Mexico, the NM Department of Homeland Security and other disaster relief, mitigation, natural resource management and first responder agencies.
FEBRUARY 24, 2014
TAOS COUNTY, NM - Taos County was contacted today by representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and informed that the County has been selected as one of a handful of federal, state, county and municipal governments nationwide to be recognized for its work over the past decade in hazard planning, mitigation and the subsequent proactive implementation of measures to protect public health, safety ...
23 February, 2014
Headlines: Despite the TCHA scandal, the County has recovered over $700,000 from HUD for Section 8 applicants. See Press below.
Southern Colorado Counties and Taos County Meet to Consider areas of mutual interest. Water, Monument, and Tourism on the agenda.
New Land Use Regulations Could be Passed. Will County Preserve or Deny the Right to raise Chickens? Let the Developers Loose with new height limits? Or save the view from smokestacks? Eh? Will they Preserve or Sell the Water Rights?
We’re only asking. Visit on Tuesday Night at 6 PM on Feb. 25. It’s a secret meeting but you’re invited and its your last chance to upset everybody.
COUNTY RECOVERS OVER $700,000 FOR LOCAL HOUSING
FEBRUARY 20, 2014
TAOS COUNTY, NM - Taos County was contacted today by the Office of the Inspector General for Housing and Urban Development and it was confirmed that over $782,086.14 ...
21 February, 2014
Our local weekly, The Taos News, engages in the mysterious practice of unsigned editorials and endorsements, the tried and true if hoary practice of virtual neutrality, which masks the motives of corporate journalism. Let us see if we can understand, not the clarity, but the ambiguities of the corporate mind. Below the Friction italicizes excerpts and follows with a critique.
(1) The March 4 town of Taos election has races for mayor, council and municipal judge. Many are seasoned politicians. In the future we would like to see more new faces.
Darien Fernandez and Fritz Hahn are new to politics and campaigning for office.
For Taos mayor, we have three candidates: the incumbent Darren Córdova, town councilor and former mayor Fred Peralta and county commissioner Dan Barrone. Of the three, we endorse Darren Córdova, but with suggestions for his next term if he wins.
20 February, 2014
For months Taos Friction has been saying the issues in this year’s Town of Taos election are crucial. The current mayor and council have taken extreme positions, ignoring the law, violating common ethical standards, while retaliating against their critics. The town government displays a lack of “respeto” for their own taxpayers and exhibits outright contempt for the safety, health, and welfare of citizens of Taos County.
In what might seem like a silly feud, compared to the life-threatening decisions surrounding the Command Center, town government has set meter minders against local merchants. Each day Robert and Eric stand on the Plaza waiting for meters to expire. Then there’s a footrace between merchants with their quarters and the cops with their twenty-dollar tickets. Do you interrupt a potential sale to feed the meter? Meanwhile, dozens of parking places are vacant, especially ...
18 February, 2014
Despite the repetitive nature of the Monday night, Feb. 17, forum for town council candidates, there were moments of levity and what appeared to be a consensus on the troubling Command Center issue and some light shed on the airport controversy.
Four candidates, Judi Cantu, Fritz Hahn, Pavel Lukes, and Amy Quintana all agreed that one Command Center at the County made sense. Rudy Abeyta and Darien Fernandez said the town and county should enter “binding arbitration.” Pavel himself, who said he considers Rudy or Darien, the candidates he’d like to work with most, said he considered the intervening private organization (KCEC) a “weak link” in the current structure but repeatedly referred to his “lack of facts.”
Rudy said eleven years ago all the local entities supported the Command Center concept from KCEC. When the KCEC CEO presented the idea of a ...
16 February, 2014
Tonight, Monday, Feb. 17, a forum, sponsored by KTAO and TEN (Taos Entrepreneurial Network), at 5:30 pm will introduce seven candidates for town council at the old County Courtroom as the historic frescoes watch! The event will differ from a previous event in terms of style and substance. The public is hoping for a debate on the issues. Will questions from voters be allowed? Or must we keep la gente in check? We're only asking.
The Town of Taos incumbents have made a number of false claims about the operations and security of the E911-Dispatch Command Center or why they choose to annex the airport. As well, the actual costs of parking meter administration and its effect on local merchants has become increasingly controversial.
Many folks question the marketing program that seems to offer little in the way of help to retail ...
12 February, 2014
Early Voting begins at Town of Taos town hall on Camino de la Placita.
On Thursday, February 13, 2013, the New Mexico Senate and House will memorialize and honor Taos Water Activist, Trudy Healy, for ten years of service to the state on the Water Trust Board. Trudy served as treasurer and on the review committee, vetting applicants and working with NMFA to make sure communities, municipalities, counties, water and sanitation districts, the tribes, irrigation districts, acequia parciantes, and watersheds got a fair shot at phased in water projects. She formed relationships on both sides of the aisle and gained respect from farmers and ranchers in the north and the south due to her even-handed treatment and advocacy for all New Mexicans.
The Martinez administration summarily dismissed her and replaced her with Greg Alpers of Roswell, a representative of DowAgro Sciences, which ...
10 February, 2014
Regular Meeting Summary
February 4, 2014
Hospital Committee Report
In November, 2013 The Town and County passed resolutions to form a committee of representatives from Town and County governments, the Holy Cross Hospital Board, the hospital workers union and informed citizens to examine the finances and management of Holy Cross Hospital. The formation of the committee was the result of public concern about recent hospital reductions in staff and services due to large financial losses from hospital operations. The committee has met twice per month since its formation in November. Taos County Financial Director, Leandro Cordova and I are the County’s representatives, and we presented the Board with the following information.
Holy Cross Hospital and numerous other small rural hospitals throughout New Mexico suffered large reductions in annual payments for indigent care beginning in 2011. As a direct result of these reduced payments, ...
In a crisis, government needs to be able to manage the flow of information, coordinate the efforts of numerous responding agencies, and allocate scarce and competing resources appropriately — “triage the response” is the term professionals use. From experience, I can tell you that successful societies, organizations and communities always have single centralized control and one response manager. Not two, not three, but one place through which everything flows to manage the crisis: one command center. —David Torres (from The Taos News)
I couldn’t agree more with KCEC Trustee Torres remarks on advocating for a single emergency center. Taos needs a single E911—Dispatch and Command Center. The current County Complex is designed for E911-Dispatch. Broad public parking lots and a variety of meeting rooms, large and small complement the facility. The emergency medical facility and kitchen set up for the adult ...