Kay Matthews’ Unf*#!ing Believable

7 April, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

“I’d prefer not to.” Bartleby the Scrivener Mi amiga Kay Matthews has published more than 100 fast paced blog posts in her book, Unf*#!ing Believable (Chamisal, Acequia Madre Press, 2017) of 334 pages: brief columns about daily and political life aqui en El Norte including vignettes of la familia y los vecinos. Matthews and her life-partner Mark reared their two boys in El Valle, Taos County’s southern-most village, home to twenty or so families. She lives in the middle of the ...

The Great Awakening…March for Our Lives

26 March, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

If you missed the March on March 24, Saturday, google the above: Jennifer Hudson transforms the Dylan protest ballad, “The Times they are a changin,’” into a gospel celebration of soulful hope, a song sung from the very heart of the “movement.” Listen to 11-year old Naomi Wadler, the slim bright-eyed black girl, on the right, who reminded one of Barack and Michelle. And, in the middle, the heart and soul of Parkland, Florida, Emma Gonzales, whose impromptu remarks on ...

Town of Taos: Self-laceration

24 April, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

From time to time Taos Friction addresses the issue or theme of “place.” Why does local government insist not only on “clutter” but on interfering with the sight lines of Historic Taos? Anachronistic architectural features include cables, signs, bric-a-brac, and electrical add-ons in order to create an unsightly mess that interferes with the view and the art and the architecture. Below Taos Friction presents a photo essay that speaks for itself on the way the Town of Taos engages in abusing local culture. See the Faux Victorian lamps and lamp posts below from which fine art posters hang? More KCEC green scars on trees. Cutting off Padre Martinez's sermon on the plinth. Course the trail of wires leaves no paving stone or alley, entrance to Plaza or Shops on Bent St. untouched. You get what you vote for in Taos: chaos, ...

El Norte’s “Forbidden News”

14 April, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Since the primary season began, I’ve received a few phone calls and thought I’d share my ideas and impressions aka “data points” with my dear readers. Still, one must ask oneself why the excellent local “snooze” experiments with soft features aimed at “lifestyle” or “consumerism” but has eliminated hard or soft news from its pages except for the obituaries. Can’t Chris and the Gang find some Viagra? Two weeks ago, a front-page story about “Strong at Heart” featured inches of print but nothing about issues or facts other than somebody was quoted as saying that Taos should be made safe for children. The rest of the story was constituted by meaningless phrases and no facts. Similarly, this week the “Snooze” featured a story about Angel Fire citizens who complain about KCEC’s high electricity rates, yet no facts were mentioned. Where was the info ...

What Taos has in Common with Facebook

11 April, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Facebook Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder testifying in Wash. D.C. : "Here's what everyone's been trying to tell you today, and I say this gently: Your user agreement sucks," said Kennedy.  "The purpose of that user agreement is to cover Facebook's rear end. It's not to inform your users about their rights. Now you know that, and I know that," he continued. "Tell your $1,200-an-hour lawyers they're good, and no disrespect. But tell them you want it written in English, and not Swahili, so the average American can understand it," he instructed. "That would be a start." Abeyta A week ago, Monday night we wrapped up our Monday night culture class re: Taos with a discussion of the Abeyta-Taos Pueblo Water Settlement Agreement. As instructor I had dutifully marked the complex bits about pipelines, mitigation wells, ...

Beauty (Posters) and the Beast (Abeyta)

29 March, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

Good News on Beauty Ok. So, I’m wrong about my predictions re: the “Poster Art” reproductions hanging from lamp posts in Taos. Taos is now a four-letter word for Art. I love the posters except for the “safety” factor. It’s difficult to read some of the names (except Zoe’s) on the horizontal sides of the images, while driving by oneself. Congratulations to Janet Webb and her coterie of supporters. Now how about the clutter beyond the posters? The Beastly Bureaucratism of Abeyta For the antidote to Magical Thinkers and Science Deniers I offer into evidence the driest winter I have seen since I first visited Taos in 1965. Now comes the Abeyta-Taos Pueblo Water Settlement Agreement, which threatens to further demoralize farmers and parciantes as the pen replaces the shovel. The real work today of preserving and protecting the acequia culture comes down to ...

Excerpts from the Playmate Press: Amodei, Trump, Reyes, Mr. Geek

22 March, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

“He was with the Russians, too.” Warren Zevon Politicos punish kid while President pinches the purse (Local)Failed Projects and Primary Candidates. “Where have all the [moneys] gone long time passing...when will we ever learn…” (Pete Seeger tropes on “The Lineman of the County.”) Taos County primary voters will get to choose between KCEC CEO Luis Reyes’s two candidates and incumbents in the Commission race: Daniel Cordova in the District 1 race v. incumbent Jim Fambro, and in District 2, Ronald Mascarenas of Peñasco v. Candyce O’Donnell. The Energizer Bunny keeps on keepin on despite election losses in Taos and Questa, financial losses at the Coop, Broadband, Call Center, Propane, Command Center, Guzman, and the record sums being spent on behalf of the unfettered “Traveling Trustees.” Note from Joseph McCarthy: "Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity. The modern ...

On the Occasion of Number “17”

15 March, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [human beings] 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…to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” (Declaration of Independence) Regardless of whether so-called “pro-life” factions can agree on whether life begins at conception or in the mind of a divinity, or whether the moral standing of institutional Christians has been undermined by pederasty or whether the peccadilloes of their chosen politicians undermines both faith-based morals and secular ethics, so a majority of Americans, surely still believe in the reasons for protecting their children and grandchildren, regardless of color, creed, or political persuasion, children who should be able to pursue their lives, liberty, and ...

Taos Local Political News

11 March, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

We Taosenos can be grateful that Dan “Work-Gloves” Barrone, Fritz “The Hammer” Hahn, and Pascual Maestas, “El Econo Hombre” won the local election. Whether consciously or not, Taos and Questa escaped the Trump-like fate awaiting them by rejecting the moribund trustees at KCEC, where CEO Luis Reyes attempted to take-over Taos County’s largest town and village by running several candidates. But neither Taosneos nor Questions were biting. Since Barrone and Hahn have revealed their backsides, we know who we’re dealing with and it’s not all bad. At least the Mayor and his Hammer (aka “The Betrayer”) wear their own hair. The longer the hair the more “moral” bald spots it covers per our President. Despite the re-election of the unchallenged and honorable Judge Chavez in Taos, a judicial “spectre is haunting” Taos County. The steady and judicious work of the Magistrate ...

Chicano Chamber Endorses: Fernandez, Cantu, and Maestas

21 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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

Lord of the Flies: American Dehumanization

22 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

As industry and the politics of governing merge, fascism in America grows. Now Politicians protect the right to kill as a priority over the right to life. Regulations and the right to due process, as well as the right to life, all are being scuttled by Trumpism.     Faux Free Market Unleashed   Contrary to conventional notions of libertarians and the Milton Friedmanites at the Chicago School, Adam Smith believed that “moral sentiments” should set limits on the rapacious nature of free market trade due to human greed and lust for power. Today, as Trump and the Republicans finish the work of deregulating corporations, the results of centuries of moral and reasonable evolution and human progress are being cast aside. Notions of fairness and justice are being ignored as the nation descends into rule “by the stronger,” a process of dehumanization set ...

Taos Election Friction Acceleration

15 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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

Taos Municipal Elections: Elephants, Social Engineering, and Customs

7 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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

Apodaca: Candidate for Governor

4 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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

The Schoolmarm’s Forum

2 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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

HCH, Town Elections, Abeyta

1 February, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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

The Politics of Capitalism Revisited on Local Residents

12 January, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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

Town Elections: Who’s In, Who’s Out!

10 January, 2018
By: Bill Whaley

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