Defense Attorneys Call Foul on Taos DA

26 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

Corruption or Incompetence?  The Story below raises questions about the participation of former Taos Police jefe, Jerry Holgrefe: how was he involved and when did he know it? As we know from the hearings Detective John Wentz was the primary investigator of the Kit Carson Ma Barker Gang, aka BST, according to the DDA Emilio Chavez. But Wentz went before the Grand Jury and the alleged robbers were indicted and subsequently booked as the bad guys and gals. What did Hogrefe know ...

Juma Archuleta: March 6, 1942—October 7, 2013

23 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

Our Friend Departed a Year Ago: we miss him and post this fond remembrance.  On Oct. 7, his spirit, aided by the scent of crushed pine, escaped out the open bedroom window at 2 pm. Later, around 6 pm, his head clad in bandanna, he was carried by mortality’s stewards away to last rites, where his body will be prepared to rejoin his spirit. He touched us all, body and soul, in mind and in spirit. Some of us, only one or ...

Around the World and Taos, Too

29 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

(See:  for stunning documentary footage.) (International) “US relations with Israel have plunged to new depths of bitterness and hostility as senior officials in the Obama administration decried Binyamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit prime minister”, “coward” and a man more interested in his own political survival than peace.”—From The Guardian (National) Thanks to Ebola and “lone-wolf” attacks on Canadians and threats from crazies, the National Security State is cracking down and pandering to America’s sense of insecurity. Here come the foot soldiers of the “inverted totalitarian” state, more laws, more guards, and fewer civil rights. (State) Reversing a national trend, wherein cops shoot people of color nationwide and the homeless in Albuquerque, the cops from Santa Fe are shooting each other. We get our tragedies all upside down in El Norte. (El Norte) According to Forbes Magazine, Louis of Taos Ski Valley is bringing ...

Taos Animal Issues and Endorsements

25 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

Animal Issues  The Town of Taos will discuss animal issues at the Tuesday, Oct., 28 meeting, 1 PM, on Civic Plaza Drive. Manager Rick Bellis will be asking the Council for permission to do an RFQ (request for qualifications) and a national search for an expert to help Taosenos resolve animal issues, ordinances, and the struggle to present a unified front by local governments on the matter.  Animal lovers and activists need to pack the house.  The Town and County spend way too much money on Animal issues to ignore the current crisis while searching for an outside savior. Activists are way too powerful and the situation far too fraught with emotion and canny partisans for an outsider to figure out who's on first. Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn’s work with the committee on the Holy Cross Hospital health policies suggests he has the demeanor and ...

Outside Agencies Tough on Taosenos?

23 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

What Say You? For years we’ve heard how there’s a right way, a wrong way, and the Taos Way. But today the Taos Way, a kind of lawlessness combined with cruelty and laughter, is under siege by outsiders. We citizens here in the community have seen our elected and appointed officials summarily taken to the woodshed at the Taos Municipal Schools (TMS), the 8th Judicial District’s District Attorney’s Office, and at the Stray Hearts Animal Shelter by outsiders. New Mexico Public Education Department In a January 14, 2014 Taos news article, reporter Elizabeth Cleary writes, “Documents obtained from the state’s Public Education Department reveal years-long tensions between the Taos school district, the state and a disability rights group with regard to Taos’ special education program.” And, “The Taos school board placed superintendent Rod Weston on a three-day administrative leave last month due to ...

Breaking News: Board Suspends Vet’s License At Animal Shelter

20 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

"Petey's Foot Fell Off" and other Charming Tales The summary of the Board of Veterinary Medicine's "Findings of Fact"and eight complaints, posted below, reads like the cruelest animal story you've ever heard or read. It's Rated "R" for violence and neglect. Read it and weep. See the order on page 24, suspending Dr. Aversa's license to practice. The Board also fined him $5,000 and gave him orders to follow a remedial training program if he wants to resume practice. The Animal Shelter Board in Taos seems to lack someone besides lower level staff who exerts oversight at the Shelter.  How many other animals in addition to the eight mentioned were abused?   Doc 02279020141020144324

Legal Eagles Contend

9 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

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 ...

The Taoseno and Karma

6 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

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 ...

Mr. Duck’n Cover & Sidekick Busted for “Hometown Subpoenas”

2 October, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

Disciplinary Board Charges DA Gallegos and DDA Chavez with 5 Counts Each  ADA Simms Part of the Gang  Teaser  (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 ...

Hispanic Heritage Month, Los Kongos on La Plaza, Harwood Chicanismo y El Hombre Nuevo de Taos at Kachina Lodge

25 September, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

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 ...

From the Harwood to the Kongos to the Taos Paseo

21 September, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

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. ...

The Art and Culture of the New Deal at the Old County Courthouse

18 September, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

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 ...

Lawsuit Drops Bomb on Airport Expansion

9 September, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

Prologue 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, ...

Animal Scandal, Kongos Coming, Historic Photos Displayed

3 September, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

(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 ...

Bellis Reveals All to Cortez

23 August, 2014
By: Contributor

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 ...

Terror abroad and Fascism at home

15 August, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

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 ...

Caveat: Is Taos Gentrification the Answer?

10 August, 2014
By: Bill Whaley

Father Fred 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 ...