Labor Day Democrats Prepare for “Bernie Man” Birthday

By: Bill Whaley
6 September, 2015


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 and Cultural Center for the Town or a new entrance for the Dunn House Shops.

Allegedly, the occupiers of Town offices can’t afford to hire a “building inspector” or “plan checker” and hence, what economic development? So Commissioners will also consider a request from the troubled Town of Taos Planning Department (a department in name only). Apparently the Town is asking for the County to take over “building inspections” but doesn’t want to pay much for the assistance. The Town of Taos currently suffers from debt, partially staffed departments, low morale and lower crime rates, due to an absence of “crime-busters” on the street. Even as Manager Rick Bellis, rambles on in his “smoke and mirrors” campaign, defending his resume and promoting concerts for the “new demographic,” some 100 building permits remain open.

(Editor’s note: Residents are reminded of the local custom: “beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission.)BernieMan

Cultural Note: there are two Native Taosenos in elective office at Town Hall. (Fred was born in San Francisco.) While newcomer Fritz Hahn pays attention, god bless him, given his long list, he can’t see the forest for the trees and drinks water from the cup Bellis gave him. Meanwhile, fear stalks Town Hall: employee morale is in the toilet and the Mayor, Jolly Dan, according to employees, is MIA. The top brass can be found, we hear, at the craft beer parlors.

Just as Taos County transformed the controversial KCEC Command Center project into a state of the art facility and turned the failed state-run Ancianos center into a success, so the County may be forced to take over the Town of Taos, due to its mismanaged departments: “public works,” ‘police” “planning” and the “hear no evil, see no evil, say no evil finance department.”

Like the 8th Judicial District, where a new judge, who allegedly violated the professional code of conduct some 90 times as DA, who was then elevated by the Gov., so unbecoming conduct at Town Hall has been ignored. For example elected and appointed officials have ignored the procurement code in the past but our local elected officials have decided to let the petty thieves and department heads continue in office. Similarly residents ignore the water ordinances or building codes.


At the County, the Finance Department Director hires smart young people (mostly women) to oversee various departments and report. By sending a single staffer over to Town Hall, the Director of Finance could probably straighten out the bookkeeping. County Attorney Bob Malone might be persuaded to teach the the “meaning” of the procurement code to Town employees. Sure Edward Vigil and the County’s three qualified building officials could enforce the code, check permits, and plans but the layabouts at Town Hall need to pay for the privilege.

Ever since Clean Gene Sanchez drove Colonel “Slick Gus” Cordova from office, it’s been downhill at Town Hall. This “admission of defeat” for “democratic self-determination” comes from a critic, who was wrong, wrong, wrong about the autocratic man from Rockwall. Obviosuly, the Town of Taos needs a “strong hand.” The slow sure leak from the reserves that began with the administration of Mayor Duran, accelerated under Mayor Cordova, and continues under Mayor Barrone, as money is poured into potholes and special events. I am reminded of the refrain from “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” and “When will we ever learn?” When Gus left Town Hall, there was six or seven million dollars in the reserve fund, few potholes, and employees who knew what to do, where to report, and with whom to sleep.

Though there’s a “rolling” drug store, selling medicinal marijuana on the Plaza, there is little else to steal except for “curios,” old-fashioned art and some high end jewelry: not very enticing for today’s thugs or tourists. Despite an uptick in the bistro and B&B biz, retail blessings appear extremely limited. By the time visitors pay “$16” for admission to the world heritage site, they feel less inclined to buy art and artifacts.

Meanwhile, the politicos in Washington D.C. have saddled locals with millions in debt and tons of controversy: the $150 million taxpayer giveaway for the “Abeyta/Taos Pueblo Settlement”  and KCEC’s Electric and Broadband debt load of $100 million; there’s some $24 million for the Town of Taos Airport. All this debt has created a new class of artificial elites aqui en Taos. Arrogance, whether at the Coop, where the people’s alleged trustee “Peter Adang,” has turned into a vendido or at El Prado Water and Sanitation District, where Painter and Tele have sold the District down the river, speaks to the point.

Now KCEC has filed for a rate increase, a regressive tax that hits, the elderly and the poor harder than the wealthy due to a per meter charge. The more electricity you use the cheaper the rates and the reverse is also true: raise the meter rates and the poor pay a hire percentage for their consumption of energy. Thanks for stabbing us in the back Mr. Adang. And you want to run for office again?

Just as Painter, the livestock manager, and Gonzales, the El Prado liquor dealer of EPWSD count on apathetic members of their board to say “yes” to rate increases, so the trustees at KCEC will soon ask for the Coop members to up their  travel allowances and per diem meeting rates. The Fox is in the Henhouse at KCEC.

For that matter, some” misguided community members would support the perverse “health nuts” at Holy Cross Hospital, who want to tax and spend, while their actual policies in practice turn the living into graveside memories, due to the incompetent use of sharp objects. We get charged plenty as citizens for increasing taxes, utility rates, and hospital stays but the service declines and the outages outrage. Try and get a building inspector from the Town of Taos to check on your wall, garage, or spare room project. Just try. But you better pay your water and sewer bill.


I say join the Social Democrats at Bernie’s Birthday at the Brewery on Tuesday at 6 pm. While the elitists and their paid political hacks are beating us up with sticks, neither Hilary nor Trump will save you. Here’s to Bernie, the last populist. Ennit?

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