The Cockroach of the Kit Carson Coop!

By: Bill Whaley
4 November, 2015

(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 system charge  41% from $14.50 to $21.50 for the use of the meter. If you use, say 250 KWH per month your charges go up an additional 22% from $42.66 to 52.37. Great.

BTW: Members are not allowed to speak at Coop meetings unless Luis gives them permission in advance and gets a look at their comments. Why go to meetings? The Trustees meet monthly the night before the regularly scheduled meeting and “fix” the agenda for the last Tuesday morning of the month.

Before Peter was for the rate increase and bragged about the fiduciary responsibility of the Trustees today, he accused them of a lack of fiduciary duty. Here’s an excerpt from a story by J.R. Logan, May 26, 2011 from The Taos News.

Taos judge rules against Kit Carson recall.

“A recall election for nine of Kit Carson Electric’s 11 elected trustees won’t appear on the agenda of the upcoming member meeting. Acting Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Peggy Nelson sided with the co-op board of trustees and its attorneys when she issued a preliminary injunction Thursday (May 19) against the petition. Trustees for the board say they are pleased with the decision, but the co-op’s critics say the ruling won’t make them go away. On April 29, 10 co-op members turned in a petition containing the signatures of 822 members to the co-op’s offices, asking that a recall vote for nine of the co-op’s 11 board members be put a part of the annual member meeting.

“Nelson heard arguments from co-op attorneys and from those who circulated the petition at a hearing Thursday (May 19).

“Co-op attorney Arthur Jaramillo argued that the charges on the petition were overly vague and that the recall was “at will” rather than “for cause. “But co-op member Peter Adang, and others who started the petition, insisted that he had met all of the requirements for a recall are spelled out in the co-op’s bylaws. Adang stated that the elected trustees should decide whether to make the recall election part of the annual meeting rather than ask a judge to make it for them.” (Peter, as I remember, donated his expertise to the “cockroaches” but his arguments didn’t hold water.)

Here’s another opinion of Pobrecito Pedro, headlined:

‘INTERVENERS LOST ALL CREDIBILITY’. (Favor y Contra/Opinion
Taos News (Taos, NM) May 3, 2012:

Byline: Luis Reyes

Mr. Peter Adang’s intervention in the Kit Carson Cooperative rate hearings last year cost our membership around half million dollars, but this was not the first time he fought against a Northern New Mexico Institution. Furthermore, Mr. Adang has been assailing the leadership of Kit Carson, but this was not the first time he disparages a Hispanic-led institution.

“According to a 1997 article in the High Country News, Mr. Adang believed that the cards were stacked against his client who could “read the writing on the wall” that it would not be in their best interest to defend their case in New Mexico against “a Hispanic group in front of a Hispanic judge. …”

Here’s call and response with Peter

Pobrecito Pedro accuses me (and other cockroach activists) of being “ the so-called “critics” (who) have come pouring out like cockroaches from an open sewer. There are two in particular. One is the former publisher of a failed newspaper (who has apparently never operated a successful business in his life) and fancies himself a journalist although he totally lacks any journalistic integrity whatsoever, eschews the pursuit of any reportorial skills, and instead relies on gossip and rumor (by his own admission) in his dull and wretched blog.

“This individual, who lacks any understanding of the fiduciary duty that directors or trustees of a business have to insure that it is viable, has a knee-jerk aversion to any rate increase. Without even a minimal understanding of the facts that revenues from sales of electricity are dramatically decreasing not only in northern New Mexico but throughout the nation; that costs to maintain the “grid” are continuing to climb; and, that most electric utilities, whether they be rural cooperatives or investor owned, are having to seek rate increases, this individual instead prefers to look for scapegoats to blame in pursuit of his crackpot pseudo-populism.” (The Sign Man is the other “cockroach.”)

Well, let’s see: I’ve won some and lost some in the Taos business climate. I don’t think you read my book closely. Horse Fly, during a ten-year period, broke even. I personally did not make any dough. Sure it was a labor of love and a muckraker’s dream as well as an experience and an education that capitalized on relationships and sources going back to the mid-sixties. I didn’t see Old Peter hanging round much back in the bars and theatres where I made money or the dance hall where I learned my lessons.  I even got some capital credits way back then.

I guess real success in business means owing and being in debt for what? 100 million dollars to your creditors? Eh, Peter? Isn’t that what the Coop owes as soon as the Broadband bill comes due? That’s republican politics: corporate welfare guaranteed by tax payers and rate payers under the aegis of a monopoly. Course, you guys don’t believe in “transparency” do you?

Mr. Adang, like so many, who arrived so recently, certainly doesn’t understand the long-standing lies that accompanied the inception of the KCEC Propane venture. Beginning about, more or less, in 2000, the Board of Trustees and Luis himself said (repeatedly) if the venture didn’t make a profit in the first five years, the Coop would abandon it. Five years, ten years came and went.

Now Mr. Peter Cockroach says, “Since 2011, the propane business has been a separate and independent subsidiary of Kit Carson. It has been making money, and it is not in any way a drain on the electric utility assets or revenues.”

But the Propane venture was managed out of the KCEC HQ on Cruz Alta before it moved across the street. I can’t remember exactly how many years the Coop lied to its members about the Propane and the Internet losses. Who paid the start-up costs and costs of buying and installing tanks on Highway 64? Was it the Coop? The members? Did you pay, Peter? I remember going to County meetings when residents protested against its location on Highway 64. I didn’t see Adang in the audience.

Here’s Adang’s best Cockroach bite and confirms the kind of Coop Kool-Aid he’s been drinking: “The command center could have been a profit center or, if not that, at least a break-even venture had Taos’ petty and vindictive politics not gotten in the way. Nevertheless, the Cooperative is putting it to use and, while the annual interest and amortization payments are a nuisance, even if they did not exist, a rate increase would still be necessary.” Oh, puleeze.

 

Luis tried selling the Command Center to one after another of both Town and County administrations, the Forest Service, the BLM, the state police, and etc. but nobody was buying. Finally, the Taos Mayor, whose five-figure monthly electric bill for DMC Broadcasting, was generously ignored or “carried” or given an otherwise hospitable reception,  according to KCEC bill collectors, returned the favor or maybe he had his “come to Luis moment.”

No we never got the proof but the Mayor admitted, indirectly, in the local news that he got behind.  The Coop awarded a Broadband contract to a second Town councilor and “earth mover,” and who knows what else to other elected officials. One Town Councilor has a helluva job today with the Coop. Eh, Peter, eh? It’s just politics. I guess that’s neither a “quid pro quo” nor “influence peddling” but it’s something like local politics.

(BTW: Darren and Luis whatever happened to the dues and don’ts of the Hispano Chamber, we all joined to fight Wal-mart expansion? What happened to the grant from the town? What report?)

The Town moved into the “Command Center” for a short time, a center designed by an architect, paid for by a legislative grant that allegedly contravened the “anti-donation” clause of the state because the Town back then, prior to the Cordova administration, refused to participate in the Command Center.  I missed the meeting where Luis told the Trustees he paid “400,000 dollars” despite having no appraisal for the flood-plain hole in the ground. I never saw you, Peter, at any of those meetings. Course if we did everything Luis’s way there would be no vindictive politics. (Check out what he wrote about you above.)

 

We’ve got a recording of the architect saying that the Town had nothing to do with the design or building and that Luis was the boss. Ultimately, County officials investigated the Command Center and found it “under-designed,” and “underbuilt” and “unacceptable” for the purposes of an E911 facility.

Now the Town and County are considering passing a tax to support E911, due to the bungling of Kit Carson and the former Town administration, an administration that made false claims about asbestos in the prior building in order to satisfy their deal with Luis. The Coop costs and continues to cost the community a bundle here Peter. Plus, we members, like you, must pay the piper for the loans.

If you can’t understand why folks distrust the Coop, you’re blind, can’t hear, and don’t see too good. I’ll get to the rest of your cockroach blog later but, mostly, it’s filled with wild assertions and excuses for profligate spending that ignore the history of the Coop culture, a culture more devious and less credible, more excessive and less competent than your poor attempt at character assassination i.e. the attacks on your own credibility. Pobrecito.

Sure, you and I can agree that the electricity business has nothing to do with the other failed ventures except the members paid the freight. Again, history didn’t start when you got on the board. It just continues.

We’ve never seen profit and loss statements, or balance sheets, or summaries of audits about the Call Center, Propane and Internet Operations, the Command Center, or the Broadband boomerang. I’m reading the “consolidated 990s” (again) and there are a few gems but not much in the way of P&Ls. There’s not much detail in the consolidated 990s.

 

You were supposed to be our “watchdog” and “cockroach” not a p.r. agent. You’ve got access, allegedly, to the paperwork. Why don’t you make it available to the members so they can be persuaded of the need for a rate increase without going to the PRC?  We members know we’ll have to bail you guys out due to your own mismanagement.  Did you or the other trustees ever hear the Biblical parable about saving up during the bountiful years so you could get through the lean years?

And where are the members’ “capital credits?” Eh? Just asking. You could tell the Coop to stop lying to the members then we’d all get along better. As Judge Nelson said in her double entendre, “People love to hate Kit Carson.”

Buenas suerte, amigo.

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