Taos and The Coop Culture

By: Bill Whaley
6 November, 2015

La Cucaracha and Thelma’s Girls?

Deep Background

Some of you remember when Saki rented the back room of Hotel La Fonda to Thelma and her lap dancers and the joint was called “La Cucaracha.” Peter Adang, the KCEC Trustee and blogger is singing tunes today for the new joint at the Boardroom on Cruz Alta St. Here’s an excerpt from his latest blog.

Peter’s Insight

“ Singer Taylor Swift has a song “Shake It Off” with a line apropos of Kit Carson’s critics. “[T]he haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate….” I can name a number of these “haters” who revel in any problems faced by the Cooperative. The Germans have a word for it—schadenfreude.” It means enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others, or satisfaction felt at someone else’s misfortune.”—Peter J. Adang, KCEC Trustee Blogger (Nov. 2015)

 

In May of 2011, Judge Peggy Nelson agreed with Mr. Adang, saying, “Everybody sort of loves to hate Kit Carson.” This was during the Adang-led lawsuit and petition to recall trustees, prepared and argued by said “blogger.”

Here’s more on Peter before the Boys got him in the backroom at La Cucaracha. “A cover letter attached to the petition accuses the board of losing $7 million on subsidiary businesses, spending $2.3 million on “a command center that has no tenants” and entering into a $19 million loan for broadband service without a business plan.” (Taos News, May, 2011. This was a summary of lawsuit filed against the Coop by Peter J. Adang and Petitioners in a recall action directed at the Trustees.)

“Rate increase opponents, including retired attorney Peter Adang who argued against the injunction, had gathered signatures of the required 3 percent of the co-op’s 22,500 members needed to put the recall of nine of the co-op’s 11 trustees to a vote of the membership. Rate hike opponents had said recall was the only way to get the co-op’s attention. Members alleged in the recall petition that trustees had breached their fiduciary duty and were guilty of malfeasance and misfeasance.” (Andy Stiny, Albuquerque Journal, May 2011)

 

Friction Commentary

Since Taosenos are more likely to speak Spanish than German, I have prepared a brief translation of Adang’s definition of “schadenfreude.” In Taos we know this terms as “envidia.” The cult and practice of “Envidia” as “parking lot politics” is legendary on the KCEC Board. We transplants and newcomers, after living here and getting involved, whether in art or politics, generally go Native (like Peter on his blogs). Here’s a brief summary in several languages about “Envidia.”

“Revenge is sweeter than victory. The French social observer, De La Rochefoucauld, writes that “envy is a fury which cannot endure the happiness of others.” A Taoseno might say, he or she “is trying to be better than us.” Politicos love to express the perverse pleasure of humiliating an enemy even if it means losing an election. In German the enjoyment of other folks’ misery is called “Schadenfreude. New Yorker writer Ian Frazier wrote in On the Rez, “Some Indians say that jealousy is a bigger problem for their people than alcohol.” See Edgar Allen Poe’s The Imp of the Perverse for the way envy can be transformed into destructive resistance aimed at the self. In the Hispanic community, people obliquely say, “You know how (we) (they) are.”

If you don’t acknowledge and deal with “envidia,” a kind of social disease, you’re just whistling Dixie in Taos, where the locals will pick your pocket and/or perform some savage act forbidden by social norms everywhere but here. And they will laugh while you squirm in a headlock and take it up the backside.

Adang’s Naive Remarks

Below Taos Friction’s comments on Adang’s blog not only illustrate his “misunderstanding” but also confirm his status as a captive of the Coop culture. While Mr. Adang wanders in the wilderness of finance, the Trustees have slipped him a mickey and seduced the lad for other purposes. He serves the ship of Luis. CEO Reyes and his cohorts on the Board, like most Native Taosenos, exhibit all the signs of the local genius for politics.

Before Adang got elected to the board he was against “rate increases,” critical of the Command Center and Broadband project. He accused the Trustees of breaching “their fiduciary duty” and further accused them of being “guilty of malfeasance and misfeasance.” But after he got elected and entered those “rooms” with Luis and the Guys, he was no longer a critic or a virgin. Now he’s a true believer and a “cockroach.”

In so far as it suits their political purposes, the Trustees will feign an interest in finances, or Propane, or Broadband, or Command Centers and Call Centers. But their primary purpose concerns the “pleasures and pains of political power.” While getting paid their “per diem” to attend meetings at home and abroad, they enjoy wielding power over their vecinos, getting primos jobs, drinking their toddies in Miami and partying down in San Antonio, courtesy the Coop. Some practice the rites and privileges known as “droit de seigneur.”

(You can look up this French term” on Wikepedia if you’ve got your Broadband connection or more likely Century Link, Taos Net, or Verizon.)

As the blogger points out, the Trustees are on their best behavior right now…because Luis has scared them. They might lose their long-term perks if they don’t shape up during the run-up to the rate hearings. The Coop needs to replenish the coffers so Luis can keep reaching into his bag of tricks to serve his own and the Trustees’ whims.

Though the federal welfare program for Broadband, some 60 million bucks, has run-out and the program has slowed, while KCEC calls in technicians from out of town to hook up the few who request service, we’re all wondering if RUS will come to the rescue of the Coop…one more time. If the Trustees can just hang on and behave as directed by the cunning CEO the PRC will approve the rate increase and they can continue to steal from Paul to pay Peter. Oh, the Trustee’s hang on every breath Luis takes as well as his back-door doings, jobs for relatives, deals for vecinos, etc.

La Gente

Though I may catch another Broadside from Mr. Blogger about so-called “haters” or “envidiosos,” let me say that when I listen to Taosenos, I hear the tales about the trustees (from their primos and vecinos). The trustees’ shenanigans are legend. One of them has wondered directly on several occasions aloud, “why aren’t we all in jail?”

Like so many newcomers, you’re a “do-gooder”Peter. They come to Taos to save it and patch the flaws in the social fabric. But newcomers serve their local masters and are used as bludgeons to beat each other, while seeking revenge for some perceived or real slight. (A local Anglo Judge made this point to me once about how we were both Pendejos.) Since you say you donate your dough, rendered to you by the members, and give it to the Kit Carson Foundation, tell us do you think you “know” who really gets the scholarships and “who doesn’t.” Eh? Are the decisions made on merit like the Fiesta Queen process? Eh?

Change?

You are doing Coop laundry for the Trustees, washing it in Luis’s whirlpool to hang it out on the clothesline for the naïve to look at, like the Green Energy folks who love him. But most folks who follow the Coop can still see the stains on the underwear. BTW: Luis’s passion for Green Energy has impacted the bottom line, eh? But he’s an “ironist” at heart, saying one thing, doing another. He’s got a sense of humor has Luis…unlike Mr. Blogger.

Until the historic culture passes away at the Coop nothing much will change. Though the members laugh at the Trustees, the laughter changes to curses when they get their electric bills but not their capital credits. They look at all the Coop ornaments, empty buildings, failed ventures and the like. And they think: Luis has “got’em where he wants ‘em.” You, too, Mr. Pooch. You’ve been played like a fiddle, mi amigo.

Hey I know all about this. That’s why they call the Bad Gringo “El Pendejo.” Here’s another truism: “It’s worse than you think.”

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