The Struggle for a Community’s Soul

By: Bill Whaley
3 December, 2015


“If we do nothing, we sort of sleepwalk into a total surveillance state where we have both a super-state that has unlimited capacity to apply force with an unlimited ability to know (about the people it is targeting) – and that’s a very dangerous combination. That’s the dark future.

“The fact that they know everything about us and we know nothing about them – because they are secret, they are privileged, and they are a separate class… the elite class, the political class, the resource class – we don’t know where they live, we don’t know what they do, we don’t know who their friends are. They have the ability to know all that about us.

“This is the direction of the future, but I think there are changing possibilities in this.” Edward Snowden, The Guardian.

The quote above from Edward Snowden suggests the elite, the ones charged with security, Obama and his “kill list” or the CIA and their “Drones, like the devilish merger of the Christian Right and the NRA, not to mention the institutional bosses and their outlaw cops, indicate we are at a critical moment in America’s political life.

Homegrown mass killers, domestic terrorists, and cops who shoot to kill the brothers, emulate the imperialists’ endless war. The unholy alliance between politicized “Christians” and the NRA’s alliance with SCOTUS have transformed political freedom into a function of the Second Amendment, according to some presidential candidates, which underscores the new gospel of death, contrary to the Christian gospel of love, once a driving force of compassion, tolerance, and equal rights, which helped formed the foundations of a “just society.”

You cannot separate the national version of corporate capitalism from the facts and truth depicted on television. The drumbeat of driving greed among the 1 percent, remind me Today of Taos politicos. The “good old boys” are transforming Taos customs into the neo-liberal privatization of health care, water rights, public safety, and utilities at the Coop.

We Taosenos who own the Coop serve the Trustees and Manager.

The new elite in Taos, unlike the quaint class of politicos, who breached the public trust in customary fashion by hiring primos and paving the streets of los vecinos, aims to manage the environs of Taos by integrating the local milieu into the greater corporate financial state by privatizing the “commons”: water, health, safety, and electricity via long-term indebtedness.

In order to capitalize on “common assets,” the “managers” have appealed to the vices of the bandidos or the goodwill of Las Abuelas, while raiding and pillaging Taos, the way our friends from the land of the Dine once raided the Rio Grande Pueblos. Due to “apathy,” the natives and locals vote in fewer and fewer numbers as Los Politicos complete the transformation of a communal society into a product of  raw capitalism. To wit: they have seized the levers of government in order to promote class and cultural interests diametrically opposed to the customs of the historic La Gente culture of shared values.

Los Grandeosos of Taos, during the last two decades, has built an empire of public structures (see Town, County, Coop) and castles in the sky (water markets and a “comprehensive health center) including “fantasy” projects: KCEC Call Center, Command Center, Propane, Internet, Broadband as well as solar arrays to mask the back-door deals paid for by the home-owned electric coop and its sources of energy: dirty coal plants.

Like the Neocons, the elites privatize and outsource health management services, built on public infrastructure owned by Taos County and known as Holy Cross Hospital, a legacy of Mabel Dodge but now managed by the men from Tennessee i.e.“Quorum”

Both the Commissioners and “Traveling Trustees” would raise taxes and rates to better serve outside financiers, managers, etc.. The local status seekers seek nothing more than dinner invitations or the satisfaction of traveling to nationwide pleasure palaces and the occasional public check paid for public-private services.Meanwhile outside financiers make the profits on the bonds backed by taxpayers.

In his state of denial, the KCEC CEO seeks to implement the failed vision of a mad entrepreneur while John Painter at the EPWSD creates “water markets” just as Commissioner Blankenhorn and the “Rubber Stamps” at Taos County cover up the crimes of others or play the peace-maker and lead the charge of the elites by ignoring the corrupt principals of the Abeyta Settlement, proposing to borrow and spend for the sake of a failed health care facility and the “incidentally” expensive and modernized E911 safety facility (thanks to the reaction to KCEC). Our leaders can brag about our “facilities” to potential second homers as locals pay the bill but drive down the canyon to the hospital in Espanola.

Over at Town Hall, the city fathers see endless pockets of gold in airports and tourism, while ignoring the locals (see today’s Taos News) who wish to build a business or a garage or make a living based on the historic tourism patterns while the culture is ignored.

In fact the Bellis-Barrone-Gonzales-Hahn team at the Town can’t “walk and chew gum” at the same time in their reflexive procrastination. Yet they operate by “fiat” and ignore custom and history, adapting to the “passive-aggressive” attitudes native to the  envidia-ridden El Norte. Still Luis pushes buttons at Town Hall via Councilor Andrew Gonzales.

Kit Carson Electric Coop proposes to “borrow and spend” while raising the members’ residential rates, which will raise taxes on public facilities. Taos County itself estimates its KCE electric bill will rise by $50,000 yet the County has not opposed KCEC’s proposed rate increase, nor has HCH or EPWSD or the Town.

That’s how the “good old boys” work together: “let the people pay!”

Marketing Professionals Push Locals out

watch-our-tv-ads-MOD1As if to confirm the above, the “Procrastinators” at Town Hall have hired a marketing team that ignores local art and culture traditions, i.e. Native Americans and Hispanic Natives and the Harwood et al.

Even The Taos News, thanks to J.R. Logan reports on the problem. To wit, the Bellis and Barrone team took 18 months to dig up an ad pitch for the community from Atlas (Shrugged) and, according to a front page story in The Taos News got generic photos from generic USA. Here are a few quotes from J.R.’s report:

Tourism marketing pitch light on Taos’ multicultural assets

(J.R. Logan, Dec. 3, 2015)

”Avid mountain biker and economic development professional Lindsay Mapes noted that just about everyone in the ad photos, including a raft guide, was Anglo.

“It’s just some generic white dude,” said Mapes, suggesting instead the ads include a local guy with a lot of character, like Cisco Guevara with Los Rios River Runners.

“Ilona Spruce, tourism director for Taos Pueblo, suggested Atlas get photos of tribal members at the iconic village to show it’s a living community, instead of the static shot that was shown, picturing a young white guy with a backpack alone staring at multi-storied adobes.

“Others in the audience said they’d like to see more of Taos’ cultural side in the campaign. Juniper Manley with the Harwood Museum of Art pointed out the sample ads were focused almost entirely on recreation, not on the arts. “I think it’s very one-sided,” Manley said.”

Bellis and Barrone can’t “walk and chew” gum at the same time, hence staffing for Planning and Marketing takes anywhere from 14 to 18 months and then all they do is have meetings. Where did we find these guys? The Manager, one Rick Bellis, blows smoke toward the mirrors and then tells Fritz “how hard he’s been working.”Bellis

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