Community Issues: On Social Justice

By: Bill Whaley
6 January, 2016

Introduction

(Part I)

“Injustice is a kind of blasphemy. Nature designed rational beings for each other’s sake: to help—not harm—one another, as they deserve. To transgress its will, then is to blaspheme against the oldest of the gods.

“And to lie is to blaspheme against it too…To lie deliberately is to blaspheme—the liar commits deceit, and thus injustice. And likewise to lie without realizing it…Nature gave (him) the resources to distinguish between true and false. And he neglected them, and now can’t tell the difference.” (Book 9.1, Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations)

bill fly at printerThe other night, after reading one of Kit Carson Cooperative Electric, Inc.’s “false claims” written by CEO Luis Reyes, one in letter form the other a spread sheet posted in The Taos News, I was reading the above passage, an excerpt from the Meditations, written by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180) in the fine translation by Gregory Hays, once a brief best seller in this edition.

Indeed the Meditations reflect the Emperor’s stoic reminders to himself and are considered one of the most eloquent and timeless expressions of philosophical thought and how to think and live. As I have mentioned in “Gringo Lessons,” the Meditations not only got me through many a difficult night, they inspired me to study the literature of philosophy at University, which courses I have taught here at UNM Upper Division and Graduate Department in Taos. I would recommend the “readings” not only to Luis Reyes but also to the KCEC Board of Trustees because they have obviously lost their way. Similarly, I would argue elected and appointed officials at the Town of Taos have lost sight of the difference between right and wrong.

GENE SANCHEZ(At some point the Chicano Chamber of Commerce will make a “hundred-page” packet of documents available to candidates for town government who are interested in “correcting” the culture of wrongdoing at Town Hall, the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.)

watch-our-tv-ads-MOD1When community leaders, whether elected or appointed, lose their way or deceive the public as well as each other, they also deceive themselves. In effect those who lie about their residence for the sake of running for office or excuse “cheating” and “stealing” and “violations of the procurement code” because “everyone does it” or because “it’s my job,” dig down into the mud and mire, and dwell like rats and bats blind to the sun and stars that light up the public commons. And they are stealing “equity” from the community when they cheat.

For several years I have watched local politics degenerate from the quaint notion of customary “jobs for primos” and “kickbacks for cousins” or “paved roads” for vecinos to the institutional and corporate public-privatization of the “commons.” Today government, the public-private culture of institutionalization and corporatization in Taos threatens personal property rights, water rights, access to utilities and health care and even the markers of the indigenous and creative culture borne of self-determination. In affect government leaders are permanently altering the customary concept of social justice or “looking out for each other” here in El Norte. Instead of capitalizing on our cultural and economic resources for the long term, elected and appointed leaders have substituted private ambition, short term gains, and conventional dead ends for the rich legacy that should belong to future generations.

Northern New Mexico has served as an endless resource of interest for scholars and writers. Instead of seeing the past as a resource and maintaining the cultural legacy in the present, the current political leadership would exploit the superficial details and smother the energy of a unique legacy by instituting crackpot ideas appropriated from mainstream America: see closing the Plaza, commercial Christmas tree lights, and a general ignorance of “cultural sensitivity.”

Luis-RreyesThe Pattern of Vice

The pattern of lies at KCEC is obvious in the official presentation of CEO Luis Reyes’ response to the protestors against the requested rate increase. My own particular case speaks to the lies and misrepresentation or pattern. Reyes sent me a letter saying my rates would go up about $11 a month. Yet, his letter specifically addressed a single meter when I have four in my name, which means my rates would go up “conservatively about “$40 a month” depending on usage. Further Reyes omitted my specific claims in the spreadsheet published in The Taos News of what the increase would cost. Of course the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, see below, is familiar with the “lies” promulgated by Reyes and KCEC. Apparently Reyes has continued to “bully” protesters (past the deadline) and otherwise misrepresent the “incompetence” of the current management and trustees. I doubt Luis knows the difference anymore between fact and fiction.

The bigger threat to the community from KCEC and Reyes breaks the very promise and continued survival of the Coop, provided for by the “The Rural Electrification Act of 1936, enacted on May 20, 1936, (that) provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States.” Indeed, the PRC is caught in the classic “Catch 22” situation or “double bind.” If the PRC doesn’t approve the rate increase, the Coop will go broke under the current management and trustees because they have no business plan in place.

If the PRC does approve the rate increase, the Coop will continue to spend on diverse projects like the Call Center, Command Center, Internet, Propane, and Broadband projects and go broke because they can’t pay back the debts owed, not only owed to members, $35 million estimated in capital credits, but the $84 million owed to the USDA/RUS and other Coop bankers as well as the $20 million in loans for Broadband, which has yet to come due, not to mention the announced buy-out of $38 million in the Tri-State deal. But the Coop will still go broke because the Coop has no “business plan.”

n-snake-lightThe Coop has the queer idea that they don’t need to admit to the debts owed the electric side members who “inadvertently” invested millions in “diversity.” The Trustees have lied to cover up their failures and see their role as approving what the CEO does so that they can receive their stipends and travel while the CEO himself gets paid $240,000 a year and pumps up his ego with public relations stunts. Now “fiber optic” is the White Buffalo and “Renewable Energy” the utopian future. Sure Reyes has plenty of supporters who drink the KCEC “Kool-Aid.” And when you die, as the scripture says, and the priests never tire of reassuring the moribund family members “you will go to a better place.”

Our burglars and murderers, blue-collar criminals, sometimes go to jail. White collar criminals rarely, except for the occasional scandalous public housing thief. But community leaders, whether elected or appointed, harm the fabric of the community when they run rough shod over right and wrong. Sometimes the problem is a simple one, called “adding and subtracting.” We know that the local schools teach arithmetic or did when the Trustees went to school. Apparently the Trustees forgot or didn’t go to Catholic school. We need to rap them on their knuckles.

Here’s a rap on the knuckles from the PRC. I’ll skip to the “Staff Conclusion Determination”:

1. Staff finds no grounds for rejection of KCEC’s Advice Notice No. 60 pursuant to Commission Rule No. 17.9.540.9 D NMAC.

2. Staff finds that there are at least 63 timely filed, valid protests of the residential rate proposed in KCEC’s Advice Notice No. 60.

3. Staff recommends that, pursuant to Commission Rule 17.9.540.9 C NMAC, KCEC complement its filing of Advice Notice No. 60 with the filing of data, exhibits, illustrations, prepared testimony, or written argument which is pertinent to the schedule.

(Here’s the notice copied from the staff’s report, thanks to the Sign Man, who forwarded this lively epistle. I didn’t have time to reformat it.)

BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION

IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING OF PROPOSED NEW RATES BY KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.

KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.,
Applicant.

STAFF DETERMINATION:

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Pursuant to the Order Suspending Proposed Rates filed in this case by the Public Regulation

Commission (“Commission”) on December 23, 20151

Staff herewith provides its determination

as to:

I. Number of valid and timely protests
II. Whether Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. Inc.’s (“KCEC’s”) filing of Advice Notice No. 60 constitutes a complete application pursuant to Section 62-8-7(B)

NUMBER OF VALID AND TIMELY PROTESTS
KCEC filed its Advice Notice No. 60 on December 3, 2015.

Commission Rule 17.9.5410.10 NMAC provides that “any member of the coop may protest the proposed rate or rates” and that “protests must be filed no later than twenty (20) days after the coop files the schedule”. Protests must therefore be filed in this case no later than December 23, 2015.

Staff counted 102 protests filed by December 23, 2015. Of these, 90 protests appear to have been delivered to the Records Management Bureau while the remaining 12 protests were conveyed electronically by email.

Of the 90 protests delivered to the Records Management Bureau, 89 were presented on the Commission’s Protest Form, which the coop is required to make available while 1 protest was in the form of a letter.

Of the 12 protests conveyed electronically, 8 protests were presented in the informal complaint form, which is administered by the Commission’s Consumer Relations Division (CRD) and made available on the Commission’s web site. Of the remaining 4 protests conveyed electronically, 3 were email messages expressing a member’s protest of KCEC’ s proposed rates. The remaining email message simply provides information

 

1 Ordering Paragraph B about KCEC’s Board members from an independent web site. There was no clear expression of a rate protest from that email message and Staff does not consider it to be a valid protest.

Of the remaining 101 protests, 63 protests presented on the Protest Form by self­ identified KCEC members name KCEC as proposing the rates and explicitly identify only the proposed Residential rate as the subject of each protest. Each of these protests appears to provide the information required by Commission Rule 17.9.540.11 A (l) through A (7) NMAC.

Staff further finds that these 63 protests of KCEC’s proposed residential rate are in substantial compliance with the remaining requirements of Commission Rule 17.9.540.11 NMAC where necessary.

Staff therefore concludes that there are at least 63 clear and valid protests of the proposed residential rate in KCEC’s Advice Notice No. 60 which were timely filed with the Commission.

COMPLETENESS OF KCEC’S APPLICATION

In compliance with Commission Rule 17.9.540.13 A NMAC, KCEC provided timely written notice to affected customers 30 days prior to filing of proposed rates with the Commission.
Based on Staff’s review, the said notice appears to be in compliance with Commission Rule 17.9.540.13 B NMAC.
In compliance with Commission Rule 17.9.540.13 C NMAC, Staff did have the opportunity to review KCEC’s proposed notice at least 15 days prior to giving notice to customers. Staff then concurred that the proposed notice appeared to be compliant with the Rule.

Based on Staff s review of Advice Notice No. 60, KCEC’s filing is compliant with Commission Rule 17.9.540.9 B NMAC as it includes:nThe coop’s most recent REA Form 7

A proof of revenue statement for each class of customers to which the new rates apply

A statement comparing the new rates with the present rates, which statement shall contain the information required in Paragraph 3 of Subsection B of 17.9.540.13 NMAC.

A brief statement explaining what has caused the need for the rate adjustment.

With respect to Section 62-8-7(B) NMSA 1978 and to Commission Rules addressed above concerning the procedures for review of rates proposed by rural electric cooperatives, Staff finds that KCEC’s Advice Notice No. 60 constitutes a complete application.

STAFF CONCLUSION AND DETERMINATION

Staff finds no grounds for rejection of KCEC’s Advice Notice No. 60 pursuant to Commission Rule No. 17.9.540.9 D NMAC.
Staff finds that there are at least 63 timely filed, valid protests of the residential rate proposed in KCEC’s Advice Notice No. 60.

Staff recommends that, pursuant to Commission Rule 17.9.540.9 C NMAC, KCEC complement its filing of Advice Notice No. 60 with the filing of data, exhibits, illustrations, prepared testimony, or written argument which is pertinent to the schedule proposing new rates.

BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION

IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING OF PROPOSED NEW RATES BY KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.

KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.,

Applicant.

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AFFIDAVIT OF ANTHONY R. SISNEROS

STATE OF NEW MEXICO)
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COUNTY OF SANTA FE )

I, ANTHONY R. SISNEROS, do hereby swear, depose and state as follows:

I hereby attest that I have read the foregoing Staff Determination, and the statements contained therein are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and information.

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BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION

IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING OF PROPOSED NEW RATES BY KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.

KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.,

Applicant.

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) Case No. 15-00375-UT
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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

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I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing Staff ro

Determination issued on December 29, 2015, was send as indicated below, to the following individuals:
Via Email:

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Charles V. Garcia Cydney Beadles John Reynolds Richard Blumenfeld Valerie Espinoza Sandy Jones
Lynda Lovejoy Patrick H. Lyons Karen L. Montoya

cgarcia@cuddymccarthy.com; Cydney.beadles@state .nm.us; John.reynolds@state.nm.us; Richard.blumenfeld@state.nm.us; Valerie.espinoza@state,nm.us; Sandy.jones@state.nm.us; Lynda.lovejoy@state.mn. us; Patrick.lyons@state.mn. us; KarenL.montoya@state.nm.us;

DATED this 29th day of December, 2015.

NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION

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