Taos 2016: Lumps of Coal and Candy Canes

By: Bill Whaley
31 December, 2016



Lumps of Coal: The lamp of democracy appears to be flickering as eighty years of New Deal progress in economic and social justice are being foreclosed upon by the politics of greed, grievance, and government as the enemy of the people.

Candy Canes: The Bernie Sanders movement and brigade of millennials indicate a brighter future for democracy if they can beat worldwide die off of the human race due to climate change.


Lumps of Coal: The cruelest body of elected representatives i.e. the Coop Trustees are raising members’ rates to pay for the shameful excesses of non-electric ventures, the Travel fund (San Diego in the new year), the CEO’s super salary and three-weeks of paid vacation. The Trustees award themselves kudos for the “mismanagement” of the Coop since the turn of the century.

Candy Canes: One Trustee, Virgil Martinez, at the Coop voted against the rate increase, so the other trustees, in gangster style, “beat the shit out of him.”

Town Government

Lumps of Coal: The mayor’s =Xmas light and barbecue show indicates why he refused to protest against the Coop rate increase. The sins of omission mean Barrone has betrayed the trust vested in him by local residents and business owners. Look at the lights and remember how Barrone sold you down the river: your rates went up and he sends bonus checks each Christmas season to the Coop.

Candy Canes: Whether you agree with publicly funded concerts or not, the Town of Taos investment and the complementary stimulation of the local music scene deserves recognition. The 1970s groupie at Town Hall has got the look to prove his cred.

And the Town raised GRT taxes.

County Government

Lumps of Coal: The County operates a non-compliant jail facility where a man died due to negligence. Commissioners stood behind the town and refused to oppose the Coop rate increase on behalf of taxpayers i.e. all members, residents and business owners in the community. The Commissioners know from experience that CEO Reyes never met a lie he couldn’t embrace.

Candy Canes: County government functions more or less without scandal. They managed to help complete the John Suazo sculpture project for the courtyard in the “Complex.”

(The Commissioners also raised taxes and encouraged others like Holy Cross Hospital and El Prado Water and Sanitation to raise taxes. Now they want residents to raise them again for E911.)


Lumps of Coal: Bacon’s TSV at $98 for a lift ticket and a Bud for $8 or $10 bucks means this ain’t Ernie or Jean’s happy home anymore. In a Billionaire’s world, there’s no place for average Taosenos. It’s all about the “carriage trade.”

Candy Canes: The institution of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Taos Ski Valley rehab represent substantial contributions to the recreational tourism and acknowledgment of natural resources. We take some solace in the Bacon trickle-down. BTW: we hear Bacon’s bill for one electric meter doubled from 19 Gs to 40 Gs. TSV recently convened a bevy of electrical engineers to consider generating their own power.


Lumps of Coal: The voices of the people, thanks to the democratic party, the media,  The Taos News at home, have all grown silent as they worship the Big Bucks. Though licensed to serve by The First Amendment,  The Taos News, under the new editor, has completely shifted its allegiance to the worship of Big Bucks under the “Commerce Clause.”

Candy Canes: The Activists, who raised money and intervened at Standing Rock, deserve special mention, as do the mini member-protesters, who fought back against the KCEC behemoth. Bernie’s local people and anonymous others deserve a sweet. The Sign Man continues apace terrifying Texans for Trump.

Spirit and Soul

Lumps of Coal: This Grinch, we hear, cancelled Christmas at his Church while la gente slowly trickled in and filled up Our Lady of Guadalupe for prayers on Christmas Day. This Mayor and Manager promote “materialism” and “clutter” and discount the idea that old-fashioned “cleanliness is next to godliness” even for tourists. The Town is attempting to replace the sacred view of the “night-skies” with Walmart lights while Plaza farolitos flicker and the culture flutters into the past.

Candy Canes: Taos continues to nourish spiritual seekers in multicultural ways from yoga to hiking, from art to the cultural traditions of Taos Pueblo, to nostalgia for the disappearing Hispanic villages (MIA in the Town of Taos), or as seen in the culture of the current and historic Black Sheep Anglos. Guides carefully lead their acolytes into the Rio Grande Gorge or up into the mountains, or across deserts and into staring contests with Bighorn Sheep or the stare into the abyss from the Bridge.

Call it, the “All” and know that the “All” is all so close in Taos. Beauty doesn’t cost a dime in Sublime Taos.

A Personal Note

Lumps of Coal: I give myself a lump of coal for being representative of what you might call the Anglo invasion—artists, hippies, second-homers, ego-thugs and adrenalin junkies—which has led to the current “white-washing” of the culture under the Anglo Ascendancy of elected officials. They “know not what they do” and they can neither see nor hear but they are transforming the community, like Trump is transforming the US of A.

Candy Canes: Quite frankly I thrive whenever I get thrown into the briar patch that is Taos. A Horse Fly copy editor once said, “You think everything’s a street fight.” Whether in a bar or at a public meeting or on the street, I am always en garde and reach quickly for the weapon “ready at hand.” Between Donald Trump and the Kit Carson Electric Coop, Taosenos are faced with two malicious opponents. As the Outlaws at the end of the Wild Bunch say, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

We Taosenos may not win over the evils of our vecinos and primos and El Presidente but we’ll have a good time.

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