Taos Coop,Town, Letter Writers

By: Bill Whaley
27 February, 2017


Gotta CDL? or an Interlock ?

Seven (7) Kit Carson Electric Cooperative employees in three trucks were busted in Ojo Caliente for “drinking beer on the job,” according to Flavio. The bust is seen as a boon for Martinez Tracking and a boost for stockholders of “New Mexico (Ignition) Interlock Devices, Inc. Flavio, apparently, was called in by state police to pick-up beer cans strewn around the cabs of Coop vehicles.

Off-the-record, Employees said they wanted to have some fun at home since they weren’t invited to San Diego by Luis and the Trustees. Insiders speculate that employees may have purchased the booze from associates of Art Rodarte, longtime trustee representing the Ojo Caliente district at Oliver’s store in Ojo.  According to Flavio, the state police are investigating.

In other Coop news Friction hears the upcoming trial of Trustees Virgil Martinez and Chris Duran in a public affray incident has been set for early May during Coop elections this spring.

Incumbent candidates expected to run for office, include El General David Torres, reared in Arroyo Seco, and Manuel Medina, a sand and gravel man from Canon. Both will be questioned about the recent rate increase, largely attributed to the Coop’s miserable record on “diversification.” We don’t know what they’ll say when asked why the Coop allegedly cheated its members with an “inadvertent” billing scheme.

Town of Taos

At the Town of Taos, Rumor walks among us. There could be a hot mayoral contest between incumbent Dan Barrone and unconfirmed candidate Steve Archuleta, a former County Manager. Council Woman Judi Cantu got a boost in the polls from the Barrone-Bellis-Hahn slogan: “sit down and shut up.” Like Elizabeth Warren Judi persists despite being censured as a “pest.”

Pascualito Maestas, a schoolteacher, is seen as a potential Council candidate competing for Councilor Fritz Hahn’s seat. Hahn is as famous for having turned on his principles, going from anti-corporate to pro-corporate, as he is for betraying advocates of honest government.

The current council has played favorites among the hospitality industry and saddled the community with a “four story hotel,” which destroys the beauty of the view-shed and serves as a further assault on the historic culture. When the Holiday Inn Express opens, look for more empty motels on the strip. Similarly the Barrone/Hahn wing favored the “back-door” deal with Smith’s, which demonstrated a bias against the established stores: Super Save, Albertson’s, and Cid’s.

The Town, apparently incapable of “walking and chewing gum at the same time,” has marketed its “concert” agenda and boosted business for restaurants and bars, but neglected the main-street and historic retail district: see an increasing number of empty storefronts.

In the unkindest cut of all, the Town has ignored KCEC’s rate increase, announced in 2015 (a trade-0ff for Christmas Tree lights?) and did nothing to defend the commercial and private sector or town taxpayers against the pirates on Cruz Alta St.

When it comes to the procurement code and restrictions that forbid closing the Plaza, except during Fiesta, the Town ignores its own ordinances. Similarly, the Mayor himself ignores statutes, requiring him to be a resident and live inside the Town of Taos town limits.

Letters the Taos News Printed and Refused to Print

The Taos News is another irresponsible community actor: the editor and publisher “pick” on Judi but ignore the swindlers at KCEC.

Meanwhile the “snooze” publishes letters and feel good stories about the “alleged” community, including photos of utopians who would harness the sun to the Coop’s crooked grid and actually believe Luis believes in “renewable energy” (not under his political control).

But I got a real kick out of Dr. Ed’s (Kollar) note excerpted below from The Taos News.

To Wit: “We left a charming home and lifestyle to be part of the Taos culture. Something holds us here, yet there is something missing. We prefer small towns, but Taos lacks a sense of community. And the self-centered lives of many Taos residents leave an air of indifference.

“Taos is one-of-a-kind. No other town in the USA greets outsiders and tourists with a barrage of signs showing hatred and bias toward others. Will this negative welcome display attract future residents to Taos, and the return of our first-time tourists?

“Think about it, Taoseños. We are all in this together.”

Editor’s Note: I would remind Dr. Ed what the Sage of Concord from New England said in his famous essay on “Self-Reliance” : “The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.” Emerson praises “aversive thinking,” not conformity. Taosenos think against the grain.

The “history of violence,” both ancient and modern, prevails in Taos. Here a local park is named in honor of Kit Carson, and commemorates  a hero and a devil; a special monument marks the grave (?) of serial killer cum developer, Mr. Manby. And so the bonds of community are forged in the cauldron of controversy.

Contrary to the Godfather’s advice, you must keep your enemies close but your friends closer in Taos. As a famous fictional wife told her husband, “You can’t have loyalty without betrayal.” In a bar fight, you learn how to make friends.

Here’s a letter from Lynn Fitzgerald The Taos News refused to print:

February 16, 2017


I was shocked and appalled to hear about the Censorship Resolution passed against Council Member Judi Cantu. It is time for the Town of Taos to rescind this resolution and apologize to her for this harsh and quickly-passed action. If the notification had been more timely the Council Chambers would have been filled with supporters for Council Member Cantu. Instead, notification of this Special Council Meeting was advertised the Friday before the Monday 9 am meeting. There was no time for the public to be informed. Council Member Cantu was basically “ambushed” and all this is very objectionable.

Council Member Cantu is one of the few members of the Council who has tried to stand up for issues that are important to this community. Some of these issues are listed below:

• She supported limits on building heights – which has been respected by every Council since the inception of this Township. She also tried to try recommend a compromise with a 3 story height allowance – to no avail.

• She has tried to gain more accessibility for local contractors to acquire Town Improvement projects and to insure Contractor accountability for those awarded Town Improvement projects.

• Council member Cantu has been a staunch advocate for Town Merchants on issues important for their financial livelihood: for example trying to minimize closures of the Taos Plaza to vehicular traffic.

• Most importantly she has tried to educate the Community on the importance of preserving the rich culture and history of Taos, New Mexico. This effort has been continually misunderstood and ridiculed.

• She has worked for government transparency on many levels and has been chastised and harassed for this.

Council Member Judi Cantu was elected by the Citizens of Taos and the issues she sees as important should be respected. The material she requests from Town staff should be made available to her every time under the Public Records Act. It might be in the best interest for the rest of the Council Members to participate more heartily in some of these particular concerns instead of rubber stamping everything that is put in front of them. Government is supposed to represent the people of the Community and not to operate as an island of authority. I suggest the Town of Taos reconsider this Censorship Resolution against Council Member Cantu. It is time to try to mend fences and to work toward respect, consensus and collaboration with all Council Members. A tone of inequality and disrespect toward this one Council Member has always been evident to the public and it must stop.

Lynn FitzGerald,
Ranchos de Taos

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