Separated at Birth: Councilor Hahn and Trustee Bresnahan?

By: Bill Whaley
3 March, 2017

The Selective Memory of a Town Councilor and a KCEC Trustee

According to The Taos News, “Hahn compared the opposition to four-story hotels to the fight against a big-box Walmart. “When we were fighting [that], we had no time, but we organized quickly and we were able to stall, deflect and eventually defeat the ordinance,” he said. Hahn also claimed that group of dissenters was able to gather 11,000 legitimate signatures.”

Town Councilor Fritz Hahn has taken it upon himself to attack the activists Lawrence Baker and her colleagues, who claim a four story hotel will have negative effects on the appeal of Taos’s unique culture, architecture and history. Baker et al represent town meeting attendees and more than 3000 signatories who would preserve and protect the community from cookie cutter corporate economics.

I don’t remember if there was a petition with 11,000 names presented to the council in 2003. The battle against the Walmart Superstore culminated when Mayor Duran cast the deciding vote against the monster. But, contrary to Hahn’s claims, the battle began in 1999 and was turned down once that summer, a second time later that fall, and a third time in the winter of 2003. The momentum in the community against the Super Store  had been building for a couple of years. Hahn apparently believes history begins with himself.

Then Hahn frequently spoke in front of the Town Council in favor of community groups and the “people.” Tired of Hahn’s repeated jeremiads, the Mayor once asked him, memorably, who these “people” were? The Council, led by Duran and native Town of Taos Councilors like Erlinda Gonzales and Meliton Struck, who voted against the Super store, represented their Taos vecinos with whom they grew up and frequently spoke to on a daily basis. Duran stated he would abide by the “survey” and voted to represent the will of the community

Recently, Hahn was elected by supporters, based on his former activism but he has flipped and gone corporate, supporting selective measures to enhance outside investments at the expense of the extant hospitality businesses or grocery stores. He and the other councilors, including the non-resident mayor, are engaged in socio-economic engineering on the Plaza.

Just as Bannon is Trump’s brain, so manager Bellis does the thinking for mayor and council.

Sadly, Baker and her activists are fighting the spread of corporate favoritism at a time when elected officials can take advantage of apathy, due to an aging native population, out-migration, and a change in demographics. We are watching an elegy on active local politics unfold.

Hahn’s breath-taking about-face is similar to Republicans in Congress. The former bookkeeper was, as I remember, a republican, too. Some of my favorite activists in Taos, Virgil Martinez, Jerome Lucero, and Arsenio Cordova, are republicans, too, but they aren’t turncoats.

Similarly, in a letter Bob Bresnahan, Kit Carson Co-op trustee, writes “It’s distressing to see shallow reporting in The Taos News on institutions that are as critical to our well-being as Holy Cross Hospital.” Bresnahan (his spouse works at HCH) was offended by Bill Baron’s cartoon “showing a patient being thrown out of a hospital bed after four days simply (which) misrepresents the truth,” a cartoon based on a change in policy at HCH.

(Course Baron represents the last of the real reporters at the award winning weekly just as the Sign Man on the street represents the last defender of the right to speak out in public. Love him or hate him, he does get the attention of our friends from the great Red State to the East.)

Bresnahan didn’t mention the recent “report” in The Taos News about KCEC’s “retroactive” over-billing, why the recent rate increase was necessary due to the Coop’s miasma of debt, the horrid $37 million deal with Guzman, the failed “diversification” program, and the hydra-headed Broadband disaster. During Bresnahan’s tenure at the Coop trustees have begun to settle disagreements with their fists.

Nor did Bob mention that seven KCEC employees were busted last week for drinking beer on the job out in the Ojo Caliente area. Bob didn’t mention the “report” because The Taos News keeps its readers close but its advertisers, like Bob and the Coop, closer. There was no report and Bob ain’t telling except for blaming the “interveners” for causing the Coop’s problems.

Bob reminds me of politico-sociologists, like Fritz Hahn above, wherein the “end justifies the means.” But you can’t save the planet with renewable energy by hitching your boat to a sinking ship or save the Town by showing favoritism to outside hotel developers and ignoring constituents as well as the historical culture that attracts visitors. I guess we should forgive them for they know not the damage they do. Or do they?

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