Town Elections: Who’s In, Who’s Out!

By: Bill Whaley
10 January, 2018

New and Familiar Names

Of course I’m disappointed in who didn’t file for Mayor, Council, or Municipal Judge. The candidates below, represent some “new” names, however, and may help revitalize the grass-roots element of community.

Three women are running for Town Council, a sign of the times. Among other achievements, incumbent Mayor Barrone, according to election documents, claims he lives with his son and daughter-in- law on Zia St though most of his friends, relatives, and fellow-church goers say he lives in Lower Las Colonias next to the sawmill.

Barrone’s challenger, incumbent Councilor and candidate for mayor Darien Fernandez may benefit from the field of eight council candidates, which should generate voter interest as he takes on the man, who feeds the populace and paves the streets. But Barrone is saddled with an Albatross, Manager Rick Bellis, who, in four years, has achieved record levels of unpopularity, a record that that took former Manager “Slick” Gus Cordova nineteen years.

The mayoral contest appears to be a referendum on Bellis and his high-handed “top-down” methods of managing the community and Town Hall, where I hear employee morale is particularly low.

Candidate Andrew Gonzales combines the legacy of the old guard in Taos and the new generation. He benefits from the Luis Reyes Coop machine, as well as the backing of supporters, who voted in the past for former Mayor Darren Cordova and Councilor Rudy Abeyta. Incumbent Councilors Hahn and Cantu present diametrically opposed visions of governance: corporatism v. grass roots. Pascualito Maestas represents a new generation of the millennial community, advocates of transparency and self-sustainability.

I’m looking forward to the news and/or El Mitote re: the candidates whose names seem unfamiliar. I shall miss the quixotic council candidate and representative of Manbyism, Pavel Lukes. I’m sorry the Sign Man didn’t file for Mayor or Municipal Judge. Recently, the Town constabulary confiscated a popular sign, advising folks to bring in their animals at night. The Manager and Mayor appear to be scapegoating sign-man Jeff Northrup, given the arbitrary and capricious enforcement of the sign code re: the increasing street “clutter.”

We should congratulate Municipal Judge Dickie Chavez, who is running for re-election unopposed and thankfully represents a certain familiarity.

Here’s a list of candidates sent out by the Town Clerk.

Mayor:
Daniel R. Barrone (incumbent)
Darien D. Fernandez

Councilmember:

Melanie D. Baca
Judith Y. Cantu (incumbent)
George ‘Fritz’ Hahn (incumbent)
Andrew T. Gonzales

Michael A. Santistevan
Sarah S. Lopez
Thomas E. McCarthy
Pascualito M. Maestas

Municipal Judge:
Richard G. Chavez

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