Taos Election Friction Acceleration

By: Bill Whaley
15 February, 2018

Mayoral Candidates “Outsourced”

Wise Man Quashes Case Against Sign Man

KCEC CEO Attempts Friendly Takeover of Town

In the current political maelstrom, produced by the Town’s wannabe rocker, Manager Rick Bellis, “custom” (deconstruction or reinterpretation of the law) comes under fire from the courts as Act III opens in the “divisive drama” of the Barrone Administration. An outsourced Mayor, Dan Barrone, and his sidekick, Fritz “The Hammer” Hahn, are under siege by a scorned woman.

When the “Hammer” busted Councilor Cantu’s attempt to fire Bellis and prevented her from serving as Mayor Pro-Tem, Friction was reminded of El Fambro, who similarly quashed Commissioner Candyce’s turn to preside at the County. Hahn knows as little about women as he does the Abeyta agreement, which is being discussed behind closed doors in Santa Fe today—outside the purview of the public.

In (Act I) Bellis and Barrone danced cheek to cheek with the Smith’s/Couse developer. Act II revealed Bellis as the intimate agent urging out-of-town developer Batra with hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate the “Don” Fernando, while encouraging the construction of the four-story hotel, meant to blot out the view-shed. Now in Act III Bellis is trying to elect his outsourced candidate for Mayor, the Wood Chopper, Pig Roaster, and Christmas tree lighter, the long-time County Commissioner and lumberjack, aka Mr. Work Gloves.

Bellis manages the Town while Della manages Dan, so the Mayor is free to manage Olguin’s Sawmill and visit the surrounding states with his wood product. Meanwhile Barrone mainly appears in public at council meetings or for photo ops when he’s not campaigning for votes or the sale of wood products.

Now comes Judi, a woman scorned and sanctioned by the chauvinists, who has filed a document with district courts, asking for a clarification of “residency.” Where does the transient candidate abide: on Diego’s couch or in his bride’s bed?

Similarly Barrone’s opposition and competitor, Darien Fernandez, has been declared “a persona non grata” or homeless on Montoya St. In an affidavit filed with the court Darien’s Auntie says he doesn’t live there (Montoya St.) anymore. BTW: Commissioner Mark Gallegos, Mayor of Questa, represents the Questa-area commission district but allegedly lives in Llano Quemado, some 25 miles south.

Prior to the Barrone transiency, Father Fred Peralta ran for Mayor while living on Blueberry Hill though he placed a cot in the rear of the Lilac Shoppe. Mayor Darren Cordova allegedly lived in Llano Quemado though activist Fritz Hahn claimed he once inspected the Mayor’s and his wife’s “toiletries” and “underwear drawer” in the boudoir above the DMC Broadcasting on Merced St. adjacent to the Walmart. So custom tends to prevail.

As the president of the Chicano Chamber, said, “Every Man in this village is a liar.” Judi said she wants the truth but the truth is too much for Taosenos. We Pendejos would rather laugh than cry.

The Snake in the Light bulb

Behind the scenes at forums, the Barrone-Hahn nemesis, KCEC Luis Reyes, is back like Freddie the 14th. Reyes’s machinations, surrounding the E911/Command Center scandal four years ago, a barely disguised “quid-pro-quo” scheme, contributed to his buddy Darren Cordova’s loss to the Barrone-Hahn-Cantu team. Unfortunately the subsequent victory by Barrone unleashed the maddened rocker on the community. Nobody (who knows) likes Bellis. Strange “bedfellows” are turning up in this race, where everybody is out to play the pederast.

Luis is running two candidates in the race for Council, Andrew Gonzales and Michael Santistevan. Call it a quiet coup or putsch but the energizer bunny wants to “manage” the Town even as he has “mismanaged” the Coop. The Reyes record speaks to saddling the Coop with debt and the members with rising electricity charges. Diversification bleeds the balance sheet like Barrone’s pig bleeds at Christmas.

Thanks to injections of dough from the endless Rural Utility (RUS) spigot, the borrow and spend trustees continue to travel at KCEC. Barrone fed the Coop coffers by plugging in his Walmart Lights at Christmas and refused to protest against rising electricity rates, which cost local government and commercial businesses a ton of money. Greed and Power motivate a political boss. And make no mistake, Luis is an aspiring Patron.

As my friend Marc Campbell used to say, “Taosenos have been eating shit for so long they’ve developed a taste for it. The rats are fighting over the spoils. Let’s have another taste.

The Wise Man

At Muni Court yesterday, the honorable Eugene A. (Big Geno) Sanchez presided over the case of Town of Taos v. Jeff (The Sign Man) Northrup. The town targeted the Sign Man for four counts of violating the sign ordinance, going back to July of 2017, and one count of criminal trespass on the Couse vacant lot, adjacent to McDonalds, where a plethora of vendors, trucks, and the sign man park. The judge noted that only one trespasser had ever been charged with trespass i.e. the Sign Man. Call it “selective prosecution.” Former Councilmen, A. Eugene (Clean Gene) Sanchez sat in the court, his hand stuffed in a pocket full of cash, if, indeed, the Sign Man needed bail money.

Here’s what we learned. In general the Cops have a good relationship with the Sign Man and claimed he cooperated when asked to remove his signs. In fact they never “cited” him for sign code violations because, as Chief Trujillo and Lt. Maggio pointed out, they have citation books for criminal doings and misdemeanor offenses. But the Planning and Zoning enforcement officers administer citations from a separate book for sign code violations.

The Town resorted to the legerdemain of “criminal summons” in an attempt to rein in Taos’s famous protester, though the Cops did ask Jeff to come in and sign for the criminal trespass complaint, a sort of legitimate citation, arbitrary and capricious as it was.

If you follow the chain of command, the power to cite violators rests with, yes, Bellis, the indefatigable bender of the code and Planning Department boss. (See the appearance of all the new and narrowly drawn parking slots on Quesnel in service to the Tap Room or the giant “out-of-proportion” house on Robert’s Road, truly an abomination in the neighborhood of small and architecturally significant adobe style homes. The man is a menace to the community and the historic district as well as the “First Amendment.” Critics claim Bellis wants to make the Town safe for Red-State tourists who idolize El Trump, a frequent target of the sign man’s polemics.

Meanwhile, the Town’s kindly if transient attorney, Steve Ross, spoke of the town’s right to regulate signs for the sake of “safety” and “aesthetics,” despite the lack of traffic incidents adjacent to the Sign Man’s protest signs or the burgeoning clutter of signs along the Paseo, north and south. Ross argued the law but the arbitrary and capricious enforcement targeted the singular efforts of the Sign Man.

Nobody knows, though many “imagine” where the state and federal highway rightaways begin and end, a bone of contention. Everybody sells everything up and down the state and federal highway, loosely advertised with signs from cars to Rocky Ford melons and more. Nobody knows why the cops are sent out to enforce planning department regs or why Northrup was and was not given notice in various cases, except for the Couse case. Indeed, the Town did not provide the defendant with “discovery” in the Trespassing case, a secret letter among attorneys that was not given to Northrup. (Incompetence or conspiracy?) According to Northrup, a prior conversation with Ms. Couse amounted to permission until December when she herself wrote him a letter.

So the “Selective Prosecution” of the Sign Man stopped when the Wise Man at Muni Court ordered and otherwise sent the parties out to meet and “solve the problem.” If the parties, Northup and the Town, don’t come back in thirty days with a “plan,” Judge Sanchez said he would institute a plan himself to “solve the problem.”

P.S. One of my readers asked if the Town of Taos is approaching a “constitutional crisis” what with “residency” issues and the failure of the Town to distinguish between ethics and the law or “what’s what.” For sure I’m voting for Judi and Pascualito because they represent the “Forgotten People.” Newcomer candidates and forum organizers seem blissfully unaware of the Coop coup even as the issue of “residency” places voters in a bind. As my old friend Frank Concha of Taos Pueblo once told a group of B&Bers during the Casino Kachina controversy 20 years ago, “It’s your town, fight for it.” Buenas suerte mis amigos.

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