Chicano Chamber Endorses: Fernandez, Cantu, and Maestas

By: Bill Whaley
21 February, 2018

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless [politico]”—Shakespeare

Full Disclosure: The Chicano Chamber no longer holds “official” meetings, due to a lack of quorum. So the internecine power struggle between the “Cordova” faction and “Sanchez” faction to take over the organization has failed to gain traction. Now the members merely ask and act on the rhetorical question: “What would Juma do?” (1942-2013).

The Chicano Chamber, formed on the basis of “Confianza,” incorporates community customs or reciprocity among residents, wherein relationships are honored by extending especially favorable treatment to locals, kinship groups, and kindred spirits. In the vernacular it means do, not as los “vendidos” do, but do as los “vecinos” do. (Contrary to popular belief a “newcomer” like a “native newcomer” can join the fray as long as he or she does what Taosenos do. Some have the gift, while others learn nothing despite living in Taos a lifetime.)

In 2014 the Chicano Chamber members marched at the entrada to La Plaza each Saturday and electioneered with signs in favor of Barrone, Hahn, and Cantu during the Muni contest. The previous administration drew community protests because of their well-publicized movidas regarding the annexation of the highway through El Prado to the airport, while dancing to the tune of puppet master KCEC CEO Luis Reyes during the infamous Command Center/E911 debacle.

The Mayor and some members of the council “sold-out” to Luis and joined him in picking the public’s pocket. Chamber members believed then that Hahn, Barrone, and Cantu possessed enough “integrity” to stand up to the temptations of public office. As it turned out, only Cantu possessed the strength of character to endure the temptations of hombre economico.

Barrone and Hahn capitulated to their own in-house Rasputin-Reyes, one Rick Bellis, “who is not from here,” either by birth or spirit. The Janus-faced duo quickly turned the tables on their supporters in the Chicano Chamber.

Instead of “honest government” the citizens were subjected to a $50,000 pay-off and cover up” of procurement code violators and a failed attempt to sell out to a Smith’s Big Box store behind closed doors. Similarly the Janus-faced duo “granted” some $500,000 in taxpayer funds to the Lukes-Batra-Bellis triumvirate for the attempted renovation of the Don Fernando Hotel. Now the state has redlined the Fernando fiasco because Developer Batra has stonewalled local vendors.

In addition the Hahn-Barrone duo turned on the community (See Bob Silver’s columns about the “tapes”) and contributed to community divisiveness by not only “covering up the four-story “Bellis email scandals” but by treating los vecinos, newcomers and natives alike with contempt at public hearings during the four-story hotel saga.

At least KCEC CEO Reyes knows how to “appear” pleasant unlike the “stranger” at Town Hall. When Luis shuffles the deck and plays fast and loose with the balance sheet, the loose coins, for the most part, remain in the pockets of Los Vecinos’ (except for $37 million to Guzman-Tri-State and the trustee travel fund).

So Barrone, Bellis, and Hahn bow to mammon in the person of Batra (or make donations to their favorite out-of-town rockers). While the Duo donates dough to the outsider, Batra hustles communities hither and yon all over the Midwest.

What about other local grocery stores and hotels? Are they chopped liver? Why did Hahn vote against Cid’s Cellar?

Historically, in Taos, local politicos and private contractors hustle the outsider and keep the dough: not the reverse. “Keep your enemies in Taos close but your friends closer.” Your friends are the ones who will break your balls. (See Reyes and the Trustees at the Coop as well as Barrone and Hahn.)

We residents want an atmosphere of “trust and transparency” while we try to keep Luis from swallowing up the Town’s reserves (See candidates Gonzales and Santistevan i.e. déjà vu).  The Man is on a Mission from Trumpville. The Barrone-Bellis-Hahn triumvirate have already contributed to the Coop’s bottom line: see Xmas lights, a $250,000 spike in electricity charges at the town, and the transformation of free energy from the sun into commodified coop income at the solar array near the waste water treatment plant.

Apparently, Barrone, Bellis, and Hahn are vying with the Coop for a coup de grace or maybe a merger aimed at top-down control.

We don’t need rubes running the Town. We need some wily, energetic, and younger well-educated locals. Due to the same issues, which get discussed ad nauseam every four years, not much will change with the election of Darien as mayor, Judi and Pascual as councilors. But the Trio might restore civility and “Confianza” so that we can discuss the issues and El Mitote with Los Vecinos. Give Judi, especially, some credit for enduring the onslaught of sexism, fighting public censure, and “growing in office.”

The loss of Muni Civility is not worth the price of Rick Bellis’s persona.  Besides it hasn’t snowed and, despite Hahn’s apologia and photo with shovel in hand, the Abeyta/Taos Pueblo Water Settlement Implementation talks “remain closed to the public.” The acequias  and the MDWAs are under siege due to nature and the culture of parasitical attorneys as well as “blind-eyed” councilors.

So there you have it. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. The good old boys want “top-down” government: the Town’s Bellis, Barrone, Hahn, Taos Pueblo’s Gilbert Suazo and Nelson Cordova, the Coop’s Luis Reyes.  (Why we hear Gov. Gilbert Suazo at Taos Pueblo even “shut down” the Red Willow Farmer’s Market…eh?)

I say vote against “Trumpism” in Taos!

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