El Norte’s “Forbidden News”

By: Bill Whaley
14 April, 2018

Since the primary season began, I’ve received a few phone calls and thought I’d share my ideas and impressions aka “data points” with my dear readers. Still, one must ask oneself why the excellent local “snooze” experiments with soft features aimed at “lifestyle” or “consumerism” but has eliminated hard or soft news from its pages except for the obituaries. Can’t Chris and the Gang find some Viagra?

Two weeks ago, a front-page story about “Strong at Heart” featured inches of print but nothing about issues or facts other than somebody was quoted as saying that Taos should be made safe for children. The rest of the story was constituted by meaningless phrases and no facts. Similarly, this week the “Snooze” featured a story about Angel Fire citizens who complain about KCEC’s high electricity rates, yet no facts were mentioned. Where was the info re: comparing specific meter readings, pass-through fuel charges, analysis of metered charges, this year and last, or  KCEC expenses, budgets, policies. What facts? The snooze has out-done Fox and Friends’ notion of “fake news” by creating “non news.”

Typically, the “Snooze” relies on letters from readers to voice opinions about illegal appointments at Town Hall or the vacuous doings of Strong at Heart. See an announcement about “Arbor Day” but no story about the ill-fated Blue Spruce Tree, a gift from Taos Pueblo, now dead due to negligence by the Town Manager, who put his “roadie” in charge of renovating the Plaza. You get what you vote for in Taos: The Don Fernando is not open and the proposed three-story hotel project has yet to see a shovel full of dirt turned. Where’s Mr. Shovel?

A publicity photo in the Snooze this week for the “Aqua es Vida” brigade of acequia parciantes diverts attention from the Abeyta agreement, the elephant in the room, call it a “locked compuerta” and “the ultimate point of “diversion.” While water is “shop lifted” and ditch minders have been transformed, against their will, into the objects of holy error by bureaucrats, the secret signatories or “sinners” masquerade as “saints.” While some make make deals with downstream munis to lease water rights, the parched ground in Taos calls out from “Mother Earth” to “Mother Mary” but the holy tears have dried up.

Meanwhile, in Taos County there are numerous candidates of a strange, loathsome, and wondrous nature who are running for local office but nobody knows anything or has asked or wants to know except the Shadow. The Shadow knows why two political heavyweights (Betty and Ernie) have squared off in the Magistrates Court race and wonders how Mr. Failed Candidate expects to challenge Taos’s favorite, Jeff the “marrying” Judge Shannon. Similarly, the TCSO is mired in mini scandals, wherein at least three deputies are being charged and investigated, while Sheriff Holgrefe amuses himself on Facebook by posting gun-toting remarks that insult the Parkland students. As a protege of a former judge and infamous bail bondsman, I guess we know where Holgrefe stands.

Taos needs a new sheriff and several new deputies as well as an animal control officer, who isn’t intimidated by pit bulls bred for violence in various and sundry drug dens throughout the County.

Nobody’s talking in public but “El Mitote” and the Shadow know.

Just as the Gringos have taken over administration of the Town of Taos and the Judicial system, more or less, so extant Angloism at the Eighth Judicial Courts is coming to fruition under senior Judge Jeff McElroy, whose “enforcer” has forced  into “retirement” several Hispanic employees, who are being replaced by…yep, Anglos. Judge McElroy is, allegedly conducting a “retreat” for fellow judges at an Angel Fire luxury pad and will, perhaps, discuss the personnel policies enacted by his new hench-woman. Call the latter scuttlebutt overheard at the “Complex.”

The last thing anyone in Taos wants to discuss in Taos is bigotry and class or social engineering re: native Hispanic flight. Even as Barrone, Bellis, Hahn, and Evans at Town Hall capitalize on Brown flight to re-engineer the Historic Plaza, you can see how successful they are by the unprecedented number of empty storefronts. Even George Cook has closed the former La Cocina/Cowboy shops. The anti-blue haired Bellis, whose pro-craft beer policies can be seen in his own pot-belly pursuit of the hops, “elevates” the community for a new or imagined class of tourists and second homers who might buy houses for sale in Weimar or Turley Mills or flood into the Tarleton’s proposed if Quixotic 500-unit subdivision out in Upper Las Colonias. Sadly, the million dollar home owners up in Turley Mill may have to wait and wait and wait in Casablanca.

Today, the prevailing ethos at the town and the courts reminds me of my arrival in Taos back in 1966 when the Taos Country Club (Quail Ridge Inn today) posted its sign: “Members Only, Tourists Welcome.” (I kid you not.) By the way I have nothing against Anglos: my sister married one as did I. My granddaughter, too, is an Anglo as is my son.

The Triumph of Chris Baker at the Snooze is symbolic of today’s slippery slope bottom-feeding local journalism. Too, I remember when Robin (owner) and Billie (editor) were feisty twenty somethings in Taos, writing up the news with a scattershot sense of humor. But don’t cry for us, cry for them, mis amigos. Call it the “Advertiser” but don’t call it a newspaper.

Twenty years ago, in 1998, the current editor worked at the Snooze as a reporter, participating in the organization that refused to print her follow-up stories about major news events: the Kachina Casino and ensuing Taos County, Democratic Party, El Skitte scandals. Hence Horse Fly filled a vacuum, a vacuum that exists, again, today. As Marx said, history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Though I love the windmills in Taos, I respect edicts of the Sacred Mountain more: I am not willing to play Don Quixote in this farce again.

Today President Trump’s tweets and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook gossip have replaced “fact-based reporting” with “fake news,” all chained to American identity now commodified as consumerism. The Snooze, which prints “feel-good” versions of reality, the so-called “Manby” version of Pavel Lukes’ twisted take on the home and real estate guide vision of Taos, ignores the “ghostly” customers of Don Fernando and the divisive doings that doom the non-existent three-story Hotel.

Due to a lack of moisture, today our local community leaders are spitting in the wind. As the man said, “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” But who are our brothers and sisters and why do they spit in their own eyes? In Taos, we only know one thing: bad karma will out! I am glad we have a secret ballot. Buenas suerte.

And that’s the way it is mis amigos.

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