The Ides of March
Response to the Mayor’s Letter
“Bill, it appears that you and my detractors, because of your disagreement with my decision on the command center will desperately try to find something on me to criticize.” –Darren Cordova
Who is Cassius?
Certainly I agree with your letter, Mr. Mayor. Private personnel matters are yours to decide. And we applaud both your band and Mezcal for shining the spotlight on Norteno music here in Upstate New Mexico. A little friendly competition between bands stimulates the quality of the music and pleases the partisans.
Sure, despite the cost to the community–$500,000—for the abrupt exit of two executives at the town, not to mention the abrupt resignation of the police chief, who refers to the “toxic” environment he left behind and, though we hear from multiple sources that another department head is being forced out, those decisions are certainly yours. During the past two years you had assistance from the council in making muddled choices. But herding cats or councilors is not easy.
You are wrong to say we have not praised you for the accomplishments. We have applauded the shift in budget priorities to increase promotional funds for tourism and the construction of the Eco Park. The latter two items build in unique ways on an existing infrastructure and expand it. We have consistently sent you and the council Kudos for both.
We don’t care much about the petty issues of “conflict of interest,” not really. Special consideration for friends with private water connections or dirt work contracts for cuates are a part of any muni government. DMC’s advertising contract with the town precedes your mayoralty. In a way all this can be seen as the cost of doing democracy and elective politics: To the victor go the spoils.
But sometimes a Mayor or Councilor can go too far. A little corruption is ok, a lot not so good. You might remember a former Mayor, who led the charge to violate the procurement code re: the swimming pool. Two prior administrations conspired to make an absolute mess of the affordable housing complex. A former Mayor supported a downtown casino and the Big Box plans—until the council and a newly appointed Mayor stopped both in their tracks.
Given what the community knew about million dollar losses at the Coop in advance, which estimates were validated by the PRC hearings; given that the town’s E-911 employees oppose the move to the KCEC Command Center; given the absurd costs of fixing something that is not broken; given the lack of transparency and the bold political push, you must face up to the facts, Caesar.
Throughout the county voters and members believe CEO Luis Reyes and his banker buddies have given you an ultimatum: “Play ball or else.” Perception is 90% of political reality. If the new council can persuade one of your supporters to change votes, they will be the heroes of the community and we will have a new mayor or will it be an old mayor as new mayor—back to the future?
Now there’s a second push for a grand jury investigation of your administration. Each disappeared employee becomes a candidate to testify. Since none of your supporters will tell you the truth, you must rely on me and my “radical friends,” including the Socratic gadfly—Jeff. This is your Casino moment; your swimming pool moment; your Big Box decision.
The Command Center decision is how you will be remembered long after you win the next Hispano Music festival award. Fortunately, there are two worlds in tiny Taos: Politics and the Arts. Believe me, the arts are far more rewarding in the long run. Why muck up the public memory by making conspiracy with the Naughty Nine at the Coop?
The Command Center, pushed by Brutus and Cassius, comes at you during the Ides of March. Like Caesar said, “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.” And when you look back, you might say, like Caesar, “Et tu Brute?” (We won’t mention Caesar’s wife here, who appeared to be beyond reproach.)
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