Springtime in Taos and Los Politicos
On Thursday, April 19, I attended the first half of the local bar association’s forum for judges in the 8th Judicial District at the Taos County Commission chambers. The SRO event featured, from stage right to stage left Ernestina Cruz and Sarah Backus, competing in one division; Floyd Lopez, Jeff McElroy, Andria Cooper, and Helen Lopez competing in the other. All were democrats except for Cooper, a republican, who will face the winner of the democratic primary in November.
Public events during the political season are remarkable for the friendliness of strangers, acquaintances–even old enemies beam with 100-watt smiles. Hope springs eternal. Forums tend to emphasize general qualifications regarding character and touch lightly on the issues. One must look at the record to predict future performance. Since all the candidates, including the incumbents, are new to the judiciary, it is difficult for voters to get a handle on who might become a reasonably wise man or woman once he or she dons the judicial robes.
According to anecdotal evidence—signs, public support, and name recognition, Sarah Backus and Floyd Lopez appear to have the most momentum in terms of energetic campaigns. But much can change in the next six weeks. A well-run campaign does not necessarily equate to job performance. But consider April 19th the real kick-off to the greater campaign. We expect all the races—magistrate, DA, county commission, and other county races to accelerate in terms of retail politics—door to door visits, meet and greet events, radio ads and more yard signs.
The more interesting election for Taosenos and Kit Carson Coop members kicks off on May 8th, when a number of candidates stand for election to the Board of Trustees at the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. In The Taos News on April 19, incumbent trustee Toby Martinez published what appears to be a quaint folk tale aimed at downplaying his betrayal of promises when he ran for the office four years ago.
Back then Mr. Toby Martinez promised supporters to bring fiscal order to KCEC and to punish alleged wrong-doers on the executive staff. Instead, he joined the gold rush, voting to raise executive salaries, electricity rates, and actively supported directly or indirectly the diversion of revenue from the electric side into travel, Propane, Internet, Broadband, Solar, and the infamous Command Center.
In contrast, incumbent trustee Luisa Mylet voted against higher executive salaries and rate increases. She has advised fellow trustees to act with prudence and patience. Coop activist and candidate Peter Adang offered his legal and utility expertise free of charge to the loyal opposition. He opposed rate increases and questioned the diversion of electric side revenue into ventures that have lost—historically—millions of dollars—all of which was confirmed at PRC hearings.
Members, who say the fiscal stability of KCEC is important, oppose the current board’s debt-driven policies—debt, which favors the few with contracts and special deals at the expense of the membership.In last week’s Taos News, the chair of the trustee nominating committee said KCEC did not need candidates who might cause trouble. Toby Martinez is certainly no troublemaker. He’s working hard on behalf of the trustees and the status quo. Members need trustees who will question authority.
A word to the culturally challenged: KCEC CEO Luis Reyes knows a geek will fall down and worship the potential rewards of Broadband or that a green energy enthusiast will similarly worship at the altar of the sun god solar installations. But the rest of us, who use electricity the old-fashioned way, pay KCEC for the privilege of your genuflecting. And by buying into the Coop’s public relations campaign, you, Mr. Geek and Ms. Green Energy, are encouraging the bandidos to pick our pockets.
Similarly, the natives, who get free wood and vote for the trustee of their choice, encourage the spread of corruption, the kind that is destroying the reputation of Mayor Darren Cordova’s administration at the Town of Taos. Broadband, Solar energy, and alleged concerns for public safety at the Command Center are virtual masks for bandidos. They smile in public while they pilfer from your purse.
And now the Town fines activists who protest corruption. Que Diablo! To trope on Barry Goldwater, “Extremism in the pursuit of vice is no virtue.” Vote for Mylet and Adang.
P.S. The aspiring judicial candidates talked about all their “civil rights” work at the forum. Here’s an example of one man’s forum being shut down! Hmmm.
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