Kit Carson Elections on Tuesday
The Beautify Taos Brigade has struck early and often during the current election campaign. Campaign signs are coming down as quickly as candidates can put them up. Signs have disappeared from state highways, county roads, town streets, and private property. The Town of Taos might take a hint from the vigilantes and start fixing sidewalks on the Plaza, send out memos to property owners, property in the historic districts that needs a cosmetic tune-up prior to the summer season.
A sign brouhaha on May 1 broke out between a private property owner and supporters of a candidate for district judge, who had been at a meet and greet at a local hospitality establishment. When the party people saw signs being taken down, according to Friction sources, they hurried out and threw down epithets, etc. Mayhem ensued. The area, until recently, had been kept under surveillance by the local sign man but the court banished the peaceful protester for excessive expression of free speech. Allegedly, a Taos Cop saw the seeds of discontent heat up to a boil at the bar but hid out back and washed his hands. We expect to see a story in The Taos News this week.
But the real local crisis concerns residents and the Kit Carson Coop, where trustees and the CEO have spent millions on travel and expansionist dreams. Vote in this year’s crucial election on Cruz Alta Street, Tuesday, May 8th. Like the voters in France and Greece, you can make a difference in the “members helping members” program. Save this northern New Mexico Institution from the foxes–the trustees–in the henhouse.
Trustee Toby Martinez has put a chicken in every trustee’s pot and trustee Francis Cordova’s family is trying to undermine the town’s zoning regulations, due to a contract for renting space to utility vehicles. Toby and Francis learned their lessons from longtime trustees Manuel Medina, Ambrose Mascarenas, and Art Rodarte.
In the Penasco Valley, supporters of trustee Chris Duran and trustee Ambrose Mascarenas get free tree trimming and winter woodpiles, courtesy of the Coop. Over in Ojo Caliente, Art Rodarte collects Coop wood and has turned his bank account into a goldmine as the multi-year representative to Tri-State—on a $400 a day per diem plus food, drink, and tickets for ballgames. In Angel Fire, Jerry Smith and Bruce Jassman reward themselves and their buddies in Taos with lucrative per diem pay and travel benefits by rubber-stamping the CEO’s projects. Meanwhile, Pres. Bobby Ortega of the Questa political familia, keeps an eye on the Coop doings for the founder of a local bank.
The Broadband project and Command Center fiasco are undermining the local economy by introducing wildcatting among competing contractors. A longtime local contractor told this reporter Taosenos have gone into debt to buy equipment—tractors, etc. But they haven’t received Broadband promised contracts yet. So, to make their payments, they are low-balling specialists and doing low-quality work for homeowners, while undermining stable businesses in the excavation, building, and the landscaping sector.
The Coop has backed local businessmen–the Mayor and town counselors–into a corner, while bartering contracts for votes in order to secure a bailout for the Command Center fiasco. The fiasco will cost taxpayers in the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional expenses.
To pay back estimated loans of $80 million at the local Coop, employees say the electricity rates will be raised again next year. According to insiders, the Coop’s G&T provider, Tri-State, also plans to raise rates. We members of the Coop must try and stop the wild spending before the Coop heads into insolvency.
Activists, union members, and the Chicano Chamber of Commerce all support Luisa Valerio Mylet and Peter Adang as progressive voices. Like Virgil Martinez of Cerro—Questa, Mylet at the board and Adang at the PRC have questioned and exposed management practices that threaten the very lifeblood of this historic organization. Vote for Mylet and Adang: Beautify the Coop.
See Jerome Lucero’s fine letter below.
This coming Tuesday is the most important election in the Kit Carson’s recent history. It’s an opportunity to take back of the institution, which was formed to provide low cost electric service to its members. This organization was not designed to be the community savior by providing duplicate propane, internet-broadband services. All of these services are provided by the free market. The propane business it has lost millions of dollars. Similarly, the broadband business will contribute red ink at the Coop.
The current band of trustees with the exception of Luisa Mylet and Virgil Martinez has failed to provide the necessary quality leadership that an organization like this demands.
There is no practical executive management at the Coop. The current CEO is always out of town when a crises occurs: a lineman gets severely hurt; or a line supervisor is forced to work 30 hours straight during a snow storm and gets in a vehicle accident hurting himself. Existing OSHA rules are in place for the safety of employees and the general public. They should be followed but in the case of this Coop there is no one at home managing the organization.
The membership of this electric coop should send a message to the chief executive and the chairman of the board and finally the sitting Trustees that enough is enough. We as a group must return Kit Carson Electric to its status as the good credible organization it once was. Once, Kit Carson sent experienced line personnel to South American Counties to help in their Electric power development. My dad was one of those linemen.
Please re-elect Miss Luisa Mylet an incumbent trustee and elect Peter Adang to the board. I have got to compliment Miss Mylet for her courage in standing up to the good old boy network. Having worked with Peter on last year’s Kit Carson rate case I know that he will not rubber-stamp the whims of Mr. Reyes.
Editor’s Note: Lucero is an activist, retired electrical engineer and Coop manager.