Mylet & Adang Win Taos Coop Race
I told him to leave and come back later then he grabbed me by the throat and began to squeeze (Bold added)…Mr. Reyes kept calling me a rent-a-cop.”—Taos Police Department Report
The Kit Carson Coop (KCEC) reformers won big on Tuesday, May 8th, re-electing the popular Luisa Mylet and a new progressive trustee, Peter Adang, to the board. Mylet, the top vote getter, overcame opposition from her own board—ramrodded by trustee Francis Cordova—who campaigned against her. She has consistently questioned the Coop’s management, voted against salary increases for the CEO, and opposed unjustified rate increases. Due to male chauvinism, Luisa invited her father, Candido Valerio, to attend a recent board meeting. Candido speaks softly but carries the dignity of moral authority in his person. Apparently he reminded the boys of their manners.
The election of Peter Adang is a shock. He’s been attacked by CEO Luis Reyes (pictured above) in a reactionary newspaper column, peppered with ethnic innuendo. An experienced utility attorney, who retired to Taos and led the fight at last year’s Coop-PRC hearings, Adang will now have the opportunity (Like Charlie Wagner of Socorro) to start questioning the lack of oversight at the Coop.
For the last decade, the KCEC has engaged in a wild spending spree and crazy expansion program—going far beyond its historic REA mission. Among other reforms, Adang will argue for redistricting. The current board has been gerrymandered. One trustee from Taos represents 3000 members while a Penasco trustee represents only 800. The board is too large and costly—eleven trustees. The trustees generally rubber-stamp the CEO’s policies, which are seen as out of step with providing efficient electricity services.
Ten years ago, Reyes was (young?) man of the year. Now he is seen as a kind of pariah, who barters contracts and travel vouchers for support. Reformers say it will take two generations to turn this ship around, a ship in danger of capsizing–due to all the water it has taken on.
Here’s a list of vote-getters in order of finishing: Luisa Valerio-Mylet: 834; Peter Adang: 658; David Torres: 543;Toby Martinez (incumbent): 353; Jim Oakley: 287; Anselmo “Chemo” Valerio: 193. Among others who worked hard to elect Mylet and Adang during the last year are Linda Bence, David Rael, Jody Cisneros, Jerome Lucero, Link Summers, Andrew Chavez, a local haberdasher, and Peter’s steadfast spouse, Maria. The Coop employees and the Chicano Chamber of Commerce, including the constant gardener, Gene Sanchez, also supported the election of Mylet and Adang.
Literally, it takes a village to unseat and bypass the board’s chosen slate. Penasco voters will have a shot at breaking the Mascarenas political machine next week. They’ve already ousted La Mother Mary from the school board and supporters of Ernesto Gonzales are hoping to send her husband, El Ambrose, to the woodshed. Coop elections continue in Angel Fire and Ojo Caliente.
Reformers can’t expect too much too soon because they will not have a majority on the board until they can replace retro trustees from Taos like Francis Cordova and Manuel Medina next year. Still with Peter and Luisa on board, Taosenos might find out how the CEO is browbeating Mayor Darren Cordova and the town counsel into bailing out the Command Center. Does DMC Broadcasting owe the Coop a ton of money for electricity charges? We’re only asking but that’s what the employees say. The Mayor claims it’s not true. So that should put an end to the rumor.
Peter Adang’s victory will be much noted among politicos and knowledgeable observers, whether they watch Coop doings from afar or local political races up close. During an interview about this year’s district judge races, attorney Alan Maestas noted that Sarah Backus, among other current judges, is “doing a good job.” While the attorney disagrees with a system of electing judges, Maestas, scion of a Las Trampas family, said that ethnic and party labels should be cast aside when voting for a judge. Qualifications and experience should be the criteria, Maestas said.
Maestas is the attorney of choice (including mine) among criminal defendants and civil litigants, who seek an able and experienced voice in district court.
SIGNS R US
On a side note, the sign man, Jeff Northrup, who came out foursquare for Mylet and Adang with campaign signs up and down the Paseo on May 8th, said the Department of Transportation made a clean sweep between Ranchos and the historic downtown area of Taos. Apparently, DOT deployed two trucks to pick up signs, including the signs of various candidates running for for judge or district attorney. Northrup engaged, he said, in non-violent civil action, blocking the vehicles and traffic in an attempt to preserve the right of “free speech.” He retreated when Taos Police officers advised him to cooperate.
DOT ignored commercial sandwich boards, according to Northrup. Candidates can pick up their campaign signs from DOT on Highway 64 at the holding cell. The state highway right of way measures at least fifty feet from the centerline in both directions. Apparently, sidewalks, fences, and improvements throughout the community and rural areas encroach on state property, including bars advertising drink specials on sandwich boards. Northrup has filed a torts claim against the town for abrogating his civil rights and believes city fathers might have pressured the state in an effort to beautify the community and rid the environs of the pesky town crier himself.