Beauty and Bucks: A Human Story
Town of Taos
According to the press release below from the Town of Taos, Mayor Darren Cordova is addressing the problem of temporary signs. The culture wars regarding famed “sign cutters” and the “defense of beauty” has a long history in Taos. Even Lady Bird Johnson opposed commercial clutter on major highways during the sixties’ “Beautify America” campaign. Ed Abbey’s famous book, The Monkey Wrench Gang, was inspired by Taos characters, led by a famous local doctor. Artists, engineers, and local bartenders carried on the tradition during the ensuing decades.
We applaud the Mayor for his “defense of beauty” but we do have one question: how wide is the public right away?
Here’s the press release.
Town of Taos Says – Get Temporary Signage Out of Public Right-of-Way
Taos, New Mexico – “Signage is very important for our merchant community to connect with customers,” said Mayor Darren Cordova, Town of Taos. “That’s why the Town made sure that our sign ordinance was researched, reviewed and revamped over a year ago to better accommodate this important outreach element,” he said.
“However, hand-in-hand with this goes a responsibility to keep temporary sandwich board signs and other temporary signs – such as sign flags – out of the public right of way,” said Cordova. “It is a safety issue, and one that we want to let people know the Town is now actively enforcing,” he said.
Merchants should make sure that temporary signage of any type is on private property connected with their place of business – pulled back from their street’s right-of-way and other easements.
Anyone wishing to double check their temporary sign placement, as well as other restrictions concerning such signage, should review the ordinance (in PDF format) that may be found online at Taosgov.com.
If merchants still have questions they should contact Town of Taos Code Enforcement in the Planning Department at 751-2017 (Rachel Romero, email@example.com) or 751-2034 (David Martinez, firstname.lastname@example.org).
By July 15, 2012, signage that is in the public right away will receive an initial warning from Town of Taos Code Enforcement Officers, and then if the situation is not immediately brought into compliance, those with non-conforming temporary sign placement will be issued citations.
Taos County Makes Headlines
According to reports, Taos County is emerging from a long winter’s sleep and seizing the headlines, canning employees and sacrificing peaceful coexistence due to an ageless drama between the sexes. Just as the most beautiful Greek, Helen, was called the face that launched a 1000 ships during the “Trojan” war, so we are reminded of the Biblical King David and Bathsheba (Pobrecito Uriah) and William Faulkner’s updated tale of forbidden practices in Absalom, Absalom.
Some might have forgotten that the Taos County jail (Juvenile and Adult personnel) was embroiled in at least one or more sexual harassment cases during prior decades as was Taos County Administrative government. A prosecutor, too, at the DA’s office, was subject to a come hither look that resulted in pay-offs and scandal lo’ these many years ago. Whether the pleasures are Platonic or carnal makes all the difference but not in the politically correct policies and procedures of today.
Today “Perception” is enough to run afoul of the regulations. The new Complex and its parking lot surveillance could mean a return to the fabled Blueberry Hill, where so many romantic relationships led to marriage among THS graduates. (Course the Town of Taos has a history of sexual innuendo and better, too.)
What are human beings to do?
Here’s today’s headline and a few graphs from the Journal North: You gotta love this one. The Fox is in the Henhouse and he’s the grafty one.
Agency Accused of Fake Audit
New Mexico Finance Authority lied to investors, Balderas says
By James Monteleone, Journal Staff Writer
The New Mexico Finance Authority, which has loaned billions of dollars to government agencies for capital projects, lied about the status of its 2011 financial reports and provided investors with fraudulent documents, State Auditor Hector Balderas said Thursday.
Balderas said he’s demanding a special audit of the Finance Authority and referring his findings to law enforcement for further investigation.
The bogus financial reports were discovered by state auditors questioning why the Finance Authority’s 2011 audit — due last December — was months late, according to Balderas’ office.
(See Journal for the rest of the story.)
Northrop to Mayor
The Town of Taos Sign Ordinance is a document that violates the US Constitution and the New Mexico Constitution in numerous ways. The code is arbitrarily enforced, and generally ignored, save to stifle my political speech. The one municipal judge, Eugene A Sanchez, who recognized and acknowledged the selective and arbitrary enforcement, was fired by the town after seven years of service presumably because he twice ruled in my favor against the ridiculous signage charges brought by the town officers against me— the judge basically laughed at the officers. Judge, I’m sorry you lost your job, but at least you can sleep at night, and have the respect of those people in town who follow the corruption in Taos politics, including the Municipal Court.
The town uses the “right-of-way” phrase without providing a clear definition, allowing them to set and change the rules to suit their political needs. Likewise, as seen below, they are talking of “easements” as though it meant something— no such word is used in the sign code. But, still, you are encouraged to consult the sign code, and if you still have questions, contact Ms. Romero or Mr. Martinez— neither of these two will have the least bit of verifiable information beyond the 26 word definition of “right-of-way” on page 27 of the sign code.
The town code enforcement employees, and the Taos police department employees, have not the slightest idea of what the right-of-ways and easements are as they relate to the sign code. And Ms. Connelly speaks of private property (I guess, as opposed to public property), indicating that signs are exempt from town enforcement if located on private property, totally ignoring the fact that most of the sign code deals with signs that are clearly on private property, such as building signs.
In the PSA section below we learn that “It’s a matter of safety!” No further explanation is given. Taos government people love the word ‘safety” to justify their decisions….. look at their unverified safety claims for the proposed move to the Regional Command Center. Of course, we all want the signs to not be a threat to public safety; but no explanation is offered on how this will be accomplished.
My latest sign-related ticket was issued this Tuesday. I was cited for three code infractions for one double-faced street-side: 15.08.260.7– sign in the right-of-way (it wasn’t); 15.08.260.15–sign attached to a tree or public property (it wasn’t); 15.08.320.F–permanent sign painted with fluorescent colors (it was not a permanent sign, and it was not painted).
Meanwhile, directly across the street from me sits a metal trailer which has advertised three separate local commercial events since first being placed about June 18— a rodeo, a horseshoe pitching tournament, and now a mud bog event. This sign in front of Walmart on Hwy. 68 was blocking more than three feet of a five foot sidewalk for over three weeks; now it has been moved back a foot, only blocking two feet of the sidewalk. The sign clearly is in the right-of-way, and measures 32 square feet, five times larger than temporary signs are allowed to be. I’ve brought this to the town’s attention for weeks, but little or nothing is done.
Yours sincerely, wasting away,
Jeff Northrup 770-7555