El Mitote: Sunday Funnies

By: Bill Whaley
4 August, 2013

On Cruz Alta St., sources say the Coop’s April robbers—estimated take of $210,000—have been busted but partially. John Doe has been arrested and Jane Doe is the object of  testimony before a grand jury. The other Jane and John are “persons of interest.” Some say the duo was seen buying flat screen TVs at Super Walmart in Espanola.

At 400 Placita de la Camino, the home of the Town of Taos executive offices has become the focal point for the dogs of August. In January candidates for mayor and two council seats at the Town of Taos will file to run for election. At coffee shops from Walmart to McDonalds, El Taoseno to Elevations, and the Quality Inn to Casa Los Cordovas, the speculators are rolling the dice and betting on the fortunes of  los politicos.

Everyone expects the incumbent mayor to run, despite running the town into a financial hole. Scandal hovers over the man like monsoon clouds over the Sacred Mountain. “They” say former mayor and Richardson appointee Fred Peralta might be warming up his campaign chops for another shot at dignity and trust, especially if Mayor Darren decides to start up his campaign for Senator Carlos Cisneros’ seat in two years. Or maybe the good old boys who control town hall, the Coop, and Centinel Bank will accelerate the timetable for young Andrew Gonzales, the window and door king of Placita.

Among insiders and observers, call them wishful thinkers, there’s a movement to persuade Commissioner Dan Barrone to run for mayor. He’d have to take a second home in town, like the current mayor and former mayor Fred Peralta. But the advantages of having a mayor with a pair of work gloves, who can see the benefits of combining town and county government, could be an idea, whose time has come. If Barrone kicks the ballot box down the road, all bets are off.

The resignation of Fire Chief Jim Fambro from his job as Questa Village administrator has turned the tongues loose: will he run for mayor? Or maybe he will opt for term-limited Barrone’s seat on the commission? That seat, which includes the Town of Taos, promises to be the focal point of aspiring politicos and even that rare and wondrous person who happens to be a an honest public servant–like Luisa Valerio Mylet.

Lots of folks wish “Bobby, Bobby” would run for mayor or even A. Eugene Sanchez or Eugene A. Sanchez, depending whether you favor a constant gardener or a man with 48 years of service –as a referee. Bobby only smiles while he sits with Silva at Guadalajara Grill and shakes his head, “no, no”—sort of like A. Eugene and Eugene A.

The Taosenos would like an honest and frugal government but they have gotten one with no planning department, except for plans to annex six miles of highway road to the airport and plans to relocate a paid for emergency system to an expensive and inadequate Coop Command Center. We’ve seen no plans to fix the decaying infrastructure in the historic district or plans to repair a neglected Youth and Family Center. The town does have plans to charge county residents for library books but no plans to fix the Spring Ditch, which it has run over the way the Tow Truck Gang runs over protest signs. The town apparently has  plans to destroy the acequia culture by ignoring custom at the Autumn Acres/Valverde Commons project: they are “killing the acequia to save the Vega.”

(I’m reminded of how El Prado Water and Sanitation District and Palemon Martinez’s TVAA are buying up paper water rights in the Questa area and moving them out of that acequia—watershed area down to the Arroyo Hondo and out to the Rio Grande, where they can pump water out of deep wells, which ultimately depletes the river. In the end Questa and the Rio Grande pay. What kind of settlement is that? Three card monte?)

Desperate citizens might send for Pavel Lukes to ride in on his Velvet Horse accompanied by Johnny Depp to save the town that time—and its citizens–forgot. But Pavel’s not from here nor is the last man standing, Jeff Northrup, truth-sayer and seeker of justice, a Bradley Manning—Edward Snowden persona, who carries on despite the threats from local gangsters and a lack of police protection.  Ludicrous as it may sound, Jeff reminds me of a silly white Mandela. He’s been sentenced to electric monitoring, tethered to signs as if in public stocks, along Paseo del Pueblo Sur, where he entertains the community with his doings while the politicos grow increasingly uncomfortable. But stranger things have happened in Taos. More than one local politician or banker learned his lessons from Arthur Manby.

Incumbent Councilors Rudy Walmart, Rudy Asbestos, Rudy Realtor and Michael “Contracts for Cuates” Silva—Autumn Acres/Valverde Commons, the Eco Park, Broadband, Swimming Pool, and the Dollar store flopper in El Prado have gone so far in their search for private profits at the expense of the public that we can’t see them–though we still hear Rudy barking: asbestos, asbestos, asbestos.

Since Darren gets about 40gs as mayor, another 30gs, estimated, in advertising contracts for DMC, not to mention thousands of dollars in county and town subsidies for Mother’s Day promotions, you can’t blame Rudy and Mike for trying to find an equalizer, a little land deal out at the airport for “us guys.” A little moderation in your pursuit of big bucks would be appropriate guys. A little moderation. You can’t take it with you.

Among others, wishful thinkers have mentioned potential council candidates with name recognition like Wanda Lucero, Insurance Queen, or Jerome Lucero, the latter activist is unafraid of the powerful at KCEC, the spies at NSA, or the movida makers in Mora.  Attorney Justin Lea and social worker Fritz Hahn have considered but the Gringos begin with horrible disadvantages–unless Fernando Miera (RIP) is the mastermind behind the candidate.

Mostly, decent people and business people want nothing to do with local politics, wherein danger and deception wait for the unwary. Who wants to inherit a town decimated by lay-offs and resignations, where morale is in the septic tank and one must bow and dedicate the budget to bailing out the board of trustees and their minder at KCEC? Maybe we should just let Luis do it, like they do at KCEC. Though he can change the light bulbs,  we’re not so sure about his stewardship of the bottom line and whether he makes bank deposits properly.

And therein lies the rub.

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