HCH, Town Elections, Abeyta

By: Bill Whaley
1 February, 2018

News and Questions from the Loyal Opposition

Holy Cross Hospital

The board, Taos Health Systems, can’t manage the operations and want the County Taxpayers to bail them out…again. Voters passed a tax increase to help with maintenance a couple years ago, thanks to a push from Taos County Commissioners, especially Tom Blankenhorn, who fancies himself a local Health-care fixit advocate. I opposed it then and oppose it now: it’s throwing good money after bad.

A couple of years ago Commissioner Romero suggested sending out a “Request for Proposal” for a new operator like UNMH or Presbyterian, local but with deeper pockets and professional northern New Mexico experience. But Blankenhorn et al voted against Romero’s idea.

It may be against the law to allow funds allocated for capital improvements to be used for “operations.” I haven’t checked the statute. The culture at HCH has been in a tailspin for years. Taos needs a new operator. The current board, like former boards, should resign and the County should help find a new operator.

Town of Taos Elections

Here are a few questions that should be asked at tonight’s forum for municipal candidates but won’t be because the sponsors (Taos News and Taos Chamber of Commerce) have a vested interest in the status quo.

a. Has the Town done an audit (not a Bellis guesstimate) on the Concert promotions? Both in-kind donations from Town employees, profits and losses, sources of financial backing (Lodgers’ Tax? General fund?) should be revealed. What are the real financial benefits besides making folks feel good?

b. Why didn’t the Town protest the recent KCEC rate increase? Not one commercial or non-residential protester showed up, which allowed the Coop to raise rates substantially. The residential ratepayers benefitted somewhat from the rate protesters role as “Interveners.

c. Why didn’t the Town protest when KCEC “retroactively” billed non-residential members, including government and commercial entities? (Perhaps Barrone was afraid he’d end up looking like the man on the right if he protested KCEC rates?)

d. If the Town is going to close the Plaza for events, besides the Fiesta, then they need to do it lawfully and change the ordinance that forbids the practice.

e. The Town brags about impractical acequia rejuvenation, a kind of “museum culture” aimed at burnishing Councilor Hahn’s cred. Yet there are studies by the Town’s own planners as well as claims by parciantes protesting the practice of shutting down ditches in the town due to development. Why not provide leadership that has an impact i.e. “Abeyta.” See Below.

f. The Town has provided “0” (zero) leadership on the Abeyta-Taos Pueblo Settlement to which they are a party. In fact the Town has participated via their attorneys in closed-door meetings in Santa Fe, where the meetings have been moved to avoid public input. See story below.

g. BTW: does Dan Barrone surf on his son’s couch at Diego’s Zia digs in Taos or does he live up on the hill in the family manor in Lower Las Colonias with Della? Course he’s impersonated a son before, they say, like once when he went hunting. The statutes say candidates should be residents. So do we though poaching is an age-old custom in Taos.

Abeyta Meetings in Taos Canceled!

Just as the prior public meeting for the Abeyta-Taos Pueblo Water Settlement was cancelled, so has the Feb. 15 meeting been scratched. According to John Painter, the El Prado Water and Sanitation District mayordomo, the attorneys for the parties have been and continue to work behind closed doors, running up the bills and operating, allegedly without “accomplishing anything.” Painter says he’s against the practice and that he and his attorney will argue for a public process at the next Santa Fe meeting. The signatories include EPSWD, The Town of Taos, 12 MDWCAs, and Taos Pueblo and every taxpayer in the County, State, and Nation. Seems like the meetings should be public. The judge removed the “gag” order back in 2016.

Fritz: MIA?

Where is the former Fritz Hahn who used to advocate for the people on behalf of the people and small business, instead of voting against, well, Cid’s application to build a first-rate off-sale fine beverage establishment? Did he take too many natural herbs and organic vitamins? And where has the tax-payer money gone at the Don Fernando and will the three-story Holiday Inn Express get built? Eh? We’re only asking. Have you seen Fritz?


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