State and Local Elections: You Choose

By: Bill Whaley
4 June, 2018

Exceptions to the Rule

KCEC Trustees Attempted Coup Scheduled for Sat. June 9 at 10 AM

For Governor Taos Friction urges democrats to vote for change: Jeff Apodaca’s unique experience and vision offer New Mexicans a chance to change the culture of failure. By investing 3 to 5 % of the $23 Billion state reserve fund in schools, infrastructure, and public-private partnerships, Apodaca, the son of a former governor, offers New Mexicans a chance to reverse the brain-drain and interminable culture of poverty inspired by generally poor education. His opponent Michelle Lujan-Grisham offers more of the same old, same old (like Hilary Clinton). Vote for experience, professionalism, and new ideas: vote for Apodaca.

With a couple of exceptions, Taos democrats who vote for the incumbent office holders will reaffirm quasi-stable local government. County Commissioners Fambro, O’Donnell, and Gallegos should be re-elected. One can ignore Fambro’s misplaced blasphemy (like our servant Job), given the record of his opponent’s “bigotry” (aimed at the stand-up sign man during the Mother’s Day events). O’Donnell herself works hard for constituents despite “sexism” at the Commission. Given the politics of Questa, we’re better off with Mark Gallegos, the man we know versus the one we don’t regardless of where he lives.

However, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe of Red River appears to have lost control of the Taos County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO). He presides over a drastically understaffed department as potential applicants avoid the TCSO. Indeed, a record number of deputies are charged with a variety of offenses in District Court. I believe we should return to the local traditions offered by a  candidate like Jake Cordova, who knows the communities and neighborhoods, the families, and where, according to Penny, the animal abusers live.

Hogrefe’s controversial favoritism aimed at a former magistrate judge, allowing the longtime bail-bondsman access to the jail, has unfortunately affected the local Magistrate’s race, creating private havoc and questions of private political conscience for coincidental supporters in the Ernie Ortega v. Betty Martinez magistrate’s race. Jeff Shannon, by any standard, deserves re-election as magistrate judge. Jake, like his father Felipe, a longtime sheriff in Taos County, understands the role of “officer discretion” and Sheriff as “peace maker.”

KCEC Coop’s Traveling Trustees

Longtime Coop Trustees, some of whom have served for a what seems a lifetime, and since the late 20th Century, should focus on their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Now these Trustees want Coop members to vote to eliminate term limits on Saturday June 9 at 10 am at Taos High School (so they can die with the lights on?). To make a long story short, the Trustees will beat the hell out of colleagues, like Virgil Martinez, who disagree with rate and salary increases.

The “Traveling Trustees” have spent millions of dollars on travel and/or for meaningless meetings as their CEO has bled the out the equity of the Coop and incurred millions of dollars in debt, backed up by false claims of “economic development” for his follies: the virtually empty Command Center, Call Center, indebted Propane Division, defunct (former) Internet and email service, as well as the current Broadband project, even as they now attempt to privatize Solar energy for the few.

Meanwhile the Trustees borrowed and indebted Coop members to the tune of $37 million, thanks to the Tri-State-Guzman colonization deal, which entailed an attendant rise in the costs of maintaining transmission lines all in the name of a golden “future” i.e. debt, which will be paid for by their own children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The refusal of the Coop to provide members with profit and loss statements for diversified enterprises and the incompetent management of the $60 million plus in government grant and loan for Broadband and its subsequent lack of complete “fulfillment,” speak to Trustee’s failed oversight.

In fact, the Trustees and Management have recently and forever imposed an unfair burden of debt on members, resulting in higher and higher electricity charges. Dissatisfied with the last rate increase in 2016, the Coop “retroactively” billed commercial and residential members with more than $250,000 of fraudulent charges. Though the charges were ultimately rebated, thanks to appeals by interveners, member protesters at the PRC, the greedy intentions of the Trustees did not go unnoticed. These guys can’t be trusted.

See how the Coop has corrupted Mayor and Manager of Taos by conspiring to support the Mayor’s Christmas light extravaganza while placing “permanent” ugly green boxes on Taos Plaza trees in defiance of guidelines aimed at preserving the historic character of the Plaza. Similarly, the Trustees have reversed the historic mission of the REA mission and now the Coop members serve Trustees and management.

By withdrawing funds for advertising in the local weekly, the Coop censured freedom of the press in The Taos News, even as the Trustees have gerrymandered coop districts and disenfranchised Taos area members. (A Taos member’s vote is equal to about 1/3 rd of somebody in Penasco.) The Coop pays dues to the Koch bros. “ALEC” rightwing group.

We hear that the D.A., who spends time double-dipping and prosecuting Native Americans at Taos Pueblo in Tribal Court, on the other side of the cattle guard, similarly to the way a former magistrate judge behaved, who was caught and censored by the Supreme Court, ignores the Ma Barker gang of insiders, who robbed the Coop of some $200,000 but remain “free.”

What’s 200 grand among friends and insiders? Or several millions spent on travel fun during the last twenty years? The Trustees come right into your home via electric lines, pick your pocket, and pilfer your purse. Flavio says he thinks of them as  “our little gangsters at Barrio Cruz Alta (BCA), no?”

Absolute power corrupts and electrical power corrupts absolutely. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t see the evidence in a cardboard box file full of documents that tell the tale of the “Traveling Trustees.”

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