Ranchos Under Siege by Toxic Chemicals, dangerous uptick in traffic, and generally repugnant consumerism

By: Bill Whaley
25 November, 2018

“Nostros Pueblo, NO Se Vende” — A sign of Victory in the 1980s Valdez Condo Wars

Our neighbors in Ranchos are under siege by Dollar Stores, the latest plague spawned by right wing capitalism, wherein the elites want to pick the pockets of poor people. Vecinos in Ranchos are fighting back unlike the Mayor. In the last mayoral election during a forum, the incumbent Mayor bragged about his notion of “economics” and mentioned how he purchased the goods for the weddings of his two sons at the dollar store emporiums in Taos. While we believe in the lumberjack’s semi-organic sawmill operation, we also think his short-sighted support for “economics” signifies the ignorance of goods sold, originating in China, where lax regulations suggest “all is permitted.”

Now comes another dollar store to Ranchos de Taos: whether fodder for hold-ups or cheap goods for frugal Taosenos, we don’t know. But the Ranchos de Taos Neighborhood Association is fighting back. Below, Taos Friction reprints a press release, a link to Green Energy business, and an opinion piece from a resident.

First, they came for Taos, Penasco, Questa, and now they are coming for Ranchos. Who’s next? See press release, link to anti-toxins, and an opinion of a longtime resident. The Town you save may be your own.

(Press Release) The Taos County Planning Commission approved a Special Use Permit for construction of a Family Dollar Store in Ranchos, on Highway 68 (Paseo del Pueblo Sur, next to the Shell Station) on September 12th.

THE RANCHOS DE TAOS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION IS FIGHTING IT! We have filed a notice of appeal and our appeal will be heard by the Taos County Commissioners on December 10th, at 9:00 AM, at the Taos County Courthouse.

Supporters of the neighborhood and people excited about testifying against the Dollar Store should attend the planning meeting TUESDAY NOVEMBER 27th at 6:30 upstairs at OLD MARTINA’S HALL. Attendees can order dinner or not as they wish…the staff won’t be offended if participants don’t dine.

Plan to be there and be updated on the legal strategy. This will be a chance to gather information in preparation for the hearing. We can also help with preparing testimonies, or the writing of comments to be entered into the record for those who can’t make the Commission hearing.


If you want additional information please reply to this email (saxpat@newmex.com) or call:
Cynthia Patterson 575.770.7096
Hank Saxe 575.770.6450

From: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/day-late-dollar-short-81-dollar-store-products-toxic

The Right Chemistry
Are dollar stores shortchanging us on toxic chemicals?
José Bravo and Frank Knapp Jr.
Monday, February 9, 2015 – 1:15am

Campaign for Healthier Solutions

A full 81 percent of dollar store products tested in a new advocacy report contained at least one hazardous chemical at a heightened level.

Sometimes it feels like there’s a Target or Walmart around every corner — and rightly so in many areas, because at last count nearly 6,000 of them were sprinkled across the U.S.
While that may seem like a sizable amount, consider this: There are roughly 24,000 dollar stores, and that’s just counting the Big 3: Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar.
With such a pervasive presence, it should come as no surprise that in many neighborhoods and communities, dollar stores are often literally the only store selling household goods, including food.

A new report (PDF) about toxic chemicals found in dollar store products, published by environmental justice initiative the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, found that that 81 percent of the products tested — or 133 out of 164 products — contained at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern.

These chemicals include:
– Phthalates, linked to early puberty in girls, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes and other health issues
– Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl), which creates hazards throughout its life cycle and has been linked to asthma and lung effects
– Toxic metals, such as lead and chromium, which harm brain development and can lead to learning disabilities, lower IQ and other serious health impacts, especially in children

All of these exposures are compounded by the fact that 40 percent of sales at dollar stores go toward food products, most of which are highly processed with low nutritional quality and for which packaging is another potential source of toxic chemicals, such as bisphenol-A (BPA).


From the Taos News:

By Anna Bush Crews, Ranchos de Taos

Over the centuries tensions have arisen from designs of urban spaces. The tension comes from the conflict between the residents and the rulers.

Will the design enhance the area for the residents or will it be the will of the ruler? Many people were unhappy with the way Paris was changed in the mid-19th century when the medieval city was torn down and replaced.

Rome and Houston are examples of cities that have not had much planning or zoning input. 
Taos County has its own ancient Pueblo, maybe not completely planned, but very coherent, and made and maintained throughout its history by its inhabitants.

Ranchos de Taos cannot claim to have historical structures as old as the Taos Pueblo although it has several historically significant buildings. It also has a community that has centered itself around the San Francisco de Asis Church for at least the last 200 years. This community comes out and re-plasters the church annually. Many Ranchos families have been in the community for centuries.

But times change. Now the traffic has increased through Ranchos and all around. I still remember arguments about a bypass around Taos when I was a child. Traffic could even be a problem in the 1950s, and the small businesses in Taos wanted to snag anyone who went through town.

At the time of the first traffic light at the Plaza, gas stations were on each corner and everyone went to the Plaza. People shopped for food, went to the hardware store, the drug store, the dime store, the courthouse, and so on.

Times change. The small businesses have changed from selling goods and services to the community into specialist shops for tourists. Now we have stores like everywhere else and now sidewalks. Stores are popular when they are new, and then another one is built down the highway and that one becomes popular and the old one is discarded. Now we have three-dollar stores on the south side, and maybe a fourth coming.

Change is coming to Ranchos de Taos. The Taos County Planning Commission has approved a special use permit for building another dollar store, this time near the intersection of State Road 518, going to Talpa, Truchas and Las Vegas, and the main road into Taos from Santa Fe, State Road 68.

Many, many people pass through this intersection every day and will experience the goings on at this dangerous intersection. It could mean that traffic will back up because the turn lane can’t accommodate the volume. It could mean delays because of trucks unloading at the Giant and thereby blocking lanes. It could mean drivers making questionable and/or illegal turns to access the gas station and convenience store. It could mean pedestrians will try to cross the road. It could mean traffic traveling faster than the 30 mph speed limit. It could mean two lanes of traffic squeezing into one as drivers try to rush through the intersection down into Ranchos and southbound.

Nevertheless, the Taos County Planning Commission has decided it is OK for a big box store to be given a permit to be built next to the Shell/Giant station. One commissioner said that if the problem at this intersection gets much worse, the Department of Transportation will have to do something, so that is reason to approve.

Is this to mean that if accidents increase and people die, as the neighborhood fears, that we can thank our commissioners? Many residents in the immediate vicinity of the proposed store spoke against approval at the July 12 meeting earlier this year. They communicated many valid concerns not included here.

Recently when I visited the Taos County complex to vote, I read through the Taos County Board of County Commissioners Code of Ethics. The first: “Taos County Commissioners shall recognize that the chief function of our Commission, at all times, is to serve the best interests of all people of Taos County.” This was passed, approved and adopted on 16 Feb 2016 and signed by our current commissioners.

The Ranchos de Taos Neighborhood Association has filed a Notice of Appeal regarding the permit for the Family Dollar Store, and the appeal will be heard by the county commissioners on Dec. 10 at 9 a.m. (Yes, it’s a Monday morning.) The association invites the community to attend and to sign the petitions that are circulating; please add comments and join in the discussion.

Anna Bush Crews is a member of the Ranchos de Taos Neighborhood Association.

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