“May you live in interesting times.” Old Chinese Curse

By: Bill Whaley
4 December, 2018

In Taos the natives and newcomers are restless. Due to tactics of “bait and switch” we Taosenos are reaping the whirlwind of “good intentions,” whether from Water Settlements, the Manger’s plans for social engineering at Kit Carson Park, or even the plans for acquiring a “new” mayor.

The Abeyta—Taos Pueblo Water Settlement

The “Buffalo Pasture” agreement currently tests whether this or any community can withstand the influx of “unfunded mandates,” aimed at maintenance and repairs of complex mitigation wells and pipelines. The mandates force complexities on Mutual Domestic Water Associations and historic Acequias in Taos Valley and bedevils folks of good will trying to understand and implement the BIA-DOJ juggernaut rising out of the defense of the “Buffalo Pasture.” Perhaps one can view this event as poetic justice, given the “conquest” and retaliatory “massacre” of 1847. Today Taos Pueblo, under Gov. Gilbert Suazo is tightening its grip on the historic homeland.

The other night, after listening to Kay Mathews discuss her new book, “No Se Vende: Water as a Right of the Commons,” John Nichols and I referred to his participation in the multi-year battle against the “Indian Camp Dam” and the Conservancy District in the 70s—a resistance that remembered the echoes of the disastrous Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, which impoverished Hispanic farmers back in the 30s.

On a technicality, Nichols and the locals won the battle against the Indian Camp Dam. But like John said, the “Abeyta” is ten times as complicated and exponentially more challenging and more powerful what with the weight of the federal and state government forcing villagers and parciantes into bureaucratic corners, where they are caught between faith in custom (sharing water) and the political priorities of shark-toothed attorneys and neo-liberal economics. For neither defenestrated villagers nor parciantes will be able to pay the piper as taxes rise and property values skyrocket, as tourism and second homers force locals out of a fast-changing economy.

Today so many Taosenos are voting with their feet and tires to join the exodus south and north away from Aztlan. Why soon enough, a “shovel” will be criminalized as if it were part of burglary or drug paraphernalia. And sure, Mother Nature and the Father Cosmos will have a thing or two to say about “extreme weather” leading to drought. The acequia museum planned for Kit Carson Park can shuffle along on watery ripples of blue paper or maybe photographs from local artists as the real thing evaporates or ceases running due to the “paperwork” nightmare.

See El Prado Water and Sanitation District drill, drill, drill a new well and come up empty out on the Mesa.


Google: Friends of Kit Carson Park…sign the Petition

Meanwhile, the friends of Kit Carson Park gather to sign petitions and fight the Town in defense of trees, shrubs, the grass and walking paths as noise contaminants quiet neighborhoods when concert goers scream late into the night, disturbing the resting places of Taos luminaries as well as rogues like Arthur Manby, black saint of realtors, and Kit Carson, remembered today for his scorched earth policies and homicidal killer of Peach Trees.

The Town’s historic and funky appeal appears to be undergoing a transformation as the executive staff engages in the “bait and switch” tactics of the Manby-Trumpean model: lie to your supporters about the historic environs and pleasures of contemplation, “kill the park” to save it from amblers and dog walkers and those who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to move here because they also like bucolic Manby’s Park named for Kit Carson. Maybe “Karma” comes back to haunt los Taosenos because they dissed the Muse, Teracita and denied the legacy of “The History of Violence” that blackens so many memories.

You can’t trust the people you vote for when they “misrepresent” their aims about the “commons” and refuse to “vote” or “plan” on a future that involves the entire community, despite false claims by the “do-gooders,” whose itinerant professionals ignore the natives and residents and the history, a history fraught with outsiders coming to “save the town” what with private and federal funds, notably in the 30s and 60s but throughout the decades. Something about Taos “inertia” doesn’t like saving.

El Mitote

We hear the out-sourced Mayor from Lower Las Colonias has been in touch with his Pojoaque school chum, Gov. elect Lujan-Grisham, and might, might just take a job if it’s “right” with the new New Mexico administration. Since the Mayor serves as the Manager’s Cat’s Paw today and Counselor Hahn and Evans as Red Herrings for the rock ‘n roll obsessed groupie, nothing should surprise us. The “Friends” claim the town wants to build a permanent concert venue in Kit Carson Park and out-source residents to some other park or better yet to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument some 8 or 10 miles northwest depending on your Crow’s take-off and landing place, all the better to watch the skiers come and go in the sleek new bird at the expanded airport.

We are officially on notice that it’s time to begin writing eulogies and elegies for a fast-disappearing culture. In the latest issue of a Taos News promo magazine, the staffers described the famed frescoes in the old County Courthouse as “painted murals.” Neither the writer nor the editor apparently knows or cares about the differences between art forms. But then not many know the difference between beauty and the sublime or funky Taos and corny Babbitry.

And that’s the way it is…today…Dec. 4, 2018.

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