Taosenos v. Taosenos: KCEC, TMS, Stella’s Plea, An Honest Sheriff

By: Bill Whaley
7 January, 2011

“Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics”

(Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, in a remarkable news conference on Saturday after the shooting, called his state “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” NYT.)

“Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, seemed to capture the mood of the day at an evening news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.”

“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”

“Ms. Giffords was also among a group of Democratic House candidates featured on the Web site of Sarah Palin’s political action committee with cross hairs over their districts, a fact that disturbed Ms. Giffords at the time.

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” Ms. Giffords said last March. “But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that.” (By CARL HULSE and KATE ZERNIKE. Published: January 8, 2011, NYT)

PRC Circus: Jan 10, 9:30, SF NM.

A variety of community activists, Coop Trustees, and elected officials will be attending the Mon. Jan. 10 PRC Rate hearing request from KCEC. The hearing is being held at the PRC hearing room on the 3rd or 4th floor of the PERA building, across from the Roundhouse where there’s a big parking lot. The last time Taosenos attended a PRC hearing; they were supporting KCEC’s protest against TRI State’s policies. Tri-State is KCEC’s electricity provider. We were united then and supported the trustees. But this Monday—except for KCEC’s perpetual St. Mary of Llano San Juan in the Penasco Valley, hardly any of elected officials or members support the rate increase or rising debt attached to ill-advised KCEC diversification. The event should be the most entertaining political rally of the new year.

Issues to be discussed at the rate request hearing include but are not limited to rising electricity rates. Tri-State has raised rates an estimated 60% in the last decade since the merger with Plains. The merger cost Coop members $6 millions, paid for with an extant RUS loans. Members also lost access to their capital credits (shared profits from the Coop).

The Coop’s staff and trustees benefited from cash flow opportunities associated with the Tri-State rate increases, including additional travel opportunities. The Tri-State rep from KCEC, Art Rodarte, earns about $400 per day currently to attend board meetings in Denver. Extras include tickets to ball games, hotel and food, travel reimbursement. Coopsters love to travel. A few years ago they all went to Las Vegas on a junket and cost the members about $30,000 for a single week as I remember it. (I’ll post the specifics later.)

Trustees also enjoy the NMRECA or “Statewide” party house in Santa Fe, where they can meet “ex parte” with staff, whose relatives allegedly work at the PRC.

(Caveat: Activists should stay away from Commissioner Block’s “party” at the Eagles Club on Sat. Trustees used to hang out at the Eagles Club and will probably drop by to complete their “ex parte” support for the indicted commissioner. We hear the Coop will send employees to support the rate increase.)

The Propane proposal was sold to members as a five-year plan during the 2000 annual membership meeting. We members were told if the Coop lost money, the trustees would kill the deal after five years but they didn’t and went on to lose millions.  Trustees and Reyes refused to talk to members about the current Broadband initiative, costing members $19 million, before signing on to this expensive ponzi scheme.

Throw in all the debts associated with entrepreneurial misadventure, annual trustee travel, and the current legal and p.r. gambit at the PRC and you might find the total cost of the last decade coming in at some $50 in million in debt. Your grandchildren will pay for  poor judgment by Reyes and the Rubber Stamp board.

While the Command Center was supported in resolution form as a “good idea” by the town and county, neither entity signed leases. They refused to buy a pig in a poke. (Trustee Francis Cordova charged members $150 for the meeting with Sen. Domenici announced during a photo op for the RUS loan re: the Command Center.) When asked about the Command Center and the controversy at the Town P&Z meetings a couple years ago, most trustees were unfamiliar with the issues. The Coop apparently paid $400,000 for the two acres, which was not appraised, say trustees. Now the trustees have their own safe house in Taos in the event the power gets turned off and they need to hide from distraught members.

TMS: Possible State Takeover?

While school board elections might generate some interest in the CRAB Hall quagmire, this longtime observer is dubious about the prospects of correcting the envidia-ridden administration and generally-failing system. Inexperienced and aspiring board members, like the Class of ’92’s Caldwell, Chavez, and Cordova, will take months and years to understand how the Fat Cat’s hold power and misrepresent the facts. Experienced board members or meeting attendees like Enrico Velasquez and Gene Sanchez have already seen how they must push the rock, like Sisyphus, up the hill.

El Weston, the current super, who does what the CRAB Hall elite tells him to do, will ultimately go the way of all outsiders. Think about the casualties in the last year: Liz Trujillo, finance; DeLong, Superintendent; Livingston, Special Needs; Jenkins, teacher; Singleton, teacher. None of these outsiders are ultimately “from here” therefore expendable. Weston, who is manipulated by Chuby and the Fat Cats, is in the middle of a family fight. His proposal for re-organizing the school might apply to an inner city black ghetto but not to the El Norte barrio, “where we’d rather fight than fight than switch.”

Several locals resigned from the Super’s office and finance department during the last year but without criminal prosecution. The snake and her coterie of supporters remain despite a record of failure: three audits, failing grad rates, and poor test scores.  A variety of part-time, full-time, and contractual consultants don’t have the qualifications for their jobs or appointments. There is neither a public record documenting assets—art collection, equipment at the vocational center, or equipment gone-missing at the building and grounds department. And there is no public record of specific curriculum expectations for academics, the arts, or athletics. Thanks to the state, we do know that graduation rates and test scores are abysmal.

The union and the hiring practices are controlled by the “in-group,” The most qualified applicants for teaching positions usually have their resumes thrown into the round file or buried so relatives and friends can be hired despite being poorly qualified.

The Special Needs program is a disgrace. Daily, TMS or board members receive complaints about the way the most vulnerable children are ignored, treated, and forced into Dickensian conditions. Just as El Weston, a principal, and some board members disrespected Ms. Singleton’s rights and trashed her dignity, so they treat parents and children with special needs as second or third class citizens. The record of complaints filed at the Office of Civil Rights continues to grow at the EEOC office and the Office of Corrupt Practices in Espanola.

Several of the Chuby Tafoya-led school board candidates are merely interested in covering up Crab Hall Crimes against Students, like the expert, Fred Peralta, who covered up the swimming pool scandal when he was mayor at the Town of Taos.

Current board members are so frustrated with Weston and the administrators that they may join their critics in calling on the Governor for a state take-over of TMS. Generally, I’m in favor of local control. But in the case of TMS, I think it’s time for Republican Governor Susana Martinez to step up and turn TMS over to her new PED Secretary. At a certain point, you have to admit that local democracy has failed.

The pattern of failure in education for the general student body at TMS is as obvious as the nose on your face: Enrollment at THS has dropped from 1100 to about 700 or so during the last decade but administrative salaries have increased dramatically.

We need a prosecutor to take over TMS, a woman with cojones, like Nancy Pelosi, who doesn’t cry at the drop of a hat like the unmanly man, John the Boner. If Susana Martinez could fix TMS, she’d be a real hero to the people.

We hear she’s sending someone over to watch the PRC hearings. Now, I hope shell send someone up to question the Fat Cats at CRAB Hall and not some ex but failed Super from NM PED. It’s time to start over at CRAB Hall. And it’s time to ask Toby Martinez and Francis Cordova why the vote to enrich rich people.

Weekend Update:

Cline Cries……….. Click here to read it now.

Stella’s plea to the Governor

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