Taos Tipileaks, News, Public Relations

By: Bill Whaley
20 March, 2011

(Tipileaks) Now that a mainstream news organ has published the Taos “Tipileaks,” we readers should have some fun during the next few weeks. The Taos News Tipileak posted online regards a disagreement over policy issues between the mayor and manager about alleged favoritism and is hardly newsworthy in itself. We don’t know if the story has legs or context. According to Flavio, allegations of council nullification, sexual harassment, failed cronyism, and tales of police harassment are all elements contributing to a firestorm of the “he said/she said” drama underscored by “Tipileaks.”

The oft-delayed “Town of Taos v. Jeff Northrup Trial” (Taos gadfly) may be removed from muni court to the Town Council Chambers, due to the demand for tickets–unless the parties settle their differences about the July 4th, 2010 firecracker affair.

(News) Kit Carson Electric Coop Rate Protesters have successfully secured a Public Regulation Commission hearing. Some protestors are also circulating a recall petition aimed at removing “The Nine” trustees, charged with “breach of fiduciary duty,” according to a story in the Journal North. The PRC itself has listed “cross-subsidization” as one of the issues to be analyzed in the request for a rate hike at the May hearing. As is commonly understood, the Coop has used electric-side assets and revenues to borrow millions of dollars and generally fund ventures into propane, Internet, Broadband, and the vacant $3 million command center.

According to protesters and petitioners, the May rate hearings will last about four days and the hearing officer will probably take a couple of months to decide the issue. At the conclusion of the hearings, KCEC members will be able to judge for themselves whether the trustees’ mouthpiece, CEO Reyes, is correct in calling petitioners charges “outright lies” (The Taos News, March 17-23) or “false and without fact or basis” (Journal North, March 20).

(Public Relations) In the age of public relations, you might say that Reyes and his opponents have wildly differing interpretations of the numbers regarding diversification and entrepreneurial adventurism. “Misrepresentation” is a much kinder word than “lies” but the PRC hearings should sort out whose tale more closely mirrors the facts. Except for the audits, various news stories, confessed mistakes by Reyes himself, as well as testimony from a former employee, you might think the dancing CEO was correct.

Regardless, CEO Reyes has proved a poor public relations maven. Shortly after voting to give the CEO a raise and the COOP members a rate increase, several trustees went on a typical “vacation trip.” Later, when KCEC members filed protests—and a dribble drabble of protests  turned into a purported flood of  300—Reyes claimed only “six” qualified as genuine. He continues to make wild claims about propane profits, local government support for the Command Center, and the future feasibility of Broadband—despite a poorly received extant Internet service.

A smarter Rabbit would have said from the beginning, “Let the PRC sort this out and we’ll stand by their findings.” Instead, the CEO has jeopardized the position and reputations of his trustees by over-reacting and attacking the members. Call the members Mr. Macgregor: They are looking for the Rabbit and his Rubber Stampers, who grabbed all the carrots. The more Reyes objects and attacks, the more the members believe he’s got the devil down in the hole.

Neither Rabbit Reyes and the Trustees, nor the Mayor, Council, and Manager at Town Hall have learned the costly lessons so amply exemplified by the elite Fat Cats and the Mini Mice at CRAB Hall. The administrators and their supporters defied three audits at TMS, filed lawsuits and recall petitions, and successfully turned two board members into scapegoats or mice and ate them. By doing so, they diverted attention from their own failure to educate Taos children during the last decade, according to NM PED reports.

(Results) Indicative of political attitudes, the bloodied mice, including parents deprived of services, are looking for revenge on their elitist enemies. Mayor Cordova and Councilor Abeyta joined in piling on the beleaguered school board—as did The Taos News. So, watchalo!

Mayor Cordova et al and CEO Reyes et al are competing for attention from the increasingly bloodthirsty local cartoonist, who previously focused on TMS. News and politics abhor a vacuum as does the Taoseno who likes nothing more than a family fight—regardless of who gets bloodied. The point is to inflict as much damage as possible regardless of the consequences in order to satisfy private grievances.

Certainly, politics in Taos is very human, very destructive, and as fascinating as a soap opera. Given what goes on in the Mid East and Washington D.C., it appears as if we are all too human. In Taos those who laugh longest survive and occasionally stop a bad thing when they don’t stop a good thing, too. Whether Mayor Cordova and Manager Miera or “The Nine” and Rabbit Reyes can maintain a sense of humor during the coming months will be a test of their fitness for office.

According to a local wag, the National Guard has been called out to establish a no fly, no tomahawk missile zone at Coop HQ during the annual June meeting. A sense of humor suggests benign detachment and even affection for your enemies. I don’t agree with all the messages on Jeff’s signs but the symbolism is important just like the recall petitions and even the “Tipileaks” gossip.

A worthy or even an unworthy opponent keeps an elected official sharp.

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