“Stop this Harassment”

By: Bill Whaley
31 July, 2011

Breaking news. Both Congressman Pearce and Congressman Lujan voted with their constituents and against the budget bill. We congratulate them and hope the liberals and conservatives find common ground in the future: Cut spending on wasteful programs; close tax loopholes for the wealthy–all in the interests of creating jobs. Good for you guys.

In the letter posted below, Town Crier Jeff Northrup captures local conflict in a nutshell: “We are Taosenos and we are name-callers.” According to a rant, posted on DMC Broadcasting (1340 KVOT), the Rush Limbaugh-like shock-jock recently discovered that nepotism and cronyism are rampant in local government. The shock-jock, who was let go from the love-peace station north of the Blinking LIght,, appears to be “shocked, shocked” at what really goes on in local politics.

As former Mayor Bobby Duran once said, “Everybody in Taos is related.” Course he wasn’t referring to newcomers but the natives. But this is news to some people.

Last year, a committee voted to reward Jeff Northrup with the designation of “Living Treasure.” But the designation received little or no publicity due to the town leaders distaste for the message. Hence the annual program was cancelled. The Crier represents the voice of those who want cheaper gas, better treatment for animals and a more transparent approach to local government. But the man, incidentally the Mayor of the town, who owns four radio stations, can’t abide the Crier’s not-so-subtle message about allegations of “corruption.”

During a recent town meeting, he Mayor referred to one of his councilors as a “Maggot.” Previously, one of his council members at the famed 4th of July firecracker incident in 2010, called the Crier, a “faggot.” A tape of the latter incident was played for one and all during the kangaroo court trial of the Crier for “trespassing.” Apparently, you can watch a video tape of last week’s town meeting, thanks to Taos TV on one web site or another.

During her rap about the sudden discovery of nepotism, the shock jock expressed her abhorrence for “name-calling.” The jock mentioned the word “maggot” but did not credit her boss with his witty remark yet he  himself speaks for the town, he has said, according to news reports. “Breakfast with Nancy” fans  were treated to the alleged dating history of a current councilor. The shock jock  implied that (a long-since discontinued) relationship confirmed her allegations of cronyism and nepotism.

Indeed, the Jock attacked councilors for having voted to give the manager a severance package. In reality, councilors initiated the package as a barrier against interference by the micro-manager in chief, according to the Maggot himself. Alas, the Mayor made his feelings known and he wanted the Manager out. The Council conformed to his wishes with the exception of the so-called “Maggot,” who wanted the manager to fulfill his term.

(The “Maggot” incidentally and ironically, was once the brother-in-law of the so-called “Faggot” these many marriages ago. Does ex-in-law count as “Nepotism? BTW: Jeff is a stone-cold hetero as far as I know and wouldn’t want the local LGBT folks to take offense. Rightfully so, we don’t know whether various politicos are married, divorced,  or even if they spend an occasional night in the district they represent! Course Flavio knows wherein they misplace their private lives but that’s another story.)

Full disclosure

Once I published a journal about local politics and culture in which the Crier advertised his passport business. One month, he included a tiny photo of Mayor Bobby Duran. Bobby sued for commercial misappropriation of imagery and the result cost us all $22,000 a piece in expenses. Call it a $66,000 lesson in defense of stupidity for all three of us.

During my aegis as the majority owner and manager of KVNM (KTAO today) back in the 80s, the current Shock Jock at DMC, aka Nancy Stapp, got her start as a radio announcer. Though she has a natural gift for radio, the rip and reader has little knowledge of local politics and culture, which takes long years of study and attendance at meetings and long hours on the phone with credible ethnocentric sources, “who know.”

Nancy’s recent discovery of “nepotism” is a case in point. It’s never a question of hiring relatives, just hiring the right relative. Some can’t get hired because they are disliked by family members. It cuts both ways, this nepotism.

Anyway, due to a male chauvinist operations manager, whom I hired under desperate circumstances back then, she filed an EEOC complaint that was dismissed. . Though he hired on at no cost, his bedside manner was abrupt: He also fired Young Hockmeyer at the time.  Later, the Stapper filed an OSHA complaint against us because the wind blew our outhouse over at the Blueberry Hills studio–hence a lack of facilities. We had little money for electricity and none for running water.

We were guilty as charged—though the investigator said he was more concerned with problems at the Uranium Mine in Grants than he was with toilet complaints in Taos. Nancy left eventually and went on to a fab career—only to return, again and again, to radio in El Norte.

Back to the present

According to a report in “The Taos News,” the recent 100 Gs plus settlement agreement in the termination of the Town Manager,  includes a clause that “ calls for members of the Town Council to refrain from `any negative public comment regarding (Miera’s) tenure with the town that would negatively affect his opportunities for employment, including but not limited to, statements capable of, or causing, the defamation of his character.’”

So you can’t accuse the Mayor, owner of four radio stations, of turning the Shock Jock, our own loveable Nancy loose with fangs bared, on all and sundry who have either supported and/or dated the young manager’s relatives lo’ these many years ago. Like Rupert Murdoch, the Mayor can’t know or control all his underlings. There are just too many.

Now the Town enforcers have been ordered in at one time or another to either arrest the Town Crier or confiscate his signs. The  enforcers have resisted as best they can even as the Judge embraced the Mayor’s tune: “Waltzing Matilda.”

Now comes some guy named Morris with the new stick.

Certainly mayors, publishers, and even former brothers-in-law can attest to the Crier as an irritant. But we don’t think police state tactics are any more appropriate in Taos than they are in Orlando, Florida. There the local Mayor had Taoseno Keith McHenry arrested for feeding the homeless in the park—according to The New York Times.

The Crier has brought down opprobrium on himself by attacking long-held religious beliefs about LGBT in this, a most conservative faith-based community. We think his courage and conviction, regardless of irritation and expense, should be applauded—not curtailed. He stands up for all men, women, and those in-between.

Jeff has criticized  the Mayor for negotiating with  Rabbit Reyes to use the proffered Command Center as a Cop Shop. The Crier doesn’t know that the whole idea is a red herring. Reyes and the Trustees have no intention of letting the Town share the facilities. That’s why they have never offered the Town a document with facts and figures about potential expenses. This is just another “bait and switch” story not unlike Nancy’s “gotcha” rant.

We’ve all been gotten.

Jeff’s Letter

July, 30, 2011
To: Taos town fathers and various employees
:

Below is the July 22, 2011, email letter addressed to William Morris,
the new town of Taos Planning Director. I sent this to Mr. Morris, as
well as to various town officials. No one, including Mr. Morris, has
responded to me in any way. I briefly addressed the town council on
7-26-11 on the issues, alerting the town council to his rogue activities
regarding my picketing. In other words, more than sufficient notice has
been given by me to the town that my constitutional rights are again
being threatened by the town of Taos.

Then, while picketing on the morning of 7-28-11, near the Taos County
complex, on Paseo del Pueblo Sur, about one-half mile south of the Taos
Plaza, I noticed two town employees about to steal one of my signs…..
I quickly approached them, only to find out that they had already just
stolen two of my signs, and were in the process of taking a third one;
I had about 14 signs on display that day. These two employees were
Rachel Romero and David Martinez. They were both very courteous and
respectful as they explained that they were acting on orders from Mr.
Morris. They also told me that they would return my stolen signs to me
if I agreed to immediately pick up all my signs. I agreed, and they
left. Within one-half hour I was packed up and gone.

I contacted Mr. Morris later that day by telephone, and he said he’d
been out of town and had not read my 7-22-11 email. While I was
disappointed with this, I told Mr. Morris that I would give him until
Monday evening, 8-1-11, to do whatever he needed to do to come up to
snuff on my picketing situation within town limits. The incident on
7-28-11 would be considered by me to be nothing more than a
misunderstanding, couched in ignorance and exuberance, within the town
bureaucracy.

I’m alerting the town fathers now, via this email, to do what’s
appropriate to calm this matter. While David Martinez assured me,
unprompted, at least twice during our encounter on 7-28-11, that this
situation was not triggered by the content of my signs, we all know
better. The free speech and political nature of my signs, protected by
the First Amendment to the US Constitution, are legal, while many
commercial signs throughout the town are in violation of town
ordinances, and many pose a clear threat to public safety. For
instance, Taos News vendors, out hawking that rag Thursday morning,
endanger their own safety and that of others as they duck and dive in
the roadways.

After I gathered up my signs, I took almost an hour to drive around Taos
and photographically document the dozens of violations of the sign code,
many that involve roadside code violations; many are a clear safety
hazards. Most I’ve photographically documented before. These signs,
all of a non-political nature, seem to not bother code enforcement. So
be it.

Several of my signs on 7-28-11 dealt with Daniel Miera, and the bullying
mayor failing to take full responsibility for this town manager leaving
with a $128,000 bulge in his pocket, and the mayor’s diabolical interest
in bailing out buddy Luis Reyes by his under-the-radar-plan to move the
Taos Police department to the white elephant KCE Command Center (this
ongoing relationship between the mayor, Luis Reyes, and the Centinel
Bank has thus far mainly gone unexplored). I suspect that the decision
to prohibit my picketing reaches beyond the office of the very-recently
hired William Morris.

Again, let’s stop this harassment now before I must waste my time and
money on protecting my rights to inform the citizens of Taos on various
matters, be they gas prices, media corruption, political corruption, gay
hating, animal protection issues and whatever else is being ignored or
lied about in the more traditional media. The NM-ACLU contacted the
town last summer about its interference with my picketing, and I suspect
that they may be interested again should Mr. Morris, with his bosses
above and minions below, decide to pester me. I will not resume
picketing within town limits before Tuesday, 8-2-11.

Yours sincerely, wasting away, Jeff Northrup (770-7555)

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