KCEC Provokes Homespun Outrage in Cerro

By: Bill Whaley
3 December, 2012

The recent resignation of Trustee Francis Cordova of El Prado from the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) Board of Trustees may well cost the members a cool $15,000, estimates trustee Virgil Martinez. “When the war gets hot he (Cordova) leaves,” said the man from Cerro. Apparently the discussions at KCEC are getting heated. Trustee Martinez said the board should leave Cordova’s position vacant until spring elections.

The estimate of $15,000 includes per diem reimbursement, travel, food, air tickets for schooling and certification of a new director.  “Trustees don’t stay at Motel 6,” said Virgil. “We stay at the best. We don’t mess around.”

Martinez said Trustee Cordova’s program, “Neighbors helping neighbors should be called neighbors screwing neighbors. There’s something fishy going on.” The man from Cerro voted against a raise for the CEO and rate increases that embroiled the Coop in public hearings at the PRC, hearings which revealed huge losses, cost over-runs, and flamboyant disregard for fiscal probity during the last decade.

Now the Reyes Broadband program—the Obama ARRA deal for El Norte—is making $60 million in rain fall on the cuates of the Coop. Luis’s Broadband buddy program makes FDR’s new Hispanic Deal of the 30s and 40s look like chump change in comparison. The god of techno is alive and well but what will the folks do with it?

Cordova’s reasons for resigning have been reported variously as a “health problem,” a conflict with “VA benefits” and, as one El Prado native said of the former National Guarder and retired first sergeant, “he wants to spend more time with his family.” But Cordova’s busy son Francisco doesn’t’ have much time, having benefitted from numerous contracts around the town, thanks to El Papa’s connections, according to reports.

Sgt. Cordova himself has been singularly honored for his service to the country and particularly Taos. He helped keep the home front safe from marauders (except for hippies) while serving as a favorite hunting guide for generals from the Vietnam era of the sixties right up to the beginning of the 21st Century and the Bush–Iraq war, called Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL). The good sergeant managed to retire just before the local troops were called up (though his contemporary, the indefatigable Bernabe Visarriagas of El Prado, who joined the Guard with Cordova in 1967, served in Iraq).

Neither served in ‘Nam. “Why do you think we joined the guard?” said another contemporary. “Thank goodness Bernabe survived. Course, after working at La Contenta, he knew how to dodge  the bullets and bottles.” La Contenta, featured in Easy Rider, was the chief cantina in El Prado lo’ these many years ago.

If you had a problem in Taos, you used to call Francis at 1-800-movidas.

Insiders at the Coop say Cordova is jumping ship so CEO Reyes’ one-time classmate, David Torres, can be appointed and given a head start on next spring’s Coop elections. Cordova and the board backed the Arroyo Seco native newcomer against incumbent trustee Luisa Mylet last spring but everyone’s favorite mama soundly trounced Torres. (Now an El Salto abuela is expected to have her way with the Coop.)

Trustee Martinez says the appointment, whoever it is, will be a problem, given the upcoming elections. “They (the board) will make trouble for the new trustee and educate the guys who aren’t selected but who are running. It’s a mistake. But they (the members) will blame me, too, as part of the group. Members don’t come to meetings and know what these guys do.”

Trustees Martinez, Mylet, and Adang (see blog below), fiscal conservatives, are out-numbered 8 to 3 on the board.

Virgil said Bobby (board chairman) “yells at me” during meetings. He and Luis are in cahoots.” But Virgil, the Moly mineworker, who breaks rock when he isn’t hauling hay and feeding cows, says he’s not afraid of trustees who yell or want to go outside to the parking lot. “They just sit around and talk,” he said. “They aren’t in shape.”

Commenting on the general state of affairs in the community, the man from Cerro said that the town mayor, town council, CEO and board of trustees “all work for the puppet master.”

(Editor’s Note: Reports from the Upper Las Colonias Neighborhood Association, horribilis dictu, can’t be repeated on public posts but the suburbanites appear to be losing the battle to the ruralistas.)


Memo from Adang’s KCEC Blog


The following matters were taken up at the November Kit Carson board meeting:

1. For October, the coop had a $92,000 margin (profit). Year-to-date, the margin is $841,000. The TIER ratio is 1.35. The weather will determine whether the coop makes its RUS-required margin and TIER. November has thus far been warmer than normal, and the ski areas are not making snow because it melts during the warm afternoons. As a consequence, November revenues can be expected to be lower than normal.

2. Long-term debt continues to be $77 million. $15 million has been drawn down on the broadband loan/grant (at the rate of 30% loan/70% grant).

3. The coop will complete the refinancing of $26 million in long-term RUS debt in January at a lower interest rate to achieve about $5 million in interest savings over the life of the loans.

4. It is expected that fiber-optic cable service will be available to the members in some areas as early as the spring of 2013. There is still not a schedule of prices and services that will be available although the board members were promised a proposed schedule shortly.

5. Town officials made a presentation on the proposed move of the 911 facility to Kit Carson’s Command Center. The Command Center is currently occupied (1200 s/f) by Kit Carson). There is about 1300 s/f of common area. Of the remaining 8000 s/f, the 911 facility will occupy about 2500 s/f at a rental of $5000 per month if the move is made. There is no current lease prospect for the balance of 4500 s/f of the building. In any event, although the Town Council voted to move the 911 facility to the Command Center almost a year ago, and despite having two studies made of the cost, the Town is now in the process of hiring a third consultant for a third cost estimate. Once that report is completed, the Town Council will then make a decision whether the Town can afford to make the move. What this means for Kit Carson members is that no final decision from the Town can be expected before next Spring and the Command Center will continue to be a drain on the coop’s resources.

6. There was a discussion of the Tri-State PRC matter on which I reported in my last blog.

7. Trustee Francis Cordova tendered his resignation from the board effective January 1, 2013, for health reasons. The board will elect a replacement to fill out the term to May 2033. Notices will be published in the Taos News requesting that interested parties apply to the coop to fill the position. The board will interview applicants by mid-December and will elect the replacement trustee at the December board meeting.

8. The board voted to have Kit Carson file a protest against Tri-State’s rate increase and new rate design with the RUS, following the lead of two Colorado cooperatives that took such action.

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