Taos Town Council Slithers Into Dictatorship

The universal zeitgeist is extremely right wing and proud of it. And it’s not just Washington, London and Paris. This mentality is spreading its tentacles into every nook and cranny of our lives. It certainly isn’t hard to see the ramifications in Taos where government is in dictatorship mode.

Transparency loses in Taos as some meetings go private by Ken Manning details in the 6/23 Taos News how Taos Town Council voted to amend the town code regarding public meetings, restricting the public from attending meetings of the Development Review Committee. “Town Manager Rick Bellis was adamant that the public be cut out.” Guess he and 3 other council members, including the mayor were generally pissed at losing their effort to expand Smith’s Grocery and locate cheap housing across an enormous expanse of open green pasture land with historical significance. Did I mention that the location was in the center of town?

Appearing in the My Turn section, the article explains the new restrictions: “The public would no longer be able to attend meetings, nor be made aware that such meetings were to occur.” No agenda will be posted; no minutes will be taken. The town attorney told them closed meetings violate NM Open Meetings Act and the Town Council ignored him.

Strangely enough Taosanos don’t seem to give a rat’s ass. I received no replies from locals to posts made on Facebook. And the folks I talked with in person were not interested in even reading about the matter so I contacted the man always in the know – Bill Whaley – and asked what on earth is happening and he replied: “We have entered a new era of profound apathy. You can’t lead this horse to water, he or she ain’t thirsty.” (Check out Bill’s online political journal at Taosfriction.com).

The purpose of the Development Review Committee is “to meet regularly with developers to discuss how proposed developments can be approved.” Why would they want to bring extreme uglies to a unique, culturally rich community if not for some kind of kick-back from development siting, whether a big box Walmart or one more fast food restaurant or Family Dollar?

My hackles have always gone up when encountering dictatorships that forcibly promote developers and corporate entities. But apathy in the face of such hideous control is beyond comprehension. Somehow it reminds one of the Germans living downwind of concentration camps ignoring the odor of burning flesh and pretending to smell nothing. Yes that is an extreme comparison but apathy toward dictatorship is identical in function, or so it seems to this writer.

Have never been able to understand the quality of local government representing this community. It’s been an unfortunate array of questionable mentality for decades, but never has such disrespect of residents occurred to my knowledge. Fortunately, in Taos the people always rule – one way or another. They have a history of stopping the uglies just as they stopped the expansion of Walmart and Smiths. I am confident the locals will awaken and take action in a timely manner. The news regarding Town Council slithering will sneak past their restrictions one way of the other. All will be revealed.

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