The Mayor, Manager, Chief Roadie

By: Bill Whaley
13 April, 2019

Why do elected officials resent the community?

I toured a portion of Kit Carson Park “inside the wire,” where the Town of Taos is constructing a barrage of metallic and concrete sculpture, honoring the metal gods of rock and roll while cutting off the organic history—the roots and limbs—rendering trees if not lifeless then dying. Perhaps the Council has been inspired by the example of the Kachina Lodge overseer who “clear-cut” the old-growth on main street. We hear the Town plans to chainsaw the trees on the Plaza, nature’s sculpted nichos of time immemorial because they got a grant for “beautification.”

But it should not surprise us that a populace, which selects an outsourced mayor (Barrone), who nominates Rasputin (Bellis) and Roadie (Miller) as factotums to do the dirty work of a professional tree killer and noise polluter, the people, concur with the pig roaster. As history and culture disappear into the maw of this Moby Dick of Modernity, the times, at the Kachina, the Kit Carson Park, the Plaza, say goodbye to historic Taos and hello to the Strong at Heart Main-streeters who toll the bells of Our Lady of Gentrification.

The once and future historical-hysterical community, whose residents spent decades living or whose newcomer members also bought expensive homes, both in the historic district but all suffer the rising decibels of decay and destruction, which the “bait and switch” tactics of Trumpism honor in terms of the Mayor and Manager’s policy of “displacement.”

Apparently “resentment” rises up as the guardians of community engage in El Mitote rather than the authentic spirit of Poco Tiempo aqui en Taos. The Mayor and Manager appear to be spitting at us.

Out on Highway 64, the poets of El Mitote engage not in the “ethics” of Standing Rock, which follows in the wake of symbolic and real Taos Pueblo, when it won the Battle of Blue Lake in 1970 as the progenitor of spiritual rights. Then those on the other side of the cattle guard convinced the government to take the side of justice alongside the natives of “Time Immemorial.”

The same members of “Time Immemorial,” continue today the journey. The short-hand name refers to “Abeyta” but in formal terms on the document the name is known as the “Taos Pueblo Water Settlement.” The settlement means, as everyone but the ignorant know, that the agreement protects the Sacred Buffalo Pasture of which El Prado’s new well is the most visible symbol of both displacement and accommodation.

Of course, the good will of the Abeyta signatories has been undermined not by the negotiated peace but by the devilish details dreamed up by attorneys and hydrologists and the occasional dirty pol. The Water Protectors like the Mayor and Manager and Roadie, engage in “mauvais foi” (bad faith), whether due to laziness or a lack of imagination because they refuse to look under the hood, between the book covers, or at their own errors of analysis re; the historic attempt to adjudicate and adjust for the sins of colonization and “Manifest Destiny” on both sides of the cattle guard.

Just as the town killed the Spring Ditch on behalf of “economic development” and “modernity” so the local agents of destruction (town council?) want to kill the trees because a week end full of concert groupies offers brief solace to the bottom line of the hospitality industry. Meanwhile the “attractions” of the historic community are going the way of “gentrification.” As the Americans said during the war in Vietnam, “You’ve got to destroy the village to save it.”

Here’s one of our favorite poems, written by Joyce Kilmer: short and sweet.

Joyce Kilmer, 1886 – 1918

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only [Taos Officials want to kill] a tree.