Opinion: Taoseños in county – speak up

Judi Cantu

Thank you to everyone for their prayers and well wishes for my sweetheart James (Jimbo), when he suffered a near fatal accident on June 12. He is on a slow-mend back to recovery. His accident threw a monkey wrench in our entire summer delaying me from submitting letters to “My Turn.”

I am told often from Taoseños that they are frustrated because they cannot vote in town elections. The words I hear are, “I would vote for you if I could but I live in the county.” The purpose of this letter is, I want to make a point here. You may not be able to vote in town elections but this should not stop you from attending town meetings and voicing your thoughts and opinions. Many of the people in the audience are county residers. They attend and speak at meetings frequently as they are impacted by the decisions that will be made by the council. It is important not to drop out due to being a county resident. It is imperative to state that it is county residents that got the current administration elected and will be influential in the March 2018 elections as well. Please decide to make it a priority to be involved in the future of this community, so much is at stake if the wrong people are elected.

One must question, “Why do people come to Taos in the first place”? Is it not noticeable that this once charming community has become, Anywhere USA? It is sad when generational people say they no longer like it here and would like to move away. Move to where? Where can one move to after Taos? It is important for the people to fight for the integrity, authenticity and cultural significance of our town, what is left of it.

The Pandora’s Box was opened when everyone began to sell their land. Property values have quadrupled, property taxes have gone up, we have a Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree on every corner with more to come. How do we grow? What do we want? The silent majority which are the Natives of Taos Pueblo and the Hispanos need to come and speak and participate. The changes are impacting you!

The folks that get the attention are the folks that attend the meetings, the folks that call us and the folks that email us. We the Council work for you, the people of Taos. Every decision made has an impact on you Taoseños. Silence is acceptance so please, don’t be silent.

I hear that many Taoseños would like to attend meetings, however and because of the inconvenient time of the meetings, folks are at work. This is quite frustrating indeed as we really need to hear from the silent majority. I would like to know if meetings on the second and fourth Saturday of the month would be something you would attend? Beginning meetings at 10 a.m. on Saturdays should surely make a difference.

What we need are jobs and hope for the future, affordable housing and to take care of Taoseños. In doing this, we also need to respect and protect Mother Earth as not every area of space needs to be built on. Why do we love Taos Pueblo? Partly because they protect their land. We need to come up with more than tourism. We need to stop the over marketing of Taos, folks have been coming to Taos regardless for decades. The cultural integrity is being challenged. I have stated before, we are quickly being made into a resort town. The future of this town is being planned by developers that have moved here with no regards for the indigenous people here who didn’t think of being on the map.

This was a self sustaining community for centuries. Developers and others apparently with the mentality that this third world county needs subdivisions and homes for the rich and famous. Taos should not be sold out but it has by Taoseños themselves. Taos is going to grow. This is inevitable, but it needs to be controlled growth and smart growth. People who govern Taos need to be the indigenous people here with the soul for Taos and the respect for this incredible town. If you don’t understand this, I am sorry for you.

Cantu is a town of Taos councilor.