Friday, May 29, 2015

Chronicle Closes

Last Issue

An award winning local paper closed its doors after its blindsided staff issued their final paper. Second homeowners and residents of the Village of Angel Fire were in absolute shock. And very angry.

The closing if the Chronicle and the Raton Comet left Colfax County, New Mexico without a newspaper of record. The parent company which owns the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Taos News claims local residents did not support the lessor papers and offered subscribers to convert their subscription to the Taos News.

The banner of the Santa Fe New Mexican founded in 1849 declares proudly that it is locally owned and independent. And yet it feels that is not necessary for the survival of its acquisitions. Most subscribers to the Chronicle say the New Mexican made a lot of mistakes since it bought the paper. First it tried to merge the Raton Comet into to the Chronicle. They were too far away in airy fairy Santa Fe to know we hate each other. There has been an underground movement for almost two decades to divide Colfax county in half. And we do not like the Taos News (or Taos really). We resent that we shop there but no one from Taos ever comes here. And all the Taos Galleries have a Taos artist only policy. But most importantly Raton is ranch country and we are the mountains. Taos is the other side of the mountain.

And under the less than independent standing the Chronicle brought in editors and reporters from far and distant cities. People who did not know anyone here and who seemed to resent being here. A small, local paper needs above all loyalty of its readers. And it needs to be local. Locally Owned and Independent to borrow a phrase from the Santa Fe, New Mexican. Its staff needs to understand and belong to the community. Northern New Mexicans, it is said, do not even talk to newcomers until they have been here two years. Why should we read what they wrote?

Everyone has an opinion as to why the Chronicle failed even after giving Raton its own paper. You hear the digital age bantered about but there are still a lot of people not connected, who want their news in a concrete form like paper. They want to sit in the coffee shop to work the puzzles, point out the picture of their granddaughter graduating from middle school to their friends, and discuss the editorial with the editor who they have known for years and lives next door when they come in for their double cap to go. And the local businesses in this tourist town, the ones that advertise, want a paper which says Angel Fire and not Taos on its banner.

It helps if you know it is not Angle Fire or Eagles Nest. And that Sangre de Cristo does not have an H.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Just Say NO, NO, NO

It is time the American people took back their power and their rights. Big money and illegal politics have stolen our lives, liberties and happiness. There is not a minute of time when some politician is not running for office. And this jams up our email in boxes, and our quiet time at night with pleas of money to support their campaigns.

Why should we. With the Citizens United verdict from the Supreme Court of the United States, our money does not count because the Koch brothers and their rich friends can always give more. They have already picked their winners and we are just for window dressing. Don't hang their curtains. It just encourages them.

And why should it take two years to run for any office in these United States? With mass media and the Internet 90 days should be enough. Australia does it. And we have already proven we can make bigger mistakes with two years to consider our candidates.

We are supposedly electing these citizens (seekers of higher paid lobby jobs) to govern. An elected president of the United States has two years to learn his job and then he is once again running for office. A congressman of the United States only holds his office for two years, so the minute he is sworn in his campaign for the next term is in full swing. When does he govern?

We have been asking for campaign reform since I was old enough to vote. But those that succeed at this game know the rules and how to play them so they are not going to vote to change them. But we can decide not to play. I propose a political boycott. I do not mean not vote. I mean do not encourage them. Do not back or encouraging or fund a candidate or his party until six months before the election.

Do not open political email. They have programs that let them know how opens and reads them. Just relegate them to spam. Unsubscribe doesn't work.

Do not answer political calls. Yes, you can block those annoying telemarketers but not politicians or political polls. Even if it is a robo call they know you picked up.

Do not back a candidate on social media.  All your friends are for Hillary and you seriously think you are voting for her but do not share her posts. I used to share Bernie Sanders posts but he has not come out as a presidential candidate. No more shares or likes.

No bumper stickers or buttons. They used to give these away and now they are tied to a minimum donation of $5. Just don't.

If they want to continue to campaign fine. But do not encourage them. We live in a vacuum while they play their political games in Washington or our state capitals. None of the bills we want get passed. So they want us to support them? DO NOT.

We should not encourage or support a system we do not believe in. We may believe in democracy (question as to whether we have one) but we never signed up for constant campaigning. Let them know the only way they get our attention is by doing their jobs.


That gives them six months to campaign. I think that is generous for just empty sound bytes produced by an advertising company. And we can use our free time for meaningful activities: Write our congressmen and women on issues; back policies we want to be passed as laws and sign petitions to repeal laws we do not like; Campaign for an amendment to overturn the SCOTUS decision on Citizens United. And we can work to make our corrupted elections fair again. We can try to ensure correct counts of votes. And we can organize in our neighborhoods to get every citizen registered to vote, and help them secure all the documentation they need to not be turned away at the polling place in November 8, 2016.

Let's make this next election real to win back the confidence of voters.