Money to a politician is like crack cocaine to a drug addict and they will do anything to get it, even pimping out a public park to a private corporation for a commercial event and without …
Money to a politician is like crack cocaine to a drug addict and they will do anything to get it, even pimping out a public park to a private corporation for a commercial event and without substantiated or documented economic benefits to the town as a whole.
Indeed, this paper reported that the town has yet to provide an analysis or accounting of actual financial benefits. In the very least, this smells of malfeasance. And no business owner I spoke with saw an increase in business.
Did the town decision to hold Taos Vortex in Kit Carson Park consist of a conversation over beers or merely an email assurance from the CEO of Meow Wolf, who not only personally profited but was recently given over $1million in our tax dollars (another misappropriation of public assets) to build an office building Santa Fe? Corporate welfare's never been so good or evidently so easy. Hmmm.
The issue is not that the park has improved over the years. Any child sees that. And fearmongering by officials that somehow Taos employees' jobs depend on these spectacles is nonsense. Nor does the validity of one's opinion on the matter depend on being born here, which smacks of the same bigotry and hate emanating from the bowels of Washington, D.C. Both those born here and those who choose to live here have equal standing to speak.
One fact is certain. The town's appetite for these huge, loud, commercial events will not be sated. It's the nature of the beast. But it doesn't have to be this way.
New Orleans, for example, where I promoted bands and lived and which bills itself as the party capital of the country and relies exclusively on tourist dollars, stages the nationally known Jazzfest that ends at 7 p.m. every night. It packs the fairgrounds with adults and children alike to experience acts, art, food for all ages.The Voodoo Fest, which some consider a model for Taos, only occupies a small section of City Park, leaving the rest open to the public.
Indeed, Lafayette, Louisiana, goes further and hosts the acclaimed Festival International - closing downtown for the weekend and bringing acts in from all over the world to be enjoyed by all age groups along with food and art. Oh, did I mention it was free? And all these events have documented the well-established economic benefits to the towns in the public record.
The choice for Taos is between huge, unnecessary corporate events that profit a few at the expense and detriment of the community or commonsense community - including family-oriented social events in the proper venue for all, without overnight camping, noise or late night hours. As in the Taos County Fair.
Otherwise, Taos takes yet another step toward becoming just another Any Town, USA. Not only will these big city commercial acts fail to convince younger people to stay or move back, as if, but these mega-events will further convince those living here to leave.
I trust common sense and responsible government will prevail and Taos preserves that which is magical and does not sell its soul and public assets for imaginary dollars. We can and should do better.
We owe it to ourselves.
Vince Bowers is a Taos resident.
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