Opinion: Still waiting for home rule in Taos

By Matthew Swaye, Taos
Posted 5/9/19

I'm waiting for home rule. The town code is the rules of the game. Life's no game. What's it like, children, with all the adults making D.C. jokes, and nobody following local governance?

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Opinion: Still waiting for home rule in Taos

Posted

I'm waiting for home rule. The town code is the rules of the game. Life's no game. What's it like, children, with all the adults making D.C. jokes, and nobody following local governance? It took determination to read it. The code seems like an excellent foundation. A close inspection I made where it allowed me.

We can't. We're waiting for home rule. When was the town code last redrafted?

Do you want to talk about the town code? Help pass time? The process is unsuccessful in bringing reform when the current power players rewrite the code. Involvement of lawyers yields an expensive town code that's difficult to read. A town code is like a county charter or state constitution. The code is too many pages, folded in my boot. We could read it aloud under this weeping willow while we're waiting for home rule.

The town code was redrafted years ago and years before that, too.

Let's read it serious and flat, then fast and funny.

Who has time to be on an unpaid committee redrafting the town code? This takes energy, flexibility and new thinking. We're busy. Whose schedule can civic responsibility be integrated into? Students and their teachers are ideally equipped.

What surprises us, causes us to laugh or scratch our heads? What are some unintended consequences of the current rules? How does our town's code compare and contrast with codes other municipalities use? The students, they seem like they're waiting for home rule, too.

High school students working on a town code remix might read the code, circling terms to define, underlining phrases repeated frequently, starring subjects for discussion. When Santa Fe County got home rule passed, a citizen committee redrafted their charter, slimming it down to a readable and usable 25 pages. Let's go.

A classroom town code curriculum would enfranchise young people to write a set of rules the voters love. They're some of the freshest air in Taos. I trust their capacity for reformation. I'd trust them to write an everybody code.

Matthew Swaye lives in Taos.

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