-You're not going to get people to tell you what's going on here for the record, because they're afraid of retaliation," one Catron County businessperson told High Country News, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"You've still got the faction
running this place that's been running it for the last 100 years -
the ranchers. The commissioners, the sheriffs, the people working
at the county clerk's office, they're mostly ranchers. People are
afraid to buck them. They control jobs, the schools - you name it.
They've got a conspiracy type of deal. But they know it's coming to
an end. That's why they're desperate.
"Our (county) commissioners
don't give a shit about the local economy. The only thing they're
interested in is making sure the cattle industry continues. They
don't care about the bars, the restaurants, or any of the local
businesses. Awhile back, there was a guy in office, and some of the
elderly Hispanic people thought he was the reason they got their
social security checks. And that's why they voted for him. People
here are so oppressed they can't even make up their own minds.
"When we lost the sawmill, it
hurt a lot of people. People are going to be soured, as they don't
understand how a bird can take precedence over their families.
Seems to me there's not much common-sense middle ground. We need
our ranches, we need to utilize our resources if they're properly
managed. There's a lot of good people here; a lot of good kids
here, and a good community here, and we've got a handful of people
that run it. That's the way it's always been and that's the way
it'll be "til they start to die off. Maybe the whole son-of-a-bitch
will burn down this year and we can start over."