Candidate for Los Alamos County Council John Bliss addresses the audience during a recent candidates’ forum at the American Legion Post. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
John Bliss, candidate for Los Alamos County Council, believes the County Council is the leadership of the County.
“So the staff doesn’t lead, the County Manager doesn’t lead. By definition he or she is a manager and so the County Council needs to lead and I think that’s been somewhat lacking. I hear that from people. Before the filing date I had a lot of people ask me so why aren’t you running, so I am now,” Bliss told the audience at a recent candidate’s forum.
“One of the things I’ve said and I’ve kept in mind over the years is people talk about intended consequences and that my be true. But what I find is often those unintended consequences should not have been unanticipated and it takes experience and thought to make sure we don’t have so many unintended consequences,” he said.
Bliss described his experience including his 22 year military experience and time working with NATO and 22 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a group leader.
“For 40 years or so of my working life I have been a leader in one form or another – in technical efforts, groups of people in the field, still a deployable for LANL emergency response,” he said, adding that he has chaired and been on the Environmental Sustainability Board and a trustee of the United Church of Los Alamos for almost 20 years.
“I’ve been around for a while and I’ve seen county councilor candidates run for office. There’s little disagreement about what needs to be done but we’re standing here and after all these years we haven’t done a lot of it. There’s been some improvement, there’s no question about that, but we had a ton of money to spend to do those things,” Bliss said.
Bliss said he doesn’t have one single issue.
“We’ve got to do it all and do it efficiently and do it well and make sure it get done…. We want to take care of all the residents. It seems that too often the County is in conflict with the residents over minor issues and that shouldn’t be. The code enforcement is one issue but also building permits. Trying to get a fence permit or a sign permit is extremely difficult. We ought to make it easy to do the right thing,” he said.
“When someone is doing the right thing, trying to start a business or modify their home and bring it up to code, it should be easy for them to do that. We’re a small community. We should be able to agree. We don’t have to talk about people in other states, other kinds of communities. We should agree on what our standards are and how we want to live together in our community,” Bliss said.
Bliss also cited the need to take care of teens and middle schoolers. He also pointed out that the community has a lot of older residents, retirees and people with young families.
“We have to take care of business, including locally owned small business and we need to take care of LANL. We’re tied to them, we’re here and our fates are joined together with LANL. They’re performing a national mission and they can’t succeed without us, without the people who live here and work there, without the people that support those workers and provide services to them,” he said.
Bliss expressed concern about housing availability. He said people come here and people want top dollar for a home and then they need work to bring them up to modern standards.
“It’s hard to get a building permit. it’s hard to find builders up here or people to do renovation. It shouldn’t be difficult. We should find a way to make that happen,” he said.
Other issues Bliss spoke to included sustainability, solid waste, water, broadening business opportunities, infrastructure and the need for high-speed Internet service.
He also stressed the importance of quality of life.
“The County is going to grow. Change is going to happen but we don’t want the character of the County to change. We don’t want to lose the quality of life that we have,” he said.