Troubled By 20th Street Project



I have been so focused on the Los Alamos County’s pending ordinance No. 695 for the LEDA Project hotel on South 20th Street in Los Alamos that it has worn me down. Subsequently, I recently gave myself a couple of days rest.  I have needed it.

During this period I tried but failed to stop thinking about this #695 issue.  However, what my hiatus allowed was to go see the elk in the Valles Caldera, a mellowing endeavor, and ponder more deeply just why I have such intense animosity to this project as it now exists.  And it has become clear.

I personally am in no way financially affected by this project.  Nor am I a small business owner, so I am not connected in that way either.  But I am a citizen, and a registered voter, so that gives me some, yes, even legal, interest in this project.

The more I have dealt with this issue, in a broad sense, including Los Alamos County staff involved in the project and Los Alamos County Council and its open meetings, the more troubled I have become.

It could be said that I don’t have all the facts.  Well, yes.  Perhaps that is because this project has been hush-hush since June 2019, while the details were worked out?  No announcements, no transparency, nothing.  It only became public when the Council put it on their agenda, I believe in late September.  At least that is when I first became aware of the project.

My objections to this project are:

1)   County staff have worked behind the scenes, so the public has had no knowledge of why TNJLA, LLC/Inc. (whichever) was chosen to be the developer.  I resent County staff making such decisions, when this issue is clearly a PUBLIC concern. I have felt that I/we are being force-fed this project “for our own economic good”, (as defined by County Manager Burgess and (at least) two of his subordinate staff).

2)   I have intense objection to TNJLA, Llc. being an OUT-OF-COUNTY entity. I know for a fact that a certain Los Alamos resident and commercial property owner has the capability to do this project just as well as TNJLA, Llc. but was never approached, nor asked by the County if interested.

3)   The transfer of the title of the land to this OUT-OF-COUNTY entity especially incenses me. I don’t accept that this approach is better for the good of the community than say working with a home-grown local girl, Shannon CdeBaca.  In fact, most all of my objections to the project would disappear if the name on the agreement were Shannon’s and the name on the project entity was Shannon Corp.

So there you have it.  The core of my animosity is that, in a vacuum, three County Staff members including the County Manager are deciding not only what is good for the citizens of this 18,000+ resident community, but also who should be awarded the contracts.

I have voiced concerns elsewhere on social media that this project which is for a hotel with 86 extended stay suites have been promulgated by County staff as benefiting the local economy when, in fact, the very nature of extended stay suites is to attract patrons who can save money by eating in their suite rather than going out to local restaurants for dinner.  I also have objected elsewhere to the County proposing dire need for an uptown Conference Center when they already have fully functioning facilities at the Cottonwood on the Greens facility at our County golf course.

My objections to this project would, in large part disappear, if the developer’s name were changed from Tushar Patel to Shannon CdeBaca, and the Corporate entity from TNJLA, LLC to Shannon Corporation.

Stuart Bowling,
Los Alamos County resident and registered voter