Sean Williams, co-owner of Automotive Professionals, has announced his campaign for Los Alamos County Council. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Sean Williams has announced his candidacy for Los Alamos County Council. He describes himself as a computer science PhD and a “former Labbie”.
“I wear three hats. First of all, I’m the co-owner of Auto Professionals where I’m the accountant, the business manager, more at the back end,” Williams said. “Second, I’m a planning and zoning commissioner, where I try to represent a business perspective, although it doesn’t come up super-often. Third, I’ve recently become a Realtor.”
Williams said like most people who were in graduate school before coming here, getting a PhD was all-consuming. He said he mostly focused on scholastics before coming to Los Alamos in 2008-2009 as a summer student at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Williams got his bachelor’s from Arizona State University and his PhD in computer science from the University of California, Davis.
Williams has been married to Jordan Durose, who he met in Los Alamos, for five years.
His interest in planning and zoning came when they were looking at the former Metzger’s property across from Los Alamos High School on Diamond Drive. He said he was surprised to find out that the property, which had housed an auto repair facility for many decades, was zoned light commercial and that auto repair was not allowed. He finds planning and zoning a fascinating subject and enjoys serving on that board.
As a county councilor, Williams said his biggest goals would be the revitalization of both the Los Alamos and White Rock downtown areas, and a rewrite of the development code. He would like to see “less Lab and more commerce” in the downtown areas. He noted that a request for proposals for consultants to work on a downtown master plan and development code revision is just spinning up and that he would like to participate in that process.
Williams has been following the North Mesa Housing project and expressed concern about the ability to structure the project so that the affordability of the proposed housing could be maintained. He mentioned the possibility of a land trust, which are used in Vermont for such projects, and the possibility of housing cooperatives.
Noting that the North Mesa project could take years, he said that while he doesn’t live on North Mesa, he will seek the opinions of the residents of the area while knocking on doors during his campaign for a Council seat.
Williams said despite the housing shortage, Los Alamos is a landlocked county and doesn’t have much space for development. He suspects that putting a bunch of apartment complexes out in the neighborhoods is not what people want, so he believes DP Road, the downtown areas of both towns and perhaps badged dormitories on LANL property are the places to look.
Williams discussed the recently approved strategic goals discussed by the County Council. He pointed out the County needs a better solution to the parking issues. He also believes the County should focus on re-development and then turn to new development.
“People shouldn’t select who they are going to vote for based on one particular issue. They need a clear thinker and a clear speaker. They can judge for themselves,” he said
Williams said “this side of the bridge” needs to be represented.
“The elephant in the room – White Rock – is not getting the attention it deserves. White Rock is the gateway to Bandelier. I want to see revitalization for White Rock with more tourist opportunities and frontage development on NM 4,” he said.
Williams said he is anxious to hear what people have to say as he campaigns from door-to-door.
‘Campaigning is a two-way street. I want to listen and hear what people in the community want,” he said.
Williams is holding a meet and greet event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Fleur de Lys, 1460 Trinity Drive.