Double Standards

Letter To The Editor_Pongratz Endorses Chris Chandler For House District 43 Seat


Tuesday night I had the opportunity to present the past 12 months of activities for the Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB) to Los Alamos County Council. For normal boards, this would include a Powerpoint presentation from the chair discussing all the progress, challenges, and future items the board has coming up. It would also include a time for questions from council after. Tuesday had those, plus a significant amount more that were unprecedented and uncalled for.

I presented the appearance of a double standard for board appointments as a challenge to the board making progress in its goals. I offered the example of the Transportation board getting an appointment of 1 member on 7/14/20 while there were 3 vacancies. The Art in Public Places board had 1 appointment on 6/30/20 for 2 vacancies as well. Conversely, CDAB had 3 nominees for 4 vacancies back on 11/12/19 and only got 2 appointments from people that were re-applicants. The reasoning behind this was “needing more applicants”. This portion of my presentation awarded me the opportunity to be scolded and talked down to by a county councilor for including “my opinion” without qualification of that in the presentation. Since only the chair is involved (usually) in the appointment process, this is absolutely relevant for inclusion in the presentation from the chair. Including this in the presentation does nothing to dilute the notion that there is an appearance of a double standard.

Along with being scolded and talked down to, there was also the unprecedented action of allowing two other board members to discuss their own personal opinions with the county council. Personal attacks were lobbed and allowed by the council chair. There are a time and a place for things like this, and a public meeting where decorum is usually expected is not the place. I can withstand personal attacks, but let’s have it done in an appropriate forum. By simply allowing the two additional board members to speak during the presentation (regardless of what was said), the appearance of a double standard is now shattered. It now is a flagrant, blatant, and obvious double standard. 

This begs another question to be asked. If someone watched this meeting at home, what would they think of the boards and commission process? Would they want to apply for a board to potentially subject themselves to this? Things needs to change, and they need to change now. My spirit is not easily broken. I was a sailor in the U.S. Navy. It will take a lot more than harsh words and criticisms to bring me to my knees. Like John Paul Jones, I have not yet begun to fight. There is no place in local government for actions like this. I will not tolerate double standards as chair of CDAB, nor if elected to county council.

Aaron Walker
Independent Candidate for County Council
CDAB Chair