Response To County Council’s Downtown Masterplans Proposals


Ya know…. a lot of things have happened in 21 years.  People come, people go, life continues, and we forget our histories.  Well, some of us don’t, so maybe we should refresh our memories.  In May Los Alamos will celebrate the 21st anniversary of the tenacity of our firefighters, our Hot Shots, and supporting many other neighboring and distant firefighting teams, our police, our letter carriers, Los Alamos County Emergency Response, and countless volunteers in their effort to evacuate and save the town’s residents and animals. Yes, even our letters carriers went door to door to evacuate residents.  It sounds like not many people remember the blaze that tore through town in May 2000.  They all did an amazing job, and everyone was evacuated successfully.

This is a town of math and science, so at this point let’s take a short math break.  You have a narrow diameter drain at the bottom of a pool that empties out at a slow steady pace, and you have a fire hydrant filling the pool at a considerably higher rate (out pacing the drain considerably).  How long will it take for the pool drain to be overwhelmed?

Now let’s apply that hypothetical word problem to the reality of this high density housing proposal.  It might serve County Council to contact the person who developed the LA County 2000 Evacuation/Emergency Plan to see what it took to empty this town in a timely, safe manner for the Cerro Grande Fire.  There were only so many paved roads, dirt roads, and potential evacuation routes out of Los Alamos to get the approximately 20,000 residents out of Los Alamos at that time, and none have been added since May 2000.  In fact, I would like to point out Trinity Drive has been modified to slow down traffic going through town.  Realistically, there are only 2 paved roads for Los Alamos, and White Rock to evacuate on, because even the dirt roads empty out to the same area paved roads.  Traveling east we have Los Alamos and White Rock merging at the base of the Main Hill Road, NM-502.  Traveling west we have Los Alamos and White Rock merging at the Back Gate on State Route 4.  One is not going to be available in the event of an emergency situation. I am not afraid of your “D” word, “high density” housing.  But you are going to have to excuse my revulsion at your contempt for the safety and welfare of the towns population so you can bathe in the real “D” word, the “almighty DOLLAR”.

Delia Cruz-Murphy