Last night, September 22, was a travesty of a County Council meeting with so many subjects to tackle. I want to start off with the “Regional Capital Funds Project” discussion. I like to call it the “mattress fund” since council has been squirreling this money away for three years now with no official plan for it.
The plan as presented last night by Councilors Scott and Izraelevitz can only be described as arrogant, self-serving (to the county), and an attempt at legacy building. The council is attempting to set up a fund for regional communities that are being short changed on GRT. This, by itself is a fantastic idea. When coupled with the strings and requirements that are currently attached to the plan, it presents Los Alamos County as this overlord that must be groveled to for money.
Part of the plan is for council to approve of how the money will be spent. It will also call for a Memorandum of Agreement with our neighbors as well. This is all intended as an element of control over what our neighboring communities do, and it’s an insult to them. That’s not progress, that’s asking for problems.
This plan needs to move forward, but in the manner suggested by Councilors Williams and Robinson: no strings attached. Here is a check, spend it how you feel it needs to be spent in YOUR community.
Workers are living in these neighboring communities and Los Alamos is reaping the reward in the form of GRT. To assume Los Alamos knows how Espanola, neighboring Pueblo, or Taos want or need to spend the money that is rightfully theirs is the peak of arrogance.
Councilor Izraelevitz also stated that we need to earmark the dispersal of the funds so that we could get a “measure of success” for the program. I cannot remember a single major achievement that the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities had, so this argument is pure junk. This isn’t about bragging about how benevolent the county is, it’s about giving our neighbors their fair share of the boon LANL provides.
The Council needs to take a step back, and remove all of the arrogance and self-serving portions of this plan. Strip away all of the strings and write checks to our neighboring communities once the fund is robust enough. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, not because you want to brag about it or control every aspect of it.