Gary Stradling: Allowed, Forbidden, Compelled?

Republican Candidate for County Councilor
White Rock

As we were finalizing the negotiations on the Open Skies Treaty technical implementation protocols, the question was asked, “What about areas not specifically allowed by the Guidance Document?” The Russians immediately responded, “If it is not permitted by the agreement, it must be forbidden!” The Americans said, “If it is not explicitly forbidden, then it is permitted!” This was the third year I had been the chairman of this 26-nation technical negotiating group, which met in Vienna, Austria. 

America was founded on a fundamental principle of freedom. Our Declaration of Independence declared that freedoms are basic to all humans, that all are created equal, and that restriction of those freedoms through human government can only be done by agreement of the governed through the voice of the people. However, from the beginning of this nation, this principle of freedom has been challenged by those who think they have a right to rule others. 

Los Alamos County has a representative government with a process for establishing county laws. We elect county councilors to represent us. I am running for one of those representative county councilor seats this November.

I believe in freedom. I also believe in the value of representative government. Working together in common agreement empowers communities to accomplish much more than any of us can individually do. We can work together to have community benefits like roads, utilities, libraries, parks and a police force. Depending on our community views, we can choose from a diverse spectrum of mutually-enabled cooperative efforts. But the default choice is for each of us to do what we want to do. 

There are always those with “great ideas” for everyone. There are eager proponents of enforcing those ideas on the rest of us.  We must balance the overriding public good and individual freedom against these enthusiasts for compulsion.

Issues currently before our community include: 

  • compelling citizens to use expensive electrical energy sources instead of natural gas; 
  • compelling citizens to comply with increasingly restrictive cosmetic requirements for their properties; 
  • compelling citizens to pay extra for water with a punitive rate if they like to garden or support a large family. 

As a county councilor, I will try to balance governance in favor of freedom, while supporting greater public good.  You can see my web page at