BY AARON WALKER
The County Council meeting last night was a spectacle of how out of touch several sitting members of Council are. I am of course referencing the discussion regarding the Chapter 18 nuisance code update. This is a work that has been in progress for close to six (yes, six) years now. What does it look like we are getting out of it? Class discrimination, elitism, and much more.
Dekker/Perich/Sabatini (DPS, the consultant) stated several times throughout their presentation that the feedback they had received was that residents wanted a nuisance code that was focused on health and safety related issues. This was likely the genesis for removing the “weeds” section of the nuisance code. DPS proceeded to then discuss several sections of the code that were particularly controversial, and the feedback regarding those sections. One new, and abysmal surprise was the suggestion of adding sidewalk maintenance to the nuisance code and placing the responsibility on the residents to perform sidewalk maintenance. This is wholly unacceptable and completely out of touch. Luckily, most of council seemed to agree with me on that issue but residents still need to keep an eye on that, to make sure the Council elitists do not try to slide it in there.
The major issue at hand here is when councilors started asking questions. The discussion immediately turned to aesthetics and how these sections of code are NEEDED somehow for the good of the community. This is AFTER DPS told councilors that the feedback they received was in favor of health and safety items. Councilor Derkacs stated that people would not want to see cars covered with tarps, and that a cover designed to fit the vehicle should be a requirement. If you care about a car being covered by a tarp, an HOA/gated community is right for you. If seeing a tarp covering a car is SO bad you think it should be a civil crime (which the nuisance code is), you are rich enough to be so miserably out of touch with the lives of people that have less than you. Councilor Izraelevitz agreed on the issue of tarps, and this was not the only class warfare and elitism on display.
Weeds came back up again, with Councilors Derkacs and Izraelevitz again leading the charge for maximum weed heights and lists of “noxious weeds”. Elitism clearly on display from a position of power showing complete disregard for the input DPS has received and hard work CDAB has done. This is not surprising, given that these same two councilors engaged in disgusting underhanded tactics trying to discredit me while I was chair of CDAB. These councilors, including Councilor Scott used many opportunities for productive discussion and derailed it into an aesthetics discussion thinly disguised as “health and safety”. The discussion on outdoor furniture was derailed into a discussion of how furniture not rated for outdoor use COULD degrade and harbor rodents. Now we are jumping into hypotheticals and possibilities in the nuisance code? As a final attempt to do whatever they wanted, Councilor Scott badly misrepresented some of the previous (flawed) surveys performed by the county.
This sort of governance is BAD for Los Alamos County. My thanks go out to Councilors Ryti, Hand, and Reagor for being relatable and rational with this discussion. PLEASE put pressure on both council and CDAB to ensure that residents get the code that WE want, not the code that the rich want to weaponize against the lower income residents.