BY SHARLA DEMPSEY
In our country, we have a representative Government, an electoral system where citizens vote to elect people to represent their interests and concerns. Those elected meet to debate and make laws on behalf of the whole community or society, instead of the people voting directly on laws and other debates. Los Alamos elects county councilors that serve for a 4 year term and aim to represent our interests as a community. However, on certain issues our community has an opportunity to vote and provide public comment. These should be regarded as the direction for our Council to govern the community and our local economy.
However, It is clear that our County Council has gone awry and repeatedly ignores the will of the people. For example, in May 2017, the County asked voters to respond YES or NO to the question: “Shall the Incorporated County of Los Alamos issue up to $20 million of general obligation bonds, to be repaid from property taxes, for the purpose of designing, acquiring, constructing, purchasing, and improving recreation facilities, buildings and add additions thereto?” The answer was clear, NO. It was truly astonishing to witness Councilors then try to “interpret” what election results really meant and go ahead with each of these large ticket projects. This doesn’t happen in other Districts! Though I was in favor of each of the recreation projects, the majority of the town that voted were not in favor. Our County Council wasted our tax dollars on the bond election and ended up spending our town’s money in the way they deemed fit. This should concern every person in Los Alamos! When your vote means nothing we no longer have a representative form of government.
Recently I began to hear other rumblings from the Council about our town going completely green with solar and wind. Though gas is a cleaner form of energy than coal they have suggested we can live without gas as well. Within the last week, PNM warned NM that we are looking at rolling black outs in the summer of 2023 because their attempt to install enough wind and solar infrastructure in NM has not come to fruition. The San Juan coal powered power plant is due to close within the next couple of months and NM doesn’t have a plan to meet our energy needs. How much public input has there been for an issue that will have a direct impact on our homes and our pocketbooks? I have not heard of any town hall meetings to explain the situation.
The draft revisions to the County Nuisance Code read like a HOA requirement list. If you haven’t read it please do so immediately. See link below….
Here are a few really interesting new requirements….
Dumpsters and similar large receptacles shall be shielded from the public view per the requirements outlined in Section 16-4-4(E)(IV) of the Development Code.
Exterior surfaces, including but not limited to doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches, trim, balconies, decks and fences, shall be maintained in good repair. Exposed exterior metal and wood surfaces shall be protected from the elements, rust, corrosion, and decay by painting or other weather-coating protective covering or treatment. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated, and surfaces repainted. Oxidation stains shall be removed from exterior surfaces. Surfaces designed for stabilization by oxidation are exempt from this requirement. All siding and masonry joints, as well as those between the building envelope and the perimeter of windows, doors, and skylights, shall be maintained weather resistant and watertight.
There are many residents in Los Alamos who cannot afford a large garage to conceal their trash cans. They cannot afford to maintain the exterior of their residence to the level of Better Homes and Gardens. The vast majority of the editorials written on this topic oppose this government overreach and intrusion into every area of our lives (including George Chandler!). Councilor Ryti recently extended the public comment period and promised public hearings. However, under his watch, our County Council has not been responsive to public sentiment on key issues.
Please vote for Gary Stradling, Sharon Dry, Reginald Page Jr, and Tim Bullock to restore a government that serves and answers to “We the People.” Thank you!