BY THERESA CULL
Democratic Candidate For
Los Alamos County Council
I am so thankful for the amount of time and energy taken to transcribe the questions and answers from the League of Women Voters Forum for Los Alamos County Council candidates held on September 29. I actually read what I said and I’d like to make a few additional comments. First, I want to clarify my statement about attendance at county council meetings. I did not mean to discourage attendance. It is very important for people to make their voices heard or to otherwise show their support or opposition to certain issues. One way to do this is by attending committee and/or county council meetings. However, I know people are busy or have other priorities and if I’m elected, I would want to find other transparent ways for people to share their concerns and ideas with the council if they are unable to attend the council meetings.
I also want to let everyone know that I recognize and care about other issues that the League of Women Voters Forum did not have time to address. In the discussion about growth, I mentioned that upgrades to infrastructure would be needed to handle a population of up to 25,000. This includes improving our roads with a priority given to pedestrians and bicyclists, not just vehicles. Has anyone seen a bicyclist come out of the roundabout from North Mesa in the morning and attempt to move over to the bike lane on Diamond Drive? Or a pedestrian get off Atomic City Transit in the evening near Pueblo Complex and try to cross Diamond? Infrastructure also includes water and electricity, which will become even more important in a dryer and warmer climate. We need to consider the recommendations in the Los Alamos Resiliency, Energy, and Sustainability (LARES) Task Force final report to help us prepare for this future.
But there are other aspects of infrastructure that also need to be addressed now. We currently have a hospital that is struggling to meet the needs of patients, especially expectant mothers with emergency needs. We have small businesses that struggle to find employees to provide their services. Some have had to limit their hours; others have had to close their doors. We need more amenities for children and youth. If we are struggling to meet current needs, how will we be able to handle an additional 5000 people? We need more housing, especially affordable housing, but the council needs to address many other issues as well. I support the land transfer in Rendija Canyon to provide additional recreational opportunities. I support the development of additional housing and retail in the current MariMac center and other previously developed downtown areas in Los Alamos and White Rock. I support efforts to attract more tourism and outside business to our town. My management experience gave me the ability to address current problems while planning for smart growth and change. We need a council that can focus on the big picture, but not lose sight of what’s happening now. I know this job won’t be easy, but I am committed to supporting this community. Early voting starts on October 11 at the Los Alamos Municipal Building and on October 22 at the White Rock Town Hall. Please vote!