Last night, Los Alamos County Council voted in favor of passing the Chapter 18 Nuisance Code with a 4-3 vote. Councilors Scott, Izraelevitz, Derkacs, and Lepsch voted in favor, leaving Councilors Hand, Reagor, and Ryti voting against adopting the new code.
It is amazing to me that the four individuals that voted to pass the code completely ignored the voices of their constituents. In my public comment at last night’s meeting, I made a challenge that anyone who supports the code as it is written get up and speak. That never happened. Instead, there were multiple citizens from all political views sounding off in unison to SLOW DOWN. These statements were met with comments of pure elitism, comments of “let’s try this out” and words that many perceived as threats towards the community. If one councilor can make an arbitrary comment about not wanting blue tarps covering vehicles in one council meeting and this change is made in the next edition of the code, then why aren’t the people’s voice being heard? Yes, I understand that there were 200+ comments made in the public comment matrix and those changes were supposedly addressed. Why couldn’t the one request made in last night’s meeting to SLOW DOWN be acknowledged and followed?
I found it interesting that many of the Community Development Advisory Board members spoke during public comments to voice their concern. This also left me surprised that the County Council did not have any kind of presentation offered by CDAB on the official meeting agenda. The CDAB’s sole purpose is to advise the County Council, yet there was no official presentation by the board as a whole.
Three of the councilors who voted in favor of passing this did so based on arguments like the new code was less restrictive than the current one, other counties have codes like this one, and that we should try it out and adjust on the fly, (I am paraphrasing). By offering these arguments they also completely disregarded not some, but ALL the arguments made last night. The arguments made by the citizens last night are legitimate ones. Just because there are topics in the current code that are in the last code does not make it right.
A recurring theme that also seemed to come up was, this is the way it’s been for the last “x” years. In my opinion this way of thinking does no one any good, is very close minded, and in no way should be the thought pattern of leaders. There are multiple ways to write a code, otherwise all nuisance codes would look exactly the same. They don’t because every community is unique. Los Alamos County prides itself on being unique, so why wouldn’t our codes be equally as unique instead of based on a cookie cutter design?
Out of the four councilors that voted in favor of this code, three publicly voiced how they do not care about you, what you have to say, or how your livelihood could be affected by their choices. They showed their true colors that they will rule in a method that our forefathers and past leaders warned us about. President Ronald Reagan said, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives”, yet that’s exactly what these three councilors seem to thrive on and I base that accusation on their past actions. To the one counselor who did not publicly justify his reason for the way he voted, Councilor Keith Lepsch, I challenge him to publicly justify his reasoning for voting in favor of passing this code. The people of Los Alamos County deserve to know why he voted the way he did. The newly adopted code, I believe, oversteps even its own defined purpose, which is the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the citizens of Los Alamos County.
In closing I will say this, last night showed that the majority of the current council is more concerned that you have a picture-perfect yard and home rather than a functional one. They do NOT care what price YOU must pay in order to make this happen. They do not care about your rights, your private property, if you go to jail, or if you lose your clearance because you have a blue tarp covering your vehicle. I challenge the new council in January to do better. Soon-To-Be Councilors Havemann and Cull, you have an opportunity to mend what your predecessors failed to do and listen to what the people want to restore faith in the council, which right now does not exist. Please remember you are there to represent us, not just push your own private agenda.