Revision Of Scope Of Pueblo Canyon Conceptual Trail Project To An Updated County-Wide Trails & Open Space Management Plan?

Los Alamos

Here is my input to tonight’s agenda item, “Discussion and Possible Action to Revise the Scope of the Pueblo Canyon Conceptual Trail Project to an Updated County-wide Trails & Open Space Management Plan” — this is an open letter to the Council I am sharing with the local media as well in case they are interested in publishing it.

Reading the details provided in the agenda, it looks like the request is to reprogram “flow trail money” from years ago into money for a consultant?  It seems to me that this money’s purpose is wandering mightily.  In my view, there needs to be considerable opportunity for public weigh-in on the scoping of what is being proposed and how to go about it, not a one-night appeal to the Council by staff to do what they want with a chunk of “old money” that was related to a different purpose.  I might have felt differently if the proposed action had been vetted with the County’s own Open Spaces & Trails Subcommittee (OSAS).  If that subcommittee is not there for the purpose of vetting proposals like this and providing at least a shred of citizen input, what is it for?  My understanding is that OSAS has not been consulted or invited to provide input on this matter. 

My observation is that the County is severely in need of building trust with a significant portion of the trail and open space user community either before or as part of any open space or trails-related initiative.  OSAS is an existing structure for seeking to establish trust that is not being utilized in any meaningful way as far as I can tell.  I am including a copy of the OSAS charter which would seem pretty good, if there is any true interest in meaningful citizen involvement.

The proposal you are considering tonight seems to be yet another case of spoon-feeding the Council with suggestions that beg for open, meaningful public participation that hasn’t happened.  My observation of the poorly conceived “Pueblo Canyon” and “Golf Course Expansion” projects of last year is that the process pursued was to hire experts to conceive and try to help sell narrowly pre-conceived notions of courses of action that ended up being opposed by many concerned citizens.  I believe a much better approach would be to start with broad, meaningful public input and decide from there where expert resources may be needed to help a group like OSAS do the work they are chartered to do.  Let’s stop letting “public input” be defined as checking the boxes that, “we held meetings”.

I may not be able to attend tonight’s meeting, but I ask that you give this written input every consideration as if I were providing this comment in person.