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Councilor David Izraelevitz announced his intention to run for the Los Alamos County council this week. Izraelevitz was appointed to council three years ago to fill a seat vacated when Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Jim Hall to fill a seat in House Dist. 43.
“I’m running because I feel I’ve gained a lot of experience about the issues in Los Alamos over the last three years,” Izraelevitz said.
“It’s been a real privilege to represent the people of Los Alamos, and I’d like to see a lot of these projects come to fruition and continue what I consider a careful review of each of these projects and policies that we are bringing forward.
“I think there are a lot of complex issues that still remain in Los Alamos about housing, about creative support for our schools, about helping our businesses manage this transition that the Smith’s Marketplace is going to bring to probably most businesses in town. And I feel that I’m in a good position to help with that.”
Izraelevitz believes the issues facing the county require the “careful analysis” he brings to the table.
“I think I can assure the public I will continue to do is what I’ve been calling thoughtful progress, where we understand that the community has to move forward, but we have to look at each mechanism that we’re considering for moving the community forward and really understand the finances behind it,” Izraelevitz said. “It isn’t just a matter of putting money into the first project that comes up.”
Izraelevitz sees council’s support of the New Mexico Consortium as a wise investment.
“I think that’s an excellent example of how we can get some of the technology of the laboratory developed and spun off into other businesses that are nevertheless anchored here in Los Alamos. A lot of scientific technology is developed in Los Alamos, but there really is no business case for retaining that business in Los Alamos.
“One way to do that is having scientists who can keep a foot in the laboratory and in outside business, and the Consortium has been a good mechanism for doing that.”
According to Izraelevitz, the community broadband is one project that council must approach carefully.
“A realistic first step is to get it to some of these businesses around town. I think that that will also help businesses that want to spin off from the laboratory to retain their roots in Los Alamos. I think is a realistic way of providing some progress in a way that is financial sound.”
Izraelevitz has also been innovative in using Facebook to connect with voters.
“Councilors should be a communication mechanism between the citizenry and government and staff,” Izraelevitz said.
Izraelevitz uses the Facebook page he created, “Los Alamos Vision 2020,” to explain issues, alert resident to upcoming issues and to learn what’s on voters’ minds. He has found the public forum —with nearly 650 participants —to be more effective than email in terms of outreach.
“I think that’s been helpful both for us to see interesting ideas that people have, but also for people to understand some of the constraints that we work under, some of the legal constraints or just practical constraints of what we can do and can’t do.
“Sometimes there are pluses and minuses to what seems like a practical idea from one part of the community’s perspective but not from another. And having that public discussion I think has been a good educational process, as well as educational to me, in that I can see what areas we need to investigate, some ideas that we haven’t thought about or even just some areas that we need to explain better.
Izraelevitz moved to Los Alamos with his wife, Terry, and three young sons 18 years go from Boston, drawn by the safe community, the easy access to the outdoors and the small town atmosphere.
Terry (known as Mrs. I) is an occupational therapist employed by Los Alamos Public Schools. Izraelevitz is “Mr. I” when he volunteers at the schools. He has been a lunch buddy, a Math Counts coach (the middle school math competition) and given presentations about immigrating to America from Uruguay when he was 11 years old.
Izraelevitz’s first civic involvement was as a member of the library board some years ago. He served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for five years and as chair his final year.
“That was a good introduction, because we had several contentious issues to address, and I really learned a lot about the public process,” Izraelevitz said.
“And then I was involved with the Charter Review Committee, and that gave a broad view of the different parts of Los Alamos County governance.”
While on the CRC, Izraelevitz applied for the vacant council seat at friends’ urging and resigned after his appointment in July 2011.