- Special Sections
- Public Notices
On April 24, more than 20 ordinances were introduced by council to amend the county charter to toughen existing petitioning requirements, add new requirements such as legal reviews and judicial determinations, as well as numerous other changes. The ordinances also rewrite charter sections to eliminate ambiguities; however, this means that all of the ordinances need to be squeezed into four ballot questions. Council will debate these ordinances on Wednesday .
This is a major problem for citizens.
Two years ago, the county council refused to submit certified citizen initiated petitions to voters after asserting, without due process or debate, that they illegally joined multiple issues into a single question. More recently, the county attorney has gone so far as to liken that practice to fraud!
Now the council is seriously considering doing what they condemned others for.
And for what? There has been no outpouring of support from the public for the proposed changes to the petitioning process. There has not even been a trickle! It seems foolish for council to risk its integrity to engage in this act of hypocrisy.
There are alternatives.
The council could proceed in two steps. First, they could present a rewrite of the current sections to aimed to only clean up ambiguities. If that is accepted by the voters, they could then propose the various and multiple changes to the petitioning process individually. Or, they could undertake these two steps in the reverse order. Either way, distinct issues would be properly separated for the voters.
As we see it, the only reason to pursue the current course is to attempt to garner votes for increasing requirements for petitioning under the guise of cleaning up the charter. That is an example of the true definition of “logrolling”; to gain passage of a potentially unpopular measure by attaching it to one that probably is popular. And after all, who would be opposed to clarifying ambiguities in our foundational document?
It is time that the council demonstrate its professed leadership of this community and forego this attempt to trick and dupe the citizens of Los Alamos! The argument that they are merely passing on the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee to the public does not hold water. The responsibility for this belongs solely to the councillors and we will all keep that in mind.
County councilors, the time to alter course is now!
Robert A. Pelak
President, Los Alamos Governmental
Review Initiative (LAGRI)