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Pros and cons on KRSN radio antenna

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By The Staff

Not in the park

Dear Editor,

With regards to the P&Z Commission’s decision not to grant KRSN a special use permit to put a radio antenna up in Loma Linda Park. I want to thank all the people who showed up to either support or oppose the decision. Lots of testimony was heard and both sides presented good cases. Contrary to what KRSN has said on the radio, everybody who wanted to speak was given an opportunity to speak. That is the law.

KRSN has a difficult task and I do not envy them. To find a suitable location for their antenna they have to balance a number of competing rules, regulations and priorities. The issue is, in my opinion, that specially preserved park land is not a suitable location for an antenna, a Starbucks, or any other commercial property. This is not simply a case of “not in my backyard,” this goes well beyond that.

In 1980, the county decided that enough was enough and set aside various lands, including Loma Linda Park, with a special status as “preserved.” The idea was specifically to prevent the building of anything on this land. Without this type of protection, many of our parks and open space in the town would be built upon. This is a choice Los Alamos made in 1980 and I think it’s a choice we should continue.

As for the location of the antenna for KRSN, there are alternatives. There is a space near downtown that is suitable. There is the Hawk water tower. The water tower would require some research to determine the safest way to install the antenna’s grounding wires, but if the town wants KRSN and is willing to lease what is probably $2 million worth of land (Loma Linda park), then maybe the county could pay for a study that would effectively preserve the parkland.

Finally, at the P&Z hearing KSRN showed an antenna in another small town that is right downtown near buildings. Maybe KRSN could put the antenna near the new building by the pond, or some other area downtown, and then use the same above ground grounding field used by this other town. I never quite understood why they need over two acres of vacant land.

Contrary to what KRSN is saying the radio, it is not the job of residents of Los Alamos to find a suitable spot for for-profit radio company’s antenna. There is another location that can be used today: the Hawk water tower. There is no need to use a wonderful community resource like Loma Linda Park.

My point is that we all want to see KRSN survive. We also all like having open parkland in Los Alamos. These two do not have to be mutually exclusive. If the County Council feels there is good enough reason, then they can spend some money to determine a less intrusive location for the tower.

Save KSRN. Save the parkland. We can do both if we want to. Tell your County Councilor you want them to do both.

Allan Marcus

Los Alamos

NIMBY for all, progress for none

Dear Editor,

 The next time you feel the urge to castigate the concerned citizens of Santa Fe or a local pueblo who may have protested activities at the lab, or (to choose just one more example) to berate the Nevada congressional delegation for attempting to block the placement of high level radioactive waste in their state, look carefully in the mirror.  

No greater a display of Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) was recently observed than that displayed by the residents of Los Alamos’ Loma Linda subdivision on the night of Wednesday July 15.  

KRSN radio had proposed to place an AM transmitter in an open space 500 feet from the nearest residence of that development, and the radio station sought a permit from our Planning and Zoning Commission for that purpose.  

Equipped with literature references (as befits Los Alamos) Loma Linda citizens defended their investments against the notion that an AM radio transmitter may be perceived as causing harm by a potential future buyer of their homes, thereby possibly depressing eventual property values. Notwithstanding reassurances of no harm to people or property values by one or more engineering studies and two local realtors, these valiant protesters pressed their case: the view of the Jemez mountains might be disturbed (by a 15-inch wide tower), the North Star will be obliterated by red lights atop the 170-foot tall AM tower (do the math), and (repeatedly), a possible decrease in property values at this subdivision.

Perception is apparently the same as reality in the minds of future (if not current) Los Alamos homeowners.  And who listens to the radio anyway? Who needs an early warning system for local news in this county?  It’s all about the almighty buck here and everywhere.  Loma Linda doesn’t want the tower in their backyard.  

The DOE/NNSA won’t allow an AM tower near LANL property because the lab MIGHT have to invest in improved shielding for the older electronics at the LANL accelerator. (This from the same government that has recently committed $1.4 trillion dollars to rescue Wall Street, Detroit, and the economy at large).  

The LA Parks Department won’t countenance the potential liability from teenagers who might try to climb antenna grounding wires, or thieves who might steal the wires, maybe hurting themselves.  The LA Utilities Department doesn’t want the AM tower coupled to their water tower (red lights and all) for fear that the expensive paint of the water tower MIGHT peel.  

Can we decide that the AM radio station is useful to this community, and can we actually find the will to place the tower at a Los Alamos site?  Perhaps the overall community’s well being is not in the purview of Planning and Zoning.  So be it. Then County Council should take up this case in earnest and press the cause of preserving local radio in Los Alamos. NIMBY for all is progress for none.

John Gill

Los Alamos

Support KRSN and their bid

Dear Editor,

This is a copy of the e-mail that we sent to the County Council: KRSN not only vitalizes the county of Los Alamos but should be considered a necessity for the safety of our community.  During the April 2000 fire, we did NOT receive any official notice of evacuation except from the radio.  We did not hear any siren and did not receive any phone call.

At that time we had lived in our home for over 33 years and had the same phone number.  KRSN was our source of up-to-date information.

It is important for commuters to know road conditions, closings, and any type of disaster that may be happening.

We are receiving a poor quality signal now at our home on Barranca Mesa with the KRSN antenna located in White Rock.  We can get good reception in our car and while traveling to Santa Fe and part way to Albuquerque.

KRSN adds a personal touch to the school, political, and local activities.  It offers a variety in music and has talk shows and interviews.

David and Gillian Sutton are community-minded KRSN owners who grew up in Los Alamos and care very much about the welfare of Los Alamos.

We attended part of the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and felt the Suttons had properly addressed the criteria needed to install their antenna in Loma Linda Park and should have received an approval from the Commission.

Please allow KRSN to install the antenna at the Loma Linda Park.  It is needed!

Corine & Ron Christman

Los Alamos

Station is necessary

Dear Editor,

The Suttons are trying to give us back our radio station, and it’s ridiculous to tell them no.

Maybe it’s time for Mother LANL and our state and national representatives to cut through the red tape and put up a tower ASAP.

A station is necessary for our safety and communication!

Inez Ross

Los Alamos