Public needs bigger role in governing

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

In your March 30 editorial, this passage caught my attention: “We urge the public to come and become informed before the council adopts the budget on May 13.”

This brings home a fundamental flaw in our current form of governance in our county. If the public’s function is solely to become informed, then one might ask, why bother?

There are some token, after-the-fact opportunities for “public comment” at meetings that, unless published in the Monitor, never gets recorded in any documents made available to the public.  Any kind of citizen vote on the budget is expressly prohibited in our charter.

Outside of Los Alamos, the first Tuesday in March marks grassroots democracy in action across the country.

Just next door, Santa Fe citizens, in their municipal election March 4, voted on all capital improvement projects and on several charter amendments, including one approving instant runoff elections, counter to their city council’s recommendation.

Towns across New England continue a centuries’ old tradition of direct democracy, the annual town meeting. These meetings would continue every Tuesday until all business was completed.  Sometimes they would drag on into May.