Quite a week in Los Alamos

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By Ralph Damiani

There were three momentous events in Los Alamos last week, two good and one not so good.


First was the school bond election. The fact that it passed by a decent majority says a lot for the folks who live here.


When presented with a positive plan, the community will back it. There was no doubt that our schools need work and improvements. We have one of the best school districts around but nothing stays at the top without some kind of investment.


This was a needed investment. And yes, no one likes  to pay taxes and we are very fearful that our taxes are going to be going up all over the place.


But here, the increase will go for a good cause, it will be used wisely and it will be a benefit.


We should all take pride in the fact that this passed and we should all continue to work together for the betterment of our schools and our community.


The second event was the selection of Ralph Phelps to sit on the county council.


We cannot argue with this choice; Phelps is a good man who has served this community on the Utilities Board and has made a good impact on that body.


He knows the community and is known by it. He was the safe choice.


If we have a problem, it is that he was the safe choice. There would have been choices that clearly would have rocked the boat more, clearly would have brought more boom to the council. It would have been interesting to have seen what those choices would have brought.


But the council went with what it felt sure of and Phelps brings a lot to the table. So we wish him well and think that he will serve us all with distinction.


Then there was the bad news – news that we did not need – about the beryllium exposure. It is sad that just as it seems that the lab is turning a corner, getting away from problematic times, it has to shoot itself in the foot.


There are many questions here that we will not go into, those will be asked in due course. But we do have a comment on how it was handled.


The only people we could find easily to talk about this were people in the public relations office.


Fair enough. However, what was needed were experts to help journalists and the public be able to put this in some kind of context.


What did the exposure mean? How bad is it? What levels were OK or too much? And more.


Some kind of analysis should have been made readily available. It was not. And that is too bad and was an unnecessary problem added to an already unnecessary problem.