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Redondo hopes to serve his hometown

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By Arin McKenna

Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a series on the Democratic candidates for Los Alamos County Council who will face each other in the June 3 primary election.

Los Alamos County Council candidate Michael Redondo has deep roots here.
“I grew up here. This is my hometown,” Redondo said. “I want to see it thrive and flourish. I think that I can help to do that on the council.
“I have a historical knowledge of the community that a lot of people moving here from elsewhere don’t have. I think it helps to put a lot of things in perspective.”
Some of Redondo’s memories are nostalgic, such as swimming in the Los Alamos Reservoir. Others give him pause, such as the time council voted to remove all crosswalks after a motorist hit pedestrians in one.
“I understand how sometimes people can grab onto something, come up with a solution and pursue it without spending the time and energy looking for alternate solutions and trying to really understand what is the problem…we have to find solutions that take more than just a narrow view into account.”
Redondo sees his perspective as a young person not employed by the lab, running his own business, as an asset.
“One of the things that the county keeps stressing is that they want to make this a place post docs want to stay, where young people want to not just come and work, but to actually stay and live here. I think I can bring another viewpoint to the table about how that can be achieved.”
Redondo has a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico. His background makes him attentive to detail.
“It’s really important that when things come before the council, that the details are attended to,” Redondo said, citing one section from the recently approved nuisance code as an example. The section states that rodents must be “promptly exterminated.”
“I understand you don’t want a rodent infestation, but by writing it that way…all rodents means not just rats and mice, but gerbils and hamsters and guinea pigs. Now, I trust our police not to go knocking on people’s doors and demanding that they exterminate their pet hamster, but if that’s not what we intended to do, why are we writing an ordinance that states that?
“I’m willing to spend the time to actually go through everything that comes before council, to pay the close attention that it requires.”
Redondo’s history of community service began in high school, as a member of Kiwanis International’s Key Club. He planted trees after the Cerro Grande fire, helps with bird banding at Bandelier National Monument and works with the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC).
Redondo is currently vice chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission and acting chair for the Board of Adjustment. He also serves on the Los Alamos Historical Society board and as vice chair for the Democratic Party of Los Alamos, a position he will resign if he wins the primary.
Redondo replaced Kenneth Johnson on the Democratic ticket for council in 2012. As in that race, he is trying to run a money-free campaign. He is strictly opposed to money in politics.
Redondo’s campaign finance report shows $101 in campaign contributions.
He loaned himself $50 to pay the filing fee then paid himself back by raising $1 each from 50 people. He also loaned himself $1 to open a bank account to satisfy election requirements.
“I’m still not sure I entirely understand why you need to pay the state to run for office,” Redondo said, noting that those running for statewide office are not required to pay a filing fee. “It seems kind of like an odd tax on government participation.”
Redondo takes limited in kind donations, such as recycled campaign signs. His “business” cards are left over from his high school graduation announcements.
Redondo noted that serving on P and Z has made him realize how many people are committed to improving the county.
“The speed of bureaucracy is slow, so it doesn’t go as quickly as people would like it. But I’m encouraged by the fact that there are a lot of people that really do want to make Los Alamos a better place, and they’re actively doing things to try to make that happen. And I would love the opportunity to try to help facilitate that.
Redondo encourages voters to post questions about his positions on his Facebook page, facebook.com/MichaelRedondoForCountyCouncil.