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Some years ago while I was serving on the Los Alamos County Council, a group of citizens concerned about local projects formed an organization and named themselves Los Alamos Government Review Initiative. They sought to bring to a vote all county projects that exceeded $1,000,000. Their methods included circulating petitions for citizen signature to require all county projects that exceeded $1M to be brought before county voters for approval.
Although the group had sufficient signatures for the county to put the initiative up for vote, council determined that public votes on legislative matters is illegal under New Mexico law. At that time it was clear that the community wanted clarification and options for more public input to legislative decisions.
Council directed two efforts to improve public input: first, to form a citizen committee to review the county charter and recommend changes since it had last been reviewed in 1994, and second, to develop and adopt a new, citizen-driven process relating to capital improvement projects. LAGRI principals were specifically invited to contribute to both these council initiatives.
Now after years of work by dedicated citizens, the Charter Review Committee (CRC) has completed their task. Some of the CRC’s recommendations have been considered by council and will be put before the voters this November.
Some LAGRI members don’t like the outcome despite their limited participation in the work. They are now circulating another petition to prevent voters from having a say on the County Charter revisions.
I urge the citizens of Los Alamos to reject the LAGRI petition, let the proposed charter changes be put to a vote, and become informed on the ballot questions before casting your vote. The voters of this county deserve the right to make the final decision on how their county government operates.