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We are going to vote NO on all four proposed Los Alamos County Charter Amendments for the following reasons:
1.) The Charter Review Committee (CRC) process was flawed. We believe the county council formed the CRC because the council was uncomfortable about their decision to reject a petition signed by 2,000 citizens. An overwhelming majority of the CRC members supported the council view to reject the petition, and consequently, the CRC gave little credibility or voice to the petitioners. What a surprise! The CRC was even more repressive than the council. They proposed Charter changes that make it more difficult for citizens to petition. If the changes pass it will be pretty much impossible for a citizen group to gather the increased number of signatures in the shortened time period. If you try it you won’t like it. We are voting NO because: a.) we don’t agree with the Charter changes, and b.) we want to protest the way this whole issue was handled by the council and the CRC.
2.) We believe there is nothing wrong with the initiative, referendum and recall rules that are currently in the Charter. Petitioning was never a problem for the council until, when confronted with a petition that they did not like, they worked with the county attorney to find a way to disregard the charter and neither adopt the petition nor put it to a citizen vote within 60 days.
3.) Bringing Charter wording into compliance with State Law is a proper role for a CRC; however, mixing (logrolling) Charter organizational and wording changes with substantive issues concerning recall, referendum and initiative questions seems like an attempt to mislead voters rather than give them a clear separated choice on important proposed changes.
Jack and Colleen Hanlon