• Councilor boot camp

    This past week our newest county councilor Rick Reiss and councilors-elect Kristin Henderson, Pete Sheehey and Steve Girrens attended a County Governance Boot Camp in Albuquerque.
    Though no physical training, close order drills or snap inspections were involved, we were indoctrinated to several aspects of county commissioner service including roles and responsibilities, ethics and professionalism, employment law, finance policy, jail management and liability, statutory government structure and legislative process.  
    We also heard from veteran commissioners conveying lessons learned and their insights relative to current issues statewide.  
    The Boot Camp was hosted by the New Mexico Association of Counties of which Los Alamos County is a member.  More than 100 elected officials and county managers were in attendance.  We were particularly impressed by a few counties who had all standing and new commissioners as well as their county manager attending as a team.   The presentations and experiences delivered were informative, eye-opening and in some cases a little sobering.  
    Regardless, we have confidence we will remain enthusiastic to join our three veteran councilors and serve.  Our county administrator encouraged we attend Boot Camp.  Thank you Harry!

  • Economic development

    Taco Bell, long gone.
    KFC, long gone.
    Pizza Hut (both) gone.
    McDonalds White Rock, gone.
    Blockbuster, gone.
    Brownells, gone, space empty.
    Otowi Station, gone, space empty.
    Several empty commercial spaces on Central, downtown.
    Hilltop House, foreclosure, future unknown.
    Los Alamos Lodge, closed.
    The Hive, may close, financial trouble.
    Trinity Site, dirt (lots and lots of dirt).
    Where is all the “Economic Development” our local politicians have been spending our money on?
    Maybe we need some kind of  committee or some consultants to determine if “Economic Development” is even possible here in Los Alamos.
    If it’s not, lets not spend more money on another foolish endeavor.
    R D Little
    Los Alamos


  • Laws need to be enforced

    The Sunday morning Los Alamos Monitor reminded us of just how close we came to killing some children at the Montessori School on Canyon Road. Why?
    Because as County Engineer Kyle Zimmerman tells us, our safety is  held hostage by a few “irrational” drivers.
    Not only do we not control them, but it seems difficult to even know  who the people are who are trying to kill us, including another driver who crashed the same week on Main Hill Road while,  driving aggressively and passing another vehicle.
    Often, we don’t even know if the motorists were even cited!
    Perhaps the first level of dealing with dangerous drivers is not to ask the county to spend more money on traffic studies to change speed  limits, but to arrest and prosecute reckless and careless drivers, put their faces in newspapers, and take away their driver’s licenses. After all, these are often not “accidents” caused by bad weather or poor facilities. They are caused by deliberate risk  taking —because there seems to be no risk to being held accountable by the community.
    Driving is not a right. When you abuse your driving privileges and endanger the community, you must lose that privilege. It’s about time we made that stick. Preferably, before there is innocent blood spilled in the road.

  • Drivers disregard traffic laws

    The car crash incident at the Montessori school on Canyon road highlights a problem in our community and across the nation; rampant disregard of traffic laws. Living in White Rock on Rover you can see speeders any time you want. Crosswalk, Stop sign, Speed limit, these things just slow down my personal quest; is what some drivers seem to think. While more violators could be ticketed and fined, the attitude of drivers is what needs to be improved. Driving entails responsibility and accountability, attributes seemingly becoming less important in our society.
    Paul D. Richardson II
    Los Alamos


  • Talking sewer rates

    Some considerations to help us move through denial and on to acceptance of the sewer rate increases soon to appear on our utility bills.
    A typical first response is to send a proposed rate increase back to the utility company because its profits are high enough without a rate increase.
    The Los Alamos wastewater utility is municipally-owned, has no stockholders and no profit margin.
     It must collect what it costs to operate the wastewater system.
    A second common response is that someone else should pay, perhaps by getting a grant or maybe hoping that the Zia Company will take care of it for us.
    With the exception of our new wastewater treatment plant in Pueblo Canyon, someone else did pay for our sewer system, many years ago, and then transferred it to Los Alamos County as a gift.
    That gift is now wearing out and it is our turn to pay. A third response is that sewer bills in Los Alamos should match those of Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Unlike Santa Fe and Albuquerque, Los Alamos must convey sewage across mesa and canyon terrain by means of a complex and expensive pipe and pump network.
    Once accepting that we have to pay the costs of upgrading our aging sewer system, there are questions about which we rate payers can constructively inform ourselves and express our opinions.

  • Suggestion for 'Nutcracker' troupes

    Bravo to New Mexico Dance Theater–Performance Company (NMDT–PC) for its world-premiere production of “The Nutcracker.”
     The unexpected visuals were spectacular (including the muscle men carrying the Arabian dancer onstage and the dozens of angels and tiny bakers walking through the aisles).
     All of the dancing was exquisite and a delight to watch.
    Such talent in this small town! And how great to live in a community that has two dance troupes performing this ballet.
    I have a suggestion (or really a question): Would it be possible for the two troupes to share the same performance date and trade off performing “The Nutcracker” on that date each year?
     That weekend could then become “Nutcracker” time in Los Alamos and the community would always know when to expect to see this classic holiday ballet.
    If you haven’t seen NMDT–PC’s production yet, DO go see it this coming weekend.
    Carolyn MacDonell
    Los Alamos
    Editor’s note: Because of a computer glitch, an abbreviated version of this letter ran Sunday.


  • Speaking out on vaccine rights

    In response to recent concerns voiced about vaccine rights, this is a case of the rights of the many vs. the rights of the few.  Vaccines only work to preserve the general population if “herd immunity” is achieved, when vaccines are administered to a high percentage (85 percent).  
    With fewer parents vaccinating their children whether due to personal choice, safety concerns or greater awareness of the health risks to a susceptible child, this high percentage is not being met in some areas and outbreaks have occurred.  Our medical community is rightly concerned and has tightened the circumstances under which a parent may refuse to vaccinate their children.
    Is the information now required too onerous or private for our government to collect?  Good point.  Are so many parents now refusing to give vaccines that the rest of the population is at risk?  And doesn’t that majority have the right to health?  Good point.  Both groups have their rights infringed.  Which group is larger?  Which rights are more important?

  • Opposing stage at Ashley Pond

    On Oct. 30, I presented 188 signed petitions to the County Council that read, “I am opposed to the proposed location of a permanent stage on the southeast corner of Ashley Pond.  I hereby request that the Los Alamos County Council remove the stage from the scope of the Ashley Pond Park Improvements Project, reduce the project’s budget accordingly, and allow the remaining improvements to proceed without delay.”
    The main objections to the planned “location” of the stage on the southeast corner of the pond are that 1) it will be adjacent to the busiest and most dangerous street in town, Trinity Drive, 2) it will place the concert crowds in a more confined area with no evening shade, and 3) that its placement “on the water” will be a permanent eyesore on this otherwise beautiful pond.
    Of the people I talked to over the five days I circulated my petition, everyone I spoke to agreed that cleaning out the pond is long overdue!  I understand that the plans to renovate the pond have been in the works for over two years but, for whatever reason, the vast majority of people I spoke to still did not know about the stage.   And, more importantly, they don’t want it there!

  • Save the zoo

    Rio Grande Zoo is having money problems. Please give $1 to them because if the zookeepers don’t have money for the zoo the animals won’t have any food, water or shelter.
    If they don’t have any food, water or shelter, they would pass away or the zoo keepers would have to send them to another zoo and the Rio Grande Zoo will shut down!
    Thank you!
    Sarah Early
    Age 8
    Barranca Mesa Elementary
    Los Alamos


  • It’s all about integrity

    Richard Skip Dunn is a fine and honorable man and citizen, however, please allow me to contribute a concrete, honest and verible comment regarding his letter to the editor regarding “Clerk mst be neutral, independent.”
    Again, please allow me to state with years of observation and participation in the lives of Sharon Stover and Steve Girrens, their most redeeming character is their unwavering (in all situations and issues) integrity.
    Peggy Pendergast
    Los Alamos