County council must be from France

The Los Alamos County Council meeting last Tuesday was reminiscent of Hitler's invasion of France, but rather than a month of the German army's blitzkrieg it took only a few hours for the council's political backbone to dissolve like Alka-Seltzer in a glass of water.

The county council, with four lame ducks on board, exhibited a stunning lack of leadership and capitulated the will of the many to the voices of the few. As the council's political will folded like a house of cards, any glimmer of hope that this council will move the county's business forward was snuffed out with barely a whimper.

Richard Hannemann, who spearheaded the petition drive, could well have been the Fuhrer standing triumphant at the table as the rag-tag remnants of the French government signed the terms of surrender. Councilors not only certified Hannemann's questionable petition to rebuild a replica of the original municipal building at its original location, but they then turned the question over to voters and called for a special referendum election at a minimum cost of $35,000 to taxpayers. Click here to read the news report.

In a move that mimicked Congress as of late, councilors turned a blind eye to the county attorney who questioned the very legality in the wording of Hannemann's petition, and in the same fell swoop the council showed an unabashed level of indifference to the work of the Municipal Building Site Selection Committee. Councilors should have and could have easily tossed the entire petition question over to the courts for a legal opinion in terms of whether the issue even has a leg to stand on.

In another flabbergasting vote during last week's meeting, the council voted to halt work on revising and updating the county's nuisance ordinance, which essentially killed the effort to make the codes more enforceable.  (Click here to read the news story.) Without question, the council should take into consideration the "uniqueness" of Los Alamos, as one councilor put it, but appearance issues continually arise as newcomers look at the town as a place to live and work. The validation lies in the count of commuters who travel up and down the hill every day.

Clearly this laissez faire approach to code enforcement is not going to move Los Alamos forward. The council and this community can hardly afford to let this work stall out and go up on a shelf to gather dust. Councilors must somehow muster the political intestinal fortitude to get the nuisance code initiative rolling once again.

The path of a leader is generally a bumpy road, and decisions are oftentimes unpopular. But leaders distinguish themselves by summoning the vision and courage to make the tough decisions that will result in positive change for the greater good.  

Council capitulation

In typical Los Alamos fashion the nuisance ordnance was written for maximum intrusion into private lives and stripping the rights of property owners by the local government. As usual, it was written to far overstep it's intended bounds. The council did well to table it.

As for the petition about the county building, the council did well to listen when some 2000 constituents were willing to sign a petition, whether the petition was "legal" or not. I suspect the petition is not so much about restoring the county building as it was as it is a demonstration of constituent dissatisfaction with the county's continuous drunken sailor style of spending.

Now, if we can only put a stop to the misguided idea that narrowing the streets and reducing four lane streets and highways into two lanes will somehow induce people to stop and shop at the non-existent stores.


Nuisance Code

The council was correct to "freeze" the nuisance code as it was proposed. Those of us that bought houses from the original owners had no say in the variances, easements and other requirements by the county. To impose a "covenant controlled" approach on all of us is nothing more than government trying to wrest more control of our personal life and personal property from us.

The "count of commuters who travel up and down the hill everyday" is due more to the lack of government intervention in their lives, getting more for less and access to shopping, than it is due to appearance.

Rather than a "freeze" trash the whole dang rewrite.