To-do list for Los Alamos

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By Richard Hannemann

Dear Editor,

Capital Expenditures:

    1)  Reconstruct/restore the Municipal Building.

    2)  Downsize and re-design the JPJ as an adjunct to a restored Municipal Building.

    3)  Restore our reservoirs.

 Airport Basin is one of those monster projects you do when you don’t need to be doing anything else.  So, for quite a while, other projects will have to wait. When at least two of the three listed above are done and paid for, then we can add a new project to the list.

Political and Economic Independence.

Establish County Office of Business and Economics.

    1)  Promote and support ALL local businesses – trade, craft, art, professional, retail, manfacture, store-front and home-based (this has a rather long To-Do list)

    2)  Entice and encourage innovative entrepreneurial investment/start-up, particularly in secondary industry  activity, which businesses will provide product/service beyond the County line.

    3)  Establish joint project with Lab to find other uses for the buildings they currently lease in town.

    4)  Work with Lab to allow access to Pajarito Road for all County residents.

    5)  Build/develop tourism

    6)  Conduct regular economic analyses

    7)  Maintain business/economic data-bases

    8)  Begin negotiations to extend County line to include the entire of Rendija Canyon Road and the Truck  Route. (yeah, I know.............)

Just as a tree will only support as many branches as the root system allows, so, too, the economy will only support as much Retail (branches) as the economic base (root system) will allow.  Right now, the Los Alamos economy is supported by one tap root with a few small offshoots just below the surface.  Stimulate and encourage root growth, and branch growth will occur on its own. 

 Los Alamos has putzed along in a complacency bordering on somnambulence and a fatalistic “as goes the Lab, so goes Los Alamos” attitude.  The truth is, and always been, As Goes Los Alamos, So Goes Los Alamos.  The destiny of our towns and county have been in our hands for decades – that is what the Municipal Building symbolized.  We’ve had 42 years to grow the root system we need.  The Lab has been bugging us for years to do something and have always been willing to lend a hand in the endeavor. Yet, we’ve done precious little.

The To-Do List above is a start.  It is not a Plan, and certainly not a dictatorial Master Plan.  But it is time we build a stand-alone, diverse economy and put down some real roots. Accept that As Goes Los Alamos, So Goes Los Alamos; Believe that Los Alamos has a future beyond the Lab; Commit to that future; Decide to delay current gratification in favor of future reward; Engage a political will to economic independence;

Find a way to make an asset of the fact that Los Alamos is a small town in a dinky county on an isolated plateau in a sparsely populated state that most folks are confused about; and Get To Work.

Los Alamos