More information needed

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By The Staff

I read that Los Alamos has some 500 “poverty level” people or families.  I enjoyed a related observation that a city as rich as ours should be able to do something.

I don’t understand some things.  The overall question is whether these individuals or families are below poverty level because of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances, or whether they are just suffering the consequences of bad decisions.  It would be helpful to have a lot more data about the situation:

Are these old people, whose fixed incomes have not kept up with the expenses — like UC’s (University of California)  2 percent per year?

Are these young people who have returned to live with their parents and do or do not have jobs?

Are these young people who grew up here and just don’t want to leave and do or do not have jobs?

Are these people who moved into town to work (like at McDonald’s) who do not make above the poverty level income? Are these singles, married or (are they) related to someone in town?

Can one unmarried member of a household be classified as “poverty level” without counting the joint income of the household?

Is the poverty caused by divorce or abandonment?

Where do these people live? Does Los Alamos County offer jobs that are below poverty level?

Are all of the people counted citizens? Are they all residents of the county?

Is “poverty” determined solely by income level?

 It seems to me that this is a bad town if you move here and expect to get a good-paying job unless you move to work for the lab or a related contractor; jobs are scarce and turnover is small. Were these people here and then became “poverty level” or did they move and bring with them their “poverty level?”

 I don’t want to be ungracious, but I’d like to have more information, as I imagine others would also, like the kind that investigative reporting might provide. 

Don Willerton

Los Alamos