Muni building issue takes another turn

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By The Staff

In yet another twist in what is fast becoming the most controversial issue in Los Alamos — the way forward for the municipal building — County Councilor Vincent Chiravalle plans to introduce an ordinance at Tuesday’s council meeting that calls for moving ahead with rebuilding the structure on its original site at Ashley Pond.

A draft of the ordinance was obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor and the wording calls for the structure to be “rebuilt to its original site and original architectural design for the specific purpose as the location and use of and for the Los Alamos County Council chambers and offices and the Los Alamos County administrator and offices.”

In a statement, Chiravalle said, “My constituents feel strongly about this issue. More than 1,600 people signed the petition and I will not ignore them.”

Friday morning, County Administrator Tony Mortillaro said that a revised agenda would be issued for the Nov. 16 county council meeting that will provide for introduction of the ordinance.

It’s not clear if Chiravalle is moving to introduce the ordinance in reaction to local attorneys who filed for an injunction this week in an effort to halt the impending referendum on the municipal building issue. George and Christine Chandler have filed a complaint for injunctive relief against the Los Alamos County Council.

“We have asked for an expedited hearing on the preliminary injunction prior to the close of business on Friday, Nov. 19,” George Chandler said in an earlier interview.

Los Alamos County and County Clerk Janet Foster also are named in the complaint that arises from the council’s Oct. 19 adoption of an election resolution calling for a special election regarding the municipal building’s placement.

In the court filing, the Chandlers assert that the council moved forward on the referendum in spite of advice to the contrary from County Attorney Randy Autio. The Chandlers contend that as a result the ballot becomes a mixed legislative and administrative question, which may not be placed on the ballot because it is a prohibited question for voter initiative under New Mexico Supreme Court precedent.

In a recent blog post, Chiravalle said he believes citizens deserve a chance to vote on the muni building petition question.

“I agree with Mr. Hannemann that it is appropriate to move forward and have the election,” Chiravalle said in the blog. “If the voters approve the petition and an interested party wishes to challenge the legality of this initiative, then after the election that party can seek a judgment in the appropriate court of law. Furthermore, under these circumstances a clear legal conflict would exist and the court would be required to hear the case and render an opinion.”

Muni Building

Vincent. You wimped out. I am disappointed. For the past couple of years, I have seen hundreds of children with their families enjoy the beautiful green space near Ashley Pond, where that old eyesore of a municipal building used to stand. Festivals, Friday night concerts, movies, kiteflying, you name it; folks have flocked to the green, natural setting near the pond. Now you dopes want to take that away. This is supposed to be a family oriented community. Vinny, stick to your guns, you were elected for a reason. You are starting to waffle and it makes you look uncertain, foolish, and weak. Has Wismer been talking to you? Next thing you know, you will side with Mikey and propose putting those ridiculous statues all over town that were proposed a while back, costing us a cool million. If you do back down, which appears to be the case, I am requesting a ferris wheel in Urban Park and a moat surrounding Fuller Lodge, since it makes about the same sense.
T. Pompimple

Muni Building

It is refreshing to see a member of the council actually respond in a positive way to the residents. We do not need any more "massive monuments to city government" being built in this town. Put the muni building back where it was and make it last. Why can other towns throughout the country have city halls that were built in the late 1800's still standing and in use. Com'on LA.

Vincent, thank you very much.