A muni building in search of a name

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Public input > Questions arise over what to call new facility

By Arin McKenna

The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Executive Director Cedric Page is fully supportive of a motion introduced by Los Alamos County Councilor Frances Berting to name the new municipal building for late New Mexico State Representative Jeannette O. Wallace. The county is currently seeking public comment on the proposal.

“I think the more we acknowledge the contributions of Rep. Wallace and others in the future, the better. We really need to personalize some of our facilities. I’m very supportive of her (Berting’s) efforts to have the community weigh in on that,” Page said.

“It’s part of that inclusiveness. You have to put the question out there for people to really reflect on and decide whether that building is worthy of that individual who was a significant contributor to this county. I think they’ll find there’s support in the community for taking that step.”

Under the guidelines of county code, County Administrator Harry Burgess is currently selecting a committee to hear public comment and make a recommendation to council.

A few people have already weighed in on the idea. One suggested naming the building after former County Administrator Max Baker. However, county code stipulates that an individual must be deceased at least six months and Baker is still alive.

Public Information Officer Julie Habiger also noted the county is soliciting public input specifically on naming the municipal building for Wallace, as opposed to soliciting names for the building. If public comment is opposed to that suggestion and council votes it down, council will then decide whether to consider other names or none at all.

Several people so far, have proposed not naming the building for any person. Any proposal for another name would have to go through the formal process delineated in county code.

Public hearings on the proposal to name the municipal building for Wallace are scheduled for Jan. 31 in the Fuller Lodge Pajarito Room and Feb. 4 at the White Rock Town Hall. Both meetings are at 5:30 p.m.

The county is also soliciting input at its Open Forum link at losalamosnm.us. The Open Forum has information about the proposal, including Berting’s document supporting the Wallace nomination. Other public comment on the topic is also found there.

Citizens can also weigh in by emailing lacadministrator@lacnm.us, mailing a letter to the county administrator’s office at 133 Central Park Square or calling the 311 Customer Care Center (311 from a land line or 662-8333 from a cell phone) and asking the customer service representative to type the comments into an email and send them to the committee.

Whether or not the committee votes on Feb. 4, public comment can be submitted until 5 p.m. Feb. 11. Any public comment after that date should be sent directly to council at countycouncil@lacnm.us.

A placeholder has been set for the council to consider the committee’s recommendation during the Feb. 26 meeting.