We need real change

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By Ellen Walton

Dear Editor,

I attended the Dec. 16 County Council meeting in support of Min Park’s petition to stop funding  construction of the Judicial/Police/Complex until concerns of location, size and cost were fully addressed.  At this meeting, council members spoke of concerns with these very issues, yet even those who voiced the strongest concerns voted to fund the project as designed. 

Earlier this fall, at the meeting which finalized the first phase of JPC funding, lengthy discussion was held about why this project as a whole did not qualify for the highest “A” priority under the new Prioritization Process presented to Council by Steve Lynne and Rick Bohn. Unfortunately, council had changed the agenda order for quick approval of the first phase of funding prior to the discussion.

There is a disconcerting pattern to council actions of late. Before final approval of the skateboard project by council, landscaping was already being removed from the site; immediately after the demolition of the Municipal Building, concrete was poured for a sidewalk; and before the council approved the first phase of funding for the Judicial/Police/Complex, the prisoner exercise yard of the current facility, required by law, was demolished. 

I was also astonished at the equipment already in place as council approved the demolition of our Municipal Building. Council does have the power to take their time to make wise decisions on large projects, but they have failed to do so. The excuse is always the money already put into the project and the cost of the delay. It appears to the public that projects are pushed through in a manner to support this excuse later.

Building a very costly West Jemez Bypass Road without proof of need and public support using the same justification of money already spent will be unacceptable. The public needs real input:  a vote on large capital expenditures. Council could then proceed with confidence in the chosen projects. Closing the year with council approving a project that they could not whole-heartedly support was disheartening to those of us who listen and hope for change. We will hope for new voices of sound judgment in the coming year and are working to ensure that our Home Rule will work again for the citizens. I encourage you to contact me to join in the discussion of real change that is happening now at 412-0104.

Los Alamos