November 25, 2022

Letter to the Editor: Politicians and Political Candidates

By MARK DEVOLDER
Los Alamos

This year, I will not be voting in the November elections.

One reason is that I have previous commitments and the other reason is simply disgust.

The Governors’ Debate was pretty much a shouting match. There is hardly more to say. It is difficult to know what a candidate may or may not do after being elected. I’ve heard the traditional advice that it’s a good idea to vote for the lesser of two evils. Why must this be the only way forward?

A while ago I wrote to Christine Chandler about an issue (i.e. poor driving habits of New Mexico drivers). I never received a response.

A while ago I wrote to Ben Ray Lujan about the same issue I passed on to Christine Chandler (i.e. bad driving habits of New Mexico drivers). I never received a response. What I received was a newsletter. When politicians no longer answer the questions raised by voters, it’s time to throw out the baby, the bathwater, the tub, the plumbing and the house.

Will Rogers once said, “I don’t belong to an organized political party – I’m a Democrat.” That said, I also have issues with the Republican agenda. I overheard two men in Los Alamos talking to each other over the weekend. One of the men commented, “Do you listen to Democratic news or Republican news?” Again, there is little more to say. There is no truth, there is only the agenda.

I used to send any concerns I had about Los Alamos County to the County Board. The county board usually emailed me expressing their thanks and forwarded the concern to the county executive, the appropriate Los Alamos County department, or the LAPD Chief of Police. I stopped communicating with the Los Alamos County Council after the lousy treatment received by Anna Dillane regarding the biased Quality of Life / Nuisance Code investigation. Around this time, I began to take my concerns directly to the County Executive and the LAPD Chief of Police. Both were and continue to be sensitive to my concerns. This begs the question, “What do I need with the Los Alamos County Council?” Come back when you can’t stay so long.

During the Zoom presentation for the county council, a candidate expressed concern for the environment. Saturday I visited downtown Los Alamos. There were dozens of empty candy wrappers found on the sidewalks of Central Park Square and the USPS. What’s happening to those candy wrappers? They end up in storm drains, the Rio Grande, and then float to the surface of the ocean. Small pieces of plastic on the surface of the ocean act to kill aquatic life. I recognize that children with their empty treat/candy wrapper gifts and throwing habits and the parents of these children have no respect for the environment. I guess North Carolina isn’t the only state that raises pigs.

I complained bitterly about the application of the nuisance code. One of the county council members seemed obsessed with snug-fitting car covers recently. Another county council member did not want to violate the guidelines provided by the council (i.e. Community Development Advisory Board). I emailed the county council asking why Los Alamos County has a nuisance code. I never received a response. It would seem that the members of the county council suffer from the same ailment as Christine Chandler and Ben Ray Lujan.

I have great concerns when infrastructure fails (i.e. power, natural gas, water, sewer, roads/curbs/sidewalks, telephones, internet, etc.). I have not received satisfactory responses from members/candidates of County Council regarding allocations for infrastructure vs. allocations for leisure facilities. When county councilors give the Los Alamos public what they ask for and ignore the infrastructure, I think there is a problem in the way city government works. I hope county council members have enough knowledge to know what the county really needs and can make reasonable decisions without having to carry out investigations. To do otherwise indicates a lack of lucidity, independence and integrity.

What I find even more disturbing is that county councilors do not justify their decisions. They can vote a certain way (yes or no) on an issue; however, it is unclear what motivates them to vote in a particular way. You might call it good politics, but to me it appears to be little more than obfuscation. I don’t know what kind of deals are made behind closed doors (a lack of transparency). I also don’t know the effect that special interest groups or political action committee funding have on county council candidates. All of this serves to create mistrust and mistrust.

To the best of my knowledge, the strict enforcement of the nuisance code was originally approved (and continues to be approved) for implementation by the county council following complaints from Los Alamos County real estate agents. I noticed recently that a realtor in Los Alamos County advertised the sale of a million dollar house. This means an income of $20,000 to $30,000 for a real estate agent when the house sells. In the event that a neighbor doesn’t have a tidy yard or a properly fitting car cover, a realtor could miss out on some of the $20,000 to $30,000. So the real estate agent would ask the landlord to call code enforcement personnel and scream bloody murder of the neighbor. What pains me is that an entire county is being held hostage by a “for-profit” entity.