This Thursday at the Farmer’s Market and Thursday evening at Fuller Lodge, presentations will be made concerning progress on Los Alamos County’s capitol improvement projects. My concern about some of these projects is that they do not benefit our community in a fair and equitable manner. Remember, we will all be footing the bill for these projects at some point.
Let’s use the proposed indoor ice rink as an example. It is argued that having an indoor rink will benefit the children of the community and citizens at large by making it possible for our town to host lucrative hockey tournaments. This is an example of “trickle down” economics. Money being directed toward an elite group of overwhelmingly male athletes might at some point benefit someone else.
Do you want to pay for this? I don’t. It’s only fair at this point to admit that I have a personal stake in the matter. I am the mother of two high school age athletes who have participated in the local hockey club for over a decade. One is male, the other female. The disparity in opportunities presented to the children is glaring. Girls, especially in years past, were heavily represented in the program. This has changed.
I urge parents to speak up. Investing in our community through capitol improvement projects to promote a dynamic, diversified future is a good thing. I applaud councilors who put local families first, but let’s invest in our future in an intelligent and informed manner. The county council does not have time to babysit the citizenry to make sure that everyone is playing fair. They do not have control of our schools.
Title Nine, a law passed years ago to promote gender equity in school sports, is not enforcable in the operation of a county facility hosting a “club” sport such as hockey. These sports also can be quite expensive. If we are going to build a huge facility with public money it would be nice if we could think of a way for all girls and boys to play there. As part of the discussion of capitol improvements could we include the idea of a scholarship program to insure all local kids will share the fruit of such a large investment. Not every family is lucky enough to have two big fat lab paychecks to help finance our childrens’ dreams.
Last Thursday at the meet the county council event at the Farmer’s Market I spoke with Councilors Reiss and O’Leary about my concerns. I brought along all of our old hockey team photos from years past to demonstrate how somehow along the way, the smiling little pigtailed hockey players of years past disappeared from our local program once they reached puberty. This doesn’t just happen. Our councilors were very sympathetic and I urge all parents to contact the council, the parks and recreation board, and the capitiol improvement committee with your thoughts.