The origin of, and its guaranteed tax-seeking continuance, lays in the bad asset management policies of the Los Alamos County Council.
UNM-LA is one of many assets. Others are pure “rent-seeking”, i.e. the airport: $50-60 million in commercial value, held for less than 75 individuals & their airplanes; the golf course: $60-75 million acreage value + a new $6 million taxpayer-funded “restaurant-community center”, held for a rapidly diminished golfcourse user-census, when we badly need decent starter home sites for younger residents, etc., etc.
IMHO, the key is the interpersonal and leadership dynamics of a county council elected at-large vs. being elected by seven individual districts. I am persuaded individual district representation cures a kind of passive, dystopic “groupthink” at the LA County Council. Otherwise we get more issues like a 15+ year wait for an ordinary grocery-anchored strip center, or risking Los Alamos’ water rights because some neighbors are temporarily inconvenienced.
Also, it may hinge on the legal question whether the Los Alamos County Council is in violation of Article X, Section 7 of the New Mexico Constitution, implemented by statewide constitutional referendum in November of 1992. It stipulates that county commissions (councils) that enlarged from more than three at-large members must then be elected by individual districts. Since that time numerous county councils and commissions “districtized” as they got larger, leaving only Hidalgo and Union counties with three-member, at-large councils or commissions today. And of course, Los Alamos with its seven-person at-large council.
If this is something that interests you, I can be contacted at email@example.com.