I would like to add my name to the list of people who are opposed to the recreation bond. On May 5, Carolyn Roberts wrote an excellent assessment of the problems with this bond issue and I am in complete agreement with the points she has made.
The most important of these points is the following: “If something adverse happens at LANL or another fire devastates our community, WE, the property owners, are still responsible for paying this debt back. Additionally, if the projected recovery percentages fall short, Los Alamos County can, again, raise our property taxes to repay this bond.”
When you consider the high probability that the projected recovery percentages will fall short and add that to the empirical data we have from this county, where projected upkeep and maintenance costs are always estimated far too low, it should be obvious that this council will be coming back to the trough to pick property owners pockets to cover their ineptitude. If you doubt this then take a short trip to the unfinished public library or the money pit we call the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center.
In recent years our property taxes have skyrocketed. It is inappropriate to ask this one sector of the population to pay for these frivolous expenses. This leads me to my next point. This county does not need more recreation facilities it needs industrial infrastructure and jobs. As Margret Anne Rogers pointed out, this community has more recreational facilities per person than any city in the state. The children of this community would be much better served if there were places here for them to learn to work and build character. Additionally, there are many retirees and former lab workers who would love to find technical or science based employment in this community but none is available due to the fact that there are no affordable industrial areas for businesses in Los Alamos.
A colleague of mine and I had recently secured funding for over $7 million to build a manufacturing facility. The county was going to use over half of our budget to put three phase power in place along DP Road and then they expected us to donate all the wiring and transformers to the county at the end of the process so others could use it. This type of infrastructure should already exist here in Los Alamos, It is the type of project the county should be doing in order to expand the jobs base in and around this community. This bond is just another example of our council putting luxuries before necessities.
I have heard the argument that the new facilities would bring people into Los Alamos from surrounding communities thus increasing tourism. Like any new toy the short term novelty might bring a few people into the community. However, the long-term viability for these facilities and their upkeep will fall back on the taxpayers.
If the Council really wanted to exploit tourism dollars they should look at the three most popular web searches over the past decade. They are UFOs, atomic weapons and ghosts. The order changes from time to time but these three topics seem to endure in peoples minds. Roswell estimates that they bring in $10 million to $15 million a year by exploiting their connection to a dubious UFO crash in the 40s. Just think what Los Alamos could do if they were willing to exploit our connection with nuclear weapons rather than downplaying it out of political correctness and fear of offending someone.
There should be a mockup of a different Los Alamos weapon system on every corner in the downtown area with a plaque describing when it was built and what its purpose was. This would bring tourists from around the country on a long-term basis, and bring them into close proximity with local vendors selling food, drinks, books and historical curios. I believe that this council and past councils have abdicated their responsibility to work in the best interest of this community by consciously ignoring the immense contribution Los Alamos had made in the past to our national security.
If our councilors had to go into a bank to pitch this bond as a business plan they would be laughed out of the office. No rational businessperson would willingly hand over money for this scheme. Please don’t allow the county to confiscate these funds by signing on to another tax. I urge you to vote no on the recreation Bond.