Letter to the Editor: Proposed Charter Changes Rectify Shortcomings

By Ken Milder
Former County Councilor

When changes to our County Charter are proposed, I usually look at such proposals with a somewhat jaundiced eye.

Our Charter, after all, has served us well, with only minor changes, for nearly 45 years.

This is true for the most part. But, after so many years we start to see what works and what does not.

For many years the initiative, referendum, and recall provisions of the Charter have lacked clarity and, at times, inhibited the community’s effort to proceed with needed improvements.

The proposed changes rectify those shortcomings.

The grouping of the Charter questions makes sense. Each of the four provisions, if passed individually, can stand on its own.

Furthermore, the proposed 90-day provision for collecting signatures is a reasonable balance between adequate time to collect signatures versus limiting the use of the initiative, referendum, and recall provisions as a mere obstructionist tactic.

Putting the 90-day time period into perspective, the active portion of a local campaign for office runs approximately 60-days, from after Labor Day to the November election.

Having run for office multiple times myself, I can attest to the fact that one can knock on the door of nearly every Los Alamos residence in 60 days, and that’s just on weekends!

The proposed process provides an additional 30 days. That is, the petitioners have three months to collect signatures. Given my personal experience in campaigns, that is ample time to mount a successful petition campaign.

While I might oppose some other changes to the County Charter currently being studied, the proposed changes in this election are not among them.

I for one, see them as changes that will make our local county government work better.

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