By DAVID NORTH
Our vacation from voting is truly over. Like spring’s first weed in the yard, an election sign suddenly popped up along the road.
Turns out this one was planted by a new political action committee (PAC) registered to raise $7,500 to help pass the recreation bond.
The sign acknowledges Mary Susan O’Leary as the treasurer, who is of course well known as our own county councilor Susan O’Leary. Secretary is James Chrobocinski. Together they have been the bond’s strongest supporters on the council.
The Los Alamos Hockey Association donated $500, which makes sense when you consider the bond issue includes an ice rink. Los Alamos Little League — Mr. Chrobocinski is president of the board this year — also ponied up $500. This might be a little less effective since the improvements to the fields used by the league will likely get done whether the bond passes or not.*
In a time when people decry the effects of money on elections, should we fret that local nonprofits channel funds toward political issues? Happens all the time, and is perfectly legal.
Should we be leery of politicians launching PACs to influence a public vote on their agenda? If the way to “have more fun”** involves spending $20 million of other peoples money (some involuntary) it’s only a little more amusing to spend a few thousand more of other people’s money (freely given) to market the plan.
No, it’s those doggone signs.
They uglify an otherwise charming town while adding nothing of value to the public discourse. If they were weeds (generally more attractive) they would be illegal in Los Alamos (almost three feet tall!)
Hopefully the PAC will dump the signs and decide to sell us on the bond in some more tasteful and enlightening way. We can only hope there won’t be an antiPAC ginned up to plant even more.
* The bond is really only required to build the proposed rec center, which doesn’t appear to have a little league field. Most of the other projects could be covered out of pocket, and probably about as quickly. Though total expenditures are expected to exceed $33 million, the bond is only for $20 million. Rec center budget is over $18 million.
** Councilor O’Leary quoted Feb. 16, 2017 in the Los Alamos Daily Post. (link)