Letter To The Editor: The Affluent Society

By LYNN HANRAHAN
Los Alamos
 
John Kenneth Galbraith argued in his famous book, The Affluent Society, that the United States suffered from a dearth of public spending given its great wealth in the years following the Second World War. The book is a classic in liberal thought.
 
I first read it in graduate school during the Reagan era when social programs were being slashed and our President was arguing ketchup was a vegetable. I loved the book then, I love it now.
 
Why then, I ask myself, do I plan to vote no on the passage of the bond? I haven’t become an old cheapskate which would be the obvious answer. I simply feel the passage of the would see more lost than gained.
 
A new pizza place opened recently in Los Alamos. Two of our older pizza places are now closed. I loved Homerun Pizza and will always miss it. The service was good and they supported childrens’ sports. I never really made it to Timeout Pizza but my kids did. I hope they reopen. The town is small and businesses need to make a profit. Sometimes I get really grumpy when I see three Dominoes vehicles cruising back and forth from the mesas to town. 
 
If we upgrade our Aquatic Center and build a splash pad in White Rock how will our little local private pools compete? We are lucky to have several neighborhood pools: East Park Pool, Barranca Mesa Pool, Mountain Meadows Pool, with Pinon Park Pool and Canyon Vista Pool down in White Rock. Three of these pools probably have the financial resources to survive fewer members but what about the others? The surviving pools still need to make payroll, purchase pool chemicals and insurance while investing in their infrastructure to keep the pumps running and their facilities ADA compliant.
 
It would be heartbreaking if one of our town’s unique little pools was to become yet another empty storefront.
 
I have never really enjoyed the Aquatic Center.  Being a lap swimmer though I renewed my family membership last week for the year —  seven hundred and fifty dollars. I have swam at this pool since it was built even though the staff has always been grumpy and unpleasant. Our local private pools provide truly amazing opportunities for youth development with all the summer jobs they create. We already lost thirty summer jobs for teens when the county demolished Golf Course Pool in order to build a more luxurious clubhouse. The loss of more pools would be sad.
 
When I asked our county councillor who seems most vested in the recreation bond’s passage why we could not somehow spend less money upgrading our current facilities she responded that this would be in violation of state law. Too bad.
 
The proposed indoor ice rink is a ridiculous extravagance. Our outdoor rink is gorgeous. My kids have played hockey there every winter for years. You hear the tired old argument that if the children had a longer season at an indoor facility they could better “develop”. 
 
Develop into what though? Very few kids play hockey exclusively. They usually participate in fall and spring sports too. I find it hard to believe anyone would have much time to hang around an indoor rink off season. Also if you have spent much time in our region’s indoor rinks you see first hand how smelly and unpleasant they are. There is a really nice indoor rink in Pueblo, Colorado. Wonder what their budget is?
 
From what I understand the current plan with the recreation bond is to keep our old ice rink open in the winter. Is this feasible? The lab is hiring and real estate prices are rising but anyone who has lived here long enough knows nothing lasts forever. Lean years follow good. Will our lovely old outdoor rink become another empty storefront? 
 
Before you cast your ballot please stop and think what the bond’s passage would mean for your neighborhood. I still believe in investing in our community but not this time around.
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