Letter to the Editor: There’s More To This Election Than Campaign Signs And Selfies

By MIKE WISMER
Los Alamos

If you are a regular commuter on Trinity Drive like I am, you’d have to wonder if the upcoming election is really all about the best candidate or who can out position the other candidate with more and colorful signs in what I call the sign cemetery along our main vehicle traffic corridor. 

This year’s cemetery postings include a competition to see who can post the biggest selfie and not get caught committing a felony Municipal Code violation. I have to say that this year’s winner has to be the real estate agent who uses the company truck to plaster the biggest selfie possible on historical Trinity Drive. I believe the “Manhattan Project” series is planning a community gathering to discuss the significance of all these selfies and to try to find a way to link this new movement to the Project.

In November, we face an election without Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton and Barrack Obama. Locally, I guess that leaves it up to us to decide our own fate. As we get ready to go to the polls to either vote early in October or to wait anxiously for the big day to come in November, it’s now down to the simple fact that we have to decide on who we want on our County Council and whether we are willing to approve some changes to the County Charter. 

While the current Council ponders important issues such as “Poultry in Residential Areas,” I considered the other crucial questions on who to vote for and whether to support the proposed changes to the County Charter. In doing so, I took a few minutes to list my top ten reasons why I believe there’s more to this election that campaign signs and selfies. 

I offer my humble rankings of this weighty list:

10. It’s bad enough that I have to follow mindless traffic signs when I drive, I’m not going to let a campaign sign tell me how to vote, especially when the face on the sign can’t text me back!

9. A campaign sign with a selfie has no more effect on me than Congress has on passing a budget on time.

8. I looked for a sign to tell me how to vote on the County Charter question but got pulled over by the police and sited for “distracted driving.”

7. Anxiety hit me when I realized the Roosevelt Family documentary was over and I had to start thinking for myself. Imagine actually reading the proposed changes without a campaign sign, a famous member of the Roosevelt family or a talking head telling me what to think? Time to buck up and get’r done!

6. Forced to read the structure of government changes to the Charter, I learned that they want the Council Chair to be elected annually. Holy Moley! It’s been going on for years and now I get to have a say? What next? We will start codifying common sense? Never mind, I forgot we still have Congress available to shut down the government on a whim.

5. Harry Burgess is really a County Manager and not an Administrator. What would Hillary say about that in Iowa? Harry’s not running?

4. Watched a documentary on Winston Churchill, got a stiff upper lip then read the second ballot question on the Utilities Department. It clarifies the fact that the Board of Public Utilities has authority and control over the Department of Utilities. Seemed to make sense to me until a cadre of old Utilities Board Alumni (UBA) told me this recommendation will ruin our utilities. Can’t figure out why the UBA is against this, maybe some aspirin will help.

3. Learned that the operation of the Department of Public Utilities “shall be subject to administrative County-wide policies and that the County shall provide available services necessary for the operation of the Department of Public Utilities.”  This is way too radical and “out of the box thinking” for me. The left side of my brain is really starting to hurt and the aspirin isn’t helping.

2. I learned that it also clarifies that funds from one utility may not be transferred from one utility to another utility or other County operations without the approval of the Utilities Department and Council. Luckily, I saw a campaign sign that said “Save the Utilities” but I couldn’t figure out what they needed saving from so I joined a group and started the 12-step process to step away from campaign signs. Those things can’t tell me how to vote, they can’t tell me how to vote… I’ve been free of their influence for over four hours now—a real work in progress.

1. The last straw. The proposed changes say that the Council has authority in matters relating to appointment, compensation and terms of employment of the Utilities Manager, one of the Council’s three employee’s. That did it. Put me over the top. Flunked out of the12-step process. Found a good therapist who hated campaign signs and the evolving selfies who helped convince me I can think and reason on my own. We shared a laugh together and both of us decided to vote for the changes.

I guess I better stop these shenanigans about campaign signs right now or the next thing I know George Chandler will be knocking on my door carrying old Latin grammar textbooks while espousing legal jargon in another attempt to sway my vote!

Here is my election year epiphany and a confession: 

I shouldn’t take myself so seriously and laugh a little. It’s good for both the left and right side of my little brain. I can read, analyze and act without the prompting of campaign rhetoric and signs telling me how to vote. It’s been a tough ride but I got there. 

I hope everyone will read the details of the proposals and make an informed decision on Ballot Questions 1 and 2 without the campaign signs and selfies. I encourage everyone to read the details of the ballot questions at: http://www.losalamosnm.us/projects/council/Pages/CRC.aspx and join me in voting to support these citizen driven improvements to our County Charter.

CSTsiteisloaded