The Los Alamos Daily Post invited Los Alamos County Council candidates to each write a column speaking directly to the voters.
Here are their columns:
Derkacs: Help Los Alamos Plan For Growth And Embrace The Future
By DENISE DERKACS
Democratic Council Candidate
I’m running for County Council because I want to help Los Alamos County plan for growth and embrace the future while preserving the past and the amenities that make the County a great place to live.
Issues: I recognize three overarching issues facing the County: (1) housing development, especially for low- and middle-income households, that supports a growing population; (2) commercial sustainability that enables small businesses to thrive and support diverse occupations and services; and (3) community services, such as our recreational facilities, parks, trails, and open spaces, that contribute to the quality of life we value and want to preserve as the County grows.
Principles: To address these and other issues as a public servant, I will engage in open and honest two-way communication to understand and represent the needs of all residents. I also will follow a principle-based approach to decision-making by seeking as much information as possible about an issue, by anticipating possible consequences of a decision, and by being open to all possible solutions to an issue.
To learn more about me and my campaign, visit denise4countycouncil.com and facebook.com/denise4countycouncil, or contact me at email@example.com.
Reagor: Los Alamos County Should Be An Advocate For Local Business
By DAVID REAGOR
Republican Council Candidate
My name is David Reagor and I am a candidate for the Los Alamos County Council. Like many residents I came here to work at LANL and then spent 32 years as a researcher at the laboratory. The community has been a wonderful place to live and raise children.
Here, we have a community full of parks and are surrounded by public land, much of it available for recreation. Like many retirees, I will not move elsewhere.
In any small city it is hard to maintain the businesses that provide services to the community.
These services, healthcare, restaurants, etc., are vital to the quality of life, and the county government needs to be an ally that promotes their success.
In addition, we need businesses that have sales from outside the county. From a real estate point of view Los Alamos is essentially an island, and this leads to a tight market for all the local businesses. The county government cannot act as an additional barrier to their success.
Los Alamos County, both the council and the staff, should view the support of local business and new initiatives as their primary goal. Please support this goal by voting for Reagor.
Rickman: Committed To Community
By JAMES E. RICKMAN
Libertarian Council Candidate
Los Alamos is an incredible community. I am committed to sustaining outstanding quality of life now and for our future generations. By voting for me, you are voting to protect our open spaces, recreational amenities, aquifer, dark night skies, and other community assets through careful planning and management. Once a cherished amenity is gone, it cannot be replaced.
We can address housing issues by encouraging redevelopment of blighted areas and by using appropriate parcels of DOE-transferred land to their highest potential. Government should support business by providing an outstanding place to live, and encouraging business professionals to use their expertise and resources to create a successful business climate—because they are the ones who hold an actual stake in the outcomes.
Throughout my campaign, I have done my best to be transparent and honest about who I am and what I’m working for.
I will bring this same transparency to local government for the benefit of the people who live here.
The citizens are the County’s most important customers.
This is an important election. Your vote will help shape the future of our community. In times like these, I try to consider people over parties. I hope you will, too.
Roberson: Wants To Build A Safe And Resilient Los Alamos Community
By RODNEY ROBERSON
Democratic Council Candidate
Having a life-long career in public service, including 20 years in the Marines, I feel I am ready to serve as your Los Alamos County Councilor.
I have long experience as an Emergency Management Professional in assuring public safety and protecting property and the environment. I work closely with Law Enforcement Officials, Fire Fighters/EMT’s and Emergency Mangers, as well as Business Leaders, School Administrators, County Officials and of course, our community citizens.
I enjoy bringing people of different backgrounds and different interests together and talking through the challenges, reaching consensus and moving projects forward.
Two of the most important are: (1) housing and (2) the revitalization of downtown Los Alamos and White Rock.
Housing: The severe limit of land and water, makes it difficult to develop enough new affordable housing, while maintaining current open spaces and quality of life. However, there is also a substantial amount of existing empty housing that we could make habitable through zoning and code policies.
Downtown Revitalization: In order to have inviting downtowns, we need attractive commercial property with reasonable rental rates (for instance, reduce competition from LANL) along with adequate green space. Furthermore, we must consider long-term pandemic mitigation planning. We can achieve this through zoning and appropriate ordinances.
Vote Rodney Roberson for County Council to build a safe and resilient Los Alamos County.
Walker: Los Alamos County Council Needs A Fresh Perspective
By AARON WALKER
Independent Council Candidate
We are down to less than two weeks left before election day.
Over the past 4-5 months I have covered a large amount of the issues the County is facing and what I would do to address them. Now is the time to discuss what makes me different than the other candidates.
Council is in dire need of a fresh perspective. A perspective that is unbound by the influence and will of either party. County council needs a perspective open to change, and willing to make the hard decisions to make our community better.
Council also needs someone that has experience recently working with the county government. My experience as the chair of the Community Development Advisory Board is directly relatable to the Los Alamos of 2020, where tensions between the county and residents are high. I have direct experience with that tension, and my recent interactions with the county make me well prepared to serve on day 1.
I am prepared to serve this community. I have recent, directly applicable experience with the county. I interact with all residents, regardless of party affiliation or beliefs. I feel I am the candidate for the job.
Williams: A Mule With A Spinning Wheel … Ditch The Consultants
By SEAN WILLIAMS
Democratic Council Candidate
The county is paying some $50k for downtown master planning services. That’s significantly less than a professional full-time employee, and the master planning consultants brought a team of eight or ten!
There’s only one way I can think to make this pencil out: the consulting firm decided on the answer ahead of time, so we aren’t paying for planning, we’re paying for public meetings—but since the answer’s already known, the meetings can’t matter.
I’m picking on Dekker/Perich/Sabatini again to make a specific point: as a councilor, I’ll oppose moves to offload complex decisions onto consultants.
They don’t know our problems, we won’t pay them enough to learn our problems, so their solutions will be irrelevant. While public input is important, a consultant here to sell a prepackaged solution can only ever “push poll,” that is, poll for the answer they already have. That isn’t public input, that’s just more salesmanship. At the last DPS meeting, David Jolly, general manager of Metzger’s, joked about building a monorail between Los Alamos and White Rock. Which was fitting, since The Simpsons used that for their parody of The Music Man.