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Letter To The Editor: Regarding The Nuisance Code

on September 12, 2017 - 7:40am
By BRADY BURKE
Los Alamos

Perhaps the problem isn't the ordinance, but its enforcement.

There was a comment by a former CA highway patrol officer who said that he could easily find three violations on any new vehicle. That kind of enforcement would be considered abusive and non-productive, unless he was looking to generate revenue. The public would really prefer that he focus on issues that present a danger to the traveling public or the driver and their occupants.

The terms of the Nuisance Ordinance are not extreme, but using that ordinance to enforce petty aesthetic issues, is an abuse of authority. To use it as a means to generate revenue, is worse.  It promotes fear and anxiety. It turns neighbor against neighbor. It calls for cutting weeds, only to grow No Trespassing signs and video surveillance. Is that how we want our community to appear to visitors?

I think we need the ordinance for enforcement against the property owners that represent a risk or have gone to extremes. For example, a quad owner doing things that risk impacting their neighbors in the same structure or a homeowner storing leaking hazardous waste in their yard.

What we don't need is a pro-active, overzealous application of a large ordinance to a minor issue. We need reasonableness. We need common sense. The intent of the law versus the words of the law.

Maybe what we need the County Council to do is to offer to cut the Community Development's budget, shut off their spending and keep cutting until they comply. Or, cut the County Manager’s budget. He’s Community Development’s boss. The Council has the authority to bring pressure on the County government. When I looked at the County’s General Organization Chart, the Citizens of Los Alamos County were at the top, with the County Council below that, and the Community Development Department a few layers lower. It might be the modest salary and the larger budget the Council gets from the County each year that has them confused as to whom they are accountable.

We need to elect a County Council that represents the voters and not a handful of rubber-stampers who think they work for the County because it's in the title of their organization. We put them there to serve and represent us, the citizen, the voters. It is our money that they are spending and with it, they are empowering a government entity to abuse us.

Elections are coming next year. Start considering whether you want the same folks back in office for another four years.


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