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Public Meeting Targets Code Enforcement Concerns

on September 30, 2017 - 7:17am

During an interview about their upcoming meeting on code concerns, from left, Helen Milenski, Heather Ortega and her son Isaac Ortega, 8, Friday afternoon at the Los Alamos Daily Post on Central Ave. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Los Alamos Daily Post

Spurred by her concern with code enforcement issues surfacing around town, local resident Heather Ortega intends to form a PAC called “Los Alamos County Citizens In Action”.

She and resident Helen Milenski are hosting a community meeting on the subject, 6-8 p.m. Monday in the White Rock Branch Library.

“I want to find out who at the meeting is interested in joining me in this new PAC,” Ortega said during an interview Friday afternoon at the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Monday’s meeting is open to the public however, Milenski explained that members of the Los Alamos County Council and County staff have been asked not to attend.

“People are afraid of retaliation against their families, friends and businesses if they speak out,” Milenski said. “I wouldn’t think there would be any retaliation but that is their perception.”

Milenski and Ortega said they encourage residents on both sides of the code enforcement issue to join them at the meeting.

“We’d like everybody there, regardless of where they are on this because we want to be the bridge to help facilitate a solution,” Milenski said. “Some people say we don’t care about how the community looks, but we do … it’s just that all of these people are our neighbors and we want to help them and the County find agreement on this issue.”

Milenski met with County Chief Building Official Michael Arellano Friday morning to discuss her code enforcement concerns. She also joined him on a 2-hour ride along to tour properties during which she learned the County’s perspective on the code enforcement issues.

“He showed me a range of properties including some with tall weeds that are owned by the County, and homes in various levels of disrepair including some with severe violations … one has a wall that’s caving in,” Milenski said. “He wanted me to understand what County inspectors look for that is of concern. I want to find a solution for what the County is concerned with and what the citizens need.”

Milenski said Arellano mentioned that the Community Development Department is starting a Facebook page in an effort to provide more education and information on code issues to the public.

Milenski and Ortega also have met in separate meetings with Council Chair David Izraelevitz, Councilor James Chrobocinski and said Councilor Antonio Maggiore wants to meet with them and other residents to hear their concerns on the code issue. That public meeting is set for 9-11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6 in Building 2 at UNM-LA.

“As the movement to address this code enforcement issue has grown, people have found their voice,” Ortega said.