picture of Pete

Public Safety: Job 1

  • Because of the presence of Los Alamos National laboratory, this county needs excellent Fire, Police and Public Utilities Departments. We were very well served by the members of these departments during the Cerro Grande and Las Conchas fires and evacuations. We need to make sure their pay and benefits will keep them eager to work here, and we should do what we can to make it possible for them to own homes in this county.

Priorities vs. Amenities

  • Although Los Alamos collects substantial Gross Receipts Taxes (GRT) from Los Alamos National Laboratory as well as other businesses, maintaining infrastructure for the Lab and the town is a substantial and continuing expense. The County can and should support its public schools, to the extent allowed under under New Mexico's state-funded educational system. Amenities, such as libraries, the golf course and the aquatic center, also require staffing and maintenance. Public safety, basic infrastructure and education are my priorities, followed by reasonable encouragement of economic development. If we manage these activities well, we will be able to further develop the amenities that make for a nice community. I have seen Lab budgets go up and down in my years here, so we don't want to be too aggressive in spending money we haven't yet received. I have defended our county policy to maintain 15 to 20% of yearly general fund revenues as a reserve in case of unanticipated revenue shortfalls.

Economic Development

  • The role of the Lab in our national security is not going to disappear, so it should remain a solid economic engine, with some fluctuations. Downtown Los Alamos and White Rock, with all the people living and working here, should be able to support more small businesses. It is not government's role to guarantee profits for anyone, but it is appropriate for County government to support a stable environment where businesses can expect to earn a fair return on their investment.
    The new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and transfer of the Valles Caldera to National Park Service management, will provide a needed boost to local retail. We need to plan our downtown redevelopment so that we will be ready for the increased tourist traffic.
    The Lab will see a lot of retirements in the next few years, and many of those people will want to continue to live here. A new generation of workers has already begun to be hired to replace retiring staff. If new hires and some of the 7000 people who presently commute to work from other counties chose to buy homes here, our retail businesses would see a significant boost. The county is investing in infrastructure development at sites in White Rock and Los Alamos, and encouraging in-fill developments and housing rehabilitation, to provide better housing options for all. If this development is done following a sound Comprehensive Plan, we can preserve the beauty of our neighborhoods while accommodating some population growth.

Capital Improvement Projects

  • Since the Lab contract went to a for-profit contractor in 2006, the County has had enough income from GRT to pay for extensive capital improvement projects. The County Councils on which I have served have worked hard to get maximum value for those dollars invested. For example, we sent back the original Teen Center and White Rock Library, Senior and Youth Center proposals because they were too expensive. After re-scoping, we were able to build excellent facilities that serve these needs for about half of the originally estimated cost. There has been good citizen participation in the planning and advocacy of individual projects, but some people question the overall prioritization--which projects go first and why. Priority for funding projects should be based on a transparent rating system, which includes capital costs, operating costs, economic benefits, and impact on other County strategic goals.
  • New or improved recreational facilities attract some tourists to stay and spend more money here, helping local retail, and these projects will make people more enthusiastic about living here. But I place a higher priority on using the money and land we have to revitalize downtown Los Alamos and White Rock, and grow the local economy. These investments in economic development will create new jobs and private investment, leading to increased tax revenues that can support additional recreational development. In general, I agree with the idea that existing County assets, such as the Duane Smith Auditorium or the Golf Course, should be maintained before additional new large projects are constructed.
  • We don’t know whether or not the new Lab contract to be awarded in 2018 will continue with a for-profit contractor; if not, county GRT revenues could drop by as much as $20M per year. I insisted before voting for the latest recreational capital improvement (the multi-generational pool) that no construction funds may be committed until after we know that the new LANL contractor will continue to pay Gross Receipts Tax.


  • I strongly support Atomic City Transit, and reasonable funding in support of regional transit. Roads should be planned to accommodate peak automobile traffic loads, but make room for all the alternate forms of transportation including walking and bicycling. Trinity can be made a much safer and prettier way through our town, that will invite people to stay and do more business here. I believe several pedestrian underpasses and/or overpasses will be needed for people to cross 502 safely.