Making Democracy Work

Los Alamos Voter Guide 2016: Local Candidates

Candidates local to Los Alamos

Los Alamos County Council Candidates

The Los Alamos County Council is the County's governing body and was created by the Los Alamos County Charter. The Council consists of seven members elected at large for four-year staggered terms. Three seats will be filled in the 2016 election by the three candidates receiving the most votes. The County Council generally holds two regular sessions per month, plus one work session. Its members also serve as liaisons with the County's Boards and Commissions and other governmental entities.

Patrick Monroe Brenner (Republican)

1. What do you consider the most important issues facing the County? How can they be addressed?

Regulation is the most important issue facing the county today. Running a small business is not easy. However, we can make it easier for businesses to do business by addressing the overarching regulation currently being implemented by the county. By limiting government involvement in the right places, we can limit expenditure of having to maintain this regulation and make it easier for everyone to grow.

2. The 2016 Strategic Leadership Plan adopted by Council sets "Environmental Stewardship" as a strategic focus area. What environmental goals or policies, if any, would you champion as Councilor?

There are innumerable methods that can grow our care for the environment. Utilizing the private sector for environmental stewardship would be a great approach. By providing positive incentives to the private sector for participating in environmentally sustainable acts, such as implementing solar power or reducing waste, we would be helping businesses and families while also promoting environmental stewardship.

3. How would you promote economic development in Los Alamos that would serve small businesses and lower-income residents?

The best method to grow a business is to use that business. The county should always give some priority to utilizing local businesses. By limiting negative incentives on business, more businesses would be encouraged to start in or move to Los Alamos. With more businesses comes increased competition and lower product prices. Whether this product is land or groceries, lower prices help lower-income residents.

Jaret J. McDonald (Republican)

1. What do you consider the most important issues facing the County? How can they be addressed?

There are no small issues when it comes to county business, however I have three main concerns: superfluous spending, food insecurity, and proper law enforcement support. I believe the county need more efficient spending on infrastructure. The county should partner with local Non-profits and other organizations to eliminate hunger. The county should ensure our law enforcement is properly equipped, including carrying Narcan for overdose victims.

2. The 2016 Strategic Leadership Plan adopted by Council sets "Environmental Stewardship" as a strategic focus area. What environmental goals or policies, if any, would you champion as Councilor?

As councilor, my main focus would be waste stream diversion to avoid additional waste transporting costs. I support Organic Waste Bins to eliminate waste going to our landfills. I would focus on rainwater harvesting to conserve water. I would put a focus on diversifying Los Alamos energy by purchasing solar and wind power to supplement energy loss from the Four Corners Generating Station.

3. How would you promote economic development in Los Alamos that would serve small businesses and lower-income residents?

I would prioritize county projects providing infrastructure necessary for modern employers and streamline permitting processes for new businesses. I would encourage commercial and residential owners to renovate and maintain their property through incentives. I would realign the bidding process for county projects, giving local entities priority. I would promote economic development programs for lower income residents by teaming up with local non-profits and other organizations.

Steven P. Girrens (Republican)

1. What do you consider the most important issues facing the County? How can they be addressed?

Housing demand and increasing our population. These issues are particularly pressing given LANL's heightened recruiting efforts. I staunchly concur with the 2016 Strategic Leadership Plan Goal to "promote the maintenance and enhancement of housing stock and quality while utilizing available infill opportunities as appropriate." A finalized Comprehensive Plan Update will serve as a judicious roadmap guiding this goal.

2. The 2016 Strategic Leadership Plan adopted by Council sets "Environmental Stewardship" as a strategic focus area. What environmental goals or policies, if any, would you champion as Councilor?

I am very proud that Los Alamos County is a regional leader in recycling. Recall it is the County who manages and accomplishes solid waste transfer off the Hill. In fact, it was the expanded item recycling contract secured by the County that has allowed LANL to substantially enlarge its recycling program. As Councilor, I would champion that this arrangement continue to thrive.

3. How would you promote economic development in Los Alamos that would serve small businesses and lower-income residents?

I believe that increasing our population is a tide that raises all boats. Facilitating opportunities that provide more housing, especially affordable housing, is an urgent economic development initiative for the County Council to champion. Affordable housing provides lower-income residents with more opportunities to live and work in Los Alamos while an increased population offers small businesses a larger pool of customers and employees.

Peter T. Sheehey (Democrat)

1. What do you consider the most important issues facing the County? How can they be addressed?

We need to make important investments for this town's future, while keeping spending within reasonable limits: infrastructure to offer better places to live and work, improvements in services to help small businesses grow, support for our public schools, and recreational amenities. Priorities for these investments must be set by listening to our citizens and finding the common ground.

2. The 2016 Strategic Leadership Plan adopted by Council sets "Environmental Stewardship" as a strategic focus area. What environmental goals or policies, if any, would you champion as Councilor?

We should transition to less polluting, more renewable energy generation and county operations. If we do this right, it will save money. For example, weekly collection of green waste, which can go to the county composting facility, will save thousands of dollars in landfill costs. "Smartgrid" electric utility operations allow us to avoid high-cost peak-usage and more easily integrate power from solar arrays.

3. How would you promote economic development in Los Alamos that would serve small businesses and lower-income residents?

More efficient permitting will allow local businesses and commercial landlords to operate more competitively. We should implement tax and code enforcement policies that encourage refurbishment and occupation of vacant housing and commercial space. Infrastructure development to offer more housing options will make this a more inviting place for people to live, work, and shop. I support increasing our property tax rebate for low-income homeowners.

Chris Chandler (Democrat)

1. What do you consider the most important issues facing the County? How can they be addressed?

Issues: Preserving our small town character while adapting to anticipated employee turnover and possible increase in Lab staffing; Decaying infrastructure, particularly the water system. Addressed: Careful planning and code revisions/enforcement that supports neighborhoods; allows for diverse, in-fill housing options; and that facilitates, rather than blocks, efforts to revitalize older housing and encourages new housing. Implement a phased plan to replace old infrastructure.

2. The 2016 Strategic Leadership Plan adopted by Council sets "Environmental Stewardship" as a strategic focus area. What environmental goals or policies, if any, would you champion as Councilor?

I would support policies and actions that increase recycling opportunities for residents; policies that improve county operational conservation efforts and policies that implement the Future Energy Resources Committee recommendations, including increasing reliance on renewable energy sources. I would also look for opportunities to increase rider usage of the county's bus service.

3. How would you promote economic development in Los Alamos that would serve small businesses and lower-income residents?

Small businesses are hindered by overly complex and restrictive permitting rules, slow reviews and sometimes multiple requests for information. There should be a complete process review to stream-line processes and ensure that only legitimate requirements are imposed. Taking steps to increase the availability of affordable housing aids small businesses and lower income residents by supporting a pool of workers for small businesses.

Antonio L. Maggiore (Democrat)

1. What do you consider the most important issues facing the County? How can they be addressed?

Sensible growth with economic and environmental sustainability, maximize local economic development funding to restore our retail community in White Rock, increase our Rainy Day Fund, level the playing field for our local small businesses, increase tourism, improve public transportation, build a more responsive and inclusive county government, and address housing needs for our teachers, first responders, and working families.

2. The 2016 Strategic Leadership Plan adopted by Council sets "Environmental Stewardship" as a strategic focus area. What environmental goals or policies, if any, would you champion as Councilor?

As our utility rates continue to climb, I fully support and will work to see Los Alamos become a regional and national leader in local renewable energy. We must do more to incentivize new developments to go green. As Councilor, I would champion the preservation of our local open space, as it is vital to our legacy as a tourist destination.

3. How would you promote economic development in Los Alamos that would serve small businesses and lower-income residents?

Stop wasting taxpayer dollars with projects like $100,000 for a new slogan/logo. New legislation has given us access to LEDA funding that needs to be utilized to entice new retail growth and support and promote high-tech and research-based companies. Finally, we must address the barriers to new business and residents: limited public transportation, access to a trained workforce, and lack of housing.

Los Alamos County Clerk Candidates

The Los Alamos County Clerk's office handles voter registration and runs elections. It is also responsible for recording and filing public documents, issuing marriage licenses, maintaining official documents for the County Council such as Ordinances, Resolutions, and Council Minutes, and serves as Clerk to the Probate Court.

Naomi D. Maestas (Republican)

1. Why are you running for the office of County Clerk and how do you see yourself making a difference?

I am running for County Clerk because I believe whole heartedly in what we do in this office. I am committed to bring my ambition, knowledge, and experience to this position. The 10 years of experience I have working in the Clerk's Office will allow me to continue the progress the office has made and provide the best possible service to the public.

2. How can we ensure that our polling places are meeting the needs of the voters?

By following state and federal guidelines, by ensuring knowledgeable and experienced staff are set in place gathering statistical data and voter feedback to plan and manage sites and improve voting organization, by evaluating our polling places and ensure the needs of our disabled and elderly voters are set in place and are ADA compliant, and by ensuring professional, fair, and secure elections are always provided.

Amy Woods (Democrat)

1. Why are you running for the office of County Clerk and how do you see yourself making a difference?

Participation is the cornerstone of successfully running a community; I grew up here and it's my turn to Contribute to the well-being of this special place Los Alamos. I offer an advanced education, extensive Board experience, and Management and Training experience. As a facilitator and manager, one significant priority is to provide the current staff With the best tools available for the jobs.

2. How can we ensure that our polling places are meeting the needs of the voters?

The voters need communication regarding voting options, locations, and timing. Publicity should include early voting times and locations, Clear and simple bilingual instructions and good directional signs for parking and entrances. Voters also need special access whether it is Physical such as handicap ramps or by absentee ballot instructions. It might also be helpful to offer a feedback form for later improvements.

Los Alamos County Probate Judge Candidates

The Probate Court, in an office within the County Clerk's office, is convened by appointment with the Judge to probate wills. Probate Judges serve four-year terms.

Abraham Dispennette (Republican)

1. Describe both the specific experiences and abilities you have that prepare you for the office of Probate Judge.

While an Army chaplain I was constantly surrounded with families in heart wrenching wartime situations. I'm comfortable guiding grieving families through hard decisions. My business experience has taught me to properly analyze situations and make complex decisions. I believe both of these backgrounds make me uniquely qualified to handle the emotional and intellectual ability required to execute the demands of this elected position.

2. What motivated you to run for Probate Judge?

I am motivated strictly with my desire serve my community. I am appreciative both for this opportunity and the trust demonstrated by the GOP for me to represent you.

Anne Nobile (Independent)

1.Describe both the specific experiences and abilities you have that prepare you for the office of Probate Judge.

My specific experiences that support my run for probate judge are found in applying government regulations as a paralegal, as a health and safety professional and 6 years as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner. Additionally, volunteering in many capacities over 25 years in Los Alamos have provided me with insights to the character and priorities of our community.

2.What motivated you to run for Probate Judge?

My motivation stems from a strong desire to continue to be of service to a place we love to call home. I always thought I would return to paralegal work and this is very similar.