There’s a story of a fellow in his house and the flood waters are rising. He’s not worried because he knows God will save him. Along comes someone in a rowboat and offers a lift. Fellow says, no that’s okay, God will save me. Water gets up to the second story window. Along comes someone in a motor boat and offers a lift. Fellow says, no that’s okay, God will save me. Water just up to the eaves and our hero is standing on the roof. Along comes someone in a helicopter and offers a lift. No, that’s okay, God will save me. Next thing, the fellow is at St. Pete’s Gates asking how come God didn’t save him. The answer was, Well We sent you a rowboat, We sent you a motorboat, We sent you a helicopter, after that We figured you knew better than Us.
The policy for Los Alamos of an Urbanized Central Downtown Core with a Shopping Center at Trinity Place which has a Big Box is rather like that fellow in the flood who would accept nothing less than something miraculous and ignored the simpler solutions to the problem.
On June 24, 1967 at the dedication of the Municipal Building Los Alamos achieved its full independence – and the responsibility which attaches to independence. We had everything we needed to go forward. The town was fairly established with housing, roadways, utilities, and a variety of shopping. Following the historically normal developmental curve of any town, the next logical step would have been establishing small manufactures, trade and commerce beyond the county line, some level of tourism, and the beginning of population diversification. Many of these attempts would probably have failed since 80% of all start-ups fail in the first 5 years. But the ones that succeeded would have put down the roots necessary for future growth and expansion.
Of course, this didn’t happen, nor were any policies launched which would have encouraged this to happen. The capital formation of the 50's and 60's which should have been the basis for further growth and development was allowed to decline and now has been fully exhausted. Los Alamos, eschewing rowboats, looked for, and continues to look for, The Big Miracle.
It ain’t gonna happen.
What I am proposing is a simple rowboat policy. Go back to what actually worked and then go from there with small start-ups in all sectors of the economy which, over time, will put down roots for future growth and expansion.
Of course, folks in Los Alamos will have to actually get on board in the rowboat – and help pull the oars. Unless folks think themselves to be above climbing in a rowboat and, believing themselves to be The Chosen insist on waiting for The Big Miracle. For that, Los Alamos could drown – in a sea of red ink.
The flood is rising. Whatcha gonna do?