As I've been meeting folks I've been hearing some interesting comments. One was, "I was thinking about this the other day........this just isn't the town I moved to. Almost everything is gone."
The Municipal Building, the Los Alamos version of Independence Hall since it was on the steps of that building during its dedication ceremony when the documents giving Los Alamos full independence from the AEC were signed -- is gone.
The County has been renting spaces for employees now for three years --- there was no plan to re-build before the bulldozers struck
More County employees have been made essentially homeless as the Annex has been emptied for demolition -- and still no plan nor civic consent and agreement.
Dollars in the 8 and 9 digit range have been spent thus far for a shopping center -- which failed once and still may never exist.
Even it is built, which is doubtful, it has no reliable future -- The Community Center, MariMac, and White Rock Village leap to mind.
The much vaunted "open space" created by the demolition of the Muni and which has been the reason, if reason it may be called, for abandoning the historic site of the Seat of Government is now one of many as the bulldozers roll on -- we are about to have plenty of open space -- and no town.
Trinity Place which passed by a narrow margin and only then because of being part of an omni-bus bill is likely to become -- Trinity Park.
The fire took out many of the older homes and many of those residents left --- permanently.
That itself was a blow to many local businesses who lost a loyal customer base, which takes years to build and which is the foundation of many a business -- and those businesses have closed.
The early store owners, and even their offspring, are now retiring or retired and no plan was ever in place to find new owners for these businesses -- they, too, have closed.
The policy of trying to build a central core downtown, which Los Alamos never had, has failed and more of the same piled higher and deeper won't change the fact -- Main Street is a driveway into a parking lot.
There are now fewer businesses in Los Alamos then ever before -- yet attempts at new start-ups are met with scorn.
People demand a Big Box, totally ignoring the fact that many such have already said no to Los Alamos, yet they will have nothing else -- which is precisely what they have: Nothing.
Politicians and The Powers That Be, refusing to admit that their policies have failed miserably, slog on -- headed for the cliff.
Against the above backdrop we still hear "Give us more shopping", "We want a Big Box", "The town is an eyesore", "it was only a temporary town", "it wasn't meant to be a real town", "The town is too military", "The town is something out of the 50's and 60's" (as if that is a bad thing and why should the town be made to pay the price for someone's angst about the 50's and 60's), "We want Modern" (which is always Antique 5 minutes after it exists - does it occur to anyone that with a little new wiring and plumbing even a 200 year old adobe can be modernized without flattening it; that indeed such is the case with the White House and the US Capitol and many other structures built long before what is Modern was even invented?) It all adds up to "We want it and we want it now".
If ever anyone wanted to kill a town from the inside, one need only look to Los Alamos for the recipe.
Reality Check: there came a time when the people of the city of Rome became enamoured of consumer goods and luxurient lifestyles and entertainments and cared more about what they got out of Rome than what they gave to her. As to her past, well that was passe -- it wasn't modern. It was once believed devoutly that as long as the Flame in the Temple of Vesta burned, Rome would endure. But the flame went out -- and was re-lit and no one blinked. The people of Rome abandoned Rome long before they actually moved out. So, in 422 a.d. when Alaric stood at the gates of Rome, she had but one legion to defend her. Betrayed by the people she had long protected and sheltered she turned and faced Alaric alone -- and alone she died. Her temples were looted and destroyed; her arts and knowledge were lost for generations.
Still other towns have suffered similar, though less stunning, fates. Walk through Tsankowi and ask yourself if this isn't a very real future for Los Alamos. Then ask yourself if you even care.