The Palace of Malice

On February 7, 2008 the Los Alamos County Council voted to destroy the physical symbol of the Independence of Los Alamos.

On December 21, 2010 5 Members of the Los Alamos County Council, 2 of whom voted in the affirmative in the above cited action, voted to destroy the liberties and rights of the citizens of Los Alamos and to vacate the Charter which was the codification of the Independence of Los Alamos.

The Palace of Malice, akin to Nero's Golden Palace and destined to become home to Ozymandius, will be built upon a foundation of legal chicanery, ruthless manipulation, self-aggrandizement, wanton destruction, and the wholesale abuse of Public Trust and authority --- but at what cost, and borne by whom?

Reality Check -- No community of any size can long survive the destruction of its heritage, the dissolution of its freedoms, and the permanent division of its citizens.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

38) Community

Has it occurred to you the Los Alamos doesn't have a Founder's Day? Most small towns do (even the fictional Eureka which is a take-off on Los Alamos). Founder's Day celebrates the founding of the town and the generation which labored to make it happen. It is a celebration of the town itself; a celebration of having the town at all. Hold that thought................

When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Pull out a picture from your high school days. Look closely – beyond the signifiers of age, are you really much different? I'm pretty much the same – perhaps a bit more weathered though perhaps no wiser. Yet the me in the photo of 40 years ago pretty much looks like me now. Its called continuity.

Who do you look like? Your mother or your father? And is there not a grandparent and a great-grandparent whom you resemble? I can pull out photos of my Dad in his 20's and the similarity is rather striking. I can compare photos of my Dad age 5, myself age 5, and my son age 5 and except for the background you could swear you were looking at the same kid. That, too, is continuity. Hold that thought...................

Every town grows and experiences change. New things are added. Some things are lost. Yet, look closely. Even London retains vestiges of Londinium. Today, Kit Carson could look at Taos and see all that is new, all that has changed over a hundred years – and yet, he would still recognize the place as Taos. The vast megalopolis that is Los Angeles retains the village from whence it sprang.  So it is with all towns and cities, just as it is with us as individuals. You can see the growth and change, yet what that came from still remains. Certain aspects, the most important aspects, remain thereby establishing a line of continuity. Break that line of continuity and identity ceases to exist.

It is sometimes said that we need to keep the site of the original Municipal Building as a park, or perhaps build a performance pavilion.  Either way, it is said that this will be a place for people to gather as a "community".  Really?  What is gained is temporary, what is lost is permanent.  It becomes a fun zone for residents of the present without regard to those who came before or those who will come after.  In what way is that "community" ?

To restore the Municipal Building, as it was, where it was (better construction) is to restore to Los Alamos a line of continuity, a heritage and identity. And more. The Municipal Building embodied and symbolized the crowning achievement of the Founding Generation of Los Alamos – Los Alamos as an independent, self-governing entity. To restore the Municipal Building is to honor that generation which made it possible for you to have a town in which to live at all.

The day when we re-dedicate the restored Municipal Building will be the first time that the people of Los Alamos will have truly celebrated the Founders of this town in a celebration of the town itself – of its past, its present, and its future.

That, more than a park or a performance stage, is what is meant by "community".