There are those who say that a Muni is just an office building and that a small patch of grass, or a concert venue, or a ubiquitous view are more important than an office building. There are those who say that the only reason that we live here at all is for the job or for the surround. In an effort to stop the re-building of our Muni they will try to say that the original Muni can't or shouldn't be built.
They are wrong on all counts.
The Muni, our County Hall, is the most important, most significant building of our civic life. It is a statement about how the citizens of Los Alamos view Los Alamos itself: as it was, as it is, and as it will be.
Though the County had been created in 1949 it was more of a legal construct than anything else. In 1959 residents of Los Alamos could not own property. Their voting rights were limited. The Town Council/County Commission could not pass legislation, particularly of a budgetary nature, without final approval from the AEC. For over a decade the Constitutional rights which most people take for granted were limited here in Los Alamos. Then, in 1960, it all started to change.
Los Alamos was to be turned over to Los Alamos! The excitement was palpable. People could talk of nothing else. Families sat around the kitchen table and tried to make decisions about buying the government house they were renting or maybe building a "dream home" in the up-coming new developments of Barranca Mesa and White Rock. Los Alamos was about to make its first moves to becoming a "real" town. You had to have been there -- it was truly amazing.
It took seven years to get it done. One of the things that was done was planning what would be the first City/County Hall of an independent Los Alamos. For years, we had stashed what little local government we had in the Old County Courthouse which was a converted Sundt from the war years.
That original City/County Hall, the Los Alamos County Municipal Building, was to be the landmark of the political independence of Los Alamos and its establishment as a true polity - not just a legal construct. The significance of that building was stated by then County Administrator Paul Noland in his remarks at the dedication ceremony June 24th 1967 "This building symbolizes Los Alamos as a normal New Mexico town and a normal New Mexico County". That significance was under-scored by inclusion in that ceremony of the signing of the final documents which gave Los Alamos full autonomy and self-actualizing, self-determining Independence.
It was a time of Hope and Confidence and Optimism in, and for, the Future of Los Alamos -- a time of Civic Pride.
Voting to re-build the Muni through the democratic process of the citizen's initiative as guaranteed by our Charter re-affirms the self-governance, self-actualization, self-realization, and self-reliance of an independent Los Alamos.
Voting to re-build the Muni renews the proposition that Los Alamos was, is, and should be a place with its own separate identity and destiny.
Voting to re-build the Muni re-dedicates the citizens of Los Alamos to the vision of a future to which the Muni was first built and dedicated by our founding generation.
Voting to re-build the Muni re-establishes its significance as the symbolic and central building of our civic life, with the site and the unique architecture emphasizing and enhancing that significance.
Voting to re-build the Muni says that the citizens of Los Alamos believe in their County and its two small towns; that we honor those who founded Los Alamos and that we hereby acknowledge their hopes and dreams for the future to be our own.
Voting to re-build the Muni makes our statement about who we are, about what is truly important to us, about the significance of our County and its two small towns to us, about our hopes and dreams for the future.
Only this building on this site can make that statement.