Nov 27, 2007

Chávez Talks Job Cuts at LANL

ABQ Journal
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chávez Talks Job Cuts at LANL

By Dan Boyd
Journal Staff Writer

While others were returning to work Monday after a long holiday weekend, Martin Chávez took to the road.

Chávez, the mayor of Albuquerque and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici, met with Los Alamos National Laboratory employees to discuss the potential loss of up to 750 LANL jobs.

Along the way, Chávez lashed out at U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., his opponent in the Democratic primary, for voting in favor of a bill that would cut funding for the laboratory.

"There's some things where you fight to the end, you don't cave like he did," Chávez said of Udall. "He promised he would vote for the labs, and then he voted to cut them."

Laboratory officials unveiled a plan Nov. 19 to cut 500 to 750 jobs through voluntary buyouts. If not enough volunteers step forward, layoffs probably will follow.

But Udall staffers say the attempt to link job losses with Udall's vote this summer smacks of political desperation.

"It's really sad that instead of working together, they're attacking Congressman Udall," said Udall's chief of staff, Tom Nagle. "(Udall) has been working for northern New Mexico for his whole career."

Udall, who has served in Congress since 1999, voted in favor of a water and energy appropriations bill in July that would cut about $400 million from LANL and Sandia National Laboratory compared to the previous year's funding.

The bill is still languishing in Washington, D.C., as the Senate and the House of Representatives have been unable to reach a compromise. Stopgap funding measures have been approved in the meantime.

Although Udall has claimed the lab needs to modernize its mission and direct more funding toward renewable energy programs, Chávez said Monday that Udall has had nearly a decade to effect desired changes.

Support of New Mexico's national labs has "always been beyond partisanship," said Chávez, who claimed Udall is the state's only congressman in history to vote for cutting funding to LANL and Sandia.

But Udall, who recently noted that he offered an unsuccessful amendment to add $192 million to the appropriations bill, is hardly unsupportive of the lab, backers say.

Nagle said embracing the future is the only way for LANL and other national laboratories to remain relevant.

"If the lab doesn't move forward into these new areas, the state is going to be in big trouble," he said, referring specifically to global warming and energy efficiency research. "The need for nuclear weapons is going down. The jobs of the past aren't there anymore."

With the Democratic primary slated for June 2008, the campaign season is already in full swing.

Udall was a guest of honor at Friday's holiday tree lighting in Santa Fe, where Mayor David Coss introduced him as "Senator Udall."

Alhough more than seven months remains until next year's primaries, early surveys lend credence to that prediction. A recent SurveyUSA poll of 2,100 registered New Mexico voters said Udall holds a sizable lead over Chávez and would probably win the election if it were held today.

On Monday, Chávez acknowledged he probably won't win over many of the "trust-fund elite" in Santa Fe, but played up his New Mexico heritage and said he thinks he can connect with working-class voters.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary will likely face a formidable Republican foe in the general election. U.S. Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce are seeking the GOP nomination.


Anonymous said...

A pig-slopper he may be, but obviously Chavez knows what we want to hear at the Lab. Forget about leadership, and who cares about vision? Just keep saying what we like to hear and you got our vote Mr. Chavez. It doesn't matter if you can deliver on your rhetoric, just so long as you keep singing our praises.

Anonymous said...

Well - It is already obvious where Shut-em-down Udall stands. I'm willing to give Chavez a shot.

Anonymous said...

Vision? We don't need no stink'n vision!

Anonymous said...

Nope, no vision required.
Just money.

Anonymous said...

Reading this blog over the last few months, I hope the posters are in the minority as far as lab employees go. As an outsider, who is new here, doesn't know diddly about the labs, and ever other insult you can hurl, I find the dribble on here to be the real problem with the lab. The best and brightest have been reduced to Soylent Green popping zombies who find the only challenge worth responding to is the reduced dose of the Green.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous said at11/27/07 9:55 AM:
I don't know if the posters are in the minority at LANL. I can tell you that my co-workers are very VERY unhappy with LANS management, in particular with Anastasio. They have not been at all honest with us. And, they have been grossly incompetent. They are money-grabbers.

We are similarly displeased with the NNSA. Many of us predicted the financial train wreck (increased management fee, Gross Receipts Tax, pension costs, etc) as soon as the intention to bid out the contract was announced. More than $220M is now wasted annually because of this.

Anonymous said...

"Chávez acknowledged he probably won't win over many of the "trust-fund elite" in Santa Fe, but played up his New Mexico heritage"

I love it! I don't think you'll find too many of Daddy's Money trust-fund babies living down in ABQ. Furthermore, most of ABQ's citizens have never even heard of Tom Udall, so I have serious doubts about early polls showing Udall with an easy victory in either the primaries or the main election.

The population of ABQ is about 5 times that of Santa Fe, so the name recognition Udall has in Santa Fe means very little. Then you have the Hispanic thing going for Chavez. A pasty white rich Anglo going up against a hard-working native NM Hispanic? No constest, Chavez wins.

Tom Udall comes from the rich Udall family of Arizona so he fits right in with this privileged Santa Fe crowd. He's one of their own, a rich kid who never had to worry about doing hard work or earning a living on his own.

Go Marty! Push that scum-bag named Udall right out of the state.

Anonymous said...

"trust-fund elite" in Santa Fe,

Ya I know a few of them. In general they are not bad people but it is funny how some my friends try to dress like they are poor and show off how socially concerned they are. At the same time there is a implicit understanding that they are different from "the others" in that they come from money. What is really weird is that the also look down on people who have earned their wealth.

Anonymous said...

9:55 am - you claim that you are new to the Lab, you must really be absorbed with all of your new exciting work because I dare you to find an employee (not a manager) who is happy with LANS and in particular the director. Do you interact with your co-workers, your neighbors and have you read this blog? This is not a minority perspective represented in the postings, albeit the few posters who claim that we are whiners. Many lab employees are third generation employees with a long-held but now diminished pride in working at the lab. Check the halls, cafeteria, grocery stores in the area and try to find a sparkle in someone's eyes.

Anonymous said...

Jessica Quintana had a sparkle in her eyes, but I suspect that was from her roommate's drugs, rather than any innate pride in where she worked.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 11/27/07 9:55 AM must be working at some other LANL than the one that I work at.

Or, could this be a message from Mikey?

Anonymous said...

9:55 doesn't claim to be a LANL employee, only "an outsider who is new here".

Anonymous said...

I never thought of Mayor Marty as a hispanic, but I guess he is, given his last name.


Anonymous said...

"The best and brightest have been reduced to Soylent Green popping zombies who find the only challenge worth responding to is the reduced dose of the Green."--11/27/07 9:55 AM

The "best and brightest" claim was always little more than a self serving myth to attract people like yourself to the institution. The real "best and brightest" left soon after discovering the truth.

Anonymous said...

"I never thought of Mayor Marty as a hispanic, but I guess he is, given his last name. Interesting."
11/27/07 12:49 PM

No, I think what's interesting is that his ethnicity should even matter. But I guess when we're talking about Los Alamos, it has to matter.

Anonymous said...

9:55 here again,

I was merely making an observation. This blog spends an awful lot of space talking about what is being done to everybody. Seems to me, life is what you make it. Bad things do happen to good people. No doubt. However, events can only define you as victim of somebody else's actions if you let them.

As far as talking to co-workers, neighbors and everybody else, I don't think I've met too many that like management regardless of the employer. It's a human condition to think those running the show are thick headed, so I don't think that is much to go on. Most folks I do talk to say that there are air thieves just taking up space and good oxygen at the lab. Every organization has them. It appears at least one identifiable management failure is holding everybody to a high standard.

Anonymous said...

11/27/07 10:20 AM

To further your comment......Anastasio has not been honest with the employee's, and has treated them as if they are too dumb to figure things out ofr what they really are.

Well...the joke is on him. He has made a mistake that will critically affect his ability to lead the laboratory. He is the idiot. LANL employee's are not idiots (with the exception of the tokens and the deadwood)