Nov 25, 2007

U.S. SENATE RACE: Chávez rails at Udall over lab funding

Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chávez fired the first direct shot at U.S. Rep. Tom Udall in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary race this weekend, blasting the Northern New Mexico congressman for his vote on reduced budgets for national laboratories in New Mexico.

"Tom Udall now has the dubious distinction of being the only member of Congress from New Mexico in history to vote in favor of decreased funding and cutting jobs at LANL and Sandia," Chávez's campaign manager, Mark Fleisher, said in an e-mail statement. "Udall owes these families and other lab workers an apology."

Fleisher also said Udall should apologize for his reported comments that his vote on the lab budgets was to send the labs "a message."

"Throwing people out of work and endangering our national security is not 'the message' New Mexicans want to hear from people in Washington like Tom Udall," Fleisher said.

While the harshest attacks were attributed to Fleisher, the news release quoted Chávez as saying, "New Mexicans must send a senator to Washington who will stand up for them, not someone who supports job cuts at our state's national laboratories."

In July, Udall voted for The House Energy and Water Appropriations Act, which would cut about $400 million from Los Alamos and Sandia compared to the previous fiscal year. Udall has said he cast that vote because the labs should be conducting energy research and science programs to address national security issues. The bill is pending in Congress.

LANL pays about $911 million a year in salaries for about 12,000 workers in Northern New Mexico.

A campaign spokesman for Udall responded in a written statement: "The budget cuts at the lab, if they occur, are part of a larger issue involving our nation's nuclear footprint. Tom Udall's vote did not affect those larger issues. Tom Udall has always supported the lab, its valuable employees, and (its) core mission. He has always worked to direct the lab toward a future, sustainable workforce. For the mayor to focus on possible job cuts demonstrates a lack of understanding of the issues and a penchant for putting politics ahead of the best, long range interests of LANL employees."

Chávez plans to visit lab workers in Los Alamos on Monday. Last week, LANL announced the laboratory might have to cut between
500 and 750 positions because of anticipated budget cuts. If the federal government accepts a LANL restructuring plan, the lab would ask employees to leave voluntarily, with severance packages based on their years of service, a lab spokesman said.

State Republicans already have criticized Udall for his vote, claiming the congressman put "partisan politics" above the good of New Mexico.


Anonymous said...

Chavez is just another low-life politician. If his position and Udall's were reversed, he'd have also voted for the LANL budget reduction. He's just using this opportunity to get some press play.

LANL has had numerous opportunities to clean up its act and to diversify over the past decade or more, and has always chosen not to do so. Don't give me that shit about the Congressional mandate to work on weapons. Other weapons labs, like Sandia, have successfully built viable WFO programs. LANL's management chose not to do so.

It's time to Darwin's principle to pay a visit to LANL.

Anonymous said...

10:21 AM

PNNL has also built a successful WFO program. The PNNL management contract RFP just out will require the new PNNL contractor to terminate much PNNL WFO. Why? Because DOE wants to control the work PNNL is doing. Just like DOE/NNSA wants to control LANL.

Anonymous said...

10:21 AM

1/3 of LANL's budget is now non-weapons National security work.

Tell us again how we've CHOSEN to not diversify? LANL has diversified. It's just that you and Udall haven't been paying attention. I guess it's hard for you two to pay attention when your heads are waaay up your asses.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who rails at Tom Udall and puts him out of business is a friend of mine. Udall is not a representative to us. Maybe to Greg Mello, and maybe to himself. That's it.

I wonder about this statement:

"A campaign spokesman for Udall responded in a written statement:

'The budget cuts at the lab, if they occur, are part of a larger issue involving our nation's nuclear footprint. Tom Udall's vote did not affect those larger issues....' "

Well, Tom, if you did not affect the larger issues, then why did you make the vote? To punish LANL?

Even if "not" is a typo, Tom's position as our representative cannot be defended.

Anonymous said...

OK 10:21, quit gloating. I appreciate the efforts Chavez is making to salvage LANL.

Agreed Lab management refused to diversify into WFO over the last ten years or so. In the mean time, LANL costs have gone through the roof. So how was it that low level peons were going to fix this exactly??

Udall, our own congressman, is sending a barbed message to punish 20-30% of those same peons for failed LANL policies. Hello! LANL management is largely insulated from anything that affects the workers. Why don't you send a message to LANS by modifying the fee structure to encourage the changes you seek? Believe me, LANS will jump for fee.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Marty is going to crush Tommy Boy in the Dem primaries. The anti-nuke crowd of Santa Fe won't be able to bring in a win for their boy when most of Albuquerque (1) doesn't know squat about Tom Udall, and (2) is relatively happy with how Chavez has been running ABQ.

Can't wait to see Udall lose everything in this race. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Go Marty!!!

Anonymous said...

Chavez is a scummy politician with all the usual Albuquerque ties.... can you spell MANNY ARAGON?

Anonymous said...

From 11:17: "So how was it that low level peons were going to fix this exactly??"

Under UC, with the exception of the director, all LANL managers were appointed from within, or at least selected by committees of internal staff. In a sense, the peons were as much to blame for LANL's pig-headed opposition to WFO as the managers, since they were the pool from which LANL's managers rose. An appropriate image, that.

And for 11:24: 50% of Sandia's budget is WFO (non DOE funding). What percent of LANL's budget is WFO? 4%? 5%?

Anonymous said...

Chavez may be a bit scummy, but anyone who takes on Tom Udall has my strong support. Udall no longer deserves his House position, much less to be a Senator for New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

John Fleck's blog states that: "About half Sandia's budget comes from the NNSA. Los Alamos, in contrast, gets about two thirds of its budget from NNSA."

Anonymous said...

Time strike back at Udall.

We need strong, tough representatives getting our share. Not confused marionettes.

For those of you with a longer broader perspective, remember what happened to Bay Area defense spending when "Casper Milktoast" Dellums headed the defense committee.

Record Bay Area military base closures.

Vote tough and gritty.

Anonymous said...

Man, oh man, are you Los Alamos people oblivious! The only people in the entire state of New Mexico who want LANL to stay open, much less remain in operation at its current funding levels are those of you who work there, or who live in Los Alamos.

Most of the rest of us would love to see your entire polluting operation shut down permanently. Go ahead and vote for someone else than Udall if that makes you feel any better; there aren't enough of you to make a difference. I'm voting *for* him because of his position on Los Alamos' funding. I suspect most of the rest of the state will vote this way too.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what people at LANL are thinking about the two controlled burns that will happen Monday at DX sites where supposed testing with depleted uranium was done. There are three watchdog groups wanting the burns to be postponed until studies are done to determine the impacts of these burns. This seems reasonable but LANL, and I would imagine NMED, won't postpone it.

Anonymous said...

"Chavez is just another low-life politician."

Hey! Don't insult low-lifes!

Anonymous said...

Udall is a courageous leader. Something different for a change. But what Los Alamos wants is a another coddling bumble-head to replace Plutonium Pete; somone that does one thing and only one thing when it comes to the Lab--place it on a pedistal and funnel money to it non stop. Ok, so that's two things. Los Alamos ought to get a new script. It's no longer the "jewel" of the DOE complex where only the best-an-brightest are drawn to work on important projects of national importance. We all know now that this is just a bunch of bunk, and Udall has the courage (and integrity) not to promote it for the Lab as others have and continue to do--a great big lie in other words. Udall is a breath of fresh air.

Anonymous said...

Chavez is another Richardson. He'll say whatever it takes. If that's the kind of leadership you want, then go for it. If integrity is what you want, then look at the alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Okay 4:37 PM, keep living in your liberal world. I’ve been in the state long enough to know that anything that affects LANL impacts Santa Fe and much of Northern New Mexico as well. Anyone else remember the merchants along Santa Fe’s main streets with their “WIPP ROUTE” protest stickers in their windows? That was the same bunch that were complaining to anyone who would listen about the new highway (599) taking the LANL money to Albuquerque and away from Santa Fe.

So take a liberal position, and play the good Santa Fe Butt Monkey if you wish, but you know as well as I that the economies of most everything north of Albuquerque depends on LANL. No, LANL isn’t everything to everyone, but it pumps a lot of money into Northern New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

LANL pumps about $1 billion in salaries into Northern New Mexico. Those people all buy things, thus putting about a 5-to-1 multiplier to each of those dollars.

Try taking $5 billion in consumer spending out of Northern New Mexico and watch what happens. Visions of Flint, MI quickly come to mind.

I'm growing weary of the anti-LANL dipshits who keep calling for LANL to be shut down. OK, dipshits, let's run the experiment and see what happens, shall we? Unless you live in a tent and eat pine bark and grub worms for a living you WILL be affected by the outcome.

Anonymous said...

you Albuquerque people may not like LANL or care anything about it but when LANL goes down it will take northern NM along with it.... watch how fast the negative "trickle down" economy spreads via real estate, stores, services etc. Without health insurance even the medicos will start to bail the area since they won't have patients. Even Santa Fe will start to look like Borat's hometown (or Espanola).

Anonymous said...

Chavez will be at Fuller Lodge on Monday, Nov 26, from 5-6pm for those of you who are courageous enough to want to show up and rant first hand rather than hiding behind anonymous comments on the blog.

Anonymous said...

There is no integrity in Udall's statement that LANL needs to diversify. If he had really felt that way, he should have worked to help raise awareness and funding for his proposed diversification before voting to demolish the place. LANL and the communities of Northern New Mexico do not need such a "message".

I think that those calling Chavez a low-life, etc., have a not-so-hidden agenda. They would like to see the "courageous" Tom Udall remain and do LANL further damage.

For those who think that Udall is a snake, then the answer is to support Chavez in the primary. Then, if you don't like Chavez, vote Republican. At least, then, we have a greater chance of getting rid of the snake.

Anonymous said...

Ya right... let's vote Republican... like Bush and company haven't flushed this country (let alone the lab) down the shitter? All the republicans do is hand over the country to corporate america and push prohibitionist legislation.

Anonymous said...

Not only is Udall a snake, but so is Richardson. The following is a letter to the SF New Mexican from a Los Alamos resident. It was published 11/04/07 with the headline "State losing to prez campaign".

Governor Bill Richardson sent a letter to Congress opposing the 3.2 percent budget cut to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) which funds LANL and Sandia. Then, as a presidential candidate, he proposed a 53 percent cut to NNSA's budget. How does he reconcile these two positions? When the press asked about this inconsistency at a reception in Santa Fe, he twice ignore the question. Is it tough to govern a state very dependent upon the federal government and also to run for president on a platform that includes fiscal responsibility? Can he explain why prior to the last legislative session he promised $6 million dollars to help fund a tourist bypass road around LANL, but somehow his promise didn't pan out and he barely remembered to allocate $2 million? Richardson should consider being a better governor to ALL the citizens of New Mexico instead of gallivanting around the country trying to convince voters that he would make a good president.

Anonymous said...

9:27 pm: "For those who think that Udall is a snake, then the answer is to support Chavez in the primary."

Udall is not a snake. A snake is careful, concealed until ready to strike, and deadly. Udall is just a stupid pandering fool for the Santa Fe liberals, and too dumb to hide it from the rest of his constituents (unlike Richardson), who will take appropriate action when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

Los Alamos as a community is very Republican. Not that there is anything wrong with that (with acknowledged debt to both Jerry Seinfeld and Larry Craig - LOL).

Most of these posters would be negative about Udall no matter what. The budget vote is just an excuse.

Anonymous said...

11/25/07 10:16 PM, not true. Some voted for Udall because the Republican candidate was not viable. Some agreed with Udall's concerns about the environment and his opposition to the war in Iraq. But he has become a danger to the country's security by supporting the destruction of our national laboratories, just as Bush and the DOE have also put our country into danger, far more than a few screwy "terrorists".

Anonymous said...

11/25/07 10:16 PM said"
"Los Alamos as a community is very Republican.... Most of these posters would be negative about Udall no matter what. The budget vote is just an excuse."

That generalization is totally false. Normally I wouldn't be bothered too much by what a Democrat does. I might vote against him, but only if I thought the Republican candidate were better for a logical reason. I imagine lots of Los Alamos Republicans would feel that way.

Udall is a different matter. He has hit us in the gut and shown himself to be unworthy of the title Representative. As a result, I am fairly passionate about the need for his defeat.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 11/25/07 6:02 PM writes:

"Udall is a courageous leader. Something different for a change."

The person who wrote this is clearly clueless. Udall is every bit the self-serving scumbag that Bill Richardson is. We need both of them out of office.

Anonymous said...

re-elect Nobody!

Anonymous said...

Chavez saving LANL is like Mikey saving LANL....

Anonymous said...

I wondered why this guy's picture was plastered all over the place last time I flew through Albuquerque airport.

First he generously offered me a free plastic bag courtesy of the city of Albuquerque for my liquids at the security check.

The he greeted me with a nice big smile when I opened my laptop to use the free wifi, courtesy of the city of Albuquerque.

With this nice man offering everyone so many freebies I don't know how anyone could not vote for him.

Anonymous said...

As a registered republican, I will not be able to cast that luscious vote for Marty to defeat our traitorous representative Tom. Damn, maybe I should switch parties just for that. I despise Tom Udall unlike any politician I have ever witnessed (yep even more than Bill Richardson and Manny Aragon). Tom is a clueless wimp who is on the fringes and represents nobody but the left wing liberals of Santa Fe. Oh well, I hope all you democrats bring down the fool. If not, there is a pretty good chance we can send Tom back to work for a living in the general election.

Anonymous said...

11/26/07 8:04 PM, I think you have hit upon the solution. What if a large number Los Alamos Republicans switched parties just for this primary, just to help vote out Udall? One good traitor deserves another.

Anonymous said...

This is from Marty Chavez' web site. He has a petition to restore lab funding. After you sign the petition, you get a copy of the message below, which you can edit and forward to your friends using either your own e-mail or his web form.


Dear Friend,

Recently, the Los Alamos National Laboratory announced plans to cut as many as 750 jobs.

Unfortunately, Representatives Tom Udall, Heather Wilson, and Steve Pearce all had a chance to stop these cuts. Instead, earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would strip about $400 million in funding from Los Alamos and Sandia labs -- a bill that Tom Udall supported.

Marty Chavez, the current Mayor of Albuquerque and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, is going to deliver a petition to Congress in the next few weeks to urge them to restore full funding of New Mexico's national labs. Below is a link where you can sign the petition:

[piece together the link]

Help Marty and me fight back against these job cuts by signing the petition today!


I signed it and passed it on. I hope others will do the same.