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Monday, June 18, 2007

Los Alamos: Radioactive For Rep. Udall, Plus: Santa Fe Crime Wave Keeps Em' Talking, And: The Latest From Our Exclusive "Pete Beat" 

Rep.Udall
If Tom Udall is looking for the rest of the state's congressional delegation to bail him out over impending budget cuts for Los Alamos national labs, he may find himself wading in water up to his hips. The northern NM Democrat, whose district includes storied Los Alamos, stands to take a political hit for being unable to stop budget cuts for Los Alamos and ABQ's Sandia Labs expected to pass the US House as soon as this week. This, despite Udall landing a powerful spot earlier this year on the House Appropriations Committee. He called for a summit with his fellow lawmakers in a Friday letter saying, "We need a bipartisan, statewide effort to ensure our scientists have the funding needed to do the nation's work in the post-Cold War, post-9/11 world. I believe we need an open discussion about the best way our labs can diversify their missions."

Even Udall's fellow Dem, US Senator Jeff Bingaman, gave a tepid response to that not so subtle call for help, saying "it makes sense" but the job right now is to do what Udall could not do in the House--stop as much as the cuts as possible.

Udall may be unfairly shouldering the burden of the Los Alamos cuts that have the air of inevitability after years of over funding the labs, but it is happening on his watch and it is his political skills being scrutinized.

WEATHER CHANGE

One of our media Alligators checks in with the news that TV viewers will no longer be seeing Rick De Reyes, KOB-TV weatherman, grace their screens. "His contract was not renewed," reports our informer of De Reyes who worked the El Paso and L.A. markets before coming to KOB where he spent three years.

THE CAPITOL CRIME WAVE

The seemingly devil may care attitude toward the Santa Fe crime wave by Mayor David Coss, the city manager and the city council is so glaring that the New Mexican is bringing up the subject of recalling the elected officials. And why not? Coss and Company have in their hands the reputation of our nationally treasured capitol city as well as one of the nation's premier tourist destinations.

"If anyone ought to be facing a vote of no confidence, it’s the council and the mayor-- and there are recall provisions in the city charter. The longer they put off a heart-to-heart community meeting on the most basic of public services, the sooner someone’s going to challenge their taking up space in City Hall."

The mayor and company may want to change their modus operandi which seems to be "carpe mañana."

There is no cause to celebrate the crime rate in Albuquerque either. The meth heads continue on the rampage, giving Mayor Chavez cause not to coast, not to mention his chief of police. Please don't blame it on the budget. ABQ taxpayers are funding public safety agencies at record levels.

THE PETE BEAT


The inability of state Dems to put up a first-tier candidate to take on GOP Senator Domenici has the WaPo's political handicapper, lowering Pete's vulnerability a notch. "The Fix" now has Domenici as the 10th most vulnerable senator for re-election in '08, down from the ninth slot.

"After a huge hubbub over his involvement in the firing of former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, things have calmed down somewhat for Domenici. But the "no confidence" measure on Attorney General Gonzales that came before the the Senate produced a story about whether Domenici should have recused himself from the vote. Not good. Still, Domenici has a lot of good will in the state, so it's hard to imagine that if he runs for reelection that any serious Democrat will emerge to challenge him. In an open-seat scenario, however, all bets are off."

NM Dem chair Brian Colón says he continues to meet with potential challengers to Domenici as precious weeks of fund-raising time melt away.

MONEY FOR MANNY
Aragon
If you're a politico who has received a plea for funds to help former NM State Senator powerhouse Manny Aragon pay his legal bills, you're not alone. Several insiders report that they've received a letter inviting them to be part of Manny's "loyalty club" and kick in a couple of hundred bucks for his defense fund. Aragon was indicted earlier this year on corruption charges. His trial is not set to begin for another year. Insiders say that longtime Aragon friend and Dem party politico Cate Stetson is behind the fund drive. Meanwhile, friends say Manny has been laying low, spending much of his time at his ABQ South Valley residence.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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