A campaign mailer sent by Lisa Shin indicating that Chris Chandler stayed at a Washington, DC hotel with other RCLC officials. Courtesy image
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Chair and Santa Fe County Commissioner Henry Roybal confirmed Friday that Chris Chandler did not travel to Washington, DC in 2017 on behalf of the Coalition.
Chandler, who is vice-chair of the Los Alamos County Council and former representative of the Council on the RCLC board is the Democratic candidate for House District 43. Her opponent, Republican Lisa Shin’s campaign sent out a mailer this week featuring a picture of what looks like a receipt for a Washington, DC hotelbut is actually a reservation made by Scarlet Rendleman, a former employee of Andrea Romero, the former executive director of the RCLC. The reservation shows Romero’s name, Chandler’s name and former Mayor of Espanola Alice Lucero’s name, however, Chandler never made the trip.
Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess also confirmed Friday that Chandler was not on the Washington, DC trip. In fact Shin was present at a Mar. 5 Council special session to discuss the RCLC issue. At that meeting, Chandler read a written statement which said, “I would like to make it clear that in the 13 months that I have served on the RCLC board, I have not been on any out-of-state trips with or for the Coalition. As a consequence, I have not received any travel reimbursements from the Coalition”. Chandler has received no reimbursements from the RCLC because she has never requested any.
The postcard also state’s, “Chandler’s RCLC wasted your tax dollars on booze and baseball”, which seems to imply that Chandler was responsible for spending on expensive meals, alcohol and baseball tickets which was actually reimbursed to Romero following a 2017 trip to Washington, DC and has been the subject of a report by the State Auditor’s Office and an independent investigation paid for by Los Alamos County and performed by Adams + Crowe.
Meanwhile, members of the University Professional and Technical Employees Union (UPTE) Local 9119 which represents certain Los Alamos National Laboratory employees received a letter from UPTE which states that it had come to their attention that a campaign for House District (HD) 43 had posted a couple of individual Local 9119 members’ personal opinions in that race.
“And there was a question as to whether we had endorsed anyone for HD 43 as a union. We have not engaged in the race”, the letter states.
The Los Alamos Reporter spoke to Jamie McDole, UPTE-CWA 9119 president and chief bargainer Thursday. She confirmed that the union had not weighed in or endorsed either Shin or Chandler. She also said the union has a very defined system and procedure for considering candidates for endorsements. UPTE reaches out to candidates who meet stringent criteria, she said, but added that the process had already been completed and neither Shin or Chandler had been contacted.
Chris does have the endorsement of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, UPTW’s umbrella organization in New Mexico.
It is believed that the letter and McDole’s comments refer to campaign material written by Shin which quoted an unnamed UPTE member as well as “Dr. Mottola, an UPTE member and LANL scientist”.
Shin did not return phone calls or email from the Los Alamos Reporter, however her website states that residents are receiving “a barrage of negative mailers” about her, up to three to five per day.
“They are the typical political mudslinging, where comments are taken out of context and misconstrued. I had to get my message out with alternative sources and through paid advertising. Every article in my campaign newspapers, including the one above, accurately reflect public sentiment. They are the result of many hours of personal interviews with community leaders and residents in our District,” she said.
Shin has been criticized for some of her campaign materials which are in the form of tabloid sized newspapers and contain articles which are actually written by her but appear as if they came from an actual newspaper in the area. (See earlier Los Alamos Reporter stories). She also drew the attention of the Santa Fe Reporter which noted, “She made a mock newspaper as a direct mail advertisement that was so close to the appearance of the masthead of the Los Alamos Daily Post that the paper’s editor had to issue a disclaimer. Talk about fake news”.