Fulfill your destiny, Burqueños

“I’ll need $6.5 mil’ for improvements to your feeble industrial park.
I trust that won’t be a problem?”

The bad thing about being a former copy-desk guy is the questions you don’t get to ask assistant city editors and reporters.

Here are a couple of examples:

Raytheon shuts its operation near the Sandia National Labs-Kirtland AFB complex in Albuquerque, where it employs 200 people as an arm of Raytheon Missile Systems, based in Tucson. In the service of consolidation their work is going elsewhere, along with the paychecks for same, and Raytheon has returned $850,000 in state economic-development funding, the company announces.

Meanwhile, Amazon proclaims that it is building a “fulfillment center” on the west side. In a press release, Bernalillo County says it will kick in $6.5 million for “a regional public infrastructure improvement project” to encourage “future development” in the Upper Petroglyphs Industrial Park.

Bad news, good news, yeah? The basic ingredients for any publication. Add some filler to hold it all together — cute kitten videos, celebrity breakups, the latest dispatches from the phone of Adolf Twitler — and you’re good to go. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Well, maybe. Me, I’d kind of like to know, without having to Google it, what sort of work the Raytheon people did (it involved microwave and laser weaponry, apparently); what the average salary was; how they feel about the loss of their jobs; and what their next steps might be.

I’d also be interested in learning how many people the Amazon warehouse will employ, what they will do, and what they will earn; what the county can expect to get for its $6.5 million investment; and whether someone has calculated that Albuquerque’s economic future involves herding boxes, not making zap guns.

I’m guessing that some of the newly idled Raytheon employees will not be a good fit for an Amazon fulfillment center. Unless Darth Bezos is planning a little Death Star project on the side.

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31 Responses to “Fulfill your destiny, Burqueños”

  1. SAO' Says:

    Why is it that asking good question is so hard? Is it that the in-your-face types who can ask all of the good questions get culled from the promotion list because of their in-your-face questioning, and never get a seat at the table?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Where newspapers are concerned it’s a combination of things, foremost among them a lack of funds to pay people to do The Work.

      So press releases get a light rewrite, maybe a phone call to a PR department for an “original” quote, that sort of thing.

      I don’t know what the local blat’s organizational structure is, but glancing over the masthead, I feel comfortable saying that any newspaper with more design-desk people than copy editors is in a world of hurt.

  2. Dale Says:

    An Amazon warehouse will probably employ more than the 200 at Raytheon.

    I can imagine that the engineers and data analysts are queuing up for those pending jobs. Good work Bernalillo County!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Well, I’ve never worked in a warehouse before, but I bet me and Ol’ Sparky, my trusty laser pistol here (slaps holster), can solve any niggling HR issues that might crop up. …”

      • Dale Says:

        They’ll go with the flow eventually. It’s that trickle down thing working – done long enough it erodes everything.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    If those are high value jobs, I suspect there will be a few for sale signs out as the Raytheon people move with their factory. One doesn’t make DoD bomb and rocket money tossing boxes into trucks for Darth Bezos.

    I worked for UPS for a couple weeks one summer back in my undergrad days. Closest I ever came to going Postal.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I wonder how many people are being invited to move to Tucson or wherever. Ah, the joy of having the old man walk in and say, “Say goodbye to all your friends, we’re getting transferred to [insert your strange place here].”

      It’s good training for a scribe, or it was, anyway. You wouldn’t believe how many military brats are in The Craft.

  4. Shawn nan ravin lan Says:

    The conundrum is AlbeeQ will be getting a facility that shuttles around lots of boxes with trinkets produced by a country that will take the money from the sale of those trinkets, and invest it in the construction of facilities that will build laser weaponry, microwave goodies and the uPkone 14. What the heck, as long as we get our George Foreman hotdog griller and Betty Davis lip balm in less then 2 days, who cares that the folks in that other country are out-teching us. My suggestion for the youth of our country, Xuéshuō zhōngwén.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We have a FaceButt data center just down the pike at Los Lunas. Now Amazon on the west side. We get something from Apple, like a battery-recycling op’ or something, why, that’s the trifecta right there.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Gee, I’m trying to think of something clever and smart to say. I got nothing. Maybe Bill can give me a hand.

  5. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Corporate welfare being reported by a robot, probably from company press releases. Guess the tax cut wasn’t enough. I think we have had this conversation before.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The local blat is really getting aggressive about getting readers of the website to start paying the freight. Not a paywall, exactly, but random stories are blocked and they hit you up for a subscription.

      It’s still locally owned, but I wonder for how long.

      I’m part of the problem, since I don’t subscribe. I should really bite the bullet here. There really isn’t a local alternative.

      • khal spencer Says:

        We get the Journal on weekends as hard copy and everyday electronically. Its cheaper than a full freight subscription. Yep, the quality has been suffering. Its getting to the point where the Fanta Se New Mexican has better writers. The Fanta Se paper pretty left wing while the Journal is more conservative. Gives my long suffering spouse and I something to bicker about in the morning.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        Our formerly stellar paper is now just a sound bite, piss poor excuse for journalism and I pulled the plug on feeding them any funding. Don’t feel sorry for them either. They got many of us to buy paid digital version and porked us royally with cub “reporters “ who spell worsen than me. They titillate with a headline but there is no story let alone any investigation

      • Dale Says:

        Just what it used to be when papers mattered and people really knew how to read here in Maryland:

        A brief history of Maryland newspapers.

        The Baltimore Afro-American.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Yep. Trading war toys and high salaries for Cheap Shit From China delivered to you by underpaid, overworked stock people and brutalized truck loaders. Whatta great bargain. I guess this is one time I would go with Ronald Raygun’s legacy.

  7. khal spencer Says:

    Speaking of Amazon, someone wrote an editorial to the Fanta Se paper extolling Jeff Bezos for donating ten billion bucks to “reduce the impact of climate change”. I have to shake my head at the cognitive dissonance.

    Jeff Bezos. Hmm. Yep, the guy who created Amazon, which brings you all sorts of stuff, much of which you really don’t need, made in China using coal powered electricity, and then shipped halfway across the world to be delivered to your door by a big, brown, gas guzzling truck. All the while taking manufacturing jobs from a nation with at least a semblance of labor laws to, well, you know where I am going. Praising Bezos’ gift towards the effort to battle climate change is like extolling a donation from the prostitution industry towards reducing the sexual exploitation of women.

    https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/bezos-climate-gift-good-news-for-the-planet/article_2d3b9186-9bc5-11ea-a6d9-47d08e4cfdf1.html

  8. JD Dallager Says:

    Not to worry, PO’G. Your old haunts of Bibleburg proudly headline 200 new jobs……at a call center or distribution/fulfillment center. No mention of wage rates vs. average COS wages vs. “skilled” COS wage rates, etc.

    These illustrious “business journalists” and reporters/assistant editors are the third generation of the folks who criticized the “body counts” as a “metric of success” in Vietnam and other conflicts, but today are still comparing the COVID numbers to the same. Proving yet again that easily measurable metrics are more pertinent to market share ratings (especially since May is a “sweeps” month) and profits than relevant, outcome-oriented metrics that require some thought and due diligence/hard work.

    I’ll defer again to Mark Twain: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes”.

    The “Circle of Life” must be friction-less, eh?! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I get that they’re trying to bring the stats down to earth somehow, lend some perspective.

      “Let’s see, 100,000 dead people is like … is like … is like a helluva lot of dead people.”

      But comparisons, as the fella says, are odious.

      “If all these COVID-19 victims were seated in Mini Coopers you would need 20,000* of the vehicles to cart them off.”

      * Actually, you would need 25,000 Mini Coopers, because the dead can’t drive. Including a living driver reduces seating capacity to four. Unless you want to deploy 20,000 tow trucks, too.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      And, 75 to 80% of the dead folks are over 65. I’m thinking some dumpster admin bean counter is calculating the SS and Medicare savings so the can move the money to build more wall.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        “Well, Chief, I got good news and bad news. The good news? Half the dead are people of color. The bad news? The other half are your base.”

        “But just think of the money we’ll be freeing up for The Wall! What a deal! WINNING!”

        • khal spencer Says:

          Yep. Make America Great Again: Drop Dead of Covid Before the Election.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Wow Khal, get down with your bad self! But, when I think about it, 100,00 dead voters, in just the right precincts, could allow an asshole to win the electoral college. It’s happened before; it will happen again.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Well, maybe. But the ones who want to go mask-free and pretend this virus is fake news are mostly Donald The Orange’s supporters. So I think this would dilute his base.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            Word! Stupidity eventually will fix itself. Darwin was right there.

            Here is an interesting piece from NPR. A flu like illness went around Sierra Vista like wildfire in February. Sandy and I, and many of our friends and neighbors caught it with mild symptoms. One friend had a more serious case that caused a doctor visit. But we all recovered, most within days. Make me wonder.

          • khal spencer Says:

            That is interesting. Meena had a flu like illness in February that lasted about a week. She was pretty sick but just with typical flu like symptions, nothing worse. One of our friends in BombTown was really, really ill at about the same time and was very sick for three weeks. Meena wondered if that was a corona like illness.

            I managed to escape that one.

            Makes me wonder now.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Herself and I both know people who think they’ve had The Bug®. None of them got tested, as far as I know.

            But the symptoms they describe sound more like something I got a year or two back, a respiratory deal with a persistent cough that got worse when I tried to sleep (I eventually wound up kipping in the spare bedroom for a few nights).

            It hung on for the better part of quite some time, eventually went away, and then came back for a second round before departing for good.

            Without testing there’s really no way to know for sure.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            What got me about it was how fast it spread. I can track 7 people, maybe more who where exposed and got sick in 7 days. It started at a concert here in the rec center with about 85 people in the audience, all residents of our little piece of paradise.

          • Shawn n-i"A" he-t"A" orge-G"A" Says:

            I had a group of friends get together in late January in SLC and then they traveled over to Denver. Three of them got a unique flu-like bug also. I’ve spoken to one of them a couple of times and have wondered / asked if perhaps what they got was actually the covid-19 virus. I haven’t talked to them lately to see if one of them has been tested for the virus.

      • khal spencer Says:

        In today’s Fanta Se New Mexican: New Mexico cases only.

        “…But the fatality rate for COVID-19 begins to escalate for residents over the age of 70. While only 2 percent of all positive test results in the state were people over 90, those patients account for 37.1 percent of deaths from the illness.

        And 31.2 percent of fatalities are people between the ages of 80 and 89. Another 15.1 percent of deaths are patients ages 70 to 79.”

        Yep. Grim reaper has been having a field day.

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