Monday, February 14, 2005

A request

I received the following request, which I respectfully decline. My role here will be limited to submitting posts that are emailed to me for publication on the blog.


From Anonymous:

It has been suggested that a petition expressing “no confidence” in Director Pete Nanos might
convince DOE, UC, Congress, and the public of the urgency of the situation at LANL and get some
action [David Simmons blog and comments]. While this is a good idea, it suffers from the drawback
of possible reprisals against the signatories. On the other hand, an anonymous web poll where people
could vote multiple times would be meaningless. I suggest another alternative. If an unimpeachable
agency could be found to compile unique but anonymous votes of LANL employees, the results
should be convincing to both sides. There are companies that provide this service. The votes would
have to come from “” email addresses and duplicates would be rejected. (I do not think that
this “incidental” use of LANL email would be improper, but this should be confirmed.) There might
still be some spoofing but, with appropriate precautions, not enough to seriously subvert the
credibility of the result. The referendum would determine if indeed the large majority of LANL
employees believe that Nanos’s actions have been contrary to the interests of the Laboratory and
national security, or if it is just the same small but highly vocal (group of) people who have always
been there criticizing Lab managers, as maintained by Lab spokesman Kevin Roark [http://]. Of course, some non-anonymous person would have to set up
the process and there would likely be some cost involved. Doug, as a person who has already
exhibited admirable courage, are you willing? My guess is that collection pots, set up off LANL
property, or a special account at LANB would quickly recover the cost.

I don't think it's a good idea to try to use this forum to mount a mutiny. If The Powers That Be can't figure out that we're not captives on a submarine, that early-career scientists are not going to subject themselves to an environment of rage and fear, and that rebuilding the Lab from 10 people just isn't realistically going to happen, then there's no hope for this place. The only option people like us have is to vote with our feet. Organizations, like people, have lifespans, and playing into Nanos' cavils of being an unmanageable group of renegades will only shorten LANL's.
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