Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Another Request

Doug, Please post this online.

I'm a reporter at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, and at our statewide show- The California Report.
I'd be very interested in hearing from LANL employees by email or phone Wednesday after the DOE announces who will manage LANL.

I'd like to give our listeners first hand impressions from the people most effected by this change-- the scientists and other staff who work at Los Alamos. I'm interested in your impressions, even if you prefer to remain anonymous… but we will want to identify you by name (and title if possible), to include your thoughts in our broadcast report- to be aired across the state Thursday morning.

You can email me at cmusiker@kqed.org.
Or call me at 415 553-2289.
I'll need to hear from you as early as possible after the announcement to meet our deadlines.
We're looking forward to hearing from you.

Cy Musiker, Reporter
The California Report/KQED Public Radio
2601 Mariposa St. San Francisco, CA 94110
415 553-2289. Cell: 415 819-4195

The California Report, examining the people and issues of the Golden State, is heard weekdays on 23 public radio stations across California. A production of KQED Public Radio, 88.5 FM San Francisco/89.3 FM Sacramento.

The winner absolutely can not be UC. If after all of this we ended up about where we started off it would just not be politically acceptable.

Perhaps I'm in the minority but I think UC got an unfair deal here. UC, I think, was hired to be an absentee landloard. Someone to provide health care, retirement, etc. They were NOT hired to take an active part in the day to day operations.

On the rare occasion when I had to deal with UC I found them to be helpful. For example I retired in 97 and went to Benefits very early to set that up. Benefits took the extra time to make the experience, well, worse than I would have thought possible. The University of California, however, identified the problem (which I didn't even know I had) and straightened the mess out.

I don't believe that the problems at the lab were ever UC's doing. The problems, in my opinion, always were a direct of local management and that isn't likely to ever change.
Mr. Walters, you must not have been paying attention for the last two years. Yes, UC was hired to ba sort of an absentee landlord. Indeed the direction of the laboratory is set by DOE, not UC. But, UC did not support Browne over firing those lying ex-cops or in the non-Mustang incident, UC gave us Adrmiral Butthead and left him in place long after it was clear that he was incompetent and abusive, and UC gave us (and continues to stick with) Admiral Foley.

Yes, UC has done a marvelous job with the retirement program. Clearly a better, more competent organization than the DOE would have given UC some direction on what needed to be changed. But, then UC should have been paying attention to business here also.

In the end, the employees will be the ones getting it up the butt. With a $70M increase in the management fee, about $80M in pension costs, and about $100M in gross receipts tax, there will be a RIF and very likelly will be employee contributions to the pension plan. We have UC to thank (blame) for all of that.
They were hired to be an absentee land-lord 60+ years ago.. and you could say that was the way things continued until the Soviet Union collapsed. However, after that.. UC didn't come to realize that Washington politics had changed, and it was needed to be a lot more on-the-ball.

UC and local management/staff seemed to be unaware of the changing political culture in the country. The bomb culture (and in many ways the big science) is over in the country and with it the money that went with it. What is left of the bomb culture is sabre rattling, and big science has become the same.
People keep say that Walp was lieing.. but I cant find where that happened. They complained about the BUS supervisor and his trailer full of LANL camping equiptment and were told to go away.. If I remember correctly, that turned out to be true...

Walp didnt do the Mustang incident.. that was 60 minutes.
I retired in September of 97 so I haven't been paying attention in the last couple of years. Amazing how fast LANL disappears as the center of your universe when you don't live or work there anymore. So Darthman you are right on that point.

BUT, well, I'll never believe that all the problems were of UC's causing.
One last question. I realize that I asked this before (recently) but I don't think that I got an answer.

Regardless of who wins, could the group that does not win sue? Could they tie this thing up in knotts indefinitely?

I almost asked if the looser could sue but, well, looser in that context could well have a double meaning. The winner might well be the group that doesn't inheret this mess.
Gruntled Guy : Those two ex-cops told national media that we were a "den of thieves." That is bullshit! Sure, they caught that BUS guy with a lot of stuff that he had stolen. But, given that 12000 people (UC staff, students, post-docs, and contractors) get a paycheck from LANL, it is no surprise that there are a few thieves in our midst. But, a "den of thieves" is an unreasonable statement. Remember that it is a fine line between pigs and perps.
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