Sep 12, 2007

LANL: Rally for recognition

From Today's New Mexican.

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Ron Dolin has been working at the lab for 25 years. Dolin is organizing a rally to get public support for the work force at LANL. Photo by Clyde Mueller/The New Mexican

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
September 12, 2007

Workers plan to assemble to raise awareness about importance of lab

Jobs are on the line in Washington. People are worried in Los Alamos. And supporters of Los Alamos National Laboratory are having a rally.

The lab’s budget is still up in the air. But Ron Dolin wants to speak his mind before Oct. 1, when the new federal fiscal year begins.

“The idea behind our rally is to just raise awareness, and we want people to just make our state and our federal delegation aware of how important LANL is,” said Dolin, an engineer who works at the lab.

The rally is scheduled for noon Sept. 21 on the east side of the state Capitol. Dolin is organizing the effort with the help of lab scientist Srinivasan Srivillputhur.

Dolin stressed he’s speaking for himself and not on behalf of the lab. He also ran for Congress last year as a Republican and lost to U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

The lab is important to national security not just for its work on maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile but also in areas like preventing other countries from getting nuclear weapons and stopping nuclear terrorism, Dolin said. “We have a niche at Los Alamos, and that’s an important niche,” Dolin said.

Lab director Michael Anastasio told employees last week to prepare for a flat budget at best and a $350 million cut at worst. The lab’s overall budget is more than $2.1 billion, and 12,115 people work there. One worst-case scenario, requested from the lab by the National Nuclear Security Administration, translated to 2,500 layoffs.

“We are early in the planning process, and I don't have many answers or even know all the questions that may be asked,” Anastasio told workers last week. “I wanted to inform you at the outset, and I will continue to keep you informed as the process moves forward.”

Dolin also took aim at his former opponent, Udall, who earlier this year attempted to restore some of the funding cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee. His amendment was defeated 121-312.

“What he did with his ill-conceived amendment was he put the entire House on record in supporting these cuts,” Dolin said. “And so now the work that Sen. (Jeff) Bingaman and Sen. (Pete) Domenici have to do is mountainous compared to what it would have been.”

Udall’s spokeswoman said his job is to look to the future. “The reality is that our nation’s nuclear footprint is shrinking, and burying our heads in the sand and pretending like after this budget cycle ends, all of LANL’s budget worries will disappear would be negligent,” Marissa Padilla said.

Domenici is the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that pays for federal energy and water projects nationwide. Bingaman, a Democrat, has spoken with the Democratic chairman of that committee about the importance of the work at Los Alamos and the need to fund it.

“It is going to take some monumental work to close the gulf between the House and Senate plans for the weapons complex,” Domenici said in a statement. “The differences are as difficult as I’ve ever seen. The situation is not hopeless, but it is going to take some heavy lifting to avoid significant layoffs and mission disruptions within our nuclear weapons complex.”

The Senate has yet to approve a bill that would essentially restore the cuts to nuclear-weapons programs. After that, a conference committee consisting of House and Senate members would need to meet to hammer out the differences between the two measures.

A spokeswoman for Bingaman said it’s too early to tell what the impact on New Mexico’s economy would be.

The lab, like many federal agencies, will likely be operating this fall under a continuing resolution, which is a law passed by Congress to fund basic operation of federal facilities while Congress works out the details on final spending bills.

It’s unclear at what level the lab would be funded under a continuing resolution. The continuing resolution could be funded at current-year levels or at the lowest of the House-passed budget, Senate-passed budget or current year, a Domenici staffer said.

A retired lab scientist said people feel bad in Los Alamos, and she’s noticed more homes for sale. Santa Fe’s economy would be impacted too, Patricia Max said, as people from Los Alamos need to buy appliances, cars and furniture in Santa Fe or EspaƱola.

Contact Andy Lenderman at 986-3073 or


Anonymous said...

I am certainly not a fan of Udall, but if you think Dolin is better forget it. He is an even bigger lightweight than Udall.

Anonymous said...

I should add that what Dolin is attempting to do is not bad. It won't have much an effect, but it is not a bad thing. Unfortunately I also happen to know his motives are far from pure.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Dolin - and cannoat pass judgement on his motives for initiating a rally, but I do think the idea of us banding together somehow to voice our concerns over what might happen in the next few months might be worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

> Unfortunately I also happen to know his motives are far from pure.

I think you're just making shit up because he's a republican.

If you have the inside scoop on Ron's impure motives (other than being republican), please share.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Ron Dolin's motives and I don't really care since he is not my Congressman. I do know about Tom Udall's motives.

Tom is a complete idiot who is actively working to destroy the labs. When the pink slips ship out next Spring they should have the following statement printed at the bottom:


Anonymous said...

Maybe people will look at LANL folks who attend the rally in SF the same way LANL folks look at the people who assemble every August in Los Alamos?

Anonymous said...

Udall is such an easy target in Los Alamos County. The pink slips next spring could just as well have a statement printed at the bottom, "Congratulations! You've just been f_cked over by Ref_ckinpublicans!" Mikey will get his big bonus either way, and Los Alamos County will vote for Senator "Pit" Dementia by a 65-35% margin in 2008, even with the RIFs. This persistent kind of behavior is known as "Kiss the whip."

Anonymous said...

If people are riffed, how many are still going to be in NNM, or even NM for that matter, to vote?

Anonymous said...

A labbie, running for political office, Republican to boot...staging a photo op in support of the "worker force," i.e. the Lab. Wow! Now isn't that an anomoly? Who would have guessed? What a leader, taking such a risky position and all!

Anonymous said...

No 11:21AM. The difference is those assembling in Santa Fe have a self interest. Those assembling in Los Alamos are motivated by principle. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

An excellent measure of the value of LANL came from the Nanos demonstration experiment where the lab was shut down for six months. Outside of northern New Mexico, no one seemed to notice.

Anonymous said...

> What a leader, taking such a risky position and all!

'Specially in a district where most of the voters are Santa Fe morons.

I'll vote for Dolin (if he runs again). Anything is better'n Udall.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I detect another "shot-gun" blast of posts from the same blogger in the posts for 12:30, 12;33, 12:35, and 12:42 PM. Same idiot posting the same type of stuff. I strongly suspect that these packets are coming from the Santa Fe area. Probably the same guy who says closing the lab won't hurt Santa Fe business one bit and uses the term "dickhead" in his replies to those who disagree with his anti-LANL/anti-Los Alamos views. His hatred of LANL and Los Alamos seems to have no bounds. You would think, though, that he might spread his posts out a bit.

In summary, he sounds like the type of person who might enjoy working as an aide in Tom Udall's office.

Anonymous said...

There's a risk in having a rally where only a handful of people might show up.

Anonymous said...

This looks timely.

CHICAGO -- Chanting "save our jobs," about 200 Ford and Chrysler workers rallied in downtown Chicago...

Anonymous said...

2:58PM is just so smart. What a brilliant mind, to be able to read a blog and decipher not only if the posts are coming from the same person, but where that person lives and the type of job that person is likely to have. Working for a Congressman, no less. Gee...with such brilliance among us, what do we have to worry about? Sounds like Eric the Great incognito.

Anonymous said...

Ah, there you go again poster 12:30, 12:33, 12:35, and 12:42 PM. Back for more at 8:50 PM, I see.

Anonymous said...

"9/12/07 8:50 PM "

Dude come on you are that same idiot who posts how bad the lab is, how no one can get a job, how everyone is a racist and so on. On every issue you get your ass handed to you. You never figure it out, but than again one feature of being an idiot is that you never figure things out. Go ahead post away so the rest of the world can also see what an idiot you are.