The State of California employs more than 4,000 scientists in various agencies: Department of Public Health, CalEPA, Dept. of Natural Resources, and many more. However, the Globe interviewed some of these scientists after learning that Governor Gavin Newsom has not consulted with them throughout the nine-month duration of the coronavirus lockdown.
“What we do in the state is protect public health,” one scientist said. “We keep food, water, and buildings safe. And as scientists, we don’t often speak up.”
The scientists agreed to talk with the Globe anonymously out of fear of retaliation from Governor Newsom or his staff.
“We are toxicologists, epidemiologists, and trained problem solvers. But we haven’t been engaged.”
The scientists said what Gov. Newsom has done by not using science to make his decisions, is undermining public confidence in science. “Next time we have a science crisis, the public won’t have confidence,” they explained.
They also want to know what science is being applied in the governor’s COVID decisions. They expressed frustration and dismay that the California media is not questioning the science Newsom claims he is using.
The scientists contacted the Globe after reading our article about Public Health ‘Science’ Destroying California, saying they are likely very unusual allies. “That’s because I actually am a scientist that works for the state and I think the answer to the question you pose of ‘why do California residents distrust the information’ is relatively simple: Newsom and officials are not making science-based decisions,” they wrote in an email. “In fact, Newsom has explicitly chosen to ignore his own scientists, they said. “The California Association of Professional Scientists (of which we are members) offered to work with him and his staff early in the pandemic.”
“In response to our offer, we received only silence.”
Pay Inequities not addressed
They say this is not the first time Newsom has turned a blind eye to science. According to the scientists, California has been struggling to recruit and retain scientists because the State refuses to pay its scientists a fair and competitive wage. “There are about 4,000 of us across the state and while many of us do the exact same job as our engineering coworkers, we make about 50% less. Even after a lawsuit made clear that like work requires like pay, this administration is still ignoring this egregious issue and is violating its own government codes.”
“Many would-be career state scientists take federal, county, or city jobs instead, given the disrespect this administration has shown us,” they said. “This, more than anything, is compromising Newsom’s ability to make informed leadership choices. And, thus, the public trust in not only Newsom, but also science, is being eroded. This of course is compounded by Newsom’s own unwillingness to listen to the army of experts he has at his disposal.”
The Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a report about the pay inequities which concludes: “We advise the Legislature to monitor these changes in salaries and try to maintain appropriate differentials between rank-and-file and managerial classifications.”
Sound science would not have produced the outcome today in California
The scientists said the empirical process, and information gathering is what they do every day. “We should be aware of the data and science the governor claims to be using,” they said. “Science is difficult and takes time. We get the feeling that it’s almost as if science can’t work with Gov. Newsom’s time frame.”
“We pay attention to what he does, not what he says,” they said. “Sound science would not have produced the outcome today in California, or at least effectively communicated with the public, what exactly was needed.”
The scientists say they tried to make noise about this, “but everyone was told to stay in their own lane.”
“The big question on everybody’s mind is, ‘is Governor Newsom willing to change course and invest the time and resources into science that are necessary to produce a better outcome for California?'” they said.
“Newsom says science is his priority, but we were nowhere involved,” the scientists explained. “The Governor’s continued disrespect and blatant science-based hypocrisy has far reaching implications. Namely the health and safety of not only California’s citizens, but also its food supply and natural resources.”
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