James Enstrom vs. UCLA: Terminating Environmental Debate
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In the grand scheme of whistleblowing settlements, the $140,000 that epidemiologist James Enstrom received in 2015 from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) to settle his 2012 wrongful termination lawsuit was fairly modest. Add another zero to the sum and then multiply it by four or five, and you’ve got an above-the-fold story, but Enstrom’s dropped to footnote status fairly quickly. Those reading about Enstrom’s case may have noted that his research evaluated levels of diesel particulate matter in the air, said, “Good for him,” on the settlement, and moved on to the next story. After all, how does this particular issue stand to affect me?
By quite a lot, it turns out. In this instance, for Californians it’s their money, after all, that goes into paying such settlements—and public money dispensed to settle whistleblower cases is money that could almost by definition have been put to better use. Also, while it’s easy to gloss over this, the issues at play in Enstrom’s case...