Sanctuary for Federal Employees

Steve Novick

The spontaneous protests against the refugee ban have been amazing. Seeing sanctuary cities stand up to Trump has been great. And Jerry Brown's promise to "put up our own damned satellites" to continue monitoring the climate was inspiring.

My friend Leslie Carlson was wondering what Casacadia as a whole could do to resist: what are some things that our Governor Brown, and Governor Inslee, could join Jerry Brown to agree that our region will do? Here's my nomination: Declare the West Coast a sanctuary zone for Federal employees = especially those whose job it is to collect data.

I am virtually certain that the Trump administration will not only cease to collect important data, but will start generating false data in a whole host of areas. We will be told that 56% of all murders are committed by undocumented immigrants, that President Trump has reduced the unemployment rate to 1% while GDP is growing by 7%, that 2017 was the coolest year since 1965, that coal-burning power plants have no relationship to asthma, and so on. And the false data will come out under the letterhead of the agencies that have historically generated accurate data on those topics.

Not many of the employees of those agencies will have the financial resources to safely resign in protest. They're in public service; they can't afford long periods of unemployment. We need to give them safe harbor. Ideally, we hire them to continue doing the same work - like collecting the data from those satellites. But in any event, we need to promise them that if they resign in protest and tell the world what's going on, somehow, their mortgages will still be paid.

It would be a huge service to the nation and the world if the Governors Brown and Governor Inslee could make that commitment. Yes, it would cost money - which is why it would be nice if some rich progressives agreed to help pay for those mortgages. If someone creates a non-profit, grassroots donations could help too. But it is worth some state tax dollars to try to preserve a world in which science matters, and facts matter.

We could call our West Coast sanctuary states "the Enlightenment Zone."

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