Sunday, February 05, 2017

February 5, 1992: 25 years ago today in The New York Times

It was 25 years ago this morning that I woke up in Washington, D.C. and read The New York Times article by Matt Wald about my client, C.D. "Bud" Varnadore, who filed the first-ever environmental whistleblower case against Oak Ridge, Tennessee nuclear weapons plant operators.

Oak Ridge Natonal Laboratory and the Department of Energy operations in Oak Ridge, Tennessee would never be the same again.

Mr. Varnadore's protected activity, and that of other ethical employees, helped make conditions more humane.

As The New York Times obituary pointed out (August 5, 2013), Mr. Varnadore's courage helped transform the culture of nuclear weapons plants.

Pollution and bullying of ethical "whistleblower" employees was rampant. Environmental concern were treated disdainfully by a culture of corruption fostered by the Department of Energy and rapacious government contractors like Lockheed Martin, Martin Marietta and Union Carbide.

Bullies hide behind the skirts of tepid local newspapers in places like Oak Ridge, Tennessee, knowing that they cower to power and lack resources and skills for investigative reporting. They often hire newspaper reporters as PR misters.  Sometimes bullies threaten bribe or blackmail reporters and editors.

Thankfully, The New York Times' courageous reporters are still on the job, as demonstrated by its reporting on President DONALD JOHN TRUMP, still afflicting the comfortable nad comforting the affilcted. That's what unaccountable St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR learned when he read The New York Times on November 24, 2013 ("Two Gunshots on a Summer Night," by Walt Bogdanich and Glenn Silber, also a PBS Frontline program, "A Death in St. Augustine, November 26, 2013).

Just as the nuclear weapons complex was transformed, so too are we transforming St. Augustine and St. Johns County today.

Yes we can!

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