Meanwhile during #DgCoComm: Public commenters refuse to allow "nazi takeover ... or whatever's happening"
Naturally we did not send a reporter to this meeting because we don't want our folks to die, so I don't know how many maskless people are packed into this room, but they're sure shouting a lot, and I can see people standing along the wall behind the county administrator.
"We're going to see a generation of psychopaths," a public commenter says, using the future tense
Biden is taking away our "freedom of choice," another public commenter says. #DgCoComm is becoming "autocratic tyrant" that needs to "stay out of our homes," she says.
(Aside: the proposed mask mandate does not mention masking at home.…)
Not seeing many (any) from the <12 age group commenting, and I think they should have an opportunity to do so. The Times will gladly accept letters in crayon, but we've reached that age where we have to say "please don't use yellow marker, because we can't read it."
Man compares case of Brown v. Board of Education to the child of a Florida "mom for liberty" or some such being forced to sit outside the circle of other children.
Public comment seems to be bouncing back and forth between scientists, historians and early childhood education specialists (some are all three!)
The public comment camera somehow got turned off, which is kinda disappointing. Can someone radio the deputies?
Ope, it's back. Neat.
Public commenter mentions the two women commissioners not having children. Brought her kids to show them what children are (?)
One of the aforementioned kids just spoke; told commissioners "I don't care what your mandate is" and asked them if they've seen the suicide rates that have gone up.
The "average person" doesn't know how to look at data and come to the right conclusion about masks, says commenter who says she has a degree in data analysis.
A speaker wearing a mask says we all value our civil liberties, but we buckle our kids in their seats in the car/use car seats, put them in bicycle helmets, etc. — there are mandates that say we need to do things to protect our children, she says.
New speaker says her son is supposed to start preschool tomorrow, but if this mandate passes, she's unenrolling him tonight, and she thinks there will be a mass exodus from schools. Says parents want body autonomy to make mask decisions, unlike "theocratic fascist regimes."
"We should connect because we're a community," new speaker says, and "we can't be divided."
She says she's a very successful hairdresser, and her mentor taught her we communicate with our body language. "You're just givin' us a bunch of frickin' words. ... Don't kill our kids."
Another speaker says masks are child abuse (at least 5th now, I lost count), and decision should be parents' and not government's.
"There's a lot more tools than vaccines and masks and we all know it," woman says — mentioning zinc, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, vitamin D — and we should use all the tools. She's been out of time for a while.
"You will not force my child to cover his face," a woman says, "... all so you can, what, sleep better at night?"
There are at least 2 people standing near the courtroom doors filming this whole thing on their phones. Someone should tell them this will be uploaded to YouTube after the meeting is over ... and it's live now.
Woman says she understands this situation is difficult, but she's been watching these meetings for months and isn't optimistic that #DgCoComm will vote no because she's seen very little independent thought or courage.
She will also pull her 2-year-old out of school if this passes. She says 2-year-olds put everything in their mouths, including rocks and cat food, and the girl won't be going to school in a mask, ever.
"Isn't it great" to have so many people here? an early childhood educator asks commissioners. "We're here to remind you that we're not compliant, ... and we celebrate our liberty."
Father of an almost-2-year-old mentions being warned not to put things in baby's crib because it could increase the risk for SIDS, but now the commissioners want everyone to "forcibly" put fabric over 2-year-olds' faces.
Another kiddo speaks to say she thinks the commission shouldn't "force masks."
A high school student says she hasn't studied government in her entire life, but she's read the constitution multiple times on her own, and "this is not in your power," she tells the commission.
"I don't think you're the devil" but she does not consent to masks, she says.
Another kid: "I will not wear the mask, no matter what you tell me, I will not put it on my face."
Woman speaking now doesn't have kids in Lawrence schools because she pulled them out.
"We have done research and it feels like you haven't, ... or else we wouldn't be here."
Says suicide rate is up 60% since 2019 – anyone got data for that? (Is that data out yet?)
A man who says he and his wife are vaccinated asks if parents will be fined if kids take masks off.
Says the "stares of onlookers" are a big problem when little kids act up in public. Asks #DgCoComm to consider limiting mandate to school-age kids, 5-12, in a compromise.
Woman says it's "malfeasance" and unethical if #DgCoComm isn't looking past the CDC data to peer-reviewed studies and meta-analyses done on mask-wearing.
She says if it's going to cost her thousands of dollars to sue an agency over mask mandates, the county should have to foot the bill.
"Everybody's responsible for their own health" and their own children, says woman who will refuse to comply with a mask mandate. County doctors are in disagreement with her personal doctors.
"You take a risk when you go outside to get your mail" and you take a risk every day ...
... of getting sick, and it will be that way until Jesus returns, she says.
One commenter brought her daughter back up to give her comment. "You are not my mom. You're not my dad. You cannot let me wear masks."
Woman asks why people who have had COVID are getting the vaccine, noting that people don't get the vaccine for chicken pox after they've had it.
(Personal note: As someone who had chicken pox for the second time HEADING INTO MIDDLE SCHOOL, the dent in my forehead says get a shot)
Woman who moved to Eudora from Lawrence and pulled kids out of school asks how much money commissioners? health officials? are getting paid to "push this propaganda."
Couldn't hear a lot of it. Fuzzy mic.
"You can make recommendations, but only the Legislature can make law," woman says.

(Editor's note: Counties and cities have ordinances.)
A man wearing a mask says he appreciates the mandate – the threat changes, vulnerabilities change, the risk constantly changes, he says. "Keep up the good work," he says.
"Just a reminder," woman says, that those who are present can vote #DgCoComm out in 2022.

(Editor's note: Only one commission seat will be up for election in 2022.)
Woman shares her Dwight Schrute approach: Build up your immune system a little at a time iwth germ exposure. "I take zinc, I take D3 (?), I don't listen to MSM," she says. "Think outside the box."
Woman says she is "gobsmacked" by government's overreach. "To use a health mandate to soothe people's fear is absolutely ludicrous."
Another woman says "It's a scientific fact" that there is no COVID-19 but "something's killing people for sure."
"You're stupid because you lack intelligence ... you're crooked," she says.

(Editor's note: ...
"It's ridiculous to have doctors give advice here. They're not scientists. They don't read the scientific literature," man says. "... Are you being bribed? Are you being paid off? Shame on you. You're complicit. And when Nuremberg 2 comes out ..."
A frequent anti-jail-expansion public commenter returns and says, among other things, that the Douglas County health officer is a "hack" who needs to be replaced proposing the mask mandate for ages 2-11.
Taking a 5-minute break — after 3.25 hours.
*replaced for proposing the mask mandate, that should've said.
I'm back, man saying something about Warren Buffet and billionaires in the pharmaceutical industry but I missed a lot of it.

I have Ben & Jerry's now. It is caramel chocolate cheesecake o'clock.
*two t's, my apologies
Moving to online public comment via Zoom. I think public commenters can probably still get on if they want to:…
First online commenter says she appreciates what #DgCoComm is doing, though she has concerns about kids ages 2-5 wearing masks.
A Eudora teacher says he firmly supports the mandate, until kids can be vaccinated. "I'm sorry you've had to put up with a lot of abuse tonight from other people. It did appear like it's very one-sided. Believe me, there are a lot of people who support the mandate," he says.
He says the Eudora school board is "waiting until there is an outbreak" before putting a mask mandate in place.
An Ottawa professor of philosophy and ethics lists off many credentials and says he is unequivocally opposed to the mandate. He lists many reasons, noting that masks cost money, and a mask mandate will disproportionately impact families with low incomes.
A Lawrence teacher says she's happy to see so many pro-choice Kansans here this evening, and she's looking forward to electing some pro-choice candidates.

She says asking a child to wear a mask is "absolutely not" child abuse, ...
... and for someone to say that it is, "you really need to check your privilege."
A commenter says this mask mandate will "destroy some, if not all of" his dream of living in Lawrence, an "oasis" in Kansas.
"You aren't satisfied with just being able to wear them for yourself, you're not satisfied with being able to protect yourself." ...
"You have to make us protect you. Or so you think," he says. "... Perhaps you will be wearing something you are forced to wear in the future including handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit."
A woman notes the sharp increase in COVID cases among kids and says if anything, she thinks everyone in Douglas County should be mandated to wear a mask.
"The government does not control how I parent my children. As long as they are fed, housed, and not abused, the government does not control my parental rights. This mandate is overreaching and out of control," a woman says.
A substitute teacher who teaches in schools all over Douglas County says young children says "I believe that parents are smart enough to make that decision, and they are allowed to decide whether their children wear masks or not wear masks."
A FSHS student: "I assume you guys are pro-choice when it comes to issues like abortion, where that is the ending of a human life form. That's a whole 'nother argument that I'm not going to get into right now, but if you're pro-choice on that you should be pro-choice on a mask."
A KU professor says he thinks people are expressing their opinions with anger because they're really scared. He supports the mandate and says "we need to be proactive" as local cases have increased so much.
A Baldwin City mom says her kid is one of four in his class who was wearing a mask in class. It's been a difficult situation; parents aren't wanting to comply with testing, quarantine, etc.
She was in the courtroom earlier but went home because she didn't feel safe, she says.
A Baldwin City man says "let people make their choice, if they believe in this hocus pocus" (meaning masks) "then let them do it," but no mandate.
Another Baldwin resident says "our numbers are very low" and there shouldn't be a countywide mandate. She thanks #DgCoComm for the "exhausting amount of hours you're spending listening to all of us."
A KU employee with a postdoc in population health says we have a "perfect storm" coming with school about to start for K-12 and university levels. She says there's a lot of evidence that "just the presence of a mandate" has an important institutional signal.
An LMH doctor says "It's silly to think that a child would be protected if they were wearing a mask, just a simple mask," and it's inhumane to mandate masks for 2-year-olds.
A woman says she and her son talked about the 7-year plague, and this could go on that long. She thanks Drs. Marcellino and Schrimsher "for their tireless efforts when they're being beat down by people who have YouTube research degrees and are not the experts."
A healthcare worker says she is "praying" that #DgCoComm please pass the mandate. She says no one tonight has expressed concerns about children's safety.
A woman says "our children are not expendable" and we should be doing everything we can to keep them in school.
Another Baldwin City mom says the idea of telling her daughter she's going to have to pull her out of school again because of a mask mandate is heartbreaking. Her daughter has "cried so many times" over losing her friends, she says.
Paul Dorathy, superintendent of Baldwin schools, has been listening all evening, he says. He wants to ask commission to give more than the 1 a.m. deadline to start this — "I'd love for it to go to Monday" so teachers can prepare for this.
Another Baldwin resident implores #DgCoComm not to mandate masks for kids who are messing with their masks all day and wearing them improperly. Parents will be looking to remove kids from schools; commission is limiting options for a quality education, she says.
A nurse says she's come home and worn a mask at home every night because she's terrified to infect her daughter. And for those who won't mask up, "they have no idea who they may infect or may not infect," she says.
This tweet thread is brought to you by @benandjerrys and @lawrencekstimes.
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@benandjerrys @LawrenceKSTimes Back to Dr. Marcellino: "Is a mask perfect? No, but it is going to help," he says. As a doctor, he's not willing to go against the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, he says.
@benandjerrys @LawrenceKSTimes Marcellino says he's willing to discuss masks for kids ages 2-5. "Children need grace and understanding," he says. Mandates don't mean we're going to write tickets; we're going to do the best by this community for our children, to keep them in school, he says.
@benandjerrys @LawrenceKSTimes Schrimsher says masks are needed — "unless we want to have repeated outbreaks" — in order to keep kids in schools and safe, and keep their families safe (or safer). And schools aren't siloed; they're interconnected with the rest of the community.
@benandjerrys @LawrenceKSTimes #DgCoComm Shannon Portillo says she's gotten a lot of emails on both sides of the issue, and she's not surprised people emailed instead of speaking in a public space with the fear of backlash. She thinks it's "important that we move forward with the best science that we have."
@benandjerrys @LawrenceKSTimes #DgCoComm Shannon Reid says people are afraid of backlash and bullying, but they still reached out and shared their comments; some stayed home because they felt safest there.
"I believe that these health orders are responsive to this moment in time, rather than reactive to a further escalated crisis," Reid says.
When we compare the mask mandate to nazi Germany and internment of Japanese Americans, "those are false equivalencies," Reid said. "... I agree that I think that we would be better served by a countywide mask mandate that is not narrowly specified to ages."
Portillo now apparently dealing with people in the commission room interrupting as #DgCoComm is trying to discuss and – eventually – vote.

Mic isn't picking up the room. Oh noooo
#DgCoComm Patrick Kelly quietly says he'll share his opinion but he's not going to shout it over people.

"The ideas that we're talking about tonight, are very big ideas are very big values. It's things like authority versus freedom. ...
... Does an elected authority have the ability to set public health mandates, or is that an individual's freedom?" he says. "... Those are big values to talk about."
Kelly notes that if any kid is isolated in quarantine, the schools are limited to 40 hours of virtual schooling — that could cause serious harm to kids' education.

Those are big issues, he says — plus COVID isn't isolated to school buildings, and he's supportive of it only if it's countywide for students.
Reid moves to approve the health order to go into effect in a little more than an hour until Sept. 22. Portillo seconds. Passes unanimously.

People shouting as they leave the room. Someone yells something about the election.
We are adjourned!

Really didn't plan to tweet that whole thing tonight, but ... wow.

And welcome aboard to our new local government reporter, Lucie Krisman, who is plunging right into the deep end with the story this evening! 🙌

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More from @mclarknews

10 Feb
I never would have expected such an outpouring of love right now, and I truly cannot thank you all enough. It means everything. ✨

Now that I'm long out of the office, I should clarify:

I'm not going anywhere, at least not right now.

🧵part 2 ...
You've all inspired me to move forward with my next project, and I'll get to that a few tweets from now ...

In the meantime, please read this piece by my former (/future?) colleague, @ConnerMitchell0.

I think it will explain a lot ...
That piece is almost entirely just Conner's own experiences.

I can show you the edit that left me sick to my stomach and made me realize we had no other option than to unionize and push for change:

Quote marks added around the term anti-Blackness.
Read 19 tweets

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