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'Jimmy Kimmel Live' features singing mask opponent at supes meeting

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At the Ventura County Board of Supervisors June 16 meeting, Deborah Baber rang a bell and sang "America the Beautiful" to protest some recommendations that people wear face coverings. Her appearance at the recorded meeting at the time stamp of 2 hours and 40 minutes has gone viral.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors met June 16 in person, with the public allowed to attend in person for the first time since government buildings shut down to the public in mid-March due to COVID-19.

A few speakers protested COVID-19 restrictions and face coverings with one saying the pandemic is over; one making potential threats to Public Health contact tracers; and one singing "America the Beautiful" and ringing a bell. Deborah Baber's comments have gotten more than 1 million hits on social media and were featured on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" TV show June 18.

When one public speaker, making comments over Zoom, expressed concern about the lack of face coverings in the Board of Supervisors meeting room and audible coughs he heard, someone in the audience was heard loudly coughing.

The meeting was recorded and can be watched at

https://ventura.granicus.com/player/clip/5436?view_id=100.

 

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Deborah Baber asked the supervisors: "Are you going to be wearing masks when you come in? Are you going to obey that city (Ventura), and if not, then how in the world are you expecting any us to obey anything that you say? I protest face coverings. I am a healthy American. I used to be free. I am not a terrorist. I am not antifa. I am not a sex slave that wears masks. I am not into sado-masochism and bondage. I am not a burglar. I am not a pandering politician like we see here and here and here and here. I am a proud Trump Republican — Trump Republican — yearning to be free again. Who are you? Victim or victor?
"If you are offended by anything I have said, by the masses of people, then I am offended by the masses of people who do not question your wholesale slaughter of our constitutional and inalienable rights."

 

Simi Valley Mayor Keith Mashburn said the city of Simi Valley got a bad reputation from the trial of the officers who beat Rodney King in the 1990s.

He said Simi Valley residents welcomed the recent Black Lives Matter rallies that have attracted thousands of people.

 Stephanie Sellars said there is no reference to pandemic in the U.S. Constitution. She said contact tracing for COVID-19 is unlawful and people will use their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves, if needed, against Public Health efforts to do contact tracing for individuals who oppose it. 

Judy Bruce referenced violent protesters looted in Santa Monica recently and were not apprehended, while people are told to protect themselves from "alleged" COVID-19.

"This virus has been on its way out for over two months. It is done," she said. "COVID-19 lockdowns are dead."

 

Hesu Whitten:

"As Americans, we all cherish our freedoms. The Constitution protects us from overreach."

The county is currently operating under a health emergency. The public health emergency is unlawful.

Laws should "reflect actual science, not baseless fear."

We now know the science.

Democrats want to mandate masks to keep people in fear.

Despite media fear-mongering, there is no need for a health emergency to continue.

 

Lisa Lunes said she wants to discuss the "bad enforcement the county is doing. I want to talk about oath-breakers. All the elected officials, you have no right to shut down our state, our businesses, our schools, our churches, conduct closed board meetings. What you have done is illegal. You are violating our 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th amendments.

"Protecting our health is not one of them."

County government is involved in "domestic terrorism."

Anybody taking part in the "draconian measures" — our mayors, etc., "you all are domestic terrorists."

"Under the color of law, you need to cease and desist. You all are going to be held accountable."

 

Kevin Daily:

"Under the supposed health measures enacted by Dr. Robert Levin, businesses have been closed, people have been adversely economically affected," there has been an increase of child and domestic abuse. "My contention is that there has been more damage from the Public Health order than the virus itself. We as citizens have been locked out of board meetings." He said that he and others had attempted to enter previous Ventura County  Board of Supervisors' meetings and the door was blocked by sheriff's deputies. 

"What you folks are doing is unconstitutional, based on no laws. Enough who are fed up with this ... and I expect there will be legal action in the future."

 County Counsel Leroy Smith:

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued executive order saying that all local emergencies stay in place until they are rescinded.

 

Robert Nunez Atkinson:

Asked that the county replace ages and genders with meaningful metrics of hospitalization rates by age group, population, etc., in its daily COVID-19 updates.

 

Diana Barrera:

As a teacher and parent, she is concerned about potential health hazards for children wearing masks.

Angela Garcia:

Thank CEO Mike Powers and PIO Ashley Bautista. Concern about gym reopening. Encourage Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin to enforce limited access and safety protocols. Ask Dr. Levin to make masks necessary to help prevent second surge.

 

Supervisor Zaragoza:

Dr. Levin is following state guidelines.

 

Arnold Torres, Clinicas/ Camino Real, traveling to board meeting from Sacramento.

I come in the vein of providing you the following. We have communicated with the governmor about our concern regarding farmworkers. The state is supposed to have a plan for $500 million. The county of Ventura has just one kind of testing. There is not a uniform testing policy for essential workers.

Our concern is that we are anticipating a second COVID-19 surge in December. We saw what happened with the meatpacking industry.

We will send you a number of recommendations. We think there are a lot more things that need to be done.

 

Jeff — Man whose mom is in hospice at a care facility said he opposes the county of Ventura not requiring face coverings.

He said there are recent studies supporting the use of face coverings.

He said the county's list of reasons not to wear face masks is out of date. 

He said the number of COVID-19 cases is starting to spike and this spike is bound to accelerate.

He said it is bad for business not to have a county order.

 

 

 Steven Kozell:

Encourage board to have county Public Health order require mask, which it does not.

Lots of evidence that they are helpful. Have seen our COVID-19 numbers increase. A lot of the evidence-based information shows effective social distancing, use of masks, testing, contact tracing is important to protect people, including our essential workers. We really need to minimize the spread of the virus.

We have a pretty good positive rate of 4.2 percent. That is really good. I see gaps in the tests. How quickly are we following up on positive tests? Seventy-two hours' response time is the most effective.

To get a better idea of mortality figures, are we looking at our historical mortality data and comparing it to what we are seeing now?

Would like to see more mask use in the boardroom. I am hearing coughing in the board room.

(When he said that, someone in the audience coughed loudly.)

 

Chris Dukes, via email:

N95 masks with vents are detrimental.

Cloth masks do not filter anything.

All of them offer no filtering whatsoever.

Cloth masks trap carbon monoxide and moisture that can harbor mold.

Cloth masks are worse than none. It is a false sense of security and it must be optional.

 

Bruce Boyer, in response to a recognition with guests regarding the recognition of Juneteenth, which is marked on June 19 to commemorate when American slaves were informed about the Emancipation Proclamation.

"These (Public Health) rules are slavery on the people....

"People have said no to the slavery of COVID lockdown. ...

"Slavery is done. It's gone. Don't remimpose it. These laws and rules you are putting on people, this is slavery. ... You are taking their property... you are closing their chruches.

 

Supervisor Linda Parks:

Supervisor Parks said Boyer perhaps "does not understand how reprehensible it is to compare slavery to requirements to protect the public health."

 

The speaker who brought the Juneteenth recognition to the supervisors said:

"Comparing wearing masks to slavery is abominable. The work that has been pressed on Africans coming to this country — the horrors, the horrors they have had to experience, compared to staying at home and wearing a mask, is incomparable. They do not compare.

"We hope to see you at Juneteenth next year. Hope to see more work done in promoting African-American leadership and businesses and heathcare."

 

Assistance to renters and businesses

The supervisors discussed the local response to COVID-19, including approving more selection criteria to the business assistance offered to local businesses affected by COVID-19. The window to apply for both rounds of business assistance — a total of $10 million — is June 24 to July 8. Applications are avalable at www.vcreopens.com and the new county website, www.vcrecovers.org.

 

Applications for rental assistance for Ventura County renters — for a total of $10 million — open on June 17 at www.vcemergency.com and/or www.vcreopens.com. The application window to apply is just two weeks.

Also, the county has a new emergency COVID-19 website called www.vcrecovers.org, at which the county is providing COVID-19 information that used to be on the www.vcemergency.com site.

 

 County CEO Mike Powers:

Discusses businesses that have been allowed to reopen with the latest June 12 Public Health order and provided the numbers of businesses in Ventura County that have reopened.

 

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Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin, appearing via Zoom:

Discussed activities not currently allowed to be opened by the state.

Hospitalization rates of people with COVID-19 have hovered recently with such numbers as 42, 40 and 37.

There was a recent welcome downward trend. Two weeks ago, there were only 20 cases.

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(On Tuesday, June 16, there are 47 hospitalizations, according to Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas.)

I read the guidance for nail salons and tattoo parlors. They are candidates for approval in county in the future.

The county is now experiencing a plateau, not a downward trend, in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Good news is that the county of Ventura recently "fell off the list of counties of concern."

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Opening personal-care busineses is under review.

As soon as the county can open those business, "I will welcome it," Levin said.

We were on the state list of concern for 11 days; 14 days is a benchmark.

If the county stays on the county list of concern, the state could cut back on the number of openings.

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The June 12 Ventura County Public Health order opened up a significant number of new activities in Ventura County, including gyms, hotels for tourism, day camps and more. (The list is available at www.vcrecovers.org.)

 

If Ventura County does get back on that state list of concern, there are things the county can do to satisfy the state, such as reining in the socializing that is going on in our county, such as people gathering in front of restaurants and in parks, socializing outside of their family groups,

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which is not recommended.

 

Supervisor Kelly Long tells people in audience not to interrupt the meeting or they will be asked to remove themselves. She said: "I will only ask once more."

 

Dr. Levin continued:

"I know restaurants are doing a meticulous job ..." in abiding by safety protocols.

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However, he said people are doing less social distancing and quarantining. "This is the major contriutor to our increasing numbers of hospitalizations."

He quoted the Pogo comic strip character that said: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

"We need to do a better job of social distancing and quarantining. If we do this, we can keep the state from telling us to have more closures."

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He said that by continued following of safety protocols, "We can prevent the impact of hurting our economy further." 

"We have control over it," he said, by reducing socializing and following social-distancing protocols.

Supervisor Long asked what will happen in Ventura County, given Gov. Newsom opening up personal-care

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services on June 19.

Dr. Levin said he is looking at personal-care services every day... . "At this point, it would be foolhardy to just open up and open up everything, given what our numbers are doing."

 

Supervisor Parks:

Is curve flattening or increasing?

 

Dr. Levin:

Ventura County is "still plateauing."

Supervisor Zaragoza:

There is an uptick in Fillmore, Santa Paula and South Oxnard. Are we working on that now? Can we meet on one-to-one basis with those folks?

 

Dr. Levin:
"We have gone to those sites. I have been to at least one of those sites." In varying degrees, the outbreaks are resolved, he said, noting that one business is retesting its employees.

We have had great compliance, he said, adding that workers who have tested negative are allowed to continue working.

Regarding face coverings, which Dr. Levin has not mandated in any of his Public Health orders, Levin said that Ventura County has been "following state guidance on masks," guidance that has been out since February. He said he  spoke with Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, on Monday evening to ask when the state will provide guidance on face coverings. He said that Dr. Angell said state guidance on face coverings will be issued in a couple of days.

Levin said the county of Ventura abides by state orders.

 

Ventura County Public Health Officer Rigoberto Vargas provided the latest COVID-19 numbers:

22 additional confirmed positive COVID-19 cases from the day before.

1,655 positive cases ever in Ventura County.

448 new tests, just over 39,204 county residents now tested.

4.2 percent positivity rate.

Deaths at 41.

Number of hospitalized with COVID-19 is now 47 people seriously ill enough that they are in acute acare in the hospital.

13 are in the ICU.

Some communities are seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 numbers.

In particular, Fillmore and Santa Paula continue to have a much higher rate than the county rate per 100,000.

Numbers in Oxnard are just slightly over the county rate.

 

Not so much related to reopening, but some of the things that are going on at people's homes with people socializing outside of their family groups without practicing social distancing, hand washing, etc.

That could be leading to the increase in the number of infected individuals, as has been documented in other counties.

We encourage individuals to go out and exercise, enjoy parks, beaches, trails, support restaurants, retail businesses, but ask that peope do that with the people they live with. 

Have a face covering, maintain your distance, follow only one line in or out. Education outreach increased in Santa Clara River Valley. Serve every Ventura County area. Follow up with people to ensure they are well, being taken care of.

The county follows up with those who have had contact with someone infected.

The county has done extensive outreach throughout this pandemic period, from individuals to workplace outbreaks.

 

Barry Zimmerman:

No limits on who can be tested at any of the testing sites.

Testing will continue through COVID-19 horizon, estimated to be about 12 months.

 

County Human Services Agency Director Melissa Livingston:

894,013 meals served to more than 16,000 vulnerable seniors. Great Plates program continued for 30 days from June 10, and will be reviewed on a month-to-month basis.

313 vulnerable individuals (homeless seniors) have been housed in motels through state program called Project Roomkey.

64 vulnerable people who were housed in motels are now in temporary or permanent housing. 

Anticipated increase in CalFresh applications for low-income people to afford food. Concern is there might not be enough funding to meet the need in the future.

Moving from Project Room Key to Project Home Key to rehab motels to allow for more affordable housing for seniors and homeless.

County CEO Powers said Motel 6 might be open to converting to a housing project.

Rental assistance program has launched outreach campaign. Applications open on Wednesday, June 17. That assistance is focused on lowest-income residents.

Opening up first round with $5 million of funding. Will reassess for second round to disburse the remaining $5 million. There will be tiered grants — $1,500 for those in studio / 1-bedroom units, and $2,500 for 2-bedroom or larger units, for 2 months.

Payments will go directly to landlords. Average median income for eligible applications will range from no income to $74,500, depending on numbers in the household. Requirements are on www.vcemergency.com/rent, including income and effect on income from COVID-19.

There will be a lottery process if the demand exceeds the $10 million in federal coronavirus money to be disbursed.

CEO Powers:

Business assistance application will be open from June 24 to July 8 and will include selection criteria for minority and women-owned businesses.

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County Deputy Executive Officer Paul Stamper discussed county business assistance program. Application opens June 24 and closes July 8 on county website, www.vcemergency.com/ and www.vcreopens.com.

Even though county assistance will be disbursed in two rounds, the applications for BOTH rounds will only be taken from June 24 to July 8. 

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The county employee stated that it is important for businesses interested in getting the aid to register at www.vcreopens.com so they can get direct email communication regarding the applications.

County counsel asked about lottery process, asking if women and minority-owned business owners get to participate in three lotteries.

Stamper responded that:

Businesses that are women or minority-owned will be put in a lottery.

Then businesses in disadvantaged communities will be put in a second lottery.

In a third lottery round, anyone is in that pool of candidates can participate.

This is the first round of distributing $5 million in federal coronavirus funds.

Those who want to be considered for the second round still need to apply from June 24 to July 8 on www.vcreopens.com and www.vcrecovers.org.

Stamper said funding will be provided by Aug. 12.

 

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