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TL;DR

  • CDA City Council voted to mandate masks within the city limits for the next 90 days.
  • CDA Police will "educate" instead of write $100 tickets unless there is "gross negligence."
  • The City Attorney has ensured this mandate WILL NOT be enforced on polling locations on Election Day.
  • There are suggested next steps below.

CDA City Council has passed mask mandate

In an unsurprising move today, the Coeur d'Alene City Council voted 4-2 to put a city-wide mask mandate in place for the next 90 days. (Mayor Steve Widmyer didn't have to vote.) The surprising part is that the council, via CDA Police, did NOT let in anyone to represent the public, stating that they were "at capacity of 15 people." Considering there are 6 people on the council, mayor, and health presenters showing their opinions as to why the mandate is a good thing, there was NO ROOM for the public according to the police. I'm *pretty* sure that's against the law to not allow the public inside, but I didn't have time to research the exact law so don't quote me.

What does this mean to us?

  • The passed resolution states that face coverings are required for all persons 11 and up while in a public place when social distancing is not an option. There are some exceptions to this rule; I have included the link to the draft resolution attached to the agenda, updates to some of the wording is listed below.
  • There was a long discussion about medical exemptions and how the police would know if a person, when asked, was telling the truth. The mayor stated that it's not a road they want to go down, it'll have to be on an honor system; Kiki Miller didn't like that answer and was arguing for mandating everyone with medical exemptions to carry around paperwork showing they actually DO have a medical exemption. Very a la Nazi Germany. Thanks for that reference, Kiki. Luckily, she was denied her "suggestion" and an "honor system" is going to be in place.
  • The CDA Police has been instructed to "educate" the public about the use of masks instead of writing $100 infractions, except in times of "gross negligence." The definition of "gross negligence" has yet to be determined in this resolution.
  • The city attorney has assured everyone that this will not affect Election Day, polling locations, or a person's RIGHT to vote. The compostavirus apparently doesn't attack on Election Day.
  • It had been stated by the mayor and city attorney that this document is a "work in progress" and they will update it as things come up; they can't plan for everything that comes up.
  • It was reiterated by Mike Gridley, CDA City Attorney, that this is an individual mandate not a business mandate, meaning the businesses are not responsible if an individual in their business is not complying with the mandate. "The resolution will not cause the business owners to be cited for people not wearing masks," he says.

A few things that popped out to me...

  • Wes Somerton, CDA City Attorney, was asked by Dan Gookin who he worked with at the CDC to define face coverings. Wes informed the council that he did not work with anybody, he decided on the Face Coverings definitions, as stated below. Dan Gookin piped up that this [resolution] is all for show then if no health officials were consulted, in which Wes said that it was for the council to decide.
  • As long as the 6 ft. social distancing could be maintained, face coverings will not be necessary whether a person is inside or outside in a public place.
  • Point of personal preference: Wes Somerton, a CDA City Attorney, likened not wearing a mask was the same as not having on clothes and "people would get a ticket for that, so why not with a mask?" Someone needs to explain to him the difference between a RIGHT and a privilege.
    • Somerton ALSO likened not having medical exemption paperwork on a person as the same thing as not having proof of insurance and having to go show it down at the courthouse to get out of a ticket. Medical exemption paperwork DOES NOT EQUAL auto insurance or driver's license. How is this guy a city attorney?

Next Steps....For Constitutionalists Only...

  • We all have mixed feelings about the efficacy of masks, and we can discuss how unconstitutional health mandates are for HOURS. What we have to do now is say THANK YOU to those on the council who stood up for our constitutional rights today by voting no to the mandate. Take a moment and shoot them an email to say THANK YOU for voting the right way.
    • Dan Gookin called the masks a placebo, as health officials have already said that they don't know how the virus will act. He also mentions the contradictions from the CDC, and how this mandate will put our cops in a really awkward situation. Points taken. dgookin@cdaid.org
    • Woody McEvers believes in masks and shields, especially being in the food industry. He believes in personal responsibility, he believes in businesses taking their own personal responsibility, and knows that masks affect people in different ways. Says everyone should make their own decisions, not the council. wmcevers@cdaid.org
  • People have already been discussing the idea of recalling the city council members but I believe that is not the best use of our time. The next round of city council elections will be held in 2021 and there are 4 seats up for reelection: Amy Evans, Kiki Miller, Dan English, and Woody McEvers. This is our time to find upstanding, constitutional people to start running for those seats which will give us a year to campaign before the 2021 election. The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee has a new vetting process in place and can vet those incoming candidates. If they're ok in the committee's eyes, they'll support the person(s) and their campaign(s). Your job will be to find upstanding constitutional candidates to start the campaign process. We have the opportunity to come as one and really put some great campaigns together.
    • Note: I added Woody to the list because his seat IS up for reelection, but I haven't paid attention enough to the city council to see how he votes for regular city items. He's definitely not high on my priority list of members to unseat (Kiki holds the top spot for sure) but I can't count him out.

Resolution Changes

Here's the list of changes to the resolution - a finalized version of the document is not yet available to attach so I have included this list along with a link to the draft resolution found in today's agenda packet.
  1. Section 1: Face Coverings definition: disposable facemask, disposable or reusable cloth mask or covering, a surgical mask, or a face shield. 
  2. Section 2: The word "educational" will be stricken because the school districts make their own protocols.
  3. Section 3: Exception Changes:
    1. 3-A. Children should be 10 or under.
    2. 3-B. "Persons who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering." Everything else on the proposed Section 3-B will be stricken. 
    3. 3-H. The word "recreational" will be stricken so that all indoor facilities will be exempt as long as a 6 ft. social distance can be maintained.
  4. Section 7: The time limit will be changed to 90 days although any council person can come back and ask for that to be revisited.
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