We didn’t need a pandemic to know government isn’t particularly bent toward transparency. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 experience illustrated this well.
During the pandemic there were 72 full-on COVID outbreaks in Marin. Did you know that? Seventy-freakin’-two?
Now look, just to be clear, I won’t nit-pick the Marin County health department for its performance during the pandemic because, all in all, I think they did a phenomenal job under extraordinary circumstances. But, if and when we go through something like this again, a bit more transparency might be in order. If there’s an outbreak, say, in Fairfax (of which there were several in 2020), shouldn’t everyone in Marin know about it and be forewarned in a timely manner? Or, if 3 people die in a cluster event at one old folks home, isn’t that also worthy public information to have in a timely manner?
I think so. But it didn’t happen. Instead, our county government overseers responded to the outbreaks, sifted through the data, and then told us what they thought were general best practices — stay home, wear a mask, social distance, etc.
Big kudos to the Bay Area News Group for digging out the details of those outbreaks through the Freedom of Information Act.
According to the findings, outbreaks of COVID-19 in Marin took place in retail outlets — think grocery stores, primarily. Marin County withheld the specifics of these outbreaks as they happened because it was believed if the information were released the public would shun those businesses and then the businesses would not come forward and report other future potential outbreaks.
I suppose that makes some sense.
So, I’m not going to go through the details of the 72 documented Marin outbreaks here as I’m not sure what useful purpose that would serve at this point. The takeaway is that our government overseers decided in a vacuum what we should know and when. I’d like to hear all this fleshed out in a public forum because whether you’re talking about crime, wildfires or public health, the No. 1 safeguard for public safety is being forewarned and forearmed. That’s my bias and I’m sticking to it.
(Postscript: You can find the details of the Marin outbreaks (and the entire Bay Area) on the San Jose-based BANG website.)
One of our well-meaning carriers last week put a note in the newspapers on her route in Novato that was, well, poorly worded. It gave the impression to some subscribers that there could be an interruption in their home-delivery service.
No, we’re just changing delivery vendors. You should get your paper as usual. If you have questions, you can call us at 415-408-1073.
A GOOD THING
In the last election for Marin County district attorney, the issue arose about where sexual assault victims must go to get a medical examination. The previous D.A. sent victims to Vallejo. He said a better job was done there because in Vallejo they have more experience with rape. (Quite a slam for Vallejo at the time, but I’ll leave that for another day.)
Then candidate Lori Frugoli got tied to that policy because she worked in the D.A.’s office at the time. Her opponent, Anna Pletcher, made some hay with the issue. Anyway, Frugoli prevailed over Pletcher in a tight race and Frugoli now says she’ll reverse that policy.
Rape victims in Marin won’t have to travel to Vallejo for a rape examination because the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved her request to “bring the Marin County Sexual Response Team back to Marin County.”
It’s a good thing.
ONE MORE THING
— When parents become grandparents, all of a sudden they have money for McDonalds.
— The existence of the Internet proves conclusively that ignorance isn’t caused by the lack of information.
— Everyone’s an atheist until they clog the toilet in someone else’s house.
— A Pennsylvania man is suing Smart Water for not making him smart. I am formally announcing a lawsuit against Thin Mints. Who’s with me!
— The new auto body shop in Novato comes highly wreck-a-mended.
And with that, let’s call it a day. Thanks for your time this week. If you’re not reading a Marinscope newspaper, you’re missing something essential to life here. See page 3A to subscribe. Also, live by the hippie credo: Be good to others; always question authority.
(Sherman Frederick is the editor and publisher of Marinscope Community Newspapers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 415-408-1073.)