Sherman R. Frederick
In the post-George-Floyd apocalypse, it must be said that it’s a dangerous world out there for political leaders. Just ask the good mayor of Mill Valley.
At a City Council meeting on June 1 a person called in to complain about a Black Lives Matter poster being torn down in Mill Valley. The caller asked: “What is Mill Valley doing to show that black lives matter?’
Nothing wrong with that question. But in California, public officials are not allowed to discuss topics not on the agenda. Since neither Black Lives Matter nor the aforementioned poster were on the agenda, the mayor said: ‘It is a council policy that we do not take action on issues that are not of immediate local importance but we appreciate hearing everyone’s comments.”
Hoo-boy. That statement — inartful as it was — set off an indignant mob itching for a social media lynching. Nevermind that Sashi McEntee is Mill Valley’s first woman mayor of color. She’s “The Man” and there’s no allowance for any comment that doesn’t show the proper deference.
And so the angry mob tore her limb from limb. Apologize or resign, said a petition. Others growled:
— “Appalling, disgusting, but not surprising!”
— “An embarrassment for Mill Valley, shame on the mayor.”
— “Wow. Pathetic beyond beyond.”
— “ From your seat of privilege, you promote the wrong side of racial injustice in a town that is already lacking in racial diversity. You’re telling those minority voices that they are ‘not of immediate local importance.’”
— “I have biracial children that live in Mill Valley and they ARE of immediate local importance!!”
— “Some people think they can just continue business as usual while the rest of the world is screaming for justice. They don’t want to know that their silence is violently felt by those in need of support.”
The battered mayor who said she was misunderstood issued this following statement:
“A number of citizens have expressed concern about the comment I made at the end of public open time last night. After reviewing the video, I understand your concerns. Let me make it clear that the tragic death of George Floyd is of immediate local importance along with being a national issue….
“As a person of color, I am acutely aware of the power and importance of words because I have been on the receiving end of bigotry myself. My comments during the meeting referred to a long-standing City Council policy regarding national issues and a policy that prevents council members from discussing items that are not previously (agendized) in accordance with the law. It is clear that I did not express myself well or share with the community what is in my heart.”
She’s trying to make the best of it, of course. But, believe me, there’s no percentage in trying to reason with people with pitchforks. What happened to the mayor of Mill Valley was unhelpful and unfair.
Someone’s gotta say it.
In the ongoing evolution of mask shaming now comes the idea — backed up by a study out of Belgium — that bicyclists should wear masks and maintain not a 6-foot distance, but a 65-foot spread from other bicyclists and people they might pass by.
Marin won’t be following the science on this, I’m fairly sure. Why? Because it is ridiculous. But, you know, I did read it in the New York Times.
OH, THOSE CRAZY EPIDEMIOLOGISTS
After months of banning church, weddings and funerals because of the likely spread of COVID-19, now comes the George Floyd protests. Thousands of people across the country grouped together, making their voices (and germs) loudly heard.
As you know, I’ve said from the beginning that government had no right to suspend peaceable assembly. But, government did it with nary a peep from civil libertarians. Epidemiologists everywhere applauded.
Now comes Jennifer Nuzzo a presumably very good epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins who says:
“In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.”
Nice, doc. Science is suspended if you like the reason for the gathering? Not saying she’s wrong. Just saying I wouldn’t take advice from Johns Hopkins on COVID-19 from here on out.
ONE MORE THING
— Remember when we used to eat cake after someone blew on it?
— My books fell down. I can only blame my shelf.
— I had a wonderful childhood. My dad would put me in a tire and roll me down the hill. Weeeee! Those were Goodyears.
— Scientifically, a raven has 17 primary wing feathers, the big ones at the end of the wing. They are called pinion feathers. A crow has 16. So, the difference between a crow and a raven is a matter of a pinion.
— We’re all living this movie:
With that, ladies and germs, I’ll pick up my knitting and go. Until next time, stay safe, be generous and avoid soreheads. Be sure to keep up to date with us at MarinLocalNews.com.
Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, publisher of intensely local community newspapers, including the Novato Advance, the San Rafael News Pointer, the Mill Valley Herald, the Sausalito Marin Scope, the Twin Cities Times, the Ross Valley Reporter and the Pacifica Tribune. He may be reached at email@example.com.)