On the Special Dumbness of Supervisor Don Wagner.


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I’ll try not to “bury the lede” as I sometimes do – there was something excruciatingly dumb that Supervisor Don Wagner said at the last “special meeting” on Wednesday May 26 that needs to be responded to.  This was the meeting where over 70 “spreaders” showed up protesting even the county’s “strong recommendation” to continue wearing facial coverings as businesses open up, and calling for the head of County Health Officer Nichole Quick, who had made that recommendation.

This was when these folks insisted on continuing to deliver their passionate anti-mask, anti-Quick speeches in the middle of an unrelated item, despite the futile efforts of Wagner ally Michelle Steel to keep them on subject.  Finally Wagner, agreeing with most of what they were saying (as Michelle just then realized she also did) broke in and vehemently defended their right to keep speaking against masks.  Echoing their disgruntlement with Dr. Quick, Don bellowed:

“I’m EXTREMELY disappointed, that, right when the Governor is finally allowing us to move FORWARD with opening up some of our businesses, Dr. Quick wants to move us BACKWARD to wearing masks and social distancing!” 

Okay, if it’s not clear to you how dumb that was, then it’s even more important for me to explain. 

We ALL want to open back up again before our economy flatlines completely.  But opening up, going to work, patronizing your favorite businesses,  socializing with the folks we’ve missed so much, does NOT mean the virus is killed.  ON THE CONTRARY, it makes it EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, more important even than before, for all of us to follow the social-distancing and mask-wearing guidelines while out and about, if we don’t want our summer progress to create another more deadly wave.

In other words the contradiction that Wagner sees, with his simple black-or-white mind, between “moving forward” and “moving backward,” does not exist.  Is there a way to explain that to him, and also to Michelle Steel who takes his cue on everything with her eyes fixed on Harley Rouda’s Congressional seat?

Another Supervisors meeting is starting in half an hour, and I’m relieved not to see an agenda item calling for defiance of Quick’s order, or her removal.  And so far the three-member sensible majority against the irresponsible Steel and Wagner is holding firm, but Andrew Do did seem to be wavering a little after being worn down by all those zealots.  (Andrew’s up for re-election too, you know.)

Quick and Souleles

The same mob of anti-mask zealots is sure to show up again to speak on the general coronavirus item 53, and Wagner is sure to play to that audience again.  I don’t want Dr. Quick to suddenly mysteriously go the way of David Souleles, who’d been leading our essential effort to get more testing in this county until April, when he abruptly wanted to spend more time with his family.  (Literally he said that.)  And beyond that it’s hell of unhelpful to keep having mixed messages going out to the public, from our “leadership,” on this crisis.

I’ll resist saying the other things I was gonna say about Wagner.  Have a good responsible week!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.