By George Miller
Ventura, 7-28-20- Well-known broadcaster/movie maker/talk show host John Ziegler has been blasting the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin over what he views are arbitrary and questionable orders for COVID-19 measures, currently an area of considerable controversy.
This is part of increasing push-back against the measures based upon perceptions that they are overdone, some are of questionable effectiveness, that the pandemic has been over-hyped and that the economic and social impact of the measures is worse than the virus itself. While the death rate dropped radically and has leveled off, cases are still increasing. This appears to be due to far more testing, plus more reopening of society.There are questionable case classifications as well.
Yesterday, in his comments to the VC Board of Supervisors, Ziegler continued his attack re: mandatory mask-wearing and the forced lockdown of an apartment building at 137 S. Palm St. in Ventura.
Ziegler maintains that County Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin, who he refers to as “Emperor Levin”, lied to residents for three months, first saying that masks weren’t useful, then making them mandatory for many situations. When Ziegler made a recent comment to that effect at a B.O.S. meeting, lame duck Supervisor Steve Bennett (now a candidate for CA 37th Assembly District representative) interjected that Levin had done that to prevent a run on masks which were in critically short supply. So, in other words, he “lied”, presumably for “the greater good.” The video clip of this encounter (see link below), went viral. Ziegler estimated that millions have seen it by now.
Although mask proponents, most of whom weren’t so previously, are now attacking opponents for being “selfish” or “ignoring science,” there is conflicting evidence /opinions on the effectiveness of masks, especially when deployed by non-medical professionals. Many professionals view social distancing, sanitizing and isolating the most vulnerable and infected people as the best measures to combat the spread of the virus.
He also believes and it is the truth, that the board has stood back and given Levin a free hand with no formal intervention on their part. Orders come out signed by Levin, not the Board of Supervisors. Their most common reaction seen by the public is nodding their heads at meetings.
But, my comments don’t do justice to the actual words of Mr. Ziegler. Here’s a video sample:
Here is the text of his 7-28-20 B.O.S. meeting comment:
This board has clearly abdicated its authority to your Emperor Dr. Levin, however, you need to address something which came to light last week.
The Citizens Journal publication reported yet another gross overreach by Dr. Levin where he participated in effectively imprisoning, for four days about 100 of our citizens in their own apartment complex in Ventura.
Having investigated the situation myself, it appears as if the apartment complex, with Dr. Levin’s help, including an unsigned edict of quarantine from the county with his name on it, forced their residents to get tested for COVID under threat of eviction and remain isolated for four days.
It turned out that only one additional person tested positive for COVID, and Emperor Levin finally allowed the residents to be able to leave their apartments. They are now planning to sue the county.
Dr. Levin at first claimed no detailed knowledge of the situation, but then suddenly had a remarkable jolt to his memory and admitted that he did participle in this scene from some fascist fantasy.
Does the board plan to investigate this outrageous situation, or at least ask Dr. Levin about it, or will you instead continue to allow this unelected socialist who has been wrong about everything to act like a dictator who is allowed to routinely trample all over the rights of your citizens?
Will not one of you finally stand up to this self-proclaimed zealot? You did nothing when he embarrassed the country nationally by threatening to remove people from their homes if they didn’t quarantine properly, are you still going to sit on your hands and allow something like this to happen yet again?
Are you really going to take August off without forcing him to finally adjust his totally unworkable pool regulations, which are causing enormous suffering among the children of our county, especially in our poorer communities?
My guess is that, as usual you will cowardly do nothing. And I will see you in September with my continuing efforts to find out if any of you still have a brain, or a conscience.
I spoke with Mr Ziegler twice, to get his views and learn more about him ….
Highlights of background
He is a Georgetown University grad, with a degree in Government and a minor in Theology and Philosophy, sportscaster, talk show host, commentator, author of books, movies. “I’ve had many different versions of my career,” he said. They include: political polling, radio +TV commentary, TV, radio in Louisville, came out to the West Coast in 2002 for KFI. He concluded that talk radio was too much of a business, “I’m a content person.” He went into documentaries, Medical Malpractice. I asked him what his best movie was and he replied: Media Malpractice: How Obama got Elected. He was on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and also on the View. He said he “had his 15 seconds of fame”, but was “destroyed” by media commentary.
Ziegler’s thoughts on the COVID scene and repudiation of Coronavirus hype
He is “Appalled that no one in Ventura County is willing to stand up and challenge the narrative- is it based on science?”
He is with Citizens For a Free Ventura, to challenge the county and Levin narrative and orders. They advertised in the Acorn, challenging Levin. He said The Acorn did an obvious puff piece on Levin. He is appalled at how one-sided all of this has been.
“There is no media telling the truth about this in Ventura County- present company excepted,” he fumed.
“Levin is getting away with appalling actions, consistently wrong, nonsensical, creating more pain than is necessary.” Ziegler is very angry at what has happened. “They are taking away my freedom, my children’s future- unnecessarily.” In response to my statement that Levin mainly seems to be hyper-enforcing Newsom orders, he responded that “Levin is a rubber stamp for Gavin Newsom.”
Re: Closing of beaches on July 4. Yes, might have been a massive problem if they were left open while LA beaches were closed.” He thinks “it would have resulted in very crowded VC beaches on the big holidays…. But with closed parking lots and restrooms, that would be prevented.” He objected to what must have been “a massive amount of money to enforce the closures and a massive amount of money lost by businesses, not to even mention losses of the culture….. We lost July 4 weekend … I challenged the county to show me even one documented case of COVID from the beach.”
Summarizing our discussion of the Board of Suppressors’ role in the COVID orders, he said “The Board of Supervisors abdicated authority to unelected Dr. Doomsday, with no credibility.”
He claimed that “they predicted 400-600 daily hospitalizations, then 200 … the VC Star scrubbed it from the article … He said we would need 18,000 ventilators…he said 1000 people would have died, according to him…. No cumulative death statistics by age.” Ziegler thinks that the median COVID-19 death age is at least 80. “A 105 year old died”, he advised me. “Even the wind blowing in the wrong direction can make a 105 year-old die”, he speculated. “The youngest to die – a 30-something, was claimed as COVID, but actually died of a drug overdose.”
“VC is no NY or LA – it doesn’t have their density and mass transit… But there is a high infection rate of Latinos.”
“Levin has no credibility. I could tell he was bursting to shut us down again…Clearly a socialist- he and his Ojai buddies, think they can control peoples’ lives better than they can themselves…I wouldn’t take a chance on getting tested now” (due to objectionable contact tracing and quarantining policies under discussion).
“He showed his hand on his statement about removing people… He scared people, destroyed the credibility of his office… provided a testing disincentive.”
Still about Dr. Levin: “He is right about masks, but lied before…County (web) site was reversed on mask position… Numbers are actually up since the mask mandate.”
Re: Palm St. apt complex forcible lockdown- ” he exceeded his authority, imprisoned residents for four days…I’m sure it was well-intended to save lives.”
“This should be an apolitical as well as medical decision…. Doctors are poorly educated for this role…. I can’t think of a worse profession for such dictatorial power…. I would rather have a janitor who at least would have common sense….. there is no oversight, no accountability …. How anti-American.”
He continued on the nature of the COVID-19 threat: “I do not believe COVID is a hoax. It is serious, there is some level of crisis, but not an emergency in VC…. It’s 3-5 times worse than normal flu. Creators of policy never envisioned this” (government reaction). Laws/regulations were intended for the big earthquake, not this.
Asked if he thought the county reduced deaths due to their measures, he replied: “it’s absurd for Levin to take credit. I believe his rulings- keeping playgrounds and polls closed, indicate that he is acting as blocking back for the teacher;s union…Making it much easier to keep the schools closed…Levin is afraid that open playgrounds would make people question the schools staying closed.” He explained that “if pools and playgrounds were considered safe, how could schools be dangerous?” We briefly touched upon the news that LA school sessions are closed, but the schools will be used for daycare, an absurd contradiction.
I asked Mr. Ziegler what specific actions he has taken on his aforementioned convictions on COVID-19 policies:
He replied that he wrote, spoke, advertised, did KVTA interviews, made videos about it and spoke at protests. He will speak at the 8-8-20 protest in Ventura.
He is “looking into how 5000 tests ‘disappeared'” and such interesting reports such as “63 new cases today, 43 have a lab collection from 7/21 or earlier.”
He is one of nine plaintiffs in the reopen CA case: Brache vs Newom
I asked Mr. Ziegler what should be done and he stated (abbreviated):
Take VC off county watch list- we shouldn’t be on it. Cases are the wrong metric. Should be deaths and specific hospitalizations for COVID-19 symptoms, not “positives” with other problems. Open schools, playgrounds, pools, beaches (closed on holidays now).
He had previously stated that Dr. Levin should be reined in and that the Supervisors should be making decisions using his input and other considerations.
“COVID/BLM- took advantage of a unique opportunity while the entire culture was on its knees. Massive BLM protests were the moment we realized the COVID scare wasn’t so valid. Graduations were being canceled while BLM was promoted and huge “protests” (without “social distancing) were occurring.”
He wants to make the truth about all this “go viral”
Part 1 of John Ziegler’s Interview on KVTA-AM in California(link is external)
Part 2 of John Ziegler’s Interview on KVTA-AM in California(link is external)
Part 3 of John Ziegler’s Interview on KVTA-AM in California
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.