By Jo A Caviezel, Citizensjournal.us
A group called Firefighters for Freedom Foundation and 330 individual firefighters are bravely taking a stand against the vaccine mandate being imposed by certain Captains and Chiefs in their department.
The mission and goal of Firefighters For Freedom is to stop mandated vaccinations for all city employees as well as every citizen who want to maintain autonomy when it comes to their own bodies.
The group sent a cease and desist letter to LAFD Chief Ralph M. Terrazas. Below is the content of the letter published with permission from Mr. McBride
via email: [email protected]
Re: COVID-19 individual exemptions guidelines
Dear Chief Terrazas:
I represent 330 individual LAFD firefighters (as of today’s date), together with the Firefighters4Freedom
Foundation—a non-profit organization whose purpose is to oppose the City’s vaccine mandate on behalf
of the firefighters I represent. Our numbers are growing daily. I represent these individual firefighters
pursuant to Calif. Govt Code §3502.
It has come to my attention that certain of your department’s captains and chiefs are attempting to
coerce or command LAFD firefighters to fill out medical/religious exemption requests, if they oppose
COVID vaccines, before the September 7, 2021 deadline imposed by the City. We ask your Department
to refrain from such conduct for three reasons:
First, The September 7 deadline set by the city to apply for an exemption was clearly a voluntary option
for city employees. The Department may not convert that voluntary option into a command or
mandate without violating the letter and spirit of the City’s original voluntary deadline.
Second, any command for firefighters to fill out the medical/exemption request letter violates the
privacy protections under the California Constitution, section 1, article 1. Each person in California has a
constitution right to maintain informational privacy and autonomous privacy. See, Hill v. National
Collegiate Athletic Assn., 26 Cal.Rptr.2d 834, 856 (Cal. 1994) (“California constitutional right of privacy
“prevents government and business interests from collecting and stockpiling unnecessary information
about us and from misusing information gathered for one purpose in order to serve other purposes or to
embarrass us.“) It seems clear that the only reason to require firefighters to seek an exemption is to
identify those who oppose the COVID vaccine mandate. In other words, you would be collecting and
stockpiling unnecessary information for potential misuse on this issue in the future.
Third, the issue of COVID vaccination requirements is, beyond reasonable question, a political issue in
this City and State. Pursuant to Govt. Code §3252, a firefighter may not be coerced to engage in political
activity. For this reason, any effort by the Department to require disclosure of status or position
regarding COVID vaccinations or exemptions requires firefighters to engage in political activity against
their will—a violation of §3252.
For the above reasons, we respectfully ask you to communicate to your chiefs and commanders that it is
not appropriate to coerce or force individual firefighters to apply for an exemption if they oppose COVID
vaccines. I have advised my clients that if they receive such a directive from a chief of your Department, they
should nevertheless comply, under protest, lest they be found insubordinate for failing to follow a direct
command. But were that to happen, we will escalate legal efforts in response accordingly. Finally, as you see from the cc: section below, Mr. Freddie Escobar is copied on this letter. Mr. Escobar and UFLAC are, of course, the only entity entitled to speak on behalf of the entire LAFD membership. It
is our hope that Mr. Escobar will assert a similar demand of the Department on behalf of the entire union membership that UFLAC represents with respect to this issue. Feel free to contact me, or have your counsel do so, with any questions or discussions.
Yours very truly, KEVIN McBRIDE
Attorney for FIREFIGHTERS4FREEDOM FOUNDATION and 330 individual LAFD firefighters cc: Mr. Freddie Escobar, President, UFLAC Ms. Dana Martinez, legal counsel, UFLAC: [email protected]Capt. David Fabela, president, Firefighters4Freedom Foundation
To find out more about Firefighters 4 Freedom Foundation and how you can support their mission, go to https://firefightersforfreedom.org/
Find out more about Mr. McBride at https://mcbride-law.com