Open Letter: Simi Valley City Hall Condones New Intimidation Policy

TO: Keith Mashburn, Mayor, Council Members:  Mike Judge, Ruth Luevanos, Delores Cavanaugh, Elaine Lister, Deputy City Manager, Samantha Argabrite, City Manager, Brian Gabler, City Attorney, Lonnie Eldridge, and Chief of Police, David Livingstone.

The purpose of this e-mail is to address my disappointment and disconcertment of your Simi Valley News announcement of 11/03/20 titled: “Businesses That Need Assistance Enforcing Face Mask Policies May Contact the Simi Valley Police Department”.     Apparently, the catalyst for this announcement  was a video of me on You Tube speaking to a manager at Valley Marketplace. 

How can you, in good conscience, make a communistic announcement intimidating a person who is defending their God-given inalienable rights of freedom to breathe —especially when done in a  professional and peaceful manner?   (My calm demeanor can clearly can be seen on the video posted on You Tube.)    

For some reason, the act of educating and informing a manager of the Federal and State laws being broken (by not accepting a medical exemption) is suddenly justification enough to call the police to escort someone out of a store!  Seriously? The announcement specifically stated that the police may be called to remove a person for not adhering to the store policy requiring face coverings.   The following is what I think about this irresponsible use of taxpayer money: 

  • Your announcement clearly stated that requiring face coverings is part of the reopening guidelines.    It should be perfectly clear that ‘Guidance’ is not a law, a statute, a regulation or an ordinance. You can’t legally make guidance required. Guidance is a suggestion, a request.    One can choose not to take the suggestion, especially when the CDC’s own studies show that masks have no benefit against airborne viruses https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article.   It is so obvious how you are playing with people’s minds by using the word “guidance” as if it means the same thing as a “law” or “statute”.   A person cannot be charged or police called to escort someone out for something that is not law.  The governor can’t Twitter something into law, and no health officer can make a law.
  • Moreover, the California Dept. of Public Health mask Guidance (https://tinyurl.com/y7l7u6m3) also specifies that people with medical conditions are exempt from the mask ‘Guidance’—of which I am.   And, as you know, your 11/03/20 announcement also included that exemption. 
  • Your notice brings up the issue of “store policies”.  Many of these 20-something managers don’t know the Unruh Act or ADA law or the difference between a private business and a “Public Accommodation”.    And apparently, Simi Valley officials don’t know  there are Federal and State laws that prohibits privately owned facilities including retail establishment that offer food to the public from discriminating on the basis of many things including medical condition (Public Accommodation 42 U.S. Code Sec. 2000a and CA Civil Code 51) .    They don’t understand that a store can’t have a policy that violates laws. For instance, they can’t have a store policy that Friday is boxing day and it’s ok to hit other customers. 
  • I might remind you that a face mask  is defined by the FDA as a medical device.    No store manager can prescribe a medical device; and even if a doctor did, it is the patient’s choice to follow.     Also, you seem to have forgotten that on page 29 paragraph 3 in the California COVID-19 Playbook that “an employee is to avoid approaching a member of the public who is not wearing a mask – and cannot be harassed”.   Also, concealing ones face is illegal in many states while committing a crime including California.    It is a crime by trampling on our rights.    Plus it should not be necessary to have an exemption because being human, we have a right to breathe!
  • Under  DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242 ( https://www.justice.gov/crt/deprivation-rights-under-color-law) it is a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.     No emergency, governor or mayor or anyone can impede or trample on our right to life.  I want to stay alive and I want to keep breathing.    No one has any authority over my body – no one –it is my personal property.    And there will be no authority for any governor or legislative body that will make a law over our natural right to life.    I do not have to comply because it is not lawful.  
  • You apparently did not watch the entire video as it ended in a positive manner:  the manager allowed us to shop;  and he asked my permission to give my two educational handouts to his boss!

In closing, let me share two of my favorite quotes:   “If you don’t know your rights, you have no rights”; and “Liberty belongs to those who have the courage to keep it”.   And lastly, a quote from Henry David Thoreau:  “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty.  The obedient must be slaves”

Based on the above, I believe a recant of your 11/03/20 announcement would be most appropriate as it was an obvious overreaction and completely uncalled for.  

Sincerely,

Judy Bruce

Simi Valley Resident 21 years

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.


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Robert Van
Robert Van
1 month ago

As noted in KOA v. Hogan, when leaders exercise “the powers given to [them] by the legislature in the face of the COVID-19 Crisis, [and] have made reasonable choices informed, if not dictated, by such data science and advice,” courts will generally uphold those orders. Neutral and generally applicable face-covering requirements are rational countermeasures adapted to rapidly changing data about a viral pandemic. (For that matter, face-mask requirements are also substantially related to an important government objective, should some form of heightened scrutiny apply to interests in bodily integrity.) The Supreme Court has—and lower courts should—entrust the politically accountable branches with protecting public health and safety.

Barbra
Barbra
4 months ago

Judy, very well written. I wholeheartedly support you and agree with you. Freedom to choose for ourselves…if people want to mask up, then let them. Why is it so hard for people to take responsibility for their own health? Businesses need to stand for the rights of the people and stop cowering to the tyrannical government that is overstepping their power.

A guy
A guy
5 months ago

I think these people are confused about what communism is.

Last edited 5 months ago by A guy
Nate
Nate
5 months ago

Businesses have the same rights as you do as to whether or not they serve you. This is the same as no shirt, no shoes, no service. They cannot discriminate based on gender, race or color. Though they can certainly enforce a rule across all customers. You can then choose not to go to that establishment.

Jane
Jane
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate

‘The no shoes no shirt reference doesn’t apply to medical conditions and there are laws prohibiting business from even asking about your medical condition.

Nate
Nate
5 months ago
Reply to  Jane

As far as I know they are not asking about any medical condition, they are simply enforcing a dress code to enter their establishment. What about other venues that enforce dress codes? What about establishments that require memberships?

Erlich King
Erlich King
5 months ago

Judy, thank you for helping bring back sanity. GUIDELINES do not = law. If somebody is truly that worried, they should then take extra precautions.

A guy
A guy
5 months ago
Reply to  Erlich King

Have you not yet realized that laws or guidelines are put into place when people don’t understand how dangerous their decisions are? Speed limits exists because people don’t respect safe vehicle speeds. Guidelines for mask are for people like you who can’t accept that a pandemic is raging across this planet.