‘m no doctor so don’t take my word for it, but the can of Pepsi and four Reese’s peanut butter cups I just consumed for breakfast is probably not the stuff of champions.
Somebody play some elevator music in the background. Maybe Platte County needs to take one of those relaxing cleansing breaths. Wine’s not really my thing but maybe a glass of wine or a bubble bath for some of you would help with the tension.
Yes, I’ve seen the social media posts and now the open public official criticism of the health director’s decision to extend the stay at home order until May 15, which is only 12 days longer than the order made by Gov. Mike Parson. I say “only” because Parson is a political darling of many of the folks who are being publicly critical of the local health director, and really in the grand scheme of things, is 12 days of limited improved economic activity worth manufactured outrage over a more cautious approach being offered by those whose sole purpose is to look out for public health?
You be you, I’m not here to control your voice or tell you how to think. This COVID-19 topic is personal to all of us and our viewpoints are most likely dependent upon our own personal set of circumstances. But let’s consider the relative significance, or insignificance, between May 3 and May 15 before heading to the ledge or saying things we might later regret.
It’s an important topic, yes, but in these stressful times it’s good to remember we can disagree without being disagreeable.
And remember, it’s possible to read something you disagree with on the internet and simply move on with your life.
Parson is a Republican who has shown he likes to stay in the good graces of the Trump White House. Anyone who tries to deny that is being disingenuous. The local health director, on the other hand, is a non-partisan position whose only job is to make decisions based on what’s in the best interest of the health of the general public.
Support it if you want, be critical of it if you want, but let’s understand health director Mary Jo Vernon’s decision–and she may eventually adjust her date based on ever-changing data, so keep that in mind–was made based on looking at health data, indicators, very fluid information, etc.
It’s my position any inference that Vernon’s decisions are politically motivated is laughable conspiracy theory stuff.
I much prefer a world in which the health experts make the health decisions and the financial experts make the financial decisions.
I wouldn’t want an economist as my doctor any more than I’d want a public health director as my financial advisor.
Dagmar Wood, first district county commissioner, publicly stated Monday she has made it her personal agenda to try to get the health director to adjust her date. And who knows, health director Mary Vernon may eventually “pull back” her May 15 date like Wood wants. Whether she does or she doesn’t isn’t the purpose of the observation I’m about to make. After all, I want the health director to do whatever she thinks is best for the overall health of Platte Countians.
Moving on: I typically don’t like to quote Facebook commenters in my column but I’ll make an exception here. “I would take her opinion with a grain of salt,” one commenter said about Wood on our page the other day. I thought it was a very polite way to put it. Kudos to the commenter, especially since I’ve requested that during this time we try to disagree without being disagreeable.
Dagmar Wood is a good person, let’s make that clear. She’s a proud soccer mom, a good parent and years ago she brought her daughter, a sweet young person, in our office to meet The Landmark staff and we all had a fun chat.
As a commissioner, Dagmar has been putting up a sail anytime she thinks she feels a political wind blowing. But for three years she mostly has been reading the weathervane wrong. She often can’t resist the urge to speak on topics that would be better left to someone else. They’d never publicly admit it, but the other two commissioners know this and kind of slide to the background hoping not to get hit by incoming shrapnel when Dagmar is out front drawing attention to herself.
She has fed the public helpings of drama, hyperbole, false bravado and political opportunism. Sure, it’s sometimes cringe-worthy but it’s the kind of stuff that keeps me motivated to cover public meetings for you fine folks. So let’s roll with it.
The time I liked best is when Wood spent months trying to convince the public that Platte County needed to spend $65 million to double the size of the jail. “The jail population has reached critical mass,” is one of my favorite overly dramatic, just plain wrong quotes from Dagmar.
She said the population trends were indicating we needed to build 400-bed jail. At this very moment the jail population is 108.
More recently: Wednesday morning, Dagmar was posting on her Facebook page that Platte County has had only 27 COVID-19 cases. This is incorrect and she knows it. She isn’t adding in the cases of Platte County residents who live within the city limits of Kansas City. The actual number of Platte County cases is 59. If Dagmar isn’t going to count KC residents as being in ‘her’ county, is she in favor of sending back all the tax money generated by residents and businesses of KC in Platte County? Because there’s a ton of it.
The point to take from this? When Dagmar says the COVID-19 threat has subsided and we should “reopen Platte County,” we all should take that with a grain of salt.
(Talk salt and get more cooking tips from Foley on Twitter @ivanfoley and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org )