On Tuesday, the latest attempt by leftists on the Oklahoma City Council to force another mask mandate went down in flames in the face of a strong, well-organized group of local conservatives that showed up en masse to speak out against not only the mask mandate, but also a resolution which would have taken city funds to help create was to incentivize Oklahoma City residents to take the Covid vaccine.
The meeting provided for rather dramatic theater at times, but was mostly marked by a stark contrast of approaches by the two opposing forces. The leftists, spearheaded by Councilmembers Cooper, Hamon and Nice, relied heavily on the same kind of emotional display and testimony that was used to pass the original mask ordinance last July. Those in opposition, including the citizens which spoke during public comments, focused their comments on fact-based arguments against both the mask and vaccine measures.
Cooper led off the mask ordinance portion of the meeting by showing two rather lengthy, and highly emotional, videos from the PBS News Hour about the current surge of cases nationally due to the so-called Delta Variant. This was followed by a presentation from Phil Maytubby, the Director of Public Health Protection for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, which discussed the current state of the “pandemic” within Oklahoma County, with emphasis on the current shortage of nurses and healthcare workers in the metro area.
Councilman Bradley Carter, as he has done in recent weeks, questioned the OCCHD’s use of fear tactics to try and push the vaccine for a virus which has a survivability rate greater than 99% for all but the most senior of citizens (even that group has a greater than 95% survival rate).
One of the most powerful moments of Carter’s questioning, came when he pointed out that in 2017-2018 the nation experienced true pandemic levels for the seasonal flu, according to the CDC, that showed a 10% national mortality rate. “Yet,” Carter mentioned, “We didn’t push hard on the vaccines then.” He then continued, “You talk about the shortage of nurses, but right now a lot of them are leaving and quitting because they don’t want this vaccine.” Carter’s rebuttal was met with rousing applause from the audience, something which was met with ire from Mayor David Holt.
Carter continued, “with these kind of numbers we have here [referring to the survivability rate of Covid], and then knowing too that the vaccine manufactures have absolute no liability whatsoever if you get sick or die, how can you in good conscience stand here before the council and these people and then these hospitals, and tell them to ask for a mandate for something that could put them at more risk?” Maytubby attempted to rebuff Carter’s questioning by stating that he wasn’t asking for a vaccine mandate, despite OCCHD repeatedly encouraging mandates from the City Council. Carter responded, “do you have a vaccine mandate or a mask mandate for your employees at OCCHD?” Maytubby responded with an uncomfortable, “no sir.”
Perhaps the most astonishing moment of the exchange between Councilman Carter and Director Maytubby was when Carter asked what testing protocol OCCHD used to determine the current infection rate. When Maytubby said that the definitive test was the RT-PCR test, Carter responded with, “isn’t that the one that actually being discontinued at the end of the year because of how faulty it is?” Maytubby, seemingly ignorant of the FDA’s recent removal of authorization for the RT-PCR test, stated “no sir, it’s not.” Carter responded by referring Maytubby to the article on the CDC’s website that confirmed the FDA’s withdrawal of authorization for the faulty test. He then asked what the cyclic threshold (Ct) was for the PCR tests used by OCCHD, to which a seemingly clueless Maytubby responded, “I have no idea. I’m not a lab guy.”
As Ignite Liberty published last year, the Ct used during a PCR test has a huge effect on the reliability of the test results. Dr. Kary Mullis, the Nobel laureate inventor of the PCR test, stated during an interview that,
“PCR, if you do it really well, you can find almost everything in everybody…there’s very few molecules that you don’t have at least one single one of in your body…[the PCR test] allows you to take a very minuscule amount of anything and make it measurable and talk about it in meetings as if it’s somewhat important.”
After nearly 2 hours of debate and public comment, the mask ordinance and vaccine resolution came up for a vote. Sensing that the vote was likely to not go his way, Councilman Cooper attempted to change the wording of the ordinance before the final vote. The ordinance as written would have taken effect at midnight September 1st and run through October 1st. However, a state law requires that any ordinance which takes place immediately must be passed with an emergency measure attached. Per city rules, an emergency measure takes seven votes to pass. Because of this, even if the measure passed by a simple majority it would effectively cease as soon as it went into force, making it moot.
Knowing this, Cooper put forth a motion to change the dates of the ordinance to have it take effect October 1st and last until November 1st. The motion needed a simple majority to pass, but failed 5-4 with only Cooper, Hamon, Nice, and Mayor Holt, who seemingly coached Cooper through the process of proposing the amendment, as its only supporters.
The mask ordinance, then, failed to reach the emergency threshold by a wide margin, failing 6-3. Only Cooper, Hamon, and Nice – the ordinance’s co-sponsors – voted for it. Perhaps sensing the disapproval in the crowd, even Mayor Holt voted against it.
By this point, and obviously flustered Cooper tried to plead for passage of the vaccine resolution. He even proposed a motion to table the resolution until the next city council meeting, perhaps fearing that the fierce opposition would doom it to suffer the same fate as the mask ordinance. That motion failed 4-4, again with Cooper, Hamon, Nice, and Holt being its only supporters (Carter had briefly stepped out of chambers). Having no more delay tactics at his disposal, an emotional Cooper then called for a final vote on the resolution. Much to the delight of the audience, the resolution failed 5-4, again with Cooper, Hamon, Nice, and Holt being it’s only supporters.
After the city council meeting adjourned, Mayor Holt led an emotion-filled press conference where he nearly yelled into the cameras pleading with citizens to get the vaccine.
The Fight Is Not Over
Ignite Liberty spoke with many of the attendees afterwards. While elated by their victory over this attempted overreach, the majority of the organizers noted that their fight is far from over. They believe that the real goal of Holt and Co. is to eventually push for a vaccine mandate similar to the ones imposed in liberal cities like NYC, LA, Seattle, and Portland.
If that is the case, then they will need to take the lessons learned and confidence gained from this fight.
Ignite Liberty spoke to Carol Hefner afterwards about this exact subject, and she stated, “the people of OKC are more organized, committed, and fire up than ever before to take our city back from the Marxists that want to turn us into San Francisco. This is only the beginning. We are committed to displaying the eternal vigilance that is necessary to ensure that we pass a prosperous and free OKC down to our children and grand-children.”
Given how Marxists always play the long game, that kind of resolve and foresight may very well be necessary if the grassroots conservatives want to win in the end.
– Bryan Armstrong