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City Commission delays vaccine mandate, commissioners say resistance to the mandate is based on misinformation

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Today the Gainesville City Commission voted to delay the vaccine mandate for employees to a deadline of October 1 for the first shot but extended the mandate to City contractors who work with City employees.

Commissioner Harvey Ward said he wanted to make the mandate more “useful” and “fair” by mandating vaccines of contractors who work with City employees; he also wanted to establish a “disability fund” specific to COVID issues, particularly for any employees whose physicians can prove that they had a long-term impact from the vaccine. Ward made a motion to ask the charter officers to develop a plan by September 16 to require vaccination of all City contractors working alongside employees who have to be vaccinated. Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos seconded the motion. 

Commissioner Reina Saco said she would support “as many safety measures in place to keep our community builders safe” (“community builders” is the City’s term for employees). Saco said she has thought about the possibility that the City would collapse because half the workforce is dead or if the City would collapse because half the workforce walks out. She advocated for more time for Communications to “engage with departments… and bargaining units… I do want more time.” She suggested that employees submit to weekly testing if unvaccinated and wanted to move the deadline to at least October 1. 

“I don’t want to see people get fired over this. I want them to get their shot. That’s all.” – Commissioner David Arreola

Commissioner David Arreola said, “What is not a mistake is getting your shot. That’s not a mistake… I’m not willing to change my mind on requiring people to take that shot because it will save lives… There’s a lot of people who said… ‘I’m just not gonna get my shot’… If we get to our herd immunity number, we’re gonna be fine… but I’m seeing a lot of people thinking that getting their shot is not that important. But it is, though. It’s a marvel of modern medicine… This is the inflection point… I don’t want to see people get fired over this. I want them to get their shot. That’s all.”

Ward added the October 1 deadline to the motion. 

Commissioner Gail Johnson said she appreciated what Saco and Arreola had said, but “I still will not be able to support it… I absolutely believe that we need to meet people where they are when it comes to these really big decisions, and we did not do that. We didn’t have the discussion, we didn’t think through how we are going to implement this… I agree with the goal and the outcome. We want health and safety to be paramount for our employees and our community… We want.. most of our community builders to be vaccinated.” She said she would have preferred to talk to people first, then invite everyone to the table to discuss the goal and how to get there, including incentives and FDA approval. 

Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker said it’s “important for us to meet our people where they are. It’s important for us to listen… I hope we do this differently the next time.”

You can’t base those decisions on a popularity test. I’m fine with being despised if it means you get to live the rest of your life.” – Mayor Lauren Poe

Mayor Lauren Poe said, “I’m terrified every morning that my daughters and my wife walk out to go to school… You can’t base those decisions on a popularity test. I’m fine with being despised if it means you get to live the rest of your life.”

Ward added to his motion direction to charters to bring back a plan for a potential COVID leave pool and a plan for a potential COVID vaccine disability fund, should such a fund be necessary. 

Hayes-Santos said to the people in the room, many of whom were City employees protesting the mandate, “I hear your concerns, but I have a duty… to create a safe workplace.”

During public comment, Nathan Skop said, “This mandate is overwhelmingly opposed by City employees… Just like you failed to acknowledge the people who came from Archer, you don’t care what people think. It’s all about  your political agenda… Just another example of government overreach by the Gainesville City Commission… What happened to my body, my choice?… This is what happens when you divorce talking points from data… The COVID-19 vaccine does not contribute to herd immunity because it does not prevent a vaccinated person from contracting or transmitting the Delta variant. Mayor Poe has stated this from the dais. The vaccine does NOT protect the people around the vaccinated person. The vaccine does appear to be somewhat effective at preventing severe disease, and thus it affects only the vaccinated individual and should be an individual decision…”

Tristan Grunder, President of Gainesville’s Fraternal Order of Police, said that 52% of his membership said they would “walk out the door” if the mandate holds.

Overall, 14 people spoke against the vaccine mandate, and 2 spoke in favor. One woman who spoke in favor of the mandate was in tears on the phone, saying how afraid she was of catching COVID in her office and that she didn’t feel safe at work.

“I need to very clearly state that this vaccine is not experimental. It has been under development for almost 20 years. It is one of the most remarkable medical achievements we’ve seen in that period. This is the type of headwinds that we’re fighting, that people keep repeating these fallacies; in the absence of any other information, they absorb that as true.” – Mayor Lauren Poe

After public comment, Poe responded emphatically to the members of the public who said they had reservations about the vaccine, “I need to very clearly state that this vaccine is not experimental. It has been under development for almost 20 years. It is one of the most remarkable medical achievements we’ve seen in that period. This is the type of headwinds that we’re fighting, that people keep repeating these fallacies; in the absence of any other information, they absorb that as true. So yes, we need to do a better job of communicating factual information so people understand the risks from the vaccine are far outweighed by the risks of COVID. It’s not even close… I do continue to want to support many of the requests that have been made, and I will – for a disability fund for any long-term effects of the vaccine, for extending the deadline, for requiring folks you have to work next to to be vaccinated as well, to protect everybody’s health – but the disinformation has got to stop. That will kill far more people than the vaccine, which – 3 people have died of the vaccine, the J&J vaccine, because of blood clots that we now know how to treat. 4 and a half million people have died from COVID.”

However, the CDC is reporting 6,789 possible vaccine deaths: “More than 357 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through August 16, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,789 reports of death (0.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.”

The CDC also says that mRNA vaccines are “a new type of vaccine,” and they have not yet received full FDA approval. However, full approval is expected soon, possibly as early as September.

Arreola added, “I know the discussion was about the policy… but as you can see, people have taken this opportunity to spread complete falsehoods about vaccines. That is unbecoming of this chamber… we can disagree about policy, but let us not go around spreading falsehoods about medicine that is saving lives.”

“So I understand that some people speak from a very comfortable place of privilege when they spout falsehoods and misinformation.” – Commissioner Reina Saco

Saco was indignant: “This country has a very long, long history of mandating vaccines, and I understand there are a lot of people here who have never had to suffer the trauma of immigrating, losing everything you know and love, but to come to this country, you are required to have a very broad panel of vaccines, with very limited… exceptions on religious reasons, or you get to stay in whatever war-torn, devoid of food, devoid of housing, natural disaster destroyed, country you are stuck in. So I understand that some people speak from a very comfortable place of privilege when they spout falsehoods and misinformation. That said, we are not the only entities with this choice before them. There are whole states requiring that all state employees get vaccinated… So we’re not doing this flippantly… We need a more proactive, as opposed to passive, information campaign.”

However, those requirements only apply to legal immigrants; large numbers of people are coming across the southern border without any requirement for vaccination, with the mayor of McAllen, TX, saying, “Positive or non-positive, they get picked up, and they’re going out. And we have no authority to stop it.”

Ward said, “I want to remind everyone that there are… people… on the other side of this from most of the folks who came down and rallied. A lot of them have contacted me and said, ‘There’s no way I’m gonna come down and talk to everybody, not gonna walk through a crowd of angry people to tell you this, but you need to have a mandate.’… Recognize that those folks exist, too.”

However, many people phoned in comments during the meeting; there was no requirement to speak in person.

The commission first voted on the first two parts of the motion: “Direct the charter officers to develop a plan to require vaccination of all City contractors working alongside City workers who are required to be vaccinated in a non-incidental manner and that the plan be implemented by September 16 and extend initial deadline to October 1 for proof of vaccination first dose and October 31 for proof of second dose.” (Based on the discussion, it appears that the phrase “in a non-incidental manner” should have been added after “working alongside City workers,” not after “vaccinated.”)

That passed 5-2, with Duncan-Walker and Johnson in dissent.

The third part was “Direct charters to bring back a plan for a potential COVID leave pool and a plan for a potential COVID vaccine disability fund, should it be necessary.” That motion passed unanimously.

  • King Poe is already used to being despised.

    Employees hate him. Residents hate him. Even if sitting commissioners aren’t willing to admit it, some of them hate him too.

    For the lies, the cheating people, his putting them through the things they have to endure when they’re out in public…good bet some of his family hates him as well.

    But he still believes – he’s an incompetent idiot.

    …more to follow

    • They will back down, they won’t stand their ground. Scared puppies. All commissioners are failures in their other lives, not a one with a successful non-gov business career. PO boy and his job teaching dual enrollment high school kids with his history degree. Could never teach at a real university but claims to be an economics professor. Most are liars like him too. White boy “Santos” made himself a minority by using an ex step dad’s last name. Saco couldn’t get into court if she ever found a client with money and Johnson went bankrupt after taking office.

  • Harvey “Two-Face” Ward finally admitted he not only has two faces but he has multiple voices inside his head telling him they should be heard as well.

    Nice he hides behind them almost as much as he hides behind certain skirts in his family. At least we now have a better understanding why he’s so confused all of the time and has a difficult time with decisions.

    Just another believer – just another idiot.

  • Damn straight GPD, blue-flu and friggin walk! They have no right to mandate this crap!!

    Poe is such a lying commie POS. Address the CLOTS, the SPIKE PROTEIN and the fact that the creator of this crap, Dr. Robert Malone has stated that under no circumstances should this toxic s hit be used in humans. Then address the faulty PCR test and it’s creator, Dr Kary Banks Mullis saying that you can find anything from anything with this equipment if it’s turn up enough. Covid is a fraud and the mRNA shot is going to kill millions! The shot IS the pandemic, prove me wrong Commie Poe!

    • They can’t prove you wrong, because you are right. Not only is there no pandemic now, there hasn’t been one for the last 18 months. Strong evidence exists to support this but apparently the Commission computers don’t “go” to the numerous online sites that present it. Or maybe these people just don’t want the truth.This whole thing has been a “casedemic” fabricated, supported, and promoted by a bogus RT-PCR test that even the CDC has abandoned now. There is NO way to diagnose anything with this test, no way to identify whatever materials the test picks up, and no way to quantify the degree to which they are present. EVERYTHING about this test is questionable: from it’s lack of appropriateness for the purpose, the lab certification status, instrument calibration specificatioins, and operator training to the contaminants on the swabs and the sampling technique. The test swabs themselves are dangerous, having been found to be contaminated with various debris, parasites, micro plastics and toxins such as graphene oxide, some of which can migrate directly into the brain after they are deposited into a victim’s nose. TheRT-PCR test couldn’t detect the original alleged virus, and certainly can’t detect any “variant”. So any claims of a rise in the number of cases, whether variant or original, are pure hogwash and fear mongering and useful only to drive more bogus testing, masking and mandatory vaccines. And PLEASE can we all just stop and remember that this flu has an average survival rate in excess of 97% with little to no treatment? There was never a need for a vaccine in the first place and there is no need now!

      Even if we had a true vaccine instead of this quackccine clot shot there would be no way to improve on those survival odds without introducing unnecessary risk. You Commissioners are not clinicians. Neither is Fauci for that matter. . You do NOT have authority over the health choices and bodies of anyone in this community whether they are in your employ or not. If you go ahead with your mandates you will not be mandating a vaccine because these shots are NOT vaccines by any legal definition.You will be mandating a known toxic shot that even the makers admit does not confer immunity or stop the spread. And by the way, that won’t change even if FDA goes ahead and “approves” the shots. It simply is not good enough for you to ignore the truth about this fake pandemic and rely only on CDC and/or Fauci’s compromised, politically motivated “guidance” for this incredibly dangerous decision.Thus,YOU ARE ON NOTICE that your proposed vaccine mandates are NOT based on the abundant, accurate science that is both well researched and easily available online. There is no excuse for you rejecting accurate science presented by highly credentialed researchers and physicians. You have a duty to research further to inform yourselves of the heavily censored truth about covid and the dangerous outcomes that are possible from taking this these shots.

  • If there is a COVID vaccine disability fund for City employees, then shouldn’t there be a COVID vaccine disability fund for the citizens those employees allege to serve?

    How many deaths and adverse reactions have the Experimental Injections caused in Alachua County? (Is that issue a Blind Spot for all Gainesville City Commissioners and Alachua County Commissioners? Are these Commissioners accessories to murder for mandating the potentially-lethal Experimental Injections?)

  • Poe is a neurotic gutless idiot and in my opinion he has been paid off by Big Pharma to spout all the lies that vomit out of his sickening mouth. Chew on this you pathetic moron — Senator Ron Johnson, and I quote: … I just received this morning data out of Israel. That shows the population is about 84% vaccinated. But the new cases of COVID in Israel are about 84% with vaccinated individuals. It certainly is looking like the Pfizer vaccine is not working with the Delta variant. Unquote. You get that you feeble little cretin? The “vaccines” are a failure — just like you!

  • Commissioner David Arreola is an uninformed opinionated fool. He thinks more vaccinations will lead to herd immunity. In Gibraltar they had no trouble with COVID. Then they vaccinated almost 100% of the population. Immediatey COVID infections spiked through the roof. The COVID vaccinees are becoming factories for manufacture of more dangerous virus mutations. According to Dr. Robert Malone who invented mRNA vaccine technology, all the vaccinees will spread more harmful “variants.” This happens because these so-called vaccines are not really vaccines. They do not cause the immune system to sterilize the virus. They cause it to mutate. We have a city run by morons, the likes of which gave us a nearly useless biomass electric facility that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars, the highest electric rates in the state, and I could go on and on. You cannot inform or educate people who behave like communist psychos.

  • Isn’t this violative of DeSantis’ executive order regarding
    Covid passport? Everyone who voted for this tyranny should be removed by the governor, & replaced. —What
    Are community builders & neighbors going to do besides
    A huge strike from city hall to the hippodrome?

  • Thank you for refuting with facts the misinformation that the mayor and Commissioners Arreola and Saco so indignantly shared as they got the “last word” after citizen comment. I don’t think that their attempts to backpedal a little bit by extending the dates that their mandate goes into effect and setting up a “disability fund” for workers (whose doctors can prove that they were harmed by taking the vaccine,) are going to fly with many city workers. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds… I wish that more of the city workers who will be affected by this mandate would have come in to the meeting, and given their comments, but, I understand how much time that takes, that it is somewhat intimidating to speak out and be videoed, and I expect there is some fear of retribution.
    It sure seems like this commission is driven by a progressive, leftist agenda, and not what is best for the residents of the City of Gainesville. Fear is the fuel that they are relying on these days to advance their agenda. I was impressed with how much Commissioner Saco reminded me of AOC…

  • From this article it is beyond evident that only two Commissioners truly care about City employees: Johnson & Duncan-Walker. These two clearly stated their belief in the vaccine but also personal choice: as it should be, particularly with an EUA drug.

    The other three Commissioners, flip-flop Ward among them, and the Mayor desire control. If these five individuals believe so strongly in the good of the vaccine, why not incentives? Why not education? Why not genuine listening to constituents vs berating and belittling those who think differently?

    Tolerance and acceptance is clearly a one-way street in Gainesville- think like the Commission or be labeled a lying idiot, and I’m so ashamed of the five City Commissioners proved this.

  • The ultimate weapon is owned by every man, woman, and child. It is the ability to say “No!” and live with the consequences.

  • Mayor Lauren Poe said, “I’m terrified every morning that my daughters and my wife walk out to go to school”

    What a spiritual peasant. Shame on us for allowing men to devolve into such maladjusted sissies. He needed to be stuffed in more lockers as a kid.

    • Mr, Poe, what you should be afraid of is not an illness which is known to be essentially harmless for children but a government which seeks to restrict them in a tyrannical srangle-hold for the rest of their lives. Covid is but a part of that agenda and you have fallen for it hook line and sinker. You might also look into the true terror being caused by injecting kids with this filth which IS NOT A VACCINE but is a delivery system for components to enable eventual digital control over everyone on the planet. If you don’t know what I’m talking about look up The Great Reset and the World Economic Forum. There you will find Nazi Germany level terror. and America is falling to it one scared senseless fool at a time. People who have taken this shot are now inescapably tracked like animals and are set up for heaven only knows what long term illnesses. The experts are saying that most will die within the next 3 to 5 years from late complications , most having to do with cytokine storm or brain/heart blood clots. Late term survivors likely will suffer severe auto immune illness and various types of neurological illnesses. Among vaccinated young people so far are several hundred previously healthy kids whose hearts are now damaged for life by these shots. Some have even had strokes. Despite what some ignorant or perhaps bought off docs have said, there is no such thing as “mild” myocarditis. Hearts cells killed by lack of oxygen caused by blood clots do not recover. They become scar and thus reduce cardiac performance. For life, Mr. Poe. This leave kids with full lives ahead of them no better off than elders who have suffered heart attacks or strokes. You need to wake up and stop pandering to those who WANT to live in a nanny state under totalitarian control and start thinking about how you will live with yourself if your kids are injured or killed as a result of you shooting them up with unknown toxins which don’t defend them against an illness which poses NO threat to them in the first place. Your daughters have a better chance of being struck by lightning than of being harmed by covid. If you would take the time to study the counter-narrative truth about covid and the shots that has been widely censored by MSM at the behest of Fauci and his co-conspiritors, you would almost certainly decide NOT to subject your kids to this political experiment in population control.

  • City of Gainesville WAKE UP!!!! These are experimental injections and should NOT BE MANDATED!! YOUR BODY YOUR CHOICE!! Look up side affects. Per our Doctor friend Testicular cancer has increased and the only contributing factor is that these men were vaccinated! Then there is the heart issues that FDA WARNS ABOUT Myocarditis and Pericarditis! Not to mention the Blood clots and WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE IS TO COME FROM THESE INJECTIONS!!!! City of Gainesville is this something you want to be responsible for? Leave it up to the individual! WE ARE ALL ADULTS HERE! IF WE CHOOSE TO NOT BE VACCINATED WE KNOW THE RISKS!!! BUT WHAT WE DON’T KNOW IS THE FUTURE RISKS AFTER BEING FORCED TO TAKE THIS INJECTION!!! my husband just had blood work done and we asked that his antibodies be checked. After having COVID LAST OCT. he still had NATURAL ANTIBODIES OF A 5.30 so our Dr. Confirmed that are natural antibodies work!!! And that explains why we have been around so many positive people and have NOT gotten reinfected and we do not wear masks! SO IM ASKING!!! PLEASE READ AND SEE THE REAL TRUTH, THAT THE VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED CAN STILL GET SICK, STILL SPREAD COVID AND STILL BE CARRIERS AND BOTH ARE STILL DIEING!! THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED IS THAT THE INJECTION CAN KILL YOU AND LEAVE YOU WITH UNKNOWN SIDE AFFECTS! SO DO NOT GO AGAINST OUR GOVERNOR AND MANDATE THESE INJECTIONS THAT ARE FATALLY KILLING PEOPLE IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS!
    ❤️DON’T FORGET WE ARE AMERICANS! WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE FREE❤️ OUR BODY OUR CHOICE!

  • It’s been confirmed the city commission is mostly germaphobes w/the mayor leading the pack 🤦‍♀️. It’s not just about the safety of the vaccine it’s the abuse of power mandating employees to get vaccinated. They have only created a disservice to the people they are supposed to serve. It’s hurricane season, so when BIG BERTHA hits NCF & Alachua county needs the support of those out of state contractors who have already aborted coming since they have to be VACCINATED too. The citizens can go yank the mayor & city commissioners from their homes to kick a shovel or climb a pole until they have gas, electric & water. I read this entire article and simply amazed they care about 1 damn vaccine not any of the others. I cannot understand how you can mandate a damn thing. If you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes, mind your business & keep your lips sealed 🤐.

  • Glad to see that, in their warped minds, they are being fair by including City contractors. For, after all, no one needs their nose. Myopic thinkers.

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