Poor Elk Grove role models - Cheek-to-cheek OK for elected officials, but not for open meetings

In recent days, COIVD cases nationally, in California and Sacramento County have sharply risen. Renewed masking requirements are rightfully popping up, and there is an urgent push to get more people vaccinated.

It is in this environment that several readers have directed us to links to pictures of Elk Grove-based elected officials mugging for the camera at last week's Old Town Elk Grove plaza reopening. The photos are copyrighted but are posted on Mayor Bobbie Singh Allen's social media feeds.

Suffice it to say, the Mayor, Elk Grove Councilmembers Darren Suen and Stephanie Nguyen, and Assemblymember Jim Cooper mugged for the cameras cheek-to-cheek. Posing and preening is not unusual for politicians who are nothing if not vain. 

These elected officials could argue last week's outdoor event was held when the COVID situation was not as dire as today. Nonetheless, this is rife with hypocrisy, especially in relation to resuming indoor public government meetings. 

While these elected officials literally cozy up with each other, they have also decided to defer the resumption of public city council meetings out of a reasonable abundance of caution from spreading the virus. Yet, they are more than willing to throw caution to the wind when it serves their egos. 

Aside from the apparent hypocrisy, there is a great danger in their actions. And that danger lies with the unvaccinated.  

The recent spike in COVID has been almost exclusively with unvaccinated people. One unvaccinated person was reportedly so strident in their resistance that when they landed in a hospital with COVID, they said they would rather be sick than vaccinated. 

By making these unmasked cheek-to-cheek appearances while simultaneously not resuming open meetings, elected officials telegraph that the rules don't apply to them. Worse, it can be interpreted by anti-vaxxers that it's alright for them to interact with important people for their glorification, but God forbid they interact with ordinary people at government meetings.  

These actions give more unnecessary ammunition and justification to anti-vaxxers who can reasonably think public officials are saying, "do as I say, not as I do" and foment more distrust. Remember the French Laundry incident? 

If we expect to wrangle control of the pandemic, which at this point means administering more vaccinations, elected officials must be consistent in their public messaging and appearances. Until you resume public meetings, wear a mask in public, maintain social distancing and forget the cheek-to-cheek photo ops. 

Elected officials - you are amplifying mistrust with the unvaccinated people who hold the key to returning to normal times. Put your egos in check for a while and think about the greater good.        

Is that so hard? 


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