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Mayor Turner tells city employees to mask up

We’ll see how it goes.

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mayor Sylvester Turner told city employees Monday that they again must wear masks when they are at work and unable to socially distance, a requirement that could run afoul of Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest executive order.

Turner’s memo mentioned the recent uptick in cases because of the delta variant of the coronavirus and the importance of remaining vigilant against the spread of the virus.

“Therefore, effective Wednesday, August 4, 2021, all city employees able to medically tolerate a face covering shall wear a face covering that fully covers the individual’s nose and mouth upon entering the city premises and while on city premises in an area where social distance measures are difficult to maintain,” Turner wrote.

That includes bathrooms, elevators, meeting rooms and offices where people cannot sit at least 6 feet apart, Turner said.

The governor’s order, signed last week, appeared to bar such mandates. Abbott’s office Thursday evening did not respond to a request for comment.

“No governmental entity, including a county, city, school district and public health authority, and no governmental official may require any person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering,” the order stated.

Mary Benton, the mayor’s communications director, said the city was within its rights to take the action, despite the governor’s order.

“The mayor has a right and responsibility to ask city employees to wear face coverings indoors to help stop the virus from spreading,” Benton said. “With the rise in the delta variant cases and high numbers of unvaccinated individuals, Mayor Turner is doing what is necessary to keep (city) employees healthy, so they can provide for their families and the city can ensure that government services are provided to the public without interruption.”

I mean, we’ll see. Not only has Abbott refused to consider any state action to fight COVID, he’s issued an executive order banning localities from taking any action, which includes school districts and also includes mask mandates. I have a hard time believing that neither he nor Ken Paxton will respond, though to be fair the last time Paxton tried to block a city from doing a mask mandate, he was largely unsuccessful. Sure seems like it can’t hurt to try at this point, though I hesitate to suggest that there’s not a next level Abbott could take this to.

The Chron story notes that Dallas County courts have put out their own mask mandate as well. I would like to see Harris County follow suit on that. If nothing else, flood the zone a little. Fort Bend County has raised its threat level, which comes with a blanket call for everyone to mask up, while retail outlets are starting to move in that direction as well, because they kind of have to. The more everyone actively works to limit the spread of COVID, the worse and more out of touch the actions of Greg Abbott will appear.

One more thing:

Today would be an excellent day for the Supreme Court to rule that Abbott’s veto of legislative funding was unconstitutional.

UPDATE: This is also good.

President Joe Biden directly called out Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning mask mandates in a speech Tuesday in which he begged Republican governors to “please help” curtail a rapidly growing fourth wave of COVID infections.

Biden condemned states that have banned public schools and universities from requiring workers and students to wear masks or get vaccinated, saying “the most extreme of those measures is like the one in Texas that say state universities or community colleges can be fined if it allows a teacher to ask her un-vaccinated students to wear a mask.”

“What are we doing?” Biden said. “COVID 19 is a national challenge and … we have to come together, all of us together, as a country to solve it.”

“If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it,” he said. “I say to these governors: Please help. If you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way” can apply to many situations. This is one of them. As above I’m sure Abbott will have something to say in response, but maybe this time he will find it a challenge to defend the indefensible. One can hope, anyway.

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12 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    Didn’t President Gerry Ford try to launch a national vaccination campaign into a swine flu epidemic that never really got off the ground? Didn’t Pres. Ford fall down the steps? Weren’t gasoline prices and shortages and inflation out of control when Ford was president?

    Are we in the second coming of the Ford administration?

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    It will be interesting to see what form(s) of enforcement and punishment will be meted out to city employees who defy this diktat. I predict that the city’s H.R. department will be inundated with complaints from city employees settling scores with co-workers they dislike.

    Will Sly offer inducements to rat out co-workers? Does the “stop snitching” rule of the hood get suspended for the duration of the plandemic?

  3. Kibitzer says:

    Recurring episodes of loony-state politics …

    USE OF EMERGENCY POWERS TO BLOCK EMERGENCY MITIGATION MEASURES

    Can someone explain to the befuddled members of the public why and how banning and punishing local officials for taking measures to contain the delta-phase of the pandemic constitutes “coping” with the disaster?

    To cope with disaster is the declared purpose of the statutory grant of emergency powers to the governor that he doesn’t otherwise possess.

    He recently renewed the Disaster Declaration to avail himself of such coping powers on an ongoing basis.

    To wit:

    WHEREAS, a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties due to COVID-19;

    NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code [THE TEXAS DISASTER ACT], I do hereby renew the disaster proclamation for all counties in Texas.

    Pursuant to Section 418.017, I authorize the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with this disaster.

    The whole thing here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-renews-covid-19-disaster-declaration-for-august-2021

    PREPOSTEROUS POLICY MONSTROSITY PROPOSITION

    Why don’t the local officials take the position that Abbott’s order is void as contrary to the express purpose of the Diaster Act — in that it facilitates and promotes the severity of the disaster rather than mitigating it — thereby negating and defeating the Act’s core purpose.

    How can the outright thwarting of the legislative purpose of this type of enabling act be within the scope of the authority thereby granted? How can it be that the throwing of money wrenches to sabotage the workings of local governments is not ultra vires?

    Not to mention ultra-logic and contrary to common sense?

    By the same logic, Abbott might as well prohibit fire fighters from fighting fires, and have them fined or fired if they defy him by staying on mission.

  4. C.L. says:

    It’s dumbshit positions like this, as well as grift and graft from the O&G boys, that should result in Abbott being voted out of office.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    I watched your link. Dora should stick to making hair and makeup videos for Youtube.

    Let’s examine her arguments:

    ~oops, I don’t know what county I live in and registered in the wrong county!

    Really? If you really don’t know which county you reside in, maybe you’re better off not voting. People who register for the wrong county should probably be checked for mental retardation. They’re either profoundly stupid, or they willfully committed a crime. Pick one.

    People assisting voters have to sign that they helped, and attest that they didn’t commit fraud or perjury. I can see how that would be upsetting to the criminal-American community. For all others, yet another BS nothingburger.

    ~Ballot counting should be livestreamed.

    Hey, remember when people wanted to watch the ballots being counted in the November election, and we saw poll workers covering up window to obstruct the view? Remember when Ruby Freeman and her posse reported a fake water main rupture at the State Farm Arena, so they could send all the poll watchers home and then sneak back and count those fake ballots in suitcases from under the table? Yes, it’s baffling how people who claim to support transparency quiver and quake and argue against transparency. Dora, looking at you here, girl.

    ~Dem poll watchers be violent, so they need to be kept back far enough that they can’t see or hear anything that actually goes on, so their functionality in detecting irregularities is removed. Again, we support transparency…..except when we don’t.
    People that have shit to hide want stuff like this. I’d be proud to have a poll watcher scrutinize my vote. “Hell yeah, motherfucker, I’m voting for Trump…..again. Bet that chaps your ass, doesn’t it, Mr. Poll Watcher. See how that works? No one is intimidated, Dora. That’s just some shit you made up.

    ~Illegal aliens signing up to vote. Oh, whoopsie, I accidentally registered to vote even though I am sin papeles.

    Uh, you mean illegals who register to vote should be prosecuted? Yeah, they should.

    So, transparency is “damaging to our democracy.” Got it.

    ~Hervis Rogers, multiple felon, out on paper, votes anyway.

    This dude is a professional criminal, who has been a guest of the state multiple times. I feel quite sure he knew he was still “on paper,” because of those pesky mandatory visits to his parole officer. What’s that? Oh, Hervis is so upset at getting arrested for commiting his latest crime, illegal voting, he doesn’t want to vote again!

    Great! Hervis has a lifetime history of making poor decisions. Maybe he shouldn’t vote. Thankfully, his newest arrest should keep him out of the voting booth for a little longer. When you use Hervis as your hero, you’ve pretty much lost your argument, Dora.

    ~Inexplicably limits polling hours, because there’s no more fraud at night than there is during the day. Uh, OK. Remember when your mom told you that nothing good happens after Midnight, and through trial and error, you discovered she was right? There you go. Personally, I think it’s great that we keep the vampire-American community away from the polls. They probably spread the Wu flu, what with their neck biting and everything.

    C.L.:

    I agree Abbott needs to be primaried for the February power outage debacle. Fair critique. As far as not flexing his power over the Wu flu, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll get upset about that, just as soon as you get upset about the Biden regime mass importing infected illegals all over our state and country. If this is so serious and deadly, then Biden is intentionally killing people. The fact that he’s doing it anyway tells us that he either doesn’t care about the lives of Texans, or that things are not as dire as they seem.

    So if you feel things are dire, call out Abbott AND Biden. If not, let them both be.

  6. […] Abbott has cut off any power that local officials had once had. I note that as of this writing, Mayor Turner’s employee mask mandate has not yet drawn a response from Abbott or Paxton. Makes me wonder if there’s more room to […]

  7. Kibitzer says:

    DEMOCRACY FOR ALL, NOT BLACK OR WHITE

    Judge Hidalgo has done the best job this observer and serial commentator has seen explaining *with reasoned argumentation* why and how the Republican election law “reforms” are pernicious.

    Can’t say the same about the race-card playing by some Democrats representing districts that are the equivalent of tribal reservations or homelands (–> South Africa), who -alas- do their best to undermine the notion that voting rights and voting opportunities are for all — including conservatives and moderates that won’t vote for them — and that restrictive voting laws don’t just hurt *minorities* as currently defined primarily based on inherited traits that manifest in physical appearance and pigmentation, as opposed to less immutable personal attributes, beliefs, and political and social attitudes.

    Hidalgo also got 148.7K views (so far) on her video mini-lecture, which will hopefully do some good and improve the appreciation of the nuances.

    What do you think Bill Daniel’s audience is for his chauvenistic hate-driven speech regularly dispensed in this forum?

    CRIME & VOTING AND ELECTION CRIMES

    Also, when we disfranchise prisoners, we create an incentive for selective partisan prosecution of people who belong to — or assumed to support — the opposition party. Worse when a partisan hack is in charge of the prosecution, and in the prosecution of Election Code violations in particular.

    In any event, what is the principled reason — if any — for disfranchising on the basis of conviction if the inmate is an American citizen and compos mentis? And what if a miscarriage of justice has occurred and the convict is actually innocent?

    As in the case of Michael Morton. Someone like him may now be compensated monetarily for each year spent in lock-up (though he may first have to battle the Comptroller and Ken Paxton), but how can his right to participate in elections be restored retroactively for past elections? – It can’t.

    STATUTE TO COMPENSATE THE WRONGLY CONVICTED

    The Tim Cole Act entitles certain wrongfully imprisoned individuals to compensation from the State. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has the duty to determine eligibility for Tim Cole Act compensation. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 103.051(b)(1). This duty is purely ministerial. Id. § 103.051(b-1). The Act further provides that an applicant may challenge the Comptroller’s denial of compensation by bringing an action for mandamus relief. Id. § 103.051(d)-(e).

    The Texas Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to mandamus the Comptroller, as an executive officer of the State, and thus the mandamus action must be filed as an original proceeding in the supreme court. See TEX. GOV’T CODE § 22.002(c) (providing that only the Supreme Court has authority to issue writs of mandamus against executive officers of the state [but not the Governor]); In re Smith, 333 S.W.3d 582, 585 (Tex. 2011).

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    “Hate driven speech?” Really, you’re better than that. You’re employing Manny style ad hominem attacks, but didn’t bother to refute my thoughts on Dora’s video. I took each argument she made and examined it logically.

    I do agree with you about partisan prosecution. We’re seeing that in real time with the political prisoners being held without bail in D.C. Dora seemed concerned about Ol’ Hervis facing charges for illegally voting, which he clearly did. I propose a prisoner exchange. Texas drops the charges on Hervis, and the some or all of the D.C. political prisoners get released.

    Finally, what principled reason is there to prohibit felons who have not completed their punishment from voting? Simple. It’s punitive. It’s part of the punishment. We administer punishment as a corrective….to let people know they have done something wrong. It’s also intuitive. People who have shown very poor decision making…..maybe they shouldn’t be making decisions that can negatively impact others, until they’ve proven that they can make better decisions.

    Example: Do you really want Nidal Hassan, the Muzzie Ft. Hood shooter making decisions about who will represent you? I mean, you probably do, because Muslims vote Democrat, but surely you can admit that his judgement is…..suspect.

  9. Ross says:

    Bill, there are no political prisoners in DC. They are all scumbag insurrectionists that deserve long terms in prison. You need to get it through your thick damn skull that there was no massive vote fraud, and that Trump is a worthless piece of shit with no redeeming qualities. Trump is an autocratic fascist who would happily execute anyone who opposes him. He did nothing to make this country a better place, and much to make it worse.

  10. […] a similar mandate last week, following Dallas and Bexar counties. I noted it in passing here, as it happened at the same time as the city of Houston mask mandate for its employees. So far, no […]

  11. […] the Kuff looks at Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s defiance of Greg Abbott’s executive order forbidding local action on mask […]