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Maricopa County Supervisors Need To Discuss Public Concerns In Public

• Arizona Daily Independent

Dear Chairman Hickman, Vice Chairman Sellers, Supervisors Chucri, Gallardo, Gates,

For three months we have now lived under the environment that has been created within Maricopa County – our communities – by your "mask regulations." It is one which has needlessly turned citizen against citizen, neighbor against neighbor, business owners against their customers. People who are unable to wear masks and those who are unwilling to forfeit their God-given liberties are at times being verbally assaulted by their fellow citizens and oft times harassed at the very businesses they wish to – need to – patronize, as well as being under the threatened of civil "penalties."

While I don't deny the existence of Covid-19 we now know, and knew even before the "mask mandate" was imposed in mid-June, that the "threat" to the general population was greatly overblown. We had examples from Arizona, as well as all across the nation, of the manipulation of the data. But now are we beginning to realize that the cost of the unforeseen consequences of lockdowns and masks both to the wellbeing and to the very lives of the citizens of our county, our state and our country will far exceed that of the Covid virus itself.

However what I personally find most reprehensible is the abuse that is being foisted upon our precious children and grandchildren. Our children whose schools have reopened or who are in daycare are suffering; not being allowed to sit with their friends at lunch or play together during recess or study together in their classrooms and perhaps being punished if they don't strictly adhere to such draconian measures that many are too young to understand; basically being incarcerated in the same room, possibly, at some schools, in little acrylic prison cells around their desks for hours on end.

What I find unforgivable (by virtue of my vote now and in the future should any of you run for any office where I am a voter) is imposing a, scientifically unsubstantiated, "mask mandate" which cowardly governing boards feel compelled to enforce. That young children, in your perfect mask world children as young as two, are being forced, oh excuse me, "reasonable" expected to wear masks in public "spaces" such as schools and daycares. They are unable to see the faces of their teachers, friends and classmates, read their expressions, see the happiness or perhaps the sadness on their faces. The potential for long term emotional damage being imposed on our children at the hands of elected and school officials whom we/they are supposed to be able to trust is incomprehensible and unacceptable.

We are now seeing the instances of depression, suicidal thoughts, drug and alcohol abuse all increasing in our children and grandchildren because of the governor's lockdown of our state. But honestly ask yourselves – how much does your "mask mandate" exacerbate these problems in our youth??

If I am mistaken excuse me but as of this afternoon the only agenda posted under "Meeting & Agendas – Upcoming" reads  "Vote to convene in Executive Session to consider the items on the Executive Agenda dated Monday, September 21, 2020, for Board of Supervisors and relevant Special Districts pursuant to the statutory authority listed for each item."  The executive agenda is not posted under upcoming meetings and the "items" are undisclosed. There is a MC BofS "Executive Meeting Agenda" posted on social media (which certainly appears to be authentic but is not posted the MC BofS website under upcoming meetings) indicating the agenda items are to be the "County Response to Covid-19; Mask Regulations" and "Elections: Early Ballot Voters; Election Day Procedures." Both are subjects of great interest to our community; neither of which are discussions that should be concealed from the community. It is questionable if either is legal to be discussed behind closed doors except for the "legal advice" loophole in statute but certainly not without a legally posted agenda.

All that being said, anyone who wishes, for themselves or their children, to do so can and should continue to wear a mask now and forever if they so desire. As for the rest of us, we have a God-given right to make that choice as well for ourselves and our children.

I respectfully request that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors cancel the executive session scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2020 to discuss the "mask mandate" behind closed doors. Please conduct your discussion and engage the community you serve during a lawful, public meeting and vote to rescind the "mask mandate" sooner rather than later.

Thank you for your consideration and your service.

Diane M. Douglas
AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction 2015-2018

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