Here’s an example of some outside the COVID box thinking that might start catching on in other parts of the country. Out in the eastern part of Oregon, many of the residents and business owners of Baker City (population: 9,752) have long since grown tired of the lockdowns and mask mandates being kept in place by Governor Kate Brown. Mayor Kerry McQuisten, who was just sworn in this January, listened to the complaints of her constituents and began a process to determine if there was anything that could be done about the situation. The result was a proposal to declare Baker City to be a “Common Sense Sanctuary” dedicated to ending the harm being caused to businesses and residents by the mandates. To implement the plan, the City Council voted to declare a state of emergency and notified the Governor that they were leaving compliance with the COVID mandates up to the individual employers and residents. Our colleagues at PJ Media interviewed the Mayor and found that other towns and counties are already in contact with her about pursuing a similar strategy.
In an interview with PJ Media, Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten says the proposal began as an attempt to make their town a Common Sense Sanctuary. Serving in her first term, business leaders approached her the day after swearing-in took place in January. “It was quite a process,” she says. “After we were all sworn in back on January 12th, local businesses brought forth to counsel an idea of a Common Sense Sanctuary City. The idea was pretty funny, actually. It was a good idea. They were asking for local businesses to be able to adhere, or not adhere to the mask mandates, the OSHA restrictions, as they saw fit individually.”
McQuisten says the city council conducted a town hall meeting over the issue. “Business owners poured in to give testimony. Some questioned whether the city could protect them from state OSHA regulations and targeting by these agencies.”
The final resolution they passed was rather lengthy, leading off with 22 “WHEREAS…” statements, describing the reasons that a state of emergency was required to protect Baker City from an economic, mental health, and criminal activity crisis being caused by the state mandates. The listed items included a declaration that the Governor’s mandates were “arbitrary, ineffective, and draconian.” They informed the Governor that the models and projections used to justify initial state emergency mandates have been proven inaccurate. They cite the failing fortunes of their businesses, the hindrance of the free practice of religion, mental health issues arising from isolation, and crowding in the jail because of increased criminal activity.
The document concludes with a series of resolutions stating what steps Baker City will take to alleviate the crisis. It then wraps up with a final, parting shot that’s a real humdinger. “BE IT RESOLVED the City recognizes the citizenry of Baker City are free, sovereign individuals within a Constitutional, Representative Republic, not subjects or slaves, and will be recognized as such as we firmly stand to represent them.”
The Mayor has attempted to contact the Governor multiple times over this issue and heard nothing back. Perhaps this will get her attention. It will be interesting to see if Kate Brown is willing to send in the troops to shut down this Common Sense Sanctuary and what the city would do in response if that happens. Stay tuned. This sort of idea may start picking up steam in any number of places around the country.