I get a kick out of the folks here in Franklin who claim I “carry water” for Mayor Steve Olson. Honestly, these fools aren’t hurting my feelings or causing any loss of sleep.
True, I like and respect the mayor, a lot. And far more often than not we’ve been sympatico. But in the world of politics, especially today, a leader will never get even the staunchest supporters to concur 100% of the time.
This week finds our mayor quite upset, and rightfully so. On Sunday he wrote on Facebook:
This is a very important announcement from the Franklin Health Department. We have been allocated no vaccines this week so NEW Clinics cannot be held until we get more vaccine. If you have an appointment with the Franklin Health Department for the next two weeks please keep it.
We have enough vaccine for the next two weeks but no more. I believe that this is political. We believe that only three communities were singled out to NOT get vaccine. In what world do you not send a LOT of vaccine to your most populous county. If the concern is equity, it’s also the county with the most minority population.
Then he agreed to an interview with TMJ4 where he repeated his anger.
“This is ridiculous. Our health department’s phones are ringing off the hook and they can’t tell people when we’re going to have vaccines. It’s the lack of information from the state that is just handcuffing everybody and making this whole thing a joke.”
And this tactic by the mayor is part of a pattern that has driven me nuts for more than 20 years. Note the part of his quote to TMJ4 I emphasized. He’s done this since Jim Doyle was governor. He uses the term “the state” when it’s really the governor and his administration at fault. Yet he refuses to single the governor out and blew a great opportunity to do so.
A much better quote would have been:
“This is ridiculous. Our health department’s phones are ringing off the hook and they can’t tell people when we’re going to have vaccines. It’s the lack of information from Gov. Tony Evers and his Dept. of Health Services that is just handcuffing everybody and making this whole thing a joke.”
There’s no getting to the stubborn mayor about this who refuses to target our clueless governor. He maintains the vaccine fiasco is “the state’s fault.”
Oh really? “The state” includes Gov. Evers, his Cabinet, staff, all state agencies and their staff people, more than 130 state legislators, and an army of state employees. Dear Mayor Olson, would you kindly care to narrow it down?
That’s easy. The damage here lies with Gov. Evers and his administration. But Olson would rather toss grenades at the Legislature that is controlled by the GOP, filled with members who haven’t returned Olson’s phone calls and e-mails and kissed his ring to his satisfaction.
I suggested since TMJ4 already did a story that he continue putting the pressure on with a full-blown news conference with his heath director and invited area legislators to draw more awareness to the absurdity of the governor’s vaccine distribution. The mayor’s reaction? Nice idea, but I’ll do this my way. I’m sure he feels his plan is the best because in his mind the city is never ever wrong.
Meanwhile, Franklin, state of WI, America, are you ready?
What’s happening this week might be just the beginning of more problems. “Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts” reports:
New COVID-19 variants will force state and local public health agencies to expand their efforts in tracking and responding to the new strains.
More contagious variants add to the struggle agencies already face to trace contacts, manage health care across jurisdictions, communicate with the public and vaccinate residents. The stakes are huge: Public health officials worry that if more transmissible variants take hold, an even more dangerous surge could lie ahead, compelling public officials to impose new restrictions, possibly including shutdowns.
“If a new variant takes over and we’re not doing everything we can to prevent it from taking hold, it’s almost like a new pandemic,” said Lori T. Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, a Washington, D.C.-based membership organization that represents local health departments. “Public health departments could be in danger of being overwhelmed if we don’t take control to adequately control the variants.”