Healdsburg Protest, December 6, 2021
The Healdsburg City Council has five members. One of the members, Skylaer Palacio, is not vaccinated against Covid-19. The other four members of the City Council are vaxxed and will not let Palacio or any other member of the community attend City Council meetings unless they are vaccinated and masked against Covid-19.
This has caused a backlash in the county. Palacio describes herself as a Bipoc (bi-racial person of color). Some say this is a racial issue. Others say it is about personal choice and bodily autonomy. (88% of people over the age of 5 have been vaxxed in Healdsburg.)
A protest was organized for tonight at 5:30 PM in front of the City Hall before the bi-monthly City Council Meeting at 6 PM.
So I thought I’d drive down there and check it out.
The day has been gloomy and rainy all day. A high of only about 50F. A miserable day it was. At 5:20 I parked a block from the City Hall and walked up with my little flashlight in hand. It was a very dark and drizzly night.
A big tour bus from Montana was parked in front of City Hall. It had speakers blaring out rap music. A young black man nodded at me and smiled as I walked by him. He was the only person of color I saw at the protest, but it was a dark evening.
There were about 60 people there protesting and carrying signs saying, “My body. My choice.” “No Vaccine Mandates”. A few people carried American flags. But everyone, except for the black singer (he sang later into a microphone on the sidewalk) were white middle aged people with a few Hispanics in the crowd.
Maybe the black man and his young long haired white friend (I saw him get on the bus) were selling albums? I saw a sign for a CD by the singer.
I walked up the steps to be near the front door to the City Hall Council Chambers to talk to someone in charge. I ran into Rollie Atkinson a few steps in front of the doors.
Rollie is the owner of the Healdsburg Tribune, the local paper. Rollie is about 5’9” tall, white, 50ish, overweight with a scraggly goatee and beard. He was wearing a blue mask which he pulled down to talk to me.
I introduced myself and he knew who I was. We’ve had some communications. No problems. I think Rollie is glad to have any feedback at his newspaper. Rollie is trying a new business model relying on contributions instead of subscriptions.
Rollie and his wife have turned the Tribune into a non-profit with no debt enterprise.
“Well, my wife and I assumed the debt.” Rollie said.
I gave him a contribution for his newspaper which cheered him up a bit. We had a good conversation about our town & the new Christmas tree on the square (Rollie told me the Hotels paid for it.)
Rollie has been vaxxed and even had the flu shot, but he didn’t disagree with my opinion about personal choice. I also put in my two cents describing the situation in Australia with the lockdowns, fines, and quarantine camps.
I finally asked Rollie if one still had to be vaxxed and masked to attend the City Council meeting. He said, “Yes.”
I told him, “Well, that’s not right.” And then made my exit and drove home.
I was there about 25 minutes.
A pretty low key affair. Only one cop there. He was by the doors to the City Council Chambers. Wearing a mask of course. Next to him was a man in a suit ( the City Manager maybe) who was also wearing a mask. And Rollie had a mask on at the beginning. Otherwise only a few protesters were wearing masks that I saw.
It was a typical low key and kinda strange Healdsburg, California event.