If you love the freedoms in the US Constitution, and seek to understand how people at the county and state level work to either take control or protect freedom during a crisis, this is a summary of the best and worst of Colorado leaders and policies during the COVID response in 2021. This information is provided for those who seek to engage in effective strategies that promote transparency, demand accountability, and act with responsiveness to misguided programs.
Worst Decision by Governor Polis: Mask mandate
In July 2020, Governor Polis proclaimed the mask mandate without any evidence demonstrating that masks stop the spread of viral particles:
“Wearing a mask is an easy and highly effective way to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. The more we wear masks, the safer we will be and the stronger our economy will grow,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Unfortunately, this pandemic is far from over, cases are up, and we have to find a way to live sustainably while protecting ourselves and those around us. Masks are the ticket to the Colorado we love and a critical part of supporting Colorado’s economy and prosperity. The best way to support Colorado workers and businesses right now is to wear a mask.”
18 months later by December 2021, masks had not demonstrated any reduction in COVID-19, nor had mask wearing counties reported an economic boom with retailers. Governor Polis, sold his “ticket to Colorado” for his re-election campaign goals in this interview statement: “Public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job,” the Governor said.
The Governor’s Office based its’ recommendation for mask wearing on a simulation study of hamsters separated by a mask-like partition, and other low-validity, low-reliability evidence based on correlation and speculation. The 0.125 micron size of viral particles, mask leakage, and increase of cases in high mask wearing populations were never considered in the mask efficacy evidence provided by the Governor’s staff.
Best Decision by Governor Polis: Not extending the eviction moratorium
In August 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that the CDC cannot “order” an eviction moratorium. Most people know that the CDC is an unelected body of health advisors that has no jurisdiction over the economies of states or private property, but that did not stop this year-long program with socialism footings. Some states extended this program even after it was ruled illegal to deny property owners from collecting rent. Governor Polis did not extend the program after the Supreme Court ruled against it.
Worst Health Agency Rule: CDPHE fires unvaccinated healthcare workers
CDPHE Board of Health (unelected health advisors) mandated the vaccine for health care workers resulting in the loss of 5,290 health care workers in Colorado on October 1, 2021 and a loss of 700 acute care beds of 9400 beds in hospital capacity. CDPHE traded these highly specialized health care workers with years of experience for 22 medics from the National Guard. In response, Gov. Polis activated crisis standards of care in November 2021, and then also unexpectedly declared “the emergency is over” in December 2021. The root of this disconnect between health policy and real-world impact is easily discerned by attending a CDPHE Board of Health online monthly meeting. At this current date, the board refuses to meet in person and refuses to answer any questions or concerns from the public. It is a textbook example of “groupthink” led by Daniel Pastula, MD, who can only repeat information from the CDC office in Atlanta, Georgia; “Masks work,” “Vaccines save lives.” CDPHE Board of Health lacks critical thinking and blocks discussion of the impact of firing healthcare workers and lack of treatment or prevention protocols for the past two years.
Best Health Agency Rule: CDC withdraws EUA Request from FDA for RT-PCR test
In July, the CDC announced that it will withdraw the Emergency Use Authorization Request for the RT-PCR test by December 31, 2021. In this announcement, the CDC validated that the PCR test could not differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. This was a rare instance of transparency from the CDC confirming the diagnostic substitution affecting the influenza death statistics provisionally reported in very low rates in 2019-2020 at 22,000, while influenza was reported at 61,000 US deaths in the previous confirmed years of 2017-2018. Clearly there is evidence that PCR testing is contributing to false positives in cases, but PCR testing is a golden goose, so CDPHE quietly ended the $90 million no-bid contract for PCR testing to Curative Labs for false positives driving insurance reimbursement rates three times higher.
“According to The Gazette’s reporting, records show that Gary Lauder, a financial donor for Democrats and an influential backer and investor in Curative Labs, introduced the company’s CEO and Kacey Wulff, Polis’ pandemic adviser at the time, at a weekend getaway Lauder took with Wulff and her husband.”
Worst Communication: CDPHE Director Ryan’s “communication team”
At the November 2021 CDPHE Board of Health online meeting, CDPHE Director Ryan relegated her speaking time slot to her “communication team.” The communication team representative introduced himself as the “COVID Marketing Team” and his presentation was an alarming single focus, multi-million dollar campaign to place vaccine advertisements in print, media, gaming applications for youth, and to pay social media “influencers.” The stunning absence of any evidence-based information by qualified medical professionals on inexpensive and effective supplements to protect people at risk of serious illness was gasoline on the fire of an already hostile public meeting. “Correcting Britain’s Vitamin D Deficiency Could Save Thousands of Lives” reported a 2020 study that Vitamin D could cut mortality rates in half, yet CDPHE has not created any public announcements on Vitamin D. The cartoon graphics of the CDPHE marketing campaign also undermined credibility of public health information in Colorado. The Board ended the meeting before dozens of meeting participants could make public comment, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. There were zero public comments in support of CDPHE Board of Health’s response to COVID-19. CDPHE has failed to recognize natural immunity while spending millions of dollars in promoting the vaccine products of pharmaceutical companies.
Best Communication: Sheriff Justin Smith in Larimer County protects freedom of speech
Tom Gonzales, Public Health Director of Larimer County, sent an email on October 26, 2021 to county commissioners, the sheriff, mayors, the county attorney, CDPHE Director, and staff of Governor Polis alleging that the public, the citizens, who oppose the Larimer County Board of Health response to COVID-19 are “intimidating” and “suppressing” what Gonzales decided, as an unelected person, is best for all citizens of Larimer County. Gonzalez requested help in removing a trailer on private land near his office with the message of “Resist the Fascists.” The elected county commissioners on the email colluded to identify the property owner to remove the “demoralizing and hurtful” sign. They conspired to have the mayor and city council members report sign code violations, and request “colleague pressure” from the North Fort Collins Business Association. However, Sheriff Justin Smith intervened to inform the county commissioners that they were actively restricting free speech protected in the 1st Amendment and violating public meeting laws (Sunshine Act of 1976) by conducting public business in secret.
Worst Accountable, Responsive & Transparent (SMART Act): Colorado’s Secretary of State, Jena Griswold
Colorado’s Secretary of State is being sued by Public Interest Legal Foundation for an allegation of allowing deceased voters to remain on the registered voting rolls since 2005. According to Colorado Newsline,
“Colorado is hiding voter list maintenance documents the public is legally entitled to,” PILF President Christian Adams said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “Elections must be free and transparent for Americans to trust their results. Secretary Griswold and ERIC are blocking transparency and violating federal law.”
Best Accountable, Responsive, & Transparent (SMART Act): Weld County Commissioners
Weld County Commissioners are under a home rule charter county and have governed through the pandemic demonstrating that local control is better suited to respond adeptly with funding and resources to COVID-19. Recently, the commissioners encountered a minor controversy over spending grant funds to advertise vaccines on social media. They listened to supporters and dissenters and decided to not further fund any vaccine advertising, beyond the $6,000 already spent. They determined that since most people are aware of vaccine availability that subsequently funding more advertising would not increase uptake. They were then able to return $19,000 of grant money for other needs. The commissioners have taken the position that it is their role to educate the public on vaccines, but not to coerce.
Worst County Public Health Board: Tri-County Health Department
This December 2021 headline says it all: Arapahoe County Becomes third and final to move to leave Tri County Health Department. The Board of Health at Tri County advised the public so unreasonably that the three counties Douglas, Adams and Arapahoe dissolved a 74 year collaboration in public health. The mask mandates (to include masks at swimming pools) were the battle with the public that caused the break up. The only medical doctor on the board, Thomas Fawell, is a plastic surgeon, not an infectious disease specialist. Another board member, Julie Mullica, is married to Colorado Rep. Kyle Mullica, who has sponsored extremely controversial vaccine exemption restricting bills every legislative session with the support of 70 pharmaceutical lobbyists since he was elected in 2019.
Best County Public Health Board: Douglas County Board of Health
Douglas County Commissioners fired a verbal warning shot to Tri County Health Department in July 2020 about respecting their constituents demands for freedom of choice with mask mandate opt-out provisions, and then made good on their word in September 2021 when the opt-out was revoked. According to Colorado Public Radio, “The two sides have been at odds for months and the new requirements caused commissioners to push for a divorce, after a 55-year union.” Douglas County created its own Board of Health for its 357,000 residents, a massive growth from the 4,000 residents when Douglas County joined Tri County. The Douglas County Board of Health has five members, and a new 11-person public health advisory committee.
Worst Public Health Leader: Dawn Comstock, Jefferson County
Constituents of Jefferson County learned from CORA requests that Dawn Comstock, as a member of the Board of Health, led the hiring committee for a Director of Jefferson County Public Health, designed the interview questions, changed the requirements so that she would be qualified, received 37 applications, and then hired herself as the Director in February 2021. This was just the beginning of her unethical behavior supporting a basis for her resignation or removal. In August 2021, emails showed how Comstock intimidated the Jefferson County School District Superintendent Dorland to impose mandates that she was not willing to impose herself for fear of lawsuits. According to The Denver Channel:
“In one email dated July 28, Comstock is apparently imploring Dorland to come up with district COVID-19 policies, including masks for students. ‘You have the ability to implement a mask order and to enforce it. You also know I will support you 100% – I will even be willing to say I pressured you to make this decision so you can say you took action that you knew would protect students but would also protect the school culture, etc in order to avoid having the public health authority dictate rules that would not be sensitive to the needs of students and their parents,’ the email read. Comstock goes on to say if she puts a public health order in place, the health department could be sued, wasting tax dollar and staff times. She also said public health orders are supposed to be a very last resort, used only when there is no compliance expected or a risk to the public. ‘You are choosing not to implement rules for purely political reasons. You are bowing to pressure from misinformed parents in a way that clearly puts all of the students in your charge at unnecessary and unacceptable levels of risk,’ the email read. Comstock then said whatever decision is made will set a precedent moving forward and that requiring a public health order for masks in schools would undermine the district’s own authority. It continued by saying if the district does not make its own rules, who’s to say students won’t start disregarding other district policies, like bringing guns on campus without a public health order in place.”
Comstock equates not wearing masks to bringing guns to schools, and then doubled down with her unilateral plan for Jefferson County Schools, of which she has no authority over:
“Comstock then goes on to say if she does have to issue a public health order for schools, it would go beyond masks since she’s likely to end up in court anyway and that she will do everything possible to keep kids safe. ‘If I am going to take that step that will so damage the future authority of public health I will do exactly what is truly needed to prioritize, emphasize, and protect in-person educational activities. That means no unvaccinated visitors or volunteers interacting with school students, weekly testing for all unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff, and a likely ban on all extracurricular activities held indoors as well as a ban on holding other high risk activities (e.g. band, choir) indoors,’ the email read.”
In September 2021, Comstock led a witch-hunt in the JCPH lawsuit against three small Christian schools in Jefferson County for alleged mask mandate violations. The lawsuit was dropped due to the schools’ compliance. In December 2021, Comstock advised the public not to shop at Jefferson County businesses, but to go to other counties with higher vaccination rates and higher mask compliance. Comstock expertly uses gaslighting in her public communication to avoid accountability; Comstock told the public that protests outside her office were “trauma,” and she needed police protection inside her work building, while video shows a crowd of families in a peaceful circle in the parking lot singing “God Bless America.”
Best Public Health Leader: Lora Thomas, Douglas County
Lora Thomas and the Douglas County Commissioners created a new Board of Health to govern Douglas County without mask mandates, and public opinion has been overwhelmingly positive as residents value freedom and visitors enjoy the experience of shopping and dining without arbitrary restrictions. Her team was also able to defend against a lawsuit from Douglas County School District to re-impose a mask mandate, which was motivated by American Rescue Plan Act grants for school districts to receive millions of dollars to impose mask mandates and testing on students. Douglas County Commissioners trust citizens and businesses to make their own health decisions. USA News declared Douglas County, Colorado as “America’s Healthiest Community” in 2019.
Worst Mental Health Program: Boulder County Public Health
In September 2020, Boulder County Public Health imposed an “order” that anyone between the ages of 18 and 22 would not be allowed to participate in gatherings of any size, indoor or outdoor, on or off the University of Colorado campus, or with individuals of any age. CBS Denver reported: “We understand that restricting gathering of young adults can have negative effects on their mental health,” Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director, said in a prepared statement.” In addition to knowingly imposing isolation and a mental health crisis on young adults who were not at risk of dying from COVID-19, Boulder County Public Health put a strain on Boulder businesses which still have not recovered in 2021 from loss of college student revenue during 2020. CU does not report suicide statistics of students, so the negative impact of this policy will not be fully known to the public.
Best Mental Health Program: Larimer County residents stop vaccine passports
In October 2021, Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce and the Estes Park Chamber of Commerce persisted in engagement with the Larimer County Board of Health to defeat a vaccine passport program from being implemented that would ban unvaccinated people from entering businesses. The Coloradoan reported the “Vaccine Verified Facility and Event Program” received “significant backlash” directed at the Board of Health, in public meetings and a large protest. As reported from college students at CU Boulder, restricting people from public places is known to cause mental health stress. Larimer County residents engaged effectively to stop this hysteria driven program.
Worst school outcome: Denver school promotes racially segregated playground
A Denver school made national news for implementing “Families of Color Playground Night” where the playground is racially segregated while Denver Public Schools alleges it is “about uniting us, not dividing us.”
Best school outcome: Douglas County Board of Education drops mask mandate
In December 2021, the four newly elected freedom platform candidates to the Douglas County Board of Education voted in favor of letting parents decide if children should wear masks to school.
Worst media: Kyle Clark, 9NEWS
Kyle Clark of 9NEWS abandoned all pretense of being a balanced journalist in 2021 and dedicated weekly hit pieces and social media posts to attacking Republican women for their audacity to have opinions on issues, such as US Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Candidate for Governor Heidi Ganahl, and Colorado GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown. Republican women have suggested that 9NEWS could shift focus to relevant news reports about crime, as Colorado became the leading state for car theft in 2021, potentially as a direct result of “Polis’ Parolees” advancing from the executive order that released 300 inmates. News stories about corruption are also relevant, such as how Tay Anderson of Denver Public School Board still works in his position after being accused of numerous sexual misconduct allegations. Anderson’s “serious” accusations were found unsubstantiated by an internal investigation, while 1000 Denver students walked out of school in protest, and Anderson was only censured for unacceptable flirtatious communications with high school students.
Best media: Doctors of early treatment protocols
While most prominent medical schools have remained silent for two years on treating SARS-CoV-2 before it gets severe, there are a few practicing medical doctors who have practical advice on treatment: The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has published “A Guide to Home Based COVID Treatment” and Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) has created prevention and treatment protocols for prevention, outpatients, hospitalized patients, and recovery.
In conclusion, there is one over-arching observation in the battles lost and won in 2021 for freedom. The counties who were victorious in restoring balance have men attending local board of health meetings and county commissioner meetings, as opposed to only women and children in attendance. Furthermore, there were zero battles won on social media. Consider how you will engage in 2022 in your local area with the insights gained from 2021. The Colorado Legislative session starts in January, with a Democrat Super Majority. If you have not met with your state representatives and senators to discuss bills already drafted, now is the time.