In a move somewhat akin to walking into a lion’s den, Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick addressed the Las Vegas City Council Wednesday, making the case for a comprehensive business enforcement plan and cooperation in defeating COVID-19.
“We need to be able to tell the world that we’re doing it safely,” Kirkpatrick said, two weeks after Councilwoman Michele Fiore derided city employees, branding them as “snitches” for monitoring compliance in city businesses.
Kirkpatrick said she wants to allow children to play sports, and get convention businesses open.
“There’s about $500 million on the books (in convention business) that we want to secure that people can come, but can they come in a safe way?” she asked.
“I can’t make those arguments if I can’t say everyone is on the same page,” she said.
But Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman protested, noting the ever-changing directives from the federal government and uncertain data.
“Data changes. Data’s manipulated,” Goodman said, citing “rumors of hospitals having variable reports to qualify for CARES money.”
Goodman complained there was no plan for a shutdown.
“You don’t do that,” she said of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s order to close non-essential businesses to curb the spread of the virus. “We were not broken. We would not have created this community had we been a place that repeatedly had huge problems with disease. We never shut down for the flu.”
“What we have done economically and psychologically to every human being who lives here puts additional stress on them, based on what we believe is truth and accuracy. But we won’t know until it’s done,” Goodman said. “We don’t have any prevention. And still we don’t have a cure.”
“What are we going to do, put a mark on everybody because I tested positive so everybody will say don’t go near that person?” she asked.
Councilman Cedric Crear praised the city’s ambassador program as “a great step to help get people compliant,” adding downtown hotel owners are anxious to reopen bars.
Fiore complained officials focus on “doom and gloom, not positiveness,” citing erroneous reports tweeted by President Donald Trump that the Centers for Disease Control attributed just 6 percent of 154,000 deaths to COVID.
Fiore said she “wants people to know the good things from it.”
“People aren’t just dying from COVID,” she said. “You know what people are dying from? Not having money from unemployment. Kids are getting beat because they don’t have an out to get to school.”
Fiore disparaged Clark County’s focus on testing vulnerable populations such as the homeless, calling homeless people “the most population with the less positive tests.”
“Our homeless – it’s like kids, let them play in dirt. They don’t get sick,” she said.
“Our kids are getting beat. Domestic violence is up. All in the name of COVID,” Fiore said. “So at what point is COVID the problem? That’s where I stand and I’m not going to change.”