Opinion: Doing Nothing About Vaccine Mandate is Not a Show of Leadership

Moderna Vaccine is prepared into a syringe ready to be dispensed. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

This past Tuesday, the Burbank City Council finally took up a vaccine mandate for city employees. Or should I say it appeared on their agenda?

In the discussion that followed, it became increasingly clear that nothing was the best action.

What appeared on the agenda was “Adoption of City of Burbank COVID-19 Employee Testing Policy”, which took the discussion into some areas that became clear they were looking for a way out.

Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes put a motion to get better, more updated information because the staff report was two weeks old, and the fact that so much has changed in that time. Really? Things are changing? Nice time to figure that out considering the last Council met was THREE weeks ago, and the next meeting is not for another two weeks.

Mayor Bob Frutos says he needs more information. When the Council meets again on October 12 to take it up again, how current will the staff report be then? Staff reports appear on the agenda the week before the meeting. They are not done the day before the meeting.

What started out as a simple mandate to have city employees either vaccinated or tested weekly, pretty simple and straightforward. In fact, this is what the ordinance was to basically cover:

1. Provides definitions for Fully Vaccinated and Proof of Vaccination.
2. Requires that employees test for COVID-19 infection weekly.
3. Provides an exclusion to testing for employees who provide proof of vaccination to the City. The policy also excludes certain City employees who are subject to the Los Angeles County Health Officer order of August 12, 2021 entitled Health Care Worker Vaccination Requirement. This Order requires that all workers who provide services or work in Emergency Medical Services Provider Agencies must receive the second dose of a two-dose regimen or the first dose of a one-dose regimen no later than September 30, 2021. All sworn personnel in the Fire Department are covered by this Order in lieu of the City’s proposed testing policy.

So what happened?

Instead of adopting the policy now, everyone started to bring up the ‘what abouts’. What about independent contractors who work for the city? What about new hires in the city? What are other cities doing now?

Councilmembers Nick Schultz and Constantine Anthony wanted something done now. While they thought all the points were good about all the other types of things, they still wanted to pass something at the meeting and then they could revisit all the other ‘what-abouts’ later with either a new ordinance or add to the one they passed.

Talamantes and Frutos would not budge. One thing they kept bringing up was negotiating with the unions. I don’t remember the virus consulting the unions.

You have to remember that Talamantes is a retired Burbank Fire Captain and Frutos is still active with the LAPD. When you look at some of the departments with the lowest vaccination rates in the city, you will find both the police and fire departments. Is their loyalty to those departments, or all of the citizens of Burbank?

Not only is Talamantes a retired Fire Captain, he was also a Paramedic for many years and should understand not only the seriousness of the virus but the importance of vaccinations for not only fire personal but for the general public.

Both police and fire unions supported Talamantes and Frutos in the last election and with both coming up for re-election next year, maybe they are trying to hedge their bets for political reasons.

Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles have already passed this back in August for all of their employees. Earlier this month, President Biden announced mandatory testing or vaccination for all Federal employees. Yet, our Burbank City Council still needs more information.

Los Angeles County Health has just issued a new health order that requires proof of vaccination for all customers and employees in indoor areas of bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, and lounges. Customers and employees will be mandated to have at least one dose of vaccine by Oct. 7 and receive their second by Nov. 4.

Maybe they are hoping City Manager Justin Hess issues the order in his role as the Emergency Services Director. He has executed all other orders that the Council ratifies later and is not afraid to make the hard decisions. We have been lucky to have him at the helm during this entire pandemic.

So far, the Council has stayed to its meeting schedule the past couple of years. They have the power to call a special meeting to take up a topic like this and make a decision but have yet to take leadership.

Either get the shot or get tested and wear a mask, what is so hard about that? I would prefer that vaccinations are mandatory or find a new job. If you work for the City of Burbank, you work for the citizens of Burbank, and protecting these citizens should be the number one priority. Maybe the City Council should be told that.

Schultz was right, this is about not only the daily contact of adults but also the kids who can not receive the vaccine yet. Who is protecting them?

It is really a conflict for me to understand why our first responders are the most hesitant to get vaccinated. I keep seeing their deaths reported around the country and I just wonder why they won’t take it. Of course, once they are about to go onto respirators or pass away, their families then ask the same question.

I know if we mandate the vaccine, except for medical or religious reasons, that suddenly many will find God. While they may need directions to their local church, I would hope the exemption would require a priest or minister to verify the person’s faith. Might as well lie to God.

While Anthony and Schultz, who both voted for the policy were frustrated at the lack of action, it still takes at least three votes to pass something. Maybe next month, with a newly updated staff report and probably being the last local city to act, they may pass something.

Councilmember Sharon Springer made a good point when talking about Small Pox and Polio Vaccines of the past. By everyone getting vaccinated, the problem was cured.

If Dr. Jonas Salk had invented his vaccine in 2020 instead of 1953, I can only imagine how many people would refuse to take it today.


    1. This is America not a 1940’s Germany!!! Next thing you know they will want you show your papers to do thing. Tell you to trust the government they know what there doing. Then to wear a symbol on your cloths so we can tell one another apart. Then they will move all of us to an area with our own kind. We are getting there let’s keep going………

    2. You could take your opinion article begging for mandates and go shove it up your you know what. You believe all our freedoms should be taken and the government should overreach us with mandates and dictatorship because you’re a scared little person. I however believe in freedom and liberty FOR ALL 🇺🇸

    3. Hello People in High Places:

      In reviewing the Council’s discussion regarding mandatory vaccinations for City workers, why equivocate? Every day you delay is a problem. The delay in doing the needful is resulting in lost productivity and according to your very own words, COVID is a public health crisis which is why you gated Tinhorn Flats and ordered Burbank Police officers to stand watch at the site at a really big cost to the taxpayers.

      You said that COVID was such a public health crises, you justified spending at least $287,000 of our taxpayer money in a blank-check action against Tinhorn Flats. See here: https://myburbank.com/documents-show-burbanks-expenses-against-tinhorn-flats-now-over-287000/ (in my opinion and that of experts I consulted, the actual cost is well into seven figures because the City did not disclose the County’s costs or the untraceable additional expenses related to the abatement of Tinhorn Flats).

      I believe you should require vaccinations for all City workers in the interest of the greater good.

      Remember that California Senate Bill 277 (SB277) is a California law that removed personal belief as a reason for an exemption from the vaccination requirements for entry to private or public elementary or secondary schools in California, as well as day care centers. Our state makes children take vaccines…and they have no choice.

      Children attending in-person schools must be immunized against a long list of diseases.

      (1) Diphtheria.
      (2) Hepatitis B.
      (3) Haemophilus influenzae type b.
      (4) Measles.
      (5) Mumps.
      (6) Pertussis (whooping cough).
      (7) Poliomyelitis.
      (8) Rubella.
      (9) Tetanus.
      (10) Varicella (chickenpox).
      (11) Any other disease deemed appropriate by the department, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

      Why are adults waiting to become vaccinated against the greatest existential threat to mankind in our lifetime? If our country was invaded, would you hesitate to take up arms against a foreign enemy? This is that enemy and your weapon against it is the vaccine.

      Kick it in gear and get it done now so we can eradicate the China-made virus today.

      Every day you delay this is costing our community big time. Do not equivocate and make this mandatory for City workers.

      I have been vaccinated. All aok here. No side effects.

      So move this forward and make it happen.

      The community cannot afford another shutdown.

      While this may sound mean or inconsiderate, if a City worker (or anyone working in teams) choose not to vaccinate, they should pay for COVID testing themselves, period. Not us taxpayers.

      Fellow Burbankers:

      The White House issued a vaccination mandate for all federal employees and you can learn more here: https://bit.ly/3C5OzNN

      The City of Burbank has not issued such a mandate.

      Remember that everything our City government does that results in a cost hits your pocketbook.

      Make your voice heard today.

      The City will need to spend approximately $742,900 annually to test unvaccinated employees! Source: https://bit.ly/3lpdogM (see page #3)

      Do you want to see your taxes go up?

      At the end of the day, whatever an individual decides, taxpayers should not pay $742,900 annually for unvaccinated workers to be tested. No.

      Make your voice heard by emailing the Burbank City Council today.

      Here is their email address: citycouncil@burbankca.gov

    4. The greatest form of control is where you think you are free, when you are being fundamentally manipulated and dictated to. One form of dictatorship is being in a prison cell and can see the bars and touch them. The other one is sitting in a prison cell but you can’t see the bars, but you think you are free. What the human race is suffering from is MASS HYPNOSIS. WE are being hypnotized by people like this: Newsreaders, Politicians, Teachers, Lecturers. We are in a country and in a world that is being run by UNBELIEVABLY SICK PEOPLE ! The chasm between what we’re told is going on, and what is REALLY going on, is absolutely ENORMOUS ! The greatest hypnotist on planet Earth is an oblong box in the corner of the room (t.v.). It is constantly telling us what to believe is real. If you can persuade people that what they see with their eyes is what there is to see, you’ve got them ! Because they will laugh in the face of an explanation that portrays the bigger picture of what’s happening…..And THEY have !…..And No ! Sharon Springer did not bring up a good point, the polio vaccine gave people cancer, and they died ! Do your research Sharon Springer !

    5. Movies and TV shows produced in this region and this city regularly have regularly shown an enemy present itself (alien, foreign threat, biological) and America coming together as one. But it’s amazing how many people have looked at the enemy, called “Muh Freedumbs” and then stepped across the line to side with the enemy against their fellow human beings.

      All the while they cry “Open, open! I want to get back to mistreating minimum wage workers in the shops and restaurants” without realizing that they’re stubbornly fighting against the very thing they claim they want.

      California has the lowest rate of COVID and has rebounded with job creation 3x the rest of the country, but these covidiots who selfishly struggle to acquire horse dewormer and cry because of a piece of cloth are the reason we haven’t rebounded even more strongly.

      Mike and Mike (or just Mike), you have sided with the enemy. Stay home and shut up.

    6. YOU, James, Need to shut up ! I bet you are total far left dumb Democrap, that gives up his privacy on Facebook and instatram and twitter. You just LOVVVVVVEEE the government being up in you with no lube, I also bet you are the kind of scared sheep, that drives alone, with your mask on, windows up, and rubber gloves on, with the deer in the headlights like on your face, talk about a MORON ! haha I bet you are scared of your own shadow. “Please government tell me what to think and feel, I don’t know how to do that on my own” says James. TV and movies have gone to crap the last 10 years, they all suck and are nothing but recycled ideas from the originals 30 years ago or so, as if we ALLLL magically forgot where those ideas came from. The Flu has, and continues to kill more people that Covid-19, just like the DUMB FAT RETARD Democrap author of this article you need to do REAL research before you open your scared Democrap pie hole. Oh yeah, incase you are even dumber than I expect, I bet you didn’t know the Polio Vaccine gave people CANCER and they died !!! YOU, James, need to stop drinking channel 2,4,7, and CCN’s cool-aid, and think for yourself ! I bet there was a time in your life you actually thought for yourself, and it’s so obvious that you don’t anymore, even Stevie Wonder could see it !

    7. Dear Christopher Matthew Spencer, James and Craig Sherwood,

      you three are so worried over the smallest potatoes in the whole field. Let me break it down for you three in the simplest terms, you three can hopefully actually understand. You three are worried about a few measly city workers, have any one of three taken the time to look into what is going on at our boarders ? From Sept. 9th till today the 25th of Sept. there is 30,000 illegal aliens that have illegally come into the USA not including all the others from previous months. And just so you know, the illegal aliens don’t have to have the covid-19 vaccine and or others that you have mentioned Christopher. How about all the Afghans that President Biden has let come into our country I believe it’s 60,000 give or take who also are not mandated to get the covid-19 vaccine and others ? How about you three worry about things that will actually cause a super spreader, and not a few small town employees. And how do you know the city workers that don’t want to get the vaccine, haven’t already had covid-19 and recovered ? Did any of you three know that if you have had covid-19 and recovered, you have 27 times, yes 27 times MORE protection, than this VERY new vaccine (less than a year old). Also after 6-8 months after being vaccinated ALL YOUR ANTIBODIES ARE GONE !!!! And on top of things, who the hell do you think you gentlemen are ? Who are either one of you or even Craig Sherwood think that you three NOBODY’S can dictate what goes into other peoples bodies ? Are any of you three the doctor’s of any of these city workers ? Do you know their medical history ? Maybe they have medical issues that would KILL them if they got the covid-19 vaccine ? Has that thought ever crossed any of your minds ? (I really doubt it) You three are NOBODY’S with NO POWER, you three are just crying citizens of Burbank, expressing very one way closed minded opinions. I have never seen so many adult cry babies in my life. This has nothing to do with what political party you favor and or vote for, this is about strangers violating HIPPA, and patient doctor confidentiality. When you Christopher, James, and Craig Sherwood, become these people’s doctor and know their exact medical history, THEN, and only THEN could you make an intelligent decision for those individuals medical well being. And what about ALLLL these “celebrities” that were/are Sooooo proud of being vaccinated getting covid-19 ? How do any of you three explain that ? How about this, my brother’s best friend, who is a Dentist, who has been wearing masks LONG before covid-19, who by the way has been vaccinated 7 months ago, recently recovered from cover-19, he got it so bad, he was knocking on Heaven’s door. He was nearly DEAD, he was on the ventilator for 3 weeks !!! having conversations with God. So why does being vaccinated even matter, if you can still get covid-19 and pass it to others and die ? How about another fresh example of “celebrities” getting covid-19 you say ? Ok here we go ! Oscar De La Hoya, he has been vaccinated, and he just got covid-19 and is in the hospital, explain that ? You want another one ? Here you go ! Two hosts of the really stupid show, The View. Host Anna Navarro and Host Sunny Hostin, got covid-19 ! They yanked them off the set, during a live tapping ! explain that ? They are so proud of being vaccinated and always tout about it, so what is really going on here ? Exactly you can’t explain it !!! the vaccine, is NOT 100%, wake up and smell the coffee ! Now let’s address Christopher’s concerns for the cost of testing the city employees and how it translates to the citizens. I totally understand what you are saying about the cost, but let me tell you from first hand people I know that work for the city. I have friends that work for the PD, FD, Water & Power, Parks Department, and Public Works. You should see how much money the city actually wastes every day and year of OUR tax dollars (Yes I am a Burbank resident, in fact 3 Gen. Burbankian) and you are worried about testing for city employees who may medically can’t get the vaccine and or have recovered from covid-19 ? Again, you are so worried over the smallest potatoes in the whole field. Did you know, that each department in the city has a annual budget, and IF they do not use that full amount per fiscal year, their budget goes DOWN, and they get a smaller amount next fiscal year. So what these departments do is spend spend spend to that budgets limit and maybe even try to go over a little, just so they don’t get less next fiscal year. And with all that budget that all these departments have, do you really see much improvements to OUR city ? NOPE I SURE DON’T ! We have jacked up sidewalks, the roads need to be repaved, the grass at the parks looks like crap, things look dingy and dirty, they contract out custodial jobs instead of hiring new employees so they don’t have to pay benefits. The City doesn’t care about it’s citizens ! It only cares about itself and it’s budget. Did you know that when they drain McCambridge pool every year, they say they “recycle the water”, BUT THEY DON’T !!!! that is 550,000 gallons of water being wasted EVERY YEAR !!! Yet, Water and Power tells us citizens to conserve OUR water and power, and when we do, and do our part and change to LED bulbs, THEY STILL RAISE OUR RATES !!! why, because they are not getting enough revenue once we do OUR parts and conserve, so they need to make up the difference so they can still have their budgets !! Every June, it’s near the end of the fiscal year, which starts over July 1st. So every June it’s spend spend spend so they reach their budget limits, and what do they buy you may be wondering ? STUFF THEY DON’T EVEN NEED !!!! Each department buys things “related” to their jobs, tv’s, spectrum cable, making sure they have fancy lunch rooms with stainless steel appliances, fridges, stoves, microwaves, toaster ovens/toasters. Some of these lunch rooms are fancier than most avg. homes in burbank have ! Some or should I say many, have tv’s in each office !!! Talk about improving our city and a good use of our tax dollars ! And don’t blame this on the workers who have no power and or buying authority, it’s the boss’s that have the credit cards who spend OUR tax dollars on this crap ! the Managers, the Lead workers, the Engineers, the City Council, the City Director, the 2 Assistant City Directors one being Mihran Edward Sarkisian of Fleet & Building total benefits and pay $211,304.26 per year (On his 2nd Pension former City Of LA Manager of Sanitation Hyperion 39.4 years of service), City Manager Justin Hess total benefits and pay $312,840.00 as of 2017, Chief of Police Scott LaChasse total benefits and pay $384,927 per year (which City Of Burbank is his 2nd if not 3rd pension former City Of LA Chief of Police), the Chief of Fire ! These are the clowns WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS ! Have you ever looked into how much these clowns make a year ?!?! You sure can look it up, go to transparentcalifornia.com and you will see if you do not believe me ! Dead people would roll over in their graves ! How about OUR tax dollars that got spent on the Chandler Bike Path “Mask Police”….. $188,142.50 it cost us citizens while only 64 citations were actually paid out of 342. Also take note, that giving these citations is/was totally illegal ! talk about more of OUR tax dollars being wasted ! Did you also know, that the least amount of people vaccinated in burbank are the rich that live on the hill ? The least amount of vaccinated people in burbank live in the zip code of 91501 !!! While all us NOT rich people have to get vaccinated ? Yeah that sure sounds fair ! No rules for the rich, it’s only for the poor ! Bottom line is, you three are worried about the wrong issue here, and last but not least, OUR INDIVIDUAL HUMAN RIGHTS WILL ALWAYS OUT WEIGHT YOUR FEELINGS !

    8. Oh yeah ! One more thing all you Burbank citizens should know, that I forgot to mention…..How many of you like to do good things, and recycle, and take cans, glass, plastic and paper to your Burbank Recycle Center and or put them in your blue trash can ? I know I like to do good things for the planet, BUT, have you ever wondered what happens to those products once you have done YOUR part of doing a good deed for the planet….Let me tell you…..The Burbank Recycle Center has lost their contract with whom they used to send their products to, so they can be transformed into more of the same to be reused. So what does this mean….This means that now alllll those things that could be reused, are now being taken in trucks to the Burbank City Landfill and BURIED IN THE GROUND WITH THE REST OF THE TRASH !!!!!! Just some more food for thought, since the City does SO many WASTEFUL things.

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