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  • Writer's pictureAletheia

Dear Jerry: Resign

NOTE: As of Feb 8, 2022, this blog post has been updated with a copy of the letter referenced and a screenshot of Dr. Halverson's email.


Have you ever wondered what local officials really think about things? How they think about us? Ever wonder if they just do stuff out of social or political pressure...or if they're doing what they actually believe? Well, we now have a window into the mind of Dr. Jerry Halverson, Chair of the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County.


Recently, one of our readers submitted an open records request to PHMDC and got back two completely unexpected documents related to a particular vision of how to deal with COVID-19 in Dane County:

  1. A letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), dated Sept 29, 2021, signed by FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, and addressed to Dane County local officials, including Dr. Jerry Halverson, Chairman of the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County (BOH).

  2. A very brief email referring to the FFRF letter, also dated Sept 29, 2021 and sent from BOH Chairman Halverson to Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health of Madison and Dane County (PHMDC).

This blog post is really about the second of these two items, Dr. Halverson's brief email, because it tells us a lot about the troubling mindset of the leadership that currently "oversees" PHMDC. But Dane Undivided readers first need to grasp the contents of the FFRF letter that generated Dr. Halverson's reaction.


The entire body of the FFRF letter is shared below, with a bit of helpful emphasis to draw your attention to passages of particular import. Any boldface is original to the FFRF letter. Highlighting is my own:


Re: Renewed call for “green cards” to require proof of vaccination in Madison/Dane County


Dear Mayor, Members of the Common Council, Dane County Executive and Board of Supervisors and Public Health Madison & Dane County:


We are writing to renew our call of August 13, 2021, to urge you to take steps to adopt incentives for vaccinations here in Madison and Dane County. Since we last wrote, the full vaccination rate in Dane County has only increased by two or three percentage points. With strong leadership and evidence-based approaches, we in Dane County could be doing even better in defeating the spread of Covid-19. We are sure you share our dismay in seeing Dane County remain on the CDC’s “high” rating for Covid spread, and going from being among the most fully vaccinated counties in the nation in early summer to being surpassed by many counties, such as Marin County, Calif. (87 percent), San Francisco (80 percent), San Mateo (82 percent), Santa Clara (85.8 percent), New York City (82 percent) and New Orleans (80 percent).


The difference between Dane County and these cities or counties is the wise decision by those other local governmental bodies to require proof of fully vaccinated status to engage in indoor dining, bars, nightclubs, gyms, theaters and other such events.


We recently returned from a two-week stay, largely in Italy, the first country to require fully vaccinated status in order to enjoy public places of accommodation. Italy requires citizens to produce a “Green Pass” (with the CDC vaccination status card accepted for American visitors). Roughly 77 percent of Italians are fully vaccinated as a result, compared to the United States’ 56 percent, despite Italy’s earlier problems with vaccine availability. We had to provide such proof when checking into hotels, being seated inside restaurants or going into museums and even open-air venues such as the Colosseum. When we arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, where citizens are required to procure full-vaccination certificates/QR codes, we encountered even more forceful requirements with strong policing, fines and penalties for places of accommodation that were not checking vaccination status. Even short-term visitors such as ourselves, who were not staying long enough to procure the Covid certificate, were required to undergo rapid testing before we could eat indoors, or take part in other indoor activities. In reality, we were even asked to produce proof of testing before being seated outdoors, before purchasing tickets to ride an outdoor sightseeing trolley and to take a boat cruise. Such proof was required on trains throughout Italy, Switzerland and France. In France, our CDC card sufficed as a Covid-19 pass when we were “carded.” We cheered these regulations.


Begging, bribing and (sadly) reasoning with vaccine-hesitant individuals has not

done the job. Governmental policies must therefore step in so science and reason

will prevail. We are fortunate indeed that science works, that science and the tax

dollars invested in the vaccines, and the round-the-clock work of heroic researchers

and clinicians, have produced multiple vaccines which could, if fully utilized, spare

lives and health on a global scale and put an end to this pandemic. Until we reach

herd immunity here and worldwide, we face ever-more mutating strains that may

ultimately weaken or render ineffectual these magnificent vaccines. We must all do

our part. Public officials and leaders must to do everything within your

power to hasten herd immunity in Dane County.


Finally, the other efficacious policy we encountered in Italy and Switzerland was

easy, pervasive rapid testing. It was available at Rome’s train station. The

pharmacy across the street from our Geneva hotel allowed us to get our negative

Covid test within 40 minutes so that we could then enter restaurants and shops.

Anything you as local government officials can do to lobby for or set up widespread

rapid testing sites, including in our public schools, will go hand-in-hand with

vaccination mandates to stop the spread. We urge you to emulate these effective

policies by setting up a Madison/Dane County “green pass” immediately.


FFRF Letter 9-29-2021
.pdf
Download PDF • 486KB

So, what is FFRF after, then...?

  1. Government-enforced coercion to force people into vaccine compliance;

  2. A constant testing regimen for all citizens;

  3. Public-health-justified, "papers please" policing; and

  4. A partitioned society in which those who do not comply experience punishment through limited movement, marginalization, and ultimately--it stands to reason--exclusion.

We all clear?


So, what was Dr. Halverson's reaction to the FFRF letter? What did he say to Director of Public Health Janel Heinrich about it...? This:


i [sic] totally agree with this, but this isn't our call is it?



No, Jerry. It's not your call. And thank God for that.


However, now that we all understand the kind of society you'd endorse, Jerry--the way in which you'd have Dane County neighbors view and treat one another, the division you'd willingly deepen between us all, and the decimation of a free Dane County that, by your own admission, you'd readily pursue...? Well, I have no problem, on behalf of Dane Undivided, in calling for you to step down from the BOH. You're simply not fit to occupy the seat.


May Dane Undivided's call for Dr. Jerry Halverson's resignation be firmly echoed by many other Dane County residents.


Dr. Halverson can be contacted at his published email address: jerry.halverson@gmail.com


Don't forget to contact Dane County Exec Joe Parisi, as well, who initially appointed Dr. Halverson to the BOH in 2013 and has been reappointing him ever since: parisi@countyofdane.com, or phone his office at: (608) 266-4114.





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