Wednesday’s town council meeting almost didn’t happen. Not three minutes into the session, Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams banged his gavel, adjourned the meeting, and left the conference table.
Before the council approved the night’s agenda, Councilor Sherry Abraham had made a motion to include a second public comments section in the official record. Councilors voting on the amended agenda divided their votes equally—as is common with this council—and failed to approve the agenda, prompting Abrams to declare it adjourned.
“That’s it,” he said, walking away. “You guys did not approve the agenda.”
Councilor Audrey Jaramillo offered a motion for another amended agenda, and Abrams resumed his position at the table.
Abraham and Jaramillo wanted to enable the public to address a letter sent to town employees from Abrams regarding the latest round of Covid safety protocols, after two cases were confirmed in town staff. The letter essentially reenacts the town’s Resolution 2020-07, which declares the town to be under a state of emergency.
Town Hall is temporarily closed to the public, and masks are required inside public places. Abrams said that there had been town employees who’d recently contracted the virus, and that he made his decision “not only to protect employees, but the public as well.”
The Aug. 9 email cites the state’s public health order and CDC recommendations about wearing masks, noting that Santa Fe County has seen an “80.5% increase in positive caes from July 31 to August 7,” adding, “Notably the operative Public Health Order expressly states that local authorities may enact more stringent restrictions than those required by the operative Public Health Order.”
Abrams acknowledged that there would need to be further discussion about policy implementation, and a “mandate of either testing or proof of vaccination.” He said he expects more and more safety regulations to be enacted throughout the country as governments try to “prevent further damage to businesses and operations.”
Councilor Linda Holle echoed Abrams’ caution, saying she felt he was “between a rock and a hard place” as the arbiter of how best to protect the town’s employees and citizens from the potentially deadly virus.
She also pointed out that the wording of the letter didn’t draw any hard lines about vaccinations. “I see you aren’t mandating that our employees get vaccinated,” she said, but that they would have “the option of getting tested regularly.”
Abraham and Jaramillo opposed any type of governmentally regulated Covid protocols for town employees, with Jaramillo saying that she hesitated to even call the vaccine a vaccine.
“It’s more of an injection,” she said.
Jaramillo went on to mention her trepidation about the use of graphene oxide—conductive carbon atom nanotechnology that prevents the spread of microbes and facilitates drug transfer, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health—in masks and in the vaccine.
Some mask manufacturers have begun adding the compound to their masks in an attempt to inactivate the virus, as reported by the NIH.
Studies conducted by the CDC as well as the FDA have found that inhaling graphene oxide in large doses can be hazardous to lung tissue.
Jaramillo said that she had family members and classmates who’d died as a result “of the various injections,” as well as two friends who’d lost their vision.
The CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System states that, of the 346 million doses of the vaccine that have been administered within the United States from December 14, 2020, through August 2, 2021, it received 6,490 reports (0.0019%) of death after vaccination. However, VAERS accepts reports of death without verification that the vaccine was the cause, as stated on the CDC’s website.
Jaramillo said the council would need to have a special meeting regarding Covid safety protocols, and that until that happened, “what [Abrams] said will not be in effect.”
Abrams said that he did not come to the decision to declare the state of emergency lightly, that he did it “not only to protect the people, but to protect their investments in the community,” and that “masks and limiting access [to facilities] is a good way to do it.”
Chief of Police Darrell Sanchez spoke on the matter.
After saying “I am not anti-vaccine; I have taken the vaccine myself,” he said he believes that people have the right to make choices about their healthcare.
Sanchez said that he’d received emails from officers of the EPD saying that they were neither willing to get vaccinated nor be tested for the virus, and that “they’ll accept any consequences” as a result of their refusal to comply.
To this, Jaramillo asserted that “the possibility of town employees leaving is much worse” than them being sick.
A special meeting to discuss safety protocols is scheduled August 3, at 3 p.m.
At the start of the meeting the council again spent almost an hour approving the agenda and the consent agenda, which now consists of 56 pages of minutes going back to Nov. 2, 2020. Minutes for meetings for the past three or four months have not been approved.
However, after much argument, the council agreed to take on the consent agenda one item at a time, and did pass two sets of minutes on unanimous votes.
In July, the council voted to table the meeting minutes from Nov. 2, 2020 indefinitely. Abraham and Jaramillo have long expressed their desire to have the meeting declared illegal, the minutes thus inadmissible into record. Meanwhile, the other half of the council says that the meeting happened, and that the record should reflect that.
However, after District Judge Kathleen McGarry Ellenwood’s court ruling in March, Edgewood councilors must be allowed to add agenda items to the council meetings—giving license for councilors to take the contested meeting minutes back off the table, according to the town’s attorney Jessica Nixon.
Councilors debated which rule took precedence, but could not reach an agreement.
Abrams made a motion to formally move the meeting minutes of November 2 from the table for approval, and was seconded by Holle, but the vote died for lack of a majority, falling along the usual 2-2 split.
In other business, discussion about the town approving a PPA, or Project Participation Agreement, between workspace provider FatPipe and the town of Edgewood was tabled until a public hearing on the matter could be announced officially in print.
Holle announced the return of the NCRTD’s commuter bus. The 290 Edgewood route provides residents of Edgewood, Moriarty, Stanley, Eldorado, and Galisteo fare-free transportation to and from points throughout Santa Fe.
The bus operates Monday through Friday, and makes one northbound trip in the morning, arriving in Santa Fe before 8 a.m., and one southbound trip in the evening, ending in Edgewood.
The northbound bus is scheduled to depart from the Edgewood Community Center at 5:45 a.m. and return at 6:38 p.m.