City Made Right Call on CA Vaccine Bill

By on June 28, 2015
Yucaipa Makes Good Call on Vaccines
On Monday the city council received a report form city staff regarding three bills moving through the state legislature. The package of bills would require parents to vaccinate their children in order to be enrolled in public schools, and one of the bills would require childcare workers to meet a vaccine schedule in order to work with kids.
The council was considering whether or not to send a letter from the city to the state legislature urging them one way or the other on the bills.
“I know this is an overreach for us and really is outside of what the purview of this elected body is,” Mayor Denise Hoyt said, “however, we also are charged with the responsibility of looking out for the rights of the individuals that we serve, and I have to agree that, I think the comment about the government overreach is really my major issue with this.”
But the answer to perceived government overreach is not more government overreach. It is not the
responsibility of the city government to lobby the state.
“I don’t think it’s the city council’s position to try to represent all the people in this town on that issue,”
Councilman Dick Riddell said. “I think it’s a personal issue. If people feel strongly one way or the other they should be writing their legislators, the ones that are actually voting on this.”
Councilman David Avila and Mayor Pro Tem Greg Bogh agreed. “I think that, from my perspective, we have to examine what impacts it has on the city’s ability to govern as a city,” Avila said. “In my opinion, the city has no stake in whether the bills pass or don’t pass. It does not adversely affect our ability to govern as a city.”
“If we set the precedent of supporting or opposing every crazy issue from Sacramento, we’ll have to dedicate a full time employee to these issues,” Bogh said. “I think if we start to take on issues so far out of our scope we begin to lose our credibility.”
After discussion and debate, the council voted 4-1, Mayor Hoyt dissenting, to take no position on the
matter.
It was the right call. The issue is not a city issue; the assembly bills are state policy and state issues. The city council doesn’t have oversight of their legislative process. With an issue as controversial and divisive as vaccine mandates, it is best for the city to remain neutral and allow the people to come to their own consensus.
Staying out of such issues is also the best use of city tax dollars. Each agenda report requires staff time and money to produce, as does sending a letter. An issue like this may affect the tax dollars that Yucaipa residents pay to the state, but the vaccine bills would not fiscally impact the city’s finances.