Boating, bridges, and budgets – another rant about Pritzker

Boating, bridges, and budgets – another rant about Pritzker April 26, 2020

On boating:

From CapitolFax, reporting on Pritzker’s latest briefing, Saturday afternoon, April 25th:

Q: We had heard some people wanting clarification on the boating, that’s going to be allowed starting May 1, two people per vessel, people were wondering. Is that two unrelated people what if it’s say husband wife and kids that all live in the same home, can there be more than two people in the boat if they are direct family members?…

A: [He answered and then went back to clarify.] It is restricted to two people per boat You can’t have five people or 10 people in a boat. It is restricted to two, but not necessarily restricted as to whether they’re related to one another.

Folks, this makes no sense.  Why should two unrelated people be told to stay apart in their daily lives, but for “essential” activities, yet it is acceptable for them to go boating together?  Why would a family of three or four or five be “safe at home” together, but not on a boat together?

Is it about enforcement — that is, that officials can count two vs. more-than-two but can’t identify who is and isn’t a part of a family?  Or is it a decision made by someone picturing two friends in a canoe at a state park boat launch, and unwilling to backtrack to reflect the situation of people wanting to boat with their families?

If Pritzker wants to keep community support, his orders had better be rational.

On bridges:

Yes, my mother has a dental bridge that needs fixing but she’s been told by her dentist that they can only provide emergency dental care until the shelter-in-place order is lifted.  But here’s another exchange at Pritzker’s briefing:

Q: The Illinois State dental society has sent you a letter asking to be considered an essential business. Since you need a dental exam before some elective surgeries are you considering letting them reopen?…

A: We actually never closed dentists or doctors offices in the EO. They have the ability to operate but, I know that many dentists have chosen not to open because the challenge, as I understand, having talked to a dentist about this is that the aerosolization of someone’s saliva when they’re being worked on makes it very difficult to protect the dentist and therefore, many dentists have just been open only for emergency dentistry.

This is garbage.

Here’s the official statement of the Illinois Department of Public Health:

Dental offices should cease routine dental care immediately . . .

Dental offices should limit dental services to emergency and urgent care until further
notice . . . .

Providing this limited oral health care will limit unnecessary exposure due to population mobility and limited availability of PPE and will divert people seeking dental care in hospitals to dental offices.

and the Illinois State Dental Society, in light of Pritzker’s comments, responded:

The Governor’s comments today solidify ISDS thoughts regarding Emergency Order 2020-10, but also indicate a dire need for IDPH and Governor Pritzker to clarify the Vol. 3 release, especially as it bears the names of both Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike.

Again, if Pritzker wants community support, don’t lie to us.

On budgets (I could equally well have labelled this “on bankruptcy” . . .):

On Thursday, Pritzker was asked, having rejected the possibility of bankruptcy, “what options would you necessarily consider absent a federal bailout?”

His answer:

What we do need to do is make sure that we do as I was doing before we got to this crisis, which is to balance our budget on a regular basis to begin to build surpluses so that we can pay down existing bills, that were there before I came into office to make sure that we’re continuing the services that people need in the state, while also being fiscally responsible.

His office has previously provided an estimate of the impact on the government of Illinois’ budget due to the shutdown, when it was planned to last until April 30 — a revenue loss of $2.2 billion in FY 2020 (which ends on June 30) and $4.625 billion in FY 2021.  How much worse this’ll be now that he’s extended the shut-down to May 30, has not been reported.  But that means that Pritzker owes the people of the state of Illinois an actual answer to the question of “how will you balance the budget” that isn’t simply “we will balance the budget because I say we will.”

Now, one presumes the answer he would give, were he to be honest, would be, “we don’t know what we’ll do if the federal government doesn’t give us money to help meet our expenses.”  But his approach, over and over again, is to reject the idea that the impact of his decisions on the economy or on the well-being of people in the state, should have any bearing on his decisions.

And what’s more, back on April 13th, he listed his three requirements “before restrictions can be significantly eased.”  The first and second requirements are by now in line with many others’ statements:  increased testing and contact tracing.  But the third?

“We need a treatment to lessen the severity of the symptoms, so that fewer people go to the hospital, fewer move from a regular hospital bed to an ICU bed, and fewer go from an ICU bed to a ventilator.”

Now, there’s nothing I would like better than this sort of treatment, whether it’s hydroxychloroquine or injecting bleach into your veins (no, Trump did not actually say this), or, well, pretty much anything else.   And there are reports that doctors are working harder at new methods for treatments that avoid ventilators, and that’s good news.   But there is simply no guarantee that this “treatment” will materialize, and there is no guarantee that a vaccine will be found, and one way or the other, we cannot stay on lockdown waiting for either of these two demands to be met.

And, again, this is not about letting granny die so that we can go to the movies.  It’s about letting people get their frickin’ cancer screenings and treatments, among other things that are not happening and which will cost lives in ways that won’t be measured as easily but will still be real.

Now, I’ll remind you that not only have I been wearing a face mask but I have been making and giving them away — after I find a home for the latest batch, I’ll have given away over 100.  And we have stayed at home except for necessary groceries and other items, and have made my teen very unhappy with our restrictions.  (Yes, I was literally about to take him to the Secretary of State’s office to get his driver’s license when they closed down, and yes, I will be angry if months and months go by in which I need to chauffeur him to whatever sort of thing he finds to do in the summer if the summer camp where he’s scheduled to be a counselor, doesn’t open, because he still can’t get his license.)  I am playing by the rules.

But every time Pritzker does and says these things, I understand the protestors more and more.

I guess on the bright side, well, at least we haven’t gotten any more reports of hypocrisy similar to Mayor Lightfoot getting a haircut.

 

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AJ.B._Pritzker_speaks_to_the_Evanston_chapter_of_Action_for_a_Better_Tomorrow_IMG_2370_(cropped2).jpg; By SecretName101 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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