Sunday was another banner day for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) and its embattled director, Barbara Ferrer, as they promoted vitally important COVID tests for pets. Meanwhile, they continued to avoid transparency by changing their social media forums from places where the public could comment to being for “informational purposes” only.
As I reported two weeks ago, LADPH had already cut off the ability to comment on their social media accounts in early August, but it’s interesting that they are now issuing a public statement formally changing the purpose of those accounts:
Saw this strategy used by the California High-Speed Rail Authority at a public meeting in Santa Clarita. “Experts” were stationed around a huge room to take one-on-one questions. NO questions were allowed in the auditorium where other attendees could hear the questions & answers. https://t.co/sO3CyWlYMl
— Susan Shelley (@Susan_Shelley) August 21, 2022
Their tweet states:
This account is now for informational purposes only and, for that reason, public comments are limited to live ‘town hall’ type events it conducts wherein it solicits questions from the public during the live event. Once such events are concluded, the Department will then close the live event post to public comments. Other posts will remain closed to public comments
“Shutting off public comments seems like a great way to further erode public trust,” Bill Melugin of Fox News tweeted. Those Facebook, Twitter and Instagram comment sections are where many of the underground moms Jennifer O’Connell wrote about connected with each other, so I’m not sure that’s a coincidence.
It was odd that the department cut off comments in the first place, but dropping this strange tweet late on a sleepy Sunday morning is equally weird. Why would they do this? Could it have to do with the lawsuit filed by the Alliance of LA County Parents which claimed that doing so on an official public forum violated the First Amendment? “I will be adding a cause of action to the @LACountyParents lawsuit based on the recent 9th Circ. decision. @lapublichealth is violating our First Amendment rights,” said attorney Julie Hamill on August 5. She and others are now exploring whether the department somehow thinks that by changing the designation of their forums they can evade accountability.
LADPH may have other reasons to close off comments though, as they weren’t done embarrassing themselves–because the day before, they’d tweeted out a widely ridiculed pronouncement about testing pets for COVID:
Los Angeles is mocked for offering COVID tests to ANIMALS https://t.co/7ECrIk0Vh0
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) August 21, 2022
Our tax dollars at work! Daily Mail reports:
So far, 177 animals have been tested, including popular domestic pets such as dogs, cats, hamsters and rabbits.
LA County has also taken to swabbing bats, rats, opossums, sea lions and squirrels – but none have tested positive for COVID.
The publicly-funded body says it is offering the animal testing to ‘learn more about the significance of COVID-19 in human, animal, and environmental relationships.’
It is unclear what, if any, treatments will be offered to animals that do test positive, with LA County saying that COVID symptoms in animals are identical to those commonly found in human sufferers.
What is the treatment for animals that test positive?
Are we masking dogs and cats, now?
How the “social distancing” works for animals?
Should I ask my neighbor’s cat to mask up or leave??
So many questions, PhD 💩Dr. Ferrer what we should do?,, please HELP!!!
— May (@MayInLAC) August 21, 2022
And my personal favorite, parody LA Public Health posters like this one:
BREAKING – I’ve just received new images from a new @lapublichealth campaign coming out this week, that doesn’t just test LA County pets, it vaccinates them as well (an essential layered protection). pic.twitter.com/vy4m42i7dD
— LA Uprising (@UprisingLa) August 21, 2022