Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 25, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 25, 2020 




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 

Audrey Swanson

Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee

Mountain Views News 
has been adjudicated as 
a newspaper of General 
Circulation for the County 
of Los Angeles in Court 
Case number GS004724: 
for the City of Sierra 
Madre; in Court Case 
GS005940 and for the 
City of Monrovia in Court 
Case No. GS006989 and 
is published every Saturday 
at 80 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., No. 327, Sierra 
Madre, California, 91024. 
All contents are copyrighted 
and may not be 
reproduced without the 
express written consent of 
the publisher. All rights 
reserved. All submissions 
to this newspaper become 
the property of the Mountain 
Views News and may 
be published in part or 

Opinions and views expressed 
by the writers 
printed in this paper do 
not necessarily express 
the views and opinions 
of the publisher or staff 
of the Mountain Views 

Mountain Views News is 
wholly owned by Grace 
Lorraine Publications, 
and reserves the right to 
refuse publication of advertisements 
and other 
materials submitted for 

Letters to the editor and 
correspondence should 
be sent to: 

Mountain Views News

80 W. Sierra Madre Bl. 

Sierra Madre, Ca. 

Phone: 626-355-2737

Fax: 626-609-3285


A member of 


Mountain Views News

Mission Statement

The traditions of 
community news-
papers and the 
concerns of our readers 
are this newspaper’s 
top priorities. We 
support a prosperous 
community of well-
informed citizens. We 
hold in high regard the 
values of the exceptional 
quality of life in our 
community, including 
the magnificence of 
our natural resources. 
Integrity will be our guide. 


Opinion by John Avlon

(CNN)Politicians were feeling pressure during the pandemic. Businesses were agitating 
to reopen and deaths were going down, especially far away from the coastal cities 
that it had hit worst, first. It seemed time to declare "mission accomplished" and get the 
economy humming again -- especially with an election looming.

It was 1918 and Denver Mayor William Fitz Randolph Mills bowed to business leaders 
and decided to back off social distancing. Armistice Day seemed like a perfect day to do 
it. The city had been all but locked down for five weeks and now there was something 
worth celebrating -- the end of the First World War. Grateful citizens streamed into the 
streets of the city on November 11, 1918, soon after Denver's Manager of Health William 
H. Sharpley declared the "plague under control!"

Trump is weakening America's immune system

Trump is weakening America's immune system

His enthusiasm was premature but understandable: Denver officials could point to progress 
in containing the disease at that time, compared with other cities like Chicago. Their 
first recorded influenza-related death had been on September 27, when a student from 
University of Denver named Blanche Kennedy died of pneumonia after visiting Chicago.

Denver moved quickly, shutting down indoor gatherings after church on October 6. 
Nonetheless, by October 15 there were 1,440 cases in a city of a quarter million but only 
300 doctors.

Even in those early days of public health, with limited scientific remedies, social distancing 
and masks were understood to help stem the tide of pandemic. In the town of 
Montrose, Colorado, as the Denver Post recounted, a health officer named Isaiah Knott 
warned his fellow citizens that "if you are sick and do not stay away from social gatherings, 
you have the heart of a hun," using a derogatory term for the Germans the US 
was fighting at the time. But superstition often overwhelmed science, as officials recommended 
that people avoid wearing tight shoes and recommended people have a "clean 
mouth, clean heart and clean clothes." Quack "cures" proliferated, peddling their wares 
to the gullible and the desperate, as we see today in all kinds of coronavirus scams and 
pseudo science. (Check out this Reality Check with all the sordid details).

While some experts tried to calm fears by saying the Spanish influenza epidemic was 
"ordinary influenza by another name," according to John Barry, the author of the book 
"The Great Influenza," by the end of the pandemic, an estimated 675,000 Americans 
died, primarily in the fall of 1918, according to the Centers for Disease Control and 

Trump's 2016 messaging mojo is failing him now

Trump's 2016 messaging mojo is failing him now

But folks were bristling at being asked to stay indoors in the picturesque autumn and 
businesses -- especially movie theaters -- were irritated at losing so much money because 
of what seemed like a relatively isolated pandemic. They argued it was better to simply 
quarantine those who showed symptoms and let everyone else go about their business.

There's an obvious echo to the pressures politicians are feeling today -- especially in 
states like Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp seems more intent on playing to the base 
than listening to scientists. He was late to the lockdown and now wants to open up early. 
But then again, he's the same governor -- of the CDC's home state -- who said it was 
news to him that asymptomatic people could spread the disease, two months after it was 
common knowledge.

Another pattern in past pandemics is trying to scapegoat immigrants and vulnerable 
communities for spreading the disease. Immigrants, the poor and Native American 
tribes were being accused of spreading the disease across Colorado. Despite the name 
Spanish flu the disease is believed to have begun at US Army Camp Funston in Kansas 
earlier that year before spreading across the world, killing an estimated 50 million, including 
members of my family. Wealthy socialites flouted social distancing requirements 
with little recourse. It seemed better to back off the draconian measures and just focus 
on precautions while stigmatizing the sick, placing placards on the houses where there 
had been a case of influenza.

This may have sounded reasonable at the time, but it did not have the intended result.

Instead of being at the end of the influenza's toll on Denver, the city was only halfway 
through its ordeal. By backing off social distancing too early, they utterly failed to flatten 
the curve, and suffered a second bump, as this graph of cities by National Geographic 

By November 22, deaths were spiking and Denver officials scrambled to reinstate bans 
on public and private gatherings and requiring masks for all commerce.

Donald Trump's stunning flip-flops

But the damage had been done. Five days later, Denver Post headlines blared the bad 
news: "All Flu Records Smashed in Denver in Last 24 Hours," claiming that more Denver 
residents had died of influenza than Coloradans killed in the First World War.

That didn't stop business owners from marching on City Hall, protesting that they were 
losing tens of thousands of dollars a week, similar to the protests we've seen around the 
country over restrictions to help flatten the Covid-19 curve





Here’s why. A democracy cannot function in accord with its ideals absent an informed electorate. Nobody knows our needs more 
than we know them ourselves if we are properly informed. There is no one more interested in keeping us informed than local papers; local 
papers like this one whose continued existence is presently threatened. Right here at the beginning let me inform you that what I write 
here is strongly influenced by my desire to keep the paper in existence. I write from the perspective of a Sierra Madre resident for 42 years 
and write almost exclusively about my day to day experiences in Sierra Madre and nearby places. My individual articles may or may not be 
of interest to you but the articles in papers like this are probably a reader’s only opportunity to share in the experiences and concerns of a 
local writer like me and the other writers who appear in this paper. The importance of information coming from local sources as opposed 
to originating from some huge local conglomerate was emphasized today on Rachel Maddow’s repeated telecast on MSNBC.

 Rachel, who is religiously viewed by many of us, and religiously avoided by others, spoke of the importance of local news in calling 
attention to the huge number of Coronavirus related deaths in Rest Homes. For reasons not completely discussed this information had not 
been provided by or to the National Media Outlets and attention had not been drawn to the situation. Local sources had complained and brought attention 
to the situation and one hopes proper remedial measures can be taken for those already afflicted and that there will be a cessation of the placement of older 
and vulnerable oldsters in these precarious placements.

 In the Atlantic Magazine of December 20, 2019 there appears an article by Sean Illing entitled Intellectuals Have Said Democracy Is Failing for a 
Century. They were wrong. In the article Illing refutes the argument of Walter Lippmann written shortly after the first war. Lippmann emphasizes that before 
the First World War American citizens and potential soldiers were so unfairly and harmfully influenced by propaganda masquerading as news that they were 
convinced to support entry into a war that was contrary to their interests. I admit that my education left me, along with Bob Dylan, unable to understand the 
reason for America’s entry into the war which resulted in 116,516 deaths approximately 50% of which were attributed to the influenza death of 1918. (The 
Spanish flu to which we have recently been reacquainted) Americans were duped by the media and the President who ran for re-election of the slogan “He 
Kept Us Out Of War”. After the election in 1917 Americans were convinced to enter the war partly for the reason that special interests favored it as war is 
always good for business. Another reason was that going to War was in accord with Wilson’s grandiose desire to fight “a war to end all wars” and to create a 
League of Nations that would make all future wars unnecessary. We now know, one hundred years later, how well that worked out.

 Lippmann in his article maintains that the way the population was duped was an example of how easily it was to manipulate the public, how easily 
people surrender to compelling narratives which describe events before we see them causing us to imagine things before we experience them and making 
the public hostages to these preconceptions. (A note here to probably unnecessarily remind the reader of the similarity of this description of Mr. Trump’s 
activities that has he warned us of the coming stampede of Central American Migrants and Mexican rapists, and other imaginary calamities designed to 
create fears which made the populace even more malleable. I find that behavior of the President to be sickening even to describe.) Lippmann argues that 
it was the American populace that was ill-equipped to function as the informed electorate which is the basic requirement of a functioning democracy. He 
states in his article published in 1922 that the world had become so complex that it was highly unlikely that anyone, even him, could be so well informed that 
reasonable choices could be made. The whole point of Lippmann’s article was to expose the gap between what we say democracy is and what we know about 
how people actually behave. Remember this was written in 1922 a period not quite as complicated and not quite as partisan as today when we are seeming 
bombarded with propaganda 24/7 emanating from two pretty equally divided but deeply partisan sides. 

 Lippmann’s solution was to take the decision making power away from the people and their majority rule empowerment. Decisions should not 
be made by the necessarily ill informed electorate and the representative of this outmoded majority rule, the quite regularly uninformed and unqualified 
President of the United States. ( Think Harry Truman unaware of the existence of the atom bomb until he became President and who then decided to 
drop the bomb twice on Japan arguing that “since we have ‘em we might as well use ‘em” seemingly unaware or at least unconcerned by the consequences 
of atmospheric pollution and future potential nuclear war. Imagine Mike Pence having to deal with scientific questions while proclaiming his belief in 
Creationism and disbelief in Science) Lippmann’s solution, a solution agreed to by many of my educated, privileged, and unknowingly elitist friends, is to 
take the decision making power away from the politicians and the people and put in into the hands of highly qualified, properly trained experts, completely 
unbiased and objective, who would then make reasonable decisions for the benefit of the now disenfranchised public.

 To me this proffered solution is positively frightening. It takes power away from the people and places it the hands of the privileged. The country 
becomes a tyrannical oligarchy ruled by the class of people who on every occasion has shown themselves indifferent or opposed to meeting the needs of the 
general population. Their interest is almost exclusively benefitting only members of their own class. Lippmann’s “bureau of experts” supposedly would be 
more protective of our rights than we are ourselves. Unfortunately, history does not bear out this expectation. In this nation invariably ruled so far by fairly 
aged White Men (yes with one notable recent exception) the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. 

 So what is the solution? There is no vision of democracy worth defending that doesn’t assume a minimum level of competence from a majority of 
voters. How can any locality receive truthful information which will enable it to make reasonable informed decisions? Illing explains that large national 
media cannot be relied upon because their main interest is to please their advertisers, to sensationalize each even in a way to stimulate interest but not to 
explain policy. Also the media relies on their advertisers for support and after all their whole reason for being is to make huge profits. Illing states that “if 
local newspapers are allowed to die out political discourse will be even more nationalized, which means most issues are abstract and dominated by tribal 
allegiance and caricatured right-left narratives.” 

We need to keep our local papers around to protect and inform us. They build our communities, they give us a place to record our deaths and birthdays and 
read about our pets. They are lots of fun, they are free, and yes they give me a place to submit my articles the construction of which is one of my great joys. 

Kia Ora Stay Safe and Keep Reading 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: