Stillwater Mayor

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Nov 18, 2010
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#1
Two questions for lawyers.

Question 1: Is it legal to PRE-EMPTIVELY declare a state of emergency?

Because it would appear that many politicians, including the mayor of Stillwater, declared a state of emergency BEFORE an emergency existed. (Will Joyce declared a state of emergency after 1 person in Payne country tested positive for the new flu.) And in Stillwater, where zero people have died from this flu outbreak, and very few even tested positive, it would appear the declared emergency never happened. So what you have is a politician who thought he knew the future, granted himself unconstitutional powers, and crippled an economy because he thought the sky was going to fall.

And even now, he is still promoting fear and appears reluctant to let go of his self-appointed, unconstitutional powers.

Question 2: can a mayor be impeached for abusing his power and how would that process work?
 
Oct 30, 2007
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#4
I'm not a lawyer, but I'll toss my 2 cents in. I think it's safe to say that a mayor has the legal right to declare a state of emergency. That declaration could be challenged in court, but even if it was overturned, that doesn't mean it wasn't a legal action. The citizens of Stillwater can attempt to recall the mayor if they feel like he violated his duties, but I would be shocked if that happened.

Mayor Joyce declared a state of emergency on Mar. 15th. It called for the closure of some public facilities and for meetings & events to be cancelled. Non-essential businesses were allowed to remain open. Gov. Stitt ordered all non-essential businesses to close on Mar. 24th in counties affected by the virus. So the declaration of emergency didn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things. The city would've shut down a little over a week later regardless.

I understand why some people are upset. There are a lot of businesses that will never reopen. But I can't fault Gov. Stitt or Mayor Joyce for making the decisions they felt necessary to preserve life. Look on the bright side. At least we don't live in Michigan. :D
 
Nov 18, 2010
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#5
So, your argument is that the mayor did something bad because he prevented a disaster from happening?
There is/was no disaster. The media predicted a disaster. Some politicians/mayor believed these future predictions and declared emergencies BEFORE anything had happened.

I ask again. Can you legally declare an emergency BEFORE anything happens?
 
Nov 18, 2010
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#6
IMO I’d anyone in Oklahoma needs impeached it is Stitt for his inaction on Covid 19. FYI it is not the flu.
It is the flu. I'm surprised people are still unaware of this fact.

It's a new strain of the SARS flu. SARS-Cov2. Normally, they'd named it China Flu, or Bat flu...but that didn't sound scary enough. Look up 'corona virus'...it's the flu.
 

snuffy

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#7
There is/was no disaster. The media predicted a disaster. Some politicians/mayor believed these future predictions and declared emergencies BEFORE anything had happened.

I ask again. Can you legally declare an emergency BEFORE anything happens?
Then do it regularly with hurricanes and and other natural disasters to prepare to render aid. The only reason it is not more common in Oklahoma is because usually it is tornadoes. But I think they have for ice/winter storms
 

RxCowboy

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#8
There is/was no disaster. The media predicted a disaster. Some politicians/mayor believed these future predictions and declared emergencies BEFORE anything had happened.

I ask again. Can you legally declare an emergency BEFORE anything happens?
Happens every time the tornado sirens go off.

It is the flu. I'm surprised people are still unaware of this fact.

It's a new strain of the SARS flu. SARS-Cov2. Normally, they'd named it China Flu, or Bat flu...but that didn't sound scary enough. Look up 'corona virus'...it's the flu.
It isn't the flu, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza are unrelated viruses. You would have to prove that nothing would have happened without the intervention. Good luck with that.
 

Duke Silver

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#9
Disaster declarations have to do with being able to receive state and federal funds and resources more than anything else.
that was the issue with Katrina. Everyone blames w because he was nice enough to not put the idiot mayor of New Orleans on blast. But the mayor would not allow the feds in. Big rumors as to why, but he would not allow it. W took the blame to save riots. Point is now local government will declare immediately so Katrina type things don’t happen again
 
Nov 18, 2010
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#10
I'm not a lawyer, but I'll toss my 2 cents in. I think it's safe to say that a mayor has the legal right to declare a state of emergency. That declaration could be challenged in court, but even if it was overturned, that doesn't mean it wasn't a legal action. The citizens of Stillwater can attempt to recall the mayor if they feel like he violated his duties, but I would be shocked if that happened.

Mayor Joyce declared a state of emergency on Mar. 15th. It called for the closure of some public facilities and for meetings & events to be cancelled. Non-essential businesses were allowed to remain open. Gov. Stitt ordered all non-essential businesses to close on Mar. 24th in counties affected by the virus. So the declaration of emergency didn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things. The city would've shut down a little over a week later regardless.

I understand why some people are upset. There are a lot of businesses that will never reopen. But I can't fault Gov. Stitt or Mayor Joyce for making the decisions they felt necessary to preserve life. Look on the bright side. At least we don't live in Michigan. :D
You make good points and I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I agree, we weren't as hard hit economically as other places...though we won't know the full effect for a while. And I do understand the mayor can and should be able to declare a state of emergency.

I'm mostly interested in the legality of using an emergency to empower yourself. Especially when you declare an emergency, BEFORE anything happens. I worry that our mayor, who was so quick to declare an emergency, will be reluctant to give up his emergency powers.. Last week, I'd heard he was still adding new restrictions.

I hope that a court case can better establish when and how a local politician can use declarations of emergency. If they decide you can declare them before anything happens, then so be it. But if you declare an emergency, and nothing happens, other than the damage you did to businesses...then it feels like there should be a legal consequence for that action.
 
Nov 18, 2010
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#11
Disaster declarations have to do with being able to receive state and federal funds and resources more than anything else.
that was the issue with Katrina. Everyone blames w because he was nice enough to not put the idiot mayor of New Orleans on blast. But the mayor would not allow the feds in. Big rumors as to why, but he would not allow it. W took the blame to save riots. Point is now local government will declare immediately so Katrina type things don’t happen again
I know the mayor mentioned the state/fed funds on his social media postings. But during the weeks that followed, that seemed an inconsequential point compared to his self-given power to declare restrictions and shutter businesses.

Plus, with Katrina, you had an actual disaster. Here, we had the prediction of a disaster...that never actually happened. I voted for this mayor, by the way. I do think he's a good person. But I think he got too caught up in 'protecting the world' and lost focus on the town where he's the mayor.

I also think there might have been a way to post updates without trying to scare everyone into submission. The fear mongering bothered me the most.
 
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RxCowboy

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#13
You make good points and I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I agree, we weren't as hard hit economically as other places...though we won't know the full effect for a while. And I do understand the mayor can and should be able to declare a state of emergency.

I'm mostly interested in the legality of using an emergency to empower yourself. Especially when you declare an emergency, BEFORE anything happens. I worry that our mayor, who was so quick to declare an emergency, will be reluctant to give up his emergency powers.. Last week, I'd heard he was still adding new restrictions.

I hope that a court case can better establish when and how a local politician can use declarations of emergency. If they decide you can declare them before anything happens, then so be it. But if you declare an emergency, and nothing happens, other than the damage you did to businesses...then it feels like there should be a legal consequence for that action.
You would have to have standing in order to file a suit. Not sure what that would look like.
 

RxCowboy

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#14
I'm mostly interested in the legality of using an emergency to empower yourself. Especially when you declare an emergency, BEFORE anything happens.
You can't really say "BEFORE anything happens", because COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO on March 11. Declaring a state of emergency any time after that is a reasonable action.

We sent our students home on March 12.
 
Oct 30, 2007
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#15
I worry that our mayor, who was so quick to declare an emergency, will be reluctant to give up his emergency powers.
I would be surprised if that happened. I don't know the mayor that well, but he seems like a level-headed guy. My expectation is that the City of Stillwater will reopen their economy to phase 1 in accordance with the state. They would need a good justification for failing to do so.

He may be overwhelmed right now, but local public officials are typically fairly accessible. You should contact him to voice any concerns you have over this. mayor@stillwater.org
 
Nov 18, 2010
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#16
Happens every time the tornado sirens go off.


It isn't the flu, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza are unrelated viruses. You would have to prove that nothing would have happened without the intervention. Good luck with that.
In a court case, would the class action lawyer team need to prove a hypothetical?

Because the law team suing the mayor would have reality on their side. They would have the real life declaration of emergency and compare those to the real life statistics (Zero cases of the new flu in Stillwater at the time of the Declaration). They could then demonstrate, through social media posts and real life stats, the disparity between reality and the dire predictions.

Wouldn't it be the responsibility of the Mayor's legal team to prove that everyone was going to get sick and die, if he didn't empower himself?

Adding that to my list of questions for a lawyer.

PS. I'd post a list of explanations by medical professionals explaining that 'the virus', in fact, a new flu, but I've given up on calming people down. If you want to be afraid, knock yourself out. I started this thread to talk about the mayor, and small town mayors in general, and the legal consequences of declaring an emergency when it turns out, there isn't an emergency.
 
Nov 18, 2010
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#17
You can't really say "BEFORE anything happens", because COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO on March 11. Declaring a state of emergency any time after that is a reasonable action.

We sent our students home on March 12.
Good point.

Does the US court system defer to declarations by WHO?

If so, does that make WHO the de facto world government? Or are countries like the US allowed to make their rules, apart from WHO declarations?

And moreover, if WHO makes a ruling for China, should it apply to Stillwater, Oklahoma...even if we aren't dealing with anything remotely similar?

There's an interesting 'International government vs. small town government" jurisdiction part to this.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a local mayor sued and the case end up in the supreme court to figure out some of these questions. (I'm not assuming Stillwater will see a court case, but I know there will be one somewhere).
 
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RxCowboy

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#18
Good point.

Does the US court system defer to declarations by WHO?

If so, does that make WHO the de facto world government? Or are countries like the US allowed to make their rules, apart from WHO declarations?
Your mayor is the head of your local government. Your mayor made decisions based on the WHO declaring a worldwide pandemic. Your mayor could have decided differently, the mayor of Oklahoma City did, as did the mayor of Tulsa. The WHO did not decide anything for Stillwater. Your mayor did, based on the best recommendations from epidemiologists and infectious disease experts at the time.

My university president on Tuesday the 10th said we were going to conduct business as usual. On Wednesday the 11th he was in a call with all the university presidents in the state and Gov. Dewine. Wednesday afternoon he told us he was sending all the students home on Thursday the 12th. The WHO did not decide anything for my university, my university president did. I think he acted prudently. He also immediately refunded room and board, to the tune of about $5 million. For a small university that's a ton of cash.

If anything, the WHO waited too long to declare the pandemic and it cost lives. China lied, people died.

There are a lot of people who are upset that this is going to have a huge economic impact on all of us. I get it. I have no idea if my university is going to reopen in the fall and I'm still going to have a job. I know beyond all shadows of a doubt that many small colleges and universities won't survive this. I hope mine will, but I won't know for sure until July or August. Heck, I'm on day #11 of isolation after spiking a temp myself (3 days without fever now). Look at what happened in the first few weeks in Italy and Spain where the health system was over-run and they were talking about not treating people over the age of 60... at all. Nursing homes were abandoned because they had no healthcare workers to staff them. Now imagine that in Payne County.

Good luck in your lawsuit. That's a great windmill to tilt at.
 

snuffy

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#19
You make good points and I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I agree, we weren't as hard hit economically as other places...though we won't know the full effect for a while. And I do understand the mayor can and should be able to declare a state of emergency.

I'm mostly interested in the legality of using an emergency to empower yourself. Especially when you declare an emergency, BEFORE anything happens. I worry that our mayor, who was so quick to declare an emergency, will be reluctant to give up his emergency powers.. Last week, I'd heard he was still adding new restrictions.

I hope that a court case can better establish when and how a local politician can use declarations of emergency. If they decide you can declare them before anything happens, then so be it. But if you declare an emergency, and nothing happens, other than the damage you did to businesses...then it feels like there should be a legal consequence for that action.
You mentioned people using fear to control others but you said “ I heard” and “I worry”, is that any different?

And while I do not have first hand knowledge I would be shocked if the mayor had not consulted with several other people to before making any decisions that could have long lasting effects that this one could.

As far as consequence for his actions, that will happen at the pols next elections, or if he has truly acted in bad faith a recall.

I understudy this has hurt a lot of people, but for leadership to stand aside and do nothing ( like has happened on the state and federal levels) is bad leadership and hurts more people than a temporary shutdown.
 
Mar 11, 2006
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#20
IMO I’d anyone in Oklahoma needs impeached it is Stitt for his inaction on Covid 19. FYI it is not the flu.
Certainly STRONGLY disagree with that. IMO, he has been far more reasoned than national leaders (Trump, Pelosi, and Adam Shiff). And night and day better than local grandstanding Mayors (Bynum).