SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Emails obtained by REAL News Michiana through a Freedom of Information Act request, show the Vice President of the St. Joseph County Board of Health bragging about the county health department’s push for “Draconian” restrictions on businesses.
In the email from December 2020, the Vice President of the St. Joseph County Board of Health, Jason Marker, is addressing concerns from local physicians.
“Contrary to what may be generally believed, we and our Health Officer, Dr. Robert Einterz, have pushed extremely hard for Draconian restrictions on business activities…” Dr. Marker wrote in part of the email.
The term Draconian comes from the ancient Greek legislature, Draco, who prescribed death as the penalty for nearly every criminal offense.
Miriam-Webster defines Draconian as the following:
1 law : of, relating to, or characteristic of Draco or the severe code of laws held to have been framed by him
It turns out, the Draconian comparison appears to be spot on. Death to businesses is essentially what happened. In March, the South Bend Tribune wrote an article describing 62 local businesses that had closed in the year of COVID. In October, the SBT wrote another article showing business closures were up 50-percent.
And, it appears Dr. Marker showed little care for the livelihoods of local business owners with what he continued to write in an email chain between the president of the board of health and Health Officer, Dr. Robert Einterz. He also appears to show he was aware of the problematic nature of the actions he was pushing.
I prefer these conversations to happen in a dark corner of a local pub, but since you and Heidi (Dr. Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, President of the St. Joseph County Board of Health) and I can’t quite get away with that, we’ll have to consider alternatives! Marker wrote.
I don’t want to speak for Heidi (though I fear I’m about to) but I suspect that she and I are willing to rock whatever boats we need to in the interest of public health advocacy if that gives you cover to do whatever needs to be done.
Dr. Beidinger–Burnett responded enthusiastically.
I couldn’t agree more … I’m willing to rock the boat w you! I don’t know that it will matter whether we offend the commissioners or not since two of three have all declared their anti sci sentiment UNLESS Andy can reel them in.
Dr. Marker also rips into elected officials and concerned citizens for voicing their opinions. He describes people with a differing opinion than his as anti-science, ignorant and crude.
…the public has given us hours of crude, anti-science, willfully ignorant and grossly ill-informed opinions of our work including 4 personal threats and numerous broadly encompassing law suits to slow us down. Certain members of our County Council and County Commissioners are happily in their camp and have blocked our efforts to make progress in these areas while stripping the “teeth” from all of the interventions that they have been willing to pass to appease us.
At no point does Dr. Marker discuss the very real economic and social impacts of what he is pushing. Nor does he refer to any expert of public and economic policy. However, like a true professional, he alludes to punching a wall and abusing narcotic prescription drugs.
I’ll now be going to take a Xanax and find the drywall patch kit! He wrote.
You can read the entire email chain below.