The town of Oroville, California, has declared itself a “constitutional republic” following over a year of restrictive coronavirus lockdowns and mandates in the state.
The bold move comes after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that will extend parts of his March 4, 2020, emergency proclamation powers until March 31, 2022.
According to the East Bay Times, Oroville responded to the extension by declaring that it will not enforce “any executive orders issued by the state of California or by the United States federal government that are overreaching or clearly violate our constitutionally protected rights.”
The resolution was passed with a six to one vote at the city’s Nov. 2 council meeting.
“With all of these emergencies and leaders declaring emergencies it puts one person in charge and they can do pretty much what they want even when the emergency is no longer an immediate threat, they were they are reluctant to give up that power,” Oroville Mayor Chuck Reynolds said.
The town has had concerns about the mandates and changes that keep being enacted in California, especially with regard to COVID-19.
Councilman Dave Pittman pointed out that the measures the state government is trying to impose often infringe on personal rights and local governance.
Pittman particularly had concerns over things like the state and federal mask and vaccine mandates, Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules that are always changing, the California Housing and Community Development department rules and more.
“We stand by and believe in our constitution; our republic and we believe that many times others in state and federal government are exceeding their authority across the board in everything we do,” Pittman said.
“Mandates eliminate personal right of choice — to get vaccinated or not, to vaccinate your kids or not — and violate basic constitutional choice we all have.”
The town has made it very clear, however, that it is not promoting anarchy.
“This mandate is not saying we are against laws or for anarchy,” Scott Thomson, Oroville’s vice mayor told KOVR-TV. “We’re not talking about one mandate that’s been pushed on us recently … It’s a barrage of mandates.”
But not everyone in the town is supportive of this declaration.
Liza West is a resident who opposes the new measure that Oroville is taking.
“I think that we all believe in applying the law and agree in following the law, and this is just ridiculous,” West told KOVR.
There are also questions regarding the legality of the resolution that the town council has adopted.
Lisa Pruitt, a rural law expert at the University of California, Davis, said the resolution was a bit unclear and that it does not necessarily shield the town from following federal and state laws.
“A municipality cannot unilaterally declare itself not subject to the laws of the state of California. Whatever they mean by constitutional republic you can’t say hocus pocus and make it happen,” Pruitt said, according to The Guardian.
Pruitt is right, but lest anyone forget, the mandates that Newsom keeps issuing are not law. They are mandates. That is all.
What Oroville is opting out of are not laws. The town is choosing to not follow executive orders, which do not have the same legal force behind them.
The council members who supported the resolution are not incorrect in their assessment that California’s mandates are an absolute overreach of power.
Particularly now that battles are being fought over vaccine mandates, this is becoming clearer than ever. And Oroville town councilmen are not the only ones who are growing resistant in California.
In Los Angeles County, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced in October that he would refuse to enforce the vaccine mandate with his department and workers, according to NPR. Why? If he did, he could lose “5, 10% of my workforce overnight.”
There are many other stories of individuals throughout California who are resistant to the vaccine mandate.
Portions of the police and fire departments in Los Angeles are pushing back against the mandate, according to the Los Angeles Times.
One worker in the Department of Health Care Services told The New York Times, “Nobody should mandate somebody else to inject poison into their body … There’s not enough research on this vaccine.”
That is the issue. The state is trying to mandate personal decisions. That is overreach.
The city’s officials noted Oroville was not quick to pull the trigger on this resolution.
“I proposed it after 18 months of increasingly intrusive executive mandates and what I felt to be excessive overreach by our government,” Thomson said, according to The Guardian.
“After the failed recall in California, our state governor seems to [be] on a rampage and the mandates are getting more intrusive. Now he’s going after our kids and schools.”
No matter what the varying opinions on Ororville’s resolution may be, at the very least, the city is trying to make a public statement about the overreach in state and federal government that is happening. And its officials are trying to protect their own community.
“The American culture and way of life is being challenged at its very core and perverted by radicalized politicians who have forgotten that, as a republic, the power belongs to the people,” Thomson said in comments on the resolution, Fox News reported.
Whether it’s California, the U.S. government or any other governmental body, no one should have the power to force people to do things that are, in essence, their personal choice.
Oroville is just trying to protect that right at a local level.