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More asininity out of the Pacific Northwest this week as The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has denied assistance in cleaning up a “freak winter storm” from one county’s employees because their local government doesn’t mandate vaccines for county employees.
Enter the law of unintended consequences.
“Washington State informed Kittitas County they could not accept this assistance due to Kittitas County not mandating the COVID-19 vaccination for County employees. The Kittitas County Board of Commissioners is extremely disappointed with the States’ position to refuse assistance,” a press release from Kittitas Co. stated Wednesday.
Over Jan. 5 and 6, heavy snowfall forced the closure of the Snoqualmie Pass for over 90 hours, causing disruptions in an already beleaguered U.S. supply chain. Kittitas County offered their assistance on Jan. 11 to help clear any state roads still under heavy blankets of snow, but the WDOT refused their help, all over a difference in COVID-19 policy.
“This county is ready, as always, to put all hands on deck to solve this problem. It’s time for logic and leadership to overcome ideology and allow skilled equipment operators working alone in their cabs to get this job done,” Kittitas County Commissioner Cory Wright said in the press release.
Last year, the Washington State government announced that all state employees must be vaccinated by mid-October. Forty-eight employees (not “workers,” as has become the new Soviet parlance of our times) lost their jobs on maintenance and snow removal teams in Kittitas Co. for refusing the vaccine.
In November, the county “signed an interlocal agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT requested this agreement based on an identified need for additional resources caused by reduced staffing,” a joint statement from the county commissioners read. But WSDOT instead elected to use a private contractor to help with road clearance.
“On Tuesday Jan. 11, Kittitas County Public Works reached out about clearing State Route 903 near the small town of Ronald in unincorporated Kittitas County. County crews informed WSDOT they could not meet the vaccination declaration required of all interlocal agreements and contracts with Washington state agencies,” WSDOT said in a statement posted to its Twitter account Wednesday evening.
WSDOT response to Kittitas County statement regarding winter operations. pic.twitter.com/jde657VFc3
— Washington State DOT (@wsdot) January 13, 2022
A liaison for Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s office told Fox News that the county’s press release “omits a lot of necessary context.”
“By the time the county reached out, the specific highway they were inquiring about was already open. Their inquiry was about widening the clearing that had already been done.” The spokesperson said, adding that Snoqualmie Pass had already been opened by the time Kittitas County offered to help with snow removal efforts.
“Public safety was never put at risk, and it wasn’t plowed sooner because we weren’t going to put workers in unsafe weather conditions either. The state ultimately contracted with an employer who can guarantee a vaccinated workforce, which helps protect communities from a deadly disease,” the representative said.
A situation not unlike Washington State’s unfolded in Virginia during the first week of January when a massive snowstorm trapped thousands of drivers on I-95, the major arterial highway that stretches from Florida to Maine.
Some were stuck in their cars for as long as 27 hours, and the perennially clueless segment of the populace was quick to blame Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin for the potentially life-threatening debacle, though he will not be sworn into office until Jan. 15, and Democrat Ralph Northam was their governor at the time (and is for one more day.)
That didn’t stop the rabble from being roused, however, and Twitter was perfectly fine with their particular brand of misinformation.
— Ryan (@needmorestonks) January 4, 2022
@GlennYoungkin Virginia governor are you safe and warm?
I95 has been a parking lot since 3 yesterday afternoon
This is a glimpse of the Governor Virginia elected
— Lisa (@rexrode1967) January 4, 2022
This one is particularly rich:
So, where’s Republican Gov Youngkin in this I-95 mega-disaster???? 48 mile shutdown for hours & hours in VA & he’s nowhere to be found. This never happened under Dem Gov Northam—or any other Gov for that matter!!!!! Shame!
— Scott D. Rhodes (@ScottdrhodesD) January 4, 2022
I’m not sure what he can do but volunteer with his own truck and some coffee or something. He’s sworn in next week. He could put pressure on Northam.
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) January 4, 2022
There’s a shocking number of Libs pretending that Youngkin is the governor of VA.
He won’t be until January 15th.
Democratic Klan fan Northam is the governor of VA. https://t.co/5dYWrAkan5
— Andrew Follett (@AndrewCFollett) January 4, 2022
Not to be outdone, Vice President Kamala Harris, who excels at exhibiting bad timing, posted a tweet lauding the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill on the very same day as thousands found themselves in an increasingly perilous situation.
Because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, America is moving again. That’s what infrastructure is all about: getting people moving.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) January 4, 2022
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 5, 2022
There’s that impeccable political acumen and timing, from the candidate who dropped out before Iowa, we’ve all come to love and know. https://t.co/8QxQmCI8np
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 4, 2022
Except for everyone stranded overnight on #I95
Could you be more out of touch? https://t.co/FKINXDDbev
— Jim Hanson (@JimHansonDC) January 4, 2022
— Michael Biundo (@MichaelBiundo) January 4, 2022
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