Controversial Mask-Wearing Ordinance Falls Short of RTM Votes to be Considered

Monday night’s lengthy Representative Town Meeting Zoom webinar finished close to midnight with a motion from the floor from District 8 member Carl Higbie to consider a non-agenda item.

The item was a proposed town ordinance, titled, “My Body My Choice, My Business My Choice,” to make mask wearing optional for individuals and business owners.

Laura Gladstone seconded the motion.

Consideration by the 230-member RTM would require a 2/3 majority vote.

After Mr. Higbie read aloud his proposed ordinance, he said, “It’s about freedoms we enjoy that are uniquely American. This bill only seeks to govern what we can as a town. It does not circumvent State laws.”

He said his proposed ordinance did not ban masks or question their efficacy.

“If you want to wear a mask, fine. If you want to take precautions, go ahead. This is about the role of government and how far it can go.”

Carl Higbie, RTM District 8

For anyone offended by the name of his bill he said, “Offended is what people do when they don’t have a valid counter-argument.”

Higbie was interrupted by the moderator, Tom Byrne.

“All we need to know is generally what the bill is about, and you’ve done that,” Tom Byrne said.

“The Town of Greenwich can’t shut down (businesses) like it did last time,” Higbie said as Byrne cut him off.

While votes were tabulated, Zoomers listened to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy.”

Then the results were announced.

The vote was 22-170-2, which fell short of the 2/3 needed.

To many the result might not have been a surprise. Last Friday, comments on Facebook in response to a story outlining Higbie’s proposal foreshadowed the vote.

Readers mostly criticized Higbie in comments including calling him a hypocrite for making an analogy of mask wearing and being pro-choice. They said using borrowed language from the pro-choice slogan – “My Body, My Choice” – made no sense.

“Total hypocrite, he’s pro life but that means you aren’t giving a woman the right to choose yet he says mask wearing is a choice? Shoot yourself in the foot there. (P)eople please vote this horrible person out, normally stay out of these things but this is infuriating,” wrote Jacqueline Partridge.

“Secondhand smoke is the reason for smoking bans in public. One person’s right to liberty does not … ummm.. trump another’s right to life,” wrote Rob Otto.

“Another candidate for His Malignancy’s Super Spreader Republican Death Cult!” wrote Daniel Shays.

“Since it is now clear Trump lied about the severity of the virus from Jan 28, and his lack of a national mask mandate has additionally hurt us, the RTM should vote this one into the trash,” Barry Ogdon wrote.

On Tuesday, Higbie said he was not surprised by the vote.

“I knew this vote was going to end similar to the way it did,” he said. “It was 11:30 at night and no one wanted to take on yet another bill to debate. The mission was accomplished though. People are talking about it, and when it is on the agenda in October we will have the full debate. Overall I’m glad we went forward. Governing is a slow process and this was the kickoff of limiting government intrusion.”

NOTE: Neither Moderator Tom Byrne nor Moderator Pro Tempore Alexis Voulgar voted because they moderate the meeting.

The record vote was as follows:

District 1:
Andrea Anthony: Yes
Katharine Ashworth: Absent
Joshua Brown: No
Carl Carlson: Absent
Ed Dadakis: No
Laura Feda: No
Alison Ghiorse: No
Dean C Goss: Absent
Judith Goss: No
Alanna Hynes: No
Frederick Lee: No
William B Lewis, Jr: Yes
Elizabeth Mills Sanders: No
Dan Quigley: No
Helma Varga: No
Marla Weston: No
Lihong Zhong: Absent

District 2
Michael Basham: No
Duncan Burke: Absent
Nancy Burke: No
Donald Conway: No
Jessica DelGuercio: No
Laura Gladstone: Yes
Jill Kelly: No
Michele Kosson: No
Katherine LoBalbo: o
Mary Ellen Markowitz: No
Wilma Nacinovich: No
Averato “Aldo” Pascarella: No
Eileen Toretta: No
Erika Walsh: No

District 3
Louise Bavis: No
Martin C Blanco: No
Elias Judd Cohen: No
Thomas Conelias: No
Ed Lopez: No
Rosalind Nicastro: No
Sylvester J Pecora Sr: No
Adam Rothman: No
Steven Rubin: No
Alison Walsh: No

District 4
Javier Aleman: No
Ronald Carosella: No
Andrea Casson: No
Elizabeth Eckert: No
Robert McKnight: No
Maria Popp: No
Alex Popp: Absent
Romuto Samaniego: No
Diego Sanchez: No
J Schaffner:-Parnell: No
Samarpana Tamm: No
John Thompson: No
Robert Tuthill: No
Donald Vitti: No
Lucy von Brachel: No
Bonnie Zeh: Absent

District 5
Joseph H Benoit Jr: Yes
Edward Broadhurst III: No
Nancy Cooper: No
Stephen Dolan: No
Allison “Icy” Frantz: No
Lucy Krasnor: No
Hale McSharry: Yes
Paul Olmstead: No
Danyal Ozizmir: No
Christopher Parker: No
Patricia “Patty” Roberts: No
Allison Rogers: No
Felix Rovelli: No
Ashley Smith: No
Joan Thakor: No
Peter van Duyne: No
Catherine Whitaker: Yes

District 6
Thomas Byrne: –
Marilyn Cahn: No
Robert Cenci: Absent
Carol Ducret: Yes
Candace Garthwaite: No
Coline Jenkins: No
Gunnar Klintberg: No
Leander Kreuger: No
Arline Lomazzo: Absent
Brian Maher: No
Janet McGuigan: No
Stephen Meskers: No
Jo Ann O’Hara: No
Barbara O’Neill: No
Monica Prihoda: No
Victoria Quake: No
Gary Segal: No
David Snyder: No
Alexis Voulgaris: –
Victoria Martin Young: No

District 7
Debbie Appelbaum: No
Kimberly Morgan Blank: No
Ellen Brennan-Galvin: No
Mary “Nanette” Burrows: No
Thomas Cahill: Absent
James Cecil: No
Jill Cobbs: No
Alice Duff: no
Kimberly Fiorello: Absent
Elizabeth “Betsy” Galindo: No
William Galvin III: No
Hilary Gunn: Absent
Lucia Jansen: No
Scott Kalb: No
Elizabeth “Wyn” McDaniel: No
Henry Orphys: No
Doreen Pearson: No
Elizabeth Perry: No
Luke Szymczak: No
Mike Warner: No

District 8
Hector Arzeno: No
Lisa Becker Edmundson: No
Peter Berg: Absent
Francis J Burgweger Jr: No
Jill Capalbo: Yes
Randy Caravella: Yes
Adele Caroll: Absent
Neil Caton: Yes
Irene Dietrich: No
Philip Dodson: Abstain
John Eddy: No
Christine Edwards: No
Jennifer Freitag: No
Dana Gordon: No
Carlton “Carl” Higbie: Yes
Laura Kostin: No
Richard Margenot: Absent
Janet Lee McMahon: No
Linda Moshier: No
Cheryl Moss: No
Robert Moss: No
Andrew Oliver II: Absent
Jonathan Perloe: Yes
Caryn Rosenbaum: Absent
Molly Saleeby: Yes
Alison Soler: No

District 9
Phyllis Alexander: No
Seth Becon: No
Michael Brescia: Yes
Claudia Carthaus: No
Barbara Darula: No
Patricia “Patti” DeFelice: No
Melissa Evans: No
Betsy Frumin: No
Donna Gaudioso-Zeale: No
Anne Jones: No
Deborah Krautheim: No
Abbe Large: No
Brian Malin: No
Lauren O’Keefe” No
Brian Raney: No
Ferdinando Schiro: Yes
Jonathan Shankman: No
Lillian “Sharon” Shisler: Absent
Joanne Steinhart: No
Jane Weisbecker: No
Carol Zarrilli: No

District 10
Natalie Adee: Absent
Gerald Anderson: No
Granit Balidemaj: Absent
Jude Collins: Yes
Allyson Cowinn: yes
Mareta Hamre: No
Brooks Harris: Absent
Katherine Hynes: No
Sara Kessler: Absent
Rachel Khanna: Absent
Lawrence Malkin: No
Nancy Marshall: Absent
John Mastracchio: Absent
Diana Singer: No
Sheryl Sorbaro: Absent
Jane Sprung: Absent
Louisa Stone: No
Joanna Swomley: No
Sophie Veronis: Absent
Svetlona Wasserman: No

District 11
Nancy Better: No
Victoria Bostock: No
Adam Brodsky: No
Thomas Devaney: No
Susan Fahey: No
Tracy Freedman: No
Karen Giannuzzi: No
Margaret Heppelmann: No
Susan Khanna: No
Adam Leader: No
Dana Neuman: No
Richard Neuman: No
David Oliver: No
Gregg Pauletti: No
Ralph Penny: No
Brad Radulovacki: Yes
Kimberly Salib: Abstain
Michael Spilo: No
Cathryn Fineman Steel: No
Ronald Strackbein: No
Elisabeth “Lisa” Stuart: No
Thomas West: Yes
Gregory Zorthian: No

District 12
Hajime Agresta: No
Thomas Agresta: No
Francia Alvarez: No
Craig Amundson: No
Glen Canner: No
Jeffrey Crumbine: Yes
David DeMilhau: Absent
Ryan Fazio: No
Mary Flynn: No
Barbara Hindman: No
Mary Keller: Absent
Paula Legere Mickley: No
Aaron Leonard: No
Frederick Lorthioir: Yes
Robert May: No
Miriam Mennin: No
Ellen Murdock: No
Jocelyn Riddle: No
Jane Sulich: Yes
Donald Whyko: No
Andrew Winston: No

See also:

RTM Member to Propose “My body, my choice. My business, my choice” Mask Wearing Ordinance