Mayor calls it ‘an overreach’

The Palmdale City Council is taking a look into how it may challenge L.A. County mandate requiring residents to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor bars, wineries, nightclubs and lounges, becoming another focal point in the debate over personal freedom and public health.

Palmdale City Council members on Oct. 20 voted unanimously to direct the city attorney to report back with options to push against the rules, whether by resolution, ordinance, lawsuit or other measure.

City leaders passed the motion after lengthy public comments dominated by residents who railed against vaccine mandates, citing religious, health and other reasons they wanted to avoid the jab.

“It is an overreach to sit here and demand an invasive medical procedure,” said Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer. He termed the notion of a forced health measure  “Orwellian.”

Palmdale city employees can opt to get the vaccine or undergo regular testing, he said.

The L.A. County mandate, issued in mid-September, requires patrons and employees to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4. The order affects all areas of the county except Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own public health departments.

Hofbauer was vaccinated after contracting the coronavirus early this year. His mother, who had underlying health conditions, died in January after getting the virus.

The mayor said he has since suffered from serious vaccine side effects, including the development of pancreatitis and pericarditis. Both conditions have been reported as possible side effects of the vaccine, but also as side effects of COVID-19 itself.

“It was a personal choice,” Hofbauer said of getting vaccinated, “and I believe that’s what it needs to be.”

Palmdale officials plan to reach out to other cities and government associations — especially those that have chafed against the mandate—to gauge “the appetite to go to battle,” he said, citing the possibility of a collective challenge.

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