Northern California

California City Official Ousted Over His Pandemic Remarks

City officials countered that his posting caused a loss in confidence and created a disruption to the city.

Kenny Turnage
NBC Bay Area

A Northern California city official has been ousted after he suggested on social media that sick, old and homeless people should be left to meet their “natural course in nature” during the coronavirus pandemic.

City council members in Antioch, a city of about 110,000 people 35 miles east of Oakland, voted unanimously Friday night to remove Ken Turnage II from his post as chairman of the city's planning commission.

NBC Bay Area reports there was a swift uproar after Turnage characterized people with weak immune systems as a drain on society.

Coronavirus Pandemic

Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you and our communities

Some Businesses Ask You to Waive Your Right to Sue If You Get COVID; What You Need to Know

Juan Soto Reinstated From COVID IL But Not in Nats' Lineup

He wrote on Facebook: “the World has been introduced to a new phrase Herd Immunity which is a good one. In my opinion we need to adapt a Herd Mentality. A herd gathers its ranks, it allows the sick, the old, the injured to meet its natural course in nature.”

As for homeless people, he added that the virus would "fix what is a significant burden on our society and resources that can be used.”

Turnage later deleted the post but refused to resign or back down from his comments. During the two-hour council meeting held on Zoom, Turnage said his personal opinion had no bearing on his duties as a planning commissioner and that removing him would violate his freedom of speech.

But city officials countered that his posting caused a loss in confidence and created a disruption to the city. Mayor Steve Wright said politicians are held to a higher standard by representing the city to all.

After the council stripped him of his post, Turnage said that if residents had lost confidence in him, “that’s their opinion and I can’t help that.”

“It’s not like it used to be,” he lamented, “when you could have an opinion, talk about it and then sit down and have a beer together and talk about football.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us