By: Mark Glennon*
The Better Government Association’s CEO, David Greising, on May 17 wrote a column in the Chicago Tribune, “Some want the economy flung open. Wake up. COVID-19’s no hoax.”
I wrote a rebuttal as a Letter to the Editor in the Tribune, which is published today. However, it was substantially edited and shortened, which they have the right to do, so I am providing the letter below as I originally wrote it:
A more classic straw man case could barely be made, nor a more shallow treatment of the opposition to Governor JB Pritzkers emergency COVID-19 order.
No serious critic of Pritzker’s order wants the economy flung open. Instead, they want a quicker and more rational reopening plan like most other states have. They want smaller zones that don’t senselessly lump them in with areas having entirely distinct problems. And they want milestones for progress from one phase to another that are achievable, not Pritzker’s, some of which may never happen.
Greising singled out Madison County for proposing its own plan – “antics,” he called that. But anybody who looks at the plan can see that it’s thorough, thoughtful and measured. It may or may not be the wisest plan, but it certainly warranted more than the crude dismissal it got.
He condemned those of us who question Pritzker’s data, which he says Pritzker has mastered. Has Greising not followed that story?
The Pritzker Administration didn’t bother to collect hospitalization data, that they now admit is key, until April 3. It did so only after badgering by ProPublica, Wirepoints and a few others – but not this paper or Greising’s Better Government Association. Critical comorbidity data has been lacking and, to this day, Pritzker is not collecting antibody data, which researchers and other states are using to make models accurate and inform their policy.
Worst of all, Greising says there’s a “barely civil war of ideas” because some have questioned the constitutionality of Pritzker’s order. But dozens of municipal and law enforcement officials have taken the extremely rare step of refusing enforcement because they believe it is invalid and that they may even face personal liability if they enforce it.
Pritzker has asserted the right to those sweeping emergency powers for as long as he chooses.
It’s a sad day when journalists think questioning that isn’t civil, especially when an economic depression may result.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.