School board mask wearing ilk in Cayucos

September 10, 2021

Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 

Franklin’s memoir, “Life On The Mississippi, 1969,” is currently on Amazon.


A member of the Cayucos school board confided to me the other morning that at meetings he’s getting perturbed at “jackassery,” a term he often uses when discussing his best friend’s behavior, which I find unusual, for this SB member is usually pretty careful when talking about anybody, even friends, possibly in fear he might get physically throttled, poor thing.

For example, when I asked him to talk about the perhaps politically motivated anti-masking voters on the school board in hope of hearing opinions leading to volatility and nastiness, he issued blandness about respecting their opinions and claiming they were all nice people who “liked and respected each other.”

“Even the ones who are obviously influenced by anti-vaxxing Trump loyalists?”

“We all like each other and are doing what we sincerely feel is best for the students.”

Yuck. Pablum.

Now, I’m not saying this SB member is a milk toast or shrinking wuss, no, for he can appear formidable; but we are not all built to absorb criticism and vile threats from those opposing our opinions, and in this case our SB member voted against the new regulation allowing children to not wear masks in classrooms and quickly received a volley of attack emails.

“Well, as a bureaucrat, you need a thick hide,” I told the embattled SB figure.

“I know that.”

“People are gonna come after you, want you replaced, in some cases want blood and come to your home and scream at you, call you vile names, hurl objects at your windows and challenge you to come out and face the awful music of tribal politics.”

“Now, now, let’s not get alarmist,” he said, petting his little dog, who began shrieking like fingernails against a blackboard as I became more agitated.

“Look here,” I pushed on. “I wanna see those emails of yours. I want the public to see just exactly the kind of anguish and angst you’re suffering as a lowly bureaucrat in a thankless role. I mean, lately you seem to be wasting away from stress. Even your old dog senses it by his erratic behavior.”

“Look,” he said. “I’ve lived here a long, long time without making enemies. I’d like to keep it at that.”

“You mean I can’t use the names of these muckraking assholes attacking you?”

“Nobody attacked or threatened me. People have their opinions. Let’s make that clear.”

I sighed, realizing I was dealing with a typical politician, who might possibly want to run for some other useless silly post in the county or state, and not want black marks on his record perpetrated by an absurdist with no consideration for his future or progeny.

“Well, can I at least have a list of some of your juiciest emails if I promise not to use their names?”

He remained blank-faced and temporarily silent, like any typical squirmy politician at a press conference stuck with a difficult question he wants nothing to do with and is pondering how to best weasel out of with unctuous double talk. “Well…”

“Come on, don’t be timid…” I watched him continue to squirm, suspecting maybe I could shame or intimidate him. “Come on, I need a good story, especially after reading that painless tripe about the school board in the New Times.  I mean, you used to be a raging liberal, a card-carrying coastal elite. All you’ve been good for so far is the same mealy-mouthed gobbledygook all these phonies spew!  Grow a spine! Gimme some goddam poison, dude!”

He heaved a massive sigh, a person so trapped in his own making that he would not even allow me to use his name. “Okay, I’ll send you the emails. Go ahead and attack.”


Well, as I suspected, he left me little to attack. For instance:

“Wanted to commend you for taking a stand and passing the Let Them Breathe resolution!

“We know this is a very controversial topic. I thank you for doing the right thing and protecting the physical, mental and emotional health of our children.

“The science is clear, masks do not work and are also dangerous in children between 0-18 years of age.

“Attached for everyone’s view, are links to scientific data proving the danger associated with children wearing masks! I encourage this data to be shared with those demanding children to wear masks.” (parent from Pismo Beach)

Well, this is a crock of shit, the pathetic reality of those with Trumpian political agendas stooping to find their own scientific facts that have nothing to do with the truth. Masks have been proven to help fight off the Covid and save lives.  The people who don’t want to believe that are the same ones who probably thought guzzling a little Lysol might protect them from the pandemic and vaccines don’t work or are dangerous.


“SUPPORT MASK CHOICE. Please stand by for the rights of parents to determine mask wearing for children.” (A nurse from Nipomo)

The school nurse at Cayucos school was fired in protest. She lives in town. She helped coordinate Covid vaccine dispensation during the height of the pandemic in SLO county. She is a hero.


“Please stand strong for the rights of parents to determine mask wearing for their children. Much appreciated.” (accountant from Irvine)

Yeh, that’s what we need, a money-changer from Orange county, John Birch society territory, backing up us Cayucans. Stay away!


“Hi Cayucos School board,

“I strongly oppose children wearing masks at school. I support parents and school board members who give parents the right to choose what’s best for their child’s health.” (SLO parent)

Two of the most beloved. longstanding teachers at Cayucos school quit in protest of this resolution. One of them, according to the fired nurse, has health complications.



“I am writing to let you know that my family lives in the Cayucos school district and my husband and I made the choice to not send our 5-year-old son to Cayucos elementary kindergarten this year because of the mask mandate. This was a hard choice for us because my husband and his siblings all attended and loved their time at Cayucos school, but we will not be putting him there with until there is a parental choice regarding wearing masks for young kids.” (Cayucos parents)


Do any of these people consider themselves team players with all this bilge about parental choice? Most of them have spoiled their kids to such an extent they can’t tolerate anything, much less wear masks for the good of their fellow countryman. These kids have more sense and spine than given credit for, and they should be told to be proud of wearing masks to help protect themselves and their neighbors.

This is an injection of early humanity lessons that perhaps might lead to finding work in humanitarian projects instead of the mad indoctrination into gobbling money and materials in the mad consumer culture. Like the Peace Corps. AmeriCorps. The military. Etc.

Thinking about others instead of themselves and their parents’ so-called demand for freedoms in a country that has no clue as to what it is to have no freedoms, might give them a leg-up on the jackassery wafting up like a cruel stink from the Cayucos school board and the jackasses displaying their foolishness and willful ignorance to my pal on the school board.

He finally told me, “A majority of the emails were for wearing masks.”


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The health insurance component has always been a dangling carrot . One miserable local Scheister milked that cow for years, damn near all the way to medicare.


Hey Dell, next time out ask that board member to explain why the Cayucos SB votes themselves free health care coverage.

Their “policy” on masks is a word salad intended to make one feel full without any real meat included. Seems like it cost them some staff as a result.

The simple truth is the Cayucos SB will enforce local County Health Dept guidelines on masks as directed. Otherwise they, the board members, can be sued civilly and possibly criminally for their actions.

George Garrigues

Well, actually, this pathetic school board member IS a politician, ’cause he ran for election, and the e-mails to him are PUBLIC RECORDS and should be revealed to anybody who asks for them, including Mr. Franklin, so why doesn’t said Mr. Franklin go ahead and file a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request?


It’s everyman for himself these days. Get used to it. It won’t get any better. All civilizations will run their course. Looks like our time is almost up.