Guest Editorial: Government by the people, for the people


Editor’s note: Ken Daige is a former member of Vero Beach City Council; Ken and Deborah are longtime residents. He was in attendance at the last City Council meeting.

Kenneth and Deborah Daige

“Government for the people by the people.”

If this were so and if folks voted as such – would our lives be better for it? We know a dozen or so people who spoke at City Council Tuesday were against a face mask mandate. But how many of the 400 emails City Council received yesterday were in favor of wearing face-coverings?

City council has a functional mandate from the state which in part states – “for the health, safety, and general welfare…”

That’s it. All else is added by city-council-of-the-day.

A face-covering mandate can be created without criminal or civil penalty.  There is something to be said for treating folks as adults.  Other action can be taken later if those folks act otherwise.

On any given day, yard, landscape, construction and other professions frequently wear face-coverings for extended periods to protect themselves from environmental contaminants. We are living during a moment of national, state and local health emergency that has also created a negative economic impact.

The Surgeon General and now the President have expressed the need for face masks because the virus has not been eradicated.  We are living with its effects now and sometime into the future.

What do we do with that information?

Well, Indian River County has taken less-restrictive but stronger stated steps than City Council has. City council has not taken purposeful action – “for the health, safety, and general welfare…” even after numerous city council meetings.

Meaningful discussion followed by a common sense motion that can be acted upon has not occurred.  Instead there is inaction, pontificating, and pats-on-the-back for inaction.

Health, safety, general welfare. What is there not to understand?

Of course, the US Constitution is to be considered, but States’ Rights is something the US Constitution acknowledges belongs to the States. And our State mandates protecting its populations’ health, safety and general welfare.

Face-coverings are only part of a considered solution to our current pandemic because no one has all the answers at this moment in time. Surely there is someone on our City Council who can put forward a common sense motion about face-coverings, one that has a sunset clause, a health mandate that puts pontificating and political philosophies aside – for the people.

Ken & Deborah Daige


Opening statement of the Constitution of the United States:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

general welfare clause is a section that appears in many constitutions and in some charters and statutes that allows that the governing body empowered by the document to enact laws to promote the general welfare of the people, which is sometimes worded as the public welfare. In some countries, it has been used as a basis for legislation promoting the health, safety, morals, and well-being of the people governed by it.


  1. Words of wisdom from a general contractor I’ve never heard of in a professional setting. One who never ran for City Council but was appointed for a limited time (let’s say six months).
    To be clear, masks may help in the short term but They do not help depending on how you use them.
    Furthermore, there are no studies on what dangers long term use of mask might present. I’m not convinced one way or the other. I’m certainly not going to take a contractor’s word for it. However, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
    When it comes to mandates, most people agree to wear shirts and shoes in a restaurant when a sign dictates. If they don’t, they are turned away. If they don’t leave, the cops are called.
    We are all adults here; we can choose to be in places outside, or inside businesses we determine to sufficiently meet our needs. If you don’t like it, don’t go. That’s your choice as an American. If you are anti-American, or can’t make decisions on your own; well, there are several countries you can live in for that. The closest is Cuba.
    Be smart, be an individual, and be responsible for yourself.

  2. I first ran for office and was elected to Vero Beach city council in 2006.

    In 2010 I was appointed to replace Charlie Wilson who was on the Vero Beach city council and had been removed by a judge’s order.

  3. No studies on the dangerous long term effects of the coronavirus either, assuming you survive it, so most people would rather take their chances with a mask.

  4. Harry Howell’s comments for not wearing masks are short-sighted and ill informed. The excuse Howell gives that there is no proof masks help to minimize the virus is juvenile. Just look at our hospital workers – they ALL wear masks to protect themselves and others. Howell appears to be satisfying the people in this county who think this entire pandemic is a hoax perpetrated by the liberal media to make Donald Trump look bad. Oh please, enough of this ideological ranting. Common sense tells us masks can help this problem. So face up to the challenge and quit acting like spoiled, selfish children. The argument that people’s freedom is being taken away is equally short-sighted and selfish. Only in America can we twist science into science fiction. I know both Harry and Ken. They are both intelligent and concerned citizens of our city. Let’s treat one other with more respect and less high-school theatrics, please.

    John Ryan

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