Re: Allegation of Unlawful Restraint of Liberty In Sunset Beach,
Dear Representative Moore and Senator Berger;
I am writing to you under my constitutional authority granted to me in Section 21, of the North Carolina Constitution. Inquiry into restraints on liberty.
Every person restrained of his liberty is entitled to a remedy to inquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the restraint if unlawful, and that remedy shall not be denied or delayed. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.
I allege that I have been unlawfully restrained in my liberty to access Sunset Beach, a public beach in North Carolina, by an unwarranted declaration of a state of emergency, adopted by the Mayor and Town Council of Sunset Beach, on March 23, 2020.
The declaration by the Mayor and Town Council, was made under the authority of G.S. 166A-19.22.State of emergency and contains the following provisions:
- Discontinuance of all short-term rentals until at least April 22, and all current short-term renters or vacationers must vacate the town by 5 p.m. March 26.
- All town buildings and facilities will be closed until further notice, and all public interaction with town staff will be done over the phone.
- All public parking lots and right of way parking areas are closed until further notice.
- Gatherings in public places including parks and on the beach are limited to 10 people.
My allegation contains two components that require your oversight to fix a deficiency in Chapter 166A.
First, the declaration by Sunset Beach did not contain a finding of fact, and was not based upon any scientific evidence that a disaster had already occurred or was imminent.
The declaration relied on anecdotal news reports and a fake virus model, prepared and perpetrated by COVID Act Now, a Democrat activist group based in California.
According to an investigation of Covid Act Now, by the Federalist, titled “Inaccurate Virus Models Are Panicking Officials Into Ill-Advised Lockdowns,” the leaders of Covid Act now are,
“Founders of the site include Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and three Silicon Valley tech workers and Democratic activists — Zachary Rosen, Max Henderson, and Igor Kofman — who are all also donors to various Democratic campaigns and political organizations since 2016. Henderson and Kofman donated to the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, while Rosen donated to the Democratic National Committee, recently resigned Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, and other Democratic candidates. Prior to building the COVID Act Now website, Kofman created an online game designed to raise $1 million for the eventual 2020 Democratic candidate and defeat President Trump. The game’s website is now defunct.”
The Federalist investigation documents the close collaboration between media outlets and Covid Act Now to create a public panic over Covid-19.
The facts of the epidemic in Brunswick County are as follows:
- Brunswick County has a total population of 108000. As of March 23, 2020, there are eight positive cases of Covid-19 in Brunswick County.
- As of March 23, 2020, there are no reported cases of Covid-19 in the municipality of Sunset Beach.
- Of the total population in Brunswick County, 9000 are over the age of 65, who are most susceptible to Covid-19.
In my first allegation, I allege that the Mayor and Town Council of Sunset Beach did not follow the provisions of G. S. 166A by failing to state a valid “finding of an occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property.”
Anecdotal evidence and fake news are not valid reasons to invoke the police power to restrain a citizen of liberty from access to a public North Carolina beach.
I allege that there is no logical connection between the fake news of a pandemic of 8 cases of Covid-19 in Brunswick County and a state of emergency.
I ask you to strengthen the criteria and terms and conditions under which a municipality may invoke a declaration of emergency.
I ask you to specifically prohibit municipalities from promoting the political agenda of Democrat groups in North Carolina in using the emergency procedures for political advantage.
I specifically refer to The NC Healthcare Association and NC Nurses Association who are asking Governor Cooper to issue a “stay in place” order to help keep up with the growing number of Covid-19 patients.
GS. 166A requires, “The finding of an emergency is preceded by a preliminary damage assessment to determine the severity and magnitude of damage caused by an emergency.”
A “stay-in-place” order is simply a Democrat subterfuge to damage the North Carolina economy by Democrat activists.
The Mayor and Town Council of Sunset beach did not offer or prepare the finding of the magnitude of the damage caused by the fake emergency, or the damage caused by locking down the local economy.
My second allegation against the Mayor and Town Council of Sunset Beach relates to their lockdown of citizen access to Sunset Beach. There is no logical connection between denying access to a public beach and the possible spread of Covid-19.
The restraint of liberty in access to the beach is not based upon any scientific evidence or medical evidence that citizens walking on the beach spreads the disease.
I allege that the Mayor and Town Council of Sunset Beach exceeded their legislative grant of authority in declaring a state of emergency. The action to close access to Sunset Beach is unwarranted, arbitrary and capricious, in the absence of a finding of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property.
The Mayor and Town Council had other options to reduce the risk of Covid-19 that did not restrain liberty. The Mayor and the Town Council failed to provide options to their action of closing access to the Beach.
The actions of the Mayor and Town Council of Sunset Beach violated Section 21 of the citizen’s rights in the North Carolina Constitution by an unlawful restraint of liberty, in the absence of a finding of an emergency.
I ask you to correct the flaws in G. S. 166A, that allowed the Town to declare a bogus emergency, and provide legislative guidance to the Mayor and Town Council to remove the unlawful restraint of liberty in my access to Sunset Beach.
Laurie Thomas Vass
Sunset Beach, NC 28468