In two months a new City Council will be seated with at least four new members, including East End activist Wanda Simmons who brings lingering health implications to consider when (it’s an open question) the 20-person legislative body resumes in-person meetings.
Simmons has become something of a lightning rod two months before oath of office. The disclosure of her covid battle turned from sympathy to some places scorn when news surfaced of her lack of vaccination while openly campaigning potentially infecting crowds of people. The revelation came while she was recovering in the hospital.
Simmons says vaccination is a choice, she’s against it. But what choice did voters have when coming into contact with her?
It’s not like she announced I’m campaigning against vaccination. Hypocritical for someone who demands transparency from those she opposes. On September primary night a tight crowd of political operatives filled a room awaiting the absentee ballot count in the Margaret Morton government center, Simmons learned she had run ahead of incumbent Eneida Martinez whom she’s replacing on the council.
Simmons wore a mask, as she was required to do in the public space, coming within close proximity to dozens of campaigners, many of them elected officials. Days later she tested positive for covid.
Simmons, who often cites biblical references, has a history of playing victim when her actions come into question. It’s always someone else’s fault. In this case the media portrayal of her hypocrisy.
In the adjoining room primary night Upper East Side councilwoman Maria Pereira learned of her mighty absentee ballot output over her two opponents, as well as walk-in vote, carrying with her 138th District running mate Michele Small over incumbent Samia Suliman.
In the council chambers districts 138 and 139 sit side by side.
Here’s a looming question: who’ll sit next to Simmons when council meetings resume in person without feeling some health trepidation? Vaccination is effective, but not foolproof. It can return. Simmons can receive it again and potentially spread it again.
Simmons’ presumed district peer Ernie Newton, who still has a general election to win, will likely be one of them. Newton has been a leading voice in his community urging vaccination.
What about Pereira and Small who’ll also be in close proximity? Campaign gladiators Pereira and Simmons, who’ve not always been buds, bonded temporarily because they had common enemies in the East End.
What’s the solution: a hybrid Zoom, in-person session? Sequestering? Incubation?
Simmons is holding her ground about vaccination. She recently posted this on her Facebook page:
I have natural immunity.. I don’t need this vaccine.. I Wii NOT be shamed, bullied, harassed and mandated!!! I have had talks with a nurse FORCED to keep her job… I can’t disclose her name but I got her story and I am going to fight like hell against this agenda!!!
Fine, how often did she make this declaration in advance of her illness? How many of her would-be constituents knew prior to and not after?
What else will she hide as a member of the City Council?