After banging on windows, chanting and plotting to swarm the city council chambers, a crowd of close to 100 anti-vaccine demonstrators declared victory around 6:15 Monday evening, when it was announced that the night's meeting would take place online only.
The mood was more festive than contentious. Other than a few jeers at motorists, the R&B radiating from a gold party bus called the "Twerkulator" set the tone.
The rally was called by anti-vax activists as a show of support for Healdsburg council member Skylaer Palacios, who has declined the injection.
Kim O'Brien of Novato echoed Palacios' contention that barring the unvaccinated from public meetings amounts to discrimination.
"Look at Brown v. Board of Education, separate but equal. Being in the room where you can see everybody's face and body gestures is very different than seeing the person speaking on camera," O'Brien said to KRCB.
That's an opinion shared by Glenn Yamamoto of Forestville.
"Well, she's not there in person, it's like how do you have a relationship with your significant other if it's only by Zoom," Yamamoto said. "She's representing people in the community and she's not able to be there in person, so I think it does detract from the efficacy of her role."
As the clock neared six, the crowd became more animated...and attempted to thwart security. Then, a chant of 'where is Skylaer Palacios,' erupted. Palacios wasn't there, she was attending the meeting, which included a performance review of the city attorney and mediating conflict over downtown parking, on Zoom.
Asked to elaborate on the perceived gulf between in person and online meetings, Martha Chapin Nezgoda of Healdsburg said she thinks the official response to the pandemic had set the nation on a slippery slope.
"People need to wise up, every day people walk outside, you take your life in your hands, it could happen any time," Nezgoda said. "I could get hit by a car, this man could have TB and brush up against me, I mean, come on, grow up United States, Sonoma County, grow up, look at what's happening."