Opinion: ‘Isn’t it time that the county councilors and Dr. Melnick quit playing politics and start asking and answering the tough questions that the public deserves?’

Rob Anderson, the Recovering Pastor, and other Clark County residents want more questions answered by Clark County Public Health and Dr. Alan Melnick

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

The residents of Clark County should be outraged with Clark County Public Health and the county councilors.

Rob Anderson
Rob Anderson

Before I share the reasons why, just a reminder to everyone and the Board that their job is not to get re-elected or play nice and avoid the unpopular topics, but their job is to represent the residents of Clark County. In particular, as the members of the Board of Health (BOH), they are to oversee the Clark County Public Health Department on behalf of the residents. This doesn’t mean that their job is to sit there and heap praises on Dr. Alan Melnick and lap up everything he says as gospel truth, but they are to be inquisitive and even adversarial at times if needed in order to hold people accountable and make sure the absolute best information and actions are executed for what’s best for Clark County.

Unfortunately, that is not happening.

Here’s a few examples of questions that should be asked:

On July 22, for the first time Dr. Melnick revealed to BOH that he single handedly issued an advisory on March 24 that all long-term care facilities (LTCs) could not deny any new residents even with a pending COVID test (mind you it was taking weeks to get results at the time). This order came off of “a fear” of acute bed shortages that never even came close to happening, and LTCs were ill-prepared and scrambling to define and provide best practices.

Ninety days, ninety days after he made this decision that undoubtedly put elderly residents at grave risk, Dr. Melnick finally informed the BOH, and what was their response?


Not one councilor — Eileen Quiring, Gary Medvigy, Temple Lentz, John Blom nor Julie Olson — asked any probing questions. All stayed silent.

How about asking:

”Why are we just now hearing about this?”

“At the time you issued this advisory, what was the ability of LTCs to safely implement your direction?”

“What was the current hospital bed capacity that justified endangering LTCs with potentially COVID patients?” “How many died after your direction in LTCs?”

“Dr. Melnick, you said you were ‘just passing along state guidance’ that you received but your guidance was very different from the state’s, so much so that your guidance potentially put more elderly at risk, why did you do that?”

Also, other important questions to pose to Dr. Melnick:

“Why does CCPH continue to label all COVID-associated deaths as just ‘deaths’ both on the website and your presentations?”

“Don’t you think it’s odd that Clark County has only had one influenza death when we’ve had as many as 25 just a few years ago? Why do you think that is?”

“Why is CCPH telling the public that ‘Remember, you can get COVID again’’

Mind you, Dr. Melnick said recently that there isn’t one known case in the US and he’s stated in previous meetings that “we just don’t know.”  This is the same fear-mongering logic that would say “we don’t know if the sun will shine tomorrow, it’s never happened before but it could happen.”

I could list many more examples of how the councilors could and should pursue rigorous questioning to get the truth from Dr. Melnick and hold him accountable.

Unfortunately, the public continues to be shut out to participate and help the councilors to do their job, which apparently is needed since none seem to be willing to rise to the occasion and serve the public by asking tough questions and demanding the truth.

Dr. Melnick, a man that doesn’t even live in Clark County, is single handedly making decisions on what data is to be shared and not shared with the public and definitions of that data that determines if we’re open or closed. 

His health department can issue fines and close down businesses, churches, events, and yes, even birthdays and funerals, yet he appears to be left unchecked to do the state’s and Gov. Inslee’s bidding, which he has done consistently like clockwork.

Isn’t it time that the county councilors and Dr. Melnick quit playing politics and start asking and answering the tough questions that the public deserves?  Since they aren’t, then let the public back in so that we can, as is our right to do so. 

Rob Anderson
The Recovering Pastor
Along with Elizabeth Thomas, Crystal Miller, Jane Dunham, Lacey Hansen, Carmen Fox, Vanessa Amundson, Bob Larimer, Chrys Hauser, Kelli Plummer, Wendy Morrow-Ivey, Becca Kristine, Sharron Gookin, Mark & Jenny Bigley, Louise Fowles, Kat Free, Joleen Solma, Mary Duncan, Anita Gillingham, Ray Gebauer, Nicole Northrup, Satin Mayer, Brenda Lowrimore, Mark Georgioff, Miranda Blackburn, Patrick Flynn, Jeff Cromer