TUCSON (KVOA) – Kelly Walker is the owner of Viva Coffee House. During Tuesday’s Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting, he quoted word for word comments he has gotten.
“(Explicit) you and your inbred little mindset. Hoping your business goes down the (explicit). You suck,” quoted Walker.
Then, Supervisor Ramon Valadez interrupted and said if he did not watch his language, he would be escorted out.
“So I simply went and thought I would read some of the comments since they were public already, to the commissioner so they would understand what we faced,” said Walker.
A mask mandate was created in May by the Pima County Board of Supervisors. Walker said they are in compliance with the county.
“A lady came in and took pictures of six or seven mothers with their children not wearing masks. They were not doing anything wrong. She put it on a Tucson Coronavirus forum which has been so venomous. Then she reported us to the county.”
Instead of fines to punish the businesses, the county puts local businesses like Viva Coffee House on the “wall of shame.”
“They are taking these posts down from the wall of shame and taking them to social media and they are attacking restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses. This is a huge issue. The hate has got to stop,” said District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller.
Then an inspector came out and spoke to Walker.
“We went over some items which did not have anything to do with masks. It was more like we recommend you use a different type of cleaner and move the tables a little further apart.”
The inspector told Walker he had ten days to make the changes and did it in three.
“Literally had an email in our inbox saying “Congratulations” you are in compliance the stick is on the way. Then people were saying, “Oh you are not in compliance. You are not even trying.”
The harassment escalated on social media, some of them being death threats.
“My baristas are afraid. My family is afraid to sleep at night.”
At the meeting, Walker complied after Valadez asked him to censor the language.
“Please escort this man out of the hearing room,” said Valadez.
“I have a right to speak… I will censor the language but you have to understand my family have been subject to threats,” said Walker as Pima County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested him.
Walker was cited for disorderly conduct and released.
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