If you want to know what’s happening with just about anybody in town or your elected officials, you follow Facebook.
For instance, take Hamilton County Commissioner Steve Dillinger, our longest standing commissioner currently serving in Indiana. He was first elected in 1980.
Mr. Dillinger vacations in Mazatlan, Mexico, around this time every winter. Not sure exactly if the vacation is a perk or if he pays his own way, but he goes and enjoys the life of luxury.
This year was no exception, despite the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic. And despite not having a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Noblesville resident, who turned 74 earlier this month, on Sunday morning posted a question directed to “Mr. President and all you liberals.”
He asked, “Why do I have to have a COVID-19 test, at a cost of $950 pesos, before I come back from vacation in Mexico but you let thousands of Mexicans cross the border illegally with no test?”
The post has been shared by many. And has received lots of reactions and comments, both positive and negative.
The 950 Mexican pesos he mentioned are equal to $46.32 in United States dollars. When you say it like that, the cost of a COVID-19 test doesn’t sound so much to pay. That fact was duly noted in some Facebook comments.
But the bigger question should be, Why would Dillinger travel to Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic? If you Google “travel to Mexico during COVID,” you quickly see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s warnings about travel and Mexico.
“All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States.”
And key information for travelers to Mexico: “Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time ... Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico.”
CDC’s recommendations before travel: “If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Wait two weeks after getting your second vaccine dose to travel (because “it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination.”)
U.S. officials began last Friday allowing in and processing immigrants at ports of entry in San Ysidro, Calif., and El Paso and Brownsville, Texas, who were subjected to the “Remain in Mexico” policy, according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper. Before migrants are released in the United States, all migrants will be given a medical screening in Mexico, including COVID-19 testing, administered by the United Nations migration agency, according to the news article.
I noticed that Mr. Dillinger didn’t attend the Feb. 8 commissioners in-person meeting, but watched and participated virtually. At the time, I thought maybe he was just trying to stay healthy and stay away from any chance of getting the COVID-19. Or now maybe I wonder if he was attending the meeting virtually from Mexico.
I look back a little farther at Dillinger’s Facebook page and see that in October 2020, during the COVID-19, he was also having a good time visiting friends in Mazatlan, Mexico. Three years ago, on Feb. 6, 2018, he posted that there was nothing better than his waiter friends at the Hotel Playa in Mexico singing “Happy birthday” to him in Spanish every year. Posts went back through 2013 about his trips to Mexico but he’s traveled there more years than that. Coming up on four years ago, on March 2, 2017, he posted, “After 35 years of coming here, it is like a second home, and these people are like an extension of my family.” The Hotel Playa in Mazatlan, where he annually stays, is actually a popular place for folks here. Hamilton County Councilman Steve Schwartz and his wife, Lori Schwartz, and Noblesville residents Brent and Leslie Crandall also go to the same hotel in Mexico, according to Facebook. Noblesville grad Gary Crask also goes to Mazatlan.
If we asked Mr. Dillinger why he didn’t get his COVID-19 vaccine before he left town, it’s hard to guess his response. Maybe he hadn’t planned to get the vaccine. Or maybe he couldn’t get a vaccine appointment before his plane took off.
Regardless, I agree with one of his Facebook friends, who commented about Mr. Dillinger’s post, “Holy cow, Steve, you opened quite a can of worms.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.