Patterico's Pontifications

12/2/2020

Still More Dining Hypocrisy in the Golden State

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:43 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Apparently unwilling to learn from the mistakes made by Governor Hair-Gel (D – French Laundry), a few more California politicians find themselves on the firing line for personal behavior that is not in synch with the COVID protocols and policies which they purport to promote. Today’s Washington Post has the round-up:

As the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors debated last week whether to ban outdoor dining, Democrat Sheila Kuehl was quick to speak up in favor of restrictions. It was “a bit of magical thinking,” the county supervisor said, to believe restaurant staffers could safely wait on unmasked diners amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

“This is a serious health emergency, and we must take it seriously,” she said, casting one of three votes that would again prohibit the practice across the county of more than 10 million people.

Hours later, according to KTTV, she was spotted dining alfresco at an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif.

You will love the explanation by Supervisor Kuehl’s office in defense of her behavior:

“She loves Il Forno, has been saddened to see it, like so many restaurants, suffer from a decline in revenue,” [Spokeswoman Barbara] Osborn said in a statement. “She ate there, taking appropriate precautions, and will not dine there again until our Public Health Orders permit.”

Yes, because the danger of coming into contact with COVID with dining outdoors was not a real problem the evening of November 25; it only became a hazard starting at midnight on November 26. The WaPo calls out other scoundrels:

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) both traveled to Napa Valley for birthday dinners last month at the French Laundry, a venerable eatery where reservations are famously hard-won, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

[. . .]

Breed, whose [November 7] dinner was first reported on Tuesday, has also asked residents to limit contact with others. Earlier in the day, she said that “as someone who basically lives alone, it’s been a tough year for me personally.”

It was not clear how many households were involved in the mayor’s eight-person party, which a spokesperson described to the Chronicle as a “small family birthday dinner” in a partially enclosed room. Breed did not immediately respond to an email from The Post seeking additional details about the gathering.

Poor Mayor Breed. I guess she’s perhaps the only San Franciscan who lives alone, and thus it ought to be totally groovy for her to expose herself — and by extension, her entire staff — to this sort of peril, but you knuckleheads with your five-person Monday Night Football gatherings need it knock it the hell off or else grandmas all over California are gonna die.

And more state politicians get in on the act:

In San Jose, meanwhile, Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) has drawn similar scrutiny for traveling to his parents’ home for an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner, despite urging others not to do the same.

Before the holiday, Liccardo warned that people were letting their guard down with family members and friends, causing infections to surge. “Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe,” he wrote on Twitter on Nov. 25.

The next day, he attended a socially distanced Thanksgiving meal with eight people from five households — three more than the cap allowed by California’s health regulations.

“I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family,” Liccardo said in a statement Tuesday. “I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better.”

First of all, I find it remarkable that the WaPo included the party affiliation for all of the offending politicians in the story. Usually, we we have chronicled on this blog, we have to play “Name That Party” when it is Democrats who are the culprits. Secondly, Mayor Liccardo is somewhat of a piker in the hypocrisy category when compared to his colleague Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver, who last week took the grand prize by sending out messages on social media imploring Denverites to avoid gathering together for Thanksgiving only about a half-hour before boarding a plane to fly to Mississippi to be with his wife and daughter.

There’s a school of thought, seen even in the comments on this blog, which says, “Hey, at least [insert the name of the offending politician here] apologized; that’s more than some occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania would do. At least they recognize the error of their ways. What more could we possibly demand of them?” But we have now been struggling with COVID restrictions for over seven months. The time has long since passed when a politician can command us to make severe restrictions on our own lives in the name of fighting the disease, then behave in their own lives as if the virus is little more than a small nuisance requiring them to wear a mask and stand two yards away from each other when the cameras are rolling but certainly not placing restrictions on their own social activities. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, for all of his faults, gets this: while advising against Thanksgiving Day gatherings at a televised newsconference I heard him pointedly mention that his core family would celebrate Thanksgiving alone, without any parents, siblings, or cousins present.

The Los Angeles County dining restrictions are set to end the week before Christmas, and I am assuming other counties who recently imposed aggressive regulations have similar expiration dates. It will be interesting to see how Christmas travel is handled this year, but one would hope that our useless political class is starting to get it through their thick skulls that we won’t tolerate their practice of writing rules for us which they have no intention of following themselves. Otherwise, I daresay it’s time to circulate recall petitions.

– JVW

45 Responses to “Still More Dining Hypocrisy in the Golden State”

  1. It looks like Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards also wanted to get in on the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do fun.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. There are two sets of rules in this fair nation. I’m sure Biden (D – MBNA) will get all over that.

    “You expect politicians to dine at home? C’mon, man!”

    Hoi Polloi (3bc019)

  3. “Hey, at least [insert the name of the offending politician here] apologized; that’s more than some occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania would do. At least they recognize the error of their ways. What more could we possibly demand of them?”

    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall anyone saying “What more could we possibly demand of them?” If they did, that’s obviously a false choice . We can demand that politicians not be hypocrites in the first place, while also recognizing that apologizing is better than not apologizing.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  4. I’m one of the “well at least he apologized” people, but for the love of pete, why can’t these people learn from eachother’s mistakes. (And, as a person living alone, can I say that I don’t have much sympathy for Breed? I also, while living alone, have had a birthday during this epidemic and managed not to throw a party for myself.)

    Nic (896fdf)

  5. I’m one of the “well at least he apologized” people, but for the love of pete, why can’t these people learn from eachother’s mistakes. (And, as a person living alone, can I say that I don’t have much sympathy for Breed? I also, while living alone, have had a birthday during this epidemic and managed not to throw a party for myself.)

    Nic (896fdf) — 12/2/2020 @ 4:21 pm

    Hahahahahahahahah, you people kill me

    Brion Mitchell (18e8bb)

  6. You will love the explanation by Supervisor Kuehl’s office in defense of her behavior…

    You will ‘love’ her even more chasing Dobie Gillis:

    Sheila James Kuehl.

    Another ex-Hollywood type ‘gaily’ going into politics. How ‘Reagan’ of “Zelda”:

    Sheila James [Kuehl]- aka “Zelda Gilroy” from the sitcom: ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’, CBS TV, 1959-1963.

    ‘Zelda’ was the smartest girl in Dobie Gillis’ [Dwayne Hickman] high school and college. Zelda is in love with the uninterested Dobie and schemes ways to get him to date and marry her.

    “Dob–ie, Dob–ie, Dob–ieeeee!”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  7. I’m one of the “well at least he apologized” people, but for the love of pete, why can’t these people learn from eachother’s mistakes.

    That’s the point, though, Nic. They refuse to learn from each other’s mistakes because in their heart of hearts they really don’t believe that they should be required to follow the same guidelines that they impose on the rest of us. And as witnessed by their willingness to dine together in multi-household environments, not even fully outdoors, and by the laxness of their mask-wearing habits when not on camera, deep down inside they either don’t think that the COVID virus is all that serious or else they somehow believe that the elite are immune to it.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  8. I generally support the restrictions (and other than grocery shopping, *one* outdoor dining experience with my household that we immediately decided to never repeat, and socially distanced walks, haven’t been out of the house *since july*).

    the inability of the powerful to lead by example is just outrageous.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  9. I’m starting to think Ken Gardner is 100% correct on this:

    I emphasize again: it isn’t merely hypocrisy. These people genuinely don’t believe what they are trying to get the rest of us to believe. https://t.co/0cshKDSnNC— Ken Gardner (@KenGardner11) December 2, 2020

    JVW (ee64e4)

  10. > not even fully outdoors

    some of this is on the restaurants.

    one of the big reasons my household won’t outdoor dine as a group until vaccinations are out is that the one time we did this, the ‘outdoor dining’ was (a) covered by an awning (ok, shade, i get it) and (b) wrapped by a wind barrier — with the effect that the ‘outdoor dining’ space was surrounded on top and the side by enclosures which effectively turned it into an indoor space (at least in terms of ventilation and air flow).

    some of the things i’ve seen in news reports, of places that have constructed temporary wooden walls with plexiglass windows — *entirely* enclosing the allegedly outdoor space — are even worse.

    sure, personal responsibility says don’t go to places like that, and i’m not, *and* these not-actually-outdoor-dining arrangements are a fraud on the public and should be grounds for revoking licenses.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  11. They’ll keep doing as long as they keep getting away with it, which will be until people pelt them with overripe tomatoes and rotten eggs and tell them where to put their fake apologies.

    nk (1d9030)

  12. Throw in the Mayor of Austin too:

    In an early November Facebook livestream, Austin Mayor Steve Adler warned his residents to stay home as COVID-19 cases spike. “We need to stay home if you can. This is not the time to relax… we may have to close things down if we are not careful,” he said. What Adler didn’t tell residents —as the Austin American-Statesman reported on Wednesday—was that he was livestreaming from the Mexican resort city of Cabo San Lucas. “We aren’t asking people to never venture out. We ask everyone to be as safe as possible when they do,” Adler told the Statesman. However, the night before he flew to Cabo, Adler also threw a 20-person wedding reception for his daughter at a downtown hotel, per the Statesman, defying his city’s orders to limit gatherings to groups of 10. Adler said wedding attendees were tested beforehand.

    Dana (6995e0)

  13. I agree with you, aphrael, that some of these “outdoor” dining facilities have been ridiculous. Where I live most restaurants simply have appropriated space from their parking lots in which to construct dining areas and my city was kind enough to allow them to install outdoor, open-air dining on city streets which helped alleviate the crunch somewhat. But I know that not all restaurants were situated to take advantage of this, so clearly there is no solution that is going to fit every single use case.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  14. > my city was kind enough to allow them to install outdoor, open-air dining on city streets

    overall this seems like the ideal solution where possible.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  15. The consequences of the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality of officials is that Americans will no longer trust them with any measures/lockdowns they want to implement. And any effectiveness of new measures relies completely upon the cooperation of city/county/state residents. The chances of getting that needed cooperation diminishes with every “do as I say, not as I do” decision they make. People see the hypocrisy, and figure what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and throw caution to the wind because they’re sick of the hypocrisy. And that’s an unwise response.

    Their apologies mean nothing to me. They’ve lost credibility when they need it the most. And they lost it because they decided that they were more important than a virus and certainly more important than the little people.

    Dana (6995e0)

  16. Our downtown is a part of the historical district. The buildings are 100+ years old, and our main street is three blocks long, lined with linden trees that canopy the road, and shops and eateries on both sides of the street. The street closes Friday afternoons – Sunday evening. Restaurants set up tables and chairs, etc., and move service outside. It’s been a wonderful way for them to continue bringing in money, keep employees working, and for residents to continue to support downtown eateries. Even our noted old dive bar set up shop on the sidewalk to keep the business going!

    Dana (6995e0)

  17. And from the highest reaches of government, more of the same:

    Following a sharp spike in coronavirus cases across the country, State Department leadership sent out a notice to employees one week ago recommending that “any non-mission critical events” be changed to “virtual events as opposed to in-person gatherings.”
    Support our journalism. Subscribe today.
    That same week, U.S. event planners were told that the guidance did not apply to the upcoming functions they were working on: large indoor holiday parties hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, on the eighth floor of the State Department involving hundreds of guests, food and drinks.

    Dana (6995e0)

  18. It’s been a wonderful way for them to continue bringing in money, keep employees working, and for residents to continue to support downtown eateries. Even our noted old dive bar set up shop on the sidewalk to keep the business going!

    It’s been great for my neighborhood. The only drawback is that several dozen parking spaces were sacrificed in order to build the outdoor decks, and public parking where I live can oftentimes be scarce. Some locals want to go further and shut down the entire street to traffic, and thus extend the dining decks out by several feet. I’m not totally sold on the idea, though there are some aspects of it that are very appealing. I worry if the lack of parking (another plan is to build a parking garage on an empty lot) will dissuade out-of-towners from coming to visit, and I’m not confident that the local businesses can all survive solely on business from neighbors. But these are the sort of things that I hope we are soon discussing, not how much longer shut-downs are going to last.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  19. That same week, U.S. event planners were told that the guidance did not apply to the upcoming functions they were working on: large indoor holiday parties hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, on the eighth floor of the State Department involving hundreds of guests, food and drinks.

    And what is truly bullshit about this is that we, the taxpayers, are likely funding this party. I would love to believe that this is just part of the general awfulness of the Trump Administration, but I remember that Barack Obama clucked his tongue and told businesses that in the era of the recession they could no longer have blow-out extravaganzas in Las Vegas, only to have the federal government’s General Services Administration throw an $800,000 taxpayer-paid office party in that very same city.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  20. Dining out is one thing, at least it’s not this.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  21. If there has ever been a time in our history where a massive temporary spending program would actually be helpful it is now. With vaccines reaching critical mass in 7 or 8 month, if we can keep the small businesses and hourly workers intact then this is a win. I don’t think $1T is enough, probably something like $4T, but the cost to the economy of both another 400k deaths and a million permanent closures of small businesses, with 10k medium businesses, and a few large companies would easily be worth it in the long run. This is no time to be penny wise.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  22. Or this.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  23. This is no time to be penny wise.

    Well, we’ve never really been in danger of that, have we?

    Seriously, I could get on board for a stimulus plan targeted directly to small businesses and restaurants, but I fear that even if Republicans could keep Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden/Harris from larding the bill up with pension protections and other goodies for government workers, the good people in state capitals such as Sacramento, Austin, Tallahassee, Albany, Springfield, and so on would just find a way to extort their tribute from this. Perhaps if there were some way that each resident would get $2500 in vouchers to be used exclusively at restaurants and other businesses that would be $900 billion well-spent. But I naturally assume that sort of program would be rife with fraud, so it’s probably just a pipe dream.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  24. Well, we’ve never really been in danger of that, have we?

    LOL

    Dustin (4237e0)

  25. Apologies, as this is (slightly) off topic, but here’s another example of how 1) federal $$ get spent, 2) bureaucrats forcing rules on the plebs that they wouldn’t follow themselves, and 3) the most Portlandesque story you’ll probably come across:

    Portable toilets in SE Portland stolen, vandalized in escalating fight between city and neighbors

    Do you think toilets were parked in front of the homes of any of these bureaucrats?

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  26. Government employees haven’t suffered one iota during this lockdown, so why should they care? Small business owners and private employees on the other hand…

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  27. 15. There’s another way of looking at this thing;

    What do they know that we don’t?

    Gryph (f63000)

  28. 26. Government employees never suffer one iota due to their own policies, lockdown or otherwise.

    Gryph (f63000)

  29. But I naturally assume that sort of program would be rife with fraud, so it’s probably just a pipe dream.

    So, Mr Crack-house Operator, I see you have a million in restaurant vouchers….

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  30. 23. Which reminds me, what happened to reflexive mistrust of government in conservative circles? Now it looks like it’s coming down to which side of the aisle gets to manage the decline.

    Gryph (f63000)

  31. Meanwhile, everyone I see at the grocery or the drugstore is dutifully masked up. But it occurs to me that, having been housebound (except for the grocery, etc) since April, maybe there’s a lot I don’t see.

    As it stands, NM is having a terrible time of it. It’s almost like no one is wearing masks away from “the geezers” and despite their disbelief in the crisis, or their belief they are invulnerable, the hospitals are filling up to the point where triage is inevitable.

    Over the past two weeks alone, the state has seen nearly a 90% increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, New Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during a recent news conference, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

    Officials for various hospitals in the state have warned that their facilities are nearing or reaching capacity amid the surge. For context, the state on Tuesday recorded 2,324 new cases of COVID-19. Some 99,419 cases have been reported in New Mexico to date.

    “Our hospital is full and we are very close to running out of ICU beds and regular beds,” Dr. Rohini McKee, University of New Mexico Hospital’s chief quality and safety officer, told the newspaper. “Given the numbers we’ve seen over the past few weeks our health care system is going to be overwhelmed. But our behaviors will determine how long that system is going to be overwhelmed.”

    https://www.foxnews.com/health/coronavirus-surge-new-mexico-hospitals-nearing-capacity

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  32. Perhaps if there were some way that each resident would get $2500 in vouchers to be used exclusively at restaurants and other businesses that would be $900 billion well-spent.

    Learn how to cook, and keep your paws off my daughter’s credit card. Or is that your $900 billion you plan to dole out?

    nk (1d9030)

  33. I’m sorry, JVW, I did not mean that to be so snappish. How about I rephrase it: There is nothing so indispensable about restaurants that we should put our children and grandchildren in debt to keep them in business.

    nk (1d9030)

  34. There is nothing so indispensable about restaurants that we should put our children and grandchildren in debt to keep them in business.

    There is nothing so indispensable about bureaucracy that we should put our children and grandchildren in debt to keep them in business, either. And yet…

    What is the difference? One has guns and the other doesn’t? Give it time.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. I’m sorry, JVW, I did not mean that to be so snappish. How about I rephrase it: There is nothing so indispensable about restaurants that we should put our children and grandchildren in debt to keep them in business.

    Well, I can understand that sentiment. I too would normally figure that the free market is going to create winners and losers. But as Kevin M points out, I want to see that same logic applied evenly to government employees too. If the City of Los Angeles, for example, has 30% less revenue next year then a whole bunch of deputy mayors (even the ones who aren’t about to go to jail), senior administrators, department heads, and other assorted pencil-pushers ought to be shown the door. Until that is the case, any government money spent to bail-out employees should go to the private sector, not the public sector.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  36. Thank you for your response, and I apologize again for snapping at you, JVW.

    nk (1d9030)

  37. @25: I particularly liked the government officials tone-deafness in response.

    In her response to Stone on Oct. 1, Lindsay wrote, “Access to water and appropriate toilet options are recognized by the UN General Assembly as a human right.”

    THAT should settle it, no?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  38. I remember back around the 2000-2001 recession, when my city councilman proudly announced that they had managed to balance the city budget “without any layoffs.” They did things like only collecting garbage once a month. but keeping all the city garbage workers on staff, and increasing the garbage fees to cover it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  39. Time has come for some science! Is there scientific data that shows these restrictions actually work? Opinions of the credentialed is not science.

    Frank (bcb576)

  40. All these Democrat politicians that do the opposite of what they want for citizens either hate their friends and family and want them infected/die from Covid or they know something they aren’t telling the general public.

    BillPasadena (5b0401)

  41. All these Democrat politicians that do the opposite of what they want for citizens either hate their friends and family and want them infected/die from Covid or they know something they aren’t telling the general public.

    They know the chances of catching COVID are slim, and dying from it are even more slim. But they enjoy the power of telling people what to do, so they will continue.

    Hoi Polloi (3bc019)

  42. This, from CNN, is a good takedown of hypocritical Democratic lawmakers/leaders telling the public to behave one way while doing the opposite with regard to Covid-19 guidelines.

    Dana (cc9481)

  43. All these Democrat politicians that do the opposite of what they want for citizens either hate their friends and family and want them infected/die from Covid or they know something they aren’t telling the general public.

    They know the chances of catching COVID are slim, and dying from it are even more slim. But they enjoy the power of telling people what to do, so they will continue.

    Hoi Polloi (3bc019) — 12/3/2020 @ 8:50 am

    There’s also a collective action problem combined with horrible leadership. Everyone knows we all shouldn’t litter. If everyone litters the streets are full of trash. But the impact of my chewing gum wrapper is minor and not worth the effort of picking it up.

    Everyone knows social distancing will slow the spread of disease. If everyone keeps socializing f2f disease will spread faster. But the impact of my party is minor and not worth the pain.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  44. There’s a school of thought, seen even in the comments on this blog, which says, “Hey, at least [insert the name of the offending politician here] apologized; that’s more than some occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania would do. At least they recognize the error of their ways. What more could we possibly demand of them?”

    I can’t imagine anyone other than a partisan hack saying that, though…regardless of their feelings about Trump. These politicians are not offering honest apologies, because (with the possible exception of an utter naïf or two) they were not making honest mistakes. They either expected to get away with making themselves an exception to their own rules (in which case, what they’re really saying is “Sorry I got caught”), or they did whatever they wanted under what I sincerely hope is the mistaken belief that a show of contrition would earn enough public forgiveness to let them get away with their transgressions.

    In either case, accountability is due — and in most cases, overdue.

    Demosthenes (f930bf)

  45. Maybe they all think the virus is a hoax.

    Karl Lembke (9a3542)


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