[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.