December 5, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Column: Time for Newsom to Get Tough on Virus Scofflaws

It became plain during the July 4 holiday weekend that Los Angeles County has at least a partially scofflaw sheriff. So do several other California counties. They’re essentially enforcing only laws and rules they like.

As coronavirus hospital admissions neared capacities just before the nation’s 244th birthday, doctors readied rationing schemes deciding who would get ventilators in case of a shortage. Then Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered beaches and their parking lots closed in most coastal counties to slow the contagion.

When similar orders prevailed during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva stationed deputies at regular intervals along his county’s vast strands, their mere presence warding off would-be surfers and others who merely wanted to lounge on the sand. California bent the COVID curve.

But not this time. A holiday drive along more than 20 miles of beaches revealed shut-down parking lots and plenty of “Closed” signs – but no deputies. As a result, wherever roadside parking was possible along the Pacific Coast Highway, beaches were crowded, surfers clambering down bluffs and cliffs headed for the unusually high waves that prevailed.

No deputies could be seen trying to hinder them, let alone write citations. If the pandemic revival of late June and early July continues into August, this will likely be part of the reason, just as big, mostly unmasked and un-socially-distanced Memorial Day beach and protest crowds helped cause the state’s second onslaught of COVID-19.

Newsom, who almost daily issues edicts governing business and personal behavior, did little. Yes, before the holiday, he threatened to take some state funding from counties that wouldn’t follow orders on mask use and beach closings. The threats were paper tigers.

This was also true of his response when Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke refused to enforce state orders in May and June, claiming they meant “economic slaughter.” Now cases are surging in Merced County and Warnke is recanting.

Through all this, the scofflaw sheriffs continue commanding their corps of deputies as if they were tough law enforcement officers. They have not been penalized, making a mockery of state authority.

It’s not unique to California. Hours after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ordered his state’s residents to mask up in public, the sheriff of rural Lewis County told a crowd to go barefaced. Carrying a megaphone and wearing his uniform to prove he spoke officially, Sheriff Robert Snaza exhorted constituents, “Don’t be a sheep.”

This amounted to an endorsement of risking death for themselves and others.

It’s essentially a rebellion by local sheriffs against governors trying to save lives by using their emergency powers, one of the highest duties of any public official.

But at least five California sheriffs and a couple of mayors have told constituents Newsom’s orders are “unconstitutional and unenforceable.”

Given what’s happened around those counties, with caseloads and death tolls rising daily, it’s high time Newsom did more than just talk.

It is politic to urge citizens to be responsible, as the governor continually does. But the Memorial Day beach scenes, the unmasked protest marches and the actions of countless restaurant and bar customers demonstrate he must do something more dramatic.

Newsom has dispatched several hundred state inspectors to enforce rules on businesses, but they sometimes work unpredictably and even at odds with his orders. One example: restaurants in Morgan Hill that followed the pre-Fourth of July order to close indoor operations were told to shut down outside tables – not part of the state order. Overall, inspectors issued at least seven citations on their first day out and hundreds since.

Newsom says he hopes persuasion will be enough to get Californians to follow his orders. It has not worked well enough, leniency most likely costing at least some lives.

Which makes it high time Newsom put teeth in his orders. Yes, some localities fine face mask recalcitrants hundreds of dollars when they persist after being warned, but no one has punished scofflaw sheriffs and mayors.

If they won’t uphold rules they’re sworn to enforce, those officials should either be removed from office or see their agencies lose major state funding. The carrot plainly hasn’t worked well enough; it’s time for the stick.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

New Report Predicts Rents Will Increase In Some L.A Neighborhoods: Santa Monica Real Estate Report – December 5th, 2022

December 5, 2022

December 5, 2022

Property, Developments, And Listings On The Westside.*  1920’s Vintage Mediterranean Listed For $8.3m*  New Report Predicts Rents Will Increase In...

Construction for 100-Unit NMS Lincoln Nearly Complete

December 3, 2022

December 3, 2022

Five-story project at 1550 Lincoln Boulevard almost done By Dolores Quintana NMS Lincoln is nearly finished after two years of...

 LA Home Prices Decline for Third Month in a Row

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

 Forbes analist shows pullback from buyers in Los Angeles home market By Dolores Quintana After a seller’s market reigned, the...

SMa.r.t. Column: An Urgent Appeal to Our New City Council & Management

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

The future lies within our cities, but our cities are crumbling! Cities are home to over 1/2 the world’s population...

“Art at the Airport” and 18th Street Arts Center Host Annual Winter Party

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Free event set for December 10 By Keemia Zhang The local organization “Art at the Airport” has collaborated with the...

Lyft Removes Scooters and Bikes From Santa Monica

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Santa Monica down to three shared-mobility companies By Dolores Quintana Lyft has removed its micro-mobility services from the cities of...

Separation of the Santa Monica-Malibu School District Moves Forward

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Public engagement to begin in early 2023  By Dolores Quintana The separation of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD)...

Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Rihanna’s Lingerie Line Resolved With $1.2 Million Stipulated Judgment

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Lawsuit brought forth by Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office and other offices against Savage X Fenty A consumer protection lawsuit...

NPS Confirms Mountain Lion That Killed Chihuahua in Hollywood Hills Was P-22

December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

Mountain lion will not be euthanized, NPS says By Sam Catanzaro During the evening of November 9, a large animal...

Westside Ballet Sells Out the Broad Stage for 9th Year in Residence

December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

The performance company’s 49th Season of the Holiday Classic features dancers beyond the Westside The longest-running Nutcracker production in SoCal...

Local Restaurant’s Burger Named Best in the Southland

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Hank’s Palisades’ burger named best in the Southland by the LA Times Hank’s restaurant in the Pacific Palisades and Executive...

46 Samohi Orchestra Students Chosen for CODA Honors Orchestra

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Students to play in two San Diego concerts this weekend Santa Monica High School (Samohi) announced that 46 orchestra student...

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel Celebrates the Holidays

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

Head to the beach this December to experience the hotel’s seasonal family-friendly activities This year, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel...

Free Holiday Events In Downtown Santa Monica This December

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

The Santa Monica Place hosts weekly events throughout the month of December, learn what is happening in this video sponsored...

Santa Monica Issues Moratorium on Parkway Ordinance After Public Dispute

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

Move comes after backlash from residents By Keemia Zhang Santa Monica has placed an indefinite moratorium on a previous directive...