OPINION by T. KEITH GURNEE
What’s Gov. Gavin Newsom been thinking? He’s been doing some strange things lately, but his latest executive action calling for a coronavirus stay-at-home and lockdown order based on a hastily conceived and unvetted map of newly formed “regions” in California takes the cake.
Coming off the heels of his attendance at a controversial dinner party at the French Laundry, one of the swankiest restaurants in California that caters primarily to plutocrats, does he really expect Californians to follow his “do as I say and not as I do” edicts?
After previously ordering Californians (1) not to gather in groups, (2) not to dine indoors, (3) to wear a mask, and (4) to practice social distancing, Newsom violated all four of his admonitions. With 22 guests dining indoors, none with masks, and no one practicing social distancing, Gavin and his wife whooped it up with their friends over a $15,000 wine tab, enough to draw complaints from other diners. If that isn’t the essence of hypocrisy, what is?
Now he expects us to obey his top-down, stay-at-home orders based on a nonsensical map of five regions. If the reason for these sanctions was Newsom’s concern about overwhelming the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in each region’s hospitals, why not do it on a county-by-county basis? Instead, he cooks up a map that throws San Luis Obispo County into a Los Angeles centric “Southern California” region that bears no resemblance to the ICU capacities of individual counties. His “Southern California” map also includes Inyo County east of the Sierra Nevada range that’s at the same latitude as the northern California city of San Francisco.
How does this make sense?
The answer: it doesn’t. San Luis Obispo County presently has only one ICU patient and has plenty of ICU capacity. If Newsom’s new orders were done on a county-by-county basis, our county would be exempted from his draconian measures.
Yet, by placing our county in a region with Los Angeles where only 13.1% of its ICU beds remain available, we get punished for it. By closing down outside dining and severely restricting retail businesses right at Christmas time, Gov. Newsom has given our county a lump of coal for Christmas.
Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham was right in calling Newsom’s edict “a joke,” and a bad one at that! Newsom should either pull his latest dictate and deal with his coronavirus measures on a county-by-county basis or create a “Central Coast” region that isn’t attached to Los Angeles.
Our county and its cities should work with Cunningham and other aggrieved jurisdictions in an effort to make this happen. It’s the right thing to do and as 2020 approaches its troubled end, it can’t come soon enough.