October 21, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: Newsom Loses Transparency, Unity It Brought

By Tom Elias, Yo! Venice Columnist

Californians have shown with great clarity during the coronavirus pandemic that if they’re convinced something needs to be done, they’ll cheerfully do it even when it’s uncomfortable and terribly expensive.

So when Gov. Gavin Newsom in a mid-March first-in-the-nation move ordered most of this huge state’s citizenry to stay home in a quasi-quarantine condition in hopes of limiting the spread of the virus, they complied, with few exceptions.

But now, with far less ambient panic in California’s air, there are cracks in that united front. Demonstrators in places as diverse as San Diego, Newport Beach and Sacramento have turned out in respectable numbers demanding an end to the lockdown. It’s true, some of those demonstrations are orchestrated by ultra-conservative national organizations.

Many protesters ardently back President Trump, who calls for a gradual “opening up” of America. They demand restoration of all rights to freedom of movement and association, never mind social distancing. Some of the demonstrators had been seen on the state Capitol steps before, protesting last year’s new laws making it a bit tougher to get children exempted from vaccination requirements.

The month of March saw nothing like that after Newsom issued his first order. This was partly because the governor was open about estimates of the potential extent of viral spread, contagion and fatalities.

But Newsom, who gets high poll marks for most of his conduct this spring, now must contend with two things he helped create: One is the fact staying home meant California has seen far less contagion and death than predicted. This lessens the panic that first gave him free rein.

The other is that as the crisis persisted and one emergency executive order followed another, often in fields only peripherally related to the virus, Newsom gradually lost the aura of transparency that created the early unity.

Usually, when important new laws are passed in California, they follow a series of public hearings and much discussion. Not so with Newsom’s sudden edicts on everything from blocking evictions for non-payment of rent to freeing felons from jails and prisons early to prevent their becoming infected when those same felons didn’t previously worry about protecting anyone else. There were also orders to rent or buy hotels for housing thousands of the homeless and other decrees authorizing suspension by the courts of virtually all bail requirements for the duration.

Most of these moves lacked the detailed explanation that went into the original stay-home order.

Newsom has also been closed about how he’s spent much of the 7 billion state tax dollars consumed so far in the crisis, especially about his contract to buy almost $1 billion worth of personal protective equipment, including millions of face masks, from a Chinese company previously blacklisted by some federal transit agencies. It turns out no one knows when this stuff will show up, or many conditions of the huge deal. But we do know the state was gouged.

It’s all been justified – with a warranted shot at President Trump – by the fact that the federal government has not unified national purchases or production of masks, face shields, gowns and rubber gloves, thus creating ferocious competition between states and hospital systems for vital equipment. That encouraged price gouging that’s illegal in most crises.

There’s also the question of where Newsom and other governors get the authority to issue myriad fiats and decrees without so much as the right for anyone to petition the government for redress. The Constitution gives governors, presidents and mayors vast leeway to protect public health and safety in emergencies, as when then-Gov. Pete Wilson paid contractors large bonuses for completing bridge rebuilds ahead of schedule after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

But all previous emergencies were finite, with known needed corrective measures (as with evacuations in the face of wildfires) or definite time frames.

There are no time lines here, Newsom and other governors telling their constituents they can’t know how long current orders will be enforced because as yet there is no vaccine for the coronavirus.

The bottom line: While the governor was open about what he did, he enjoyed near-unanimous support. He needs to get back on the transparency track, or California will see more and more cracks in its harmony.

Email Thomas Elias at [email protected] 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

L.A. County COVID-19 Cases Partly Driven Teenagers

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

68 percent of new cases among people between ages of 12 and 50 By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health...

Free Flu Shots at Palms Middle School for Students and Family

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

Los Angeles Unified and Health Net offering free vaccinations for seasonal flu to students and families By Chad Winthrop Los...

LUPC Demands Reese-Davidson Development Offer CEQA Report: YO! Venice Show – October, 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. *LUPC Demands Reese-Davidson Development Offer CEQA Report * LA City Council Unanimously...

Edify TV: More Bike Lanes for Westside

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

A Westside city is adding more miles of protected bike lanes. Learn more in this video made possible by Santa...

Mark Twain Middle School Community Raising Money to Restore Mural

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

Colorful mosaic mural in front of school in need of repair By Sam Catanzaro Mark Twain Middle School community members...

Intravenous Vitamin Therapy: A Natural, Effective Solution for the Flu

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

By Dr. Mahboubeh Hashemi, ND and Dr. Matthew Cavaiola, ND  As fall and winter are fast approaching, many people, and...

Three-Story Apartment Building Planned Near Venice Canals

October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020

1940s triplex could be replaced by co-living facility By Toi Creel Plans are in the works to demolish a 1940s...

Edify TV: Deal to House Homeless People Near Freeways

October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020

After months of negotiations, the City and County of LA reached a $300 million deal to house thousands of homeless...

Virtual Staging Changing The Way We Sell Property?

October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020

Today on Westside Cribz, Chuck Lorre buys his neighbors home, Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk selling his Santa...

LADOT Resumes Parking Enforcement

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) Parking Enforcement and Traffic Control (PETC) has resumed parking enforcement. Find out what...

Armed Suspect Attempting to Rob Several Local Victims

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

LAPD issue alert regarding series of Westside robberies Los Angeles Police Department detectives have recognized a pattern of robberies on...

Pacific Ave “Hoarding” Car Mysteriously Moves to Rose Ave Beach Parking: YO! Venice Show – October, 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Pacific Ave “Hoarding” Car Mysteriously Moves to Rose Ave Beach Parking...

Italian Restaurant Opens in Venice’s Former Chaya Space

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

Italian restaurant Forma expands into Venice By Kerry Slater A popular Santa Monica Italian restaurant has moved into space formerly...

Edify TV: Penmar Golf Homeless Encampment Update

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

The City of Los Angeles has taken new action in an effort to deal with a homeless encampment along Penmar...

Michelin Pauses 2020 California Guide

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

Restaurant guide says COVID-19 and wildfires forced decision By Kerry Slater The Michelin Guide has paused the announcement of stars...