July 26, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

The Big Price When Scofflaws Don’t Enforce the Law

By Tom Elias, Yo! Venice Columnist

The list of California law enforcement agencies refusing to enforce current stay-at-home, crowd-size and masking orders from Gov. Gavin Newsom and county health officials numbers at least two dozen, stretching into most parts of the state.

Negative results of those scofflaw inactions were not obvious at first, while some counties let restaurants stay open despite closing orders, made no effort to prevent gatherings of more than 10 persons and assigned no sheriff’s deputies to enforce face masking.

But now some nasty consequences are clear. Leaping out at readers of county-by-county statistics during Christmas Week was a direct correlation between lack of enforcement and coronavirus prevalence, infections and deaths.

The numbers made it painfully obvious that inaction by law enforcement has cost plenty of lives. Lack of enforcement has also been counter-productive in achieving the scofflaws’ own proclaimed goals: allowing normalcy to return sooner rather than later. Larger caseloads inevitably mean longer shutdowns.

The refusals to act are pure dereliction of duty in a state where the most common motto of law enforcement is “To protect and serve.” These folks are not doing much to help protect their constituents from the worst pandemic of the last century.

Of the five California counties with the highest seven-day average COVID-19 cases in the week leading up to Christmas, just one has taken strong enforcement measures. That’s San Diego County, ranked fifth, where six deputies enforce anti-contagion measures full time.

But sheriffs in the four large counties with by far the biggest case numbers – Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside – all refuse.

 Those four counties also had the highest per-capita case rates among the state’s large counties, ranging from 4,110 per 100,000 persons in Orange County to 7,520 in San Bernardino County. Meanwhile, Santa Clara County, whose strict shutdown famously forced the San Francisco 49ers and several college sports teams to hit the road for weeks at a time, had a per capita caseload – 1,176 per 100,000 – far below those of the big scofflaw counties. Socio-economic differences can’t explain such huge gaps.

Do the anti-contagion measures work? These statistics, reported by the counties themselves, suggest the answer is yes.

This has not yet changed policy anyplace where law enforcement is commanded by people who enforce only the laws they like, even when measures they ignore can spare illness and lives.

Even contracting the virus in early December did not move Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones to change his policies. When the state imposed its mask mandate, Jones said his deputies would not enforce it, calling violations “minor.” How minor are they when they cause infections and death?

So far, Sheriffs Alex Villanueva, Don Barnes and Chad Bianco, who respectively enforce most laws in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, and San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon continue refusing to enforce key state emergency edicts which have so far survived legal challenges.

Villanueva said early on his deputies won’t “take part in enforcing stay at home orders…” Barnes called following the rules “a matter of personal responsibility, not a matter of law enforcement;” Bianco said he won’t be “blackmailed, bullied or used as muscle” by the governor or health officials.

In all their counties, intensive care units were filled to capacity through most of December, but the sheriffs remained adamant. The only major anti-Covid law enforcement actions in those counties saw Los Angeles deputies break up two underground parties where dozens gathered and may have created “superspreader” events.

It’s not only sheriffs refusing to enforce laws, but also some police chiefs. In Stockton, Ceres, Dixon, Roseville, Folsom and many other cities, chiefs say they prefer an “education” approach to violators of masking and social distancing rules. That matches the stance of the non-enforcing sheriffs in the state’s hardest-hit areas.

There have been no consequences so far for any of the law enforcement people making these sometimes deadly decisions.

That’s worth contemplating as many millions of Californians respect the rules, stay home and try to save their lives and those of people with whom they might otherwise associate.

It’s also something voters should remember when the sheriffs involved come up for reelection in 2022 and 2024.

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

Homeless Advocate Arrested Near Venice Bridge Home Shelter on Suspicion of Dealing Drugs

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

65-year-old Garry Featherstone accused of selling meth, PCP By Sam Catanzaro A self-described homeless outreach advocate was recently arrested near...

63-Year-Old Man Killed in Westchester Tent Fire

July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

LAFD investigating Wednesday night incident  By Sam Catanzaro A 63-year-old man died in a tent following a fire in Westchester...

Opinion: Why Silence the Sheriff? Bonin Bashing of Villanueva Backfires at the Wrong Moment!

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021

By Nick Antonicello Don’t like the message? Please don’t shoot the messenger! For that seems to be the case when...

Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing: YO! Venice Show – July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing * LAFD...

Unidentified Skeletal Remains Found in Ballona Wetlands Amid Search for Missing Person

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Authorities make discovery amid search for Kolby Story this past Friday  By Sam Catanzarto Unidentified skeletal remains were found Friday...

Beach Closures Lifted After Sunday Discharge of 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage From Hyperion Plant

July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Sunday Night By Sam Catanzaro Beach closures have...

Petition for Recall of Councilmember Bonin Approved for Circulation

July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

Signature gathering phase now set to begin after Tuesday approval by City Clerk  By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles City...

Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk: YO! Venice Show – July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk * Pedestrian...

Hyperion Spill Discharges 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage Into Santa Monica Bay

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Sunday night spillage occurs 1-mile offshore from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant By Sam Catanzaro 17 million gallons of raw sewage...

IPO Cosmetics Launches The World’s First 4Step Facial Kit

July 10, 2021

July 10, 2021

It’s Perfect On Introduces a New, Convenient, Portable and Eco-Friendly Skincare Option By Staff Writer What if you could get...

Marina Drive-In Movie Summer Series Underway

July 9, 2021

July 9, 2021

Gather with your family and friends to watch movies by the sea in Marina del Rey. Marina Drive-In Movie Nights,...