Orange County Drops the Ball Yet Again.


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Well, he finally did it. And by that I mean we finally did it. What am I talking about? Why, Governor Newsom shutting down all the beaches in Orange County, of course! It really was the inevitable result of the large influx of people to Newport and Huntington Beaches, among others, over the weekend. And I get it. It was hot — hotter than it has any right to be in April. It was nearing triple digits where I live in Fullerton. Perfect beach weather. I mean, perfect for any other possible time in recent history anyway.

I’ve seen this little number floating around social media.

No one can honestly say they didn’t see this coming. As of writing this, I am on day 41 of my own personal lockdown. Some people have been cooped up longer, some shorter, but all of us collectively are starting to go a bit stir crazy. That is, if we don’t already have cabin fever. Protests of the governor’s stay-at-home order have already happened across the state. Hell, we had our own little get together in Huntington Beach a few weeks ago. But don’t worry if you missed that one. You’ll have another chance to get your protest on come May 1st.

There’s also another protest scheduled to happen at Capitol in Sacramento. It seems the demonstrators want to take the fight right to Governor Newsom’s doorstep. People all across California appear ready to reopen the state and go back to business as usual. If you believe their signs, slogans, and chants, they’re either sick and tired of Newsom’s tyrannical rule, don’t believe COVID-19 to be that big of a deal, believe the whole pandemic to be some kind of global or political conspiracy and hoax, or some combination of all three. There are also a good number of people who don’t understand the purpose of quarantining someone.

Uh, that’s not how quarantining works.

In any case, people are fired up. The public’s willingness to cooperate with the various health departments’ guidelines seem to be at an all time low. Personally, I have seen an ever increasing number of people walking around either without masks at all or wearing them incorrectly. Social distancing has taken a back seat. I can’t count number of the times my wife and I have had to walk into the street to avoid someone who didn’t seem to care about keeping six feet of distance between us. So whose fault is all this? I place the blame squarely at the feet of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The entire board has been ineffectual at best and downright incompetent at worst throughout this entire public health crisis. They initially refused to provide city-level data on COVID-19 cases. A few short days later, they reversed their decision. They then claimed they could not legally release information on smaller cities with fewer than 25,000 residents. They claimed doing so would violate HIPAA protections. This position, again, was reversed. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there have been any significant changes to HIPAA regulations over the past month. It seems unlikely given that neighboring Los Angeles and San Diego Counties have been providing similar data to their residents for weeks prior to Orange County’s decision.

The truth is that the Orange County Board of Supervisors has dragged their feet at every possible juncture. They openly disagree with Sacramento’s handling of this crisis. They refuse to take up a countywide mandate on wearing masks, leading to a patchwork system of enforcement. Just yesterday, the board voted unanimously on measures outlining the county’s guidelines for reopening nonessential businesses. This caused a lot of confusion, leading some to believe Orange County was defying the governor’s stay-at-home orders and that everyone could expect to return to work. This was the second time they have stepped in it and led people to believe something that wasn’t necessarily true.

Yes, of COURSE he has the power to do this, Don.

In a way, I understand why they are acting the way they are. They’re politicians. They’re beholden to the people and businesses that control the county’s purse strings. A recent poll found the overwhelming majority of Californians want to maintain the lockdown until health officials deem it safe to reopen the state and the economy. The poll also highlights that nearly 80% of lower income Californians agree with that sentiment. So who is protesting these measures?

I can’t tell you the exact demographics, but I certainly have my own ideas distilled from what I’ve been seeing and hearing online and in the media. They are wealthier, but not too rich. They’re older, but not too old. They’re mostly white. They are entitled. They think very highly of themselves. They believe they are patriots. Now, I don’t expect you to make any broad generalizations about the entire #ReopenCA movement (or whatever it’s called). This is just my own anecdotal account, and it’s drawn mostly from Orange County. My point is, they’re not representative. These are (mostly) people who aren’t used to being told what they can do and where they can go. They’re bristling under the tyranny of King Newsom.

They’re also patently absurd. And, I’d wager, not all that bright. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but I find it hard to suffer fools. But, they have money. And in the political world, money talks, and our supervisors listen.

Let me break it down for those of you planning to protest tomorrow and on into the future. You’re not a patriot for going to the beach in defiance of the governor’s orders. You’re not a patriot for championing medical opinions that have been widely and thoroughly debunked. You’re not a patriot for standing around in a large crowd without personal protective equipment during a public health crisis while holding up signs declaring “COVID-19 IS A LIE” and “SOCIAL DISTANCING = COMMUNISM”. You’re not a patriot for refusing to wear a mask in public. You’re just repeating history, and not in a good way.

You’re a buffoon. Prepare to be treated as such by society. Especially in light of the increasing deaths across the state.

 


About Sean Cocca

Born and raised in Orange County, Sean graduated from CSULB with a degree in Journalism -- something he has tried (and failed) to exorcise from his life. He resides in North OC. He's grown far more politically independent over the years and staunchly refuses to join a political party. Follow him on twitter @NPPinCA.