Opinion: Our City Leaders Need to Scale Back Some COVID-19 Orders

March 2017 video of West Hollywood Park construction (YouTube, courtesy of the City of West Hollywood)

Just days ago I wrote an article for the website LGBTQ Nation where I talked about the national lockdown measures and how they differ based on the state and city. I spoke of how I recognize the imperative to put public health first, and that’s why I was initially very supportive of the lockdown here in West Hollywood and Los Angeles County. They were, however, meant to be temporary, and we are now two months in, our objective achieved in terms of hospitalizations and hospital capacity etc. without any clear end in sight. 

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors said yesterday that we *might* re-open on July 4th, which is a month and a half away. They said though that it might take even longer. This despite the fact that our economy, especially in a city/county like Los Angeles and more particularly West Hollywood, is on the verge of complete decimation. I can’t tell you the amount of stories I’ve heard from people I personally know who’ve lost their jobs or lost their businesses due to this ongoing lockdown. And it’s going to get much, much worse. 

I was really disappointed by several of the decisions made by West Hollywood municipal leaders at the City Council meeting this past Monday night. The first being the decision to close West Hollywood Park until September 2021, the rationale being that the park is closed anyway and that the prolonged closure will help expedite completion fo the new recreation center. People are already desperate to get back into the park, and in my view it should already be open. This closure also might mean that L.A. Pride, already cancelled in West Hollywood this year, may not be able to take place in our city next year either.

I was also shocked by the hubris of our City Manager Paul Arevalo announcing that he was taking it upon himself to force, starting this Saturday, May 23, all West Hollywood residents to wear masks anywhere and everywhere, even if you are alone walking down the street or exercising. This is in line with the unscientific, arbitrary similar order that L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the incompetent L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer (who has a doctorate in social welfare by the way, not public health) made last week.

Arevalo says that this order will be “enforced” but still hasn’t decided how the city will do so. There is absolutely zero scientific rationale for this, with even Dr. Fauci of the CDC saying that the odds of contracting coronavirus when outdoors are extremely low. But our city manager took it upon himself to order our residents to do it anyway. As a member and former co-chair of our city’s Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, I am extremely concerned about the effect these actions have on our people and businesses, who are under the gun as it is. Now the city is putting in place even more punitive, confusing, unjustified measures? 

I strongly urge our City Council and City Manager to change course, open our parks, and pressure the county to let our small businesses open as soon as possible. I fear that if we don’t very soon, people will be forced to leave our city and many of our businesses will close forever. 


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Make it realDavid BockoffJohn SmithJohn RyanBlueeyedboy Recent comment authors

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David Bockoff
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David Bockoff

Has Mr. Arevalo taken any kind of pay cut?

Make it real
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Make it real

Because he’s doing less work? Or because we are an intellectually lazy lot who cannot think beyond the disjointed soundbites of an opinion writer who would nary be afforded an inch of room in a serious publication?

John Smith
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John Smith

Can the author please provide his education background? This is relevant given his criticism of Dr. Ferrer. I’ like to know on what basis he labeled her as incompetent.

Make it real
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Make it real

One year in an undergraduate program at California Lutheran University

John Ryan
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John Ryan

You think a mask is uncomfortable? Wait till you get intubated!! Be a mensch and wear the mask; it’s not for you, it’s for everybody else.

Blueeyedboy
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Blueeyedboy

The survival rate and continued good health of Covid patients under 65 is better than 99%, and for those between ages 65 and 80 who have no underlying health issues it is more than 80%. Children are almost 100% protected from showing symptoms, even when they pick up the virus. What is not being taken into account here is the need to encourage herd immunity by opening everything back up. When more than 50% of the population carries the antibodies very few people will get seriously ill. In time the virus will have been eradicated because it has no more… Read more »

Vigilant
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Vigilant

Would you care to be specific about your comments? Exactly who said what and when. “Hydroxychloroquine builds a wall around the immune system”? You mean like a Chinese Great Wall or just a fence? I’m sure the practitioners of thousands of years of TCM would be interested in that. philosophy. Perhaps Mr. Pharmacist would like to put the specifics in print.

John Ryan
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John Ryan

Join the discussion…Under 65, 99% survival; what if YOU are in the 1%? I bet your tune would change then!

Blueeyedboy
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Blueeyedboy

No, John Ryan, I wouldn’t change my tune at all because I know some people are going to continue to catch the virus and I may be one of them. I’m going to consider my age and any underlying conditions as to how I protect myself. There are risks in everything we do and we have to consider daily if the risk is worth the activity and exposure by being aware of the data. If your age and health are within the range I spoke of, even if you get the virus you are not likely to suffer much, or… Read more »

Todd Montgomery
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Todd Montgomery

Well said Jamed Duke. Totally agree. We are adults and should be trusted to take appropriate precautions when the conditions warrant it.

Vigilant
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Vigilant

YOICKS!

Rob Bergstein
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Rob Bergstein

Oh, James Duke, James Duke, James Duke. You are so off the mark, I’m not sure where to begin, but here goes: Council made the right decision to keep West Hollywood park closed and to expedite construction. Rip the band aid off, so to speak. Once We are more towards phase 3 of COVID restrictions, our residents of our 1.9 square mile (so seriously, nothing is that far away) can discover the city’s other parks–Plummer Park, Kings Road Park, Hart Park and the lovely and underutilized pocket park on Formosa. Or they could cross about 200 feet outside of West… Read more »

Chris B
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Chris B

I will partake in civil disobedience … this is against all the science. I can get onboard with LA County’s Dr Ferrer who has stated the following: “”Masks are in fact mandatory across the entire county when you’re outside of your home, not with members of your household, and in any kind of contact with other people. The reason you wear a cloth face covering is so that you can protect other people from your respiratory droplets.” If no one is around, we suggest keep a face covering in your pocket, in case other humans appear (and runners, put it… Read more »

Larry Block
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Larry Block

I wish Duke would have explained some of these business stories he heard instead of just alluding to some problems that I’m not sure are real- he’s not attended one chamber meeting to see or listen to the concerns of the business community- – as far as the park if this was important to him he should have spoken up during the council meeting or during any of the meetings over the past few months — Taking a stand after the fact when things are finalized already is a losing approach.

Karen Eyres
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Karen Eyres

I’m with Jimmy Palmieri on this one.

The numbers of COVID deaths and cases of diagnosed infections in LA County are going up … still. We’re not out of this.

Let’s keep our residents as safe and healthy as possible, while focusing on measures to open only essential businesses and public places. Let’s support our City Council as it makes the tough decisions for the good of our city and its residents.

Let’s not be short-sighted and gullible.

Josh Kurpies
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Josh Kurpies

First, I strongly disagree with the author’s opinion on the competence of LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. I find her to be the most competent of any of the decision makers currently thrusting themselves into the public health policy realm. Dr. Ferrer has done an outstanding job leading our County in response to this pandemic and shown great strength in maintaining a science-based analysis of the constantly-changing dynamics while resisting cowering to pressures by the Governor, Mayors, City Managers and public. Dr. Ferrer is truly our County’s Dr. Fauci and they’re both all we’ve got to get… Read more »

Manny
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Manny

The beloved scientist Dr Fauci, you mean the guy who said on March 8th, “people should not be walking around with masks”. That guy?……You’re right, good comparison to the County’s social welfare doctor.

Peterman
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Peterman

Technically you cannot force people to wear a mask in public, but I’m sure our lovely police will have fun arresting people breaking the “law” spotted by low flying helicopters.