By George Skelton
APRIL 30, 2020
SACRAMENTO - … Going to the beach is our birthright as native Californians — and our promise to newcomers.
Recently, it was reassuring to notice that Ventura politicians still get it. Beaches are the substance of local peoples’ lives. The City Council decided to open them on the first spectacular weekend of the season “in support of balancing residents’ physical and mental health,” it announced.
Yes, a warm sun, calm breeze and a little body surfing will do wonders for the mind, relaxing it and enabling the toleration of all manner of aggravations while sheltering at home. You can’t find therapy like that good no matter the fee.
L.A. has kept its beaches closed. But they were opened in Orange County. And the Newport Beach City Council rejected a proposal to close down the beach in May after people swarmed there on the hot weekend. …
“I think you should reopen them,” state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) said Tuesday. He’s a former Orange County supervisor who represents some beach communities. “People should have access to facilities.”
Moorlach says he understands why people flocked there on a beautiful weekend.
“You need to trust people,” the senator says. “If they exercise proper social distancing, you’ve got to let people be people. If you’re part of a vulnerable group, shame on you for going to the beach. For everyone else who’s sheltering in place, the beach may be the best medicine.”
“We haven’t seen the ‘surge’” in virus contagion that was feared, he continues. “And I’m not seeing a wide band of people in ICUs. I see hospitals in my district struggling because they don’t have patients. Something’s amiss. Maybe people are seeing that too.”
What Gov. Gavin Newsom saw — those crowded beach scenes — made him angry. …
So amend the guidelines and loosen up.
“The TV angles were bad” and made the beaches look more crowded than they really were, Moorlach says.
“Everyone did social distancing. [It] was real cooperative and very respectful. They just wanted to get out and get some sun, which is really healthy.”
… Until then, here’s my declaration of independence from shallow thinking:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Californians are endowed with certain unalienable rights. Among these are sun, surf and a day at the beach.”
Newsom could use some beach time. It’s sad that he apparently intends to close all the beaches instead.
Click here to read the entire column published in The Los Angeles Times.