Los Angeles Times Opinion Letters to the Editor: Gavin Newsom is a politician, not a saint. His COVID-19 response has been excellent

Los Angeles News
FILE - In this June 30, 2020, file photo, Gov. Gavin Newsom removes his face mask before giving an update during a visit to Pittsburg, Calif. Newsom said in a statement Friday, Nov. 13, that he should not have attended a birthday dinner with a dozen people at the posh French Laundry restaurant last week, saying that he should have set a better example for a virus-fatigued state that is seeing steep increases in coronavirus cases. Newsom's decision to attend was made as he's been telling others to not mingle with others outside their households. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)
Gov. Gavin Newsom removes his mask before giving an update on the state’s COVID-19 situation in Pittsburg, Calif., on June 30. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: I have been proud of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s response to our COVID-19 crisis. I appreciated his early daily TV appearances keeping us up to date on the latest information and directives. (“The worst thing about Gavin Newsom’s French Laundry dinner? It was with a lobbyist,” Opinion, Nov. 17)

Am I disappointed in his recent behavior flouting his own guidelines? Yes, very. But the childish notion of “He did it so why can’t I?” leaves me even more dismayed.

The governor is not God. Most thinking people know the basic rules of COVID-19 protection by now. But if some of us are going to act like little children, then I must apply my parents’ admonition: “If Gavin jumped off a roof, would you?”

Sadly, the answer from so many of us is yes.

Jill Gluck, West Hollywood

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To the editor: I am a democratic socialist and somewhat of a realist. The scandal about Newsom attending a birthday dinner is overblown.

Saints make poor politicians but excellent martyrs. Newsom is a politician who has connections, and he should be free to meet with anyone who is not engaging in a criminal activity.

Newsom was a rich man before he was elected governor of a state with one of the world’s largest economies, so he can afford to spend a few hundred dollars on a special meal.

The French Laundry, where Newsom dined, is open for business while observing safety protocols. It is naive to suggest that he should not have eaten there while other people struggle to find food. Would it have been a scandal if they ate at picnic tables near a taco stand in Sacramento?

There are far more important issues in this state. To complain that this “looks bad” is just silly.

Michael Krubiner, Valley Village

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To the editor: I am dismayed but not surprised to learn about the recent behavior of some of our elected officials.

First, our governor chose to dine at an extremely expensive restaurant with a lobbyist and several couples, while people all over the state are struggling to put food on the table and are being told to limit contact with others.

Then we learned that several of our state legislators apparently think that it is appropriate to travel to a conference in Maui during a pandemic so they can “discuss issues directly.” Haven’t they heard of Zoom?

Do our elected officials not understand that Californians have been suffering for months? At a minimum, where is the common sense? The people of California deserve better.

Sandra Harris, Pasadena

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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