SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The coronavirus lockdown came fast and furious, and so did calls for reopening.
In a matter of weeks, Governor Newsom did an about-face, changing his message on which counties should reopen.
Growing public pressure appears to have forced the governor to take a softer stance. In late April, he was determined to keep the reopening process the same for all.
“Protests won’t drive our decision making. Political pressure will not drive our decision making. The science, the data public health will drive our decision making,” Newsom said.
But then pandemic pressure hit. County leaders, including the Sacramento County Sheriff, started publicly calling for local control as protests at the state capitol continued.
During his daily press conference Monday, the governor said, “People can go at their own pace. We are empowering our local health directors and county officials who understand their local communities and conditions better than any of us.”
Demands for local control were too loud to ignore. The governor also said Monday that almost every county, 53 out of 58, qualifies to move through reopening phases quicker.
“Clearly he’s been feeling the heat from localities and members of the legislature are sending him letters,” said Kirk Uhler, a Placer County Supervisor.
Political analyst Gary Dietrich said the governor’s change in messaging boils down to California’s diversity.
“When political pressures are growing in different parts of the state, keeping the state unified on a single track becomes exceedingly difficult,” Dietrich said.
Dietrich said as the science around coronavirus changes, so will the message from the top.
“COVID-19 is a moving target. It’s not a static target and that’s a challenge for any governor,” Dietrich said.
Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler questions the governor’s authority over the reopening process altogether. CBS13 has reached out to the attorney general, asking him to weigh in on this, but his office redirected us back to the governor’s office.