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The Public Deserves Transparency When Government Declares Them Non-Essential

Gov. Gavin Newsom at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention. Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

A public forced into lockdown at the bare minimum deserves answers with transparent data when the government declares their life’s work non-essential.


In November, Federalist Political Editor John Davidson penned an article headlined, “Your Political Leaders Hate You And Think You’re Stupid,” highlighting the hypocrisy of elected leaders ignoring their own coronavirus edicts imposed on the public. The same axiom again illustrates itself two months later as Democrat governors hide the data they claim is used to justify driving their states’ residents back into lockdown.

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is facing a real threat of a recall, blew off public records requests that demanded materials the governor relied on to determine implementing stay-home orders.

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom has from the start said his coronavirus policy decisions would be driven by data shared with the public to provide maximum transparency,” the Associated Press reported Friday. “But with the state starting to emerge from its worst surge, his administration won’t disclose key information that will help determine when his latest stay-at-home order is lifted.”

State health officials told the AP releasing the data would only “confuse” the public.

After public pressure mounted to release information detailing why residents were forced out of work with religious services closed again, Newsom released the data Monday showing ICU projections his administration had been consulting to make their decisions while announcing a partial re-opening.

According to models released before Monday’s data dump, Newsom had divided the state into five regions in which ICU capacity determined the severity of lockdown measures imposed. To reopen, regions had to possess at least 15 percent capacity. Only one region on Monday, however, Northern California, met the threshold to reopen, according to the AP.

While Newsom released data for ICU projections, the AP reported, “state officials did not explain how regional per capita virus cases and transmission rates that also were released might influence how much ICU space will be available in four weeks.”

The timing of Newsom’s re-opening less than a week after President Joe Biden took office while ICU capacity remains below the required thresholds has raised questions about the Democratic governor’s motivations for the lockdowns pushing people out of state.

Newsom’s secrecy also earned the governor ridicule from U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who represents California’s 23rd Congressional District.

“One thing that has been clear throughout the pandemic is that Americans have been deprived of the resources to do what is best for ourselves, families, and community,” McCarthy said in a statement on Newsom’s hiding of data. “Not only does this logically not make sense, it suggests Newsom doesn’t think his constituents are capable of doing what’s right for themselves and their families.”

If California residents are going to be forced to use the food pantry because their leaders declared their lives’ work non-essential, then they at the bare minimum deserve answers with transparent data on what drove them out of work indefinitely.