California Gov. Gavin Newsom is being sued by a Newport Beach official after the governor closed the overcrowded Orange County beaches, which includes Newport Beach.
The “images we saw on the beaches were disturbing,” Newsom said last week when announcing the beach closings. “Everyone saw those images and we’re all concerned about that. … That’s what ultimately led to this decision.”
In his suit, Kevin Muldoon, a former Newport Beach mayor and current city councilman, says Newsom, California’s attorney general and other state officials “abused their power by seizing on the coronavirus pandemic to expand their authority to unprecedented lengths,” and are showing “a willingness to ignore and to violate the fundamental civil rights of California residents.”
Muldoon claims Orange County was unfairly singled out by the governor.
He also says the state “reached out to local law enforcement only to ready a closure of public spaces while not conferring with or obtaining the blessing of local authorities.”
Newsom said on Monday that he worked with local officials over the weekend to discuss how Orange County beaches can reopen “in a way that can least allow us the kind of decompression that can avoid people mixing.”
“We worked with them on guidelines and procedures to basically enforce a reopening that is phased and appropriate to local needs, local conditions,” Newsom said, adding that for Laguna Beach and San Clemente beaches, “we signed off on those and we immediately lifted” the closures.
At Monday’s briefing, Newsom said he was “very close” to reaching agreements with the other Orange County cities.
California has over 54,000 confirmed cases and at least 2,254 fatalities.
This Friday, some California retail — like clothing stores, florists and bookstores — can reopen with curbside pickup, Newsom announced. Offices, restaurants and malls will not open.