Governor Gavin Newsom is in good company when politicians attend trendy birthday parties while encouraging others to avoid rallies.
It turns out that the Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, had dinner at the French laundry after Newsom’s infamous, ill-considered, moderately pandemic restaurant at night at the three-star Michount restaurant in Yountville.
The breed took a few days off after election day and celebrated Gorretti Lo Lui’s 60th birthday with seven other companions on the evening of November 7, confirmed breed spokesman Jeff Cretan. The eight-person party was served in the same kind of partially enclosed room, with a ceiling and chandelier, as the Newsom – making it an indoor dining experience rather than an outdoor one.
Crete described the occasion as a “small family birthday dinner,” but it is not clear exactly who attended and how many households the group included.
While indoor dining was allowed in Napa County at the time, without specifying the number of households, state policies “strongly discouraged” social gatherings and imposed a limit on three households. Breed’s dinner at a rich restaurant – amid an economic disaster that shut down countless small businesses and stretched lines to new lengths at local food banks – may not have technically broken the rules, but it didn’t look great either.
Dinner certainly violated San Francisco’s health guidelines if held in Breed’s own town. San Francisco issued stricter guidelines than the state for a variety of businesses, including restaurants that shouldn’t have planted groups of more than six indoors or outdoors unless everyone lived together. Three days after eating at the French laundromat, Breed completely banned indoor dining in San Francisco.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to act responsibly to reduce the spread of the virus,” Breed said in a Nov. 10 statement. “Every San Francis has to do his part to get in the right direction. Again.”
This is just the latest example of a politician not practicing exactly what he constantly advertises. When Newsom attended a French laundry dinner on the 50th birthday of lobbyist Jason Kinney, the 12-person party was certainly attended by more than three households. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was combing in San Francisco while the salons were closed.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told people to avoid big Thanksgiving gatherings, but his elderly parents attended a gala dinner in Saratoga with other relatives from five households. Los Angeles County Superintendent Sheila Kuehl voted for the outdoor meal last week – and hours later, they noticed they were having lunch outside at an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica.
It’s enough to make some residents wonder why they follow the rules if the people who define them don’t.
In Crete, he said the mayor had paid for his own dinner, stressing that indoor and outdoor meals were allowed in Napa and San Francisco counties at the time. He said Breed had dinner at several restaurants when the case of the coronavirus was lower to support them financially.
“Now that the proportion of cases is rising and the Bay Area counties are moving back to the purple color, it is once again limiting its actions and encouraging all San Francisco people to do the same,” he said.
Lui is the vice chairman of the San Francisco Symphony’s board of directors and a member of the Asian Arts Commission, which consists of 27 members appointed by other members but subject to the mayor’s approval. Her husband, Lawrence Lui, is president of Stanford Hotels and a hotel developer who broke up in 2018 at the Marriott SOMA Mission Bay Hotel. The father of Hong Kong billionaire, Che-woo Lui.
Gorretti and Lawrence Lui appear regularly in the city’s social circle.