Los Angeles residents and others expressed outrage after seeing Sheila Kuehl, the LA County Superintendent, eat for hours outdoors after voting for an outdoor meal across the county.
On November 24, Kuehl voted to ban all personal meals at LA County restaurants for the next three weeks as the county suffered a dramatic resurgence during November. On the same day, the county reported 5,544 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest daily cumulative new case according to official data.
“This is a serious health emergency and we need to take it seriously,” Kuehl said at the meeting before the measure was acceptable in a 3-2 vote. “Servers are not protected from us, nor are they protected from the other tables they serve at a given time, as well as all the hours they work on.”
Although the ban did not take effect until the next night, Kuehl was seen eating at Il Forno Trattoria, an Italian restaurant near Santa Monica, a few hours after his vote. Kuehl issued a statement explaining his actions, but people still angrily accuse him of hypocrisy.
After FOX 11 first announced Kuehl’s restaurant trip on Monday, LA County Superintendent Janice Hahn, who opposed the outdoor eating ban, told news television: “We need to remember that those of us in public office are held to a very high standard, as it should. “
“One of the things I realize with some new restrictions is that if we can’t gain public confidence that we’re with us in this fight against the virus, we’ve lost a big battle, and I feel like now, after nine months, we’re starting. to lose public confidence. “
Others, especially conservatives, have since expressed anger and disappointment at Kuehl on Twitter, albeit non-conservatives.
Ronna McDaniel, chairman of the Republican National Committee, wrote, “The hypocrisy presented by Democrat-elected officials across the country is unrealistic.”
Richard Grenell, former Acting Director of National Intelligence under Trump, wrote, “Politicians like @SheilaKuehl and @GavinNewsom are crazy about control. And restaurant owners are angry.”
In his tweet, Grenell tagged Kuehl and California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who was widely criticized for allegedly eating at a dinner on November 6 at the French Laundry Restaurant in Yountville, California, in opposition to the COVID-19 protocols he himself helped enforce. in the state. .
The official twitter account of the California Senate GOP Caucus wrote, “Another example of a Democratic leader is the ‘do as I say, not like me’ approach.”
Comedian Sarah Colonna and author wrote, “Hi @SheilaKuehl. That kind of behavior is why it’s so divisive. There’s no excuse for that,” adding, “It’s BS. There’s no way to ‘drive.'”
Conservative comedian Dave Ruben and conversational presenter wrote, “Hi @SheilaKuehl, as a concerned Los Angeles citizen, would like to know what he had dinner at the Italian restaurant the same night he voted to close all restaurants? What kind of wine fits the power-hungry mania?”
LGBTQ sports writer Cyd Zeigler wrote, “Official: Newsomitis is contagious. @SheilaKuehl eliminated closing restaurants in LA and then went and had dinner at a restaurant. That’s why so many people stopped listening to California’s elected officials. Complete failure in leadership.”
In a statement released Tuesday, a Kuehl spokesman said, “Kuehl has been eating at virtually every night at Il Forno Trattoria for many years, and on the last night when county health orders allowed it, he dined outdoors during his free time, according to recommendations from the Department of Public Health.”
The spokesman added that after the outdoor eating ban came into force, Kuehl will continue to support the restaurant by ordering guests with overnight orders and encouraging others to do the same “while we live through this challenging period.”
In an interview with Spectrum News 1 SoCal reporter Alex Cohen, Kuehl said he went to the restaurant to personally spread the word about the upcoming ban and defended himself against critics who said the ban would materially damage countless restaurants and their employees. “It’s very hard to do without pay … but even harder without breath,” she said.
Newsweek contacted Kuehl’s office for comments.