LA County Official, a Former Child Actor, Says Minority Communities Can't Meet Reopening Guidelines

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl came out this week in opposition to a plan to allow individual cities to allow commercial activity to resume in some cities around the county. The reason? “It would be difficult for any city with a high minority population to meet these guidelines,” Kuehl said. California has only recently begun to reopen after an almost complete lockdown in response to the CCP coronavirus pandemic.


Kuehl, the former child actor and first openly gay legislator in California’s history, made the comments while opposing a request by cities in LA County to individually manage their own reopening plans.

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NBC Los Angeles reported:

Officials representing municipalities from the South Bay to the Ventura County border urged the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday to allow retail businesses in certain cities to reopen, arguing that they face a lower risk than the county as a whole.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Los Angeles County is “right on the cusp” of being able to reopen retail businesses and relax other public health officers, but argued for the right of cities to move more quickly.

“Our county has done an exceptional job of flattening the curve through social distancing, investing in testing and stocking up on PPE,” Barger said.

“This virus has impacted each of our communities differently,” Barger said. “Many of the communities have matched the state’s Department of Public Health thresholds.”

Barger said she believed the governor’s recent executive order opens the door for individual cities to move more quickly than the county in which they are located.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl disagreed, saying that state health officials had repeatedly made clear that regulations should be applied countywide.

“We cannot fracture the county that way,” Kuehl said. “(It) creates an ungovernable patchwork quilt.”

Barger countered that a letter to the board from state health officials on the topic showed a “disconnect” with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most relevant executive order.


One might note the “ungovernable patchwork” Kuehl referenced consists of cities with their own governments that have a better pulse on what needs individual communities have while planning to reopen. The revulsion to something as ungovernable by uniform rules reveals a rather totalitarian streak in the supervisor.

The report continues:

When previously asked about the possibility of parts of Los Angeles County opening before others, Newsom noted “geographic disparities and the spread of the virus being disparate among different regions within” Los Angeles County.

He also told reporters, “We look forward to working with (L.A. County officials) more substantively and specifically about areas that they would recommend.”

Kuehl said creating city-by-city variances and rules would create racial inequities.

“It would be difficult for any city with a high minority population to meet these guidelines,” Kuehl said.

Barger countered that the economic shutdown was disproportionately hurting minority communities and low-wage workers, many of whom work in cities that could meet state criteria.

“Every county around us has reopened and is moving in a direction that, quite frankly, if we do not begin listen to our constituency and listen to what is going on in this county, we are going to have more jobs lost,” Barger said.


Even Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom realizes that his own orders shouldn’t uniformly apply to every region. Kuehl doesn’t appear to offer any defense for her claim that minority populations can’t handle reopening. It seems rather racist for her to claim that they don’t have the same capability to function as caucasian communities.


Thank goodness another county supervisor, Kathryn Barger, pointed that out for Kuehl. It would be one thing if Kuehl could demonstrate that somehow services have not been provided to minority communities at the same level as other communities, but all she’s really doing here is trading in social justice platitudes.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Barger makes an excellent point. Communities on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale most certainly are feeling greater negative effects from an economy that elected officials have completely shut down.

Bottom line for minority communities: what’s going to help them get back on their feet faster? A liberal county supervisor slowing down their reopening process, or a full return to robust economic activity?

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available now at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.


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