PRI’s Winners and Losers – Week of December 11

Tim Anaya
Senior Director of Communications and the Sacramento Office 

Winner:  Restaurants in Los Angeles.  Restaurants in the City of Angels have been a punching bag for Los Angeles County health director Barbara Ferrer and for the county Board of Supervisors, who recently announced the shut-down of outdoor dining in the city.  Score one for the restaurants this week, who won a legal victory when Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled the county “acted arbitrarily” and “failed to perform the required risk-benefit analysis.”  While the victory is a hollow one – the Governor’s shutdown order takes precedence for now – perhaps the court ruling will start a trend of forcing government officials to justify their actions and act with accountability.

Loser:  Gov. Gavin Newsom.  This was another bad week for California’s governor.  His chief of staff announced she was leaving to pursue a position in the Biden Administration, the latest of several key staff changes.  The appointment of Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary ratcheted up pressure on Newsom from Democratic interest groups to choose their favored candidates for key statewide office picks he must soon make.  His administration bungled the rollout of its latest statewide Covid-19 restrictions, having to issue 2 major course corrections shortly in less than a week.  And the administration still can’t change the story after his French Laundry dining debacle.  Now, Politico reports, “the governor’s team is increasingly concerned with a long-shot conservative recall that could mushroom into a major threat in 2021 if it attracts significant financial support.” 

Evan Harris
Media Relations and Outreach Manager 

Winner:  IPOs.  Despite the coronavirus, 129 initial public offerings raised an estimated $252 billion during 2020. DoorDash and Airbnb added a combined $107 billion this week alone. Whether these IPOs will really help the economy is debatable, but COVID-19 didn’t stop big money FROM being poured into the stock market.

Loser:  Facebook and Google.  Ok, they haven’t lost anything yet but the push to break-up big tech is officially on the books. In October, the U.S. Department of Justice and several state attorneys general filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google. On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 state attorneys general sued Facebook for “illegal monopolization.” 

Rowena Itchon
Senior Vice President 

Winner: Pfizer, for being the first to come up with a COVID-19 vaccine – hats off to American innovation.

Loser: Eric Swalwell, who started his political career as City Councilman from Dublin, California and went on to run for POTUS, for holding out to his House Intelligence Committee seat after dallying with a Chinese spy.    

Kerry Jackson
Fellow, PRI’s Center for California Reform

Winner: Los Angeles County restaurant owners and workers. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said Tuesday that the county’s outdoor dining ban is “an abuse of the (health) department’s emergency powers, is not grounded in science, evidence, or logic,” and overturned it. But it’s only half a win because the county is still under the state’s stay-at-home order.

Loser: Hunter Biden. News reports tell us Joe Biden’s son is actively being investigated by the IRS Criminal Division, and the FBI and federal prosecutors are also involved. This is worse than waking up in the morning to find a 60 Minutes crew on the front porch.

McKenzie Richards
Development Associate

Winner: Riverside Sheriff Chad Bianco.  On December 4th, Sheriff Bianco gained national attention by posting a video criticizing the hypocritical behavior and dictatorial mandates of Governor Newsom. While Sheriff Bianco encouraged Riverside County citizens to wear masks and social distance, he concluded by stating, “the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will not be blackmailed, bullied, or used as muscle against the Riverside County residents in the enforcement of the Governor’s orders.”

Loser: California campers.   The California State Parks System announced that due to the pandemic, all campsites throughout the state will be closed until further notice. While shopping indoors in cramped spaces is permissible (with masks and social distance!), apparently secluding yourself in the open air of great outdoors is much too dangerous for Californians.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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