What We Learned This Week

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What We Learned This Week

Brian Jones
Brian Jones / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Last August, after Republican state Sen. Brian Jones, who lives in Santee, contracted COVID-19, the Sacramento Bee editorial board lit into him:

“Jones’ irresponsible behavior created the potential for catastrophe in the California State Legislature. A review of Jones’ social media feeds reveals that he did everything to contract the virus — and to possibly infect others. His infection was simply a logical conclusion to his spree of wanton COVID-19 carelessness.”

Jones’ positive test eventually led to the Legislature being forced to operate virtually in its final days, and chaos ensued.

But instead of letting Jones’ positive test serve as a wake-up call, Republican lawmakers — who were simultaneously excoriating the governor for supposedly disregarding Californians’ rights — acted even more brazenly. State Sen. Shannon Grove, then the Republican Senate leader, spoke unmasked at an event packed with three times the number of people permitted, while she was supposed to be under quarantine thanks to Jones’ exposure.

Since then, some things have changed, and some things have remained woefully, frustratingly the same. Vaccines are here. But those same Republican lawmakers, including Jones, won’t say whether they’ve been vaccinated. In a twist that should shock no one, there’s another COVID-19 outbreak happening inside the California Capitol.

There’s now a mask mandate back inside the Capitol, the very type of restriction Republicans have been railing against for more than a year and that they could easily have avoided if they’d gotten vaccinated and done everything in their power to ensure everyone in the state did the same.

There’s also a mask mandate returning to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times noted that it’s vaccinated people who are being asked to bear the burden of returned restrictions in order to protect the unvaccinated: “Officials suspect that unvaccinated people have also stopped wearing masks in indoor public settings and businesses, even though they’re still required to do so. So vaccinated people are being asked to make a sacrifice to help slow coronavirus spread among the unvaccinated.”

Just before San Diego County lifted its mask mandate, a group of UCSD infectious disease specialists predicted, well, exactly our current situation: “A tenet of behavioral science is that behaviors often cluster, and those who have been reluctant to wear masks may also be the least likely to vaccinate and most likely to minimize the possible risks of contracting COVID-19 — leading to more risky behaviors as restrictions are relaxed.”

It’d be easy to assume they were talking about careless kids in their early 20s, or anti-science vaccine opponents. Turns out, they were also talking about many of our leaders in the highest echelons of state government.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Many Coronado High community members and even the mayor want the school board to un-fire the basketball coach it dismissed after the team’s supporters threw tortillas at members of an opposing team. It’s not the first time the Coronado community has rallied to defend an embattled coach.

That is far (far, far, faaaaaaaaaar) from the only local school board drama playing out right now, though. In fact, school boards across the county have gone completely off the rails.

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The lenders behind the deal that allowed the city to acquire Civic Center Plaza, which houses hundreds of city workers, have offered the city a choice: Pay rent, or get out. And the man who helped facilitate that deal and the deal to lease 101 Ash St., Jason Hughes, got paid almost $10 million for his role in those arrangements. Lisa Halverstadt delved into the mystery of why the payments were so high.

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The city attorney agreed to hand over the job of writing the ordinance to implement Measure B, a strengthened police oversight commission, after advocates questioned Mara Elliott’s role.

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There are a lot of balls in the air when it comes to the city’s redistricting process and what will happen next — Maya Srikrishnan broke them down.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“Someone paid $28 million to not go to space with Jeff Bezos next week.” – The rich are different from you and me.

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