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Room with a view: what’s missing from this picture of California pandemic resiliency?

California Governor Gavin Newsom, in a recent press briefing, rolled out a presentation on California’s Pandemic Resilience (pdf) to explain how we get from Here/During to There/After.

In the presentation, Here/During is Stage 1. There/After is Stage 4, ending the stay-at-home order.

Here is one slide that gnaws at me:

Actions required by three segments of the population, as presented in Gov. Newsom’s California Pendemic Resiliency plan. Graphic courtesy of the Office of the Governor of the State of California.

Governor Newsom divides society into only three pieces: government, business, individuals. Where in this division — and in Governor Newsom’s thinking — are non-governmental organizations like, oh, trade unions and Chambers of Commerce and Rotary and Kiwanis and Lions and the Grampaw Pettibone Squadron and the Association of the United States Army and Habitat for Humanity and private shelters for women and children and… churches and stakes and mosques and synagogues

Despite how powerful unions are in California, they are not formally a branch of the State government. Chambers of Commerce are not themselves businesses. Rotary and similar organizations are people who band together to get things done outside the scope of government oversight.

Freedom of religion (not freedom of worship) is a Constitutional right yet churches tiptoe tardily into his slideshow, under Stage 3: Higher Risk Workplaces lumped together with personal care (that hair cut and mani/pedi are going to have to wait) and entertainment venues (no quenching that movie-theater popcorn jones yet). In-person religious services (churches, weddings*) color religious services in the same hue as anything that brings a non-family group together outside your home.

That’s wrong. It treats religious observance as petty and frivolous rather than foundational.

It also leaves out meetings of art leagues, horticultural societies, trade unions, parent/teacher associations, business mixers, fraternal organizations, community festivals, family get-togethers, interest group and non-profit board meetings, fundraising events like galas and barbecues and wine-tastings.

This division strips away overlapping layers of intermediaries insulating individuals from the possible predations of government.

We aren’t looking forward merely to bootstrapping the economy. We want to embrace all of civil society again.

Other missing items

Deregulation to encourage recovery by non-governmental segments of our society — not just “the economy.” Ditch AB 5!

Clarification of legal liability — forestall a possible landslide of fraudulent and/or unreasonable legal suits related to COVID-19.


* The ever-nimble Orange County Clerk-Recorder, Hugh Nguyen, has dissolved the stoppage of secular weddings by setting out ticket booths in large parking lots, allowing a single couple with a single witness to approach a booth after waiting to be waved up from their vehicle. Technically, in the Catholic Church, the priest is merely a witness to a sacrament administered to one another by the couple. The couple is sacramentally married, but the legal marriage is not recognized until it’s recorded. The priest is licensed by the State to record the marriage. What Governor Newsom is squelching are big church weddings where everybody and his second cousins attend — presumably the reception at a nearby restaurant would also fall into this category.