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More Calif. pols come under fire for COVID rule-breaking dinners

As coronavirus restrictions across the Golden State continue to tighten, Californians are being treated to their own version of a Food Network program.

A new version of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has taken hold.

The star? Not frosted-tipped Guy Fieri.

In his place, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo are rolling up to rule-breaking large dinners amid a constant admonition of California residents for the same.

Newsom’s attendance at a large birthday dinner party celebrating a highly-connected lobbyist at the pricey French Laundry in Yountville dominated headlines for two weeks heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

He was one-upped by members of the California Legislature who – amid a Newsom-penned advisory against interstate travel – hopped flights to Maui for a lobbyist-backed junket.

In Los Angeles County, County Supervisors voted 3-2 to confirm a regulation issued by county public health officials that shutdown indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants within the nation’s second-most populous county.

Following the vote to ban on-premises dining, Kuehl – who represents the San Fernando Valley, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu – was spotted grubbing at another pricey eatery: Il Forno Trattoria in Santa Monica.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Breed was outed as having attended a similar posh dinner at The French Laundry just a single day after Newsom attended the birthday bash for lobbyist Jason Kinney.

Breed spokesman Jeff Cretan told The San Francisco Chronicle that the Mayor attended a birthday dinner for socialite Gorretti Lo Lui’s 60th birthday. Adding to the wine country irony: Breed and Newsom (both one-time Mayors of San Francisco) dined in the same partially-enclosed room at Thomas Keller’s Michelin-starred eatery.

If held in San Francisco, Breed would have violated the guidelines she issued regarding restaurants – which are stricter than those issued by Newsom and state officials.

And three days after her dinner at The French Laundry, Breed banned indoor dining in the city, issuing an appeal that “[every] San Franciscan needs to do their part so that we can start moving in the right direction again.”

And lastly, San Jose’s Liccardo, who fessed up Tuesday to violating state guidelines regulating Thanksgiving gathering rules issued by Newsom by attending a Thanksgiving dinner at his parents’ home.

In a statement, Liccardo confirmed that he and his wife were at his parents’ home Thanksgiving for an outdoor dinner where eight people from five different households were in attendance.

The confession came after a Mayoral aide told reporters he stayed home for the holiday.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.