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LETTERS -- Enough Already with the Edicts

May 18, 2020

Dear Editor,

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently issued an order that escalated his coronvirus mask edicts to require a mask be worn outdoors.

This was quickly followed by a similar edict for Santa Monica residents ("Santa Monica Orders Residents to Wear Face Coverings Outdoors," May 14, 2020).

We are constantly told by our political leaders that they make these authoritarian decisions "based on the science."

Yet, they do not cite a single scientific study that concludes the virus is readily transmissible in a brief outdoor encounter -- let alone in a beach city such as Santa Monica where there is virtually a continuous ocean breeze.

Moreover, political leaders never point to what the order states: People are required to take a mask with them and wear it "when they might encounter others" -- which is a far cry from wearing a mask outdoors period.

Encounter is not defined in the order. It likely is more than 6 feet, but unlikely to be more than 15. Anything beyond that would likely successfully be challenged as too vague and ambiguous to be enforceable.

Under the actual wording of the Los Angeles order (and presumably Santa Monica’s), a nostrils and mouth covering can be carried and put on as necessary.

Most likely, people will wear it pulled down and raise it as they encounter others -- something large numbers have been doing for days if not weeks (in part because a walk outdoors may also entail an indoor visit).

Another issue is the ‘fine’ for violating the edict (it is not a ‘law’ since there is no enabling legislation). Some have referenced the Riverside County fine of $1000.

A fine of such magnitude is very unlikely to withstand an 8th Amendment Constitutional challenge as "excessive" -- particularly when $1000 might constitute food or rent money for someone economically destroyed by government actions.

The whole matter and idea of issuing an ‘order’ is ridiculous.

All that was needed was a cautionary notice advising people to "carry with them facial coverings at all times they are not at home and employ those coverings when they encounter someone several feet away who is not a member of their household or family.”

Enough already. We do not need this continuing stream of non-scientifically based authoritarian edicts from politicians or bureaucrats.

Kip Dellinger
Santa Monica

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