As San Diegans remain under a stay at home order, 3rd District Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, whose district includes Escondido, is requesting that the County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Helen N. Robbins-Meyer remove the restriction on swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, and recreational boating. This change would restore local control and allow cities to make their own decision on these forms of recreation provided they can maintain social distancing guidelines.
Gaspar also shared a proposed golf course safety plan to assist the County in lifting the current restrictions on golf while protecting employees and patrons.
“As we enter our second month with a stay at home order, I am concerned that the risk of not allowing increased recreational outlets will cause undue harm on our collective health and wellness,” said the supervisor.
Third district Supervisor Jim Desmond agrees with Gaspar, according to one of his aides, who said, “He completely agrees with her and believes that we should be getting recreational areas (parks, trails, beaches, etc.) open immediately. Supervisor Desmond’s focus is on getting businesses back and open. We continue to hear that it could be weeks before they are allowed to open again and many of these small businesses don’t have weeks.”
Ask to comment on Gaspar’s request, Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara told The Times-Advocate: “While I’m supportive of guidelines from health care professionals, I also support their implementation at the local level. As a city, we’ve taken a common sense implementation approach over these past months, that resulted in very positive results, while avoiding draconian measures. Our community has stepped up and worked together. I’m sure as restrictions are relaxed we will continue to work together for the common good. “
Itica Milanes, communications director for Gaspar’s office, when asked why Gaspar does not introduce a motion to do what she is requesting, replied, “The Board of Supervisors does not have the power to do this. That decision is made by Wilma Wooten alone with the COVID Subcommittee providing input. The three Supervisors not on the Subcommittee can only provide input to the County CAO, Helen N. Robbins-Meyer, because of Brown Act. That’s why Supervisor Gaspar sent two letters about re-opening recreation to the county CAO.”
The Brown Act restricts members of the Board of Supervisors from individually requesting that County employees take actions. By law, they can only direct the CAO to carry out actions as part of their legislative function.