Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is blasting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) in a new video statement after the governor threatened to withhold funding to counties refusing to enforce the governor's latest round of coronavirus lockdowns.
Sheriff Bianco accused the governor of being both hypocritical and dictatorial, and said the Riverside County Sheriff's Department would not be "blackmailed, bullied, or used as muscle against Riverside County residents."
"The dictatorial attitude toward California residents while dining in luxury, traveling, keeping his business open, and sending his kids to in-person private schools is very telling about his attitude toward California residents, his feelings about the virus, and it is extremely hypocritical," said the sheriff.
The sheriff called the governor's newest stay-at-home orders "flat-out ridiculous" and said they were "disastrous for Riverside County." The sheriff also said the metrics used to justify the lockdowns are "unbelievably faulty" and called for "a little common sense" from the governor at a time when the medical field is divided over the virus.
"Keeping money and support from our hospitals who are struggling with normal, seasonal increases in patients, coupled with COVID-19 patients is irresponsible," the sheriff continued. "It appears part of the new goal is to shift attention away from his and others personal behavior with a 'do as I say, not as a I do' attitude by turning public opinion against California sheriffs."
A number of sheriffs in the Golden State have similarly refused to enforce the governor's edicts as Newsom announces new lockdowns for the state.
"It has been the policy of the Sheriff’s Department to encourage responsible behavior and compliance with the Governor’s orders," Sheriff Bianco said in an earlier statement. "To ensure constitutional rights are not violated and to limit potential negative interactions and exposure to our deputies, we will not be responding to calls for service based solely on non-compliance with the new order or social distancing and mask guidelines."
Bianco concluded his latest message, saying "all jobs are essential to someone" and committing his department to not enforcing the governor's orders.
"As has been our position from the beginning of this pandemic, the Sheriff’s department is asking and expecting Riverside County residents to act responsibly and do what they can to protect themselves and their family from contracting the virus," the Sheriff added. "Wear your mask and practice social distancing. While the governor’s office and the state has threatened action against violators, the Riverside Sheriff’s department will not be blackmailed, bullied or used as muscle against Riverside County residents in the enforcement of the governor’s orders."
Earlier this week, Gov. Newsom unveiled new regional lockdowns for areas where ICU hospital capacity has dipped below 15 percent. Four out of the five areas in the state are expected to cross the threshold in the coming days and the fifth area is expected to reach the benchmark by the end of the month. Several counties arbitrarily went into lockdown despite criticism of economic damage and hardship experienced under such measures.
Newsom along with a number of other Democrats have faced sharp criticism after being caught violating their own guidelines for COVID-19. The governor was recently caught attending a large birthday celebration at the ritzy French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley.
The sheriffs in California are sure tired of Gavin's "rules for thee but not for me." The question is: are the voters?