Supervisor Don Wagner quibbles with typos and minor details, but fails to acknowledge the big picture about race relations and the Covid-19 crisis.
On race relations, Wagner refuses to address the fact the Board of Supervisors rejected the call to put a discussion of the renaming of John Wayne Airport, an avowed White Supremacist, on the agenda of its July 14 meeting or before voters.
Just like Trump, Wagner fails to take responsibility for the County’s failed response to the Covid-19 crisis. Other nations such as China. South Korea, and Italy have beaten back the Covid-19 pandemic with masks, social distancing, testing and contact tracing. But the United States is seeing a frightening resurgence, and Orange County has become a leading hotspot since Memorial Day because President Trump, much of the Republican Party, and the County Board of Supervisors have failed to provide necessary political leadership.
Medical experts agree that thousands of people could have been saved if Trump had not fumbled the national response. Similarly, the local Republican leadership bucked modest efforts to combat the virus. The Sheriff, with Wagner’s backing, initially refused to enforce the mask order and resisted the governor’s call to close Orange County beaches. Wagner resisted the mask recommendation of Nichole Quick–Orange County’s Dr. Fauci–telling Dr. Quick, on June 2, as Orange County cases began to spike, “We’re hearing from our citizens that this is a government overreach … Doesn’t that undermine the evidence that is supposedly behind your order (to wear masks)?”
Supervisor Wagner was part of the group that recommended that K-12 students return to school in Fall without masks or social distancing, and has continued to criticize Governor Newsom’s efforts to stem the virus.
And the virus cases and deaths in Orange County have, since late May and early June, spiraled out of control. This is not leadership.
We continue to believe that the national and local GOP are self destructing, largely due to the absence of leadership that takes responsibility, seeks to solve problems, and seeks to understand the harm that racism and science denial have caused, and continue to cause, in the County, and nationally.
Professor Mario Mainero is a Chapman University Fowler School of Law professor
Fred Smoller is an associate professor of political science at Chapman University
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