North County Supervisors were not extended an invite to the last-minute press conference

SAN LUIS OBISPO — California Governor Gavin Newsom visited the Cuesta College COVID vaccination clinic on Tues. Mar. 2. 

Newsom made an impromptu visit to the vaccination site following a visit to Palo Alto. The Governor planned to visit a vaccination site in Ventura County after visiting San Luis Obispo.

The Governor addressed the press and said California would be getting the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine soon. He stated that we would have “more choice, more voice” with three vaccines to choose from. 

“I can only say this when it’s your turn say yes to whatever dose that you are being offered. I would take without a hesitation, without exception, I’ll wait my turn. But when it comes to my turn, they say J and J, I say yes. They say Moderna, yes. They say, Pfizer, yes,” said Newsom.

Joining Governor Newsom was San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon, Cuesta College President Jill Stearns, and County Supervisors Bruce Gibson (District 2), Dawn Ortiz-Legg (District 3), and Lynn Compton (District 4). 

Paso Robles Press news correspondent, Camille DeVaul, with Governor Newsom

Supervisors John Peschong (District 1) and Debbie Arnold (District 5) were not present. Both supervisors represent the Northern San Luis Obispo County regions.

According to Arnold, she and Peschong were not extended an invite to the last-minute press conference, nor were they aware of the Governor’s visit.

The County Board of Supervisors board meeting was in session on Mar. 2 and had to go on an extended break for the last-minute press conference. 

“It did seem like an inconvenience to our constituents to have the meeting stopped and then started up again in the early evening and go into the night. These are people who expected to have their items heard in the afternoon,” said Arnold.

Arnold said she felt SLO county residents did not receive full service from their public officials on Mar. 2.

Over the last year, county elected officials have sent Governor Newsom letters asking for guidance through the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy or the Tier System. 

On Feb. 3, a letter signed by Supervisors Peschong and Arnold addressed official warnings from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) issued to local restaurants. 

Also addressed in the Feb. 3 letter was the lack of evidence that restaurants are super-spreaders of the COVID-19 virus and asked for scientific evidence to be publicly available and applied consistently. 

On Mar. 2, Supervisor Peschong signed and sent another letter to the Governor. This time Peschong asked the Governor to let schools open for in-person learning and allow indoor and outdoor sports to proceed. 

“They did make some changes to allow us to do the outdoor sports, and I would like to see some changes to see these kids back into the gym to be able to play basketball, volleyball, and the other indoor sports–I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, so I sent him a letter, so he knows what we are asking for,” said Peschong.

An excerpt from the letter:

“Our students and educators are having difficulties with teaching and learning virtually. Families are stressed with providing adequate tools for students and encouraging their children to dedicate attention to their studies.

Our County Public Health is working closely with all districts, charters, childcare centers, private and parochial schools to implement this request. All agencies are prioritizing the in-person staff for vaccination when the allocated vaccination slots become available. As schools increase in-person services, there are smaller class sizes, increased cleaning and disinfection, handwashing stations, ventilation upgrades, mask-wearing, and regular staff testing.

We need your help to move us into in-person education.”

Today, county elected officials have yet to receive any response from the Governor or his office.

During the Mar. 2 press conference, Paso Robles Press asked Governor Newsom why haven’t our county officials received any response from the Governor or his office. 

Governor Newsom responded with, “I don’t know about the specific letters, forgive me, when I say a few letters I’m saying hundreds of thousands and that’s not to diminish any single one of those letters, which we all have a responsibility for–I’ll have to go back and learn more about that.”

The Governor’s same questions also addressed San Luis Obispo County being lumped in with LA County for the most recent lockdown, which lasted Dec. 3, 2020, until Jan. 25.

“As to how we did the regions that were determined on the basis of public health, we came up with four big regions for the state that are part of a mutual aid system as it relates to the connective tissue in terms of personnel and transportation and process are well established. So that was a framework on the tiers,” Newsom said.

Getting through this together, Atascadero