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Who has the Power?

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I was bothered by Louisa Rogers' unkind letter "Utter Ignorance" (Mailbox, July 23), in which she accused Rex Bohn of being a sixth-grader for asking if the governor "really has the power to do (this)," and went on to state her opinion on the matter. Well, I think that she, too, has not informed herself of the facts.

Since looking it up, I learned that the governor does not in himself have that power; it is the public health officer who has that power, whether it is the state or local public health officer.

I quote below from California Constitutional-Election Law Attorney Mark Meuser, from an article in Californiaglobe:

"On March 11, 2020, Gov. Newsom's office published the fact that it was California Department of Public Health's policy of preventing gatherings of groups larger than 250 people 'should be postponed.' This was not an executive order by the governor, instead it was a California Department of Public Health policy. This policy does not cite a single law that gives the California Department of Public Health authority to shut down events of 250 people or require social distancing of more than 6 feet. While these may be good guidelines to follow, they are simply policies, they are not the law. To emphasize that this was just a policy and not a law, on March 12, 2020, Newsom issued his next executive order (N-25-20). This executive order states that 'All residents are to heed any orders and guidance of state and local public health officials, including but not limited to the imposition of social distancing measures, to control the spread of COVID-19.'"

Here's the link where he states the code (Cal. Health & Safety § 101040) and explains further the governor's authority vs. the health officials' authority: www.californiaglobe.com/section-2/does-gov-newsom-have-the-power-to-shut-down-private-businesses-because-of-coronavirus.

Jean Damon, McKinleyville


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