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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Joel Anderson Discusses Enforcement Of COVID Rules

 January 21, 2021 at 10:27 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 The San Diego County board of supervisors has a new voice. Joel Anderson was sworn in January 4th from the pandemic to the county's climate action plan. The board is navigating its way through big challenges. Anderson is one of the more conservative voices on the board, and he joins us now to talk about plans ahead, supervisor, welcome, surprise you to be here. You know, this is your first time coming on midday edition since taking office on the board of supervisors. What are your goals for your term? Speaker 2: 00:28 Well, uh, look COVID is a huge challenge to my district and to all of San Diego County. So I think that w that that's a huge priority. Homelessness is a great, uh, challenge to all of San Diego County. And I think that, uh, looking at how we can move towards more prosperity for everybody living in San Diego County. And that means that we have to have a climate action plan because nothing can move forward without it. So these are all high priorities. Speaker 1: 00:58 If the new board's first meeting had voted to increase enforcement of County health orders, that aim to stop the spread of the virus, you added a few amendments to that. Walk me through what those were Speaker 2: 01:10 Well, as I was, uh, campaigning people were very confused, whether we, whether the County was using medical science or political science, everything looked arbitrary in its enforcement and capricious in its science. And so, uh, I asked that by the way, I'm very grateful to, uh, chairman Fletcher for accepting the amendments in having my colleagues, uh, vote in favor of the amendments, but we had to cite the science. We had to, uh, make sure that it was implemented consistently and fairly throughout the County. And finally it had to be published. We had to actually say it publicly. And right now, if you go to the County website, you can see exactly the science that we're basing this on, and you can also see, uh, how we enforce it. And I think that's really important. I think that when you take it from back rooms out into the public forum, people have more trust and are more likely to follow the rules once they understand what those rules mean and why we're doing what we're doing. Speaker 1: 02:14 And the target here, as I understand it is to allow is to actually, again, allow outdoor dining at local restaurants. Why is this such a priority for you? Speaker 2: 02:24 What I want to do my my priority is to get through this pandemic without losing lives and without losing businesses. So the Asheville goal is to, to move people forward. Uh, I do believe that we should be opening outside dining. I think that the experiment from November to now with all our spikes is because people are social. They're going to socialize. If they can't go to a outdoor restaurant where we know it's, it's fairly safe, it's outdoors, it's controlled. They're going to invite people to their they're going to open their homes up. And we're going to see those spikes. Now I'm not a scientist. That's just my personal opinion. I think that we have to rely on those folks that, uh, uh, produced the science, but it has to be good science. And I think now that it's out in the public forum, every one of your, uh, listeners can go up on the website. They can read that science and decide for themselves whether we need to go back and do more studies. But I don't know of any business that has a successful business plan that includes making their customers sick or killing them. So I don't think there's anybody out there with malice trying to hurt others. I think that we're all trying to get through this together. And the more transparency, the more public debate, I think the better, the decisions Speaker 1: 03:48 In terms of scientific data, guiding what businesses are open, isn't that a state decision on which businesses are allowed to be open? Speaker 2: 03:57 Well, the state plays an incredible role, but we weren't elected to be re houseplants. We were here to represent the people of our district. And if something needs to be challenged, we should be the ones challenging it. Uh, at the end of the day, what impacts one district impacts all districts. And if San Diego County is, is different than the 57 other counties, we should be speaking up. But at the end of the day, we've got to get through this pandemic. We got to get people back to work and resume normal life. And that means that we have to be transparent and we have to listen to the people we represent. Speaker 1: 04:37 So does this mean you feel the County should not enforce certain States? Speaker 2: 04:41 The rules? Look, we got to follow the law, but I think that we can certainly question and ask for more evidence. Uh, I don't think that we have to sit there and just take it, but on the flip side, I'm not advocating for people to break the law. Speaker 1: 04:56 Do you anticipate some businesses will be able to open up or expand capacity without consequences, even under the current regional stay at home orders? Speaker 2: 05:05 I hope so. This is my 12th day on the job. So I'm still learning a lot of it in some, um, um, reluctant to take, get too far out ahead until I, uh, am brought up to speed on every issue. But I've always found that the more transparent you are, the more you explain your position and how you're moving forward, that opens it up for more people wanting to follow and abide by the law. However, if there are things that don't make sense, we should be questioning them. Uh, we're inviting by publishing this. We're inviting the public's opinion to be shared with us. If they have better science, of course, we want to use the best science. And I think that as a County, we should be asking the governor to use the best science, but it's very hard for average person, average citizen, to see the governor drinking $14,000 a wine. Speaker 2: 06:02 When we're in a lockdown, it's hard for people to look at it and say, Hey, I just saw the trolley goodbye. There's no enforcement on the trolley, but we're shutting down mom and pop shops. And how is it that I can walk into a big box store and they're running by what looks to be different rules than what that I have to live by. Those are all valid questions. And now people can go to the website. They can see exactly the science because it's cited and they can follow about, uh, the fact that we want to apply these rules and regulations, uh, fairly and consistently. And they can judge for themselves whether that's happening. And I suspect we're going to hear a lot more from the public in the weeks to come, because they may feel differently about it, but they have a right to be hurt. And I think that, that, I think that's really important if we're going to get through this pandemic. Speaker 1: 06:54 And, you know, do you plan to ask the board to challenge the state on allowing outdoor dining to be open? Speaker 2: 07:00 I want to use the best science I want to have as many people involved in the decision process. And I want to be absolutely transparent in how we move forward. I think that if we can get people to voluntarily move in the direction that helps us all, that lifts the community for everybody in San Diego County. So I don't believe that making these decisions behind closed doors invites people to follow it. Follow the rules. Speaker 1: 07:30 I've been speaking with Joel Anderson, who represents district two on the San Diego board of supervisors, supervisor Anderson. Thanks so much for joining us. Hey, my Speaker 2: 07:39 Pleasure. And thanks for inviting me.

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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has a new voice: Joel Anderson was sworn in January 4th. Anderson, a more conservative voice on the board, joined Midday Edition to speak about future plans.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments