Commentary

LA Mayor Goes Tyrannical, Will Cut Utilities to Homes Hosting Large Gatherings

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In a Wednesday night news conference, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made it clear that he wasn’t going to stand for house parties in his fine city, not as he tried to control the coronavirus.

Did he say he would levy strict fines? No — not quite. Jail time? No. Instead, he said he would cut water and electricity to people’s homes if they were hosting large gatherings.

According to CBS News, the news conference came just hours after City Councilman David Ryu introduced a measure that would increase penalties on property owners whose house parties are in violation of public health ordinances.

“We’ve been clear from the beginning that getting together in groups outside of your household that is not permitted is not allowed,” Garcetti said.

“We’ve asked Angelenos not to gather or to have parties. I know this has been a tough ask because we’re Angelenos. We like to be with each other.”

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While saying he knows “how tough these months have been for all of us,” Garcetti announced he was going to make it a lot tougher — namely, via shutting off water and power to residences that are repeat offenders.

“While we have already closed all nightclubs and bars, these large house parties have essentially become large nightclubs in the hills,” he said, lamenting how close partygoers were and the fact they weren’t wearing facial coverings. “Many times the homes are vacant or used for short-term rentals.”

“By turning off that power, shutting off that water we feel we can close these places down, which usually are not one-time offenders but multiple-offenders,” Garcetti added, according to Fox News.

His line of thinking? The measure would only be taken in “egregious cases in which houses, businesses and other venues are hosting unpermitted large gatherings.”

Asked about the question’s legality, Garcetti responded simply, “We know we can do this.”

To some, the measure may seem commonsensical. Hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to slow spread, flatten the curve, whatever metaphor we’re using now. After all, California is experiencing a spike in cases and the kids just won’t stop partying.

The move came after a party in the Hollywood Hills that received significant coverage in the media and ended with a gang-involved shooting.

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There are, however, a few things to note beyond the heavy hand being used for so-called party homes.

First, this isn’t Garcetti’s first time threatening to cut off water. As KTLA-TV noted, at the beginning of the crisis, he announced a “business ambassadors program” that was supposed to get nonessential businesses to close.

If they didn’t close, however, Garcetti would cut off water to businesses that didn’t comply.

“This behavior is irresponsible and selfish,” Garcetti said during the March 24 briefing.

He wasn’t necessarily wrong in that case, but the point remains this is a go-to move for Garcetti.

Second, it’s unclear what, exactly, he’s signing his overextended police department up for.

After all, the city apparently can’t pay the LAPD for the overtime they worked during the George Floyd protests. What they want them to do is break up fairly significant house parties — and assumedly do it gently.

Do you agree with the Los Angeles mayor's move?

Finally, though, Garcetti’s move sets a bad precedent — and doesn’t appear to be especially well-thought-out. We’re assured this is the worst of the worst, the kind of parties where a bunch of kids who are too rich and too invincible to need masks congregate to take Instagram photos.

Is that where it’ll stay? Are we assuming there won’t eventually be calls to the LAPD to crack down on parties of 30 people? Twenty? A noisy 1o? When does this become “egregious?” And how is he planning to make these decisions?

After all, Garcetti made it clear these were rented or vacant homes. So he’s cracking down on … absent owners or landlords, not the people who host the parties?

None of this makes sense — but it hardly matters when hunger for power and the illusion of control is the agenda. What’s clear is Los Angeles can’t control people from congregating. However, Garcetti is going to do his darnedest to make it look like he can.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal for four years.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal for four years. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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