Palm Desert city council tables a measure that would provide supplemental enforcement of the state’s stay at home order.
The special meeting was initially put on the schedule when businesses were defying the state order, including a handful of restaurants on El Paseo.
“We now have, I’m happy to say, wide spread compliance. This is a state mandate, and the state is enforcing it. So therefore, maybe there is no need for the proposed resolution at this time,” said council member Sabby Jonathan.
The resolution would have made the state order part of city code, allowing the city to issue misdemeanors to violators through the local court system, instead of relying on state agencies like the Alcoholic Beverage Control or the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
“Typically it’s, you just got cited and if you don’t fix the situation within a day or two days then we’ll file this through the court and a judge can talk to you about it,” said city attorney Robert Hargreaves.
Some shoppers on El Paseo were happy to hear about the council’s choice.
“If they’re supposed to be trying to help the population, the people, a misdemeanor for just keeping their employees employed is carrying it too far,” said Dedie Jessup.
Other shoppers agreed.
“I think it would be pretty ridiculous to give them all misdemeanors just for trying to survive out here,” said Gavin Kirk, president of Cali Shine.
But a few callers who gave public comment disagree, and one caller asked the council to enforce all laws without bias.
Inside the meeting tensions ran high.
Several council members expressed ideologies about the virus and what is best for the area, disagreeing with their fellow council members.
Although the group ultimately decided to table the measure, Mayor Kelly asked the group if they would agree to be available for a future emergency meeting about the topic if needed.