Letters to the Editor

Let’s rely on medical science and not on politics

Our Newport mayor, Will O’Neill, tends to put forth his city leadership on Twitter. So, if you want to know what he is thinking, follow his tweets. His latest is: “Enforcement of these prohibitions is not in the public’s interest. These orders are an abuse of power that infringe on basic civil liberties and defy common sense while putting the health of the public and enforcement officers at risk.” (

I believe he is referring to the COVID-19 rules in place such as wearing masks and closing beaches and places where people unsafely gather until it is again safe to gather. 

This sounds to me like a political statement instead of one backed by medical science and we need leadership in Newport to follow medical science on this and help us all get tested so we feel and hopefully are safe again. It is a public safety issue not a political philosophy issue. 

Linda Watkins

Newport Beach

Where are the mask requirements for Newport Beach?

This last week both Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach, our neighboring cities, began their mandate on the wearing of facial masks in public. That means that there will be an influx of “mask-less” people into Newport Beach where the wearing of masks in public is not required. How Newport Beach can justify their refusal to require masks is beyond me. Perhaps the city government could explain their reasoning to the 89 Newport Beach residents who have contracted the disease. Or to the general public, which must be wondering why.

As I told our Mayor and City Manager, there is nothing in the Constitution about the right to NOT wear masks but in the Declaration of Independence, it does entitle us to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And, I think we all would be a lot happier if we didn’t have to worry about contracting the coronavirus in public because someone in our proximity refused to wear a mask.

I certainly don’t expect our venerated Newport Beach Police to issue tickets or even approach a “non-mask” wearer. They are trained to deal with the public and can issue polite reminders to businesses and the public without issuing citations. It would also be helpful if businesses posted signs to remind the public to wear masks and stand six feet from their closest neighbor. The Newport Beach public is, for the most part, compliant and will need only gentle reminders.

This weekend several people sent emails to Mr. (Will) O’Neill and Ms. (Grace) Leung to urge them to follow the paths of neighboring cities by using every means possible to protect their citizens. We are not yet “flattening out” or on a downward arc. In fact, America has lost more citizens, 42,000 to the coronavirus, than any other country and last week was a record week for the number of overall deaths in our country. 

We are nowhere near the end of this crisis. If someone asked me to sing “America the Beautiful” in public to help save lives, I would do it. But better yet, let’s stand out on our doorstep every night at 8 p.m. to “clap and cheer for all the healthcare and essential workers” as Tom Johnson suggests in Stu News.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach