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San Clemente City Council Divided Over Beach Closures

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Orange County officials ordered by the state to close their beaches are not happy with the decision, but San Clemente’s city council is divided on how to respond.

All four council members present for a Friday night emergency meeting disagreed with the governor singling out Orange County in his closure order, but not everyone wanted to take up a fight with Sacramento.

Councilmember Gene James had harsh words, calling Newsom a despot.

"I’m sick of looking at the fences at the Pier Bowl," he said. "I’m sick of looking at the fences at North Beach. I’m sick of this shutdown that’s ruining the economy of our city."

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Councilmember Kathleen Ward suggested the council’s time would be better spent on expanding COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

"That’s what we need to be talking about, not how mad we are about what the governor did, because I think we’re working on the proper channels to get our beaches reopened," she said in response to the outrage from some of her colleagues.

San Clemente has submitted a proposal for active beach use to the state for consideration. Newport Beach voted Saturday to affirm lawsuits against the state’s order. San Clemente has not.

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