The Super Bowl of hypocrisy comes to California as the homeless get hidden
No apartment or home is ever cleaner or more organized than the moment before guests arrive for a party, after hours have been spent by the hosts to make the place look like something out of Better Homes & Gardens. The same goes for any host city of the Super Bowl, America’s premiere sporting event.
But this year’s contest at SoFi Stadium outside Los Angeles on Feb. 13 will serve as a masterclass in COVID-19 rules that are only applied when convenient for those in power. California is the anti-Florida: Indoor mask mandates will apply at least until mid-February (after the game is played). Vaccine cards are required, while every fan will be required to wear an KN-95 mask (which Los Angeles County officials will provide) except when eating or drinking, because apparently COVID knows to stop when those things are occurring.
And hey, if bringing your young child to the game, here are the local rules per L.A. County’s website:
“Fans ages 5 and over must provide proof of either COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of gameday, with a matching photo ID. Children under 5 do not need a negative test result for entry but, along with all other fans, must continue to wear a mask.”
Yep. Bringing your two-year-old to the game? Better make sure they’re masked — despite the science showing that they pose almost no threat. And make sure you have a photo ID (which every major California Democratic lawmaker says should not be needed when casting a vote).
By the way, what are officials doing about that large homeless encampment near the stadium?
“Crews in hazmat suits cleared away a homeless encampment near SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Monday,” reported CBSLA. “Homeless advocates are criticizing the timing as the cleanup comes just weeks before the Super Bowl.”
“CBSLA tried but were unable to reach anyone from the city of Inglewood, the city of LA, or county housing authority to ask about the timing.”
The timing is obvious: L.A. County is having a few hundred thousand guests over in person and more than 100 million guests watching on television. It’s time to clean the neighborhood the way one would meticulously clean a home before the festivities begin. Erase all evidence of a homelessness, drug and crime crisis that Democratic county and state officials have done little to address.
In L.A. County alone, there are approximately 15,000 people dubbed “chronically homeless,” a number that’s forecasted to double over the next four years. Compare that to Miami-Dade County, where the number of “sheltered” and “unsheltered” homeless stands at about 3,500.
So, with the Super Bowl coming, the problem is simply being swept under the rug, at least until a new NFL champion is crowned. Because with journalists and tourists with cameras on every phone descending on the area, California must be portrayed as the utopia it was decades ago and not the hellscape it has become in some parts of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.
Leading the way on restrictions, of course, is Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom was for mask mandates before he was against them, once famously going out to dinner at a richest-one-percent restaurant called the French Laundry with 12 other people without a mask in the pre-vaccine era (October 2020).
Also possibly joining the fun will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if the San Francisco 49ers upset the Los Angeles Rams and make their second Super Bowl in three years. Pelosi also falls under the “Rules for Thee, Not for Ds (as in Democrats)” crowd, having once been caught getting her hair done at an indoor salon (which was otherwise closed to the public) in the pre-vaccine era (August 2020).
Hopefully Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) – who represents a district overlooking San Francisco Bay – can join the fun as well. Swalwell jetted off to Florida over the Christmas holidays, perhaps to escape his state’s strict COVID regulations.
It would be nice if a reporter would ask any of these lawmakers why it’s okay for 22 players to crash into each other while breathing heavily but a five-year-old on a playground still must wear a mask.
Per LA County: “It is strongly recommended that children wear a mask on playgrounds and in other outdoor spaces where they gather if distancing is not possible or practical.”
Adult football players and coaches playing in an indoor stadium? No mask. Children, who are at lower risk of sickness and hospitalization, playing outside? Mask required.
Does any of this make sense?
And it gets better: Starting Monday, Jan. 31, despite COVID cases dropping precipitously in L.A. County and nationally, all students must wear “well-fitted, non-cloth masks with a nose wire” at all times, including outdoors, according to local health authorities.
Nose wire masks. Outdoors. For children. This is child abuse.
The New York Times’s David Leonhardt put it best when it comes to what we’re doing to our kids. “For the past two years, Americans have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults,” he wrote.
The NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl will be played in the same stadium for the first time in league history. LA County officials have ensured that the homeless have disappeared and everyone will be masked up for the game, at least in theory. And while all of this is happening, kids attending school or playing outside are subject to rules that are firmly anti-science. It’s a situation in which, unlike in a football game, there are no winners.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.