Ongoing and upcoming local issues: questions and summer concerts

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Editor’s note: If you have a question about a city issue—or a suggestion for filing a Public Records Act request—email Associate Editor Charles M. Kelly at editor2@sunnews.org.

Summer Concert Series status under review

The status of the Seal Beach Summer Concert Series is not yet known.

The Sun on Friday, May 22, asked the president of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce, “What’s the status of the Summer Concert Series? Has the Chamber submitted a special event permit to the city?”

Chamber President Kori DeLeon replied by email 112 minutes later. “The Chamber had a previously put in a request for a special event permit for the Summer Concerts, however due to the emergency order, it is my understanding that all permits were VOID and the city has not re-issued any to date. This is a topic that came up in the monthly meeting the City schedules with the chamber and city council representatives. We honestly expected an immediate no due to the sheer scope of the summer concerts, but as often these days, the city surprised and delighted us by not giving us a fast no. They are currently reviewing options as to what, if anything, can be done to make some variation of the concerts happen. We have been so impressed with the city’s attitude of trying to figure what they can do vs a no, we don’t/can’t do that.”

OC Board of Supervisors declare houses of worship essential

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday, May 26, to approve a resolution declaring houses of worship essential.

“A large number of Orange County residents rely on their houses of worship for spiritual guidance in their lives and communion with those that share their faith,” according to a press release issued by Supervisor and Board Chair Michelle Steel.

“Yet while many businesses have been deemed essential by the state, faith communities have not. This resolution confirms that the Orange County Board of Supervisors stands with Orange County residents of all faiths in support of their First Amendment rights, and that these rights are non-negotiable,” according to the press release.

Supervisor Steel is a Seal Beach resident.

Questions to city officials

On Friday, May 22, the Sun sent the following questions to various city offiicals. Because of the Monday, May 25, Memorial Day holiday and the Tuesday, May 26 council meeting, they may not have had time to answer the questions.

• To Tim Kelsey, recreation manager: “Has the Chamber of Commerce filed a request for special event permits for the Summer Concert series? Would they need multiple permits or just the one? ”

• To Les Johnson, director of the Community Development: “I hear some Seal Beach restaurants are asking the city to allow them to use more patio space. Would that require a conditional use permit or could the city approve such requests administratively?”

• On Thursday, May 21, the Sun asked Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos: “Could you walk me through the process Seal Beach civilian personnel go through to get approval for a press release to the media? How many people have to be notified? How long does it usually take?

“Leisure World has announced that they are re-opening their golf course. Is that exclusively the Golden Rain Foundation’s decision to make or did the GRF consult the city about the reopening?”

The Sun will report the answers when they are received.

What is ‘reportable action’ from a closed council session?

Seal Beach City Attorney Craig Steele usually gives a report to each meeting of the City Council. Often he makes a brief statement to report that the City Council “took no reportable action” during a council session that was closed to the public.

On May 19, the Sun asked Steele to explain what that meant.

About five hours and 51 minutes later, Steele replied:

“With regard to reports out of closed session, Government Code Section 54957.1 provides a list of the types of actions that, if taken in closed session, must be announced at the end of the closed session. When I announce that the Council took no reportable action in closed session, it means that that the City Council did not take any of the actions listed in that section. When the Council does take one of those actions, I announce it as required.”

Now that things are reopening, have case counts increased?

As of May 25, Memorial Day, Orange County reported the followig COVID-19 case counts:

Seal Beach: 18.

Cypress: 65.

Los Alamitos: 74.

Huntington Beach: 327.

As of 12:01 a.m., May 24, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,582 cases of COVID-19.

Last week, the Sun reported 15 known cases of COVID-19 in Seal Beach as of Monday, May 18, according to the County of Orange.

Westminster: there were 75 cases on that date.

In Huntington Beach: 291.

In Long Beach, 1,305.

Remember that the disease has an unknown incubation period. Remember that there is a time lag between administration of a COVID-19 test and knowing the results of that test. Also remember that there is a lag between the time the results are known and the time the results are made public.

For example, the Catalina Island Medical Center reports there have been two COVID-19 cases on the Island. (Both patients reportedly recovered weeks ago.)

Yet the Los Angeles County Public Health Department has not reported those Avalon cases to the public. (And won’t unless the count goes reaches five cases or more.)

As for the incubation period for the disease, “The onset and duration of viral shedding and the period of infectiousness for COVID-19 are not yet known,” according to the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is possible that SARS-CoV-2 RNA may be detectable in the upper or lower respiratory tract for weeks after illness onset, similar to infections with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV,” according to the CDC.

“However, detection of viral RNA does not necessarily mean that infectious virus is present. There are reports of asymptomatic infections (detection of virus with no development of symptoms) and pre-symptomatic infections (detection of virus prior to development of symptoms) with SARS-CoV-2, but their role in transmission is not yet known,” according to the CDC.

“Based on existing literature, the incubation period (the time from exposure to development of symptoms) of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses (e.g. MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV) ranges from 2–14 days,” according to the CDC.