Garcia urges Newsom to grant variance for communities in North L.A. County

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After a week in office, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, has urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to grant a variance for northern communities in Los Angeles County, including Santa Clarita, for an expedited reopening. 

The newly elected congressman of the 25th Congressional District wrote a letter to the governor on Wednesday, advocating for Santa Clarita, Lancaster and Palmdale in their requests to develop their own regional reopening plan rather than to follow the county’s Safer at Home order that is expected to gradually lift through July 4. 

“Given the geographical size, population, and many variables to the COVID virus and the subsequent fallout of the ‘Safer at Home’ orders throughout L.A. County, our local cities should be enabled to make informed decisions so long as their individual plans use criteria that ensure protection of the public health,” read his letter. 

Garcia’s letter comes after the county Board of Supervisors passed a motion Tuesday allowing in-store shopping and houses of worship to reopen. County officials also announced they would send Newsom a letter urging for countywide variance, citing the fact that the county had met the statewide variance criteria to move into the next reopening stage. 

“Regional data shows we have flattened the curve, indicating our readiness to move forward in phased recovery. This will put Los Angeles County on a level playing field with surrounding counties, which have already been granted variances,” county Supervisor Kathyrn Barger, who brought the motion forward, said in a prepared statement. 

In his letter, Garcia said, “Your flexibility to allow the individual cities to determine their reopening plan will mean so much to the hundreds of thousands of people living in this area.” 

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