CHINO HILLS, Calif. — The mayor of Chino Hills is advocating against what he calls a one-size-fits-all approach to regulations in this pandemic.
Mayor Brian Johsz said it's been hard to watch the businesses in Chino Hills struggle to survive. Sitting at the gavel that’s been passed down from mayor to mayor, it’s now in the hands of Johsz, who just took this seat in one of the most trying times the young city of Chino Hills has seen.
What You Need To Know
- The mayor of Chino Hills is advocating against what he calls a one-size-fits-all approach to regulations in this pandemic
- Mayor Brian Johsz said it's been hard to watch Chino Hills businesses struggle to survive
- The city decided to take a stand against Gov. Newsom, signing on with San Bernardino County’s lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court that challenged his authorities
- Although the court rejected it, Newsom decided to lift his stay-at-home order, allowing outdoor dining just days later
"You go into being mayor, and it’s supposed to be fun," said Johsz. "We’re supposed to do our Christmas tree lighting. We’re supposed to do our boat parade without water throughout town. It’s supposed to be these things, but the magnitude of the situation that we find ourselves in means that we have to double down and focus on what’s important."
The focus has shifted instead to opening COVID-19 testing sites, securing vaccines, and waiving permit fees to help the city's business owners survive in any way they can. Johsz explained that it’s been heartbreaking to watch them barely make ends meet, adhering to government regulations that he said change in the drop of a dime.
“It’s fear," he said. "It’s fear that they’re gonna lose their home. It’s fear that they’re not gonna be able to pay for their kid’s college. All for something that’s completely out of their control.”
The city decided to take a stand against Gov. Newsom, signing on with San Bernardino County’s lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court that challenged the governor’s authorities to impose lockdowns for all of California. Although the court rejected it, Newsom decided to lift his stay-at-home order allowing outdoor dining just days later.
"We got what we wanted in some ways, but we still want a check and balance on the governor’s power," Johsz said. "It’s been nine months, and there hasn’t been one."
It’s also been nine months since Jaime Benson and his partner opened the first brewery in Chino Hills, never suspecting that a global pandemic would shut them right back down two weeks later. Selling cheap tacos and beer in a time when Benson said that’s all many people wanted and could afford, they've been making it work with outdoor dining — but the process hasn't been easy.
“The tent thing was a pain in the rear end," Benson said. "We’ve gone through three tents because the wind storms just blew them all the way to Wendy’s.”
Determined to weather the many storms of 2020, they’re now hopeful for a better 2021. The mayor is as well, but Chino Hills will continue advocating for local control in the city that Johsz said shouldn’t fall victim to the same blanket requirements as counties across the state.
“We trust our county Department of Public Health to make wise decisions and to reward our residents for doing the right thing."