Six former Costa Mesa mayors Friday called on the city to begin relaxing some coronavirus-related restrictions including those related to golf courses and trails.

The letter was signed by former Mayors Jim Righeimer, Sandy Genis, Steve Mensinger, Eric Bever, Gary Monahan and Allan Mansoor. Genis and Mansoor continue to be members of the City Council, which is scheduled to have a special study session Tuesday.

The ex-mayors called on the City Council to vote on “reopening those parts of the economy that can be safely reopened.”

They said they understood “how tough some of these decisions are to make,” but said that because progress has been made in stemming the tide of COVID-19 “we need to follow the county Board of Supervisors’ lead and revote on the issues that have closed down our city.”

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to relax restrictions at the county’s golf courses, allowing for play while continuing to close clubhouses and restaurants.

“We are not calling for an end to common-sense practices aimed at guarding the public health,” the mayors wrote. “Indeed, we’re calling for common sense — for our public officials to remember that they have the public’s trust only insofar as they trust the public.”

The mayors said in the “past several days, some of Costa Mesa’s public officials have revealed a contempt for the public. Failing to plan for a crisis, they responded with panic. They brought a sledgehammer to a problem that requires a scalpel.”

The mayors argued that “crushing an economy produces joblessness, kills businesses, slashes household income, and strangles the flow of sales tax revenue to governments that need it now more than ever.”

They criticized a shutdown of parks, a threat of fines for golf courses that reopened, closing the trail system, and they claimed the council “created for commercial tenants, a new right, the right to refuse to pay rent.”

The council claimed big businesses such as Louis Vuitton and Tickets.com have taken advantage of a rent freeze.

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said the city is planning to reopen its two golf courses next week. The plan was done in cooperation with the general managers of the courses.

That plan is being reviewed by attorneys and public health officials, Foley said.

“We are guided by the science and public health directives as well as the governor’s stay-at-home orders,” Foley said. “We all want to see our community amenities restored. That’s why on Tuesday we formed the ReStore Costa Mesa Recovery Team.”

That team includes area business leaders and economic experts, Foley said.

“We want to prioritize, not just for business, but how do families in Costa Mesa get access in a safe way to our open space and trails,” Foley said. “And it’s got to be phased in. It’s got to be led by the science.”

Foley also said as a member of the Coalition of Mayors in Orange County, she wants a “unified voice.”

“We all want to work together to create uniform guidelines that are industry specific and a phasing plan so that we can safely open in cooperation and in conjunction with each other,” Foley said.

Foley said she would “rely on public health experts, not politics to guide the decision making in this process.”

“The public health experts have consistently warned against rushing into a reopening, because the second wave of (coronavirus) could be more devastating than the first if you don’t manage it correctly,” Foley said.

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