San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo attended Thanksgiving gathering that violated state's rules

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo spent Thanksgiving at his elderly parent’s Saratoga home with eight people representing five households in a move that defies California’s guidance for gatherings. 

Liccardo said in a statement Tuesday that his family celebrated in the backyard and that everyone wore masks while not eating. Acknowledging his noncompliance with public health orders comes days after Santa Clara County health officials announced tighter coronavirus restrictions due to a record spike in daily cases and hospitalizations.

“I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family,” Liccardo said. “I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better.”

The mayor described Thanksgiving as similar to a routine, socially-distanced dinner he and family from three households have had once or twice a week for months. But on this occasion, his sister joined with her son and daughter-in-law. The addition goes against the advice of Dr. Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County Health Director, who repeatedly urged cooperation with state rules all month long.

"We are very concerned we are heading into the holidays with this rapid rise and transmission," Cody said in a press conference last month. 

Even the Mayor himself tweeted out a warning, urging folks to avoid big gatherings and let their guard down even with family and friends, echoing Dr. Cody.

 "As a mayor, it's his responsibility not just to be the mayor who does everything, but also practices what he preaches," said San Jose resident Jake Weaver.

This comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's infamous hair appointment in a shuttered salon. Then there was Governor Newsom's apology for attending a friend's birthday at a Napa Valley restaurant days before state legislators were chastised for going off to Hawaii for a large, in-person conference.

"It's clearly not an ethical action because it's self-serving and ethics is all about 'what's your intent?'" said Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Professor Emeritus Steven Mintz is an ethicist Professor Mintz.

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California, like most of the country, is seeing record virus spikes, and the worst is yet to come because infection rates attributed to Thanksgiving are not yet known. Newsom said Monday that he may re-issue a stay-at-home order for most of the Golden State if the negative trend continues.