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By Shawn Raymundo

As the clock struck 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, hundreds enthusiastically threw face masks into a firepit on the beach near the San Clemente Pier, sending a sharp rebuke to Gov. Gavin Newsom and his limited curfew imposed on counties struggling to get a handle on the latest surge in coronavirus cases.

Led by San Clemente resident Alan Hostetter and his American Phoenix Project, Saturday’s demonstration was advertised as “a clear act of defiance” that coincided with the first night of the state’s Limited Stay at Home order.

“This mask burning we’re about to do is the (Boston) Tea Party of 2020,” Hostetter said, eliciting cheers from the crowd of mask-less demonstrators, many of whom, donning Make America Great Again caps, waved American and Trump 2020 flags.

“We’re about to make a statement, a powerful statement that is being made up and down the state of California, and it’s not going to end there,” Hostetter added, continuing to make disparaging remarks toward the governor, even going as far as suggesting an overthrow of the Newsom administration.

The limited curfew, announced late last week on counties within the purple “widespread” risk tier, placed a moratorium on all non-essential work, movement and gatherings between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the next month.

The order comes as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are on the rise in California and the rest of the nation. It also followed the state’s decision to drop several counties, including Orange County, back into the purple tier—the most restrictive level on its color-coded coronavirus monitoring system.

While there was a presence from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, like in previous rallies and protests throughout the year, the gathering and mask burning demonstration went off without intervention from law enforcement.

Demonstrators burn face masks in a firepit at the beach near the San Clemente Pier on Saturday, Nov. 21, as part of a rally against the state’s latest Limited Stay at Home order, requiring all non-essential work and gatherings to cease from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Photo: Shawn Raymundo

Sheriff Don Barnes last Thursday, Nov. 19, issued a statement in response to the governor’s Limited Stay at Home order, explaining that the department wouldn’t enforce the curfew, and instead maintain its position of taking “an education-first approach with regard to the public health orders.”

Barnes had said that while OCSD is “assessing the action by the Governor,” deputy sheriffs “will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement,” because they need to be available for emergency calls.  

Hostetter on Saturday slammed the stay-at-home order, leveling a charge that “it has nothing to do with science, has nothing to do with medicine, it has nothing to do with anybody’s health.”

“Gavin Newsom is a criminal,” Hostetter said while addressing the crowd. “We are going to show him tonight that we are no longer listening to him.”

Daryl Wilkinson,a former Dana Point resident currently living in Anaheim who attended the rally on Saturday, acknowledged the severity of the pandemic, but said he believes the restrictions are a step too far.

“We want to stand up for our God-given Constitutional rights,” he said, adding: “It’s understandable that, yes, there is an epidemic, a situation with the pandemic, but our present government has no right to impede on everyone’s rights to assemble while they’re ignoring the data on the infection rate and the fatality rate of this pandemic.”

The county on Monday, Nov. 23, reached a new milestone in total cases, surpassing more than 71,110 cumulatively to date, as 1,422 new positive cases were reported to the health office. More than 1,550 county residents have died from the disease, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

As of Monday, there were 428 people reportedly being treated for COVID-19 in the county’s hospitals, the highest number since mid-August. Of those in the hospital, 105 were admitted to an intensive care unit.

Over the weekend, San Clemente also saw a jump in cases, adding 51 reported infections between Friday, Nov. 20, and Monday, bringing the city’s cumulative total to 759.

Though Wilkinson, who regularly wears a face mask for his work, participated in the rally on Saturday, he said he didn’t want to burn his mask, noting its cost and support for the reelection of President Donald Trump.

“No, I did not (burn it); I can’t,” Wilkinson said with a laugh. “Mine is a Trump 2020 mask, and I don’t want to burn it.”

SR_1Shawn Raymundo
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.

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comments (28)

  • Nothing more dangerous in this world than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity! Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Lol! I like that! Concise and with History. Good post Graciosa.

    • “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

      ― Issac Asimov

      • “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

        Excellent post. It describes the Democrat left to a T. In fact, they appear to have cornered the market on stupid ideas and foolish notions. Hence, their embrace of the demonstrably failed economic system of socialism and kooky belief that one can change their gender simply by stating it so.

    • Nothing more dangerous than sheep who trust political tyrants with their health and a corrupt cdc. Sadly you only know what msm tells you and nothing more. Losing freedom to move freely and breathe oxygen is the most dangerous thing that you clearly don’t get.

  • The willfully ignorant have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans just by their BS against face masks.

    I refer people to a recent article published in Science Magazine, “Reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2.” Science, 26 Jun 2020: Vol. 368, Issue 6498, pp. 1422-1424

    The authors, a mix of research scientists and clinicians, categorically demonstrated the requirement of facial masks in public for the duration of the pandemic. The aerosols from merely breathing have been demonstrated as infectious even from people yet to have symptoms. That is why I will keep posting the link to a professional publication written by expert scientists, and clinicians. You will make people sick before you know you are sick.

    Start with the first sentence, “Respiratory infections occur through the transmission of virus-containing droplets (>5 to 10 µm) and aerosols (≤5 µm) exhaled from infected individuals during breathing, speaking, coughing, and sneezing.”

    It is open access online;

    Other current mask data open publications;

    “Put Politics Aside, Not Your Masks” | MedPage Today

    06 October 2020 “Face masks: what the data say”
    -> “The science supports that face coverings are saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, and yet the debate trundles on. How much evidence is enough?”

    • No, thousands of deaths from the Wuhan China virus were caused by leftist Democrat governors sending the infected back into the nursing homes to infect the staff and inhabitants. Now the hypocrites of the left have rewarded the poster child for bad decisions on this pandemic, Andrew Cuomo, with an award.

      While China Joe Biden’s supporters were burning and looting ALL summer long, gathering by their thousands to assault or murder others, no leftist hypocrite could be found to criticize them for failing to social distance.

      So, to the leftist hypocrites and mask shamers who couldn’t be bothered to find fault with those who destroyed our cities and assaulted our sons and daughters I say, shut your pie holes, we’re done with your hypocritical yammering.

  • The legal obligation of the government to enact laws and regulations protecting the public welfare is long established.

    No…. It’s not unconstitutional.

    Jacobson vs. Massachusetts 197 US 11 (1905) was
    the United States Supreme Court case in which the Court upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws. The Court’s decision articulated the view that individual liberty is not absolute and is subject to the police power of the state.

    Writing for the 7-2 majority in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), Justice John Marshall Harlan cited precedent in which the court had upheld the authority of states “to enact quarantine laws and health laws of every description,” Harlan wrote that “the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint.”

    He continued:

    “Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy. Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others.” Adding that “a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members,” the court held that in response to a potential epidemic of a life-threatening disease, a state can subject its inhabitants “to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.”

    If Mr. Barnes refuses to do his job, he should be fired.

    He has also decided he does not need to enforce public health regulations.

    So did becoming “sheriff” make this man the county autocrat who decides what laws will be obeyed at his whim?

  • While reading this post, I was somewhat in disbelief…for a few moments as to WHY someone would want to jeopardize the welfare of others? ATTENTION. That is all this simple minded “thrill” seeker wants. I am not happy about wearing a mask either, however knowing that by my simple action of doing so could protect someone….why not? This “idiot” wants to get people angry in a group – mob mentality. Not good. Sure, it is okay and good to express yourself, but find a different way that is safe for all. Tell “him” to write a letter to the editor…Lol. It is a safer way to vent. Thanksgiving Blessings to you and loved ones.

  • Are you sure your name isn’t Dr BS?

  • In the mean time MORGE ‘s are full and MORGE trailers are in short supply please wear a MASK

  • Two headlines down from this one: COVID hospitilizations continue to surge in Orange County… I wonder why?

  • The only statement I see being made is that you’re all a bunch of selfish jerks.

  • It’s all about controlling us. Just wait it’s about to get worse with a democrap running our country. Joe will be presumed unfit for office, then Kamala will take over. Mark my words.

    • All the vulnerable keep yourself home and safe. So that our country does not fall into a deep depression, like china is wanting to happen. And stop watching the local news and cnn and msnbc they are spewing lies daily. They hate a conservative persons outlook of the truth. Pray that our country does not let itself be destroyed. Why would we want to change America, schumer thinks America is an awful place to live? This is the best place on earth. Pay attention people.WAKE UP

  • During the Middle Ages, people used to flog each other to ward off the Black Plague. Now they burn masks. Ignorance is an unfortunate constant of the human condition.

    • “During the Middle Ages, people used to flog each other to ward off the Black Plague.”

      Now they demand we can’t eat Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

      Power drunk governors tell people they can’t fish sitting down but it’s okay to fish standing up. One can walk in the wet sand but not the dry. One can go to a strip club but not a church.

      Who is dumber, those who like our governor propose unscientific and stupid policies (which they don’t obey themselves), or the people who like lemmings, uncritically follow said stupid policies?

  • This snake oil salesman is mad because he can’t rip people off at his yoga school anymore. He’s on disability but has the ability organize rallies and tear fences down. Says he a Christian but bears false witness on a daily basis. This entitled scum needs to be behind bars.

  • Wonder if they all wear seat belts or if they burnt those as well?

  • Wonder if they all wear seatbelts while driving or riding in a car? Maybe they Burt them as well.
    Populism at its best.

  • Its like taking off a cast off a broken leg cause your friend said it would heal faster that way even though your doctor told you to leave it on for 6 weeks.

  • I’m sad to see this reported as top news in San Clemente. Our country is facing a pandemic with enormous, and sad consequences for many American people,,However, this story highlights this selfish act as an event that would seem to deliver some worthy backhand to our leaders and those asking citizens to be responsible in the middle of a surging growth of COVID 19. Shame on SC Times.
    The idea of politicizing face masks as some sort of political repression, in the face of science, needs to stop before we start losing members any more of our own community or our family members.
    I am sorry, and angry, to see that this Phoenix organization has chosen San Clemente to position itself and work to identify San Clemente as a community that disregards science and the health and well-being of fellow citizens.
    I hope other long-time San Clemente citizens will also respond and denounce the actions of these foolish and irresponsible people.
    I also want to say if the San Clemente Times continues to highlight these type of irresponsible actions, I would like them to quit delivering their paper. I’ll can get the Enquirer at my local store.

  • Everyday I see doctors and nurses leaving hospitals because they’re exhausted because of two reasons: They are tied of treating people and/or their family member, friends, and associates with/without underlining health issues who refused to follow the simple CDC guidelines to no avail. Secondly, they’re tied of begging people to stop practicing unsafe habits in regard the virus to no avail. To have a wanna be cult leader and his thoughts he is the 2nd Jesus with religious cult session with out-of-town followers to “burn masks” to spread the virus in the city (and other cities in this country) is not only dangerous and criminal, but peril to the medical profession. Wearing a mask isn’t against the 1st amendment, it is against spreading the deadly Covid-19 virus.


    No apologies necessary. But here is some very recent data from John Hopkins University that, as usual, blows the Covid-19 #scamdemic and all of the ridiculous mask mandates right out of the water.. For all you maskophiles out there, you’ll need to actually read a few paragraphs of the analysis of this study to have a better understanding of the charts.

    In summary, Covid-19 did not cause any unusual spike in our total number of deaths (even amongst old people – GASP!) during last flu season, whether before or after mask mandates. Even more interesting, deaths by other natural causes dropped dramatically in many categories such as other respiratory diseases, cancers, flu and pneumonia. For those of you a little slow on the uptake, this wold be because just about every type of death you can imagine was being pigeonholed into Covid-19 deaths to spike the numbers..

    In summary, you’ve been played folks! Next time you’re walking past a group of people burning masks and marching to restore your constitutional rights, just smile, say “Thank you, you happy group of enlightened patriots!” and walk on by… or join us so you too can be on the “right side of history!” Wash those hands and Peace, out everyone!

    • It is unbelievable the lengths these people will go to support their cowardly positions. Here is the direct link to the article.


      The reason Alan did not include the direct link is because the article was retracted several days ago. The reason for the retraction is not surprising.

      “We decided on Nov. 26 to retract this article to stop the spread of misinformation, as we noted on social media.”

      “Briand was quoted in the article as saying, ‘All of this points to no evidence that COVID-19 created any excess deaths. Total death numbers are not above normal death numbers.’ This claim is incorrect and does not take into account the spike in raw death count from all causes compared to previous years.”

      Additionally, the article author is an “assistant director for the Master’s in Applied Economics program at Hopkins” and “neither a medical professional nor a disease researcher.” Moreover, the source of the article, the “News-Letter,” is a student run publication that is not peer reviewed by medical researchers. In other words, John Hopkins retracted the article because it presented incorrect information and was being used to spread misinformation by people just like Alan.

      It is sad that someone fights so hard against doing the simplest of things to benefit us all like wearing a mask for a short time. And if that was not enough, he spreads clear misinformation and burns masks in an incredibly lame attempt to be a tough guy.

      Wear a mask and be safe for a few more months. The light is at the end of the tunnel.

      • Oscar, you would have been cheering for Josef Goebels and his Nazi propagandists. You are taking the word of Fakebook fact checkers and others who are censoring and canceling anyone else who refuses to OBEY. The stats / math are clear, simple and easy to follow in the article. You refuse to accept reality. Your worldview is about to come crashing down around you. Mentally prepare yourself for this my friend. It is coming!

        • You are peddling a conspiracy theory based on an article that John Hopkins retracted because the non-expert author made a “claim [that] is incorrect” and that was being used in “the spread of misinformation.” (See retraction here.) And you sponsor bonfires where you encourage people to burn 50 cent facemasks that are intended to protect us all because you think the facemasks somehow challenge your fragile political beliefs. You should think more about who is embracing Nazi propaganda techniques.

  • Oscar, you would have been cheering for Josef Goebels and his Nazi propagandists. You are taking the word of Fakebook fact checkers and others who are censoring and canceling anyone else who refuses to OBEY. The stats / math are clear, simple and easy to follow in the article. You refuse to accept reality. Your worldview is about to come crashing down around you. Mentally prepare yourself for this my friend. It is coming!

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