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Marin County Politician Dines With Four Other Households as the Bay Area Locks Down

Also: A restaurant lawyer’s Bay Area true crime ties, and more news to know today

Marin Assemblymember Marc Levine’s office setup includes casually placed masks and Purell, but when eating out his face coverings apparently head to his pocket
Assemblymember Marc Levine/Instagram

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • The Sacramento Bee has the latest scoop from the do-as-officials-say-not-as-they-do beat: State Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian (West Toluca Lake), Tasha Boerner Horvath (Encinitas), Marc Levine (Marin County), Chris Ward (San Diego), and Chad Mayes (Rancho Mirage) and his fiancée shared an outdoor dinner at Sacramento restaurant Maydoon on the evening of Monday, December 9. All are Democrats but Mayes (who is an Independent), and many represent areas that have shuttered outdoor dining due to the sharp increase in cases of COVID-19. From the Bee: “When asked by a Sacramento Bee reporter about their decision to enjoy a multi-household outing, Nazarian responded by asking ‘Can we not have dinner?’” (No, not safely, according to state and local officials.) Levine, who the Bee says was storing his mask in his pocket instead of donning it when not actively eating (as required at the state level) said the group was “supporting a local business” with their outing. And Boerner Horvath, well, she “ quickly pulled her scarf up from around her neck to cover her nose and left the table” when approached by a reporter. The five households of politicians join a multitude of other California politicians who tell constituents not to mingle, then attend gatherings and group events.
  • Fun fact for food-loving true crime fans: the lawyer behind a group of LA restaurants’ lawsuit against the region’s outdoor dining shutdown (see Eater LA for the full story) is world-famous criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos, whose client list includes Winona Ryder and Michael Jackson — and is likely familiar to Bay Area residents as the defense counsel for Scott Peterson, who was convicted of murder in San Mateo County back in 2004 for the high-profile slaying of his wife, Laci.
  • Levine and his friends might take some comfort in the words of UCSF vice-dean of population health and health equity Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, who says “Do I think that outdoor dining is what’s causing the surge? No, I don’t. Am I concerned that you move people inside? Yes, I am. But I think there is so much virus around that we have to take some measures.” [Mission Local]
  • Folks who want to report scofflaw restaurants, bars, and gatherings should consult this handy list. [ABC 7]
  • Just like everything else, SF Beer Week will be virtual this year. [SF Chronicle]
  • Sonoma County says they’re not ready for a shutdown yet, and will wait until the state forces their hand. [KPIX]
  • That hand force might come soon, as COVID-19 cases in neighboring Solano County are hitting a new spike. [NBC Bay Area]
  • Fearing hoarding, panic buying, and long lines, officials in Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties will allow grocery stores to operate at 35 percent capacity, instead of the 20 percent proposed last week. [SF Chronicle]