Mike Shellenberger+ Your Authors @ShellenbergerMD Author, “Apocalypse Never” : Time, “Hero of Environment” : Green Book Award Winner : President, Environmental Progress : IPCC Expert Reviewer : MD = my initials May. 13, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

You bragged of $1B deal for 150,000 N95 masks from "consortia of nonprofits & a manufacturer in California" at a supposedly low price but

- N95s cost $0.75 — you overpaid by ~$875M

- deal was with China-backed shell company

- fed safety inspectors now say masks are defective

The USG's National Institute for Occupational Safety says that it has declared the company's facilities in China “Not Acceptable” and “review of documentation... for the design, manufacturing and quality inspection of the device was concerning.”


Gov. Newsom should have killed this bad deal last month after L.A. bought N95 masks for $0.79/each from Honeywell, which is making masks in Arizona

If Calif needs masks we should buy from US manufacturers, preferably in Calif, & reshore PPE industry


Governor @GavinNewsom didn't cover himself with glory

He announced the deal on @maddow before the deal had even been completed much less vetted

He framed his deal as California acting as "nation state" competitor with the federal government, suggesting a political motivation

When criticized by lawmakers, including his fellow Democrats, Newsom said, Newsom: “We were in the Wild, Wild West period in the early part of this pandemic. Those dollars were protected and protocols were put into place that are much strengthened after that specific incident.”

But @GavinNewsom can't have it both ways

He can't on the one hand brag of California's "nation state" purchasing power and then blame "Wild West" circumstances that he helped create

His claim that Calif. could buy $1B of masks without affecting competition for PPE was absurd.

Look, a mistake is a mistake, and this one is forgivable. The governor tried to move quickly and his intentions appear to have been half-good, buying PPE, even if the other half of his intention was to position himself as quasi-presidential.

But to move on we need transparency.

I agree with Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, a Laguna Beach Democrat, who said, “I think it would be very productive for both the Legislature and also for the public at large to understand what happened.”


But to date, the behavior of @GavinNewsom has been shady

He told @maddow the deal was done, but his office was still negotiating it one week later

And when lawmakers asked to review the contracts, he at first refused


Rep. @JohnGaramendi blocked fed $ for the Chinese firm last year

“They may very well flood the market with substandard devices & people will be relying on them as though they are of satisfactory quality & that is bizarre.”

He was right to be worried.


You can follow @ShellenbergerMD.


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