In early April, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a website where people and companies could help California gear up for the coronavirus pandemic.
The portal was designed as a marketplace for middlemen, manufacturers and business giants to pitch deals and donations with the state, which was scrambling to obtain medical supplies to fight COVID-19.
For some, the site was a chance to clear out their closets.
Someone in Los Angeles found seven masks while cleaning out an apartment and asked to donate them. A Santa Rosa resident offered an ice machine, an orthopedic boot and two N95 masks that were leftover from the 2017 wildfires.
“Sorry,” the person said, “that’s all I had left.”
Along with these small gestures, the portal soon became cluttered with hundreds of questionable offers and a dizzying array of sales pitches, a Sacramento Bee review of more than 6,000 submissions found. Hucksters looked to cash-in on