They say there is nothing like a crisis to make or break a system, and COVID-19 would certainly qualify as a crisis. What lessons have been learned for the City of Coronado, how will these lessons impact your decision making processes as a Coronado City Council member?
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has been disturbing and taught us many lessons.
One of the first lessons it has taught me, and hopefully others in the community, is that the demonization of someone who has a different view on a subject does nothing to solve concerns. If people spend time harshly attacking each other, that is time wasted that could be spent on solutions and helping each other. I certainly understand that it is easy on social media to succumb to negativity, but as a community, we can all do better. If someone believes that outdoors transmission is an extremely low-risk situation and thinks the beaches should remain open, it does not mean that person wishes that their neighbors should die. Similarly, just because someone wants more mask enforcement, it does not mean they want all of our businesses to fail. I am very grateful that during my campaign for City Council, I have had the opportunity to listen to and speak with hundreds of people. I have learned that the vast majority of Coronadans are good and reasonable people that care about the community and each other. I am proud that 99.9 percent of the Coronado community has focused on respecting each other and the rules regarding masks in indoor settings whether they agree with the rules or not. I have not witnessed people violating the mask requirements in our local stores and pharmacies. The respectful compliance has been strong. Yes, there are difficult situations, such as the heavily crowded tourist times on Orange Avenue during the summer when many people buy drinks and walk down the sidewalk drinking them with, obviously, no mask on.
In 2016, I had the privilege to attend the eight-week City of Coronado’s Citizens’ Police Academy. It was an excellent opportunity to meet with the department and learn how they work and why they do what they do. I am hopeful that, post COVID, the current Chief of Police reinstates this program. It is an excellent bridge between the police and the citizens of Coronado. I am a big supporter of the foot patrols that the police did over the summer and the periodic handing out of masks to non-mask wearing tourists. I support continuing and expanding the police foot patrol program in the Orange Avenue Business District, as well as in the City’s parks and at the beaches. It is clear the citizens of Coronado desire more enforcement of the City’s ordinances and that a frequent police presence would be beneficial to the citizens as well as the local businesses. Foot patrols also allow for non-confrontational relationship building between citizens, business owners and officers. Further, the City may also want to consider hiring Street Ambassadors in the Business District for heavy tourist times to provide reminders of no smoking, no biking on the sidewalk, etc.
There are some other specific areas where Coronado deserves credit for thinking and acting outside the box. We cannot allow our small businesses to fail. Working to modify or suspend rules to allow outdoor dining was essential and a great decision. The Lifeline Business Loans from the City to small businesses and the recent extension of payment terms was also an excellent decision and shows what can be done when differences are set aside and people work toward solutions. I also want to acknowledge that the City has complied with all of the State and County emergency orders that have been issued regarding COVID.
Finally, the main lesson I have learned is that we need to listen to each other, analyze the issues given the truly unprecedented circumstances we face, and act in the best way possible with the facts we know to be true. This is particularly true as it applies to our children and their education and emotional well being. Unfortunately, as shown in the recent huge uptick in COVID cases in Europe, COVID will likely be with us through most of 2021.