The Covid-19 pandemic doesn't appear to be getting any better soon. The picture above is from a County presentation on July 23. Graphically, it spells out how we're going to defeat the virus--wearing masks in public, doing most of your business outdoors, staying 6' or further apart, and avoiding large crowds. All of this is simply common sense, and it is a sad commentary when basic public health issues become controversial.
The County maintains a website with all the latest data--I encourage everyone to check it out.
American Canyon has documented over 120 cases of the disease, with two deaths (as of July 23). We all need to work harder at being safe and avoiding high risk situations. Yes, it's a drag being cooped up in your home for months, but this is still a small price to pay compared with prior generations (think of how the "greatest generation" dealt with the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II!).
There does appear to be some silver linings to our Covid-19 cloud. We learned that telecommuting is a viable alternative and probably increases productivity. This could make a real dent in traffic congestion. Zoom meetings could also reduce traffic--it's a lot easier to "zoom" a meeting from home than go into San Francisco or Oakland. Telehealth is also something that could offer more affordable care. All of which reinforces the need for more broadband access--particularly in our rural areas.
During this pandemic, Cheryl and I did our fair share of "sheltering in home" but we also got involved in the local Kiwanis Emergency Food Pantry. We helped bag non-perishable items, did a little shopping and, as the Kiwanis Treasurer, I did all the accounting! We raised over $30,000!
I couldn't help but realize the economic toll all of this was having on our local business community (and will continue to have in the months ahead). Working with our Chamber of Commerce, we developed the "Back to the Table" program--in which we promote one local restaurant at a time,
encouraging everyone to call for takeout or dine-in on a specific day. I was proud to be the first sponsor for Laso Restaurant. It was going to be exciting--not only was it great food and a good cause, one of the lucky diners would receive a $50 gift certificate for Laso and a bottle of wine. It was also Laso's one year anniversary, so they wanted to do a little celebrating, too!
Alas, this came as the pandemic was re-surging and we had to postpone the event. There's still takeout and we personally had a great dinner that evening--at home!
This example reinforces a major theme in my campaign--the pandemic means we need a Mayor with a strong background in Finance and Economic Development. We worked hard as a City to shave over $4 million from our current budget. Partly, we hoped the virus would subside and by next year, conditions wouldn't be so bad. Now, it is looking more likely we will have another year--or more--to deal with reduced revenues and increasing costs.
With over 30 years in local government, mostly focused on municipal finance, I know how to balance a budget, grow our local economy and think strategically about our role in the regional economy. I served as the Finance Director in three different cities, including American Canyon.
I look forward to the opportunity to serve.