Escondido, CA

Mayors ask for a different approach to shut down

The U.S. is experiencing the worst quarter since the Great Recession. San Diego unemployment jumped from 3.3% on March 7 to 20.6% on April 11, says SANDAG and more than 300,000 in the county filed for unemployment. In this atmosphere North County mayors seek a way out of the coronavirus lockdown that is somewhere between “Let my people go!” and “We must stay indoors or we’ll all die!”

On Tuesday four North County mayors, including Escondido’s Paul McNamara, Mayor Peter Weiss of Oceanside, Mayor Matt Hall of Carlsbad and Mayor Rebecca Jones of San Marcos held a virtual meeting with Fifth District Supervisor Jim Desmond in which all of the leaders expressed a strong desire to start opening up the economy.

The Times-Advocate caught up with Mayor McNamara, who said, “A few folks have gotten hung up on the May 1 date, but although that was the one we picked, no one is really concerned about the exact date.”

He added, “We have a lot of people who are financially suffering and the elected officials are asking the health care professionals ‘Is there a way to use a successful methodology or restrictions that would allow us to let some of nonessential people go back to work?’ ”

They are wondering, “if social distancing and masks are working at Home Depot could we use those preventative techniques at Bed Bath and Beyond? There is no expectation that every nonessential business would open,” said the mayor. “But there are a lot of people out there hurting.”

McNamara added, “In no way is this some kind of revolt. That is not the intention at all.” 

The City of Escondido has “tried to take a common sense measured approach to this whole restriction,” he said. “A simple example: We are required to close the Kit Carson Park but we’re not ticketing you or kicking you out. Daley Ranch and Lake Wohlford are closed because there really is no parking. But If you live close to the park, people are using the park.”

Escondido residents been very complaint with all the rules, said the mayor. “You see a lot of people with masks. You see control of the aisles and social distancing, so people are trying to do the right thing. I don’t feel we are in a big rebellion, but people go out in their cars because they need to get out of the house.”

Sometimes the police get complaints and they always check out every report. “Most of the time they aren’t violating,” he said. “We’re not seeing super dramatic violations. There’s always a few in every group who may have gotten the memo, read it and disregarded it.”

Email he gets ranges from “ ‘Let all the doors open up’ to ‘Let’s hunker down and wait it out.’  We need to look at something in the middle.”

The mayors’ group meets once a month in Desmond’s Vista office. “We talk about what’s good for the region,” said McNamara. “It’s a sharing of thoughts on issues and challenges, sometimes on SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments.) This time it was a Zoom meeting. But before we’d typically go to the Vista courthouse. There’s no real agenda.”

He added, “What we are saying is, we have people suffering. We are looking for ways to get them back to work. We are asking the health care professionals—now that we are two months into it—to review the methodology and  see if we can we apply them to nonessential businesses to get people back to work and the economy started again.”

One response to “Mayors ask for a different approach to shut down”

  1. Keith Callison says:

    A Heartfelt Thank you to All of you on the Front Lines during this Tumultuous Pandemic that has turned Civilization upside down and Sideways.
    Especially to our recently Elected Mayors who never Expected to run our cities under such Extreme Circumstances as those we All face today.
    Our residents are Stepping Up like they Always Do during times like these when Facemasks are Scarce- Everyone is making them now, and Doing so because we Care about our neighbors.
    And because we are all in this Together.
    Please Stay Safe, Everyone!

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