I think we would all agree that the COVID 19 pandemic has taken its toll these past several months. We are divided on the implementation of the health guidance we’ve been given. We dislike being cooped up, and miss our social lives. We are frustrated with the amount of time it is taking for this to pass. We have fear of the economic uncertainty this crisis has caused. And we wonder what our future is going to be.
Well I wish I had answers for all those concerns listed above, but unfortunately, I don’t. I don’t think anybody does. I think the best thing we can do is review the past, evaluate the present, and imagine the future.
So, the first step is to review the past. Has anyone ever gone through something like this? Clearly, they have, maybe not exactly, but certainly close enough. History teaches us about pandemics, economic hardship, deprivation from war, and times when people lost hope in their future. And what happened in all of those cases? The people got through it. Obviously not without some loss, but they got through it. The old World War II poster of “Keep Calm and Carry On” is applicable today. We are going to get through this. We are as strong and adaptable as any generation of the past. We simply need to remind ourselves that our challenge, like the other events in history, is not forever. And you know what I am really saying here? We must not give up hope.
As we evaluate the present, we must not succumb to hyperbole, and overreact. I often get emails expressing alarm about the increasing numbers of cases. But haven’t we been told that the numbers will go up before they go down? So, we shouldn’t be alarmed but rather reassured—as odd as that may sound,—because it increases faith in the expertise of those who are charged with developing the strategies to fight this virus. And not every new case equates to a death.
I don’t want that comment to be considered callous. I know the loss of anyone is not a statistic, but a heartbreak when a family member or neighbor is no longer with us. But at the same time, we already knew that there will be some who sadly succumb to this virus. History has shown that. So how is our community doing in comparison to others both here in San Diego and the rest of the world? We are doing well. Our community’s numbers are good. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve, but we should feel good that our compliance with health guidelines has produced good results and minimized impact. We are fighting the good fight.
We also know economically there is a disparity. Some industries and businesses are doing fine and others are on the brink of collapse. What have we seen? People rising to the occasion with innovative strategies, a community working together, new normals developing. I am like you. I am saddened when a person’s dream is lost or even like some of my children their workplace had to close. But we should keep faith with those who lost their dream. Because they will dream again, and we will be better for it. It is not the end but simply another step in our journey.
The future and its associated uncertainty, can always be scary. Fear can be paralyzing. If we allowed it to take control we would stop and simply wait for the end. But we are not. I have talked to many people who continue to imagine a better and brighter community. The city itself is working on a Vision 2088 concept. What do we want the city to be like on its 200th birthday. We have taken the feedback of our community advisory groups to imagine that future community. We have partnered with industry, academia, and other government agencies to help shape and implement this vision. We are looking to make Escondido the gold standard for all of its endeavors. We are looking to establish water and energy independence. We are working with our schools to strengthen their appeal. We believe our stewardship is a partnership with the community. We will continue to move forward.
We are not afraid of the future and we are not afraid of this virus. We know life has its tribulations and this virus is just one of them. Escondido is a hardworking, innovative and proud community. We will adapt as necessary and continue to make this community better for generations to come.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank the many unsung heroes of this community who work tirelessly to serve it and make it a great place to live. As your mayor, I am inspired daily by the engagement and caring of our residents. I can’t imagine a better place to live.