Q & A With Mayor Serge Dedina
Mayor Serge Dedina has created a task force to help the community and the city to deal with the COVID-19. We asked Dedina eight questions to find out more about it.
When did you create it and why?
“The Mayor’s Task Force on COVID-19 was created on March 19 in order to help the City of Imperial Beach address the humanitarian and economic aspect of this crisis that went beyond the normal duties of city staff. This task force includes the active participation of the entire City Council as well as Imperial Beach stakeholders and key city staff to assist, who represent different sectors—public safety, medical, public health, business, work force, and community organizations.”
What kind of assignments are there? Can you list the different ones?
“There are five subcommittees on the task force that represent the different issues that are being addressed. These include the following with their respective City Council chairs: High Risk Populations (Mayor Pro Temp Paloma Aguirre); Public Safety (Councilmember Bobby Patton); Business/Workforce (Councilmember Mark West), Preparation and Recovery (Councilmember Ed Spriggs) and Public Health (Mayor Serge Dedina). Each subcommittee works together with a city staff member to assist as well as the assistance of community members who have expertise in these issues.”
Do you have regular meetings? Any findings or decisions made?
“The Task Force Executive Committee meets once a week virtually to discuss issues relevant to the entire task force. But each Sub-committee has specific tasks related to its subject and its own meetings. For example, the Business/Workforce Sub-Committee held a Business Town Hall Virtual Meeting on March 30, to discuss ways to support our business community and those who have lost their jobs.”
What are you hoping to accomplish through the task force?
“We are facing the most pressing crisis in the U.S. since World War II. The Task Force was developed to help and support our residents to get through this crisis and then help our community to recover. The need is more critical than ever and we have to find new ways for the City to adapt and pivot to address the pressing and critical needs of our residents and our community.”
Any actions taken yet?
“The Task Force has carried quite a few actions already. The Public Safety Subcommittee has met and Councilmember Patton is working with our public safety agencies to develop a broader and coordinated strategy to keep Imperial Beach safe. Councilmember Ed Spriggs met with City Manager Andy Hall and Assistant City Manager Erika Cortez to help draft the City’s revised Budget and Finance Plan. Councilmember Aguirre and the High Risk Population Subcommittee are addressing issues related to housing and the rental evictions prohibitions as well as coordinating with the Imperial Beach Neighborhood Centers IB Senior Care Rapid Response Committee. Councilmember Mark West and the Business Workforce Committee held a Business/Workforce Town Hall on March 30 to identify resources for businesses, managers and workers. Through the Pubic Health Subcommittee, members from UCSD Community Health, South Bay Urgent Care and the Imperial Beach Community Clinic we are addressing issues related to communicating critical public health information to our residents as well as promoting efforts for residents who sew to make face masks.”
Have other cities created a task force that you know of?
“There are Mayors and cities in every region of the country that have created these task forces. I am in contact with Mayors through weekly calls facilitated through the Harvard Bloomberg City Leadership Initiative at Harvard University that includes a partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. I find the resources provided by this initiative to be extremely helpful as well as hearing what Mayors around the country are carrying out to address this crisis.”
Do you feel confident the city is doing what it can to make it through the outbreak?
“The City of Imperial Beach thanks to the support of the entire City Council and City Manager Andy Hall has worked diligently to address this unprecedented crisis in a comprehensive way. That will require, however, the full cooperation of residents with the Governor’s stay at home order as well as physical distancing requirements. If we all work together to address this crisis we can get through this and recover. But it is going to take hard work, diligence and the participation of our entire community working together to save lives and help us recover.”
What are your worries right now about residents, businesses etc.?
“One of our biggest focuses has been on addressing the critical needs of our high risk populations to make sure they have access to food, housing, groceries and medical care. Additionally, there has been a tremendous focus and partnership with the Sheriff’s to maintain public safety in Imperial Beach. We are also dealing with how the city addresses this issue is tremendously important as well as providing resources for businesses and workers. Finally, we have to continue working with public health officials and medial professionals to educate our residents about the need to comply with the stay at home order and physical distancing requirements so that we can flatten the curve and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives.”
FB Page: IB Mayor’s Task Force on Coronavirus