Serge Dedina

With the recent round of business closures as a result of the increasing cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County and especially in Imperial Beach and the entire South Bay, it is increasingly clear that it is going to be a challenge to beat the coronavirus. But it is also increasingly clear that by wearing a mask in public, washing your hands and maintaining a physical distance between yourself and others, we can beat this virus. However it will be hard and challenging work that requires all of us to work together and think of others.

Unfortunately, mask wearing, for some reason, has become politicized. Across the board medical professionals make it very clear that covering your face in public is the single most effective way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. I applaud County and California officials who have worked to adapt business rules to allow businesses like restaurants, gyms and salons to operate outside. This is going to require all of us to adapt (sometimes on a daily basis), but if we cooperate and act together for the public good the sooner we’ll get back to normal.

One of the biggest considerations is how to safely get our kids back to school. Our local school districts are faced with tough choices to keep students, families, teachers and all of the school employees safe from a virus that spreads quickly, especially among those who show no symptoms. The fact that we have thousands of children at home is the biggest reason why we need to also identify how to invest in our parks and recreational facilities so that we can offer safe alternatives for being outside and exercising for our kids and families. There is nothing more important than having access to the kind of recreational amenities just about every community in San Diego takes for granted, but Imperial Beach doesn’t have. Combine that with the shocking and distressing beach closures we have faced over the past nine months, and it shows how we have to do more to provide for a better and healthier quality of life for all in Imperial Beach.

Combine the lack of recreational services for kids and the lack of programs and a modern Senior Center to serve our seniors, and we have a big need to continue to pursue grants and revenue generation to invest in the kinds of services that we need to have in Imperial Beach to improve the quality of life for all. It is always instructive to me to see what other communities take for granted and what Imperial Beach doesn’t have access to. We must continue to be creative, innovative and resourceful so that we can build the kind of community where having a high quality of life is accessible to all.

Public safety has also been on the minds of just about everybody over the past five months. Our First Responders such as Fire Fighters, Parademics, Sheriff’s and Lifeguards have put themselves at risk to protect our public health and safety first and foremost. Because of the current economic crisis and our declining revenues, we are going to have to identify and implement ways to increase our revenues so that we can continue to pay for public safety costs that increase each and every year. Meanwhile, I am grateful to our First Responders for all that they do to keep us safe in Imperial Beach.

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