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By Councilmember Kathy Ward
I think Fred Swegles recently said it best: “Summer is going to look different this year.”
As we prepare for the Fourth of July, our celebrations will be different, but there will be barbecues at home, time outside with the family, and our city’s fireworks will be up in the sky. The fireworks could not be held at the pier, but the city council did not want to cancel them.
With all the uncertainty at this time, our residents and businesses can be assured our city is stable. It pains me to read on social media the inaccurate statements our city is in crisis.
The city has a balanced budget because of the consistent great work of our staff and conservative city policies. We can and will continue to provide necessary city services.
Currently, the city is working with business owners to enable innovative planning such as outdoor dining that will help them provide social distancing and aid in their success.
In this public health crisis, I looked to the past for guidance of how Americans got through the pandemic almost 100 years ago. You know that adage about history? “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
Some cities took great precautions and others did not. It turns out the cities that did the most to prevent the spread of the virus not only saved lives, but they also came out better economically.
I am concerned that people will think everything is back to normal because businesses are now open. The virus is still present and is very contagious. As I write this, cases are increasing. It is important for every person to protect themselves from getting the virus and sharing it with those at home.
We all miss socializing with people, and more importantly, not having to give one thought about a virus. We will get back there, but I hope until then, we can work together to keep everyone safe and our businesses open.
There are additional things we can do to help each other. Shop locally. Our shops have inventory, and the best part is it is all the items we like. Many items that you buy online are available in our stores. Shopping locally supports our businesses and ensures our city stays strong.
Churches, Family Assistance Ministries, our Rotarians, Boys & Girls Club and other groups are all working to help feed those in need. FAM also helps people with financial plans. The city has increased funding to key groups that provide assistance in our city. If you are able to, please research these groups and help with funds or food to help those that need help now.
Our summer activities may look different. I pray we can get out of this sooner than later and that we do it with sincerity, dignity, and respect for each other.
Enjoy Independence Day. Celebrate the Fourth of July, as our founders said we would always commemorate this day around the country with illuminations and celebrations to signal our joy of freedom.
That is why the fireworks were not canceled. Not everyone may be able to see them, but I hope as you hear the pops of enthusiastic explosions, you will rejoice along with everyone else that we live in the best country in the world and in the best city in the United States. Be safe out there.
Congratulations and thank you to Sen. Patricia Bates for her bill passing through the Senate with 24 bipartisan votes, stating the toll road ends at Oso Parkway!
And congratulations to the Class of 2020! One Town, One Team.
Kathy Ward is a city councilmember who was elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018.