Well, they’re not entirely unsung, but the recognition seems to be falling short of what’s deserved.
There has been considerable bumbling by elected leaders in responding to the coronavirus crisis. It starts at the top, of course, with Trump. But there have been failures at the state and local level as well.
Mayors London Breed (San Francisco), Coral Evans (Flagstaff), Kate Gallego (Phoenix) and Regina Romero (Tucson), however, never bumbled. Quite the opposite. When others still dithered (New York’s Governor and New York City’s Mayor, for example), they acted decisively. Breed basically shut things down in San Francisco on March 16th, ordering residents to shelter in place. That same day, Evans ordered the suspension of all dine-in service at Flagstaff restaurants and the closure of other facilities, such as gyms and movie theaters, that could fuel the spread of the virus. Just one day later, Gallego and Romero followed suit.
At the time, Gallego’s action was controversial. Sal DiCiccio, a Phoenix Council Member, was especially critical. He wasn’t alone, though. Council Member Laura Pastor also was resistant.
Even the Governors who have acted responsibly and have been at the leading edge of the fight, Jay Inslee of Washington, for example, responded more slowly.
We’ll never know how many lives Breed, Evans, Romero and Gallego ultimately will have saved. Likely, it will be well into the thousands.
The impact of their bold action wasn’t limited to their own cities. They inspired others to act more decisively. Just days after Breed’s order, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a shelter in place order for the entire state of California.
As a Phoenician and the parent of a San Francisco resident, I couldn’t be more grateful. You should be as well, regardless of where you live.