As you may be aware, I (and the Mayor and Council) received many emails opposing and in favor of opening the city amenities. And as you stated in your article, these emails were promoted and encouraged by a Councilman’s (Council not personal) Facebook page. As you reported, he states: “please email and tell the rest of the council to open these amenities.” In my “personal opinion” (I want to make that very clear, since I too am entitled to my opinion), this was an ignorant request on his behalf. We/the Council would have no say nor take a vote on this matter.
In an effort to bring this matter before the Council, I requested that the decision regarding opening city amenities be vetted and discussed by this city’s elected officials. As a separate matter I also wished to discuss the Councilman’s social media posts on his official city councilmember page. That is what we are elected to do: discuss, possibly debate and make the difficult decisions as a group. Instead these efforts were pushed aside and diverted to a discussion (I am not aware who sat on these discussions, but I can tell you it was not me) and an ultimate “decision to open” by the city manager, NOT the Council. The City of Maricopa, with the exception of this decision, has been following Governor Ducey’s orders since the start of COVID-19. As a matter of fact, you can visit the city website and read every detailed order including the one recently issued extending the “Stay at Home” order through May 15. While this order does not specify parks, why would the city NOT enforce the Governor’s order since we have been doing so all along. As quoted in this article, this same Councilman who encouraged the campaign to “tell the rest of Council to open” stated he was “disappointed” by Ducey’s decision. I have since received several emails from constituents "disappointed" in our City's decision and the Councilman’s Facebook post/subsequent email responses.
It is my opinion that if a mother and daughter want to pick up a sandwich that they continue to follow the Governor’s order and enjoy that meal at home. Only time will tell what ramification this decision will impose. In the meantime, let’s shop local, support our food bank in any way possible and continue to hope and pray that our family, friends and neighbors stay safe and do not become victims or casualties of this virus.
Councilwoman Julia Gusse