By Mayor Terry Tornek
Special to The Outlook
We have been suffering as individuals and as a community.
Some of us have lost loved ones, many have suffered financial losses, and now all of us have witnessed a terrible killing that has torn at the fabric of our nation. Both the virus and racism take lives and damage us all.
Since mid-March, we have been asked to modify our behavior dramatically and to exercise a significant degree of self-control. The good news is that it is paying off.
By staying home, social distancing, wearing face coverings and not hugging people that we don’t live with, we have slowed the pandemic, prevented our health-care system from being overwhelmed and created the precursors for reopening businesses … carefully. Then, by obeying curfews, we allowed law enforcement to control a volatile situation created by the terrible death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the chaos that resulted nationwide.
In both cases, governmental action was imperfect, perhaps overbearing, but largely effective. In this country, we rely on private enterprise and clever individuals to break new ground and to do the creative thinking. But when we are confronted with serious emergencies — earthquakes, civil unrest, pandemics, wars — we must rely on a muscular governmental response to turn the tide. This reliance comes at a price that includes inefficiencies, missed opportunities, errors and more.
This year’s emergencies confirm those realities.
I am proud of the way Pasadena’s government has responded to these challenging and overlapping crises. City staff has stepped up, worked very hard and pulled us through. There has been some criticism of our performance and more to come. Indeed, we must learn from our mistakes. However, what we’ve had to deal with is unprecedented and has required quick responses with imperfect information.
The good news is that while we are clearly not out of the woods yet, the trend lines are improving. That is true for both managing the pandemic and for treating all of our residents fairly.
We have shown our character in how we have reacted to the anguish of those most impacted by the continued inequitable treatment of people of color and by working hard to make sure that we continue to improve our performance in Pasadena.
Our city — including government, nonprofits and residents — has moved quickly and generously to deal with health system shortages, food insecurity, sheltering the most vulnerable homeless and supporting small businesses.
While 2020 has not treated us very well to date, Pasadena has demonstrated that we can take a punch and emerge even stronger from the struggle.
While we have some difficult days ahead, I believe that our city is strong, resilient, caring, resourceful and full of hope. We will need all of these qualities to remain the Pasadena that we love.