In this time of crisis, it seems everyone is weighing in with advice about who to blame and what else should be done.
By now we all know we should listen to expert advice from the CDC, stay home, avoid groups, help our neighbors, and stop hoarding. Public health officials may well recommend stronger and broader stay-at-home and lockdown orders to slow the spread of the pandemic.
In addition to all the immediate actions that must be taken to keep our people safe, I would suggest the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Unified School District lead a strategic planning effort to develop and implement strategies that help us emerge from the other side of the scourge of COVID-19 as a stronger community.
We will face a formidable task in rebuilding our tourism industry, providing direct and indirect aid to small businesses, re-capturing our lost special event revenue, but most importantly reconnecting with each other.
Finding out who has suffered and finding the resources to help them will be take a huge effort. Let’s start by re-allocating the $1.21 million we’ve committed to the Super Bowl and find ways to use it to benefit our families in need. Mortgage payments will be in arrears, rents past due, people hungry and out of work and businesses shuttered.
I am not proposing a giveaway. Let me be clear, unlike the federal and state governments, we can’t afford to open city coffers and write checks. But we could and should explore every conceivable strategy for providing bridge loans or expanding existing programs that help with medical, utility, food, transportation, schooling and housing needs.
We can and will get through this crisis. And we may shorten our recovery time by many months, perhaps even years, if we begin to plan now for our post-pandemic community.
It is not too late to avoid the most dire and lingering impacts of this crisis if we work together for the best of our people and our city.
Editor’s Note: John Little is a former Scottsdale City Manager and running for the City Council.