There’s a COVID-19 update on tomorrow night’s Anaheim City Council agenda, which virtually guarantees another bout of pontificating from Councilman Jose F. Moreno.
Moreno frequently declares “public health must be our first consideration” and paints concerns with keeping businesses open as putting “dollars” ahead of health. However, Moreno’s actions demonstrate his willingness to put political and ideological considerations ahead of public health.
As this site has reported, Moreno organized a mass protest in La Palma Park on June 1, in defiance of state guidelines of avoiding mass public gatherings. La Palma Park is in the 92805 ZIP code – which Moreno frequently points out has one of the highest incidences of COVD-19.
Hundreds of high school and college age students disregarded social distancing requirements and clustered together to chant and protest as Moreno – along with AUSHD Superintendent Mike Matsuda, AUSHD Board member Annemarie Randle-Trejo, AESD Trustee J. Paolo Magcalas, and other Moreno allies – looked on.
During his June 17 pre-council meeting Zoom call, a constituent asked Moreno about how the George Floyd/anti-police protests were contributing to increased COVID-19 infections. Moreno admitted the protests would lead to a spike, then shrugged it off by saying infections were spiking anyway before changing the subject to the then-anticipated re-opening of Disneyland.
In other words, he took no responsibility for putting hundreds of students at greater risk of contracting COVID while wringing his hands over how re-opening the economy will impact the pandemic.
As it happens, even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has acknowledged the link between protests and spiking COVID cases:
“It’s not the act of protesting… but protesting without maintaining physical distancing, without wearing your mask, without having sanitizer – we just have to be smart.”
During Moreno’s June 21 council preview Zoom call, AUSHD teacher Liz Gracian asked Moreno about doing a “stop COVID spread campaign.” Gracian, along with Moreno, was one of the organizers of the June 1 La Palma Park protest.
Gracian said the campaign could distribute flyers about the importance of wearing masks – although Gracian didn’t think it important to wear one while exhorting the students at her protest:
Given that attendees at the protest they organized clustered together next to a large city sign urging them to stay six feet apart, Moreno’s and Gracian’s zeal for COVID education lacks crediblity:
At least Garcetti and other liberal mayors have acknowledged the connection -even if they initially downplayed it for political reasons.
Next time Councilman Moreno goes shifts his COVID sanctimony into high gear, he can first tender an apology for placing his political and ideological concerns before the public health.