The pandemic that has disrupted all of our lives and threatens the health of billions globally was caused in the first instance by an animal virus that jumped to infect humans through no traceable fault of anyone in particular .
But the fact that our economy is now facing the worst downturn since the 1970's or perhaps even the 1930's , the fact that thousands of small businesses in our community are struggling to survive , the fact that hundreds of thousands of people in San Diego County and millions across the United States and around the world are out of work and unable to pay rent or mortgages or put food on the table , the fact that we are all locked in our homes with many facing serious mental health crises , the fact that getting sick from the virus carries an unnecessary exponential risk of death because our hospitals are understaffed and lack adequate ventilators and other equipment , the fact that every one of us risks getting sick anytime we leave our homes and go about our normal daily activities or even so much as hug our sisters and cousins and grandparents who are sheltering separately, the fact that essential workers who ensure we can all eat and get electricity and receive medical care and isolate in relative comfort face extraordinary risks going to work every day, the fact that our jails and immigrant detention centers and homeless populations are now high-risk coronavirus hotbeds with guards and prisoners sitting ducks for a contagion that flourishes in confined spaces -- these are political failures, failures of leadership, abject failures to muster even a remotely adequate response to the existential crisis of our time .

I decided to run for elected office at a different moment, when we faced a different set of challenges.  But if I had not stepped forward then, I would have stepped forward now. I am appalled at the failure of our government, both local and national.  The County and the Country can do better. The County and the Country MUST do better.
Protecting public health and reopening the economy go hand-in-hand.  These are not competing objectives, they are one and the same. We can only effectively restart our economy when we have a clear plan to protect public health, so our businesses and schools have the certainty they need to get back to work.  

It's not a short-term shutdown that is so economically devastating -- most of Europe goes on vacation for the entire month of August and the EU economy does not collapse -- livelihoods are being decimated by the profound uncertainty about the future ( how long will this go on?!! ), and the lack of any real safety net or job protections for the many millions of workers who have lost their incomes.
The answer is clear: We need a bold public health plan that gets us the safety and certainty we need to reopen the economy.

The County must:

(1) Radically Expand Testing.  San Diego County tested just 15,411 people in the past week. But experts agree that we need to be testing AT LEAST 6.4% of the population each week to follow South Korea's relatively successful approach of moderate economic activity with sustained social distancing, and between 21% to 50% of the population weekly to get back to normal(ish) . That means about 213,632 tests every week AT MINIMUM. In other words, we need 14 times more tests every week so that we can all get back to work, to school, and to our lives. In addition to testing every frontline worker at risk and everyone with either health symptoms or covid-19 contact, we must run enough tests to know the real virus prevalence in our community so we can make evidence-based policy decisions. Scaling-up testing is difficult but possible, as countries around the world have made evident -- but it takes determined political leadership to tackle locally specific testing barriers, source scarce supplies, and drive forward community-based rapid expansion of testing capacity .

(2) Exponentially Scale-Up Contact Tracing . Once someone tests positive for covid-19, quashing community spread requires tracking-down and quarantining anyone who has been in contact with the patient and also tests positive. A bipartisan team of experts estimates that we need about 1,800 contact tracers in San Diego County . Only through their time-intensive efforts can we avoid further outbreaks by rapidly informing those exposed and limiting how many people they then expose in turn. Right now we have merely 120 contact tracers in San Diego County, and only plan to expand to 450 tracers . Our County needs to take the lead on hiring and training contact tracers, so we can reopen our regional economy. 

(3) Protect Workers with Paid Sick Leave and PPE.  Workers need both mandatory paid sick leave and personal protective equipment for everyone's collective safety. People working in close proximity with the public and co-workers are not only at increased risk of catching covid-19 themselves, but also are more likely to spread it to many others if they are not supported with protective gear and paid sick leave policies that help everyone who may be contagious (even if asymptomatic) to isolate until the transmission danger passes. Urgent County action to protect workers is both a moral imperative and good public health policy.

These evidence-based steps to protect our public health are the linchpins to reopening our economy -- as outlined in the governor's upcoming requirements for Counties to begin easing restrictions and opening businesses .  
We must restart our economy with a clear plan to protect public health , so our businesses and schools have the certainty they need to get back to work. 

Throughout history, countries and communities have been tempered or embrittled by the quality of leadership that citizens choose to guide them through crises. We forged one nation in the face of a bloody Civil War, overcame the Great Depression, and defeated the Nazis in World War II because citizens rose up and rejected charlatans like James Buchanan and Herbert Hoover, and turned to thoughtful, evidence-driven policymakers like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

We once again face a crisis that demands political leadership. Stand with me to elect the leadership we need to defeat this crisis, locally and nationally.
With hope,