I know that most of you reading this are expecting to read how terrible, horrible, stupid, etc. the Stay Home, Work Safe order from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is. Because hey, what else is a conservative Republican supposed to say about a decision from someone of the other tribe, right?
Sorry folks, that is not going to happen. And if that bothers you and you huff and puff and leave forever, okay. Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.
I learned a long time ago that if you are going to make a decision, it is best to rely upon data when you have it available. And there are boatloads of data suggesting that the order from Judge Hidalgo was a necessary step to take.
I also learned a long time ago that if data isn’t available or if it is new and not comprehensive, that you rely upon experts to give you a sense of which direction to take. And when every expert in the medical community of Harris County is telling you that this is a necessary step to lessen the impact of COVID-19, you take their advice.
This order is not a shelter in place order. The order is very reasonable and doesn’t lock us in our homes. Trust me, it could have been much worse. Think New York or California. In contrast to what we have seen in those states, the order from Judge Hidalgo is very reasonable.
I was hopeful that there would not be a need for an order. Most of the people around me are complying with voluntary social distancing. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to do that. And because of the rate of spread from one asymptomatic carrier to 2-3 others, the spread is very rapid. People keep talking about the low number of cases in our county but they aren’t considering that spread rate.
Perhaps my perspective is skewed because as the mayor of a small town, I have been involved with daily conference calls for the past three weeks with federal, state and county leaders. I have witnessed first hand how this stuff has spread and what happens when leaders ignore data and respond based upon their emotions or their own inflated perception of their wisdom.
This decision is data driven, expert driven and is measured in its scope.
And frankly, I’m tired of the criticism of Judge Hidalgo’s youth and inexperience. I was young once, as were you. In times of crisis, experience isn’t everything. The ability to process information and make critical, tough decisions is far more important. Would it be more soothing to see former County Judge Ed Emmett telling us to hunker down? Sure, I suppose it would because we are conditioned to a patriarchal society and we’ve known him for years and he is calm during a storm.
But you know what? Ed Emmett was young once too. As a young state representative, he made good decisions relying upon data and experts. He is a Rice grad, you know. It would be most helpful if he would make a public statement supporting Judge Hidalgo but perhaps he doesn’t want to take the spotlight. Deep down, I know that he would have made the same decision.
Like I said, I’ve been on daily conference calls with all three levels of government. And I will tell you without hesitation that the county is doing a better job than the federal or state. I’ve talked to both Judge Hidalgo and Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia many times and I know that they have not exaggerated, lied, made false promises and are taking their roles in this very, very seriously.
And as a small town mayor with no experience in handling a pandemic, I appreciate their support and their willingness to help me. So thank you Judge Hidalgo and Commissioner Garcia. The City of Shoreacres appreciates your work and the hard decisions that you have to make.
From Commissioner Garcia:
STATEMENT: PRECINCT 2 COMMISSIONER ADRIAN GARCIA SUPPORTS HARRIS CO. STAY-AT-HOME ORDER
Harris County, TX— In reaction to Judge Lina Hidalgo’s decision to issue a county-wide stay at home order in Harris County, Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia releases the following statement:
“Today, Judge Hidalgo is making a true leadership decision. It is a very tough, yet extremely prudent choice, but her compass is to find the best possible path that could wind up saving lives of many Harris County residents. The reason for Judge Hidalgo’s decision is not solely of her choosing, however, and a stay-at-home order in Harris County comes after careful deliberation and counsel from many health care and business leaders. With what we’ve seen in other parts of the country, I agree we can’t afford to delay, and for my Precinct 2 family, I welcome her decision. This is the best hope for Harris County to prevent a widespread disaster, harming all of us that live, work, and play in this county. I strongly support the order from the Judge. Too many of our neighbors’ lives are at stake.”