MERCED (BLJ) – The Merced County Public Health Department on June 30 reported 1,064 Covid-19 cases (240 new since June 26) and 11 deaths. On July 1, the case number was up to 1,131 (67 new); deaths remain the same at 11.
Like so many American communities during this pandemic, some of our leaders became public enemies, and some other “leaders” followed along. The result is that local government is now unable to control the spread of the virus.
Why shouldn’t many citizens feel contempt for their government and local officials feel defensive and retreat? Why should the public speak with increasing articulation and some officials with increasing hysteria? The authoritarian complexes of public officials are not the public's problems; decent community programs and protection against deadly virus are.
Fortunately, there are laws and level-headed officials that find and use the law appropriately, at least in some instances like the current chaos in the Merced City Council.
But it remains to be seen if Merced County will obey the governor’s new close order and if the county doesn’t obey, whether the governor will have the clout in manpower and fiscal power to force the county to protect its citizens against the virus. And it remains to be seen if local government won't continue to abuse the public.