We are extremely disappointed with El Paso City Council’s decision to not pass Item 19.3, which would have disclosed outbreaks and clusters of COVID-19 positive cases to the public.
El Paso — As COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise, the El Paso Young Democrats (EPYD) strongly condemn the City Council’s decision to hide crucial information regarding the locations of outbreaks and clusters in the city.
On Tuesday, the City Council voted 5-4 against passing Item 19.3, which would have allowed the public to see where outbreaks of COVID-19 are most prevalent, and where clusters of the virus currently exist. City Council Representatives Morgan (District 4), Salicdo (District 5), Rodriguez (District 6), and Lizarraga (District 8) voted against the item, with Mayor Margo casting the tie breaking voting against the Item.
Access to this information means literal life or death for the most vulnerable members of our community. There is no legitimate justification for voting this item down, or withholding any statistics regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Doing so is a direct infringement on the safety and health of El Pasoans. Further, the claim that the city is not legally able to disclose such information is untrue; though the law does not require it, there were no legitimate reasons given at today's City Council Meeting for no doing so.
"Once again, the El Paso City Council claims transparency regarding our COVID-19 situation, yet, in practice, continues to be anything but," J.J. Martinez, EPYD's president said. "Mayor Margo and City Council Representatives Morgan, Salcido, Rodriguez, Lizarraga have failed El Paso yet again. The reality is that, while we all want our economy to thrive, it never will if COVID-19 continues to ravage El Paso — the health of El Pasoans must come first. Until we have strong leadership in the mayor's office that isn't beholden to Texas' terrible failure of a governor, and city council members who aren't afraid to stand up to the mayor, we won't come out of this anytime soon. Cases and deaths will continue to rise."
As a result of the failed leadership of Governor Abbott, Mayor Margo, and several City Council representatives, the pandemic continues to ravage El Paso. El Paso has experienced over 4,000 new cases in the past two weeks alone, and active cases continue to rise. Hospitals are near capacity and more and more El Pasoans are losing their lives because of our state and local governments' failures.
Our organization demands that all of our local officials — appointed or elected — be more forthcoming about information regarding this pandemic.
If the Mayor and aforementioned City Council representatives feel that they do not owe their constituents transparency, than our organization will work to remind them that their constituents do not owe them their vote. Mayor Margo and City Council Representative Morgan are up for re-election this November. City Council Representatives Salcido, Lizarraga, and Rodriguez are up for election in 2022. The El Paso Young Democrats work diligently to ensure that their seats are filled with community-oriented leaders who value public health and transparency from City Hall.
The El Paso Young Democrats are the official chapter of the Texas Young Democrats — one of the largest partisan youth organizations in the nation — in the Borderland. As the official voice of young Democrats in El Paso County, the organization strives to empower young El Pasoans through community activism and policy involvement locally, statewide, and nationally.