Writer’s Lounge – Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Owns COVID-19 Failure


Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Owns COVID-19 Failure

When Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the lifting of the state’s stay at home order in mid May, I predicted that the number of cases and fatalities in the state would subsequently skyrocket.

I was far from surprised when it happened, but I was not alone in forecasting the catastrophe. Now, Arizona and Florida are two of the epicenters in the huge bump in the first wave of the pandemic.

And the furious uptick began evidencing itself just a month following the premature opening of the very sorts of non-essential businesses in which there exists the highest risk of community spread from careless behavior – bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters and restaurants not enforcing masks and social distancing.

Ducey took a very laissez faire attitude and posture, not only to the behavior on the part of business owners but patrons as well and tacitly encouraged a passive response by law enforcement.

Of the most notorious of the situations that unfolded following Ducey’s lifting of orders on May 11, the atrocious “CASA Tempe” episode referenced in the above linked article – instead of issuing a stern reprimand of the behavior to restaurant owners and warning against repeat incidents, Ducey thanked Tempe police (who lied about the substance of their visit to the bar / grill) for opting to “educate people” and adopt a “lighter touch” who were at the bar instead of taking more punitive measures.

“I’m grateful to them that they have taken the posture of having a lighter touch, of educating and communicating with people, and what they’ve told me is that most people respond, most people listen,” Ducey said.

As a side note, Tempe police are known to adopt a lighter touch with revelers at bars than they do when interacting with blacks during patrol stops and 911 calls

After it became obvious that a new Tsunami of infections and deaths resulted, the Governor dragged his feet and staved off any revision in the relaxation of standards for a month while a large segment of the public continued to behave in a reckless manner as wild horses when the corral fence is broken down.

In cowardly fashion, he only conceded to allow counties and municipalities to issue face covering mandates, but avoided issuing a state order, fearing the response of the element in society that ardently believes they have a Constitutional right to expose others to a potentially fatal, communicable disease.

And today, the crisis proceeds unabated. The Arizona Department of Health reported 4,273 new coronavirus cases and 92 additional deaths on Tuesday morning. 

These add to the total of 128,097 COVID-19 cases and 2,337 fatalities. In just the past few weeks the number of cases doubled, with an increase in that period by 50,000.  In comparison, the day before Ducey’s lifting of the stay at home order in May, there were 11,736 COVID-19 cases and 562 deaths. This evidences a catastrophic failure in leadership and judgment.

As many as 1 in 5 of those who can get tested are testing positive for COVID-19. The hospitals and medical centers in the state, are stressed beyond comprehension, with close to 90 percent of the ICU beds occupied.

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Ducey thinks half measures will address the situation. For example, the Governor issued an order for restaurants, not to close all in restaurant dining, but to reduce capacity by 50 percent.

Who did he consult with to arrive at this absurd band aid approach – epidemiologists? No. Health care professionals? No. He arrived at the decision after conferencing with … “restaurant industry leaders.”

Now it has been discovered that Ducey attended a barbecue party in the middle of June, when the pandemic was staging its savage return, where no one, including himself were wearing masks or socially distancing.

photo of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey at a backyard barbecue party June 12th, where neither he or any of the other guests are wearing masks or social distancing

The Governor and his press hacks are describing the distribution of the photo as a “smear attack.” But this begs the question – if Ducey announced to state residents on June 6, that they should wear masks and socially distance, how is it a “smear attack” merely illustrating that Ducey is a blatant hypocrite. Is it on him or the person, Carter Santini, who posted the photo that went viral on social media?

Voters in Arizona, as a consequence of the train wreck Ducey has presided over, are seeing him through a different lens and it’s a jaundiced one. Ducey’s approval numbers are in a tailspin

Ducey’s failure to seize the moment, like that of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, (who claimed his state’s situation had “stabilized” as the state set a new record for coronavirus deaths) and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, has yielded a harvest of suffering.

Each of these pathetic excuses for governors have taken their direction, not from those voices in the scientific community that understand the threat realistically, but from (impeached president) Donald Trump, who continues to lie about the truth of this pandemic, even as the national death count passes the 135,000 mark, and who pays close attention to and retweets the views of a former game show host, rather than members of his own task force.

tweet from former game show host Chuck Woolery, accusing scientist, doctors, Democrats and the media of lying about the seriousness of COVID-19

Representative of the deaths that Ducey’s political calculus (fear of Trump voters and Republican businesspeople who fill his campaign coffers) has led to, is the passing of Kristin Urquiza’s father Mark Urquiza, who battled COVID -19 for three weeks, before finally succumbing on June 30. 

Kristen tells the story:

” I can remember, you know, in late May, early June, my dad sharing with me what he was thinking about doing,” she recalled. “And I was like, ‘Dad, I don’t, I’m not sure if that’s the right decision.’ And my dad was like, ‘Well, you know, the Trump administration says it’s okay. The Ducey administration says it’s okay. Like, you know, I’m watching this on the news that we should go out.'”

Urquiza wrote a letter to Ducey, inviting him to attend the funeral services, so that Ducey could get a more visceral sense of the consequences of his vacillation and lack of taking bold, authoritative action to save lives:

“I write to invite you to the burial of my father, Mark Anthony Urquiza. He was one of the 88 Arizonans who died on June 30, 2020 from COVID-19. Despite having a huge family and many friends he died alone with an ICU nurse holding his hand,” the letter read.

“My father contracted the virus during the period when you forbade local governments from implementing their own safety measures, such as mandating the wearing of masks, to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19 through Executive Order 2020-36. As a master of public affairs, I can attest that poor policy and terrible leadership was responsible for his death.”

In Ms. Urquiza’s obituary for her father, she pulls no punches:

“His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk.” 

Urquiza sent the letter to Ducey, with signature confirmation. His office did indeed, receive the letter, but opted not to either acknowledge or answer it.  Instead a worthless, hollow publicrelationspeak statement was issued:

“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Mark Anthony Urquiza. We know nothing can fully alleviate the pain associated with his loss, and every loss from this virus is tragic,” Patrick Ptak, (rhymes with flak), the governor’s communications director told Business Insider in an email.


Kristin was interviewed on National Public Radio:

by Richard Cameron

Poem "Matters" by Robert E. Blackwell

Poem "Matters" by Robert E. Blackwell


A Goofy Movie

promotional graphics for Disney's animated feature, "A Goofy Movie"

Rated G

Now available on Disney + and Amazon Prime

While this past Independence Day weekend has been all about “Hamilton,” I would like to point out there is another gem worth viewing on the popular streaming site, “A Goofy Movie.”

Continuing a few years after the popular TV series, “Goof Troop,” this feature-length film finds Goofy (Bill Farmer) and Max (Jason Marsden) in a different phase of their relationship as father and son.

Max is in high school, where his main concerns (in no particular order) are his friends, PJ (Rob Paulson) and Bobby (Pauly Shore), getting Roxanne (Kellie Martin) to go out with him, and not turning into his father. Goofy, on the other hand, is trying to figure out how to reconnect with the son with whom he once had a close relationship.

A misunderstanding tosses Max and Goofy on a road trip, where they learn about life, love, and how to show off some killer dance moves in the last second.

“Goof Troop,” was developed with the goal of portraying the not so serious Goofy as a devoted, loving father. A trait that director Kevin Lima weaves seamlessly into the plot of the film. We see Goofy longing to connect in a meaningful way with his independent son, but is unsure how.

Max, too, is portrayed as a true Gen-Xer; an awkward kid looking to find who he is, while often being embarrassed by his father, who tries too hard. And, because he’s Goofy, his efforts fail in the most public, spectacular way.

This is best captured in the Lester’s Possum sequence which features some of the best “Goofy” in any story. Not only is Goofy’s frustrations clear, but Max’s as well. It’s a dynamic that is rarely seen in film, let alone written so well.

The best father-son moments, however, is when Max and Goofy find themselves in the river, after Goofy learns the trip, isn’t going quite like he thought it was. In the middle of a literal and relational white water rapid, Max yells perhaps the best lines in any film.

“I’m NOT a little boy anymore, Dad. I’ve grown up, I’ve got my own life now.”

“I know that! I just wanted to be part of it,” Goofy replies. “You’re my son, Max. No matter how big you get, you’ll always be my son.”

It’s a raw moment of complexity, beauty and understanding, rarely touched on in any parent/child relationship, let alone a second tier Disney cartoon.

Along with catchy songs, and a fun story that never seems to age, “A Goofy Movie” is a gem worth rediscovering, or showing a new generation for the first time.

by Tiffany Elliott


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