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Pandemic Year: Mike Fong reflects on lessons learned and moves forward

Maron Meyer
Northwest Asia Weekly

Fang Mike

Mike Fong, the senior deputy mayor of Seattle, stated that fairness is the core value of the city’s response to the pandemic and will be the guiding principle for its recovery.

In an interview with Asia Weekly on June 22, Fang said: “Ideally, we will step out of the pandemic and further realize the inequality of the same kind that existed before the pandemic.” Our strategy, such as investing in the federal government On the one hand, because we are focused on returning to the office and economic recovery. “

In the interview, Fong discussed how the city’s values ​​influence its response to the major challenges during the pandemic, its strategy to move forward, and what it might do better afterwards.

Fang attributed the relative success of the city and the region to many factors, including the coordination of strategic responses by high-level officials and coordination that relied on scientific guidance.

“It’s very fluid, things change every hour, and we are trying to make sure we stay as consistent and as consistent as possible,” he said. “From Governor Insley to Chief Constantine to Mayor Durkan, we are all in step.”

He also said that the mayor responded to two interrelated principles. One is to take urgent action, especially in areas that the government does not normally do. The second is a commitment to science.

When asked to compare the area’s performance with other states, Fang said he had observed different responses to the pandemic in one area.

“Some of them are due to political reasons, and some are due to underlying philosophical differences,” he said.
However, the success of Seattle and the region is not just a government action. Necessary partnerships have been established with residents, such as wearing masks or observing stay-at-home orders.

“In terms of law enforcement, there are really limited tools, you really rely on trust, overall confidence in communication and methods, and basically voluntary compliance,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that the response of the people of Seattle is incredible.”

One proof of the city’s success is that Seattle has reached 70% of its vaccination goals for residents over 12 years of age.

“All data indicators show that our state and city are indeed ahead of the country,” he said.

Challenge and fairness

Fang said responding to calls for police reform during the pandemic is a challenge.

There is no simple solution, but the government wants a sustainable approach.

He said: “A very challenging issue is calling for the cancellation of police funding, calling for a very specific budget cut threshold of 50% of SPD.” “And we just feel that this is not a promise that we can actually keep or make. Because this is a series of very complicated issues.”

“Some changes have taken place in the conversation now, and it gives us the opportunity to carry out reforms that are not only overnight solutions, but persistence and long-term attention will produce lasting results,” he said.

He said that another area where the government is concerned about fairness is vaccination.

“Our vaccine team has never wavered, and we will focus on fairness, even in terms of how to implement its challenges,” he said. “We will not let the temptation to launch vaccines quickly and rely on traditional mechanisms to influence our core methods.

He praised Fire Chief Harold Scoggins for “intervening in testing and vaccinations, which are not part of their core responsibilities.”

The city government had to make a series of difficult economic choices, which “affected many people” in the short term.

“These decisions are made based on the best guidance available to the mayor,” he said.

These include investment strategies for small businesses, rental assistance, food stamps, child support and other support to ensure that the safety net is in place.

He said that looking to the future, taking care of the most vulnerable groups and “doing our best to restore Seattle’s strong economy” is the direction the government is now working on.

When asked that the city could have done better, Fang mentioned a series of urgent challenges at the beginning of the pandemic, which took a certain amount of time to “stand firmly.”

“We urgently need to test, we urgently need to better deal with the spread of Covid, assisted living has brought a series of new challenges,” he said.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the state to the county level, there have been questions about the mask policy.

“In hindsight, we could have reached an agreement earlier,” he said.

He said that there are also challenges to equitable vaccine distribution, which is related to the Trump administration’s limited supply.

“But I am very proud of the work done in this city.”

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