An Open Letter To Steve Christy From Rob Nemitz

I read your article published in the Vail Voice on June 19th, 2020 District 4 Updates: June.   As an Iraq war veteran, I am deeply disappointed that a representative such as yourself would lose sight of the fact that you represent everyone: Democrat, Republican, and Independent.   It does not matter if you are a progressive, liberal, conservative, or libertarian.   You represent the entire district and all of those who reside in Pima County District 4, not just the business owners in your district.   The artful partisan tirade you went on in your update only shows the incompetence of you being able to reach out to those across the aisle to do what’s best for everyone in Pima County and should be condemned by the voters.

This ad hominem style of attacks shows your lack of foresight as a district leader. It shows voters why you need to be voted out or immediately resign.  Representatives who claim to be business-minded are hurting the very businesses you swear to protect when you resort to partisan level, dirty tactics; this is a fallacy on your part.   Civility is what gets work done, not discourse.  

As a car salesman and business owner in a former life, you should know the art of the deal and should be working with the entire board regardless of personal feelings of the other side as your article implies.  The will of the constituency and all who reside there are your number one priority.  There is much more at stake here and you represent everyone, not just the constituents who own businesses.  Simply put, District 4 voters put you in charge of doing a job of what is best for all residents of Pima County, not partisan politics.

I know too well about partisan politics as I love debating politics with people in various local Facebook forums.  I come with my best foot forward knowing that even though we all may not agree or even be politically aligned, in the end we are all Americans trying to do what is best for our country and county.   Your tone, attitude, and divisiveness in your update is a clear indicator that you are not willing to do what is best for Pima County.   You are better than that so please stop the madness!

I do not shy away from the truth, and neither should you or any business owner in town.   Let me be very frank and direct.  The restrictions that the board put in place were designed for one thing:  to keep people safe under public safety guidelines.  The board values life over liberty as does our Declaration of Independence. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are directly embodied in the document that we all live by.

The COVID 19 crisis is real. As I write this letter, we have now seen a real surge of cases in Pima County due to the reopening of businesses, including restaurants.   We are now seeing businesses and restaurants that reopened have to close again in the State of Arizona due to COVID reinfections.    Your comments show that you do not see the reality that the residents of Pima County and Arizonans live in today as businesses are now making tough choices to stay open or put their health on the line.   The board had the foresight of what might happen and we are now seeing exactly our worst fears materialize as the Covid-19 rates skyrocket in the State of Arizona.

As a small business owner myself, I understand the torturous environment that small businesses, especially restaurant,  operate under.   I have seen it firsthand and the effects that COVID has had on them through my own business.   This is far worse than any seasonal flu. It is an unfortunate situation that they must face when looking at what is best for their businesses.   They did not ask for this and are not being punished in any way.  When the board acted to implement safety measures to help keep the community safe they were living up to their moral responsibility to keep all those who live, work, and travel in Pima County safe.

I am not anti-business at all but I come with a simple philosophy that all business owners must realize.  The very customers they serve are the ones who keep them in business and without them the businesses will not survive.   Those customers keep them grounded and they must fit the needs of their businesses to serve their customers. Common sense things like providing hand sanitizer for customers, temperature checks for employees to ensure they are not sick and ensuring proper social distancing so the virus is not transmitted between patrons are perfectly acceptable solutions in this environment.  It puts the health of everyone first.   All businesses should be making the best effort to make this happen.

I understand that business owners are looking at their bottom lines but unfortunately, everyone in America has taken some sort of hit regarding this virus. When businesses do not support the measures as the board suggested it sends a loud and clear message that their profits are more valuable than their customers’ lives.  The customers are the very ones who keep them in business.

I get the fact that they must do what is best for their businesses and the stresses they face.  However, they also must realize that the financials may not support the current environment and come up with outside of the box ways to bring in new income sources for their businesses. There is no simple solution.   Ultimately, without healthy patrons they will not be able to get to full capacity and as the virus resurges, the vicious circle will continue.   They must put the health of their customers and employees first and understand that what the board implemented is a moral responsibility that they as business owners must partake in. It is in their duty to ensure their patrons’ safety while in their establishments.  

Steve, you have failed that moral obligation by voting against it and keeping the citizens unsafe with the mask initiative. The CDC has issued guidelines that overwhelmingly show wearing a mask is effective at reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  This boils down to what parts of the Declaration of Independence we value more: Life or Liberty.   By wearing a 99-cent cloth mask everyone is doing their part. It is a life-saving measure that slows down the transmission of the virus that could cause another to die should they contract the virus from an infected individual.  You wear the mask because you care for our community and the people who live in it. 

Businesses need to do everything to prevent transmission of the virus to ensure their viability.  I would love for our restaurants to be at full capacity just like you Steve, but that is not the reality we live in today. We must govern by that reality.   As Americans we have seen tough times like this before and have always worked through them to be better on the flip side than what we were before.

As a community, we must strongly support those small businesses who are struggling and help them out as best as we can. Simultaneously, we must understand the political clout of what the Pima County board is doing, why it is important, and the facts of our current environment.   One relevant fact is without healthy employees and customers no business can survive.   No amount of bickering from our elected representatives will bring revenue back to these businesses and only shows that you will not work with the board to ensure the best for all voters of District 4.   Working across the aisle, negotiating, and ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved, regardless of class or status in the community, must be your only priority rather than writing senseless updates that put partisan politics first.

The Declaration of Independence of our nation guarantees certain inalienable rights.  Ensuring that any business in the county is safe is an extension of those rights as the right of life includes the right to live a safe, happy and healthy life and is a fundamental responsibility of every level of the government.   Ensuring that the residents of Pima County do not get sick is a serious moral responsibility that the board must take.    It is the same set of documents that I raised my right hand to defend as a part of an all-volunteer army and my lifelong commitment as a veteran.  

While you continue to vote and fight against keeping Pima County residents safe and healthy, I will be exercising my vote in the ballot box to ensure you are not representing us. Your tirade just showed me why you lost my complete confidence and full support.   I wish you well, but it’s clear we need a change in who is representing us at the district level as your lack of compassion to all of those living on both political sides of the aisle is disturbing; we need to have respect and civility no matter what side of the argument you are on..  Do what is best for all, not for your special interests.

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