Calexico Mayor Bill Hodge believes his weekly video update show on COVID-related goings-on in the border city set to debut April 9 will expand on the what has already been successful efforts to keep citizens informed about the virus and it effect on their daily lives.
Hodge has been taking to his Facebook page to issue live updates — at least five such video blogs since March 17 — to let residents know how the city has responded to the escalating threat posed by the virus.
Now, with the addition of Calexico’s fire chief by his side, Hodge said he hopes to uniquely communicate to the community in a format and on a level that exceeds what others are doing in Imperial County and neighboring cities.
“We are stepping up our communication. Starting in a week, I will join Fire Chief Diego Favila in communicating by video updates, concerns, statistics and questions from our citizens on the evolving coronavirus crisis,” Hodge promised from the dais during the city’s second closed public meeting April 1 since social distancing and stay-at-home orders became the norm for the Valley.
“To repeat, for the benefit of the public, citizens can continue to ascertain valuable information about the coronavirus through the Fire Department’s Facebook page and city hall’s website,” the mayor said.
Show Was to Be Recorded, Aired April 9
The plan is to record the show April 9, and have it edited and uploaded to Calexico fire’s Facebook page later in the day, Hodge confirmed April 8 in an update.
The print version of the Calexico Chronicle for April 9 states the show was to be recorded April 8 and posted to the web April 10. Hodge confirmed the plans changed April 8.
Hodge was still uncertain about what time of the day the video would appear, but possibly as late as 4 p.m., he said.
In addition to updating statistics on the number of COVID-19 cases in the Valley, which are changing daily, Hodge said the weekly show will feature segments covering “misconceptions and rumors,” “evolving or recent updates,” and answer questions submitted by citizens to Norma Gerardo, the executive assistant to City Manager David Dale and the acting recreation department manager, as well as some questions created by city officials.
Currently, Calexico has been posting updates as they come to the Calexico fire Facebook page and then adding those updates to a collection of COVID-19 news releases and links from the city’s home page: www.calexico.ca.gov
COVID-related Updates from April 1 Meeting
Information was still spotty as to exactly how the federal government would be issuing stimulus checks to Calexico residents as of April 1, but Police Chief Gonzalo Gerardo warned that the government will not be calling residents directly.
“The federal government does not call,” Gerardo said. “Don’t fall victim to scammers.”
The chief said the department has already been getting complaints from residents that “representatives with the Internal Revenue Service” have called asking residents for information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, email addresses and other personal information needed to deliver stimulus checks.
The government will mail those checks, either from the U.S. Department of Treasury or the Federal Emergency Management Administration, Gerardo said. He stressed the government “does not have the time to call.”
Additionally, with hundreds of nonessential businesses in the city closed by the Police Department by order of Gov. Gavin Newsom and county Public Health Officer, physician Stephen Munday, until further notice, city staff has reached out to various city commissioners to ask them to share resources within their respective business networks.
Staff has been in contact with commissioners to deliver the message that affected businesses could be eligible for assistance, resources and programs through the Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center, Assistant City Manager Miguel Figueroa told the council. More information is on the city’s website.
“I want to commend administration, department heads and employees for being proactive in providing information to the public about coronavirus and practicing social distancing,” Hodge said April 1.
Watch weekly COVID-19-related updates from Mayor Bill Hodge and Fire Chief Diego Favila each Thursday on the Calexico Fire Department’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CalexicoFire/ and city website: www.calexico.ca.gov
Submit your questions to Norma Gerardo via email at email@example.com and they might be answered by Hodge and Favila.