PHOENIX — The political drama between Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego over how to best handle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continued Friday, as it has in the past, on social media with open letters and statements to each other.
This time, the two politicians sparred over the Phoenix City Council's decision in March to close all park parking lots and to prohibit grilling over Easter weekend. The parks themselves will remain open, but people will have to park elsewhere to get to them.
It is also worth noting that Phoenix reached a high of 95 degrees on Thursday, is expected to reach a high of 93 on Friday, and between 93-99 degrees Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
In a news release, Phoenix Parks and Recreation said, "these temporary restrictions are intended to limit the possibility of large group gatherings this weekend," noting that Easter is one of the busiest weekends of the year at the parks.
Friday morning, Gov. Ducey responded to those restrictions with a video message on Twitter.
"But for some unknown reason, our state's largest city doesn’t want you in your own public parks. They’ve shut down all parking and grilling for the weekend," he said in the video.
"These parks belong to you, the taxpayers. Not to the politicians. You fund them with your tax dollars," Ducey went on to say. "This is clearly nothing more than another political power grab. It's not a health decision."
Read the full letter from Governor Doug Ducey in the tweet below:
ALSO: See letter to Phoenix Mayor Gallego. Arizona's parks are open. All parks. Everywhere. Rural and urban. From Phoenix to Tucson to Flagstaff. All towns and municipalities. Enjoy and GOD BLESS! #HappyEaster 3/3 pic.twitter.com/NC9eXJUXk3— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) April 2, 2021
Gov. Ducey then announced that most of Arizona's state-owned parks would waive their entrance fees both Saturday and Sunday.
In his letter, Gov. Ducey also accused Phoenix City Council of violating his executive orders.
Hours later, Mayor Gallego responded and posted an open letter to the Governor on Twitter.
"Earlier this Good Friday morning, and without so much as a prior phone call to discuss it, I received an emailed letter from you offering your opinion about how the City of Phoenix should operate its city-owned parks this Easter weekend in order to mitigate the ongoing spread of COVID-19," Gallego wrote.
Read the full letter from Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in the tweet below:
It’s no surprise given how slowly @dougducey responds to changing events, that only now he has an opinion about a 9-0 decision the PHX council made. We will continue to be a leader in implementing measures to stop the spread of COVID. We welcome the gov to join us in that effort. pic.twitter.com/2ps7nLWuTI— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) April 2, 2021
"This crisis has made clear to all Arizona that you put partisan politics ahead of saving lives. It is also no surprise that you have expressed your opinion in a partisan, divisive way rather than in a genuine effort to keep our residents safe," Mayor Gallego wrote.
She also accused Gov. Ducey of misinterpreting his own executive orders and how they impacted local jurisdictions and accused his judgment of being "anti-science" and going against recommendations from the CDC.
Mayor Gallego concluded the letter by stating urging Gov. Ducey to join her in her efforts for mitigating the spread of the virus by saying, "As it has been since the start of the pandemic, the City of Phoenix will continue to be a leader in implementing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. We would welcome you to join us in that effort."