SAN DIEGO – A prominent community activist says San Diego County’s chief public health officer is the target of racial attacks.
“The attacks that have happened on public health officers are not acceptable,” Shane Harris said Tuesday at a news conference.
Dr. Wilma Wooten is the chief public health officer for the county. For months, she has played a prominent role in the frequent county coronavirus updates. The job has put her in the media spotlight for the past four months. She has come under criticism for the county’s measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And according to Harris, she has also been attacked for the color of her skin Recently, during public comment at a county meeting, one San Diegan called in to chastise Wooten and publicly revealed her home address to everyone listening online.
“These kinds of insults Wilma Wooten isn’t going to respond to because she is a county health officer and an employee, and she knows if she speaks to it, she can be fired from her job in the middle of a pandemic,” Harris said. “But it’s wrong and if she won’t speak to it, I will.”
Harris, the founder of People’s Alliance for Justice, spoke in Wooten’s defense hours after two county supervisors announced their support.
“We have a tough job here at the county, and our public health official has maybe the toughest job of all,” said Greg Cox, chairman of the San Diego Board of Supervisors. “I want to speak on behalf of myself and on behalf of colleagues that we have complete confidence in Wilma Wooten.”
“Thank you Wilma,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “I know it’s a tough job, but hang in there and know that I, for one, support the work you are doing.”
The other three county supervisors all wrote FOX 5 Tuesday afternoon with statements in support of Dr. Wooten, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said, “I got Dr. Wooten’s back.”