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In preparing for Mayor Jerry Sanders’ State of the City address Thursday night, I’ve been reading the mayor’s 2006 and 2007 speeches to get a feel for his major points of emphasis.

Give them a read: Click here for 2006 and click here for 2007.

We’ll have more on the topic as the week progresses but here’s an initial analysis. The 2006 speech is quite startling for the aggressive tactics the mayor unexpectedly endorsed, veering sharply toward issues that had really only been supported by City Attorney Mike Aguirre and Councilwoman Donna Frye (who was also Sanders’ opponent in the 2005 special election).

Sanders pushed for restoring the city attorney as the chief legal counsel to the pension board and also asked all city appointees of the pension board to step down. Both initiatives failed and the mayor’s once-strong relationship with Aguirre has gradually dwindled.

In the 2006 speech, Sanders used the famous line “delay, deny and deceive” to describe City Hall’s philosophy. He sought a clean break with the past, using the opportunity to heap the blame for the city’s problems on unnamed leaders of the past, while also extending an olive branch to the council members he had often blasted on the campaign trail.

The 2007 speech declared the state of the city as “unsatisfactory” and went something like this:

San Diego’s 34th mayor continued to attempt to inject an unbridled optimism into civic life — hailing everything from San Diego’s sports stars to its academics and natural resources — while at the same time issuing dark premonitions and preparing residents for the budget cuts that have been expected since his victory in a 2005 special election. …

The former police chief ticked off a long list of accomplishments for the previous year, such as the completion of the $20.3 million Kroll Inc. investigation, a securities-fraud settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the passage of his two ballot propositions. At the same time he demanded patience from those, including some frustrated supporters in the business community, who expected swifter reform.

This year’s speech will be given in a distinctly different political environment. For one, the mayor faces reelection this year, beginning with the June primaries. Second, the mayor will no longer be handed the grace period that he enjoyed in the first two speeches. He’s been in office long enough to have an ownership stake in many of the city’s enduring problems, and has indeed now been forced with issues such as the Sunroad scandal that are exclusive to his administration.

I’ll follow up later this week with a progress report on the major initiatives that the mayor has emphasized in his past speeches.


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