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The mayor gave his last State of the City speech last night. Here are a few reflections of my own:
• The Intro: Everyone’s abuzz about the creative introduction the mayor’s team used to roll him out on stage like a rock star. KPBS has the best recap of the scene (apparently the song was used without permission so we can’t post the video that led it all off).
Mingling afterward, I gave the mayor props for the creative effort. It seemed to be a real hit.
But something troubled me about it all night. The video opened with a young black kid witnessing crime in his neighborhood and deciding, apparently, to run away. It shows him go past the 16th and Imperial intersection. Then we see the rendering of the new stadium, library and Convention Center.
The message is simple: If you’re concerned about your crime-ridden neighborhood, run away downtown to the new Convention Center! It’ll have grass on top, you know.
Yes, the kid could also run to the new library. That will be nice. But the stadium? It better be game day, and he better have a good $100 or more in his pocket or that’s not going to be very much fun.
Eventually the kid makes it to the redone Balboa Park, which will also be nice.
But never has the established disregard for neighborhoods been so stark.
It was the future. Crime seemed acceptable around Imperial. All the kid had to do was cross that ridiculous $26 million pedestrian bridge to Tourism Land to find happiness.
• The Free Stadium! The mayor pledged that this year he’d come up with a plan for a new stadium that would not raise taxes and that would also “protect” the general fund. Did he learn nothing on his trip to visit how other cities built their sports facilities? How in the world is the city going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into a stadium without raising taxes and without it affecting other priorities?
Not only that: “It will deliver a positive return on our investment.”
I’m getting goosebumps.
• Good points: The mayor has plenty of folks cheerleading for him, he doesn’t need me. But I’m not just Debbie Downer. He announced that the library was now fully funded. I will join everyone in profusely thanking those who picked up the rest of the tab when their names come out. We did not need a half-completed facility. I wonder if Councilman Carl DeMaio is relieved.
Sanders also talked about an innovative program to read water meters remotely and he announced that we’d soon be breaking ground on the cross-border airport terminal with Tijuana’s Rodriguez Field. I’m a big fan of that.
• The Sneer: Something happened to the mayor a couple of years ago and he began peppering his speeches with bizarre sneers toward those who disagree with priorities like his. It was most stark in this 2009 speech.
He denounces “naysayers” routinely. He’s gone after “bloggers” and “sloganeers.”
This time, he got a bit more descriptive of these mutants trying to hold the city back:
San Diego is going to have a great year, and no one will work harder than I will to make sure of it.
Yet nothing in San Diego is easy, and past failures have provided a soapbox for those who intend to stall our progress, who desire dysfunction to advance their selfish agenda.
Of course, he once again did not name these objects of scorn. Let me go a step further: You people out there who desire dysfunction to advance your selfish agenda? You disgust me.
Don’t disagree with the mayor. Ever.
I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of voiceofsandiego.org. Please contact me if you’d like at email@example.com or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):
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