"A speech is like a love affair. Any fool can start it, but to end it requires considerable skill."-Lord Mansfield
Seeing that Mayor Jerry Sanders' devoted cadre of soldiers is keeping a tight lid on the guts of his fourth State of the City address scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 14, at the Gaslamp's Balboa Theatre, Spin Cycle decided to come up with a speech it would like to hear:
Hey, everyone. How's it goin'?
To whomever thought of using Pink Floyd's "Money" as a musical intro as I walked up to the podium just now, I offer my heart-felt thanks. You know I'm partial to "Dark Side of the Moon," and I think it's appropriate considering where this city stands financially.
As part of my cost-cutting efforts, I'd like to announce that I will not be employing a "clap choreographer" for tonight's speech-when Fred Sainz left last year, I decided to leave that particular post vacant. We'll likely be keeping the applause to a minimum, anyway, given our fiscal predicament.
Tonight, I stand before you to report that the state of our city is, well, bummed. Bummed over the Chargers and their rather ugly departure from the race to the Super Bowl this past weekend after many weeks of spellbinding excitement that had San Diego buzzing-and getting free national media coverage to boot. You can't buy that!
But now that's all gone for this year. All that's left is for me to slip on that Steelers jersey, grab some skis and head to SeaWorld's Penguin Encounter to settle my bet with Pittsburgh's mayor. But I'll stand with the flippered ones with pride. Those who know me know I don't welsh on my debts.
Speaking of debts, San Diego's got those in spades. And it looks like those debts won't be going away any time soon, even though we're back in the credit market-good timing, huh? Now, I know I stated this time last year that "the era of decay and neglect is at an end," but that was before I actually got out of the office and drove around town a bit. I now realize that statement was a bit like George Bush and his "Mission Accomplished" banner on the aircraft carrier.So, this year, I'll simply say that eras, by definition, can last many, many years. So when I said that "the era of decay and neglect is at an end," what I meant was that we were entering the end of an era. And history shows that era ends can be years in length. OK, mission accomplished on explaining that.
The good news is, we're about to have a new president in Barack Obama who has vowed to get cities working again. Did I mention how pleased I am that Barack was elected president? OK, you probably remember I endorsed John McCain even before he had officially announced his candidacy, but I'd like to chalk that up to a simple case of political awe. Ever met a U.S. senator? Really, you get the ol' rubber knees and start fawning and promising stuff like endorsements.
But I'm over that now, and the more I think about it, I can't say enough about the president-elect. You cynics out there might be thinking, "Oh, he's just trying to get on Obama's good side now that the feds plan to ship billions of newly minted dollars to cities nationwide for jobs-producing public construction projects." Heh, guilty, but what do you want me to do? Call Cindy McCain and ask her to write us a check? Not gonna happen.
And speaking of public projects, my friends at SANDAG are getting flak for the so-called less-than-imaginative infrastructure wish list they sent to Washington in hopes of snagging some of that federal largesse, and to that I say, "You're right." It is an extremely small-minded list, festooned with supposed transportation solutions grounded in 1950s thinking for 21st-century problems. Not to mention it's loaded with pork projects that would do little to spawn long-term job growth.
So, tonight I say we scrap that list and come up with a new one guided by what the public wants and prioritized to reflect that. Wider freeways won't drive us into the future, but dreaming outside the box can. Other cities are doing it. We should, too.
By "we," of course, I mean myself and the reconstituted City Council. As you know, we have four new council members, and I'd like to acknowledge them. Sherri Lightner, boo. Todd Gloria, yay! Carl DeMaio, um-yay? And Marti Emerald, boo. A little advice for the newbies: We'll get along fine as long as you agree with all the reports I send you (complete or not!), the budgets I propose, and in general just nod your head in agreement with me.Ha ha, Donna Frye, I see you over there shaking your head. So naughty .
OK, now the bad news. The city faces yet another budget deficit-so far, the Ouija board tells us that will be $54 million next fiscal year. And we know that means more belt tightening. Some think it should mean raising taxes, such as for trash pickup and the like. Well, I say-don't scream, DeMaio-yeah, let's look into it. Why not, if we can make the case? Same goes for greater use of recycled water and a more aggressive push for solar energy in a city where the sun shines almost year 'round.
In conclusion [applause], I'm really, really jazzed that you re-elected me to another four years as your mayor. As a former cop, I'm used to seeing blood and gore, so I can handle the bloodletting that will be required to balance the city's budget. I just hope you're all ready, too.
Now, join me next door for a fun post-speech reception-free food! Booze? Um, that'll cost ya.
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