Mayor Jerry Sanders will give his seventh and final State of the City speech on Wednesday night, Jan. 11. We won't like most of it. Here's what we wish he'd say:
Good evening. As those of you who read Men's Fitness know, I've lost an extraordinary amount of weight in a relatively short time. It seems, however, that the rapid shedding of pounds rendered me lightheaded too often and deprived me of my ability to think clearly and make the right decisions during the past year.
Please don't worry. Everything's OK. I'm under a doctor's care, and I've rethought some things.
First: I played a major role in the decision to change the city employees' pension system via a citizens' initiative. That was a mistake. Donna Frye has called City Councilmember Carl DeMaio a “bully.” That ain't the half of it. You should see him in a private meeting. Actually, no, you shouldn't. He's really scary. Carl threatened me into supporting an end-run around the City Council and the labor unions. I won't say how—I'll just tell you that it involved a small but zealous gang of elderly people from Scripps Ranch doing some unsavory things.
The initiative is built on a lie. Its supporters want you to be envious of city-employee pensions and to think that the switch from defined benefit to a 401(K) will save the city billions. It won't. We've already gone a long way toward solving the long-term pension problem. That's done. The problem is in the short term, and a switch to a 401(K) actually increases costs in the short term. Tonight, I'm announcing that I will campaign against the so-called Comprehensive Pension Reform measure and return to the table with the unions to hammer out a sensible short-term solution. I'm also announcing here and now that Carl DeMaio can bite me.
Second: I'm calling on Dean Spanos to stop scaring those tens of thousands of Chargers fans who've remained loyal to the team despite inept decision-making in the front office. Spanos is deviously trying to leverage civic pride in the Chargers and extort hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. I've gone along with this scheme because I didn't want to be remembered as the mayor who lost the Chargers. That ends now. Mr. Spanos must level with the people of San Diego: The team is never moving to L.A. He must suck it up and build his private business a new headquarters, or convince the NFL to allow fan ownership of teams as a way to help finance stadium construction. I'm announcing tonight that no taxpayer money will be spent on a new stadium. We have more important things to worry about.
Third: I am abandoning my support of Irwin Jacobs' plan to build a giant parking structure in the middle of Balboa Park and that ridiculous bypass ramp at the east end of the historic Cabrillo Bridge. I know now that when it comes to removing cars from the Plaza de Panama, there are more options than just Jacobs' way and the highway.
Fourth: I was a career cop, and every cop knows that the war on marijuana is a disgrace. I am announcing that, this year, I will stand with medicalmarijuana advocates in defiance of U.S. attorney Laura Duffy's outdated crusade against this wonderful, therapeutic herb. Tomorrow, my staff will begin crafting a new ordinance that will make marijuana easily accessible to ailing San Diegans who need it. And I have just two words for the state of California: Legalize it.
Fifth: I've lashed out at Gov. Jerry Brown for “grabbing” our redevelopment money. Of course, it wasn't our money; it was the state's all along. The end of redevelopment is a blessing in disguise. I've spent too much energy on Downtown. In the coming weeks, I'll be rolling out the details of a new Non- Downtown Neighborhood Betterment Program. Very exciting stuff.
Lastly, I want to apologize for the thuggish way some of our police officers have treated peaceful Occupy protestors. There is a class war raging out there, and the rich are winning it. There is wealth redistribution happening, and the rich are the recipients of it. I'm announcing tonight that I'm joining the resistance. Plans have already been made for me to meet over pints at Blind Lady Ale House with members of Occupy San Diego, where we'll strategize ways to combat income inequality at the local level. Because we are the 99 percent!
Please join me for a reception at the Star Bar. The cheap, stiff drinks are on me.
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