Mayor Bill White, continuing with his Gather No Moss philosophy early on in his tenure, gave his first State of the City address yesterday. He touched on the usual quality-of-life highlights, like regional health care and mobility, and also called for some volunteers.
"I need the help of the people in this room," White told an audience of about 1,400 business and civic leaders. "We will not be able to deliver more and better services simply by relying on city employees. A city will only work well if citizens are involved in it."
Councilman Michael Berry was pleased that White reached out to county leaders by name.
"It suggested a strength in his humility," Berry said. "He wanted his audience to understand how big the challenges are and that they cannot be spectators; they are going to have to be involved."
"I liked the fact that he wasn't telling that room what he was going to do. He was telling them what he wanted them to do, which was sort of a call to action, which I think is needed," Berry said. "It was a recognition that his success or failure is going to be dependent on that room buying into what he's doing."
Political consultant Nancy Sims agreed, noting that White has been an active member of the organization he was addressing.
"He got up and delivered a speech to his peers," she said. "It wasn't a strong, commanding, `I am your leader' speech. He was conversational in his presentation. It was quite effective for that audience."
Anyway, looks to me like the priorities he's laid out seem pretty reasonable and doable. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing his flood-abatement plan. This was a pretty contentious issue last year, and when you promise a "bold plan" to fix a big problem in a time of budget shortfalls, you're setting up some high expectations. Lots of times when a politician does this, he's about to present a warmed-over version of something a rival or predecessor had floated and which he shot down as being insufficient or impractical. White rejected a one-dollar drainage fee during the campaign, so keep an eye on any part of his proposal that calls for a new revenue source.
White is also poised to name Phoenix Police Chief Harold Hurtt as the next Chief of HPD. Don't know a thing about the man (any Phoenixites want to comment on this, please do so), but as with the other story, reaction (including the obligatory Berry quote) was positive. With all that's gone on with HPD the past two years, this is yet another big thing Mayor White needs to get right. So far, so good.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 27, 2004 to Local politics | TrackBack