SJ Mayor delivers State of the City

January 16, 2008 7:14:40 PM PST
In San Jose, Mayor Chuck Reed gave his State of the City address on Wednesday, touting his accomplishments of his first year in office and talking about some tough changes that must take place to deal with the city's growing budget deficit.

Mayor Chuck Reed's State of the City address began with a standing ovation from a crowd of about 1,600 at the McEnery Convention Center.

"Good morning and welcome, 2007 was the year of the Reed reforms to make honesty, fiscal responsibility and open government part of the culture at City Hall," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

Outside instead of applause, there was silence. Many in the Vietnamese community showed up to denounce councilmember Madison Nguyen and the mayor. They're upset the council did not support the name Little Saigon for the Vietnamese business district.

"She and Chuck Reed have ignored our voice and so that's why today we want to show everybody we want democracy in San Jose," said demonstrator Luu Nguyen.

The mayor had apparently expected the protest.

"Here people are free to speak their minds. In Vietnam they are persecuted for speaking up," said Mayor Reed.

Mayor Reed also squarely addressed a growing budget deficit and tough choices ahead.

"Other cities have solved their budget problems with layoffs and salary cuts. That's not what I'm suggesting. I'm talking about smaller raises," said Mayor Reed.

Instead of six percent raises for city workers, he says San Jose needs to negotiate in the three percent range. The straight talk got high marks.

"We understand these are hard economic times and we're going to have to make some adjustments so I appreciate what he had to say," said city worker Carolyn Johnson.

The mayor is getting unanimous praise for his 15 year green vision. The 10 Point Plan focusing on solar energy and clean tech jobs got another boost today when he pledged to set aside $2.5 million dollars in redevelopment money to support green businesses.

"We're really excited about new policies coming up and we're hoping 2008 is the green year we expect it to be," said Kyle Myers from Power Solutions.

The 24-minute mayoral address ended the way it began, with the crowd on its feet promising to do their part to help the environment.