Action over process. That was the theme of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s first State of the City address yesterday on the Sac State campus, hosted by the region’s Chamber of Commerce -- and the mayor got a lot off his shoulders.
The Chamber and many of its members supported Johnson throughout his campaign. So it was a friendly audience that heard his 35-minute, largely ad-libbed speech yesterday. Part pep-talk, part lecture, the mayor beseeched the government, community and business leaders in attendance to take a new approach to solving problems in these unprecedented times.
Johnson: “When I think about this whole notion of an over-adherence to process – especially when it leads to underachieving results – that’s not the way to do it. We’ve gotta be nimble; we’ve gotta be able to move quick.”
The mayor appeared to take responsibility for his rocky start with several council members. He said he learned a lesson from his failure to convince the council to approve an outside audit of Sacramento’s finances.
Johnson: “And that’s very disappointing. But for me, that’s my loss, because I didn’t do my job, and I think the city lost because of that.”
Johnson then reiterated his support for the issue that’s caused most of the tension at City Hall so far – his push for a strong mayor system of government.
On policy, the mayor spoke repeatedly about his three major goals: improve education, decrease crime and increase economic development. And on his overall vision for the city, Johnson sought to light a fire under the audience, telling them Sacramento must become more than it is today.
Johnson: “I am sick and tired of people asking me, where is Sacramento? And then all of us explain, it’s the halfway point between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. I don’t wanna be a halfway point!”
Johnson’s solution? Take advantage of the opportunities that come from the nation’s economic crisis by using the federal stimulus funds quickly and wisely.
As for his “action over process” call, it remains to be seen how receptive city council members will be. As one said while leaving the luncheon yesterday, process matters.