San Jose Mayor Sam Licardo hasn’t washed his car since April 3, 2013 — the day he drove a Chevy Volt out of the car dealership.
It’s the thing he’s said he hasn’t accomplished since he was elected mayor in 2014. On Thursday night, under the bright spotlights of a California theater, he gave his last state of the city speech, using the polluted car as a euphemism for not only his, but San Jose’s “mile” for taking Long vision.
Licardo said the car would become a “matte model for water conservation” as the country suffered another drought. It’s an antidote to a make-up disease he calls “temporal myopia” – “short-term thinking that undermines our long-term quality of life” that he said is making us burn fossil fuels and underinvest in public education, among other things.
“Throughout our history, San Jose has thrived by overcoming temporal myopia, by focusing our focus on the future,” Licardo said. “Saving for the future. Investing in the future. This is the spirit of generations of immigrants that shaped the character of San Jose: sacrifice in the present, even in the toughest times, for a better future for our children.”
In his speech, the mayor highlighted the “key dimensions” of the city’s future while praising the accomplishments of his eight-year term.
Despite the 11 percent jump in homelessness the city has seen throughout the pandemic, Liccardo said he believes they are “finally seeing some signs of hope” in housing the homeless.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has redoubled efforts to build prefab communities that are often cheaper and faster to build than apartments. Licardo said the three projects the city has built have taken 686 residents off the street. Approximately 80% of them are still inhabited today.
The city is in the process of constructing hundreds of fast-building units with a goal of developing 1,000 units by the end of the year.
Licardo also triumphed over the city’s financial situation – a dramatic change since he took office in 2015 when the city was “licking its wounds” from the Great Recession, rising retirement costs and pension battles.
While San Jose is still working to restore services — many of which have been affected by budget cuts related to the pandemic — the mayor highlighted recent “promising results” including the first Sunday opening of bookstores in 16 low-income neighborhoods, and repaving or refilling 303 miles. off the streets and launch a free garbage pickup program.
This would not be possible without the city organizing its “financial house,” said Liccardo. For the first time in two decades, the San Jose Budget Office projects a modest surplus for the next five years.
In the wake of the gun violence epidemic that rocked San Jose last year when a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority worker killed nine people in a light rail yard before shooting himself, the city has made reducing gun violence a priority.
On Thursday, he praised San Jose’s leadership in an area where the city recently banned possession of ghost weapons, required stores to video-record transactions, and established a mandate for the first time in the country that gun owners must purchase liability insurance. .
“We have inspired other cities, and even the California legislature, to propose similar legislation,” Licardo said. We’ve also inspired a few groups to sue us. But through the successful advocacy of Tamara Prevost and City Attorney Nora Freeman, we will continue to fight to protect our children’s lives in court, in city council, and in our neighborhoods.”
The evening hosted legendary Bay Area radio duo Lisa Kressler and Sam Van Zandt, who have met in public for the first time since their KBAY-FM morning show kicked off in 2016.
Van Zandt brought a few items to help Liccardo with his future work after he ended this year including hair spray, self-tanners and hair gel, which Kreisler noted “looks good in Gavin Newsom.”
Several community members were also honored Thursday night, including Reymundo Espinoza, CEO of Gardner Health, who was awarded the 2022 Community Champion.
As for Liccardo’s dirty Chevy Volt, he told Mercury News that he plans to wash his car after he leaves office – unless it rains.