The State of the City
On Thursday I had the honor of presenting the City Council for the annual State of the City luncheon. Once again the event was held at the University of Redlands Orton Center. The crowd was double that of last year. I wish I could take credit for that, but I think the reality is that everyone showed up in spite of my being the MC.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was the recognition of some of Redlands’ outstanding citizens and their accomplishments. In all the cities I have lived in, large and small, I have never seen a community like this. The people are close. Their roots run deep. And their devotion to making this city such a wonderful place is never ending. So congratulations to Isabelle Hosking, Maria Lopez, Heidi Mayer, Alex Paredes, Don Trujillo, Sam Irwin, and those behind the Burrage Mansion and Cutler Insurance Building projects for receiving their 2015 recognition awards. Congratulations, and thank you.
The slogan for the event was “Stewards of the Past, Investors in the Future”. I think Mayor Foster got a copyright on that, so don’t even think about using it on your Facebook page. With that theme set, the members of the City Council delivered a tag-team style presentation that demonstrated just how they are going about accomplishing this task.
As you would expect at an event like this, the City Council focused on the positive accomplishments of the past year. And there have been a lot of accomplishments to be proud of. Street paving, improving the cemetery, balanced budget, growing reserves, improvements in emergency operations and systems, a top school district, parks, a high satisfaction rating from residents on the quality of life, and so on. But the presentation was not just a big pat on the back for the Council. It was about the big picture. And the big picture is that we still have a lot of work to do. We are in the midst of a revival that started a number of years ago, and we are a long way from the finish line.
One of the biggest challenges of the past, and the future, is prioritizing. We cannot address all the problems at once. There will always be disagreements on which ones are most important. Of that you can be certain. This Council expressed their commitment to continue chipping away at the problems one at a time. The sidewalks may not get repaired as quite fast as some would like, but they will get repaired. The airport, the general plan, water, the mall, and further improvements in emergency infrastructure were mentioned as items to address. And there are more. In a City with this much history there will always be more. Hey, what’s life without a few challenges?