Mayor Liccardo Calls for Unity in Third State of the City Address

During his third State of the City address, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo promised on Saturday that a fractured nation will not distract the city’s efforts to promote unity, inclusion, innovation and safety.

Hundreds of residents and city staff packed Gunderson High School’s gymnasium to listen to the mayor's vision for the city.

In his speech, Liccardo offered support to immigrants, applauded the recent push to boost police staffing, vowed to create a more convenient transportation system, expressed a commitment to housing the homeless and promised a greener, safer and more beautiful San Jose.

In laying out his vision, the mayor wasted little time in turning his attention to the recent executive orders made by President Donald Trump.

“Our tale of one city embraces San Jose’s identity, our identity as immigrants,” Liccardo said. “Unlike other communities, our founding mothers and fathers had different colored skin, spoke different native languages. And to this day, our diversity is our hallmark.”

Sticking to San Jose’s commitment to its residents, Liccardo mentioned that police officers will not engage in immigration enforcement “that tear our families apart,” and for “those who seek to divide new Americans from the rest of us, we denounce the politics of fear and of exclusion.”

The mayor promised to fight for the Muslim community, dreamers and any city resident who strives to better their family’s life. Liccardo also discussed plans to boost police staffing and increase the department’s ability to respond to crimes. An increase in wages approved last week should put the San Jose Police Department in competition with neighboring cities, he said.

“I think it’s a first step in rebuilding our department,” said Deputy Chief Anthony Mata. “We have to be competitive in order to retain and recruit our officers. ... It’s a first step in doing that and I’m glad that both sides came together and came to an agreement.”

Recognizing the traffic crunch occurring on city streets and highways every day, Liccardo noted that BART service would be extended this year ahead of schedule and under budget. As for the proposed BART station downtown, there will be space for retail, housing and new office space. Despite a lack of funding, Liccardo vowed to make that all possible in the near future.

“Don’t get me wrong, we don't have the money for all of that today,” Liccardo said. “But we are going to work with our neighboring cities.”

Liccardo spoke about plans to increase minimum wage to $15 in 2019, recognizing that many San Jose residents struggle to pay rent. The mayor said the city plans on constructing more than 500 apartments for the homeless to prevent children and their families from going unsheltered.

“I support what he’s doing in favor of affordable housing—especially, he’s been very supportive of getting some good housing for the homeless sited in areas of the city like downtown,” said Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County. “We’re going to have some challenges. I support working with those neighborhoods to make the neighbors welcome people to come into those housing.”

Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Liccardo said that “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” This brought the mayor to the last point of his address: Beautify SJ.

Liccardo discussed an all-hands-on-deck approach to improving the aesthetics of the city and making it more visually appealing. The mayor plans to expand free residential dump service, boost enforcement on illegal dumping and create incentives to get teens to volunteer.

The event was emceed by Silicon Valley Education Foundation CEO Mohammed Chaudhry and featured performances by local schoolchildren. The pre-show music was provided by School of Rock and Christina Bejinez sang the National Anthem.

Pride of San Jose Awards were given to the Spartan Student Housing Team, Marcus Rosado and the late Officer Michael Katherman, among others. Community awards were also given out by each council district before Liccardo’s address.

The mayor capped the event by reminding the audience that the plans laid out will require cooperation from all members of the community.

“This will be our tale of one city,” Liccardo said. “We demonstrate the power of working together to create the most successful, multicultural community on the planet. I invite each of you to join me in writing the next chapter of our story. Together, we are San Jose.”

9 Comments

  1. Sam’s first paragraph says it all.

    Promote unity, inclusion, innovation, and safety, then we throw in multiculturalism, and diversity.
    He is going to create a more convenient transportation system, and fill up the ranks of the PD who will look the other way as the protected class of not immigrants, but illegal aliens drain the city coffers of much needed funds.

    He will spit in the face of the federal government that is trying to bring “Law and Order” back to California because he hate’s the president and despises Republicans and Americans.

    Well screw the multiculturalism/diversity/inclusion stuff stuff, that leaves safety and transportation.
    Kiss that goodbye as Sam give the finger to Trump and the federal money get’s cut off.
    Sam maybe you could tax the hell out of all those Apple employees that work in Cupertino!

    Sam, you’re delusional, the election is over and Hillary lost. If you deliberately lose federal funding, screw up the city
    and resist the law you are going to get thrown out of office and you can write the next book from jail.

    • Improve your writing and grammar and then maybe someone will listen to you. Feel free to move out of San Jose. That would improve the city.

      • Apparently you couldn’t understand the message from Empty Gun and that is too bad. Stop insulting people you disagree with and use facts to make your comments instead. You are using the typical liberal way of dealing with facts and reason. Personal attacks.

    • Headline:

      Mayor Liccardo Calls for Unity…

      …just so long as it’s unity on his terms, right?

      The Mayor is ignoring lots of folks, because he’s sure he knows what’s best for everyone.

      But Liccardo’s “my way or the highway” attitude is making things worse, not better.

      For example, why is this Mayor promoting one specific religion over others? (“The mayor promised to fight for the Muslim community…”).

      As usual, Liccardo has it backward: Muslims are fighting us, so pandering to them like that is a fool’s game that endangers the rest of us.

  2. Why won’t local media take their job seriously?

    Murky Gnus/METRO: Ask Slick Sammy why he hasn’t accomplished a single campaign promise?

    As I recall during the election, this publication (all of them really) gushed about how his book laid out a great plan… how his support of Measure B was commendable, how he would do great things.
    After the election he flip-flopped on Measure B, went back on his promises about marijuana regulation and vetting Uber/Lyft drivers and despite all his talk about fiscal responsibility, his time as a council member and mayor has been spent building housing- which decreases revenue. More blight, bums, vice crimes and drugs than ever before… and fewer police officers.

    Saratoga Sam is a sham.

    Voters in San Jose would overwhelming strike down a resolution making our community a “sanctuary city” in order to keep Federal funding, yet this tool makes it his focus because it gets him attention.

    Pandering to the media, who in turn lap it up… just a vicious news cycle that misinforms the readership.

  3. Thanks for quoting me in this story, but you left out an important part of what I said. While I support the positive steps Mayor Liccardo has made on Measure A and housing for the homeless, I criticized the fact that he has not done enough about the rental housing crisis. High rents are making new people homeless faster than we can house the old ones. Mayor Liccardo could help if he would support stronger measures against displacement and against no cause evictions. Until we do that, our city will continue to force the families of the very people that built this area into more shanty towns or else permanent exile from the place where they were born and raised.

    • Sandy Perry,

      “Displacement” is a vague, meaningless term. Be specific. And “no cause evictions” is just more pablum. There’s always a cause. And neither of those things, whatever they might mean, would move the needle regarding the shortage of rental housing.

      Want to help? Really? Then push for efficient land use. Where are all the 35 and fifty storey residential buildings, like they have all over S.F.? A few dozen of those would start to make a difference, and there are plenty of people ready, willing, and able to build them. But the city won’t let them.

      And whose property are you tallking about, anyway? The *owner* has all the skin in the game—and furthermore, rental property owners are actually providing housing, so why the carping? If you have an extra bedroom, maybe you could rent it out and see how much fun being a landlord is…

      …been there, done that. It’s not the walk in the park you seem to think.

  4. What a hypocrite. Sam is the very definition of DIVISION. But he calls for unity?

    He says he will stand up for “undocumented” (also means ILLEGAL) people, yet polls show that 75% of the people do n0t support his position. He says the nation is “divided”. Oh really? And why is that? IT IS EXACTLY BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU SAM! YOU ARE THE DIVIDERS, NOT THE UNITERS!

    Why not call for everyone to get behind Trump, and unify on that? After all, that was what we were supposed to do when Obama was elected, right? I had to bite my tongue and read the news in disgust every day for 8 years under Obama. Well Sam, NOW IT IS YOUR TURN.

    Oh yea, and why don’t you check the election results. Didn’t you see that 1 out of every 5 people in San Jose VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP???? And only 3 out of 5 voted for Hillary!

    No, Sam, we are not all unite together in defending people here illegally, and opposing Trump. You just WISH we were.

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