Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson seems to get it.
I hope …
The first-term mayor has announced a State of the City speech planned for Oct. 3 at the Civic Center Grand Plaza Ballroom. It’s a breakfast event set to begin at 7:30 a.m.
What this means for Amarillo remains to be seen, of course. Nelson ran this spring on a multi-plank platform that included a pledge to increase transparency and accountability.
Here is her chance.
I once called for a State of the City speech. That was years ago. Then-Mayor Debra McCartt took part in a Panhandle PBS program in which she discussed the state of affairs with Buzz David, then head of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation and the city’s cheerleader in chief, Chamber of Commerce President Gary Molberg.
McCartt did it one time. That was it.
A State of the City speech gives the City Council’s presiding officer a chance to provide realistic, unvarnished and fulsome analysis of the state of affairs. These speeches should include areas that need improvement as well as where the city is shining brightly.
I don’t know how Mayor Nelson is going to present the State of the City.
Here might be some topics to cover: tax rate projections; the progress of downtown redevelopment; the myriad street improvement that are ongoing; the status of the red-light cameras and whether they’re doing the job they were advertised to do; the status of the curfew for juveniles; Amarillo emergency service response times.
So, she’s got a potentially full plate of issues to cover. Many of them will require a hard look.
Make no mistake, there will be a fair share of soreheads and perpetual skeptics/cynics who will dismiss any such speech by the major as so much trumped-up happy talk. I am not one of them.
I look forward to hearing what the mayor has to say.