SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose’s mayor said Wednesday he has decided not to hold a State of the City address this year because the formula is “stale.” Instead, he plans to hold several informal, intimate meetings where he can engage with the community.
“We’re going to replace all the ‘speeching’ with some doing,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “So there will be no stages, no microphones, this is just about us rolling up our sleeves and actually getting something done rather than talking about getting something done.”READ MORE: 'Why Would Something Like This Happen To Me?' 94-Year-Old Anh 'Peng' Taylor Recovering After Shocking SF Stabbing Attack
He said the decision was also largely based on an accident last month that left him with back and spinal injuries. On New Year’s Day, a car hit Liccardo while he was riding his bike not too far from his home. He left the hospital soon after with a brace, which he will continue wearing for the next several weeks.
But his critics aren’t completely buying his reasons for not giving a speech this year.
“I think he doesn’t want to be embarrassed again,” said Shaunn Cartwright.
Cartwright was in the audience during last year’s State of the City speech, when hecklers interrupted Liccardo four times and were thrown out of the event. The planned chants were from people protesting Google’s plan to build a mega-campus in San Jose. Protesters have argued the tech company’s presence will raise already unaffordable rents.
“I think it’s his job to do a State of the City speech, but at the same time I understand cancelling it because he knows the public is going to call him to question,” said Cartwright.READ MORE: Drought Emergency: Valley Of The Moon Water District, Sonoma Urge Limiting Groundwater Use By 20%
She was also there when Google protesters chained themselves to chairs in December, on the night city council members and the mayor voted on selling millions of dollars worth of public property to the company.
To add more fuel to the fire, it was revealed this week that Liccardo voted to move forward with Google’s mega-campus, but didn’t immediately disclose that he and wife owned a condominium not too far from the planned project. Liccardo admitted the wrongdoing, but also said he sold the condo months before December’s vote on the sale.
“If I really wanted to make money, I would’ve hung onto the property until after the council vote in December,” he said.
Liccardo said the issue over the condo isn’t why he’s not holding his address this year either. He made the decision soon after his accident, which kept him home and away from city hall for several days as he recovered.
“It was significant. I was obviously knocked out for a couple of weeks, and I’ve been limited in various ways,” he said. “I think it just made more sense for us to re-calibrate this year.”
The community meetings, starting on Mar. 13th, will each focus on a local issue such as homelessness and public safety.MORE NEWS: House Votes To Repeal Of 2002 Iraq War Authorization, Long Championed By Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee
Liccardo said if the meetings aren’t well received, he may go back to the traditional speech next year.