WHAT A DIFFERENCE seven days makes.
Tonight's State of the City address by Mayor Christy Weir was a breath of fresh air after a trying week of public debate over the 911 fee. It was a reminder of why we all love Ventura and are so very passionate about our town.
Weir, our second female mayor in 141 years, led the evening off with charming suggestions on how to improve the city sent in by 5th graders at Mound Elementary. I can't resist listing a few:
"We don't need a Wal-Mart," "We need a Wal-Mart," "All city cars should be hybrids," and my favorite, "Stop shopping in Oxnard, P.S. I'm happy that you're a girl mayor."
Our new mayor even had her own "Hillary" moment, choking up a bit at the beginning as she gazed at a photo, projected on a nearby screen, of her 93-year-old father and her two young granddaughters. "Bad start," she apologized. "No, good start," a nearby colleague said.
But the balance of the evening was reserved for an overview of the city's goals and progress made over the last year. I was particularly interested in the new projects being built in the city and coming soon. Among them: a beautiful new Embassy Suites near the beach, a four-story office building Downtown, and three large retailers for the long-vacant north end of the mall.
While Weir didn't gloss over the stark realities of budget cuts and a looming recession, she didn't go into a lot of detail, either. She was at her strongest when conveying the sense of hope we all feel for our city and it was heartening to hear it.
Back to the 5th grade wisdom: "There's a lot to be done in Ventura, but it's still a nice city," one child wrote.
My sentiments exactly.