Mayor Gayle McLaughlin presented a slideshow for the State of the City address Tuesday night that highlighted the city’s environmental and health initiatives in 2013, along with public safety feats, major groundbreakings and streets and parks improvements.
“It’s a wonderful place and time to be alive, I would say, in Richmond, California in 2014, knowing we’ve been making these wonderful changes collectively,” the mayor said at the end of her presentation titled “Richmond Demonstrates 21st Century Leadership.”
The State of the City, which was just over 30 minutes, was McLaughlin’s last, as she is termed out of office later this year.
The mayor touted environmental policies from last year such as the plastic bag ban, climate action plan, the installation of energy efficient streetlights and rooftop solar panels, and the enrolling of 35,000 Richmond customers in Marin Clean Energy.
The city is safer today, the mayor said, with steady reductions in violent and property crimes in recent years. Last year, the city recorded its lowest homicide total (16) since 1980. There were 61 homicides in 1990. the mayor noted.
“We have become a leader in crime reduction,” McLaughlin said, crediting Richmond’s “community-involved” police department as well as community groups and programs that have addressed the “root causes of crime.”
Richmond might have driven away crime, but not businesses last year, the mayor said. The city welcomed 380 new businesses that generated 552 jobs, including Planet Fitness and movie theater Magick Lantern, McLaughlin said.
She also highlighted as Richmond accomplishments the e-cigarette ban, the building of the six-level BART parking structure, the groundbreaking of the Officer Bradley A. Moody Memorial Underpass project and various street improvements such as those around schools.
The mayor offered no bombshell revelations for what’s to come in 2014. But she said the city is “really moving in the right direction.”
“We did phenomenal things, and we have phenomenal things in the works,” McLaughlin said.