Mayor Kevin Johnson focused on three of his favorite topics during the annual State of the City address today: the arena, the green economy and education. The common theme for all three topics was the city's battered economy.
"None of us can afford to wait for the economy to recover on its own," the mayor said. "We have to take bold actions and determine our own destiny. We have to make the impossible possible."
On the city's ongoing work to finance a new downtown Kings arena, the mayor said he was launching a campaign to raise $10 million for the project from fans and residents. The "Brick by Brick" campaign will allow people to purchase engraved bricks to be placed in front of the proposed facility.
Two of the first names to be placed on bricks will be Jack and Gil - the names of two young boys who have received plenty of attention for running a lemonade stand to raise money for the arena. Another brick will be engraved with Councilman Steve Cohn's name; Cohn was one of the first to mention the idea of the engraved brick campaign.
On the green economy, Johnson announced he wants to raise $100 million for retrofitting schools with clean infrastructure this year - money and work that the mayor said would create 1,500 jobs.
Johnson said he was also working with his friend, Berkeley chef Alice Waters, to bring her Edible Schoolyard Project "that will test her ideas for school gardens, cooking classes, and healthy eating to Sacramento."
The mayor said he also wants the ciy to plant 30,000 trees in 30 days "to commemorate the Sacramento Tree Foundation's 30th anniversary."
The mayor finished on education, He said he had helped raise $4 million to bring City Year to Sacramento. City Year is a non-profit organization that places young tutors in schools. Johnson said his team was also "developing a school report card that will give a letter grade (A-F) to every public school in the city. Several other states have adopted this practice but we'll be the first city in California to provide parents this vital information.
"With our entire country facing a crisis in our public schools, Sacramento has a legitimate shot to lead the country in education reform," the mayor said." We can have the most skilled workforce in the entire nation. Many would say that seems impossible, but it isn't. Let's become a city known for its great public schools."
Photo caption: Mayor Kevin Johnson presents his State of the City address a the convention center in Sacramento on Monday. Photo by Renee C. Byer