The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 1, 2013
Johnson's State of the City was different, but was it better?

For his fifth State of the City address, Mayor Kevin Johnson sought to start a new tradition -- an event that was free to the public and in the evening so everyone can attend.

He certainly succeeded in giving it a different vibe. Thursday evening was nothing like traditional State of the City speeches for the past two decades - sedate luncheons hosted by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and attended mostly by business types in suits.

This one featured blaring music, local hip-hop dancers and choirs, blues rocker Jackie Greene singing the national anthem and local TV personality Mark S. Allen going over the top at times with his boosterish emceeing. The crowd of about 3,000 in historic Memorial Auditorium was a broader slice of Sacramento; there were even a few children in the house.

For someone criticized for more style than substance, it was something of a risk for the mayor to glitz it up.

I'm conflicted about whether he pulled it off.

Opening the event to the public is great. Yet, even without the Kings fans cheering and chanting, it seemed too much like a political rally for my taste.

There were an awful lot of glowing testimonials to Johnson, who was heavily featured in a slickly produced video about the city's progress in 2012.

"I feel like a rock star," he said at one point.

He definitely put on a performance.

But Johnson needs to remember: It's not about him, it's about his city.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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