The end of the year is a time for both reflection and looking forward. As I have stated in previous columns, I am incredibly fortunate to be in a position where my home and professional lives allow me the opportunity to give back to my community. While there is considerable work left to be done, I am proud of the work my office has undertaken and accomplished in meeting the needs of our neighborhoods and the City. I truly believe that the next five years will be some of the most exciting in the City's history.
Looking forward to 2014, I'd like to lay out six things I’ll be working on.
1. Continue to ensure the City is responsible and prudent in its own finances. We are currently negotiating new contracts with all three of our major employee organizations, and we will have to work collaboratively to ensure our employees are compensated fairly and the City maintains a balanced budget.
2. Support our neighborhoods. My hope is to work with each of the neighborhoods I represent in choosing and accomplishing a collaborative project. Towards this end, we will also utilize additional district discretionary funds provided in the last budget for a neighborhood mini-grant program.
3. Expand summer and cultural activities. Arts and entertainment in the neighborhoods helps build community. In addition to expanding the number of movie nights and barbeques at neighborhood parks, we will support B Street Theatre’s Fantasy theatre to perform at eight District 5 elementary schools this spring.
4. Catalyze Economic Development. For the past three years, we have been developing an economic development plan that focuses on expansion of the health industry in Sacramento. This year we will take the next step in detailing an implementation plan for this work.
5. Eradicate Neighborhood Blight. We are currently working on a major initiative that will very specifically target neighborhood blight in some of our neediest neighborhoods. Look for a launch of this initiative early next year.
6. Continue to support, implement and institutionalize all of the WayUp Sacramento programs, including the 100 percent covered campaign with the goal of ensuring all students in Oak Park are screened and have medical coverage, Summer at City Hall, Sacramento Youth Leadership Program, community gardens, and home ownership.
In addition, I will continue to work on a range of City issues that come before the Council, chair the Law and Legislation Committee, and sit on a number of Boards and Commissions.
In closing, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy new year.