‘The city has been through a lot’: San Jose mayor delivers final state of the city address, months to go

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'The city has been through a lot': San Jose mayor delivers final state of the city address, months to go
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SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — After eight years in office, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has just four months left.

He spoke to reporters ahead of his final State of the City address on Thursday. He reflected on how much the country’s 10th largest city has overcome in the past three years alone.

“We went through a pandemic, mass shootings, droughts, floods,” Liccardo told reporters. “The city has suffered a lot.

The focus of his speech was setting up the city for future success. Among his six key initiatives to work on in the coming weeks, Liccardo detailed planned actions to help address homelessness and affordable housing, public safety, our water, our planet, our money, and most importantly, says he, our children.

RELATED: San Jose takes action after 8-year-old boy was fatally hit by car on his way to school

Liccardo’s address comes less than a week after 8-year-old Jacob Villanueva was hit and killed by a car on his way to school in San Jose.

The mayor announced that the city will invest nearly $100 million in road and traffic safety over the next year.

Beyond that, he said: “I’m also talking to our Department for Transport team about what we can do specifically around schools because I think there’s a lot more we can do.”

However, critics of the mayor question fair action. So far this year, there have been at least 50 road deaths in San Jose.

ABC7 News has connected with homeless advocate Shaunn Cartwright, with the Unhoused Response Group. She took a ZOOM call from an encampment south of San Jose. Cartwright said his group was handing out fire extinguishers and reflective headbands to create greater visibility for the homeless population.

VIDEO: EXCLUSIVE: SJPD enter crosswalk as traffic safety pedestrian decoys

“We’re dealing with the highest number of pedestrian fatalities, and those are people who are homeless,” Cartwright said. “I don’t see the mayor saying, ‘Oh, we’re so sorry for Suzy who was hit by a vehicle at three in the morning. “”

The mayor called homelessness the city’s biggest failure. He delivered promising news on Thursday, referring to the latest US census.

“We are seeing a decline in homelessness – in fact for the first time –,” he said. “And that hasn’t happened for many, many years.”

Liccardo acknowledged that the city still has a lot of work to do. During his speech, he detailed San Jose’s water supply strategy, the council’s upcoming decision on whether or not to launch the city’s utility, projected budget surpluses, and even called attention to the city police department.

RELATED: San Jose Residents Call For Homeless Encampment Cleanup: Here’s What The City Has Plans

First proposed by the mayor in 2020, the city may soon move investigations into officer misconduct away from the police department. The timing of this push is significant, after several serious allegations were made against SJPD officers.

On Thursday, with San Jose’s California Theater as a backdrop, Mayor Liccardo went through a long to-do list for his final months in office.

“I would like us all to think of that time as a time when we were able to work together, unite in the difficult times of the present and always keep an eye on the future,” he said.

See the Mayor’s latest State of the City address here.

If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.

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