It's been three years since I stood before you to deliver my first State of the City Address. During that time, the usual naysayers have criticized this administration as tepid, rudderless, even catatonic.
Let me state clearly and emphatically: I have no quibbles with the rudderless part, but catatonic is so unfair.
Over the past few days I've asked my staff to compile a list of our accomplishments. I can assure you that, were it published in book form, it would be larger than those pamphlets you get at the BMV.
For example, at the urging of this administration, a YWCA on Prospect has agreed to stay open 15 minutes later on Thursdays. New plywood has been placed over the door of an abandoned building at 44th and Detroit. At Voinovich Park, we sometimes cut the grass. [Applause]
Potholes, once large enough to eat Mayflower trucks, can now barely eat a Pontiac Aztek. Under a new program I initiated, the city has placed ladders at each of these sites. You may now climb out on your own, thus saving on rescue calls to the fire department. The rest of you should get by with minor axle damage. [Standing ovation]
A new day has dawned at City Hall. Remember that drinking fountain by the elevator that never worked? My husband fixed it. He's pretty good at plumbing.
Our courteous city staff now sometimes answers the phone. Though we have yet to achieve actual helpfulness, our record clearly indicates that we've been intermittently cheerful. And if I'm reelected, I promise that we may even return your calls.
As your mayor, I've brought this city together -- black and white, red and brown, yellow and homo.
The Rainbow Flag now flies over City Hall, announcing to one and all, "Look, we spent 20 bucks on a flag."
We've held numerous dialogues with our minority stakeholders. In fact, dialogues are up 16 percent over the previous administration, as are community summits.
Moreover, thousands of new projects are in the works. We're devoting $200 million to rejuvenate Euclid Avenue. Any day now, we expect this investment to yield a CVS somewhere near 76th Street.
We're spending $33,000 a month studying how best to build a new convention center, which I'm told could generate up to seven full-time custodial positions. Though I have yet to announce my position on this matter, I believe strongly that this may or may not be a good idea, depending upon what Forest City decides my position will be. [Laughter]
We're planning to move the Shoreway, move Burke Airport, and build an island in Lake Erie. Eighty years from now, people will look back upon this administration and say, "Christ, when they gonna finish the Shoreway project?"
We've also launched new colloquies with our Native American brothers and sisters, inviting them to build a casino here. In fact, we've offered to give them the entire city back in exchange for some beads and a pouch of gunpowder.
Unfortunately, negotiations have stalled over the pouch issue. We're insisting on nothing less than authentic elk hide. They want to just dump the powder in a Dairy Mart bag. I believe this illustrates how hard I'm fighting on behalf of the people of Cleveland.
Of course, we still have problems. We remain the poorest city in America. Or as I like to say when I'm dialoguing with my minority compatriots, "The 216 be some broke-ass shit."
We've laid off firefighters, police officers, and school teachers. However, this has had little effect on our quality of life. Our crime rate is unchanged, remaining consistently high. And schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett tells me our children are making tremendous strides. By the end of my second term, upwards of 14 children may be able to read. Another three are assured of mastering long division.
Not only are we providing our kids with the skills to read food-stamp applications, but soon they will be able to respond with grammatical correctness to the question "How do you plead?"
I could go on for hours listing my many accomplishments. There is so much to discuss -- new traffic lines painted on Huron, that patch of resurfaced sidewalk in Glenville -- but I would prefer to conclude with something that showcases my lyrical flair.
After all, I have a dream that one day Cleveland will emerge from under the clouded tears of the underclass and rise up to become a shimmering diamond on a hill.
I have a dream that our children will blossom into educated adults, with good families and good jobs, so they will no longer shoot each other in domestic arguments over who forgot to pay the cable.
I have a dream that this city will soon be populated with artisans, poets, and sculptors, that they will pave the streets with gold, that they will design buildings made of fine silver -- or perhaps an interesting turquoise -- and that they will not invite the mimes.
So go forth, my loyal subjects. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. And Frank Jackson. He would suck as mayor even worse than me. His hair is neither bouncy nor manageable, and he would make a poor candidate for a makeover on Good Morning America. Thank you.
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