My reaction: Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero State of City Speech-part #3
My reaction: Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero State of City Speech-part #5

My reaction: Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero State of City Speech-part #4

As a city of Lansing (MI) resident and somebody who has a vested interest in the city, here's what I would be looking for in Mayor Virg Bernero's State of the City address:

  • How he sees the state or condition of the city at this present time.  This means the whole city, more than the downtown area.  And, it means all the ingredients that go into daily city life.  Yes, that includes jobs, but also schools, housing, police, streets, mass transit, neighborhoods, recreation and health. 
  • Our city has gone through some tough transitions.  Much of this is from the changing nature of the auto industry in this state.  Lansing used to be the world headquarters for Oldsmobile.  The brand is history.  There's hope that GM will pick up the slack with a new plant in the area.  There's huge uncertainty. 
  • One of the big reasons that people are moving out of the city are the schools.  There's the perception that they are sub-standard.  People are leaving and they are not coming back resulting in crowding of suburban school districts.  How does the Mayor see this and what's the solution?  What role can he play to change this?
  • Neighborhoods in Lansing and their health must be addressed.  This is where day-to-day life takes place.  Now the Mayor lives in a pretty tony and exclusive neighborhood.  He needs to share what he understands about the challenges of people who live elsewhere.
  • Law enforcement issues need to be addressed.  Try to call the Lansing Police Department for a non-emergency call and you go through layers of automatic answering devices.
  • Racial issues need to be addressed.  Lansing is a mixed-race city that seems to work.  But, beneath the surface there seems to be a wall dividing the races. 
  • Churches and what role do they play and should they play in dealing with Lansing's needs and challenges.  There are churches, all kinds of them inside the city.  How can they add to the quality of life inside the city?
Now, in my opinion, Mayor Bernero needs to give his assessment of the State of the City on these and other issues and then he needs to provide his vision for the future.  It's a demanding task, but how it's done will determine how residents and non-residents react to his leadership and it will affect their hope for the future.

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