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State of the City Address


Mayor Matt Mahan urges community members to take action for a safer, cleaner community.

Mayor Matt Mahan of San Jose delivered his first State of the City address on Oct. 21, 2023, to highlight his key priorities for San Jose, including a new element: providing citizens ways to get involved in building community action. 

State of the City speeches set the agenda for the upcoming year, recognize accomplishments, share areas for improvement and celebrate the community. Mahan spoke of four main themes: homelessness, public safety, cleanliness and economic investment, hoping for community members to take an active role in San Jose’s wellbeing. He set up stations for a Small Business Buddies table, graffiti cleaning kits, Homeless Helpers Corner and similar local organizations to provide opportunities for citizens to get involved with the San Jose community. The tables offer volunteering opportunities, maps, pamphlets and supplies to get started.

Getting our city back on track means keeping City Hall focused on the basics. Basics like ensuring everyone is safe in their home, in their neighborhood, in their place of work and in their place of worship,” said Mahan. 

Mahan described how his team worked on protecting the city by allocating funds to the police department, speed safety cameras, zero-tolerance policies against drug dealing and Neighborhood Watch groups. He highlighted the need for mental health reform in Sacramento to secure a safer and more humane system for treating individuals with severe mental health illnesses. 

Mahan hopes to shift the narrative away from blaming courts, housing costs and people experiencing homelessness. To address San Jose’s rising homelessness crisis, Mahan introduced newer advancements on former Mayor Sam Liccardo’s vision for interim housing sites.

“And because of [citizens’] support and advocacy, we now have more than 1,000 new interim units and safe parking spaces under construction or in the pipeline,” Mahan said. “Between 2022 and 2023, we saw the number of people living on our streets drop by over ten percent, and seventy percent of those who have entered one of our quick-build housing communities remain housed today.” 

The mayor highlighted volunteer efforts by residents in coalitions to help clean up San Jose and at organized weekly meetings. He thanked city staff within Parks, Recreation, Neighborhood Services alongside his other Council colleagues. 

Mahan promised to improve and streamline the permitting process by providing businesses with more transparency. He also stressed the need to ensure that the Planning Department is fully staffed and that its talent pipeline is expanded to reach more applicants.

Said Mahan, “We’ve brought seventy-five percent of permit application types online, recently launched a program that allows licensed design professionals to self-certify more of their plans, and in just a few weeks, we will open a new portal for building permits that gives greater transparency and certainty to everyone involved.”

The Mayor concluded by emphasizing the importance of community involvement to help tackle the problems facing San Jose and ensure a safer and cleaner city for all. 

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Ira Lele
Ira Lele, Writer

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