San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson talked about what the city accomplished in 2012 and looked ahead to what he hopes 2013 will bring in his State of the City address at the Dougherty Valley San Ramon Rotary club meeting at The Bridges Golf Course last Wednesday.
After his first full year at San Ramon's top elected official, Clarkson wanted to make public safety a top priority on 2012 and said the number of crimes in the city dropped last year.
When he ran for office, Clarkson said he wanted to make local government more transparent. The mayor said he has, having a day dedicated to office hours weekly, a weekly breakfast with the mayor, more town hall meetings and setting up the online forum, Open San Ramon, allowing residents to give input online to local issues.
Clarkson said he also focused on adding partnerships with other organization. One example was with the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District to train more people in CPR.
The question that Clarkson said he is asked more about than any other is when the City Center will be built.
"It's simply not just a matter of building it," Clarkson said. "We only have one opportunity to build a downtown and we want to do it right."
Clarkson emphasized that the City Center project is a private one, and the city doesn't decide when building will start. But, when built, Clarkson see's the project as "game-changer" that will bring a significant amount of sale tax revenue to the city.
(Related: You can read more about the details of the City Center project here.)
With the city facing budget constraints, he said he's against growth in the city unless the project improves the quality of life for residents and pays for itself.
Near the end of his speech, Clarkson laid out an idea for a new festival in town, celebrating the city's diversity. He said he pictures it taking place in the fall and being just as popular at the Art & Wind Festival.
"We should celebrate that we live in a place that values everybody who lives here," Clarkson said.