Judging by the uniform sameness found in Mayor Kevin Smith’s State of the City speech last week, things are OK in Anderson. Well, that’s better than not being OK.
The mayor just didn’t have a whole lot of new things to say.
Maybe listeners compared his recent talk at the Anderson Rotary Club to last year’s shocker when talk of annexation — extending Anderson over to Hamilton County — cropped up. Folks talked about that one for months. And they still are, as the town of Lapel has taken Anderson to court over a boundary dispute.
Smith’s delivery of good news had been apparent to city dwellers for many months.
Economic growth can be seen in the presence of Keihin and GTI Industries to the area. Nestle, too, is expanding. Smith said, “This shows that attracting Nestle wasn’t an anomaly.”
That view depends, however, on whether you live by the economic glories of the immediate past or whether you’re waiting for the next announcement of potential full-time jobs. After all, job creation, Smith said, is his main focus.
His mention of additional key goals have limited impact on job-seekers. Smith wants a new City of Anderson Transit System terminal and a new fire station. Those aren’t what residents in a depressed area care to hear as “goals.”
Smith’s vision seemed to be gazing at rear-view mirrors. He was saying that good things happened and they might again.
By definition, that may indeed be a “state” of this city. But what residents want to hear is a leader who shares his dreams and how those initiatives impact them.
Perhaps Smith was waiting until 2015, the year of the next mayoral election, before offering his latest plan for Anderson’s future.
Maybe the mayor held back, after being stung by the reaction to his annexation plan. Yet that type of vision shows he can think outside the box, or at least outside the boundaries of a city’s limits.
Smith’s most recent State of the City was a practical analysis of a year gone by.
We know we’re OK. We want more.
We know he has the ability to dream. He just needed to show us.
In summary Mayor Kevin Smith had offered intriguing ideas in the past but his recent State of the City speech had little vision.