Mayor’s Monthly Message – December 2021 Our Year in Review
Our Year in Review
It is hard to believe that it has been one year since I was sworn in as the 18th Mayor of the City of Riverside. While I am no stranger to new leadership roles, this office—and all of its responsibilities—has provided me with extraordinary opportunities to listen to Riversiders, learn from their own expertise, and reevaluate the ways in which we are approaching some of our greatest challenges.
The fact that I am only Riverside’s second female Mayor in our city’s 150-year history has not escaped me. As I am out in the community at schools, parks, and neighborhood meetings, I come across girls and young women who, for the first time in their lifetime, identify with the person holding this office. Encounters like these inspire me to advocate for them and all of Riverside’s children and to be a representative whose actions inspire those who may one day also choose public service.
Since the swearing-in on December 8, 2020, we have accomplished much despite being in the midst of a global pandemic. We have secured significant funding to continue efforts that improve our quality of life and preserve our unique history. Just to highlight a few, we’ve secured over $12 million in funding from the Big City Mayor’s Coalition to address homelessness and job programs, $7 million of state funding was allocated to the full restoration of the Harada House which includes the creation of an interpretive center and home museum dedicated to this nationally significant site.
We went on to launch major initiatives like the Mayor’s Big Tent Tour—a year-long listening tour designed to meet Riversiders in their neighborhood to discuss hyper-local issues. We launched a major capital campaign to refurbish our Riverside Military Wall of Honor that memorializes Riverside’s own fallen heroes. And we proudly re-launched our international relations program which saw the welcome of Riverside’s first international delegation in nearly two years.
In a year dominated by a slew of national infrastructure negotiations, we proved how to get it done at the local level as we broke ground on major infrastructure projects such as the Magnolia Avenue and Van Buren Boulevard street repaving—with over a dozen more projects approved and nearing construction.
With my office’s commitment to innovative projects, we partnered with new private sector companies, like Tre’Dish, to revamp and rethink our local Riverside economy. This year we also welcomed the California Air Resources Board Southern California Headquarters which is the start of making Riverside an international center for clean technology—a field that is part of my own expertise.
Overall, this year has been deeply rewarding. I have had the privilege of receiving an appointment to the League of California Cities’ Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee. I was also proud to announce my acceptance into the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative as one of only 38 mayors from across the globe—and Riverside will have direct benefits from this initiative in the year to come.
It continues to be an honor of a lifetime to serve as the Mayor of my hometown. And while I will continue to demonstrate the results of steady public leadership, I know that the work we set to do is not yet completed. In a year that still saw uncertainty, hardship, and loss, know this: better days are always ahead in Riverside and I continue to be dedicated to our city and to you.