It was a moment of pomp and circumstance, replete with an honor guard of axe- and flag-carrying firefighters. On a late Friday morning at the end of April, two new city commissioners – Rhonda Anderson and Kirk Menendez – were sworn into office, along with Mayor Vince Lago.
The swearing in took place in the conference center at the new Public Safety Building, packed with city officials past and present, family members, and civic leaders. At the dais was outgoing Mayor Raul Valdés-Fauli and outgoing City Commissioner Pat Keon, both of whom said goodbye.
In his acceptance speech, Mayor Lago announced two “transparency” objectives: To shed light on the “dark money” that funds local political campaigns, and to conduct an audit of city lobbying protocol, to make the efforts of lobbyists public. He also announced transportation and water quality task forces. But his key policy announcement was his “100 Days Listening Tour,” taking input from residents, business owners, and civic organizations for 100 days (started May 1) in order to create a Strategic Priorities Plan for the city. “Remember, as I have always said, my door is always open,” Lago told the audience, which then went outside for a light lunch, Morelia paletas, and a brass band under a tent on Alcazar Avenue.