The Evolution of a Wonky Art Form

The State of the City address is a kind of wonky art form; a mayoral manifesto that, if crafted and delivered just so, transcends matters “expedient and proper” – the bar set by a 1963 city charter amendment establishing the yearly briefing. More like evocative and inspiring. A good State of the City addresses strives to illustrate a vision for the coming year, to set an agenda and strike a tone.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria is the 10th mayor to give the State of the City address since Frank Curran started the modern tradition 50 years ago. Some offered eloquent entreaties for the city to collectively rise up and do better. Others overreached and become the subject of derision.

No small task, the State of the City.

Here’s a look at some of the more memorable State of the City speeches over the past half-century:

Sanders’ Video Gambit (2012)

In January 2012, Mayor Jerry Sanders

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