In baseball three strikes means you're out. Perhaps naysayers will get behind the team as Mayor Vincent C. Gray unveiled a State of the District portrait that gave three areas of improvement and growth in the city that no one can dispute. A nearly half billion dollar surplus, 80,000 in school enrollment, and 30,000 new residents points to a ship of state that is sailing smoothly and the DC economy is, indeed, doing well.
In a presentation laced with sports analogies Gray made it clear that this is only the beginning of a recovery that his administration started building two years ago. The gathering at the Sixth and I Synagogue was both a celebration of the success of the past year and the plans for continued success in the years ahead. "Speaking of symbols, our experience over the past football and baseball seasons symbolizes just how well things are going in the District of Columbia Over the past year , both of our baseball and football teams had breakthrough seasons and have become great examples of teams coming into their own. Both teams showed sustained excellence and brilliance that got them to postseason play," Gray said.
"And just as these great professional teams are getting things done and making us proud, so too is the District of Columbia making big things happen in the competition between great global cities," Gray said. The DC crime rate is at a 51 year low. The city created 28,000 new private sector jobs. "We aren't the only ones who have noticed the District is hitting grand slams right now," Gray said. The District unemployment rate fell from a high of 11.2 percent to 8.5 percent.
The plan to create 100,000 jobs and to bring in 1 billion in new tax revenue over the next five years is ambitious but Gray says the city can do it by working together with business leaders as well as other important partners to make the city continue on the road to prosperity. "You can tell simply by counting the 55 construction cranes that currently dot our skyline from Congress Heights to Petworth and from Brookland to Grover Park," Gray said referring to the economic development across the city.
When there is a hole in the ship by all means report it; however, in Gray's report tonight there did not appear to be an iceberg in sight.