February 23, 2024

“Elevate Riverside” flashed across the screens Jan. 24 at the Riverside Convention Center The ballroom was packed with guests as they awaited Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey’s seventh annual State of the City Address.

“In politics, you introduce fear to win, but in leadership you remove fear to succeed,” Bailey said in his opening speech. “In Riverside, we focus on leadership. At every level, ward and school. It promotes success for the long run. Everything either declines or elevates because of leadership.”

Bailey said Riverside’s emphasis on leadership was the motivation behind the “elevate” theme for the year.

Bailey highlighted his successes of 2018 in his speech, including progress on housing and the creation of new ways that people can give back to the Riverside community.

“We have a new program, Giverside, which is a portal for people to give back to Riverside and help those in need,” Bailey said. “I challenge everyone to elevate their generosity by using this site.”

Bailey said students should think about paying for the meals of people who struggle with homelessness.

Other highlights of the night include the Hero of the Year award, which was awarded to March Air Force Base in honor of its 100-year anniversary.

Luz Negron, a chairperson on the city’s multicultural council, won the award for Championing Diversity and Inclusivity.

“This address is the biggest event of the year for the city of Riverside,” said Phil Pitchford, Riverside’s communications officer. “We bring about 1,100 people to talk about the things we as a community achieved in the past year and reflect on that in a positive way and then bring forward challenges for the next year. It’s pretty amazing.”

Of those in attendance, many represented local businesses in the Riverside area.

Colleges such as California Baptist University, Riverside City College, the University of California, Riverside, and Loma Linda University had students and representatives in attendance, as well.

Rebecca Arneson, senior philosophy and business administration double major and president of the Associated Students of CBU, said she found the speech impactful and informative.

“He is a great speaker and he made a lot of important points on how Riverside is growing and encouraging us to step outside of our comfort zones and there are a lot of opportunities in our community to do that,” Arneson said.

Sally Thrapp, junior accounting major echoed Arneson’s comments.

“He was very personable and sincere about everything that he was talking about and it was very clear that he was proud of what he achieved,” Thrapp said.

Students can access a video of the mayor’s address on the City of Riverside’s YouTube channel.

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