Marilyn Strickland sure knows how to fire up her team.
The Tacoma mayor was in full “win one for the Gipper” mode at her annual state of the city address Wednesday – a homecoming game rally that the young urban tweeter-hipster types like to call “sotc253.”
“We are Tacoma. I am your mayor. Let’s go out there and make 2015 one of the best years ever!” she exhorted at the end of her pep talk.
If a paper banner had been hanging in the hallway, her team would’ve run through it. If a Gatorade bucket had been available, someone would’ve dumped it over her head.
The theme of Strickland’s address was “Tacoma Rising.”
The city’s high school graduation rates are rising, she noted. T-Town’s national profile is also rising, what with the U.S. Open coming here and maybe a giant Andy Warhol tattoo on the Tacoma Dome’s forehead.
The size of our pothole problem is rising. The cost to fix it, too.
The price we pay for gas and cable TV? Rising.
Sea levels? Ditto.
Global temperatures? Yessir.
Acts of radical jihadist terrorism? You betcha.
Of course, Strickland left out most of that gloomy stuff because she didn’t want to be a wet blanket. We, however, have no such reservations.
But don’t fret, folks, because the mayor guarantees the local fun quotient is rising faster than a stalled development overlooking Commencement Bay.
“Point Ruston is going from a Superfund site to a place that’s going to be super fun!” she proclaimed.
Too bad the feds at the Environmental Protection Agency won’t put us on a special list for that.
Oh, before we forget, there’s one more thing in Tacoma that’s rising.
The cost to hear the mayor give a speech.
Former Mayor Bill Baarsma never delivered a ceremonial stemwinder, and he doesn’t believe his predecessors did, either.
“It is unusual,” Double B said before Strickland’s inaugural speech in 2011. “More power to her.”
That first time, it was free for anyone to attend. Then last year, when the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce started running the show, a ticket cost $45 at the door.
This year, it went up another $5.
To be fair, that’s still a pretty reasonable price to see a diva perform in Tacoma — much cheaper than a ticket to see Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift at the Dome.
“Our goal is to break even,” Lynnette Buffington, the chamber’s membership outreach manager, told The Schnoz. She noted the expense of food, labor, decorations and Convention Center rental.
Buffington said the chamber-sponsored event provides “an excellent platform and outreach to the business community.”
And anyone else who can afford to fork over 50 greenbacks.
The rest of us commoners will just have to hang on until 1 a.m. Sunday and watch it tape-delayed on TV Tacoma.
Seattle’s mayor gave his state of the city address this month in City Council Chambers — free of charge, all riffraff welcome.
Same with the mayor of Portland.
Then again, those dudes’ speeches didn’t include a white-tablecloth lunch featuring skirt steak, a tower of rice and a tray of cookies. Plus a mysterious green plant-food that diners described as either a pear or a squash.
No matter your taste, keep this truth in mind:
The Irish have Ireland. The Newfounders have Newfoundland. The Portlanders have Portland.
And here in the 253, we have Strickland.
It’s her world. We’re just living in it.
What freeway billboards say about us: When driving north on Interstate 5, there are now two signs that you’re crossing into alien territory.
The first is the road sign that says “Entering King County.” The second is a large billboard for the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
This makes sense because the bestselling naughty novels are set in Seattle. It’s also symbolic because the northlands are a sensual, mysterious place teeming with creative, wealthy sophisticates.
Later that day, while driving back through Tacoma on I-5, we saw a billboard for “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.”
Not sure whether to feel honored or insulted.
Seattle, Des Moines and Bellevue.
Memo to the port: You’ve got a little ‘splaining to do, unless you plan to change the name to Sea-Moines or Sea-Vue.
In that case, you’ve got a lot of ‘splaining to do.