It’s unlikely loquacious Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman will ever say anything that fits in a tweet, but that didn’t stop attendees from trying to cram highlights of Thursday’s State of the City speech into the micro-blogging service’s 140-character limit.
Goodman and city staff encouraged attendees at the speech and those watching at home to tweet along with the talk, a first for a Las Vegas mayor in the social media era.
The tweets scrolled on a large screen in the City Hall council chambers so audience members could read what others were writing as Goodman spoke.
The Twitter gimmick didn’t appear to prompt the mayor to sway from her typically verbose style — the speech clocked in at just under an hour — but it breathed some life into an annual event that sometimes veers into the mundane.
“We have some of the biggest twits in our community,” Goodman joked at the outset of the mostly lighthearted speech.
She contrasted the event, where people stared at their mobile devices, with the way she typically requires attendees at meetings she runs to put their phones away and pay attention.
“If you are looking down, I am going to have you walked out of the meeting,” Goodman said of her preferred approach, adding, “I give permission to all of you to look down.”
Aside from the social media jokes, Goodman delivered a standard speech highlighting positive economic news and advances in city government while avoiding mention of any controversies from the past year.
Among the highlights was news that in the coming year the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce will move its headquarters, previously located in Town Square well south of city limits, into office space at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas.
“They are going to add to the energy” of a downtown she said has seen thousands of new temporary and permanent jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in development.
Among the other downtown highlights she mentioned was the opening of Container Park, the opening of a new Zappos headquarters in the former city hall building at Las Vegas Boulevard and Stewart Avenue and several new bars and restaurants.
She also mentioned pending plans to work with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to develop a movie studio in Cashman Center, just north of downtown, plans for a museum of modern art and the expected return of the Life is Beautiful music festival that attracted thousands of people in the fall.
“I went and it was great, fantastic,” she said. “It was an international draw as well as bringing in people from all across the country.”
Although the speech was mostly light, Goodman did mention a December incident in which her son, Eric Goodman, a Las Vegas justice of the peace, was injured under mysterious circumstances in a Summerlin park.
Eric Goodman was knocked unconscious and unable to recall details to police. Although he is expected to recover, the mayor said he nearly died and had to have a piece of his skull removed to relieve pressure on the brain.
Police say they have no evidence showing Goodman was attacked and that he may have had a medical episode that led to the head injuries. Without witnesses or his recollection of events, the investigation is stalled.
The incident, Mayor Goodman said, prompted her to ask Las Vegas Fire Department Chief William McDonald to develop a voluntary system to provide arm-band identification information for people who are out jogging alone without identification, as her son was, in the event they are injured and can’t communicate.
“We are exploring this initiative and I would like to see these out and available to our citizens,” Goodman said