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  January 16, 2005
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New York City: A City of Opportunity

By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

A city of opportunity: That’s what we all want New York to be. My State of the City address last week outlined how we’re building a city of opportunity by making New York safer, more compassionate, more livable, stronger economically, and by working to provide all our children with the first-rate education that is their fundamental civil right.

Safety is basic to opportunity—and today, New York City is safer than it’s been in modern memory. Crime is at record lows; so are fire and traffic fatalities. To make New Yorkers even safer, we’re extending Operation Impact, which targets high-crime zones with intensive policing. We’re making fuller use of state-of-the-art crime-fighting technology. We’re showing continued zero tolerance for graffiti and other quality of life crimes. We’re also remaining the nation’s leader in homeland security—and we’ll continue to fight to ensure that all Federal Homeland Security funds are distributed on the basis of risk and risk alone.

We’re also broadening opportunity to New Yorkers in need of help. We’re moving ahead on our five-year plan to end chronic homelessness. Adoptions have increased, and the number of kids in foster care has been reduced dramatically. We’re helping New Yorkers live longer and healthier lives, and providing top-quality medical care in our public hospitals. The city’s new Earned Income Tax Credit attacks poverty by returning money to hard-working New Yorkers. And this year’s $400 property tax rebate will once again reward the homeowners who helped the city out of the fiscal crisis that followed 9/11.

We’re also cultivating opportunity by improving our quality of life. The streets are the cleanest they have been in 30 years. We’re building and preserving affordable housing for 200,000 New Yorkers. We’re creating new parks, improving existing ones, and opening up more of our waterfront to public enjoyment. And this year, we’ll work with the City Council to pass a revised noise code, so all New Yorkers enjoy the peace and quiet we deserve.

Our growing economy has slashed unemployment and generated opportunity and jobs; as many as 50,000 new private sector jobs are anticipated this year. The City’s economic development game plan is diversifying our economy in film and TV production, tourism, manufacturing, and other industries. From the new cruise ship terminal in Red Hook to the nation’s largest wholesale seafood market at Hunts Point, City investments are producing thousands of jobs in all five boroughs. The rezoning of Manhattan’s Far West Side will create 280,000 permanent new jobs. This year, we’ll work with management and labor to give returning veterans and young people a fair shot at construction jobs. We’ll also launch “Learning to Work,” an initiative that will help young people who aren’t now on course to earn high school diplomas get the educational and vocational credentials they need.

Reforming our schools ensures opportunity for all our young people. It’s a big job—and we’re headed in the right direction. Test scores and the graduation rate are rising. Schools are safer. We’re setting and enforcing standards in the classroom. This year, to challenge more of our most capable students, we’re going to maintain all current “gifted and talented” programs—and we’re also going to start establishing them where they don’t exist now. We’re also going to create more new, small secondary schools and charter schools that give students the rigorous academic programs and individual attention that help them succeed.

The key to our continued success is independent leadership, dedicated to the people’s interests, not the special interests. It means making not just the tough decisions, but the right decisions, based on one standard only: What’s right for the people of New York, our city of opportunity. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do.


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