FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 30, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES PROGRESS MADE THIS YEAR IN EDUCATION, QUALITY OF LIFE AND PUBLIC SAFETY IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, December 30, 2007
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"With less than two days left in 2007, I think it's fair to say that this year will be one for the record books. New Yorkers are living longer than at any point since World War II, our population is rising, and tourists are coming to visit us in record numbers. Over the past 12 months, we've launched more than 30 innovative poverty-fighting programs to give struggling New Yorkers a hand up, and we've begun work on most of the 127 proposals outlined in PlaNYC - our ambitious agenda to guide New York's future growth while confronting major challenges like climate change and traffic congestion.
"But much of New York's success over the past year is owed to the fact that we continue to make great strides in three key areas of city life: education; quality of life; and public safety. Today, I'd like to say a few words about each of those areas.
"Public schools are the training grounds for the leaders of tomorrow. That's why our administration has made improving them a top priority. In 2007, we took big steps on a number of fronts. We reformed the school funding process to address historic inequities. We reached agreements to award bonuses to educators who work in our highest-need schools and improve student achievement. And we gave parents powerful new insight into their child's classroom by issuing progress reports that grade each school from A to F. All of this will build on the gains we've already made in higher graduation rates, improved test scores, and the narrowing of the achievement gap among students of different ethnicities.
"New York City's quality of life has also improved greatly over the past year. In June, our citizens' service hotline, 311, recorded its 50 millionth call since inception. And I must not be the only one who dials those numbers when I notice some litter on the streets, because this year our street cleanliness rating also rose - to 94.3%, its highest rating in more than three decades. We can expect to see that rating climb even higher in 2008 thanks to a new program we launched this summer. SCOUT - which stands for Street Condition Observation Unit - is a team of 15 City specialists that combs the streets for quality-of-life problems such as dirty sidewalks, graffiti, and potholes. SCOUT inspectors cover every street in the city - including yours - once a month.
"We've taken some big strides to improve public education and quality of life, but these gains wouldn't mean much without safe streets - and thanks to the hard-working men and women of the NYPD our streets just keep getting safer. Right now, we have a historic crime-fighting achievement within our reach: recording fewer murders for 2007 than in any year since statistics have been kept. Since 2001, crime has dropped citywide by 26%, and over the past year, we've driven crime down in every borough and in virtually every major category - making our schools, our public housing, and our subways safer than ever before. Innovative crime-fighting strategies have long been the hallmark of the NYPD, and one that's worked particularly well is Operation Impact. That program strategically deploys resources to stamp out crime in the neighborhoods where criminal activity is most concentrated. Last week, we added new muscle to Operation Impact when we graduated a class of 914 new police officers - all of whom will now become part of this successful program.
"The past year has been a tremendous one for New York City, so in about 38 hours, when the ball drops and the confetti starts to swirl, let's give three cheers for our teachers and principals, our sanitation workers, our police officers, and all of the City employees who have worked so hard to make 2007 one of our best years ever. I'd like to wish them - and all of you - a happy and healthy New Year."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958