FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES AGENDA FOR IMPROVING PUBLIC SAFETY, SCHOOLS, POVERTY, CUSTOMER SERVICE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 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, January 20, 2007
"Good Morning, this is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Over the past year, I've seen cities from London to Shanghai doing everything they can to attract - and retain - the best and the brightest. Keeping New York at the front of the pack depends on us remaining a city that's open to new people and new thinking. My State of the City address last week outlined our next steps for ensuring exactly that - and at the heart of our strategy is a continued emphasis on innovation - because we can't be afraid of trying new ideas when it comes to our biggest challenges.
"Our first - and most basic - challenge is public safety. To make the nation's safest big city even safer, we will arm our police and fire departments with the best new training and technology. That begins with opening a high-rise fire simulator at the Fire Department's training academy. We'll also step up our campaign against illegal guns, by being the first city in the country to build a database of firearms evidence.
"Fixing our public schools is another big challenge - and another big priority. Over the past 6 years, we've brought innovation and increased accountability to a system that failed generations of children - but we still have a lot more to do. In the year ahead, we will empower principals with the tools they need to make more informed decisions about teacher tenure. We also will raise student standards by ending social promotion next year in the 8th grade -ensuring that every child who enters high school is ready to do high school work.
"We'll take the next steps in another key priority of my second term - fighting poverty. Over the past year, we've launched a number of strategies that have put our city at the forefront of this complex issue. This year, a key focus will be helping young men and young fathers connect with their families and with the workforce. Part of that will involve helping New Yorkers leaving our jails get their lives back on track through education and jobs. They've paid their debt; now let's help them earn their future - and keep all of us safe.
"To continue making government more transparent and accountable, we'll expand 311 online so that New Yorkers can track the progress of their service requests on the web. We'll also roll out a major new online tool called Citywide Performance Reporting, which will give New Yorkers a wealth of information about how their government is performing - more than 500 different measurements, in fact, from 45 City agencies. It's your government, and you deserve the information you need to hold our feet to the fire.
"Perhaps no challenge is more pressing than the downturn in our economy - although we haven't waited for the hard times to hit before taking action. When the economy was strong, we prepaid debt and maintained fiscal discipline. Then, when the future became uncertain, we began to cut spending and freeze hiring. In the months ahead, we'll continue to make the hard decisions - but we're also committed to providing the one thing that more and more homeowners need - tax relief. That means extending the $400 property tax rebate for the fifth year in a row. And next week, when I present the preliminary budget, I'll also propose extending the 7 percent across-the-board property tax cut that we offered last year for a second year. But adopting this tax cut will depend on a variety of factors unknown today - from the health of our economy…to the continued help we get from our partners in State government and our municipal unions.
"Education, crime, poverty, customer service, the economy - all tough challenges, but if we continue thinking about these problems in new ways and using the most powerful technology to solve them, there's no limit to what we can achieve in the year ahead. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958