FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES DECLINING CRIME, IMPROVING SCHOOLS AND CLEANER STREETS 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 4, 2009
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Last Wednesday, more than a million revelers jammed Times Square to ring in the New Year. It was a reminder that no one puts on a celebration like New York City. And although 2008 was a difficult year in many ways, there was still much to celebrate.
“Take crime for example. Our police officers drove crime down another 4 percent in 2008, bringing our 7-year decline to nearly 30 percent. 2008 also brought us a major victory in the fight against illegal guns. We settled the final lawsuit against a group of out-of-state gun dealers whose illegal practices allowed guns to end up in the hands of criminals. As part of the settlements, all of those dealers have now agreed to reform their sales practices – and that’s going to make our streets safer for police officers and all New Yorkers.
“Not only is our city safer than at any point in modern memory, it’s also cleaner. Our Sanitation workers do an impressive job and we saw their skills on display again this New Year’s when they cleared some 40 tons of debris out of Times Square in just a few short hours. In 2008, we pushed our street cleanliness levels up to nearly 96 percent – their highest level in 34 years. We also secured the ability to build a waste transfer station on the Gansevoort Peninsula – the final legislative hurdle to implementing our environmentally-friendly Solid Waste Management Plan.
“Many of the steps we’re taking to green our environment and clean our air also have an impact on our health. In 2008, we saw the life expectancy of the average New Yorker rise by another four months to nearly 80 years of age. That’s a full six months above the life expectancy of the average American. Over the last year, the city has also seen declines in seven of the ten leading causes of preventable death. We’re going to keep building on that progress this year by helping even more New Yorkers to quit smoking, to get screened for cancer, and to make regular visits to their family doctors.
“In 2008 we made great strides in another area that’s critical to our city’s future: education. Last year, graduation rates rose to their highest level in decades, and our students performed better than ever on State math and English exams, with black and Hispanic students making some of the greatest gains.
“Despite the economic downturn, we were also able to attract more tourism business. In 2008, an estimated 47 million tourists came to our city. Those visitors shattered our previous record, infused our local economy with a projected $30 billion in spending, and made New York the number one U.S. city for tourism.
“It’s no wonder that so many people came to visit us. New York is the greatest, most exciting city in the world. We proved that again on New Year’s Eve. And we will continue proving it in 2009.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening, and happy new year to everyone.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958