Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, February 21, 1999

Hear the Mayor's Message

Improving Education With Congress' Help - Not its Interference
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

This Friday, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert visited New York City - and it was my pleasure to meet with him and discuss some of the issues we face together in the upcoming years. Speaker Hastert is a former teacher - and one of his top priorities as Speaker is improving education across the country by giving more control to state and local governments.

The kind of progress that we're making in reforming public education in New York City - with citywide math and reading scores on the rise, accountability being instilled throughout the system, and targeted instructional programs like Project Read, Project Smart Schools and Project Arts making a real difference in reaching children throughout the system - has been made possible through greater local control. Chancellor Crew and his team are creating more change in the school system than at any time I can remember - as much change, I think, as is possible given the obstacles they face - because they, and educational leaders throughout the City, are being held truly accountable by the people of the City.

Speaker Hastert told me that the Congress will be introducing a bill to give states and localities much greater flexibility in spending the funds provided by the federal government, rather than having every dollar tied to one specific Washington-devised program or another - many of which are not suited to the specific circumstances faced in a particular state or city.

The philosophy, which I have always believed, is that the most responsibility for making policy, for making the decisions that impact people's lives, should rest with the government closest to the people who feel the effect of those policies, not with bureaucrats in Washington.

Once it is introduced, if it is passed by the Congress and signed by the President, the bill - as outlined - would be an important step forward for students not only in New York City, but all over the country.

Finally, I want to briefly mention a new Police Department policy that went into effect on Monday. The Police Department will seize the vehicles of those who are arrested for Driving While Intoxicated -- and the vehicles will only be returned after the completion of the civil forfeiture proceeding, entirely independent of the criminal charges.

The purpose of it is to make our roads, our highways, safer -- particularly safer from drunk drivers. Drunk driving has taken the lives of too many New Yorkers, and it's time the people focused very carefully on their responsibilities before they get behind the wheel. And it's also necessary when automobiles are operated by drunk drivers and are used as instrumentalities of crime, that they be taken, so they can't be back out on the highways and the roads endangering young people and citizens of all kinds in the city. So we're very hopeful that this program will reduce dramatically the number of situations in which people have to be arrested for drunk driving and, most importantly, reduce the fatalities and injuries that come from drunk driving.

From Gracie Mansion, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.


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