Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today delivered
his third inaugural address to the City of New York, emphasizing the important
role innovative government can play in improving people's lives and the need for
New Yorkers to come together to get through the challenging times ahead.
Recognizing the central role that immigrants and small businesses have always
played in creating a dynamic and prosperous city, the Mayor today signaled that
both areas would become major focuses during the upcoming term.
"Good afternoon. Happy New Year.
Feliz año nuevo.
"Mayors Koch and Dinkins, thank you very
much for being here. Let me also welcome our new Public Advocate and
Comptroller, Bill de Blasio and John Liu; Speaker Quinn and the City Council,
especially its 12 incoming members and 12 outgoing members.
"And as we look at our flags still flying at
half-staff, let's join in honoring and thanking a true civil rights pioneer, a
legendary public servant, and a great New Yorker - Percy Sutton.
"Last night, the final moments of 2009
passed into history, and as they did, Americans from across the country looked
to New York to ring in a new year, a new decade and a new beginning. And that is
only right, because our city has always led the nation - not just in celebrating
holidays, but in pioneering the most innovative and ambitious new
"That's true in the arts, in science, in
business - and more and more, we've made it true of City government. In so many
areas, whatever happens, happens here first. New York is, as Mayor Koch once
famously said, 'where the future comes to audition.'
"But as we consider the bright promise of
our future, we cannot ignore the hard times that exist around us. Many New
Yorkers are struggling to pay the rent or the mortgage, to find a job, to feed
their families. The road ahead will not be easy, but the journey we have taken
together over the past decade fills me with optimism for the one that now lies
"We have experienced financial crisis and
economic recession - and weathered them better than most. We have suffered
devastating attacks - and rebounded faster than anyone thought possible, and
we've refused to be terrorized. We have faced down controversies that once
divided us - and we have remained united. Working together, we have
created a city that all New Yorkers can be proud of.
"We have made the safest big city in the
nation even safer. We have adopted bold education reforms that President Obama's
Administration has hailed as a national model. We have built the country's
largest affordable housing program and adopted its most sweeping public health
"We have pursued the boldest sustainability
agenda on the planet. And we have made the greatest City in the world even
"As I stand here today, I am deeply grateful
for the opportunity to serve New Yorkers for four more years - and to be the
first Independent to have the honor of taking the oath. I recognize - I
understand - that this term is a special opportunity, one that comes with
"I realize, too that the building behind me
is yours - and the job in front of me is to listen and to lead. I will not shirk
from the hard decisions that lie ahead. And by continuing to reach out to every
community, by tackling the toughest issues with renewed energy and without fear
of failure, we will deliver innovations that improve New Yorkers' lives and
strengthen our communities. By taking this approach, there are no limits to what
we can accomplish in the future. And for confirmation, simply look at our
"Four years ago on this day, I stood before
you and pledged that we would wage a new campaign against an old problem that
takes a terrible toll on our communities: illegal guns. The skeptics said:
'That's a national problem. What can one mayor do about it?'
"But since then, we have built a bi-partisan
coalition of 500 mayors who have won victories in City Halls, State Houses, and
yes - even Congress. Now, we'll set our sights on another national issue
that affects New Yorkers in profoundly personal ways: immigration
"With leaders from across the country, we
will assemble a bi-partisan coalition to support President Obama's call for
comprehensive immigration reform that honors our history, upholds our values,
and promotes our economy.
"No city on Earth - no city - should hold
these principles higher aloft than this city of immigrants, because no city on
earth has been more rewarded by immigrant labor, more renewed by immigrant
ideas, more revitalized by immigrant culture, than the City of New
"And when I listen to the outstanding
students we've had here today from the Newcomers School, I feel more strongly
than ever that the future of our city, and our country, depends on newcomers
like them, and on whether we honor the ideals that have lit the lamp of liberty
in our harbor for more than a century, and that continue to inspire the
"Immigrants helped make New York City the
world capital of opportunity and entrepreneurism, and now we will make City
government a global leader in supporting and encouraging
"Just as 311 made it far easier for New
Yorkers to interact with City government, we'll now help small businesses get
the answers and services they need - all in one place.
"Working closely with Speaker Quinn and the
City Council, we'll transform the relationship between business and government,
making it possible for entrepreneurs to open their doors more quickly - and
build their futures more successfully. I've been there; I know how tough it is.
I also know government can do more - and we will.
"In business and in government, I've seen
how innovation occurs when people look with fresh eyes at old problems, and then
work together to solve them. As we begin this new decade, we will take a
fresh look at everything - with fresh thinking and fresh energy, and we will put
more emphasis than ever on collaboration. We'll start with an exercise that, as
far as we know, no government has ever done.
"Back when I was running my company, we
temporarily re-assigned senior managers to new areas. It was an
eye-opening experience that improved teamwork, generated new ideas, and launched
the company to greater heights.
"Beginning in about a week, we'll conduct a
similar exercise within City government. For three weeks, every First
Deputy Commissioner will become a deputy at another agency - one they regularly
work with, and they will work directly with that agency's commissioner - side by
side, 24/7. We intend to break down the bureaucratic barriers that too often
impede innovation, compromise customer service, and cost taxpayers
"Each Deputy Commissioner will report
directly back to me with recommendations for ways their own agencies - and the
agencies they've been assigned to for these three weeks - can work more closely
together to improve their performance.
"Commissioners: This is not someone looking
over your shoulder, but a member of our team - your team - who can be an
invaluable resource in finding new ways to do the job better. And Deputy
Commissioners out there: This is not a game of musical chairs. This is a
management challenge, and a unique opportunity for collaboration and innovation.
This is also a test for you - and a chance to demonstrate your skills and
"And as I tell everyone I hire: don't screw
"Conventional wisdom holds that by a third
term, mayors run out of energy and ideas. But we have proved the conventional
wisdom wrong time and again, and I promise you, we will do it once
"Even as we face difficult fiscal realities,
we will budget not only with our heads but with our hearts. We will find
innovative new ways to create jobs in the industries of the future, from
bioscience and arts and culture, to green technology that fights global warming
and local asthma at the same time.
"We'll find innovative new ways to offer all
children - in all communities - the first-rate education that they deserve and
that is so crucial to building a strong middle class. We'll find innovative new
ways to protect our city from terrorism and drive crime to record lows, with a
renewed focus on a key group: young people who are troubled and
"We'll do this and much more - together, as
"This morning, as part of our NYC Service
initiative, I worked with community volunteers and members of our Civic Corps at
a soup kitchen run by the Franciscan sisters in Brooklyn. And this afternoon,
I'll be joining more New Yorkers for service projects in the Bronx, Queens, and
Staten Island. On this new day, I can't think of a better way than giving back
to demonstrate who we are, and what we must do.
"The future starts here. It starts now. And
it starts with us.
"When I raised my right hand, I took a
formal oath to uphold the laws of our City. But now, I want to make a personal
commitment to you - and to every New Yorker. No matter where you live and work,
no matter what your race or roots, no matter who you love, who you worship, or
who you voted for, I pledge to be your Mayor.
"And I will not stop working for you - I
will not rest - until every job seeker finds work, every high school student
graduates, every child is safe from illegal guns, every family has an affordable
home, and every New Yorker with a dream finds it within reach.
"To take on the impossible challenge is our
City's burden - and our City's blessing. As the timeless quote from the great
E.B. White reminds us:
"'New York is to the nation what the white
church spire is to the village - the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the
white plume saying the way is up.'
"Eight years ago, I stood on this spot, and
dark, ugly plumes of smoke were still rising just a few blocks south from
here. But today we see visible symbols of our aspiration and faith rising
from that same site. And I believe with all my heart that on this - the first
day of the year, the first day of the decade, and the first day of the future of
this great city - the way is still up.
"God bless you, and God bless New York