Bloomberg's State of the City Address

The full text of Michael Bloomberg’s State of the City address:

“Over the past year, I’ve seen cities from Seattle to Miami, from London to Shanghai, pushing the frontiers of progress. They are doing everything they can to attract the best, and the brightest in every field: medicine, engineering, construction and more. These cities are not slowing down – and neither can we,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We are committed to making our City government quicker, leaner, stronger, better, and to giving all New Yorkers a city that matches their ambition.”

Improving Public Safety:

“In 2007, we made the safest big city in the nation safer than it has been in generations: the fewest traffic deaths in nearly a century; historic lows in jail violence; historic lows in fire fatalities, and the fewest homicides recorded in modern history,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

The Mayor announced today that:

The Fire Department will pioneer a state-of-the-art high-rise fire simulator that will play an important role at Randall’s Island Fire Academy;

The City will launch the New York City wireless network – which will allow first responders to get more information, like maps, mug shots and arrest records, more quickly;

The City will open a unified and streamlined 911 call center, and begin to combine call-taking operations for police and fire;

“Digital 911” will be up and running by this summer, allowing New Yorkers to send digital photos to the police from their cell phones;

The City will lobby Albany to require DNA fingerprinting from everyone who is arrested;

The City will establish a six-figure prize for anyone who can invent a device tailored to the NYPD which analyzes the DNA of potential suspects right at the crime scene – so that officers can release innocent suspects before they are arrested, and track down promising leads more quickly;

The City will lobby for a State Law to require that mental health records are shared with the federal ATF;

The City will begin creating a comprehensive database of firearms evidence – something no other city in the country has – the latest addition to our revolutionary Real Time Crime Center;

The City will also seek legislation that requires manufacturers to use microstamping technology, which helps police better connect crime scenes to guns;

The Office of Emergency Management will help every City agency draw up plans that guarantee continuity of operations during a wide-scale emergency, and;

The NYPD will expand its Lower Manhattan Security Initiative by deploying 30 vehicles Downtown with automated license plate reading devices.

Targeting Poverty and Ensuring a Livable Community for All Ages:

“All of our work to make government more accountable stems from a simple principle: Serving our citizens is our most basic responsibility,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “That goes for every citizen at every income level. In 2008, we will use technology to continue breaking down barriers to city services. For too long, individual agencies have looked at their clients in isolation – even though many New Yorkers interact with City government on a whole spectrum of issues.”

The Mayor announced that in 2008 the City will:

· Link the computer systems at more than a dozen City agencies under a new system called Health and Human Services Connect, so that they are able to share client information without compromising confidentiality;

· Open the City’s second Family Justice Center in Kew Gardens providing domestic violence victims another place where they can find all the services they need under one roof;

· Establish an additional 500 beds for the toughest homeless cases;

· Launch “NYC Dads” to focus efforts on young fathers who are high-school drop-outs;

· Call on Congress to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit;

· Raise the quality of food served in every City agency from our hospitals to our schools to our senior centers – which provide 1.5 million meals annually and are often the main meal source for families in poverty, and;

· Establish, in collaboration with the Council and the New York Academy of Medicine, the All Ages Project which will re-envision what it means to grow old in New York.

Improving Customer Service & Making Government More Efficient and Accountable:

“We’ve brought new technology to every level of city government – to improve customer service and employee performance,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “I’ve always believed that achieving these goals begins with providing the information people need to hold your feet to the fire.”

The Mayor announced today that:

The City will introduce a new accountability tool called Citywide Performance Reporting, which will put a wealth of data at the fingertips of City residents including fire response times, noise complaints, trees planted by the Parks Department, and will include over 500 different measurements from 45 City agencies, all available with a few clicks of the mouse, and all free to the public;

The City will appoint a new Charter Revision Commission that will conduct a top-to-bottom review of City government over the next 18 months. The Commission will consider any proposal that will improve the life of New York and New Yorkers;

To reform the Board of Elections, the City will work with Citizens Union to build a nonpartisan coalition that will call for merit-based hiring;

New Yorkers will be able to track the progress of their 311 service requests on the web;

By this summer, the public will also be able to go online to monitor the progress of the Street Conditions Observation Unit (SCOUT), our roving team of quality-of-life inspectors who hit the streets last fall;

Working with Public Advocate Gotbaum, we will conduct the biggest public opinion survey the City has ever done and reach out to 100,000 New Yorkers to get their feedback on how well City government is serving them;

Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility and Continued Growth:

“We began to cut spending and hiring many months ago and now we are not walking away from making the hard decisions about what we can and can not afford,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By investing in a diverse, growing slate of industries and by making our city more livable and more business friendly, we have helped create 179,000 private sector jobs over the past four years alone.”

The Mayor Announced that the Administration will:

Continue to cut spending and hold down hiring as directed by the mayor last year;

Propose a budget that contains the spending reductions we committed to last fall;

Include an extension of the 7 percent across-the-board property tax cut in next week’s preliminary budget;

Continue tax relief with a $400 property tax rebate to all homeowners;

Push ahead with a five-borough economic development strategy that diversifies industries; and

Continue to eliminate red tape for small business by allowing our Business Express website to allow permit applications and renewals online.

Investing in Economic Development:

“This year, we will continue implementing the most ambitious agenda of any city in the country and doing something that too often doesn’t happen in government – following through on promises,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

This year, the City will:

Continue to lobby for our PlaNYC agenda and to implement its 127 initiatives so that the City is able to meet the challenges of the future;

Continue to work with our partners at the State level, in the Council and across agencies to implement congestion pricing to help us improve mass transit and relieve congestion which, costs the New York City region $13 billion a year;

Begin construction on Brooklyn Bridge Park – part of a unified waterfront Harbor District;

Start turning 30 acres of prime waterfront real estate at Queens West into the largest new development of middle-income housing since Starrett City more than 35 years ago;

Move forward with the construction of the #7 train extension – allowing for the redevelopment of the Far West Side and 25 million square feet of new office space;

Move forward with our $3 billion investment in new infrastructure for the South Bronx;

Rezone Willets Point, one of the most significant environmental reclamation projects of our time;

Continue on our redevelopment plans for Coney Island, which will preserve the character of the area and return it to its former glory; and

Continue to finance and begin construction on more of the 165,000 units planned as part of the largest affordable housing program ever undertaken by any city.

Improving Public Education:

“Everything we’re doing, in fact, will create a better future for our children – because soon this will be their city. They’ll be the ones sitting in your seats, voting, paying your social security benefits or even be up here giving the State of the City address. That’s why, from the beginning, we’ve pursued major education reforms that put ‘children first,’” said Mayor Bloomberg.

The Mayor announced today that:

He will ask the City’s Panel on Education Policy to end social promotion in the 8th grade as part of the 2008-2009 school year;

The City will create a first-in-the-nation rigorous career and technical program that will start in our high schools and continue in our community colleges. The programs, to be offered in September 2009, will be created by a task force Co-Chaired by New York Life CEO and Chairman Sy Sternberg and former Mayor David Dinkins and will include Merryl Tisch of the Board of Regents;

The Department of Education will give parents access to the recently unveiled web-based performance management database that tracks student progress, currently only available to principals and teachers;

We will begin testing GPS systems on school buses to help measure on-time performance and keep track of our fleet in the event of a City-wide emergency;

The City will provide training to principals and a new web-based “Tenure Tool Kit” that will empower principals to make tenure decisions and evaluate teachers based on student achievement;

“The year ahead is not going to be easy – but as I stand here, I’m more optimistic about our future than ever,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “There’s a great quote in the latest Philip Roth book: ‘I came to New York,’the character says, ‘and in only hours, New York did what it does to people – awakened the possibilities.’ ‘Hope breaks out.’ What a wonderful description of our City.”