2006-02-02 / From The Mayor...

A Blueprint For Our Future

From The Mayor

We stand at a special moment for our city. Over the past four years, we’ve overcome some monumental challenges – and we only did so by coming together. Now, we can push New York on to even greater heights, if we stay united. And this past week, in my State of the City address, I laid out a blueprint for how we can do it.

To create the jobs our city needs, we’re going to continue investing in diverse industries – including tourism, film and TV production, and bioscience. This year, work will start on an extraordinary range of projects in all five boroughs – from the Atlantic Yards to the Javits Convention Center – creating jobs, revitalizing our waterfront, and invigorating our communities. We’ll also push Silverstein Properties and the Port Authority to renegotiate their lease so we can accelerate construction at the World Trade Center site and build the retail stores that the area needs. That’s crucial to Lower Manhattan’s rebirth as the world’s financial capital and as a thriving residential community.

Our blueprint for the future also includes bold initiatives in housing, health, and fighting poverty. We’ll move forward on our $7.5 billion plan to build or preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing, much of it for middle-class families. We’ll launch an effort to ensure every school student has health insurance, and bolster our campaigns against two of the city’s biggest killers – diabetes and HIV/AIDS. And, Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons and Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO of The Harlem Children’s Zone, will lead a public-private taskforce to attack chronic poverty and unemployment, starting in Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and Melrose in the Bronx.

Education is another important element in our blueprint: This year we will create more new schools and programs that give high school students additional routes to graduation, employment, and post-secondary education. We will work to lift the State cap on charter schools. This September, we also will open Brooklyn Latin, the first of seven new academically selective schools. And at the same time, we will partner with NYU and CUNY to launch an ambitious new training curriculum for aspiring teachers.

To strengthen our government’s integrity, I have proposed a ban on all gifts from lobbyists. We’ll also seek to end the practice of ‘pay-to-play’ that corrupts the legislative process. And we’ll strengthen our government’s long-term fiscal health by working with City labor and legislative leaders to achieve innovative pension modifications and health care savings.

But the foundation of our blueprint for the future is improving public safety. Over the coming year, we will make the nation’s safest big city even safer by expanding the use of DNA to solve crimes and mounting a bold campaign against our most urgent threat: illegal guns. Our strategy includes launching lawsuits against irresponsible gun dealers and urging the State Legislature both to stiffen penalties for gun criminals and create a database to track these offenders once they’re released from prison.

No doubt, these all represent tough challenges, but if we continue forward in a non-partisan way – putting our common interests first – there is no limit to how much we can achieve.

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