For Immediate Release
January 16, 2008
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Joined by Senator John Kerry, Governor Deval Patrick, Secretary William Galvin, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Timothy Cahill, Auditor Joseph DeNucci, Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Sal DiMasi, members of the Boston City Council, his family and other guests, Mayor Thomas M. Menino gave his annual address Tuesday night. The historic Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner, Dorchester hosted the event for the second year in a row.
"Boston is bursting with excitement, investment, and potential. While the national economic climate remains uncertain, we have prepared ourselves to weather the storms of economic change," Mayor Menino said. "Boston is a world leader in life sciences and healthcare, and we have led the charge to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. We have decreased violent crime, and we have increased our population. We have lowered residential property taxes, and we have raised the quality of our schools. We have narrowed the achievement gap, and we have expanded the range of parks, museums, and theaters that energize our city. My fellow citizens, the state of our city is stronger than ever!"
In his speech, Mayor Menino announced several new programs and initiatives that will benefit the City's neighborhoods. Among them, he announced the single stream recycling pilot program started in parts of Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and the South End will go citywide; the Boston Police Department would continue to reduce violent crime across the City; and he spoke of his vision and $1 million investment for "the next Boston Miracle" - Community Learning, an initiative that will involve both Boston Public Schools and Boston Centers for Youth and Families. At one point, Mayor Menino beamed about the success of the Camp Harbor View summer camp project that came to fruition and hosted its first campers last summer. The project recently received a "Crown Community" Award from American City and County magazine for creativity and innovation.
One major accomplishment for the year Mayor Menino was proud to announce were the terrific reductions in crime throughout the city.
"With the help of our legislative leaders, we have put more police on the street than at any time since 2002. Commissioner Davis has deployed officers in Safe Street Teams, walking the blocks that most need police presence. We have increased the number of police detectives by 25 percent to investigate and solve crime. I am proud to say that this year, we reduced violent crime by 9 percent. We reduced homicides by 11 percent; and we reduced shootings by 14 percent. I want to thank the men and women of the Boston Police Department, and all of the residents who are active in our neighborhoods, for making our city safer every day. Commissioner Davis has promised me that this year, we will reduce violent crime by another 10 percent," Mayor Menino added.
Mayor Menino also introduced the new Poet Laureate Sam Cornish and this year's high school Super Bowl Champions, the Brighton High Bengals. The invocation was given by Martin Luther King, III, who also joined the Mayor earlier in the afternoon to announce plans to create Boston's newest piece of public art – a statue in honor of his parents, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
Mayor Menino also announced he has asked the School Committee and Superintendent Johnson to review the school transportation plan and recommend the necessary changes specific to cost savings. Right now, the City spends about tens of millions a year on yellow school buses. If nothing changes, within five years that number will escalate to $60 million dollars.
"From Millennium Park to Moakley Park, and from Adams Village to Maverick Square, the people of Boston power our City forward. Boston is rich in resources, and every day this city creates more opportunity, more jobs, and more revenues – not just for the people of Boston – but for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts," Mayor Menino said. "Look around at our City, and you will see how this sense of common commitment can change a school, a block, a neighborhood. You will see that this spirit has the power to shape us, and we in turn can take it upon ourselves to transform our entire City. This is the greatness to which we aspire."
Read Mayor Menino's 2008 State of the City Address