For Immediate Release
January 04, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
"Let us show the world that in Boston, history is just a prelude. That here, we don't lay capstones, we lay foundations."
In front of a packed audience of local leaders and dignitaries, Mayor Thomas M. Menino this morning took the oath of office at historic Faneuil Hall to begin his fifth term as Mayor of the City of Boston. In a ceremony that also included the swearing-in of the Boston City Council, Mayor Menino delivered his inaugural address, pledging that this term will be marked by a new era of shared innovation that draws on the progress of the past and sets the stage for Boston's continued growth and success. With a renewed sense of urgency, the Mayor called on the people of Boston to help the new administration accomplish sweeping transformation over the next four years, emphasized by innovation in public education, economic development, and public-private partnerships.
"We should remind ourselves of the progress and look ahead with confidence," Mayor Menino said. "This, after all, is a city of innovators. So, as we come together and take stock of who we are – on our special Boston DNA – I have no doubts about what will carry us forward. We know we can create jobs, build even stronger, safer neighborhoods, improve our schools, and provide more affordable housing. Today, knowing that all of our potential remains, we inaugurate a new era of shared innovation."
Identifying transformative progress in education as the first hallmark of this new era, Mayor Menino cited the need to reinvent current approaches to challenges rather than settling for quick fixes. As members of the Massachusetts Legislature this week debate an education reform bill put forward by the House Ways and Means Committee, the Mayor urged legislators to adopt a bill that not only increases the cap on charter schools but also provides turnaround capacity for underperforming districts in three areas. The administration is actively working with House leaders and the Boston delegation to advocate for the following: 1) the authority to create in-district charter schools; 2) the flexibility to assign teachers where they are needed most; and 3) the ability to bypass lengthy arbitration at persistently underperforming schools.
"We can look to a day with one system of education in Boston," Mayor Menino continued, "when there will be no wasteful feuding on charter versus pilot versus traditional public. Educators and best practices will move across fading boundaries. Our system will welcome innovation with one standard: deliver outstanding results for all our youth."
The Mayor went on to unveil plans for creating a vibrant "Innovation District" to reinvigorate Boston's waterfront and the Marine Industrial Park. He called for a new approach to development in the area, one that is both more deliberate and more experimental, in order to turn the space into a center for creative and emerging industries. Rooted in innovation clusters such as the green economy, biotech, and web development, the district would serve as an incubator for entrepreneurial business. The innovation district would be a testing ground for new models of housing, such as co-housing, that provide flexible live-work opportunities for entrepreneurs and researchers. The Mayor also called on the same spirit of innovation to unlock the potential of Downtown Crossing, Dudley Square, and the Albany Street Corridor.
Long known as the "Urban Mechanic" for his attention to delivering effective city services, Mayor Menino pledged this morning to usher in a wave of municipal innovation and shed the outdated label. He issued an open call to foundations, entrepreneurs, technologists, and residents alike to help make Boston the hub of municipal innovation.
"We are all urban mechanics," Mayor Menino underscored. "Smart phones, GPS, wireless technology, and a resurgent spirit of civic engagement mean that all of us are eyes and ears on the streets, that neighbors are our greatest source of data, and our citizens the best civic entrepreneurs."
In an effort to scale successful programs, Mayor Menino announced that by April his administration would identify two dozen existing programs to cut or consolidate and six more to expand and support.
Mayor Menino's grandchildren introduced him at the ceremony and held the bible – a family heirloom – that he took his oath of office on. Reverend Jeffery Brown of the Boston Ten Point Coalition issued the invocation while the City of Boston's Poet Laureate Sam Cornish recited an original poem to commemorate the event. Local jazz musician and accomplished recording artist Andre Ward provided music for the Inauguration.
"It was the privilege of a lifetime to take this oath for a fifth term this morning," the Mayor said in concluding his address. "We only have 1,463 days in this new term. Today is day one. Let's go make the most of it and every one that follow."