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    Office Of The Mayor

    2005 State of the City, February 15, 2005



    REMARKS OF JOHN DESTEFANO, JR.

     2005 STATE OF THE CITY
    FEBRUARY 7, 2005

    INTRODUCTION

    I AM AN OPTIMIST.  NOT BY BIRTH.  NOT THROUGH BLIND FAITH.  BUT BECAUSE THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAVEN HAVE MADE ME ONE.  THEY HAVE SHOWN ME THAT NO MATTER HOW DIFFICULT THE CHALLENGE, NO MATTER HOW HARD THE JOB, THAT BY WORKING TOGETHER, BY RAISING EXPECTATIONS, BY SEEKING AND BY FINDING COMMON GROUND - THAT WE CAN DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING.

    MAYBE YOU KNOW THIS BUILDING?  IT'S CALLED ORMONT COURT - BEULAH HEIGHTS CHURCH IS CONVERTING IT INTO 12 UNITS OF SENIOR HOUSING.  THIS IS A GOOD THING - IT'S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.  AN ACCOMPLISHMENT PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT TO ME BECAUSE, IT WILL FOREVER REMIND ME OF THE DAY I BECAME MAYOR.

    NOW THAT DAY WASN'T JANUARY 1ST, 1994 WHEN I TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE - IT WAS 6 WEEKS LATER ON February 9, 1994 WHEN I FOUND MYSELF SITTING ON THE ALTAR OF THE CHURCH ITSELF IN FRONT OF THE SMALL, WHITE COFFIN OF 7  MONTH OLD DANIELLE TAFT.  YOU KNOW HER STORY - THERE WAS A GUN-FIGHT ON ORCHARD STREET JUST OUTSIDE HER APARTMENT.  A BULLET SMASHED THROUGH THE WINDOW AND HIT HER GRANDMOTHER IN THE BACK.  IT PARALYZED THE GRANDMOTHER AND THEN STRUCK DANIELLE IN THE EYE, KILLING HER.

    WE HAD 32 MURDERS THAT YEAR.  WHEN I LOOK AT ORMONT COURT, I REMEMBER DANIELLE.  BUT TODAY I SEE SOMETHING ELSE.  SOMETHING NONE OF US COULD SEE 11 YEARS AGO.  SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING POWERFUL - BECAUSE NOW WE CAN ALSO SEE HOPE, POSSIBILITY, A BETTER WAY.  12 SENIORS WHO WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE IN DIGNITY AND SELF-RESPECT IN A VERY DIFFERENT NEW HAVEN.

    THINK OF WHAT THIS CITY DID IN 2004 ALONE:

    • WE OPENED 5 NEW SCHOOLS THIS PAST FALL - NO OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT IN CONNECTICUT HAS EVER DONE THAT;
    • PRE-K ENROLLMENT REACHED 73%;
    • IN 1994, WE GRADUATED 620 SENIORS.  THIS PAST YEAR WE GRADUATED 60% MORE - 999;  WITH 75% GOING ON TO 2 OR 4 YEAR SCHOOLS;
    • OVER 1,200 SUBURBAN KIDS ATTEND NEW HAVEN SCHOOLS;
    • THE NUMBER OF VACANT HOMES HAS DROPPED TO 430, 186 OF WHICH ARE UNDER RENOVATION NOW (OR WILL BE COME SPRING).  430, DOWN FROM 1,000 FIVE YEARS AGO AND 1,400 NINE YEARS AGO;
    • WE ISSUED 255 BUILDING PERMITS FOR HOUSING STARTS, THE MOST IN DECADES;
    • ROCKVIEW CIRCLE CAME DOWN, EATON ROW IS FINISHING THE MONTEREY PLACE REBIRTH AND WE BEGAN THE $52 MILLION RECONSTRUCTION OF QUINNIPIAC TERRACE;
    • THE GRAND LIST WENT UP 2.4% - THE LARGEST NON-REVALUATION INCREASE IN 15 YEARS, WHICH WILL ADD $3.6 MILLION IN REVENUE TO OUR BUDGET NEXT YEAR.

    EVEN THE PEOPLE IN HARTFORD SEE IT.  JUST TWO WEEKS AGO THE HARTFORD COURANT RAN A COVER STORY IN NORTHEAST MAGAZINE.  IT WAS CALLED: “NEW HAVEN IS HOT.”  WHAT THEY SAW WAS: PFIZER, IKEA, THE CRITERION MOVIE THEATERS, THE APARTMENTS AND RESTAURANTS DOWNTOWN, THE SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM, THE SENSE OF A BIOTECH ECONOMY AND A STRONG ARTS COMMUNITY.

    BUT I THINK THEY MISSED THE REAL STORY.  YOU SEE THE REAL STORY OF NEW HAVEN IS SOMETHING ELSE.  THE REAL STORY IS THAT THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAVEN HAVE FOUND COMMON GROUND.  WE HAVE FOUND THAT WE ARE ALL CARRIED ON ONE ANOTHER'S SHOULDERS AND THAT WE'RE ALL MADE BETTER, BY EACH OTHER.

    THAT'S THE REAL STATE OF OUR CITY.  AND AS LONG AS WE NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF OUR NEED AS A COMMUNITY TO FIND COMMON GROUND, WE SHOULD FEAR NO THREAT, SHRINK FROM ANY CHALLENGE, OR DOUBT THAT WE CAN SCALE ANY WALL.
     

    FOUR CHALLENGES

    WITH SUCH CONFIDENCE IN MIND, LET ME IDENTIFY 4 CHALLENGES WE FACE IN THE COMING YEAR THAT WILL REQUIRE OUR HARD WORK AND A CONTINUED SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND.

    FIRST, PUBLIC SAFETY.  WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH CRIME?  WHAT DO WE EXPECT OF OUR POLICE OFFICERS AND FROM THE LEADERSHIP OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT?

    SECOND, OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  BECAUSE WITHOUT SCHOOLS IN WHICH PEOPLE HAVE CONFIDENCE, WE CANNOT BE A GREAT CITY.

    THIRD, THE FUTURE OF OUR ECONOMY.  WHERE ARE JOBS BEING CREATED? HOW WILL FAMILIES MAKE ENDS MEET? WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TRANSITION FROM AN INDUSTRIAL ECONOMY TO AN INSTITUTIONAL-SERVICE ECONOMY?  AND WHY DOES A HOSPITAL EXPANSION TODAY MEAN SO MUCH MORE THAN IT DID A GENERATION AGO? 

    AND FINALLY, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE REALITY ALL OF US FACE WHEN WE GO HOME AT NIGHT AND HAVE TO BALANCE OUR CHECKBOOK.  HOW WILL THE CITY BALANCE ITS CHECKBOOK AND PRESERVE NECESSARY SERVICES, AND, RESPECT THE LIMITED MEANS OF TAXPAYERS – AND DO SO WITHOUT RESORTING TO ACCOUNTING GIMMICKS?
     

    PUBLIC SAFETY

    THE ISSUES FACING US IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT ARE CLEAR.  LET ME STATE WHAT THEY ARE.  IN 2004, CRIME ROSE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 14 YEARS.  SECOND, WE SAW TWO FATAL POLICE SHOOTINGS, WHICH RAISED ISSUES OF POLICE TACTICS AS WELL AS HOW WE EXPECT OUR OFFICERS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.  AND THIRD, THE POLICE UNION VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE. 

    I WISH TO ADDRESS ALL 3 ISSUES. 

    FIRST, ‘CISCO ORTIZ IS OUR CHIEF.  WE HAVE NO REASON NOT TO RESPECT HIS LEADERSHIP AND I COME NEXT YEAR, IF GIVEN ANOTHER TERM AS MAYOR BY THE VOTERS, I FULLY EXPECT TO REAPPOINT HIM.  LET ME TELL YOU WHY I KNOW CHIEF ORTIZ WILL PROVIDE THE LEADERSHIP THAT THIS CITY NEEDS.  HE IS THE EPITOME OF WHAT I SEE IN SO MANY OF OUR CITY'S MANAGERS.  HE IS A PROBLEM SOLVER.  HE UNDERSTANDS COLLABORATION, AND HE IS HOME-GROWN.  HE UNDERSTANDS COMMUNITY ISSUES AND CONSISTENTLY REACHES OUT.

    NOW, I RESPECT THE POLICE UNION.  I UNDERSTAND THEY HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT PERSONNEL ISSUES, EQUIPMENT, TRAINING AND THE NECESSITY TO DEFEND THEMSELVES.  THESE ARE APPROPRIATE ISSUES FOR THE CHIEF, ASSISTANT CHIEF NORWOOD AND MY ADMINISTRATION TO ADDRESS.  I SEE COMMON GROUND HERE.  LATER THIS WEEK, I WILL BRING THE UNION AND DEPARTMENT LEADERSHIP TOGETHER AND WE WILL MOVE ON THESE CONCERNS. 

    SECOND, WE NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE BETWEEN THE NECESSITY TO RESIST TO THE LAST MOMENT THE USE OF FORCE BY THE POLICE, AND, THE IMPERATIVE FOR OUR POLICE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

    YOU KNOW WHEN I BECAME MAYOR, THE UNION GAVE ME AN OLD PHOTO FROM THE 1960'S OF THE POLICE PICKETING OUTSIDE THIS CITY HALL.  ONE OF THE POLICE OFFICERS CARRIED SHIELD #101.  I HAVE THAT BADGE - IT WAS MY FATHER'S.  AND MY FATHER WAS ONE OF THE OFFICERS SHOWN HERE PICKETING CITY HALL.  I REMEMBER MY MOTHER'S ANXIETY ABOUT MY DAD'S JOB AS A NEW HAVEN COP - EVEN BACK IN THE 1950'S AND 60'S WHEN POLICING WAS A MUCH MORE GENTLE EXPERIENCE.

    WE MUST EXPECT OUR OFFICERS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.  AND THE CITY HAS AN ABSOLUTE OBLIGATION TO PROPERLY EQUIP AND TRAIN OUR OFFICERS.  AND WE WILL. 

    AT THE SAME TIME, OUR CITIZENS HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO EXPECT PROPORTIONAL RESPONSE FROM OUR POLICE.  THEREFORE, AS WE LOOK AT HOW THE MEN AND WOMEN IN OUR POLICE DEPARTMENT ARE EQUIPPED, WE NEED TO LOOK AT HOW THEY ENGAGE THE PUBLIC AND HOW THEY ARE TRAINED TO MAKE SPLIT-SECOND DECISIONS THAT NONE OF US IN THIS ROOM WILL EVER LIKELY HAVE TO FACE.

    AND FINALLY, LET'S LOOK AT THE CRIME RATE.  FROM 1991 TO 2002 CRIME FELL BY 54%.  IN 2003, IT WAS FLAT.  AND IN 2004 IT ROSE 7%.  HOWEVER, IF YOU LOOK AT 2003 TO 2004 CRIME STATISTICS BY CATEGORY, WE SEE THAT THE BULK OF THE INCREASE WAS IN MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT AND LARCENY.  AND MOST OF THE LARCENY WAS STOLEN LICENSE PLATES.

    AND IF WE DIG DEEPER, WE SEE THAT IT WAS A CURVE THAT BEGAN IN SECOND HALF OF 2003 AND CAME BACK DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF 2004.  A FALL THAT CONTINUES INTO THIS YEAR.  

    IN FACT, FOR THE PAST FOUR MONTHS, CRIME IS DOWN 7% COMPARED TO A YEAR AGO. AND FOR 11 MONTHS IN A ROW WE'RE BACK TO SEEING CRIME DROP.

    OUR POLICE FORCE HAS TURNED CRIME BACK THROUGH INTELLIGENCE, TEAMWORK AND A COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY POLICING.

    YOU SEE, WHEN THE DEPARTMENT SAW A SPIKE IN SHOOTINGS IN THE SUMMER OF 2003, THE DEPARTMENT DID THREE THINGS:

    • FIRST, POLICE USED THEIR NEW TASTCA DATABASE TO IMMEDIATELY GATHER INTELLIGENCE ON WHEN, WHERE AND HOW THESE CRIMES WERE OCCURRING. POLICE IDENTIFIED A CORRESPONDING CRIME CORRIDOR AND FLOODED IT WITH EXTRA PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES;
    • SECOND, POLICE EXPANDED AND PROMOTED “PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS,” AN INITIATIVE THAT TARGETS PAROLEES AND PROBATIONERS WHO ARE AT THE GREATEST RISK FOR REOFFENDING. EACH MONTH SOCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND COURT OFFICIALS MEET WITH DOZENS OF EX-CONS WARNING THEM OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF REOFFENDING AND OFFERING THEM TRAINING, COUNSELING, REHAB, AND OPTIONS TO TURN THEIR LIFE AROUND; AND
    • FINALLY, POLICE TURNED TO THE RELATIONSHIPS AND TRUST THEY HAD ESTABLISHED FROM A DECADE OF COMMUNITY POLICING. WHEN A SERIES OF RANDOM SHOOTINGS CONSUMED OUR CITY THIS PAST SUMMER, POLICE WORKED WITH NEIGHBORS TO FIND THE SUSPECTS. IN MANY COMMUNITIES INFORMANTS REFUSE TO COME FORWARD. BUT IN NEW HAVEN THEY PROVIDED DETECTIVES WITH THE GUN AND THE CAR.  POLICE ARRESTED THE SHOOTERS IN LESS THAN A WEEK.

    LATER, TWO OF THE SUSPECTS WERE IDENTIFIED AS PERPETRATING A BRUTAL KIDNAPPING AND RAPE IN WEST HAVEN AND WOODBRIDGE.  COMMUNITY POLICING WORKS IN NEW HAVEN.

    BUT WE MUST DO EVEN MORE IN 2005. SO THE CHIEF IS LEADING THE DEPARTMENT ON FOUR IMPORTANT INITIATIVES THAT WILL NOT ONLY REDUCE CRIME, BUT WILL CHANGE THE WAY WE RESPOND TO IT, SPECIFICALLY IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN LETHAL FORCE MIGHT BE USED.

    • FIRST, WE WILL EXPLORE NEW, LESS LETHAL, FORCE TECHNOLOGIES;
    • SECOND, NEW HAVEN WILL BECOME A NATIONAL LEADER IN DEVELOPING TRAINING AND POLICIES FOR THE USE OF LESS LETHAL FORCE. WE WILL COLLABORATE WITH NATIONAL EXPERTS, HOST A CONFERENCE AND ENGAGE COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO REVIEW ALL LETHAL FORCE GUIDELINES;
    • THIRD, THE CHIEF WILL OVERSEE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT WILL KEEP US AHEAD OF THE CRIMINALS. THE BOOTFINDER SCANS UP TO 60 LICENSE PLATES A SECOND AND SERVES AS A POWERFULL DETERRENT FOR CAR THIEVES.  ADDITIONALLY, SPECIALLY EQUIPED BAIT CARS WILL ALSO BE DEPLOYED TO HELP POLICE INFILTRATE HIGH CRIME AREAS; AND
    • FINALLY, WE WILL PARTNER WITH OTHER MUNICIPALITIES TO PETITION THE STATE TO CHANGE HOW AND WHERE REGISTRATION DECALS ARE DISPLAYED ON CARS TO REMOVE THEM FROM THE PLATE, TO BE APPLIED TO THE REAR WINDSHIELD INSTEAD.  THIS WILL VIRTUALLY ELIMINATE LICENSE PLATE THEFT.

    IN SHORT, WE HAVE THE LEADERSHIP, THE TEAM, THE WILL, THE ENERGY AND THE IDEAS TO FURTHER REDUCE CRIME, TO PROTECT OUR CITIZENS AND OUR OFFICERS AND TO DO SO UNDER LEADERSHIP IN WHOM WE HAVE CONFIDENCE.  WE HAVE COMMON GROUND IN PUBLIC SAFETY.
     

    EDUCATION

    NOW AS COLD AS IT IS OUTSIDE TONIGHT, IF YOU WANT TO BE HOT IN NEW HAVEN - GO TO WOOLSEY HALL IN JUNE.  NO AIR CONDITIONING, 1,000 PEOPLE - LET ME ASSURE YOU, IT IS HOT.  THIS PAST JUNE 17TH I WAS THERE, GREETING THE GRADUATING SENIORS OF WILBUR CROSS. 

    ONE OF THE GRADUATES I HANDED A DIPLOMA TO WAS JIMMY DESTEFANO - THE SECOND OF MY TWO BOYS TO GO THROUGH OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  YOU'LL REMEMBER THAT I TOLD YOU EARLIER MY DAD WAS A COP.  WELL, MY PARENTS WOULDN'T LET ME GO TO LEE HIGH SCHOOL IN 1969 BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE SCHOOL, AND THERE WERE NO MAGNETS BACK THEN.

    NOW, WE ARE BLESSED TO BE PART OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT THAT HAS GIVEN KATHY AND I, AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER PARENTS, CHOICE AND CONFIDENCE THAT OUR KIDS CAN GET A GREAT EDUCATION IN NEW HAVEN.  WE OWE THIS TO YEARS OF WORK BY DR. MAYO, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF, PARENTS, AND THE WHOLE COMMUNITY. 

    AND IT DIDN'T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT.  IT HAPPENS BECAUSE WE SEND 7,000 STUDENTS - A THIRD OF THE DISTRICT - TO SUMMER SCHOOL.  IT HAPPENS BECAUSE WE'VE SEEN THE PERCENTAGE OF KIDS IN PRE-K PROGRAMS GO FROM 50% TO 73%.  IT'S BECAUSE WE DECIDED TO ADDRESS TRUANCY AND DROP-OUTS HEAD ON, AND WERE the first city in the state to establish a truancy session of Superior Court to hear cases of chronic truants.  WE'VE CUT THE ANNUAL DROP-OUT RATE FROM 12.5% IN 1992, DOWN TO 6.4%.

    OUR “VALUES IN CHOICES” PROGRAM IN MIDDLE SCHOOL AND OUR “BABY THINK IT OVER” PROGRAM IN HIGH SCHOOL HAVE GONE HAND-IN-HAND WITH A 21% DROP IN TEEN PREGNANCY OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS.  IT'S BECAUSE WE'VE INSTITUTED PROGRAMS THAT HAVE SAID TO YOUNG WOMEN IN OUR SCHOOLS WHO HAVE GOTTEN PREGNANT, YOUR PUBLIC EDUCATION IS NOT OVER.

    AND, OF COURSE, OUR TEACHERS ARE A CORNERSTONE OF THIS EFFORT.  This year I want to thank one teacher in particular, Dr. Burt Saxon, ON BEHALF OF ALL TEACHERS.  BURT IS a veteran teacher with 34 years of experience AND has been selected as the 2005 Connecticut Teacher of the Year.  Dr. Saxon, who has taught honors students at Hillhouse High School since 1980 and has taught in the district since 1970, has seen many graduate high school, attend college and go on to great success. They include 20 who have become attorneys and more than 60 who came back to New Haven Public Schools to teach.  PLEASE STAND AND BE RECOGNIZED DR. SAXON.

    AND WE HAVE MUCH MORE TO DO. 

    WE NEED TO CATCH CHILDREN EARLIER, SO THAT THEY DON'T START OUT BEHIND.  AS THE PERCENTAGE OF KIDS HAVING PRE-K EXPERIENCE HAS GROWN, WE NOW NEED TO AGGRESSIVELY INTRODUCE ASSESSMENTS AND curriculum STANDARDS.  WHILE THE FOCUS REMAINS SOCIALIZATION AND OTHER FUNDAMENTALS, THIS YEAR WE WILL BRING THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR LITERACY INITIATIVE DOWN INTO PRE-K.

    AT THE SAME TIME, THROUGH OUR "READ 180" PROGRAM, OUR LITERACY INITIATIVE IS EXPANDING IN THE OTHER DIRECTION - INTO OUR HIGH SCHOOLS TO HELP GIVE THOSE STILL STRUGGLING THE TOOLS THEY WILL NEED.  THE OTHER STORY IN OUR HIGH SCHOOLS IS THE LARGE INCREASE IN ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES AND AP ENROLLMENT.  WE HAVE SEEN THE NUMBER GROW FROM 210 IN 2000 TO OVER 600 THIS PAST YEAR. 

    AND MORE THAN ANY PROGRAM OR CURRICULUM IMPROVEMENT, OUR SCHOOLS HAVE IMPROVED BECAUSE OF THE DEDICATION OF EVERYONE INVOLVED.  AND IT IS IN BUILDING ON THAT TRUTH THAT WE WILL DO EVEN BETTER.  COMING OUT OF WORK FROM A MULTI-YEAR GRANT FROM THE STUPSKI FOUNDATION, IN 2005 WE WILL LAUNCH A CAMPAIGN TO BOOST PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT CALLED "KIDS FIRST: PARENTS IN ACTION."

    WE WILL WORK TO ACCOMPLISH GREATER PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN MAKING SURE KIDS ARE FED, RESTED, DOING THEIR HOMEWORK, MAKING GOOD LIFE CHOICES.  IT'S OBVIOUS.  IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE OUR SCHOOLS ARE DOING RIGHT BY OUR STUDENTS, WE NEED TO DO ALL WE CAN TO ENSURE THAT PARENTS ARE DOING RIGHT BY THEIR CHILDREN. 

    AND AS WE CONTINUE TO SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS, WE WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD.  THIS FALL WE WILL OPEN THE NEW CELENTANO SCHOOL AND THE RENOVATED AND EXPANDED CLINTON AVENUE SCHOOL.  WORK WILL CONTINUE ON THE NEW JOHN DANIELS SCHOOL AND CONSTRUCTION WILL COMMENCE THIS YEAR ON 6 MORE SCHOOLS: BARNARD, JEPSON, TROUP, BEECHER AND BOTH HOOKER SCHOOLS.

    FROM PRE-K TO HIGH SCHOOL LITERACY, FROM PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT TO BUILDINGS ALL ACROSS THE CITY - WE ARE FINDING COMMON GROUND. 

    THE ECONOMY

    LET ME NOW SPEAK ABOUT JOBS.  WE CAN ALL SEE NEW HAVEN'S CHANGE FROM AN INDUSTRIAL ECONOMY, TO AN INSTUTIONAL AND SERVICE ECONOMY. 

    IT HAS MEANT THAT THE OLD JOBS HAVE GONE DOWN SOUTH AND OVERSEAS.  AND PRODUCTIVITY HAS ELMINATED EVEN MORE JOBS.  AND THOSE JOBS WILL NEVER COME BACK - GLOBALIZATION IS HERE TO STAY.  THE JOBS WE NOW HAVE, THE JOBS THAT ARE BEING CREATED, ARE DIFFERENT JOBS - JOBS LINKED TO A SERVICE AND INFORMATION AND RESEARCH DRIVEN ECONOMY.

    AND AS OUR NEW ECONOMY TAKES SHAPE, THERE ARE TWO BASIC QUESTIONS WE NEED TO CONSIDER.  HOW DO WE ATTRACT AND GROW THESE JOBS, AND, HOW DO THESE NEW JOBS STACK UP IN WAGES AND THE BENEFITS THAT ARE CRITICAL TO SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES?  AS WE SEEK TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS, WE MUST KEEP BOTH IN MIND, BECAUSE ONE IS MEANINGLESS WITHOUT THE OTHER. 

    THE TENSION THAT CAN RESULT FROM THESE TWO QUESTIONS IS NOW EVIDENT IN ONE OF THE LARGEST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS EVER IN OUR CITY:  YALE-NEW HAVEN HOSPITAL'S CANCER CARE CENTER.  MAKE NO MISTAKE, IF THE UNIVERSITY AND HOSPITAL CAN COLLABORATE, THE NEW CANCER CENTER WILL GENERATE HUNDREDS AND PERHAPS 1000'S OF SPIN-OFF JOBS.  THIS PROJECT IS AS CRITICAL TO THE CITY'S ECONOMIC FUTURE AS IT IS TO CLINICAL CANCER CARE. 

    BUT HOWEVER CRITICAL THIS CANCER CENTER IS, THERE IS NO VICE IN THOSE WHO QUESTION WHETHER WE ARE SEEING ALL THE BENEFITS POSSIBLE AND NECESSARY FROM THIS EXPANSION AND THE INSTITUTION BUILDING IT.  TO SUGGEST, AS SOME HAVE, THAT THESE QUESTIONS OF JOB CREATION AND THE TYPE OF JOBS INVOLVED ARE NOT CONNECTED, IS TO BE LIKE AN OSTRICH WITH ITS HEAD IN THE SAND.

    THESE TWO INTERESTS DO EXIST IN OUR COMMUNITY.  WE CANNOT PRETEND OTHERWISE.  I HAVE BEEN IN THE MIDDLE OF FAR TOO MANY YALE-UNION STRUGGLES TO HAVE ANY ILLUSIONS ON THIS POINT.  NOW BOTH ARE ON A COLLISION PATH.  THEY WILL CERTAINLY INTERSECT.  THEY MUST FIND COMMON GROUND - OR BOTH MAY WELL FAIL. 

    AS A CITY GOVERNMENT AND AS A COMMUNITY, OUR INTEREST IN THIS QUESTION IS THE SAME AS OUR SHARED CONCERN ABOUT COMMUNITY POLICING AFTER THE FATAL POLICE SHOOTINGS.  IT IS BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT IF WE DO NOT ALL COME TOGETHER TO SOLVE OUR CHALLENGES, THE DIVISIONS WILL HARM OUR COMMUNITY.  THIS BOARD AND THIS CITY CANNOT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. 

    COMMON GROUND IS NEEDED.  

    NO SIDE MUST BE PERMITTED TO BULLY THE OTHER.  BOTH CAN GET WHAT IT NEEDS - THOUGH PERHAPS NOT ALL THEY WANT.  FAILURE HERE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.  CLOSED MINDS AND AN UNWILLINGNESS TO HEAR ONE ANOTHER, ARE JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE. 

    AND FAILURE WILL HAVE FAR BROADER IMPLICATIONS THAN MANY MIGHT FIRST IMAGINE.  ALL OF US NEED TO EXPECT THAT, DEMAND THAT, the parties FIND COMMON GROUND.  tHIS IS OUR FUTURE TOO.

    BUDGET 

    AND AS WITH ANY FAMILY, WE CANNOT MOVE FORWARD IF WE CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY OUR BILLS.  EARLIER THIS YEAR, WE PROJECTED A SHORT FALL OF $9 MILLION IN THIS YEAR'S $380 MILLION BUDGET.

    WORKING WITH YOUR FINANCE COMMITTEE, WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY TO BALANCING THIS YEAR'S BUDGET.  THROUGH:

  • CONTINUED AGGRESSIVE TAX COLLECTION;

  • TOUGH EXPENDITURE CONTROLS;

  • BY THE ANNOUNCEMENTS THIS COMING MONTH OF BOTH A NEW VOLUNTARY PAYMENT AGREEMENT for city non-profits AND agreements with area towns ON THE SALE OF THE WPCA..... 

    WE WILL BALANCE THE CITY'S BUDGET FOR THE CURRENT YEAR. 

    BUT FOR ALL THAT, NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET WILL BE EVEN HARDER. 

    IN DEVELOPING THE BUDGET FOR 2006, I WOULD SUGGEST SOME GROUND RULES.  WE MUST NOT COMPROMISE PUBLIC SAFETY IN THIS CITY.  EVEN AS WE GRADUATE POLICE AND FIRE CLASSES THIS SPRING, MY BUDGET WILL INCLUDE NEW CLASSES FOR BOTH DEPARTMENTS IN THE NEW YEAR AS WELL.  WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  WE MUST KEEP OUR LIBRARIES OPEN BECAUSE THESE ARE THE THINGS OUR CONSTITUENTS EXPECT.   

    WE WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD SCHOOLS.  THIS YEAR, I WILL BE ASKING THE STATE AND THIS BOARD TO AUTHORIZE $85 MILLION TO RE-BUILD HILL CENTRAL AND THE DAVIS STREET SCHOOLS, AS WELL AS TO RENOVATE BOWEN FIELD.  WE WILL FAIRLY COMPENSATE OUR WORK FORCE - OUR CITY EMPLOYEES WHO WORK SO HARD AT PROVIDING CITY SERVICES. 

    ALL OF THESE INITIATIVES ARE NECESSARY AND SOUND INVESTMENTS IN THE CITY'S FUTURE.  BUT THEY COME WITH A COST - AND WITH LITTLE PROSPECT THAT THE STATE, WHICH LIMITS NEW HAVEN'S AUTHORITY TO RAISE REVENUE MORE SEVERLY THAN VIRTUALLY ANY OTHER CITY IN CONNECTICUT - WILL SOON CHANGE ITS WAYS.  

    AS A RESULT, WE WILL CONTINUE TO REDUCE NON-ESSENTIAL PARTS OF THE WORKFORCE BY ATTRITION.  OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS WE HAVE ELIMINATED 228 JOBS - OR 5.6% OF THE WORKFORCE.  I EXPECT TO ELIMINATE ANOTHER 56 JOBS BY ATTRITION IN THE NEW YEAR, FOR A TOTAL REDUCTION OF 7% OF THE WORKFORCE SINCE FY2002.

    WE WILL ALSO WORK WITH CITY UNIONS TO CONTROL PENSION AND MEDICAL BENEFIT COSTS.  WE WILL KEEP THE COST OF GOVERNMENT UNDER CONTROL. 

    BUT, IN TRUTH, OUR CHALLENGE IS PRINCIPALLY ON THE REVENUE SIDE OF THE BUDGET.  IN THE SHORT TERM WE HAVE PROVIDED RELIEF TO HOME OWNERS - WE HAVE HELD OFF PROPERTY REVALUATION FOR FY2006.   

    IN THE LONG TERM WE NEED TO DO TWO THINGS: GROW THE GRAND LIST AND GET THE STATE TO DO IT'S FAIR SHARE.  TO GROW OUR GRAND LIST, WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHERE WE'RE ADDING VALUE - IT'S DOWNTOWN.  DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT IS IMPORTANT NOT BECAUSE IT'S A NICE PLACE FOR VISITORS TO COME TO, BUT BECAUSE OUR REVENUE INCREASE IS COMING FROM THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE AT 227 CHURCH STREET, WORK IN 300 GEORGE STREET OR PFIZER, AND GO PURCHASE THEIR FURNITURE AT IKEA.  I WOULD REMIND YOU THAT FIVE YEARS AGO, THESE WERE ALL VACANT BUILDINGS OR LOTS. 

    WHAT WE HAVE DONE HAS BEEN TO FOCUS ON AN AGENDA OF GROWTH THAT IS DISTINCT AND AUTHENTIC IN OUR COMMUNITY - AROUND MEDICAL AND EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS, THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF SCIENCE AND RESEARCH, THE ARTS, AND BY KEEPING OUR EXISTING MANUFACTURING, PORT AND SERVICE BUSINESSES.  WE HAVE NOT BEEN SEDUCED INTO BUILDING BASEBALL PARKS OR MONSTROUS CONVENTION CENTERS.  RATHER, WE HAVE CREATED A DOWNTOWN THAT PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE IN, AND BE IN.   

    FOR THE FUTURE, A NEW COMMUNITY COLLEGE.  MORE AIR SERVICE.  A SUPPORTIVE DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT.  RE-USE OF THE COLISEUM SITE FOR JOB AND TAX GENERATING PURPOSES.  ALL OF THESE ARE ESSENTIAL TO GROWING THE GRAND LIST - WHICH WE MUST DO IF WE ARE GOING TO KEEP TAXES FAIR.

    SECOND, WE NEED TO ENGAGE THE STATE ON THE ISSUE OF HOW WE GROW WEALTH AND ON CHANGING STATE POLICIES THAT RESULTED IN CONNECTICUT BEING RANKED 43RD IN JOB GROWTH AMONG THE 50 STATES LAST YEAR.  THINK OF IT, CONNECTICUT'S ECONOMY IS GROWING AT 1/5TH THE NATIONAL RATE, AND AS A RESULT THE STATE IS STARVING OUR FAMILIES, AS WELL AS OUR CITIES AND TOWNS. 

    OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS, STATE AID HAS GONE FROM $187.7 MILLION TO $188 MILLION - A SIGNIFICANT DECLINE IN REAL TERMS.  DESPITE A DECADE OF HOLDING CITY BUDGET GROWTH UNDER THE RATE OF INFLATION, THE STATE'S FAILURE TO SUPPORT LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAS MEANT OUR PROPERTY TAX PAYERS HAVE HAD TO PICK UP A MUCH LARGER SHARE OF THIS BURDEN.  IN FACT, WHILE STATE AID DECLINED IN REAL TERMS, LOCAL REVENUE HAS HAD TO GROW FROM $153 MILLION TO $191 MILLION TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE.

    NO ONE SHOULD EXPECT NEW HAVEN FAMILIES TO CONTINUE TO CARRY THE SOLE BURDEN, OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING, PROVIDING SHELTER FOR THE REGION'S HOMELESS, OR PROVIDING THE CENTRAL ENGINE OF THE REGION'S ECONOMIC GROWTH THROUGH LARGE TAX EXEMPT INSTITUTIONS.  WE NEED TO FORM POLITICAL COALITIONS THAT UNDERSTAND THIS AND ARE BOTH PRO-GROWTH AND PRO-ECONOMIC JUSTICE.  

    WE MUST MAKE OUR OWN LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND THE GOVERNOR UNDERSTAND THAT WE NEED COMMON GROUND.  UNTIL WE DO THIS, OUR CHILDREN'S POSSIBILITIES AND OUR FAMILIES POCKETBOOKS WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER YEAR, AFTER YEAR, AFTER YEAR.  THE STATE MUST FIND THIS COMMON GROUND AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO HELP THEM DO THIS.
     

    CONCLUSION

    YOU SEE, IN THE END, THAT'S WHY THIS CITY SUCCEEDS.  IT SUCCEEDS BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THAT WE RISE OR FALL TOGETHER.  THAT WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.  THAT OUR FUTURE, OUR POSSIBILITIES, OUR OPPORTUNITIES ARE TIED TO ONE ANOTHER.

    WE HAVE DONE MUCH.  AND IN THIS NEW YEAR THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO - IN PUBLIC SAFETY, IN EDUCATION, FOR OUR ECONOMY AND IN BALANCING OUR BUDGET.  OTHERS MIGHT BE OVERWHELMED, MIGHT FEAR SCALING THESE HEIGHTS.  BUT NOT US, NOT THIS CITY, NOT NOW.

    I HAVE SO MUCH RESPECT FOR EVERYONE HERE IN THIS ROOM.  I REALLY MEAN THAT.  WHAT WE HAVE DONE TOGETHER IS TRULY AMAZING.  NO ONE OF US, WHATEVER OUR TITLE, CAN CLAIM CREDIT FOR WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED AND WHAT OTHERS AROUND THE STATE SEE HAPPENING HERE IN NEW HAVEN.  IT HAS BEEN, AND MUST CONTINUE TO BE, A TEAM EFFORT. 

    AT THE END OF THE DAY, THERE IS NOTHING THAT ANY ONE OF US CAN POINT TO WITH MORE PRIDE THAN THAT WE ARE ALL CITIZENS OF THIS CITY.  A CITY THAT HOLDS OUT HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ITS CHILDREN.  A CITY THAT ASKS ITS PEOPLE TO SACRIFICE ON BEHALF OF ONE ANOTHER.  AND A CITY THAT UNDERSTANDS THAT IN THE END, THAT IT RISES OR FALLS ON THE STRENGTH OF ALL OF US.  AND, THAT HAS CHOSEN TO RISE. 

    TO RISE TO COMMON GROUND.  TO THAT GROUND THAT HAS ROOM ENOUGH FOR ALL OF US.  I AM AN OPTIMIST.  I BELIEVE IN THIS CITY'S FUTURE, BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN OUR PEOPLE.  TRUSTING IN THEM, TO ONE ANOTHER AND TO GOD, WHATEVER OUR CHALLENGES ARE IN THE COMING YEAR, WE SHALL SUCCEED.

    THANK YOU AND GOOD EVENING.

  • Added February 15, 2005
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