|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 2, 2005|
Mayor Barrett Delivers State of the City
||Press Secretary Carlene Orig|
Our New Milwaukee
Milwaukee--Mayor Tom Barrett delivered his first State of the City address
focusing on four areas; economic development, crime, government efficiency and education. Mayor Barrett delivered his speech at Milwaukee School of Engineering's Kern Center, located near the Park East, "This is the perfect place to talk about my vision for a New Milwaukee," said Mayor Barrett. "It's in the heart of downtown's thriving business and education corridor and it's connected to neighborhoods beyond." Mayor Barrett said the city will see jobs, new shops, new places for businesses and additional entertainment in the Park East. "We see exciting possibilities in this corridor and we will be an active, aggressive partner in developing the Park East. Just last week, we jump-started the process by listing the first city lot for sale."
Mayor Barrett's vision extends beyond the near-downtown neighborhoods to places like the Tower Automotive site. "A new consolidated city facility will breathe life into this location, bringing almost 500 jobs to the area." Pressed Steel Tank and West Milwaukee Recycling are also relocating and bringing more jobs to Milwaukee.
In his State of the City address, Mayor Barrett stressed the importance of keeping the streets of Milwaukee safe. "We have made great strides in this effort, and I'm proud to say that Milwaukee has a Mayor and a Police Chief working together to fight crime." On Sunday, Mayor Barrett unveiled his Community Partnership that will take him to churches, schools, neighborhood groups and professional associations. "My message is simple. Regardless of the problem, we cannot resort to violence." The Mayor's Community Partnership calls for businesses to target hiring and job training for youth, clergy to take the message outside the church, and young people to engage in 'positive peer pressure'. "As Mayor, I will do my part. This summer, we will coordinate a new Summer Youth Internship Program that will employ up to 250 high school juniors and seniors in city government positions. We will provide a meaningful work experience for each of these students."
Mayor Barrett said Milwaukee must be a safe city where people can find work, but Milwaukee must also be a city that works well, "I will make customer service a hallmark of city government. We have quality city employees and we will focus on treating our citizens with first-rate service when doing business with the city. This year, we will create a 311 phone system that residents can use for one-stop shopping of services."
Mayor Barrett's new Milwaukee also includes improving education for children. "From our public and private schools to our vocational and higher educational institutions, we must set the standards high and our goals higher. We have already created a new education system in our city, one that includes both MPS schools and choice schools, and I will strengthen both of these important systems." Barrett said it's time to find common ground for choice schools and MPS. Where a student gains his or her skills is not as important as the fact that they are truly gained. Neither students nor their parents can be losers when it comes to our educational system. Our city cannot afford another 13% levy increase from MPS, and any adjustment in the School Choice Cap must be fair to city taxpayers. "We must come to the table and negotiate increasing caps, MPS school aids, and accountability standards for all. Let's fix the flaw in the state's school aid formula. I support raising the School Choice Cap, and I challenge legislators to ensure that Milwaukee taxpayers no longer get penalized for paying for two educational systems."
In 2005, Mayor Barrett said he will transform the city's challenges into opportunities, "Working together, we will bring new light and energy to our new Milwaukee. We will create jobs, reduce crime and improve education to build a future for the next generation. This is my vision for a new Milwaukee."