I welcome Lovely Warren to the campaign for our next Mayor and I look forward to the opportunity for serious discussion about our city's future.
In the weeks and months ahead, I plan to show the differing visions Lovely Warren and I have about where our city has been the past three years and where it needs to be. She is correct in her statement that her administration "won't be denied their record."
I have been watching with growing alarm as our City government continues to flounder, making little if any headway on issues such as police and community relations, rampant violence, decaying relationships with neighborhood organizations and the lack of progress on jobs, poverty and education.
More disturbing is this administration's lack of action, lack of ownership and lack of acknowledgement of the serious issues we face. Public relations stunts such as 90 day listening tours and crime statistics press conferences declaring we are "safe and getting safer" are callous diversions to avoid the realities of the highest murder rate in years and an abysmal homicide clearance rate. Such proclamations ignore our city's poorest, minority neighborhoods which suffer from almost daily shootings, multiple murders and unabated gang activity. Ask them if they are safe and getting safer.
I watch as committees and panels are enacted to work on poverty and education only to fade into oblivion. Many dollars are spent with no tangible results. And even today when talking about our 47 % graduation rate - the worst in New York State's big 5 cities -Lovely Warren said "we haven't gone backward, and that's an improvement."
No, that is not an improvement, that's a deflection. It's another example of a lack of leadership and ownership of our city's problems. Ask families who hope for a better future for their children through quality education if they feel not getting worse is an improvement. Such flippant remarks are not fair to those who do not have resources for private schools and must rely on public schools.
Lovely Warren regularly takes credit for jobs and projects initiated by others, while little has begun during her tenure. Development is stagnant in our city and neighborhood organizations know they are not welcome in City Hall.
I plan on presenting my vision for the city, my qualifications as a leader and my resolve to be responsible to show results - not public relations and finger pointing. I plan to operate with transparency and embrace input from neighborhood organizations instead of pushing them away.
I will appoint members of city government with solid credentials and hold them accountable for results. I will start a police/community relations plan from day one - and not a 90 day publicity stunt when violence gets out of control. As a former police officer, city school official, volunteer and as an elected official, I have walked and met with residents in just about every neighborhood in our city. I know people are suffering, many feel there's no hope, too many are frightened for their safety and for the well-being of their children.
Saying that progress has been made is easy, showing measurable results is another matter. Leaders take responsibility and are not afraid to take the consequences. I look forward to this campaign and I am confident the people of the city are ready for new leadership, vision and most importantly - results.