Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez Accentuates The Positive In State Of The City Speech
State of the City
March 09, 2010
In a speech interrupted by standing ovations, Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez Monday accentuated the positive in his state of the city speech.
Perez reiterated the phrase "we have come far, but we have far to go," as he recounted the city's history and his own roles, from community organizer to educational leader and mayor.
On education, Perez lauded the city's school system, which he said has been making a comeback from substandard facilities and a state takeover to a return to local control ... and building on reform efforts.
Perez also complimented the police department for continued efforts to reduce serious crime, youth crime and its newly created domestic violence unit.
Then he moved on to city hall's efforts to retain jobs and a corporate presence in the city during the economic downturn.
He also pointed to the city's financial commitment to the arts, which he said was "not a handout," but rather an investment in the "creative economy" that adds vibrancy, produces jobs and directly benefits local businesses.
Perez also announced his intention to create what he called a "Green Ribbon Task Force" to save the city's public park system, which city officials have acknowledged that they lack the resources to keep up with.
The mayor said he wants to bring together "friends of" groups, experts, community stakeholders and members of the parks commission to develop a sustainable maintenance, operational and stewardship program.
Part of that plan, Perez said, will include the creation of a parks trainee program for ex-convicts who are re-entering the workforce.
Jobs for city residents, Perez said, will be the key to Hartford's economic recovery, as are energy conservation programs that he said will save more than $1 million and a recycling program that he said will save $250,000.
Perez also thanked the city council for its efforts in getting a head start on dealing with what he called "the most difficult budget season we have seen in a quarter century."
Later, council President Pedro Segarra said Perez struck the right tone and touched on subjects that he and his colleagues think are important to the city's residents.
"I've always said that the council and the mayor agree on the need to improve education and promote jobs," Segarra said. "This budget is going to be one of the most difficult that I've had to work on."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at