Mayor delivers state of city address

Daley focuses on gun violence deterrents
May 1, 2008 4:36:34 PM PDT
Mayor Daley addressed the problems of crime and violence in Chicago Thursday in his annual state of the city address. He paid special attention to gun violence that has taken the lives of 21 teenagers so far this school year.

They mayor only touched on the Olympics and the need for the CTA to improve its services. Daley also talked about the recession and property taxes. But the bulk of his speech was announcing new programs aimed at keeping kids who live in high-crime areas busy over the summer.

He has always said he has the best job in America. But, Richard M. Daley says nothing has been more frustrating as mayor than the challenge of solving the violence problem. The issue of gangs and guns dominated the mayor's annual city of Chicago address.

"Every Chicagoan must rise up in anger against the gangbangers and drug dealers who don't respect or value life. They need to report crimes and criminals. They need to turn in illegal weapons," said Daley.

And the mayor said he fears the violence will only get worse with the warm weather and bad economy while he once again called on parents to "lay down the law" in their own homes. Daley announced several summer programs that are aimed to keep kids of the streets.

The city will spend an additional $1.5 million to provide summer employment for young people," said Daley. "We will target the tope ten communities with the highest levels of teen violence and the lowest economic opportunities."

The mayor also announced a new chicago public program by offering IC schools program called Freshman Connection. It is a free four-week program for eighth graders that provides academic instruction in the morning and recreation in the afternoon. In addition, the park district will spend a half million dollars to expand its Neighborsports program.

"We'll offer weekend Neighborsports until 10 p.m. at 20 sites in high-crime neighborhoods," said Daley.

The speech was well received by aldermen. However, when it comes to battling violence, some had hoped the mayor would have mentioned more.

"We've got figure out a way to build up more funding for more police officers. I've been pushing that agenda, but that's still a budgetary issue," said Ald. Isaac Carothers, 29th Ward.

While there was no mention of money for more police officers, aldermen say they have been told there is apparently money in the budget to fund the new initiatives the mayor announced Thursday. Daley called on the business community to step up and provide jobs for young people. The mayor says in the coming days, he will go to top business executives and ask for their help.

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