Daley talks of plans to improve Chicago

August 5, 2010 5:50:50 AM PDT
During his annual state of the city address, Mayor Richard Daley said stopping the violence and creating new jobs are at the top of his list for improving Chicago.

The mayor spoke Wednesday at the Hilton and Towers in the South Loop. Many who were there said what the mayor said may offer some clues about his political future.

For all those who may have thought Mayor Daley is going to retire after his sixth term, think again. Touching on the past, present and future, Daley sounded like a politician running for re-election as well as a mayor who wants to be in charge of some long term plans for the city.

The room was filled with city department heads, aldermen, civic leaders and Mayor Daley's wife and daughter. The mayor touted his accomplishments, on-going projects and the work ahead.

"There is more to be achieved. We face major challenges which together we can all solve," said Daley.

While it was not an official campaign announcement, aldermen say the mayor's state of the city speech sounded like Daley is going for a seventh term.

"Sounds like me he is running 100 percent," said Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., 27th Ward

"It appears to me that this was a pre-election announcement," said Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward.

"Sounds like perhaps he is. But no matter what he's the mayor of Chicago today and these are problems we need tp confront this fall," said Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward.

The problem the mayor is confronting right now is violence.

"As a father and grandfather, I share the pain of those who have lost loved ones and friends to violence," said Daley.

With his voice cracking, Daley went on to say the tide can be turned with a combination of more police officers, strong gun laws and more involvement from residents and parents. The mayor did not dwell on what is being called a perception problem because police department statistics show that crime is down.

"In our neighborhood actual crime is up and that is no perception," said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, 6th Ward.

"I'm going to be working with the superintendent to try to better understand. You are saying it is one thing but the community is feeling it is something else. So, how do we get to the bottom of it?" said Beale.

Mayor's Daley's speech moved on to the future and the need to create more jobs. He announced the launch of a city loan program for small businesses and a new public/private program to bring 21st century jobs to Chicago.

"Through the partnership which we are calling Chicago's growth accelerator, we will keep Chicago among the top global business destinations in the future," said Daley.

Mayor Daley said the accelerator program will target high growth business sectors. He also talked about the reality of budget problems. He said he cannot rule out cutting city services to balance next year's budget. Daley said he will continue to cut spending, including his own salary by $20,000.

The mayor said leaders in all levels of government, including the president, should also consider taking a pay cut.


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