Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the City = On the Mend

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Mayor A C Wharton focused on recent positive changes in Memphis during his annual "State of the City" address at the new LeBonheur Children's Medical Center Thursday morning.

Among those changes were the reduction in violent crime, the early January launch of the mayor's homeless action plan, home appliance maker Electrolux's impending move to Memphis, and the city's attainment of five Hope VI grants for transforming public housing.

Wharton said Memphis was bucking the national unemployment trend by "putting thousands of jobs in easy reach for folks who need those jobs most." He also hinted at another major announcement of a new business relocating in Memphis.

"If you knew what I knew, you'd be jumping and shouting right now," Wharton said.

He also said the mayor's office would be announcing a new program to benefit small business within the next 30 days.

The mayor credited the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission's Operation Safe Community plan for the recent drop in crime, but admitted the city still has work to do on reducing domestic violence. He called domestic violence the "next front in the war on crime."

In April, the city will join five other cities in a national youth violence prevention initiative, Wharton said.

"Memphis is a city on the mend and on the move," Wharton said as he bragged about how mayors from other cities often look to Memphis as a positive example.

Wharton briefly addressed the city and county school merger issue by saying the "education of no child shall be affected" whether the schools are merged or not.

As for the city budget, Wharton said he's asked city leaders to submit ideas on how government can run more efficiently without wasting resources. Their plan should be ready in two weeks, he said.

Overall, the mayor's speech was uplifting with plenty of "City of Choice"-style pats on the back.

Said Wharton in closing: "Together, we will cross the bridge and see what lies on the shore of our city's potential."

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