Yesterday I delivered the 2008 State of the City address at the Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami - the speech is titled "Investing in Our Future" and it is really what government is about - we need to invest in the people, places, and things today that will give us a greater city tomorrow - we do it to stay competitive, and we do it for future generations, our children and grandchildren. Here are some pictures from the event...
This morning I joined Dr. Rudy Crew to congratulate the first 600 students to complete our Rites of Passage through Elevate Miami - These 600 6th graders have earned a free computer to take home with free Internet access. To learn more about Elevate Miami, visit: http://www.elevatemiami.com/ or my website http://www.miamigov.com/.
It was great how one student from each of the schools involved spoke with us about what these computers mean to them.
Andres Castro from Shenandoah Middle stood up and shared with us how he loves technology and wants to go to college to be a computer engineer - he said the door to his dreams has been opened with this free computer.
Too bad the Miami Herald did not send a reporter, they were too busy writing about my blog.
Had they been there, they would have been able to speak to any one of 600 sixth graders who now have a free computer at home, with free net access, and are not only now able to surf the web, but read my blog as well...
Stay tuned for my State of the City address, this next Thursday -
Did you know that we have a national terrorist "no-fly" list to keep dangerous people off airplanes, but the same does not apply to buying a gun? This and other loopholes exist for gun purchasers, prompting me to join nearly 300 of my colleagues nationwide in an effort called "Mayors Against Illegal Guns." Visit the MAIG coalition website at: http://mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/home/home.shtml
Ever since the expiration of the assault weapons ban, these high powered rifles have filled our streets. Earlier this year, a City of Miami police officer, James Walker, was gunned down by an AK 47. Quite simply, these weapons of war belong on the battlefield, not on our streets.
Seeing the rise in violent crimes committed with assault weapons and other illegally obtained guns, mayors from throughout the country have joined to lobby congress for these common sense solutions: (1) close the gun show loophole; (2) require gun dealers to perform criminal background checks on all gun-handling employees; (3) close the fire sale loophole that allows dealers whose licenses have been revoked to continue to sell their inventory without conducting background checks; and (4) close the Terror Gap that leaves those on the terrorist no-fly list off the list of prohibited purchasers of firearms.
Here in Florida, Mayor John Peyton of Jacksonville and I are leading the way toward raising awareness of this critical issue, keeping illegal guns from the hands of criminals, making our streets and neighborhoods safer.
I just finished receiving the "A Home for Every American" award from the Interagency Council for Homelessness - this is a Council that brings together different US Cabinet agencies responsible for providing Federal leadership for activities to assist homeless families and individuals.
The Council’s “A Home for Every American” Award recognizes the political leadership, success in partnership, innovation in initiatives, and results in reducing homelessness in American communities.
Since I took office, we have reduced homlessness in Miami by over 50% and we will not stop working until every chronic homeless person has a place to call home.
Of the many great things about being mayor of Miami is that I get to meet and speak before a great number of organizations that choose Miami as the host of their meetings - one such meeting happened this week when I had the opportunity to speak before the Board of Governors of the Interamerican Development Bank - Here is what I had to say:
ONE AMERICA – AN ALLIANCE FOR PROSPERITY
Good Morning. Buenos Dias y Bienvenidos a Miami. Es un honor para nosotros ser la ciudad anfirtriona de la reunion anual del banco interamericano de desarollo.
Let me thank President, and my friend, Luis Alberto Moreno and the Board of Governors for bringing your annual meeting to our City. I would like to congratulate President Moreno for pursuing a new paradigm of leadership at the IDB—one that focuses on empowerment, self-reliance and collaboration.
Let me also welcome Secretary Paulson and Secretary Gutierrez–Welcome Home Secretary Gutierrez. I would also like to recognize Jorge Arrizurrieta and the Miami Host Committee, all of the volunteers and staff, and the generosity of the public and private sectors. Thank you for a job very well done.
Ministers and Distinguished Guests, the Miami of today is quite different than the Miami of 20 years ago; the last time you held your annual meeting here.
While we continue to be ranked by America Economia as the best city to conduct business in Latin America. While we are home to more than 100 international banks, 1,500 multi-national companies and 300 regional and world headquarters of Fortune 500 companies, and while our economy is larger than the economies of every country in this hemisphere, except the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Mexico
I submit to you that the Miami of today is much more....needs to be much more than merely a gateway.
Rather, the Miami of today can and must play a vital role in the development of a prosperous and a democratic hemisphere. We are the most culturally diverse city in the United States - over 60% of our residents are foreign born and we speak over 140 languages and dialects. Miami has opened its arms to the world, and the world has come to us. Miami se ha abierto al mundo y el mundo ha venido a nosotros.
The fact is that Miami became a world city before becoming a significant US city - And so it is that we must embrace our role as Translator for the Hemisphere ......where the North, the South, and the Caribbean all come together to live, work and understand one another- and to prosper from this relationship.
Miami represents the face of our Hemisphere, and, so we have an obligation to continue to articulate the needs of our partners and friends both at home and throughout the Americas; and this is a responsibility and a challenge that we fully accept and fully welcome.
It is said that when there is a sneeze in Caracas, Buenos Aires, or Port-Au-Prince, Miami catches a cold. Well, it is time for that flu to spread throughout this entire country.
It is time that we realize that prosperity in Santiago and Mexico City is linked to prosperity in Los Angeles and Houston. It is time that we realize that the creation of jobs in Bogota can serve to create more jobs in Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia. It is time that we realize that a cleaner and a greener Rio and Sao Paulo will mean a cleaner and a greener New York and Chicago. It is time that we come to the simple realization, that we are all Americans and that we must see ourselves as One America.
Ya es hora de reconocer que todos somos Americanos- del Norte, el Sur, el Centro y el Caribe.
Y que sus interes tienen que ser los intereses de este pais- Los intereses de nuestro pais tienen que ser los intereses de toda las Americas.
And we must do this in spite of a failed national policy which devotes its great resources around the world, while ignoring our own neighbors. We must do this against a failed national policy that is surprised when populism takes root in the Americas. And we must do this at a time when this country laments over immigration, but ignores the very root cause of why people come here, and fails to invest in opportunities for progress in their countries of origin.
If we are serious about building a prosperous and a democratic America, if we are serious about promoting economic growth and opportunity, if we are serious about eradicating poverty and raising the living standards of all our people, and if we are serious about protecting our environment for generations of Americans yet unborn, then, we must first understand our common history, our common heritage, our shared dreams
We must first form an alliance rooted in hope, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.
Now, I am aware that there are barriers to this type of thinking – but look around you, Miami is a living example of what can be achieved when different people from different places come together to work against a common struggle, on a common mission to achieve a common goal.
For while we are a diverse people, we appreciate our shared interests – as the old saying goes, what unites us is more than what divides us.
Make no mistake, Miami’s Renaissance has resulted from our strong business, cultural and educational ties with the Americas. And so too can the message of Miami resonate throughout the Americas, that we are all one hemisphere, that we are all One America.
Que el mensaje de Miami se oiga en toda las Americas. Que somos todos Americanos unidos por una historia y una herencia comun.
Our challenge today is no different than that set forth by an American president over 40 years ago:
That each of us devote our energies to the advancement of all so that future generations can find an ever richer and freer life. That each of us help transform this hemisphere into a vast reservoir of new ideas, a tribute to the power of the creative energies of free men and women. That your deliberations serve to show the world that democracy and progress are naturally linked.
And that your work will serve as a beacon to guide the dreams and the aspirations of people everywhere. And that in so doing, you will inspire courage, freedom and hope for the future of our hemisphere.
We are honored by your visit and we hope you carry our message forth, that we are all one -
Thank you for choosing Miami - this will always be your home -
Aqui en Miami somos todos familia....... Aqui en Miami siempre estara su casa –
Later today we are unveiling a new "solar grove" outside of City Hall that will make us the first major US city to power its City Hall with solar/alternative energy - we have also replaced all the old light fixtures with new energy efficient LED and CFL lights - these two measures reduce power use at City Hall by 60% - not too bad for an old building like ours! Pictures from the installation coming soon...