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Mallory's "State of the City"

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory

Posted by Richard Todd - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mark Mallory delivered an upbeat speech punctuated by home videos as he made his annual "State of the City" address at the Duke Energy Center Downtown on Wednesday night. 

Big topics that Mallory discussed included crime, the economy, and promoting the streetcar project.

He also talked about city building projects, a sewer project, and announced a plan to help poor people save money in banks rather than spending it on check-cashing fees.

Here is the written text of the speech, released by his office:

State of the City 2010
Mayor Mark Mallory
City of Cincinnati
April 21, 2010
Duke Energy Convention Center

What is the State of the City?  The people who wrote the charter expect the Mayor to come before the citizens each year and report on the state of affairs concerning the city.

Not necessarily to compare it to any other period in time, but where is the city today?  The one that was founded in 1788.  Where is our city 222 years later?

We often allow others to tell us how we are doing as a city.  We were named the 4th best city for new college graduates.  We were named the 9th most literate city.  We are the number 5 arts destination.  And, we were recently named the craziest city in the country.

But, you cannot just do that; you cannot just grab a top ten list and determine how the city is doing.  That state of our city is not all about statistics.

Cincinnati is a miraculous city; it is an accomplished city.  We get kicked around sometimes for not going out on a limb; we do not go out on extremes.  This is a solid place. We sort of steadily move along.  We steadily make progress, and we have done that since 1788.

One thing people forget is that we drag our origins with us from the past, to the present, and into the future.   Part of who we are in this city has its basis in the name of the city itself: Cincinnati. Many people think we are named after Cincinnatus, the man.  But that we are not. 

We are named after an organization called Society of the Cincinnati, which was an organization made up of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, who banded together and vowed to look after one another's families.  They committed to this.  They locked arms and said we are going to stand together because we are a band of brothers; a brotherhood; a family; we look out for one another.

So, I say it is your responsibility, as a citizen of this city, to be a Cincinnatian.  What I am saying is you have got to lock arms with your brothers.  

You have to look out for one another; you have to look out for each other's families, each other's children, as if they are your own.  Because that is what you do with family.  

That is why public safety is my number one priority.  The Society of the Cincinnati banded together to protect one another, and that is exactly what we need to do today to secure our community. 

Let me tell you about some citizens who live the idea of being a Cincinnatian every day: The members of the Cincinnati Police Department.  They do a great job.  

Tonight, I want to specifically highlight the SWAT Team.  Sixty-two highly trained Cincinnati Police Officers.  This is an elite group of officers that are called out in the middle of the night to protect us, to protect our families, to protect our children. 

They are so good at what they do that you rarely hear about them on the news.  As a matter of fact, in the last three years, they have handled 580 of the most dangerous situations in the community.  And, they have not fired a single shot.

This is a helmet issued to members of the SWAT team to keep them safe.

Last December, the SWAT team was called to Casey Drive where a murder suspect had barricaded himself in a residence.  After hours of negotiation, the decision was made to enter the dwelling.  Officer Daniel Kowalski led the team into the building on that day.  As he turned the corner to enter the residence, two shots rang out, both striking him in the head. 

Thankfully, this helmet saved his life.  He almost made the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow citizens.

That is what it means to be a Cincinnatian.  Officer Kowalski stand up.   And the rest of the SWAT team stand up.  You and your team may not always receive the recognition that you deserve, but tonight I want you to know, how much the citizens of Cincinnati truly appreciate the work that you do.

But, police officers don not have to be on duty or even in uniform to protect us. 

About two months ago, Officer Thomas Owens was off-duty in a convenience store when a situation started to escalate out of control.  He intervened in order to calm things down and was shot in the stomach. 

His dedication to protecting his fellow citizens is an example of what it means to be a Cincinnatian.  Officer Owens, please stand up.  And the Police Command Staff and any police officer in the room please stand.  Officer Owens, I am glad that you are recovering from your injuries.  And, I want you and the rest of the police department to know, how much we appreciate your willingness to sacrifice your own safety for the citizens of Cincinnati.

Now Cincinnatians, I am not asking you to do what these officers have done. 

But what are you willing to do?  What are you willing to do to make this city safer?

Will you be part of a block watch?  Will you be part of citizens on patrol?  Will you call CrimeStoppers?

You have to at least be willing to call the police and tell them what you know about the people who are terrorizing our city.

Take a look at this video.  (Video)

In the short time that CIRV has been in place, it has shown a definite impact in reducing group-related homicides.  We are going to continue to use this method to make our streets safer and reduce the number of people who lose their lives to gun violence.

Our efforts to improve public safety also include the Cincinnati Fire Department.  You all know they put out fires.  But, what you might not know is that they also lead our efforts on Homeland Security.  District Fire Chief Ed Dadosky manages the Regional Operations Center, where we coordinate our response to large scale regional disasters. 

I recently received a letter from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Post Graduate School inviting me to attend a ceremony where Chief Dadosky along with 24 other officials, from around the country, were receiving Masters Degrees in Security Studies. 

That is a great personal achievement for Chief Dadosky.  But, in addition, the Director for the Center stated that the Cincinnati Fire Department as a whole has become a great partner through Chief Dadosky's participation in Homeland Security research.

Chief Dadosky stand and be recognized.  All members of the Fire Department stand and be recognized for your outstanding work. 

It is important to show our appreciation for the work that these men and women do.  And a great way to do that is to contribute to the effort to build a new firefighter's memorial.  And you can make a contribution at

When we talk about that state of the city, we have to talk about the economy, and we cannot talk about the economy without talking about jobs.

We went through some tough times in Cincinnati.  Not as bad as other places, but tough for sure.  But for me the question is its never how tough are the times, but what are you going to do to deal with it?  How are you handling the situation?

Our approach has been and will continue to be to create jobs and opportunity. We create jobs by entering into public/private partnerships, by investing in public infrastructure, and by attracting and retaining companies that create jobs.  We also create opportunity by encouraging entrepreneurship and helping people to be smarter with the money that they have.

For example, since I became Mayor, we have created nearly 5,000 jobs through public/private partnerships.  But, it's not enough.  We have to keep finding opportunities to grow and expand our economy.  And one of the ways we do that is by attracting businesses here and keeping and expanding the companies that we have.

We have got to utilize the development and redevelopment of our public infrastructure to put people to work.  Like the Banks Project, the first phase is scheduled to open on opening day next year. 

We also have a huge opportunity with a sewer project, called Lick Run.  I do not normally get excited about sewer projects, but let me tell you, this one goes far beyond big pipes under the ground. 

The project will recapture a natural waterway; it will transform South Fairmount and surrounding areas; and it will be the catalyst for investment and development in that area.

This is not just a sewer project.  This is a billion dollar project that will provide economic, environmental, and quality of life improvements for decades to come.

For as much focus as we put on big business and public infrastructure, you know the back bone of our economy is small business.  And that is why we have put so much focus on growing small businesses.   

We do that through our Shop 52 initiative, which not only aims to help people go into business, but also helps grow and support small businesses that already exist.

In just the last two years, we have held seven sessions, with a total attendance of 2,500 people, winning a national award for our efforts.

And we could not have done any of it without the help of PNC Bank Led by Kay Geiger.  Kay and her team are great partners. And with the help of PNC we are going to do more seminars this year.  Kay really knows what it means to be a Cincinnatian.

There are a lot of great Cincinnatians here.  My Mom and Dad are here.  

You know, a couple of weeks ago, my dad got in my car and he said "I find out what you are working on when I'm out in the streets."  I said "what are you talking about?"  And he said "I ran into the head of the Federal Reserve Bank and he said that you are going to start this thing called Bank On Greater Cincinnati."  I said "Dad the reason that you haven't heard about it is because I haven't announced it yet."

So, tonight, I am announcing the thing. Bank On Greater Cincinnati is an effort to help people in this region better manage their money.

Why is that important?  A lot of people go to "Checks Cashed Here" places to get a payday advance or to a gas station to get a money order to pay their utility bills.  People who use check cashing places spend on average $900 a year in fees.  These are some of the same people that do not have $900 a year to waste. 

In San Francisco, where we got this idea, they identified a target group of people and they flipped them from spending $900 a year on fees to saving $1,000 a year in a bank. 

We are going to do the exact same thing in Greater Cincinnati.

So, when I found out about what they are doing in San Francisco, I called up Mayor Denny Bowman of Covington and Mayor Jerry Peluso of Newport and together, along with the Federal Reserve, we met with the eight biggest banks in the region.  And as a group, we are going to launch Bank On Greater Cincinnati, which will create new products and a new marketing plan to bring new customers into Banks.  That way, customers can spend less on fees, and start saving money, and start building wealth.

So Dad, there you go.

I have been talking about various ways that we are working to grow and expand our economy.  We have a responsibility to do that.  Previous generations of Cincinnatians felt a responsibility to do that as well.  They did it.  In the 1870s, they built a railroad.  We are the only city in the country that built a railroad for interstate commerce.  And we still own it today.  We lease it to Norfolk Southern; it brings us 18 or 19 million a year. 

They knew that when they built it, they were not necessarily going to see 18 million a year.  They knew that, but they built it to benefit Cincinnati's future.  And we have the exact same responsibility, and that is why we are going to build a streetcar.  (Video)

The initial phase of the streetcar is going to connect our two major job centers downtown and the university area; and future phases will create a system that connects more of our neighborhoods.

I am constantly in neighborhoods all over the city.  Sometimes I am breaking ground; sometimes I am cutting ribbons; sometimes I am meeting with community leaders; giving speeches; visiting schools. 

Now what is behind all of that?  What does it mean when I am cutting ribbons, what does it mean when I am breaking ground?  It means that we are doing something; it means that we are building something; that we are creating partnerships.

Let me give you a list of projects that we are working on.

I was just at the Vernon Manor Hotel last week.  It's being converted into an office building for Cincinnati Children's that will house hundreds of workers.

We built a new fire station in College Hill. It is built to LEED standards – that means that it is an energy efficient "green" building.

We demolished several buildings in Evanston to make way for new senior housing.

As part of our GO Cincinnati plan, we are creating a new business park in Madisonville at the old Nutone site.  The first tenant will be Medpace and they are bringing in 800 jobs.

MSD just built a new building in Lower Price Hill – it is the most energy efficient building ever constructed by the City of Cincinnati.

In Northside, we cleaned up a drug hotspot and now we are building eight new homes there.  And on top of that, we are building 25 new homes on land that was designated for a highway.  And on top of that, we are building 25 homes for our home show, CitiRama.  That means that we are putting up 58 homes in Northside alone.

And, we are doing 25 housing units for the chronically homeless in Over-the-Rhine.

In Pendleton, we have partnered to build the first new housing that neighborhood has seen in over 100 years.

The city, the county, the state, and the federal government came to together to reconstruct the 8th street Viaduct, a major thoroughfare to the Westside.

We opened the Greendog Café, a locally owned restaurant in a commercial plaza that the city partnered to build.

A new Hampton Inn is going up in Corryville.

We loaned Graeter's $10 million dollars to build a new facility in Bond Hill, another one of our targeted areas in our GO Cincinnati strategy.

The new Red Cross building will be completed in Evanston this summer.

And in Walnut Hills, we partnered with Humana to build the new Spring Hill Suites by Marriott.

That is an impressive list.

When I am in Cincinnati neighborhoods, I get to see the pride that people have in where they live.  And, I like to do things to encourage that pride.  So, my Young Professionals Kitchen Cabinet got the idea to challenge neighborhoods to create a promotional video to show the pride in their neighborhood, and they allowed me to pick the winner.  Check this out.  (Video)

I am all about encouraging neighborhood pride, and another thing that we do to create pride is through public art.  Take a look at these murals.  (Slideshow)

For as much as these murals leave lasting impression on our neighborhoods, the process of painting them puts young people to work.  MuralWorks hires artists to train young people to become artists.  We've done 27 so far and we are going to do another five this summer.  We are not going to stop.  We are going to make it so that every time you turn around, you see a mural no matter where you are in the city.

MuralWorks is one of the jobs programs that we fund through the city.  We also have a jobs program in our Parks Department led by Willie Carden.  The Green Leaf Program hires kids who help make our parks more beautiful.

Another job program through our Recreation Department hires kids to help run our rec centers.

We also contract with the Community Action Agency to hire kids and place them in organizations and businesses throughout the city to give them real life experience.

That is well over 500 jobs. 

That is what we do for direct employment.  And on top of that, we hold a job fair.  It is in this same building next week on Tuesday from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM.  Last year, we had over 5,000 kids. 

It is clear that there are a lot of young people in this area that want to work.  So, if any of you out there have jobs to offer, go to my website and register:

And, we are not just trying to put kids to work all summer; we want them to have fun too.  And that is why we put so much emphasis on the Soap Box Derby.  It is a great way for kids to have fun with their families, and it creates neighborhood pride. 

We do a competition among neighborhoods.  Last year, a young man named Jordan won the Mayor's Cup and $5,000 for the Heights Community Council.

I want to thank Doug Newberry for bringing back the soap box derby a few years ago and giving kids across the community a chance to race, but also for giving them an opportunity to build community pride.

I always wanted to build one of those cars as a kid, but I did not have a chance to.   I like them because they are fun, they are cheap, they are easy to build, and they are powered by gravity, so they are green.

We need to do all that we can to green our community.

My Young Professionals Kitchen Cabinet is always looking for ways to green our city.  They started a community garden in Over-the-Rhine.  They held a competition to reduce energy usage in apartments.  They encourage recycling at bars, schools, sporting events, and of course at home. 

And, they even produced a video to encourage recycling.  Check it out. (Video)

That video won a national award from the US Conference of Mayors, and it will be used in a national advertising campaign.  It also came with a $5,000 check for our local recycling efforts.

We do a really good job at leveraging assets when it comes to greening our city.

We are putting a green roof on City Hall as we speak.  We are funding it with money that we are saving from using less energy in city buildings.

Larry Falkin and the Office of Environmental Quality are leading many great projects to green our city.  They work with multiple partners in our community to bring in grant money.  And, as of yesterday, they brought in over $20 million dollars in grants.

Well today, the Department of Energy announced that the Greater Cincinnati region will receive a $17 million dollar stimulus grant that will be used to retrofit homes and make them more energy efficient.

Clap your hands if you think the OEQ is a good investment. 

One of the other areas where we see this type of return on investment is the arts.

Cincinnati's arts – our music, dance, theatre, festivals, museums, and galleries – make our city vibrant and bring people together.  

When the Aronoff has a show, Downtown restaurants do better.  When the Macy's Music Festival is in town, hotels are packed.  When the Playhouse in the Park has a play, you cannot get into a restaurant in Mt. Adams. 

The Arts have a definite impact on the economy.  And, Cincinnatians support the Arts like no other community.  And, you want to talk about Great Cincinnatians; Louise Nippert gave $85 million to the Symphony last year.  She did her part and now we need to continue to do ours.

The Arts have the ability to attract people to a city.  We actually specialize in that. 

There are places that do not have to do much of anything to get people to come visit: Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, anywhere in Florida or California.  They do not have to do much to attract someone to go there. 

We do not have it that easy.  We have to work for it and we do.  We have a dynamic team that goes out and gets conventions and meetings.  Watch this.  (Video)

That video is one of the tools that we use to attract meetings and conventions.  Before I became Mayor, I talked about the need to improve this city's national and international image.  And during my time as Mayor, I have stayed focused on attracting large meetings and conventions, showing people a good time while they are here, and sending them home happy.

And we have had great success.  We have grown our convention business every year over the last 5 years.

So you know that we had the NAACP and Baptist Ministers.  And coming up, we are going to have National Conference of Black Mayors, the FOP, DARE, Prince Hall Shriners, and LULAC, the largest Hispanic organization in the country.

And in 2012, we will welcome the largest convention that our community has ever seen.  The World Choir Games, the largest choir competition in the world, it is the Olympics of choral music – 20,000 competitors, 200,000 spectators, and $13 million dollars in economic impact.

And with your help, we will continue to make Cincinnati known as one of the most hospitable city in the United States of America. 

I started tonight by talking how our name symbolizes brotherhood. 

And, throughout the speech, I have talked about what it means to be a Cincinnatian.  It means to be a good caretaker.

The other day, I was doing some work around my house, and I thought to myself, you know, this is not really my house. 

I call this my house, but it is really not my house, people lived here before I did and people will live here after me.  So, I am really just a caretaker of this house.  And, I am trying to be a good one, when the gutter goes bad, I fix it.  If there is a leak in the basement, I take care of it.  But, just like with your house, you want to do things that will add value to the house.

And living in this city is exactly the same.  We do not own the city.  People lived here before us and there are people who will live here after us.  So, we have to be good caretakers.  We have to be good stewards of this home that we call Cincinnati.  We have to make good investments that we know will add value to Cincinnati for future generations.

And we are.  We are investing in the Banks project; we are investing in our new tallest skyscraper; and the new casino is coming; and we are investing in the streetcar.

Previous generations of Cincinnatians did that, they took good care of this house.  They invested in this house.  That is what it means to be a Cincinnatian.  They invested in businesses; they invested in great hospitals and arts and cultural institutions; they invested transportation and in our great neighborhoods.

Those previous generations loved Cincinnati.  And the same is true today.  I love Cincinnati. 

If you are in this audience, it is because you love Cincinnati.  If you are watching at home or on the Internet, it is because you love Cincinnati.

Ask yourselves what can I to do for this place that I love?  What can I do to get my children to love their home?  What am I going to do for Cincinnati?

That is my challenge to you tonight.  Continue to be the caretakers of this house we love.  Be great Cincinnatians.  And, you will be a part of making us great.

Thank you and God Bless.

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