Tonight the meeting opened with Divine Guidance from Justin Elicker (Ward 10) who spoke about "community," and related it to our relationships with people and our environment. He referenced, Aldo Leopold whom Justin considers one of the first environmentalists, and Justin asked that, as we do things for people and living creatures, we also do for our environment, because, it is the "right thing" to do.
Please read the Mayor's entire speech linked from the NHI.
My very short summary:
The Mayor then gave his approximately 45 min. State of the City speech illustrated with supporting data video projected in graphs and lists. He spoke of economic growth in New Haven despite the nation-wide down turn in the economy, yet sadly contrary to an increase in un-employment here in New Haven. The growth he spoke of is indeed evidenced in Grand List (tax base) growth which he also showed illustrates the two main sectors of this growth: university based, especially life sciences, and growth in the science based, private, for-profit business coming out of the university. He also highlighted growth in the service sector - hospitality industry (hotels) - "spin[ing]" from this university and science sector growth.
The Mayor then stated his three big priorities for 2010: 1) Jobs and the Economy, for which he outlined four "opportunities in 2010:" Downtown crossing, 100 College, continue to grow Science Park, and grow the university (YALE SOM campus project.); 2) Public Safety, further address "re-entry;" and 3) School Change, which he said, "Is the thing that more than any program, or any policy, or any law, or any activity of this gorvernment, or this community, that we can do that will transform New Haven from a place of promise, to what Dr. King called, 'The fierce urgency of now.'"
The Mayor concluded his speech saying, "The state of our City is good. The character of our people is excellent. And tonight, the possibilities for our children is outstanding."
Then the business of our regular meeting continued. The last few Board representatives to fill the spots on the remaining three Commissions were filled by electing me, Greg Dildine, & Arlene DePino (18-R) as the Board's representatives on the Capital Projects Committee, Justin Elicker (Ward 10) as rep. on the City Plan Commission, and Alderwomen Castro (16-D) & O'Sullivan-Best (11-I) as reps on the Parks Commission.
Several items were Communicated and will be assigned to committees. Actions included (by unanimous voice vote) ordering tax refunds due, naming a street corner "John J Boyle Blvd" for the day of the St. Patrick's Day parade, order to approve the quitclaim of land known as 291 and 309 Ashmun St. to Science Park Development Corp. (to build a daycare), and the acceptance of State grant money ($8450) to supplement the Dept. of Cultural Affairs' operating budget.