Over the past six months, your Chamber has spent significant time in the development of our City of Opportunity platform, which identified several factors limiting our city’s ability to provide opportunity for its citizens. The City of Opportunity platform identified a need for our elected leaders to support a “culture of yes” at City Hall and outlined three pillars of a strong, resilient community: visionary leadership, economic opportunity, and quality of life.
Throughout the election, we met with dozens of candidates to share our platform and to discuss what visionary leadership, economic opportunity and quality of life mean to them, and what they mean to us. We talked about the need for partnership, openness, reducing red tape and developing customer service standards and we highlighted the desire of our citizens for safe streets, great neighbourhoods and a culture of diversity and respect. We also discussed the need for big picture thinking and long-term strategic decision making.
Our City of Opportunity platform was met with broad support from the majority of candidates and we were thrilled when the electorate selected 13 individuals who said “yes” to our City of Opportunity platform to serve as our new Council.
On December 3rd, the new City Council was officially sworn-in to office and Mayor Bill Mauro’s inaugural address provided an indication of their direction. In his speech, Mayor Mauro spoke of the need for Council to work together to focus on the issues of “taxation, crime, economy and infrastructure that were consistently put forward as the priorities of the electorate.” He spoke of the need to set priorities and to understand that “we cannot always say yes and that saying no is a necessity although more difficult.” He outlined the need to remember the “individual homeowners and businesses that pay for our (Council’s) decisions.”
I am greatly encouraged by the tone and content of the Mayor’s speech as it aligns so well with our City of Opportunity pillars. Council will now begin their work to develop a strategic plan for the next four years and your Chamber will be working with Council to ensure that it reflects our priorities. We want to work collaboratively and cooperatively with Council and City Administration to build the City of Opportunity that we all believe is possible.
Mayor Mauro closed his address with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr which says, in part, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one it is right.” I couldn’t agree more!