January 5, 2004: Headlines: COS - Bangladesh: City Government: City of Reading: Inauguration Speech of Bangladesh RPCV Tom McMahon as Mayor of Reading Pennsylvania

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bangladesh: Peace Corps Bangladesh : The Peace Corps in Bangladesh: January 5, 2004: Headlines: COS - Bangladesh: City Government: City of Reading: Inauguration Speech of Bangladesh RPCV Tom McMahon as Mayor of Reading Pennsylvania

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Inauguration Speech of Bangladesh RPCV Tom McMahon as Mayor of Reading Pennsylvania

Inauguration Speech of Bangladesh RPCV Tom McMahon as Mayor of Reading Pennsylvania

Inauguration Speech of Bangladesh RPCV Tom McMahon as Mayor of Reading Pennsylvania

Inauguration Speech – Thomas M. McMahon Mayor – City of Reading, PA delivered at the Sovereign Center

Thank you, President Judge Grim, my friend and colleague. I look forward to working with you to make this a safe, law abiding community.

Council President Spencer, and members of city council… I look forward to working with all of you on setting a new direction for this city.

Commissioners Schwank, Gajewski and Scott, I thank you for sharing this great event. Together, we can advance the quality of life of all the citizens of Berks County… where the city of Reading becomes a healthy central core.

Representatives Santoni and Caltagirone; Senator O’Pake, your presence here is an important statement about our relationship with the Commonwealth. Thank you for your ongoing support of this city.

Former mayors and other elected officials – thanks for joining us today and showing your support.

Most of all, to my family, my campaign committee, the inauguration committee, the dozens of supporters of this event, friends and citizens of this community who have honored me with the office of Mayor.

…………….welcome to the new City of Reading!

Bienvenido a la nueva ciudad de Reading

Today is not my day, it is our day. It is a new beginning.

The beginning of a new year and a new administration brings the promise of change for this city and this county. It’s time to put the past behind and look to the future, to“think anew and act anew” in the words of Abraham Lincoln.

Let me give you a reason to look to the future – in fact I will give you thousands

The young people here today represent thousands of students in the city. The Reading High Marching Band… the Central Catholic Chorus… and the children from Lauers Park Elementary School… my very special guests….

They represent the young people of this city with their talent, hope & pride.

Hope for the future is alive in their faces and in their homes that I visited over the last 18 months.

All the rhetoric aside, they are the reason for what we are about to do – they are the future we are going to invent.

Our job over the next four years is to work together to create that new city of Reading for them and for their children.

Our new city must celebrate our true diversity, where families enjoy good quality of life in peaceful neighborhoods and have pride of ownership in affordable homes. Where family supporting jobs are plentiful and where opportunity is open to all.

If we do it right, Reading can become a role model for cities everywhere.

While there is much to do, I plan to concentrate on four major goals for the next four years:

* Number 1 is to Fight crime and disorder

* Number 2 is to create a business friendly environment.

* Number 3 is to revitalize our downtown and our neighborhoods.

* And Number 4 is to restore the financial health of the city.

Let’s talk about crime – perception and reality.

The battle to take back our streets begins with accepting responsibility for maintaining law and order in our neighborhoods. Operation COBRA under Chief Broad has made a solid impact.

The numbers are trending downwards. But there are still too many guns on the street, too many shootings and too many lives in jeopardy.

We have made progress but we must do better. Police can restore order; neighbors must help to maintain it.

I want to see 20 more law enforcement professionals on the street in the role of community police officers. Police need to connect on a personal level with the citizens of this town in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

County, state and federal officers are working closely with the professionals of the Reading Police Department. But here again, we can do more.

We must work together to drive the criminal element not just from this city but from the entire county of Berks.

Our second goal is to create a business-friendly environment. We will make it easy to start and expand a business. Being pro-business is being pro-jobs and we need family supporting jobs.

This will be a challenge in a fragile economy, where jobs have left us by the thousands and where families are struggling to survive.

We will reduce the red tape of zoning and codes, and will strengthen the planning process and coordinate economic development efforts. City Hall will be the go-to place for getting help on business development.

Every day I meet entrepreneurs who are getting in on the ground floor of our coming revitalization. On Saturday, I stopped to see Raul Melendez who has expanded the Tropical Bakery to a much larger facility at 9th and Bingaman.

Another is the Café Espresso Coffee shop that Ed and Heather Hanna opened on South 5th Street.

They see the potential of small business and want to become part of the new city of Reading. There are many more examples, and we will celebrate their success and help them wherever we can.

To my friends in the business community - I call on you to invest your time and resources in this city.

Take our young people under your wing in apprenticeships, internships and mentoring. Help us create the skilled workforce of the future that will allow your companies to grow and prosper.

We must be sure that every resident has the tools needed to participate fully in the new economy. The new economy demands highly educated, skilled workers, while those without education are in danger of being left behind.

Tomorrow, the commissioners and I will meet to announce a major new economic development initiative.

This initiative, a partnership of the city, the county and the private sector will be just the first in many new cooperative ventures we will undertake.

Our third goal is to revitalize our downtown and neighborhoods.

Downtown needs to be a showcase reflecting our pride in Reading.

Early this year you will see the wrecking ball taking down some of the derelict structures at 5th and Penn Sts, to be replaced by a new office/commercial building.

The neighborhood around the Reading Area Community College will take on a new role in support of their new theatre and technology center.

Similarly, the Buttonwood Gateway will be developed… bringing in new jobs for the citizens of the 6th and 15th wards and replacing much of the blight in that area with safe, affordable housing.

We plan to announce a new initiative to assist neighborhood organizations.

That initiative will coordinate graffiti removal, and the tracking of citizen complaints on quality of life issues like trash, abandoned vehicles, derelict and abandoned homes.

We will actively promote the reconversion of multi-family dwellings to single family homes.

We will also encourage the formation of community organizations and crime watch groups, and support those that are in existence.

An office of neighborhood organizations will provide guidance and assistance to these groups because they are essential to the long term security of this city.

A vibrant city is a city of healthy neighborhoods… and home ownership is the key to healthy neighborhoods.

Many groups are working on affordable housing, but we will coordinate their efforts so that the impact is even greater.

And this community needs a gathering place… a place to celebrate each other and appreciate our culture, talents and collective history.

Our Riverplace Project will create that gathering place.

I am happy to announce today that this October, Reading will host a new river fest, similar to the old Scenic River Days...but even better.

The river is just one of the many assets this city will be sharing with others.

The Sovereign Performing Arts Center, along with this wonderful facility we are in today, will form the basis of a new downtown, centered on arts, culture, dining and entertainment, all of which will become an important economic engine for the new City of Reading.

Last but not least – the fourth goal is to restore the financial health of this city. This will be an enormous challenge for all of us. We have already seen a declining tax base and increased need for services.

We are faced with possible significant costs in connection with our sewer plant that is long overdue for a major upgrade.

In this and other areas, we need to take a regional approach to solve what is becoming a regional problem.

We will also take Governor Rendell up on his offer of partnering with smaller cities. I’ve already met with the Governor to discuss Reading’s issues and will do so many more times.

With the help of our legislative delegation, Reading will be more visible in Harrisburg.

Finally… I ask you to take heart in this city – in this community of citizens who are your friends and neighbors. Because it will take heart to believe and make change happen.

Six years before the Civil War, it was the American poet Longfellow who wrote, "All your strength is in your union, all your danger is in your discord."

It is time to put aside the discord and unite this community.

Remember the tasks at hand:

1) Step up the war on crime in our city

2) Create a business-friendly environment

3) Revitalize our downtown and neighborhoods

4) Address the financial situation with long term solutions.

I have promised more action than you have seen in years. And I intend to deliver on that promise, starting now.

I challenge all of us to use this next four years in an unrelenting, passionate striving for a better future for this city.

I have no doubt we can be successful beyond our wildest dreams.

And then we can look back on what can be one of the greatest achievements of our lives… a city where hope has been rediscovered and pride returns to stay, where we came together, worked together and achieved together.

So from this day forward, as the sun rises over the Pagoda, may it shine ever more brightly on a city that is better than it was the day before.

Thank you

Now… a special surprise… as we welcome a new dawn to the city, its time to unveil a new symbol of promise for this community for the next four years.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: City of Reading

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bangladesh; City Government



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