The vast majority of our City neighborhoods are safe places to live, work, and raise a family. But, we should not rest until the entire City is safe. So, during the 2006 State of the City Address, I proposed a comprehensive approach to reduce crime, address poverty. and improve the futures of our children. The strategy I proposed includes more jobs, social services, education and help for children leading troubled lives.
Getting there requires the several important legislative and budgetary changes.
Some of it has happened.
We have already added five job placement specialists to the City budget. And the State of Missouri has already appropriated $1 million for a prisoner re-entry program.
Today, I asked the aldermanic Ways & Means Committee to consider three bills that would focus on two other aspects of the plan: better crime fighting - including violent crime - and better recreational opportunities for young people.
Two bills I proposed would set aside the resources generated by a modest increase in the Graduated Business License for more police and prosecutors: a bigger violent offenders program, more police officers on the streets and in specialized units, a new unit in the Circuit Attorney's office, more cooperative programs with the feds, a strong program to combat truancy, and a greater effort to identify and prosecute the owners of problem properties.
A third bill I proposed would let voters consider a 1/8th of a cent sales tax to build two new recreation centers, repair and improve existing centers, and improve recreational programs. Recreation programs improve the health, safety, academic achievement, and overall development of our children.
(And an investment in rec centers will improve the quality of life in our City in other ways. The two new state-of-the art recreation centers will give our residents the kind of amenities available in suburban neighborhoods.)
Ways & Means approved all three bills.