Message from the Mayor
(This letter to the editor was published in the Duluth News Tribune on March 6, 2011)
First of all, you are all welcome to attend the State of the City address on Monday, 6pm, at the DECC. It’s an evening of speeches by politicians, but on the positive side, there is free parking and cake.
In writing the speech, I realized that I had much more to say than could be squeezed into a twenty minute speech. Given the choice between talking about what has been accomplished versus the problems not yet solved, I prefer to focus on the challenges ahead. I prefer to see the speech as a “direction for the city” rather than a speech about “what has already happened.”
That said, it’s important to share our recent successes, if for no other reason than to serve as encouragement to take on the next round of problems.
Our priority in the City over the past three years has been to fix what is broken. Unless we can overcome our challenges, we will never fully be able to capitalize on our opportunities.
Duluth has been carrying a heavy burden of unresolved issues. To some, Duluth had become defined by our problems â€“ retiree health care, budget issues, the condition of our streets, and a pessimistic self-definition of Duluth’s future. I will not claim that we have solved these problems -- we have not.Â But we have made important progress.
Here’s just a sampling:
These have been fundamental, seemingly insurmountable issues facing Duluth for decades. We decided to take them on, and in doing so, the shift in culture within city government has been noticeable. We had to, because the issues we’re overcoming are critical to the future of our city.
Obviously, these are just a sampling of the efforts made by city staff, councilors, and the citizens of Duluth. We are creating a strong track record of solving problems because we take personal ownership of them will keep working until those problems are solved.
We’re also committed to breathing new life into long neglected community treasures like Enger Tower and Skyline Parkway. We want Duluthians to once again point to Skyline and Enger with pride rather than embarrassment. Sure, fixing what we already have isn’t as exciting as building something new, but in my mind, it is our stewardship of such treasures must be a priority.
Despite some of our recent successes, there is much work still to be done. These are uncertain times that require continued vigilance, innovation, and problem solving. Tomorrow’s speech will outline some of our most pressing challenges that remain unaddressed. It is my hope that as a community we will find the courage and the honesty to fix those problems as well.
It is a true honor to serve this great city. Duluthians are passionate about the health of our community and have show great determination in making Duluth a better place to live. I would not dare take credit for the accomplishments of our city. Instead, the credit goes to our dedicated city staff and passionate community leaders. I am so grateful for their efforts.
We are developing a “can-do” attitude in Duluth and based upon the talent and dedication that I see every day in our city, I am very optimistic about Duluth’s future.
I hope to see you on Monday night at the DECC! If you are unable to make it to the speech, you can watch the speech portion of the evening on channel 9 at 6:30pm.