Welcome to Little Neck Patch's live coverage of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 10th State Of The City address at St. George Theatre in Staten Island.
We'll be providing continuous updates as the speech kicks-off, as well as reaction to specific proposals made by the mayor, who is expected today to provide an unrelentingly bleak budget picture for the cash-strapped city.
2:31 p.m.: Thanks for checking in with Little Neck Patch for our coverage of the mayor's speech. We'd like to hear about your impressions of today's State of the City address. Comment here, or .
2:12 p.m.: Mayor begins close of speech with a focus on terrorism and the impending opening of, "for the first time in 10 years," the World Trade Center site.
The mayor concludes his address thus: "We will be strong, united and determined to face any challenges..."
2:07 p.m.: Bloomberg asks for legislation this year ending "last in, first out" practice of firing teachers.
2 p.m.: Is it the fourth of July yet? Mayor gives us this declaration of "independence" from Albany: "After years of mismanagement, let us manage ourselves."
Bloomberg goes on to give a litany of state-controlled or regulated activities that he'd like to see reformed, including civil service laws, the practice of "rubber rooms" for dismissed teachers and the collection of taxes.
He also declares city's "full support" for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's agenda of statewide pension reform.
1:56 p.m.: Bloomberg hails the effectiveness of .
1:53 p.m.: Mayor says city will open 10 new Workforce centers — which he claims placed 30,000 jobless workers into employment last year — across the five boroughs.
He also said city will get 10,000 welfare recipients into jobs in 2011, increasing current number of welfare-to-work participants from 75,000 to 85,000.
1:45 p.m.: Bloomberg invokes the specter of the bankrupt city of the 1970s: "We learned that when you stop investing in the future, the future hits the road."
1:38 p.m.: Bloomberg vows to pursue a "third way" to balance budget. "We will not raise taxes," he says. Instead he advocates for a new style of governance, one that "lives within its means."
Bloomberg also gives us his take on his mayoral legacy, calling the Dinkins administration concerned about "uniting the city" and Giuliani about keeping people safe. Guess what the current mayor thinks his defining achievement will be? That's right: reform of city schools.
1:32 p.m.: Mayor starts speech heralding job growth in the city, which he said was twice that of the nation. Overall, he touts the city's resilience in the face of deep recession. "For the first time .. New York entered the recession later and we have come out of it faster than the rest of the country."
1:26 p.m.: MGMT again as the mayor takes the podium. A colleague at Patch suggested that the kids choir might be a last-ditch plea to spare city schools music programs.
1:22 p.m.: A propos of something, the schoolchildren are singing electro-pop group MGMT's "Kids."
1:14 p.m.: The State of the City broadcast begins with some fun footage of Staten Island Chuck, the five borough's very own groundhog. Let's see if this fun atmosphere continues to the end of what to be a speech filled with bad news.
1:02 p.m.: Speaking with one community member, Bob Friedrich, president of the Glen Oaks Association, in the minutes before the mayor's speech to city: "He needs to look beyond Manhattan. He needs to look at the issues we're having — with our schools and with snow removal."
Friedrich also said he's like the mayor to distance himself from the so-called "crash tax," which would allow FDNY to charge drivers involved in accidents a flat fee in order to head off proposed firehouse closures.