Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mayor talks crime, health care, vacant homes

Here's the part of any State of the City where the mayor goes through the laundry list of issues he's working on.

Not only is violent crime down two years in a row, he says, the police have shortened their response time and increased the number of cops on the street.

He says he's also talking with the major hospitals to improve access to health care, in part by increasing the use of city clinics for providing primary care and allowing EMS to transfer non-emergency cases to the clinics.

He mentions homelessness, promising he's focused on permanent homes, not just shelter.

When he gets to the huge problem of vacant homes in the city, his rosy picture is not as impressive. He says the city has demolished 2,300 structures since 2006, while the private sector has taken down 900 more. But that New York Times Magazine article I mentioned says there are 10,000 to 15,000 vacant homes in the city!

What I didn't hear is a plan to cooperate with two other big new projects in town to deal with abandoned homes: county treasurer Jim Rokakis' new land bank and a federal program the county is administering.

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