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Mayor Heartwell Delivers State of the City Address

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Mayor George Heartwell delivered his State of the City address Saturday morning before a packed crowd at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. He was introduced by Grand Valley State University President Tom Haas as “progressive, hardworking, compassionate, yet tough-minded.”

Nathalie Meyer of the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids read from Scriptures saying that “good leadership and God can solve the perfect economic storm.” After a corporate sponsored breakfast, Heartwell began his speech.

Much of the Mayor's speech was dedicated to the theme of consolidation, wherein the six major municipalities that make up the Grand Rapids metropolitan area would share many services such as police, fire, and emergency dispatch. He pointed at The Rapid's success as proof that consolidation would work. He also spoke briefly on the idea of the cities of Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Wyoming, Grandville, and Walker all consolidating to form one city. “We already act like one city, why don't we simply become one?” Heartwell asked. He didn't go in depth as to what this sort of system would look like if ever put in place, but as points out, in theory its similar to many of the policies that the IMF/World Bank imposes.

The other major initiative the mayor discussed was The Mayor's 50, aimed to help unemployment, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was at 11.7% in November. Under this program the mayor hopes to find fifty businesses to employ young people ages 15-21 for up to ten hours per week, with half the cost subsidized through grant money. There was no mention of any initiatives for job creation for unemployed people struggling to pay mortgages or health care. However he did say that the Federal stimulus money has made a significant impact in Grand Rapids “and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Heartwell closed his speech by urging people to take a more active role in American democracy beginning at the neighborhood level, saying “voting and forgetting is not enough.”

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Forgot to hyperlink to it, so for those interested, here is the link to the PDF file of the mayor's speech.

 "Heartwell closed his speech by urging people to take a more active role in American democracy beginning at the neighborhood level, saying “voting and forgetting is not enough.” 


i think he was trying to say that the citizens of GR need to participate in Citizen Journalism...was the mayor endorsing the Rapidian??? hmmmmm.....