One city – One Burlington – Baltutis
One City – Time and time again, I am asked why our city is divided? Why does the wall that is Webb Ave and the train tracks define such a striking boundary within our one city? It is clear to residents on both sides of this informal boundary that city rules, ordinances and spending are not equally portioned across all our local neighborhoods. The differences arise in maintenance of public infrastructure like parks, roads and buildings. There is also a stark contrast in appropriate business practices, signage and street presence. As the growth and development of our city shifts and flows, we cannot leave neighborhoods behind or abandoned. We need elected officials who are visible, accessible and active to all our citizens, regardless of where in our city they choose to live.
Safe Neighborhoods – Building safe communities takes total involvement from each of us. Its foundation begins at the most basic level, our neighborhoods. When we reach out and get to know the families who live next door and across the street, we build strength through association. We forge partnership and understanding that enables us to better understand the needs and challenges facing our community. Through cooperation we can begin to address those needs. Safety is built through numerous ways. It can be as simple as a hosting a block party or as involved as organizing a neighborhood watch group. All it takes is a few community members stepping up and taking a leadership role in their neighborhood. Before long the buds of community grow and neighbors come together under a common purpose. United to create a safe place to live, work and play.
Total Transportation – In 2013 we fought for a bus system. Today, we can look forward to seeing those buses begin mobilizing our city as early as Spring 2016. But the fight isn’t over. Every day, thousands of our citizens struggle to find suitable transportation to school, work and medical care. The future of our city hinges on connecting our greatest asset, our people, with the economic engines of our future, our schools and businesses. It hinges on the long-term health of our seniors and their ability to access high quality care providers. The prosperity of our economy depends on connecting businesses to the customers who demand their goods and services. Every movement, every commute, every inch of our city, drives us towards our future. Our feet, our wheels and our wings get us there. We have the strategic plans to make it happen, but we lack the financial gas to get us there. It is time for us to have a mayor and a city government who really make pedestrian safety and transportation infrastructure a priority.
Education for All – Education extends well beyond the classroom. It takes place 24/7/365. As a city, we must look beyond the traditional classroom environment and ask ourselves how to best prepare our students to be full citizens of our community. The core focus our efforts must be on STEM fields. Employment opportunities in STEM fields will grow at twice the rate of non-STEM opportunities over the next decade. 80% of the fastest growing careers are dependent on STEM based skills. Our community must provide the programs and extracurricular activities necessary to engage our students in STEM. While ABSS is managed at a county level, we as a city can make our students more competitive by creating programs that allow our students to learn and experience STEM outside of the traditional school day.
Leadership with Vision – Our city is filled with innovative and creative community leaders. These are the people that we need to more fully engage in active leadership roles. It is the responsibility of our mayor to be an advocate who reaches out to all corners of our community and empowers these leaders. Our city’s future success and growth depends on Burlington being a community that continually innovates. We must truly live up to our goal of being a dynamic community that attracts and retains talented and engaged citizens.