Mayor Delivers State of the City Address

Live blogging the Mayor's address from City Hall.

UPDATED (3:35 p.m.) — The State of the City Address is a wrap.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake closes with a promise to make choices that will leave the city better off.

"As mayor, I'm choosing to head down the straight-talking , no sugar-coating path toward change and progress for Baltimore," she said.

The mayor also said she will create a 10-year financial plan for Baltimore.

"The plan will likely call for tough choices such as benefit changes for city employees and retirees, including some that we have already begun to implement," Rawlings-Blake said. "The plan could also include difficult consolidations of some city services. These choices cannot be ignored, and all options must be considered."

Under the mayor's proposal, the quasi-public Baltimore Development Corporation will be restructured into three focus areas: real estate development, expansion and retention of businesses and commercial development in residential in neighborhoods outside of downtown.

Rawlings-Blake also touts the Baltimore City Housing Department's launch of its Vacants to Value program. The program includes a $5,000 forgivable loan for city police officers, firefighters and teachers who purchase or rehab vacant homes in Baltimore. 

The mayor announces the creation of "DVStat" to help crack down on domestic violence issues in Baltimore City.

Rawlings-Blake promises to fight for stronger sentencing for those caught with illegal loaded guns.

"We will not back down until the legislature joins us in this fight against criminals and their illegal guns," she said.

The mayor praises the decreases in the city's crime, especially the reduction in homicides, but also uses the chance to push for state legislation for stronger sentencing for crimes involving guns.

Rawlings-Blake singles out Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Andres Alonso.

"Dr. Alonso. Where do we start with you? First, let's change your name to Dr. Progress," she said.

The mayor also praises new teachers contract and salutes city educators.

"I submit to you that Baltimore is not waiting for Superman," she said.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake begins speech by defending "tough choices" to close budget deficit without cutting police or raising taxes.

Upon entering the City Council Chambers the mayor jokes about missing the chambers.

"You all are so kind. I almost miss these chambers. Almost," she said.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is escorted in by Baltimore City Council members Sharon Green Middleton, Mary Pat Clarke, Bill Henry and William Cole.

Mayor is greeted with applause from those in attendance.

Council President Bernard "Jack" Young begins remarks by recalling the city's struggles, but uses historic comparisons to highlight city's resilience.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is set to deliver her State of the City Address today at 2:30 p.m. We'll be live blogging the address from City Hall. Check back here for details on the speech.


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