Chicago Mayor Richard Daley voice cracked as he touched on the city's violence problem during his annual "State of the City" address.
"As a father and grandfather I share the pain of those who have lost friends and loved ones to violence," Daley said from behind his pulpit at a downtown hotel ballroom.
Speaking in stentorian tones, the mayor said city-wide violence was the most immediate and pressing problem facing Chicago today. Several aldermen who witnessed the speech say Daley sounds as if he's going to run for office again.
Daley has not said whether he'll run again.
Acknowledging the city's challenges, Daley said he's proud of the investments Chicago has made in its neighborhoods and that because of money spent on new police stations, libraries and senior centers "our neighborhoods are stronger today."
But, Daley said, "it is an understatement to say that we are living in complex and difficult times."
Laying out broad themes, Daley said that Chicago is in a fight for resources with cities across the globe. Our competitors for new jobs aren't just New York and Los Angeles, but places like Shanghai, Singapore and Mumbai, Daley said.
Daley also reiterated his support of technology initiatives, saying the city needs to make itself an attractive destination for more high-tech firms like Navteq and Groupon. In support, Daley announced the creation of the Chicago Growth Accelerator, a program aimed at bringing businesses focused on technology, bio sciences, alternative energy and manufacturing to Chicago.
Daley highlighted two small businesses that benefited from the "City's Small Business Solution Station," a program aimed at giving loans to small businesses. He talked about Guilia Ismailova, who obtained a $5,000 loan to open he Furtastik dog grooming business and Marisol Nieves, who received a similar loan to rebuild a daycare business that had burned down. He says the city needs more entrepreneurs like them.
Daley concluded his speech by focusing on the budget.
"In the last two and a half years we've cut nearly $400 million, but better management alone won't close next years deficit of $655 million," the mayor said.
Daley said that he would take a $20,000 pay cut next year, and seemed to prescribe similar belt tightening everywhere.
"If we work together, we can unleash Chicago's potential, move beyond the recession, and emerge stronger," he said.