Mayor: 'One York for all'
In her State of the City address Tuesday night, Mayor Kim Bracey riffed on the Pledge of Allegiance to call for inclusiveness, dignity, pride and peace for all of York City’s 40,000-plus residents.
Bracey noted that York City’s population is almost 30 percent Hispanic and reiterated the city’s status as a “welcoming city” to immigrants.
“We are all one York, with liberty and justice for all,” Bracey said.
The mayor's annual State of the City address, held at the Valencia Ballroom, also highlighted new city initiatives and programs to promote racial diversity and inclusion.
Less than a week after President Donald Trump took office in January, Bracey signed an executive order declaring that York City “remains committed to ensuring public safety, public health and vital services” for all city residents, but the order stopped short of declaring York City a “sanctuary city.”
The order is meant to encourage members of the city’s immigrant community to cooperate with the York City Police Department.
Workforce diversity: Bracey also announced hiring initiatives at the York City police and fire departments to help the departments build diverse workforces by recruiting new employees from minority backgrounds.
Over the next decade and a half, officials will try to “recruit homegrown talent” by reaching out to students in middle school, high school and post-secondary institutions to inform them about potential career paths in public safety, she said.
By 2030, 25 percent of the city’s public safety officials will be individuals from ethnic minorities, Bracey said.
York City Fire Chief David Michaels said after the speech that he is “excited” to work to implement the new hiring policies and have his department better “reflect our community.”
Community cooperation: The mayor, who is running for a third term against York City Council President Michael Helfrich, called for more cooperation between communities of different backgrounds and highlighted the recent partnership between the city and West York that will see the York City Human Relations Commission take up residence in the neighboring borough.
The commission is tasked with investigating complaints of unlawful discriminatory practices in housing, employment and public accommodations in the city and enforcing the city’s anti-discrimination ordinances.
“We are all the White Rose City, but not all our roses are white,” Bracey said.
West York Mayor Shawn Mauck said “the city’s success is our success,” and he is proud that he and Bracey were able to work together for city and borough residents.
Pro-grow: Bracey spoke about the need to revitalize and redevelop "abandoned eyesores" and blighted properties as a way to create new assets for the city and county and foster relationships between residents.
Bracey called on the York County Economic Alliance and York County Commissioners’ Office to work with the city to form a countywide committee to target blighted properties for redevelopment.
Commissioner Doug Hoke said county commissioners have held discussions with the economic alliance and he is “very welcoming” to the idea of forming some sort of blighted properties authority, though he will need more information before making any decisions.
In a move that surprised some in the crowd Tuesday, Bracey said she endorses Five-Leaf Remedies’ $2.5 million plan to transform an old tobacco warehouse on East Poplar Street into a medical marijuana growing and processing facility.
Five-Leaf Remedies received zoning approval from the city earlier this year, and the company is awaiting a decision on its application for one of two highly coveted grower-processor licenses allocated for the state's southcentral region.
Bracey did not take any public stance on Five-Leaf’s plans during the zoning approval and application process.
After endorsing Five-Leaf’s plans to renovate the “long-shuttered” warehouse, Bracey said the city is hiring three additional property-codes enforcement officials to “nip nuisances in the bud before they fester into blight.”
— Reach Jason Addy at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JasonAddyYD.