San Diego Mayor Susan Golding gives opening remarks at the GOP convention.
SAN DIEGO MAYOR SUSAN GOLDING: Fellow Republicans, guests and friends -- welcome to San Diego -- where we have proven that Republican ideas do work. But you don't have to take my word for it. Listen to the reviews. Fortune Magazine said, "it's one of the best cities in America to do business." California Business Magazine rated us the most business-friendly city in California. And my favorite, the U.S. Department of Justice, rated San Diego the safest big city in America.
You can see why we are proud of our city. But just four years ago, San Diego was like too many cities in America today -- an exploding violent crime rate, too many kids out of control, and tens of thousands of jobs disappearing with the defense industry. Unlike so many other cities who think the federal government is the only answer, we knew the solutions to our problems were right here, in our own hands.
We knew what we wanted: More jobs, safer streets, healthier, more tightly knit neighborhoods. We knew that if you want more of something, you tax it less. So we cut business taxes in half ... and then we cut them in half again. We cut water and sewer fees by over half. And now San Diego has the lowest business tax rate of any major city in America. We cut the number of non-public safety city workers and we competitively bid appropriate city services -- stimulating city workers to find better, more efficient ways to do their jobs.
Here in San Diego we did what Bob Dole wants to do for all of America. And the critics are already lining up, claiming Bob Dole's plans to lower taxes and reduce the size of government will hurt America. Don't tell that to the tens of thousands of San Diegans who got new jobs in the past four years, or to the 3,500 new companies that created those jobs.
We knew the federal government wasn't going to stop crime in our neighborhoods. We knew that the only way to turn around the crime rate was for citizens to get involved and work with our police. So we restructured our entire police department to bring it closer to the people. Now every neighborhood has its own police officers and every police officer is trained in neighborhood policing -- the largest city in America to accomplish that.
We formed volunteer citizen patrols throughout the city to work with police -- and together they have turned our crime rate around -- neighborhood by neighborhood. That's why San Diego is now America's safest big city. So don't tell the people of San Diego who have come together and taken personal responsibility for making their neighborhoods safer that the solution to crime can only be found in Washington.
San Diego parents wanted their children safer. So we made some common-sense decisions: That kids should be in school during school hours; that they should be at home or supervised by an adult at night. We decided that when kids break the law, both they and their parents should be held responsible. And juvenile crime dropped 45% the first summer we put a new curfew enforcement policy in place -- two years before Bill Clinton discovered the idea. Violent juvenile crime has dropped 20% in just three years. And children in San Diego are safer. We shifted power from City Hall to each of our neighborhoods; we gave citizens more control over decisions affecting their lives.
These Republican principles have been tested and proven right here. So the next time someone tells you that the problems of this country are too big and too complicated to fix, tell them you know that's not true. Tell them that in San Diego, when government got out of the way, the economy was transformed.
Tell them that when citizens got involved, the crime rate plummeted. Tell them that when individuals were given more power, they came together and made their neighborhoods more livable. Tell them that the week of August 12th, you visited the first great city of the 21st century, and that its success is founded on the principles of the Republican Party. On behalf of all our citizens, welcome to San Diego.
Have a good time, spend a lot of money, and come back soon!