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Mayor's Hope Journal

  • The 34th Seoul Metropolitan Government Mayor Inaugural Speech

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    Distinguished guests and citizens of Seoul!

    Good morning!
    I am deeply honored and privileged to serve my second term as mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government.

    I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to everyone.
    Your votes have sent a very important message.
    They have humbled me and made me realize even more the importance of the duty that has been bestowed upon me.

    I will not forget the will of the people, including those who cast their vote for me as mayor despite my shortcomings and those who had their own reasons for not doing so.
    I will listen to the voices of all of Seoul’s 10 million citizens.

    As mayor, I am filled with an extraordinary responsibility.
    Like New York, London, Paris and other large cities, Seoul is now ready to transform itself according to a long-term vision.
    The citizens of Seoul have bestowed upon me the mission of leading this city through this transformation.
    I will answer your calling once again and dedicate myself to this magnificent city.

    My greatest assets are the four years I spent in creating the groundwork for the city’s transformation.
    Four years ago, we had nowhere to go on the weekends except outside the city.
    Now, we can relax by the Han River and the 20 or so ponds and streams.
    Of course, such changes will continue into my second term.
    We will continue to develop the Han River side into eco-parks to make Seoul a spectacular riverside city.

    Four years ago, it was common not to have a single park in your neighborhood.
    Now, with 1 million pyeong of newly developed parks most citizens have access to a nearby park.
    This in not the full extent of this change.
    In the next four years, we will continue to increase Seoul’s parks and green areas through various neighborhood park projects.

    Four years ago, the inside of your shirt collar turned black after wearing it for just one day.
    Now, the air has gotten so much cleaner that your collar would still be clean even if you were to wear your shirt for several days!
    In the next two or three years, we will make Seoul’s air as clean as that of Cheju Island and Baengnyeong-do.

    Four years ago, the financial gap between Gangnam and the non-Gangnam area was 17-fold.
    Now, we have lowered the gap to 4.5-fold through all-out reforms.
    Going forward, we will add create even more momentum in our pursuit of balanced regional development through district-specific projects, such as the southwestern district, northeastern district, and northwestern district renaissances.

    Four years ago, Seoul Metropolitan Government’s civil servants ranked last in transparency and anti-corruption. Now, they rank number one. Social welfare spending has increased from 18% of the budget to 25%.
    In the last four years, Seoul has pursued 30 or so projects, such as Creative Governance and Management, SHift, the Women Friendly Project, etc., which have been benchmarked by overseas cities, private companies, other municipal governments and the central government.
    I will try my best to continue to generate such achievements during this forthcoming term.

    The many changes that have occurred have given me confidence to do even better.

    According to a survey made by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Seoul’s urban competitiveness ranked 27th four years ago.
    However, in just two years, in 2008, it had moved up to 12th.
    And finally this year in 2010, Seoul’s urban competitiveness ranked 9th.

    The capital city of Korea, Seoul, has been listed in the top 10 global cities in the world for the first time in its history – higher than Washington, Seattle, and Geneva!
    We now stand shoulder to shoulder with New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo.
    We have made Seoul one of the best cities in the world with our very own hands.

    Our noble journey does not end here.
    In fact, now we will move even faster.
    Tapping into four years of priceless experience in city governance we will try our very best to take Seoul’s innovation to another level.

    As the 34th mayor of Seoul Metropolitan City and the city’s first re-elected mayor, I carry the responsibility of Seoul’s future and the happiness of its people.
    With this in mind, I promise to guide Seoul into the most magnificent era of its history.

    To this end, I promise to uphold three guiding principles.
    These are open communication, social unity, and future-orientedness.
    First, open communication.

    I will be the one to change first.
    I will go the extra mile to listen to the voices of the people and regard them as the starting point of governance.
    The number one guideline I have set for myself is identification with the people.

    As mayor, I will reach out to citizens from all walks of life and discuss the key agendas openly. Seoul is not just an operation built by me and the Seoul City Government.
    It is a city that can only reach its full potential with the direct participation of its people.
    City governance will be a two-way operation based on open communication.

    I will lead the efforts at dialogue and compromise by listening to the views of the Seoul Metropolitan Council, autonomous districts, regional representatives, and various civil groups and incorporate these views into city governance.

    My second guiding principle will be social unity.

    I will look out for the more underprivileged groups of society.
    The voices of the citizens will be the most important barometer when deciding what should come first – especially when it comes to the important issues shared by all, such as the safety of our schools.
    I will see to it that measures are taken with a sense of the utmost urgency.

    The most important thing now is to form a consensus on the direction of city governance and to find a common ground between differing views.
    Let me take the first step.
    I will make Seoul a warm city – a city where the center of governance is the people.
    I will work hard to share this view with every citizen of Seoul.

    My third guiding principle will be future-orientedness.

    Continuing from the momentum that placed Seoul among the top 10 global cities we will now set a new goal for Seoul – to become one of the top five cities in the world.

    The most important agenda for Seoul’s future is the creation of more jobs.
    That is why we will promote new growth engines to support our economy, such as tourism, design, digital content, conventions, R&D and finance.
    We will especially focus on creating jobs where our youth can work with passion and without fear so that our economy will still be strong 10 years and 20 years into the future.

    Distinguished citizens of Seoul and members of the Seoul Metropolitan City Government.

    Let me tell you about this new dream I have.
    The 4th elected city government focused on making Seoul a clean and attractive city.
    Of course, the 5th elected city government will continue to pursue this dream.
    But with a new and higher goal, which is to make Seoul a city where its people are happy and a city loved by the world.

    In the past four years, an important enabler in making Seoul a clean and attractive city has been Design and culture.
    Design was an important principle of city governance that transformed Seoul from a grey city to an attractive and advanced city.
    It proved to be an effective policy guideline in making the city more pleasant, convenient, safe, and human-oriented.

    It’s the same with culture.
    Culture enriches what can otherwise be a monotonous and dry urban life.
    And like in other global cities, culture will become an industry and an investment that creates jobs.

    In the next four years, we will continue to promote culture and design, to improve the quality of life of our Seoul citizens, to make Seoul a more attractive city, and to enliven the economy.
    On top of all this, the 5th elected Seoul City Government will add creativity and humanism to its agenda to make Seoul a city where its people are happy.

    We will strengthen the public school system and reduce the burden of child rearing to make families happier.
    We will provide spaces for entrepreneurism, and we will channel support to small and medium sized businesses to create more jobs.
    We will create a social safety net so that no one is left behind and we will expand national and public day care centers, libraries, sporting facilities, and other convenience facilities.
    We will also put more effort into ensuring housing stability through the supply of public rental housing options, such as long-term deposit based housing.

    The 5th elected Seoul government will build a sustainable Seoul.
    A city loved not only by its citizens but also the world.

    We will continue to pursue, with the necessary modifications, redevelopment and reconstruction projects in designated New Town areas.
    We will also support areas that were left out of development projects that focused mostly on apartments, such as districts with detached housing.
    Such pursuits will transform the Seoul landscape, especially compared to the days of the past, from being an ‘Apartment Republic’.
    We will create more parks, green areas, and riverside parks so that everyone can enjoy a leisurely escape close to home.
    We will improve the quality of life.
    We will also continue to pursue balanced growth policies between the Gangnam and non-Gangnam areas.
    Seoul will pioneer urban development through the promotion of new renewable energy sources and other green growth industries.

    We will build a friendly, happy, balanced and dynamic Seoul.
    The 5th elected Seoul Government will work in harmony to achieve two very important goals in urban management – improving the lives of citizens and strengthening Seoul’s competitiveness.

    Ladies and Gentlemen and members of the Seoul city government family!

    During the past four years we have recorded unprecedented achievements in the areas of the quality of civil services, anti-corruption, and global urban competitiveness.
    Seoul was also the winner of the UN Public Service Award for three consecutive years.
    The creativity gene that we worked so hard to create for the past four years is now growing in our bodies.
    We have the potential to be more competent, cleaner, friendlier, and greater than any other organization.

    On the back of your trust in our creative city governance, your working atmosphere can also change.
    Let us all join hands in making a working atmosphere where job satisfaction grows in accordance to the passion we put into it.

    As equally important as open communication with citizens is open communication with members of the Seoul Metropolitan City Government. I will foster an environment where you are my partners and you are all leaders – not me.
    Let us all joins hands in creating a great city government that provides better services to the citizens of Seoul.

    However, note that along the way we will have to strengthen our anti-corruption measures.
    This will be necessary to ingrain the clean gene into the organization.
    We will make a clean government the trademark of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
    Prepare yourself to win back our number one position as the cleanest government this year.

    Distinguished citizens of Seoul and members of the Seoul Metropolitan City Government.

    Seoul is a magnificent city.
    It is endowed with a spectacular wealth of natural resources, such as The Han River, Namsan, and the mountains surrounding the capital city.
    Seoul is a dynamic city which never sleeps.
    It is a city where cutting edge information technology rests in harmony with 600 years of tradition.

    The 5th elected government of Seoul will do its best to unleash Seoul’s great potential.
    We will build a Seoul with a high quality of life, and we will build a Seoul that ranks among the top five cities in the world.
    Through this, we will make Seoul a city where its people are happy, and a city that is loved by the world.

    Thank you.