Former Mayor Daley leads new company

WGN-TV

Aug. 1, 2013

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Former mayor Richard Daley is leading a new company designed to help cities save money on investments in infrastructure.

It’s called “The Sustainability Exchange.” His investment firm, “Tur Partners,” launched the business. T.S.E. will give cities that participate a free analysis of their assets and potential projects, and will alert vendors when a city is planning a request for a proposal.

Daley says the company is looking at energy efficiency, water treatment, waste management, and transportation.

Five cities have already signed up to join.

Original article can be found online

How to build a green city

The Wall Street Journal 

March 30, 2013image

As more people pack into cities, the environmental risks are growing—and so are the calls to make urban areas greener.

What’s the best way to tackle this job? And how can leaders navigate the challenges?

Richard M. Daley was mayor of Chicago as it undertook an ambitious program to make the city greener. Here are edited excerpts of his remarks.

On the priorities when making a city green

You have to ask, what’s your responsibility to the city? First of all, cleanliness. Picking up trash.

AeroFarms won last year’s ECO:nomics vote for most cutting-edge, eco-friendly company. Now CEO David G. Rosenberg talks was WSJ’s Alan Murray about how his company has progressed in the last year.

After that, you start doing landscaping, basically planting trees, which is important to the air quality. You get people who have not worked involved in this effort through a re-entry program. You also have to explain why you’re doing it.

When we started the effort in Chicago, the media said, “Why are you spending this money on trees? You’re just beautifying the city.” You have to explain to them how environmentally important that is.

Then you have to have the city lead by example. Usually, government mandates everybody else to do it and exempts themselves. We said, we’re going to start being a green government. All public buildings are basically built with the U.S. Green Building Council.

We also have a green center of technology to educate developers, architects, engineers, contractors, trade associations and unions. There’s also permitting. If you’re going to build green, give them a special permit to do that as quickly as possible. You also look at the water situation and conservation.

The public doesn’t always understand sustainability, but they want somebody to lead on it. And from my experience, we don’t have a national plan for the environment. It’s basically the city and the private sector or not-for-profits.

And as you do all this, you need the business community to become your advisers and to work with them. They have to be part of the solution, the same as with the not-for-profits and citizens. There always has to be that. Government cannot do all of it alone.

On planning and funding ambitious green projects

We should have a commission representing federal, state and local governments, and the business community. You would need a three-quarters vote to make decisions.

And where does the money come from? Look at offshore profits that companies are making. Bring them back at a 5% tax. Then say that the companies are going to contribute 15% into an infrastructure fund each year. At a national level, every company. And then X amount of money will come from local and state governments.

You also look at the rules and regulations that are involved to see if you can save money there. Let’s say you’re doing a water and sewer project, not just in Chicago but including Indiana and Wisconsin. Let’s say one of those areas has certain laws, rules and regulations that cost more money than anyone else. Maybe it just costs more money and doesn’t get you better safety or better efficiency. So you can cut down the cost of the project by looking at that.

A version of this article appeared March 26, 2013, on page R2 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: How to Build a Green City.

Original article can be found online

Meet and greet the mayor

The Austin Chronicle

July 8, 2013

Although City Council is informally on hiatus until August – and several members annually spend at least a couple of weeks in cooler climes – the work goes on in steamy Austin. This week features a Council “meet and greet” with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley: Tuesday, Council Chambers, 1pm

Daley is now executive chairman of Tur Partners LLC, whose cryptic name, according to its web site, designates “an investment and advisory firm that partners with global businesses to drive expansion into new and existing markets.” But Tur apparently has its fingers in a number of municipal pies, and elsewhere is described as sometimes engaged in consulting on “sustainable development.” That’s its current task in Austin, where it was hired to help the Parks and Recreation Department develop a “long-term plan” for the city’s Downtown parks. Daley is in town to mark the release of the first fruit of that project, a report titled “Town Lake Metropolitan Park Redevelopment Study.”

According to the report, the “Auditorium Shores Improvements Project will be led by PARD, actively coordinated with the Austin Parks Foundation and C3 Presents, the organizer of the Austin City Limits Festival, and also outside consultants. … APF is current working with advisory firm Tur Partners LLC, in close connection with PARD and the City of Austin, on a comprehensive analysis of city plans, policies and initiatives relating to Austin’s Public Park System, with a particular focus on long-term redevelopment plans for Town Lake Metropolitan Park.”

The project, which begin in late 2012, is intended to help create “a long-term vision and execution plan for developing Town Lake Metropolitan Park.” The current report provides “preliminary findings”; the final report, to be issued in April of 2014, “is intended to act as a suggested road map for the city of Austin in developing Town Lake Metropolitan Park into a best-in-class facility that serves as a parks centerpiece for the city as a whole.”

NewsDesk expects we’ll learn more this week during the meet-and-greet, and we’ll have more to say about the report in due course. But it already raises one question: Shouldn’t the former Democratic Mayor of Chicago know that the name of that body of water in the middle of Downtown Austin is “Lady Bird Lake”?

Original article can be found online

Updated article can also be found online

Bi-national cooperation helps save the Great Lakes

The Huffington Post

July 9, 2013

2013-07-08-MayorDaleyGLSCLI.jpg
Co-Founder of the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Cities Initiative, former Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, addresses attendees at the initiative’s tenth annual meeting. (image credit: Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust / Carl Lindquist)

 

Recently at Shedd Aquarium, world-renowned Canadian astronaut Julie Payette shared views of the Great Lakes from her former vantage point in space, in honor of our new At Home on the Great Lakes exhibit opening.

As she scrolled through sky-high images of Chicago, Green Bay, Toronto, Rochester, one thing became clear. Even from thousands of miles above the atmosphere, the satellite pictures reflected the uniqueness of each city along the Great Lakes, revealing the distinct ways that the lakes shaped the evolution of every community on their shorelines — and the ways our cities shape the lakes in turn.

The nuances of our geographical landscapes are mirrored up-close by how our Great Lakes communities understand conservation issues. Last week marked Independence Day in two countries that have cooperatively maintained our border for more than a century — which may help explain why, when it comes to the Great Lakes, we’re united in our efforts to save them despite so many diverse demands on the basin. One example? This June marked the 10th anniversary of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI). Founded by Mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley in 2003 and led by Executive Director David Ullrich, the bi-national initiative has grown into the leading municipal voice for protection, restoration and celebration of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River.

This bi-national leadership is critical because, as Payette noted during her talk, watersheds do not conform to political or municipal boundaries. As a result, GLSLCI continues to demonstrate that when it comes to getting Great Lakes restoration done, cities are often where the rubber meets the road. Together, the 103 mayors speak for the unique identities, needs and priorities of the more than 16 million people they represent, in order to develop solutions for Great Lakes issues that integrate the entire basin’s environmental, economic and social concerns.

At this June’s GLSLCI annual meeting in Marquette, Mich., the mayors shared their cities’ unique perspectives on the Great Lakes’ most pressing issues, including climate change adaptation, the coastal impacts of historically low water levels, mining and economic development. While extremely necessary, this work isn’t always easy. After all, we have to establish common ground between eight states, two provinces, countless communities and federal, state, provincial and tribal and First Nations governments. Fortunately, there are many cross-border organizations working to reflect these stakeholders’ diverse perspectives, including the GLSLCI, Great Lakes CommissionInternational Joint Commission and Council of Great Lakes Governors.

While these groups continue their efforts, we also need you. Saving our Great Lakes can only happen if all points of view are considered, and your voice matters. In every Great Lakes community, there are opportunities to get involved with the lakes. Whether you attend a city shoreline planning meeting or volunteer for a beach restoration day, you’ll be adding your energy to a bi-national conservation effort.

No matter what you do, do something: Now is your chance to share your thoughts on the next five-year plan for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Public comments are due July 12; click here to submit yours or click here to send an email.

Original article can be found online

Sustainability Exchange for cities to collaborate on best practices

Energy Manager Today

July 11, 2013

Sustainability Exchange logo

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has launched The Sustainability Exchange, a partnership for municipalities to efficiently study, design and implement clean and sustainable technology projects in collaboration with technical, legal and financial experts. Mayors of cities like New Orleans and Phoenix have announced their support for the initiative.

Daley’s idea was that since cities across the country face the same challenges, they need not face it alone. The exchange aims to unite cities in an innovative partnership for the adoption of best practices in sustainability, and the delivery of measurable, data-driven results.

He launched it in June with his investment firm Tur Partners and has begun discussions with several cities on signing up.

It will focus on four areas – energy efficiency, water and wastewater treatment, waste management, and public transportation. By sharing information among participating cities and leveraging guidance from academic institutions, think tanks and technology experts, the exchange plans to help cities identify and implement best practices in these areas.

After analyzing the data and operations for different cities, potential projects will be identified. The exchange will help with local procurement processes by providing cities better information for adopting solutions, and enabling cities to tell vendors what they need, rather than asking vendors what they can provide.

It will help raise awareness among potential project vendors and financing partners across the nation, which it says will increase competition among technology and service providers and financial institutions, creating a more efficient, less expensive procurement process.

Cities that invest in smart-grid technology and infrastructure, called “connected cities,” experience an annual GDP growth rate that is 0.7 percent higher, an unemployment rate that is a full percentage point lower, and office occupancy rates 2.5 percent higher than less advanced cities, according to a 2012 study by Jones Lang LaSalle.

The financial services firm says this correlation between smart grid applications and cities’ economic performance underlines the strong relationships between public sector infrastructure custodians and power suppliers.

Original article can be found online

Daley, investment firm offer cities advice on cost-savings upgrades

The Chicago Tribune

July 5, 2013

Las Vegas Begins Replacing 6600 Streetlights With LED Fixtures

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley and his investment firm Tur Partners have started another company, The Sustainability Exchange, to advise cities on how best to squeeze savings out of infrastructure retrofits and upgrades.

Daley and Tur’s chief executive, Lori Healey, have organized the exchange as a social enterprise known as an L3C, or a low-profit, limited liability company. It operates much like an LLC but adds one key advantage: Grant-making nonprofits can invest rather easily. (Typically private foundations only make grants to other charities.)

Daley and Healey launched the company last week and have yet to ink their first client. But Healey and Tur principal Michael Reinhold, the exchange’s president and chief operating officer, said they are in discussions with several cities, and they explained the problem they want to solve.

“We went to a medium-sized city who prides themselves as doing very well in sustainability,” Healey said. “And they were on their third consultant who was evaluating what type of system they should use for converting their streetlights to LEDs,” lights that use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Healey added: “And one of the mayors we talked to didn’t know which consultant to believe because he felt they were always trying to sell him something from their own stable of (LED) products.”

Reinhold added that in Massachusetts the streetlights are owned by utilities, further complicating upgrades.

“So the first thing a city has to do is buy back the streetlights from the utilities,” he said. “They have to model out what the expected costs of that are, go through a whole analysis, and once they do that, they have to decide what kind (of LED) to use, what other features to put on it, what hours the lights will stay on, and so on and so forth.”

The exchange would help cities make all of those decisions and solicit bids from vendors to do the job — at no charge. The exchange would make money by taking a cut of the cost-savings from the new bulbs over several years.

“Why we think this makes sense — not necessarily for the Chicagos, New Yorks and LAs, but for smaller cities — is that by joining together on these projects they can drive down individual costs,” Healey said. “Financing becomes cheaper by bundling things together, and you get much bigger interest from bigger sources of capital.”

Daley’s name and network are opening doors to city officials and experts. In addition to LED lighting, Reinhold said, he envisions the exchange consulting on retrofits for government buildings; fleet conversions to electric and hybrid vehicles; anaerobic digesters, which convert waste to energy; upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities; and recycling programs.

Cities nationwide are moving to cut costs through more energy-efficient operations — and have succeeded to varying degrees, depending on political will, budget considerations, and staff interest and expertise. New York, for instance, is moving to require composting of food scraps. And while Chicago has a plethora of green roofs, it struggled for years to expand recycling citywide.

On the business end, small, venture-backed technology companies lack the lobbyists needed to persuade city officials to adopt new technologies, and they don’t have the money to wait out long procurement decisions.

“So much money is stuck in clean tech (startups), and venture capital firms can’t get it out,” Healey said. “You know why? Because they can’t get the technology adopted at the municipal level.”

Original article can be found online.

Chicago’s Richard Daley starts urban partnership

Crosslands Bulletin

July 1, 2013

Cities can share information and explore alternative financing for sustainable infrastructure projects.

Five city mayors, all Democrats, have come out in support of a new for-profit social enterprise aiming to finance sustainable technology projects.  The chair and leading force behind The Sustainability Exchange (TSE) is the former, six-term mayor of Chicago and Democratic party boss Richard M. Daley.Daley is affiliated with the Katten Muchin Rosenman law firm.  He is also a senior advisor to JP Morgan Chase where he will be chairing a joint project with the Brookings Institution called the Global Cities Initiative.  Daley is executive chairman of Tur Partners, the investment and advisory firm where TSE’s Vice Chairman Lori Healey is CEO.  Both TSE’s COO and vice president are former employees at Tur.Helping to launching TSE are mayors of New Orleans, Phoenix, Parma, Ohio, Newton, Massachusetts, and South Bend, Indiana.  TSE will focus on four areas: energy efficiency, water and wastewater treatment, waste management, and public transportation.  It is a designated low-profit limited liability company, or L3C.  The structure allows foundations and other socially responsible and impact investors to support TSE’s operations though debt and equity investments, as well as grants.“The L3C is the natural legal platform for TSE.  It preserves the financial advantages and governance flexibility of the traditional limited liability company while placing social mission ahead of profits,” say Marc Lane, the author of the L3C law in Illinois.

There are 850 L3Cs according to interSector Partners, an L3C consulting firm.

For information contact TSE, 900 North Michigan, Suite 1730, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.  Tel: +1 312 768 4795; Fax: +1 312 212 3001; E-mail:info@TSEcities.com.

Original article can be found online