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Cabinet secretaries discuss federal reforms to support metro regions at record-breaking MPC Annual Luncheon

Michael Prischman

EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson, HUD's Shelley Poticha, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood discuss ways the federal government plans to support sustainable community development at MPC's 2009 Annual Luncheon.

Chicago)….. To learn more about and weigh in on the Obama administration’s plans to reform federal policies to better support metropolitan regions, nearly 1,100 Chicago-area corporate, civic, government and community leaders -- a record-breaking crowd -- attended the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) 2009 Annual Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Sept. 17.  The event served as the Chicago kick-off for a White House Office of Urban Affairs national listening tour. During the tour, three U.S. Cabinet secretaries – Shaun Donovan, secretary, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Lisa Jackson, administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Ray LaHood, secretary, U.S. Dept. of Transportation – and Adolfo Carrion, first director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, visited three U.S. cities (Chicago; Dubuque, Iowa; and Denver) “as part of a national conversation to lift up best practices from around the country, to look at innovations for the metropolitan areas of tomorrow,” according to President Barack Obama. Due to a late-breaking request to testify on Capitol Hill on Sept. 17, Secy. Donovan was represented at MPC’s luncheon by Shelley Poticha, HUD senior advisor and soon-to-be new director of HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities.

The luncheon also celebrated MPC’s 75th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, MPC presented a video chronicling the organization’s role, from 1934 to the present, in shaping a competitive, equitable and sustainable region; and presented special awards to Lester Crown, longtime Chicago businessman and philanthropist, and to Chicago Metropolis 2020.

“Today’s event was a great reminder of one of the Metropolitan Planning Council’s founding principles: constant collaboration between public, private, community and civic leaders at the local, regional, state and federal levels is necessary to keep Chicagoland and other U.S. metropolitan regions sustainable and prosperous,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett. “We were thrilled that our 75th anniversary luncheon served as a convening for an historic conversation about the future of metropolitan regions.”

Keynote discussion 

MPC was honored to host the inaugural stop on the White House Office of Urban Affairs listening tour. At the luncheon, Jackson, LaHood and Poticha discussed their agencies’ joint Sustainable Communities Partnership and other ways the Obama administration is supporting innovative and sustainable community development.  The Sustainable Communities Partnership established the following six livability principles to guide the agency’s coordinated efforts:

. Provide more transportation choices.
. Promote equitable, affordable housing.
. Enhance economic competitiveness.
. Support existing communities.
. Coordinate policies and leverage investment.
. Value communities and neighborhoods.  

Luncheon attendees – and, via MPC’s web site and e-newsletter, people across the region – were invited to help shape the administration’s reform effort by submitting questions and ideas for the secretaries, some of which they addressed during the question-and-answer session at the luncheon.

MPC believes the Sustainable Communities Partnership is a signpost pointing to the direction federal investment should be headed: away from investing in silos via arbitrary funding formulas, and toward investing in programs and infrastructure that solve interconnected issues and are planned at the scale of problems they address. A white paper MPC released earlier this summer, Goal-driven, Right-sized, and Coordinated: Federal Investment Reform for the 21st Century, articulated the core tenets of a reform framework, and illustrated these tenets through five real-world examples. The secretaries received a copy of MPC’s white paper prior to the luncheon. MPC and its partners will follow up this month with more specific recommendations for the administration and agencies.

 

MPC’s 75th Anniversary and Awards 

At the luncheon, MPC also marked its 75th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, with special awards presented to Chicago-area civic leaders whose service to the region has advanced both Burnham’s “practical and beautiful” vision and MPC’s mission. A special video presentation chronicled MPC’s role as an agent for positive change in the region, featuring interviews with past and present MPC leaders, including longtime Executive Director Dorothy Rubel (served from 1943 to 1974), and one-time President and longtime MPC Board of Governors leader John Baird, chairman, Baird & Warner.

MPC presented its 75th Anniversary Champion Fighter Award to Lester Crown, chairman, Henry Crown and Company. Crown has been a member of MPC’s Board of Governors since 1992, and by example has inspired many other business leaders to get involved in ensuring metropolitan Chicago remains a sustainable, equitable and competitive region. Crown is widely considered the patriarch of philanthropy in the Chicago region and has championed many critical regional issues, including the expansion of O’Hare International Airport.

“Because of my good fortune, I have had the opportunity to participate in numerous meaningful causes around the globe and especially in Chicago – and the Metropolitan Planning Council is one of them. There is no question that our region is more competitive, more livable and more beautiful because of the work of MPC,” said Crown. “So I accept this Champion Fighter Award with gratitude and with some caveats, as I must share it with many others who fight for what our region needs. I also hope it encourages some of you here today to get more involved in the civic life of our city.”

MPC last presented a Champion Fighter Award – named with a nod to the steely determination required to be a longtime public interest advocate in Chicago – on its 50th anniversary in 1984, when the organization recognized Board leader Ferd Kramer of Draper and Kramer, and Dorothy Rubel for their service to the region.

The 2009 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning – given annually since 1988 to recognize superior plans that have resulted in sensible growth and development in the Chicago region – was presented to Chicago Metropolis 2020. Since the release of their 1999 landmark report Chicago Metropolis 2020: Preparing Metropolitan Chicago for the 21st Century, the business and civic leaders driving Chicago Metropolis 2020 have advocated for better regional planning and smarter investments in transportation, community development and housing, and the region’s people. Among the group’s accomplishments are the following:

. Wrote the legislation and led the effort to create the consolidated Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning;
. Organized and managed 250 organizations throughout the region in the year-long Burnham Plan Centennial, to make bold plans and big dreams for the next 100 years;
. Crafted The Metropolis Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods – to modernize and maintain the region’s global leadership in freight;
. Led a coalition to help create the Illinois Housing Task Force;
. Wrote the legislation and led a coalition to help pass the Illinois Comprehensive Housing Planning Act requiring Illinois to have an annual housing plan;
. Has led the nation on juvenile justice issues and alternatives to incarcerationon; 
. Led the CHANGE Illinois! coalition representing more than two million Illinoisans working for political reform legislation and focusing on campaign finance reform. 

“In 1999, the Commercial Club set out an ambitious agenda to strengthen regional planning, improve investments in our region’s roads, transit and rails, balance Chicagoland’s housing stock, and support our greatest resource: our people,” said George Ranney, president and CEO, Chicago Metropolis 2020; senior counsel, Mayer Brown; and vice chair, MPC Board of Governors. “On behalf of my colleagues at Chicago Metropolis 2020, I am honored to accept the Burnham Award celebrating our success in implementing that agenda.”

Watch a video about the many accomplishments of Chicago Metropolis 2020 >>

The award included a cash prize of $5,000 underwritten by National City Bank, a part of PNC. Joseph Gregoire, president and CEO of Illinois Banking for National City Bank, and a member of the MPC Board of Governors, presented the award. Learn more about the award, including a complete list of past winners, on MPC’s web site.

New MPC Board members 

At the luncheon, MPC recognized its incoming Board members for 2009:

. Joseph Gonzalez, Principal, DeStefano & Partners
. David Hiller, President & CEO, McCormick Foundation
. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, Midwest Area Managing Partner for Tax Services, KPMG
. Peter Malecek, SVP/Market Exec., Commercial Real Estate Banking, Bank of America
. Anne Pramaggiore, President & COO, ComEd
. Lisa Snow, Principal, Davis & Hosfield Consulting, LLC
. Bruce Taylor, Chairman & CEO, Taylor Capital Group and Chairman, Cole Taylor Bank
. Nora Moreno Cargie, Director, Global Corporate Citzenship, The Boeing Company

MPC also recognized its incoming Resource Board member for 2009: Edward Filer, Attorney, Clark Hill PLC.

Sponsors

National City Bank, now a part of PNC, was the Presenting Sponsor of MPC’s Annual Luncheon.  The Allstate Corporation and The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters were Co-Chair Sponsors of the event.

Please visit MPC's flickr page for more photographs >>

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