DMO held our annual Board Retreat in beautiful Detroit this past September. We wanted to send an overview of the Retreat so that our full membership could benefit from the resources we discussed during the week, and connect with our national partners. Their contact information will be included below. We encourage you to reach out to secure their resources for your city!
This email is part of a multi-day series on the DMO Retreat. Today we will cover the Business Council panels. You can view Monday’s email on our Policy Panel here, and Wednesday’s coverage of our Labor Panel here.
(Doing Business in Detroit. From left to right: Donnell White, Steve Ogden, Craig D’Agostini, David Meador, Scott Benson)
Wednesday’s lunch brought the opening of the business portion of our Retreat. We kicked everything off with an address from Tom Lutz, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, which was followed by a short video on the Capenters. Then we continued with a panel on Doing Business in Detroit. Our National President and Detroit host Scott Benson moderated, with Craig D’Agostini from Comcast, David Meador from DTE Energy, Steve Ogden from Quicken Loans, and Donnell White of Chemical Financial Corporation joining the discussion. These business leaders from Detroit shared their companies’ experiences working in the city, public private partnerships, and how they work to ensure they are good corporate citizens. They also discussed their roles in workforce development. Both Comcast and Quicken mentioned their annual days of action, where employees are encouraged to participate in charitable work in the community.
(Breaking Ground on Affordable Housing. From left to right: Patti Shwayder, Fred Tayco, Michelle Frisk, Chuck Lesnick, LaWana Mayfield)
We continued with Breaking Ground on Affordable Housing. The discussion was led by Charlotte Council Member LaWana Mayfield, and the panel consisted of Michelle Frisk from the Ironworkers, former DMO Board Member Chuck Lesnick, Patti Shwayder from Aimco, and Fred Tayco from the National Apartment Association.
Chuck Lesnick presented on how Opportunity Zones could be used to promote the creation of new affordable housing projects. He also put forward the idea of deferring property taxes on new buildings in developing areas, and making opt out pricing for affordable units at least twice the amount of building one, to avoid the market incentivizing opt outs. Patti Shwayder noted that rents on average are actually increasing at a rate below inflation, counter to common perception. She also pushed against rent control, noting that more expensive units in a building can be used to subsidize affordable housing units in the same location. The Ironworkers recommended that any new housing created should be done under a project labor agreement, with pre-hire agreements for workers.
The first day of the conference ended with a panel on Rising Together: Exploring Solutions to Poverty in Our Communities. We heard from DMO President Emeritus and former Tampa Council Member Mike Suarez headed the panel, with members including Arthur Jemison from the Detroit Mayor’s Office, Detroit Council President Brenda Jones, Lauren Neill from T-Mobile, and Tony Williams from Comcast.
Wednesday’s dinner was held at the historic Castle Hall restaurant, a short walking distance from the MGM Grand hotel. There we premiered the new DMO Introduction Video, crafted by alumni and former Malibu Mayor Lou La Monte. Lou spent much of the Retreat continuing his work recording our Board and Advisory Board members for future video projects, with filming courtesy of Comcast.
Thursday began with an experiment, a “speed dating” style set of National Advisory Board Conversations. Guests spent time at individual high tops featuring Retreat sponsors and Advisory Board members including HMS Host, Ford Motor Company, Mosaic Strategies Group, and American Water Resources. Some good connections were made, and in the future we plan on lengthening the time spent at each station to encourage more in depth conversations.
(Managing Waste for Green Cities. From left to right Kerrin O’Brien, David Segall, Susan Moulton, David Biderman, Ian Baltutis)
Next up was our panel on Managing Waste for Green Cities. DMO Council of State Chapters Chair and Burlington Mayor Ian Baltutis ran the session. He was joined by David Biderman of the Solid Waste Association of North America, Susan Moulton of Waste Management, Kerrin O’Brien of Michigan Recycling Coalition, and David Segall of Recycle Track Systems.
The key issue covered was how China has stopped accepting recycling material from the US, creating a glut at home and the need to reuse trash domestically. Panelists encouraged the crowd to increase pickup costs as prices respond to the market, but stressed that it is essential to educate the public as to why. Education is also particularly useful in preventing non-recyclable materials from entering the stream. An ‘Oops Tag‘ is one way to inform the public when unusable material has been mistakenly recycled.
(Open Government, Transparency, and Inclusion. From left to right Derek Green, Gil Villegas, Mike Mattson, Bob Blumenfield, Pat Furey)
Closing out our Advisory Board portion of the Retreat was a discussion on Open Government, Transparency and Inclusion. Our final panel was led by DMO Secretary and Torrance Mayor Pat Furey, and joined by LA Councilman Bob Blumenfield, Philadelphia Councilman Derek Green, Chicago Alderman and DMO Board Member Gil Villegas, and Mike Mattson from OpenGov. Participants discussed the use of data in municipal government, effective ways of using and sharing that information, and case studies that show increased performance and results.
Panelists discussed the necessary difficulty of asking city bureaucracy to be vulnerable and open to sharing information. Incentives drive this change in culture, with carrots outweighing the feared stick of being discovered making a mistake. Open government can be a tool for making life easier for residents, such as allowing parking on street cleaning days immediately after the sweeper has passed. Most important, remember that if you’re not telling your story, someone else is.
Tune in tomorrow for the final email in our installment. We will be covering the strategic planning updates from the DMO Board of Directors.
DMO held our annual Board Retreat in beautiful Detroit this past September. We wanted to send an overview of the Retreat so that our full membership could benefit from the resources we discussed during the week, and connect with our national partners. We encourage you to get in touch with our labor partners to secure their insight and resources for your city. Email me at Nils.Robbins@NationalDMO.org for their information.
This email is part of a multi-day series on the DMO Retreat. Today we will cover the Labor Council panel. You can view Monday’s email on our Policy Panel here.
(DMO Labor Panel. From left to right: Christine Senteno, Britton Loftin, Tyler Longpine, Michelle Frisk, Derek Green)
Following our policy discussion came Hot Topics for 2020 with Cities and Labor. The Labor Council panel, moderated by Philadelphia City Council Member and DMO Labor Council Chair Derek Green, highlighted the work of our Labor partners from the Ironworkers, the Painters, and Teamsters. The Ironworkers’ Michelle Frisk, Ph.D talked about how many labor unions are shifting from federal level activism to state and local activism. She reported that they are getting a lot more done at the at state, county, and city levels to ensure workers are paid fairly and have safe workplaces. She updated DMO on so called Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) and reminded electeds on how these certifications can trick cities into employing non-union companies held to a sub-industry standard.
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades were represented by Britton Loftin, who was hopeful about union support despite attacks on Labor from conservatives who have consistently tried to reduce workplace standards. He pointed out that if the building trade apprenticeship programs were a university, they would be the biggest university system in the United States. They are training workers and providing a pathway to the middle class. While good training is incredibly important, it is only the first step. Among many other laws, IUPAT has been advocating PRO Act – Protecting the Right to Organize that safeguards workers trying to organize a union. It strengthens workers’ rights to conduct organizing campaigns to form a union, hold elections, and get to the bargaining table. This is one of the issues UAW employees are fighting for as their strike continues. Another is giving temporary workers the opportunity to become full-time workers who can join a union and have a voice on the job. Temp workers have in some cases been working for GM for two or three years and are still not considered regular employees.
Panelist and Teamsters Political Director Tyler Longpine used the example of the Los Angeles Port workers who made strides when they were legally classified as employees, thereby gaining the opportunity to join a union. As part of the Teamsters, they fought for back pay from employers who engaged in unfair labor practices. They also entered into Labor Peace Agreements with employers, which allowed union neutrality in exchange for a stop to strike actions and other actions that called out employers publicly. Longpine also gave credit to courageous local Democratic leaders such as Los Angeles City Council Member and DMO President Emeritus Joe Buscaino. Buscaino was critical in helping to develop Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) in Los Angeles. He called out bad employers at the Port of LA, and sought to replace them with companies with higher labor standards. Those standards were not only good for the workers but also for the city as a whole, Longpine pointed out. AFSCME shared an informative one pager on PLAs with DMOs as part of the panel.
Want to learn more about the organized labor terms used in this email? Get in touch with Christine.Senteno@NationalDMO.
(DMO Members on strike with UAW Local 22, including Savannah Alderman Van Johnson, Northfield Council Member Suzie Nakasian, and Burlington Mayor Ian Baltutis. To learn more, read Friday’s installment of our Retreat Recap!)
DMO held our annual Board Retreat in beautiful Detroit this past September. We wanted to send an overview of the Retreat so that our full membership could benefit from the resources we discussed during the week, and connect with our national partners. We encourage you to get in touch with our policy partners to secure their resources for your city. Email me at Nils.Robbins@NationalDMO.org for their information.
This email is part of a multi-day series on the DMO Retreat. Today we will cover the Policy Council panel.
(DMO Policy Panel. From left to right: Dan Besse, Sara Jordan, Sarah Curmi, Xavier Persad, Lynne Bowman)
We kicked off the Retreat with a discussion of Hot Topics for 2020 with Cities and Policy, hosted by our own Policy, Labor, and Intergovernmental Affairs Advisor and Winston-Salem Council Member Dan Besse. We were joined by Sarah Curmi from EMILY’s List, Sara Jordan from the League of Conservation Voters, and Xavier Persand and Lynne Bowman from the Human Rights campaign.
Below are a few of the ideas and resources we discussed during the hour. If any of these tips gives you an idea for a new city policy or ordinance, I know our partners would be happy to help you craft one!
- Take advantage of the candidate training center at https://trainingcenter.
- DMOs can get more involved by prospecting candidates for state office from municipal leadership.
Human Rights Campaign
- Pass a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance.
- Appoint a LGBTQ Liaison to your police or city executive. Even if you don’t have it in the budget to hire staff, a volunteer community liaison can provide your city with public buy in and valuable insights.
- Institute a “conversion therapy” ban ordinance.
- See how your city compares to others across the nation in terms of LGBT friendly policy with the Municipal Equality Index. You can also check out your state with their State Equality Index.
- Establish your city’s 100% clean energy goals.
- Set local emission standards for busses and other city vehicles.
- You can also create a climate adaptation plan, often in partnership with neighboring towns, cities, and counties.
The policy section concluded with a presentation on preparing for the 2020 Census, led by DMO Labor Chair and Philadelphia Councilman Derek Green. Readying your community now, training organizers, and making sure residents are educated in advance will make the difference in making sure everyone is counted. Remember, an accurate census count is about ensuring your communities have the resources they need over the next decade.
Are you interested in doing more to help cities implement these types of policy initiatives? Join the DMO Policy Council. Get in touch with Dan.Besse@NationalDMO.org for more information.
We will return tomorrow with news and resources from the Labor Panel at our Board Retreat.