>> Susan M. Collins: Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome. It's really a delight to see everybody here with us today. I'm Susan Collins, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean here at The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. And, again, a pleasure to welcome you to today's special event. It's cosponsored by one of The Ford School's Research Centers, the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy, CLOSUP. And so on behalf of both CLOSUP and The Ford School we are just delighted to have this Panel here today. I'd like, as well, to acknowledge that we're joined by the University of Michigan Vice President for Government Relations, Cynthia Wilbanks, we're delighted to have her joining us, too. Well, today's Panel really represents a very distinguished group of public servants. We have Kerry Duggan from the Office of Vice President Joe Biden, Arthur Jemison from Detroit, Colonel Kevin C. Riley and Abigail Beniston from Youngstown, Ohio, and joining us, her plane is a little bit delayed but joining us soon will be Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana. They'll be introduced more formally in a moment and their bios are in your program, as well, and so I'd just like to say that it's really an honor for us to have our Panel here, so welcome to The Ford School. Well, it's also a very special honor and a true pleasure to welcome home today's Moderator, Cecilia Munoz, and we're delighted to have you here today.
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Cecilia is a Special Advisor to President Obama and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. She's one of the nation's top policy leaders and she's also a native Detroiter and an Alum of the University of Michigan. In fact, she reminded me a third generation Alum, so go Blue, we're delighted on that. And some members of her family, her father and sister, are here with us, too, and we're delighted, great to have you.
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While much of Cecilia's career was spent working at the National Council of La Raza, as DPC Director she has led the Obama Administration's efforts to fix our country's broken immigration policies, increase the minimum wage, forge Federal partnerships with local governments, which is one of the key topics for today, and so much more. Her commitment to improve the lives of others has earned her many honors, including the very prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2000. I met Cecilia during my first year as Dean. She had served as a TOUSI [Assumed Spelling] policymaker of residence here in 2007 and our students lobbied really hard to bring her back as commencement speaker in 2008, which was my first year here, and she just did a wonderful job with that commencement address. And so it really is a pleasure to have you back again at The Ford School, and I just wanted to thank you explicitly for being so generous with your time, spending time with both our students and our faculty, as well as the more general community. So Cecilia will moderate our distinguished Panel. After the initial conversation she'll take questions from the audience and you should all have received cards as you came in, they will be collected, starting at around 12:30 we'll have staff who will be circulating. Ford School Professor Megan Tompkinstang [Assumed Spelling], together with two of our Ford School students, Gabrielle Horton and Josh Rivera, will facilitate the question and answer session. For those who are watching online please tweet your questions to us using the hashtag policy talks and we'll be delighted to include your questions in the queue, as well. And so now please join me in giving a very special welcome to our guests who will do our Panel today.
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>> Cecilia Munoz: So thank you very much for that very warm introduction and good, I guess, afternoon, everybody. Thank you for being here. I'm just going to give a little brief introduction to the session and then we will get rolling. The President that I work for started his career as a community organizer and really in that spirit he not only attracted fellow community organizers into his Administration, but he really challenged us to think about how making life better for Americans works at the local level and he challenged us as a Federal Government to be thoughtful about what it's like to be a mayor, what it's like to be a community leader, what it's like to work in a neighborhood association, and really challenged us to think about how we intersect with those people as a Federal Government to see if we could be the kind of innovators that the country deserves and, most importantly, work in a way that puts Federal Government leadership in the service of local leadership. And that's really what we've come to talk about today. We developed a whole host of what we call place based policymaking, and I should point out that my former Deputy James Quall [Assumed Spelling] is the current TOUSI policymaker in residence at The Ford School and he's sitting right there, and he was involved in these policymaking decisions. And The Ford School is lucky to have him and smart to have him here. We devised a policymaking approach that was focused on local communities and that has four things, four sort of central characteristics. And first is that the local community sets the vision for what's the tipping point, what's the goal, what is it that you're trying to achieve, not the Federal Government but local leadership? And then the second thing is that these are to be long-term plans, that this is not about going from crisis to crisis, this is about looking over a longer time horizon, figuring out what's needed and how to get there. The third is that we rely and ask local leaders to rely very heavily on data and metrics in order to demonstrate did we make the right choices, are we reaching our goals, how do we need to readjust in order to get there. And then fourth is that the Federal Government tries to coordinate across our bureaucracy rather than expect local leaders to navigate the very complex bureaucracies that we currently ask them to navigate. So the idea is that we try to operate as if there were one door to the Federal Government and we try to coordinate ourselves rather than expecting local leaders to have to figure us out because we can be big and complex and maybe more than a little frustrating. So during just the eight years that I've been involved in this Administration we started with five Federal agencies working in a coordinated way in a small number of communities and today we have 15 Federal agencies coordinating across about 1,800 communities. This is a big, big initiative on the part of the Obama Administration and we are eight years in, and it turns out that if you're trying to make long-term goals eight years is a pretty small time horizon. So we are still determining whether our theory of the case is correct, that if the Federal Government were to work in the service of local leadership that that would actually catalyze change, and the jury frankly is still out and the most important jury at some level are the local partners that we work with. So what we've assembled here today is a Panel of folks who are true experts because this is the work that they do day in and day out. So we have folks from the Federal family who are involved with local communities and we have local leaders, as well, who are doing this work. In particular in Youngstown and in Detroit, and when the Mayor gets here, in Gary, Indiana. So let me ask them quickly to introduce themselves, to just tell us quickly who you are and what you do, what you're focused on, and then we will dive right into the conversation, starting with Kerry.
>> Kerry Duggan: Thank you, Cecilia. Thanks, University of Michigan. As an Alum of the School of Natural Resources from a decade ago, it's good to be home. Real quick, my name is Kerry Duggan. I'm Duggan, he's Duggan in Detroit, we're not related, getting that out of the way. Currently I am in the Vice President's Office as his Energy and Environment and Climate Advisor, but for the past five years I've been part of the President's efforts in Detroit, originally through the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Executive Order and team there. And prior to moving to the Vice President's Office I was fully embedded in City Hall in Detroit, which we'll definitely be talking about here today. So it's great to be here. I was at the Department of Energy for about five years before I started doing this work, and so that's the sort of toolkit I brought with me to work on Detroit.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Thanks, Kerry. Arthur?
>> Arthur Jemison: Hi, good afternoon. My name is Arthur Jemison. I'm the Housing Director for the City of Detroit, Michigan. I'm the - principally, I'm the Community [inaudible] Banker for the City, we receive all the City's CDBG Home, ESG and other Federal funds for community development. I'm also the day-to-day leader of the Mayor's housing agenda in the City. Before I came to Detroit I'd spent about 20 years working in the public and private sectors in Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. And I'm pleased to be here today.
>> Colonel Kevin C. Riley: Good afternoon. My name is Kevin Riley. I'm the Director of Stuff [Assumed Spelling] at the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Youngstown, Ohio. Previously I was the Mission Support Group Commander and what that is, easily put is there's the Operations Group, they're the fliers, there's the Maintenance Group, they're the maintainers, there's the Medical, they take care of the obvious stuff, and then there's everything else. And that was my job, was everything else. If you think about a City Manager that's pretty much what my job was and dual hatted it as the Mission Support Group Commander, as the City Manager, if you will, for the Base. I had some 1,500 reservists to get ready to go down range. My job then there with that hat is to provide a training venue to get them ready to go down range to do their duty down range, and our responsibility was to make them as good, if not better, than the guys who were doing it fulltime. So one weekend a month, two weeks a year I have to find all kinds of opportunities for training for them to get them ready to go down range. So it's a pleasure to be here. I am a Southern Cal graduate, so we'll be back.
>> Cecilia Munoz: We won't hold that against you. Abby?
>> Abigail Beniston: Good afternoon and thank you for having me. I'm Abby Beniston from the City of Youngstown. I'm the Code Enforcement and Blight Remediation Superintendent, so a very long title for pretty much everything housing related in the City of Youngstown. I've been working in City Hall for the past nine years and the past five years in housing related appointments. The City of Youngstown is one that the peak of their population was at 170,000 people and have dwindled to about 65,000 in 2015, so we're dealing with a large blight and vacancy problem and so building the relationships and coming up with the strategies to defeat that problem is what I do from day-to-day.
>> Cecilia Munoz: So, Abby, can we start the conversation with you and Colonel Riley? Because I can see people wondering, right, what you just described currently has to do, Abby, with what you do?
>> Abigail Beniston: Correct. So the partnership between the City of Youngstown and the Youngstown Air Reserve Base is one that came about through a Federal program called the Community Partnership Program in the Department of Defense, and what that is is a program that looked for ways to team up local Department of Defense installations with partners in their communities to better invest the bases and spider web them throughout the community. We do have a large vacancy and blight problem in the City of Youngstown. We are a municipality that has three demolition units held in our City's Street Department. We own all of that equipment ourselves, and we tackle close to 500 demolitions every year. With that, we can always use help with that problem so we teamed up with the local Air Base and asked that the Air men and women come into the City of Youngstown and receive their training on our equipment while tearing down homes. So the Colonel could probably speak a little bit more about what else goes on with that.
>> Colonel Kevin C. Riley: Could I have the slide, if it's possible? The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 codified the community partnership practice and that allowed the installations an authority to negotiate with and to partner with, team with the communities, something they've been doing for as many years as there have been bases in communities. But this allowed us to come up with different ways, creative ways to partner to save money. As you know, the budgets are tight and getting tighter. We were dealing with sequestration at the time, so coming up with ways to get our training done, coming up with ways to find ways that we could save money, whether it's having the City or the County plow our streets or working with the Port Authority, who owns the runway, having them come over and plow with us or we plow for them. Right now, we provide all of the emergency services to the airport across the way. So we've been partnering with the community for quite some time. But with the partnership program we reached into that and asked the Secretary of the Air Force to send a team out to work with us as an installation, to invite all the communities in to set-up different work groups. One of them was the Blight Remediation Program out at Youngstown, and Abby was I think a Charter member of that group. And that one is probably our most successful group. We've had a number of other ones that have done great things. We built some stairs in Newton Falls, Ohio, and this program took off when we were able to work through all the hurdles using one of the programs. And there are two programs the Department of Defense has. One is called the Innovative Readiness Training program and that one has been ongoing for many years now and that one is large-scale, it takes about two years to set it up and to get it going, but once you do you can do it on a very large scale for hundreds of thousands of houses. The illustration, the picture there is our guys working on houses on the Navajo Reservation in Gallup, New Mexico building houses and they're inside a very large building assembling these houses and they move them out and plant them on foundations. The 910th is also the Department of Defense's air spray mission, the only aerial spray within the Federal Government, as a matter of fact, and we do large-scale spraying for mosquitos, for oil spills, for other things. We use the IRT process for that, as well. But the City of Youngstown, for our current needs we used what's called the Realistic Military Training program, and that is codified, it's a Department of Defense regulation instruction, if you will. And that allows installations to team up and identify something like the blight remediation, where I have civil engineers who need training on heavy machinery, they have a need where they have excess houses that need to come down, so we were able to work through all of the legal issues to get that partnership and a memorandum of understanding put together and signed. It required the City to go through quite a few legal hoops to get there, including passing some ordinances to allow us to work on their equipment. They would provide all of the supervision, they would provide the equipment, I would provide the labor. My guys got valuable stick time. They might not necessarily be driving track hoes or excavators, like here, and that is an awful lot of fun by the way, I was able to do one. Yes, if you ever want to get some really good - that's it. But our guys got good stick time, so when they go down range they may not be driving one of these machines, but they'll be driving something like a bulldozer or driving something else, heavy duty machinery where they're not learning it for the first time, they're actually going in there with great confidence because this is very complicated. You're in an enclosed, confined environment, taking down a house and those complicated moves may translate very easily to a bulldozer, where you're just going straight, so.
>> Cecilia Munoz: So can I ask, Abby, can you describe a little bit how this intersects from a community perspective? And these are not homes in some isolated place, we're talking about doing demolition in neighborhoods?
>> Abigail Beniston: Correct. So all of these demolitions took place right in the middle of neighborhoods. We have plenty, we have close to 3,500 vacant blighted homes in densely populated neighborhoods that are posing a risk to the house next door, whether it's danger of collapse or arson, for them to be set on fire, but the neighbors are very upset with the conditions they're living by. So the airmen and women are coming into neighborhoods where there are plenty of homes that still are occupied, and not only are they getting training but they're doing a service to the residents where they're very pleased that the blight is gone. So with each house that we took down the first six months we were able to complete about 85 demolitions with the Air Base. And the neighborhood groups, the residents, they all came out and embraced this process. They were very excited that the blight was being gone, but it was also something new to them that they had people from the Air Force in their community helping to spruce up the neighborhood and they were very excited about it.
>> Cecilia Munoz: So let's - oh, one more thing, Colonel?
>> Colonel Kevin C. Riley: One point, we were able to expand that demolition to other services within the community. For example, there were a number of signs, street signs that were missing. They're not just the ones on the poles, they're the ones hanging from above so they have to get in the bucket and that's good training for them, as well. So, and we were able to replace about 800 signs, as well, so.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Wow. So thank you. So let's bring Detroit into this conversation. Arthur, starting with you, about you deal with blight and demolition, as well, but I'd love just your sense also of how and the challenges that you're dealing with in Detroit, how has the local-Federal relationship worked?
>> Arthur Jemison: Well, I would describe the relationship as working very well. I mean I think the things that we've been able to achieve in Detroit over the last three or four years are a testament to a great degree to the participation of the Federal Government very directly in some of the policy thinking and, most importantly, through cash resources invested in the City's work. You may have heard that the City has some 40,000 houses that are in need of demolition and you may also have heard that we recently passed a milestone of demolishing 10,000 blighted, abandoned, vacant houses. Something that took a lot of time and, frankly, took a huge amount of money and coordination with the Obama Administration, as well as the Treasury Department and all the people in between. So that's one major milestone. You may not know about some other smaller things that have I think a huge opportunity to impact day-to-day life in the City that the Federal partnerships allowed us to do. Besides the demolition, you know, the City has a Housing Commission, the Housing Commission has been under the receivership of HUD for 10 years and about two years ago we were able to appoint a local Board and get that Board to lead the Housing Commission. Now Housing Commissions, maybe you don't know about Housing Commissions, but public housing is the anchor of the Affordable Housing System in any city and having that under the jurisdiction of HUD makes it hard to do things. Things like mobilizing the rental assistance that many Detroiters urgently need, things like reusing development sites that are in the portfolio of the Housing Commission, targeting important communities for attraction to the City. There's a number of different things that a Housing Commission can do that when it's not under the control of the local authorities you don't have access to those resources. Another example is in our efforts to change the City for the better and we also worked closely with HUD on things like our recent allocation of $9 million to the City for the purpose of creating place making landscapes that will go in next to the areas of strength and the neighborhoods of strength in our community. That's going directly into the planning that's going to create those great concept plans and it's going to go into the implementation of those parks and open spaces. I could go on about other Federal resources, like the City recently made a proposal to develop a thousand mixed income housing units on the former Brewster-Wheeler Public Housing site. That was an opportunity that was highlighted to us through our Federal partnership. I could go on for a long time talking about matters obscure and matters that are well known, but none of those things would have happened without a Federal partner. Now to some degree the stronger that the City gets in its implementation and management of its resources it can take better advantage of the Federal partnership and make more pointed and specific requests that it's been my experience that the Federal Government has gone to great lengths to satisfy and partner with the City on, but without strength in the City Departments you can't, it's hard to articulate those needs, so I think as we've gotten stronger we've been able to make a higher quality of requests and a higher quality - and be a better partner to the Federal Government. So I guess, again, I can't name an area where I've had success that doesn't have the direct involvement of a Federal partnership, so I think that's pretty much the whole message.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Thank you. So, Kerry, when I visited Detroit in January one of the things, stories that I think you told which has really stuck with me was that when we started this partnership and sending folks to work on the Mayor's team what the Mayor thought he wanted was just resources, just like it's very nice that you're sending a person but what I really need you to do is write a check. And one of the things the Mayor said to me when I was there in January was actually that turned out to be - that writing the checks is great, but that the most valuable thing has turned out to be technical expertise and technical assistance. And you have some stories to tell about that.
>> Kerry Duggan: Sure, I'll try to be quick and talk into the mike. It is funny, I think the recipe that I've learned and I'll go back and give you some specific examples, but what seems to have been proven out and I've been doing this for five years is that it's capacity first, it's what Arthur just said. As the City gains more robust capacity at the high levels, yes, you can and you have asked us for more stuff, which is great, but it was capacity and then the technical support and then the resources, the money. I think that's sort of the recipe that at least from my perspective has really worked in Detroit. I can give you two examples and then one that's hopefully going to produce some fruit that Arthur and I have partnered on. When I started working on Detroit, it was during the previous Merrill Administration when half of the streetlights were out. So those of you who know Detroit do remember those days. It's funny that two years ago that was the case still. And so it took a long time and a lot of private-public partnership to get to a place where there were enough resources at play to reinstall the streetlights. And that's when I realized that they were going to reinstall technology that, I'm being funny here, but that Thomas Edison, himself, would recognize. And having spent a number of years in a very technical office in the Department of Energy I was familiar with the advanced lighting that the Administration has gone hard on R and D to bring down the cost and improve the efficiency. So I suggested to the Public Lighting Authority in Detroit maybe you ought to consider advanced lighting. And it took some time and some convincing, but I brought in some of the partners from the DoE universe, which is the National Laboratory system, in this case the Pacific Northwest National Lab. Brought them to the table, they in turn brought some other partners to the table, and we had a closed door, big conversation about infrastructure problems and what was going on in Detroit. And now you have - let's fast-forward here - now you have 63,000 LED streetlights lit in Detroit's neighborhoods, the downtown is the last piece that they're finishing, and the plan is to finish before the end of this year. Two years ago they were in bankruptcy, now they have one of the most advanced lighting systems in the nation, it's fabulous. If you haven't been down to Detroit you should go there. So that's one example. My other example is actually very recent. Secretary Moniz, my former boss, was in town just two weeks ago cutting the ribbon at a new solar farm on the west side of Detroit, at the O'Shea Park. Now what's neat about this is the Mayor had approached Secretary Moniz in 2014 saying I'm really interested in how we reuse land in Detroit, Detroit is a very big city with a lot of vacancy as was mentioned. So in addition to the 10,000 demolitions of the residential you've got an equal number of commercial sites that need demolition and you've got a ton of abandoned school sites. So we looked at the problem, we partnered with the Utility, and it dawned on me that the utility and the City had - well, the City had an appetite for doing solar deployment, but the Utility was more interested in probably where it was easy and economically feasible to do something in a cornfield, right? So I said, well, can we just have a conversation about urban solar? And so Secretary Moniz two weeks ago cut the ribbon on one of the nation's largest urban solar farms and not only that half of the site is actually going to be repurposed for recreation. So they're revitalizing a whole neighborhood, and then he brought in a community partner to do free energy audits for the neighbors. They're actually getting a direct benefit, and it's just been very exciting and that partnership happened - I brought in the technical resources of the National Renewable Energy Lab out in Colorado. So it's kind of been an all-hands-on-deck approach to finding the resources, the technical resources to support. And I think this all goes back to my 8th grade history teacher, who had on his podium a sign that said assume nothing. He was a terrifying professor. [laughter] My sister is here, am I right? Yes. So that is my attitude, I don't assume. I think these people in Detroit, Arthur is one of them, the folks I work with in City Hall are some of the brightest, most creative, you have one of the hardest jobs in America, sir, but I don't assume that they definitely know where all the resources are. And that's been the joy of this work that Cecilia and the President have enabled is allowing me to spend the time to understand the problems and then go find the resources to bring to bear.
>> Cecilia Munoz: So, Arthur, I know that Kerry is sitting right next to you.
>> Arthur Jemison: She feels compelled to say things like that?
>> Cecilia Munoz: Well, no, you should also feel compelled, and I'm a Federal official as well, and so you've got one on the other side, he's in the Military, so no pressure. [laughter] But seriously part of what we need is feedback about whether or not our theory of the case is really true, whether or not in your experience as a City official who is trying to do this work and, Abby, I want to bring you into this conversation, too - our theory of the case is that by having Kerry or somebody like her on the Mayor's team they're on the ground as opposed to in an office in Washington. That will add value to your work, but that we can do it in such a way where it's still clear it's your work, it's the people of Youngstown, the people of Detroit advancing the ball here and we are working in the service of that. So that's the theory of the case, and it's really easy for me to say that. I sit in an office in Washington, but in your experience and, Abby, in yours is this adding value or are there ways that we can do it better? Does that make sense?
>> Arthur Jemison: Yes. Do you want to go ahead or do you want me to go?
>> Abigail Beniston: You can go ahead first, Arthur.
>> Arthur Jemison: I guess I would say that it is working. I would like to try to give some examples.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Get closer to your mike.
>> Arthur Jemison: I would like to give some examples of cases where it's working and maybe that'll tell us where it didn't work. So my experience of working at the City was, you know, this was my first time being in a Cabinet. I'd been in a Governor's sort of second JV Cabinet, Governor Patrick was my former employer in Massachusetts. So it was a new experience for me to learn that in my Cabinet meeting where we get grilled every week by the Mayor about where we are on various metrics, I was surprised to learn after the meeting that one of the people in the meeting was a Federal official who had been assigned to the City to work on our issues. And he said as a person who is one of the primary voices to the Federal Government and a representative to some degree of the money that the City is investing in, that the Federal Government is investing in the City, it's, you know, I have a lot of interaction with the Federal Government. So realizing there was an official in the room was kind of a revelation in a lot of ways. I was able to ask him, look, I've got this question, I've got this issue, who do I really talk to about this? I'm getting a lot of, you know, Federal talk, I need an actual person who knows about the business of being a grantee to talk to me. And I got that person on the phone and we had a materially better conversation than I'd had before. And then talking about grant opportunities, when I'm in the Cabinet talking about the grant opportunities, someone in the Cabinet can say that's going to work, that's not going to work, this is where we're going, this is not where we're going. But I think I'd like to talk a little bit about kind of the sense of collaboration that existed. When the HUD announced something called the National Disaster Resiliency Competition we urgently wanted to be a proposer because we believe that we have a resiliency case in our City that's unique and we were ineligible for a couple of reasons. Our disaster happened in a year that was outside the window. So long story short because someone was in my Cabinet, heard me talking about this, we got into a dialogue that resulted in the end in a significant Federal investment that's going to result in significant, I think, investments in open space in our community. That wouldn't have happened without the official in the room. And, again, I guess I don't know if it's been the expectation of other recovering cities that they've had a Federal presence in the room, so that's I think a victory and a success. In terms of feedback that was negative I guess it'd be hard to name something that didn't - I mean maybe it makes you feel like you're too - I will say two things that have happened and then I'll let Abby get in here. I can remember Federal officials who had dealt with the Detroit - the people who were assigned to Detroit, saying please don't tell the Federal official assigned to Detroit about this because if you do it's like they're going to land a cruise missile in my office. [laughter]
>> Cecilia Munoz: We don't actually do that.
>> Arthur Jemison: And I don't want you to - I don't - it's hard for me, I can't do other stuff because they're like all over me about your question. And the only other thing, and so that and then there's sort of that Geoffrey Canada experience. I'm a big fan of his book, Fist Stick Knife Gun. And one of the stories is about how when you have a gun, you know, it makes you feel a little bit safer when you go deal with people who are tough for you to deal with. And so maybe there's a degree to which knowing that you have the Federal official makes you feel bolder, emboldens you. That's not always a good thing. It's always a good thing for me, right? But it's not always a good thing to feel emboldened because sometimes you don't have - it's hard to get as good a sense of the strength of your case. So I think that would be, those would be the down sides, since you asked for candid advice. Those would be the down sides that I'd offer.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Thank you. Abby?
>> Abigail Beniston: Thank you. I would say that our partnerships with the Federal Government and having the technical assistance on the ground, the City of Youngstown was the recipient of two Strong City Strong Communities Fellows and they were a blessing in disguise. When I took over in 2014 the blight was overwhelming, the history of code enforcement in demolition was demolish, demolish, demolish. It wasn't really about preserving the housing stock that we had left, so it was a daunting overwhelming task to completely change the thought process of the staff and out in the communities that we're not only coming in to demolish, but we need to preserve the houses that we have left. The two fellows that were assigned to Youngstown, one specifically worked just with housing code enforcement and demolition and she was wonderful with being able to point out the different opportunities that were available because not only do you have these daunting tasks as City officials, you still have day-to-day operations that need to take place. So the amount of time that you're able to dedicate to looking for these resources is minimal and having somebody from the Federal Government that is able to connect the dots was a super huge help. That was one instance just in code enforcement. One of the other initiatives from our current Mayor, Mayor John McNally, that was big when he came into office was community policing. We also had some representatives from the Department of Justice that came in, helped us with this model of community policing. We now have a community policing unit of seven officers that are out in all of the different neighborhoods. We have seven wards in Youngstown, so an officer in each ward. And the Department of Justice has been involved since that was launched to help connect the pieces on not only how that should work, but the different avenues and programs that it can help to enhance. So it's just, I would say that it's been wonderful to have experts involved, invested in Youngstown to help connect the dots on the Federal level.
>> Cecilia Munoz: And, Colonel, can I ask you to just talk a little bit about, so you - I am still quite fascinated with this example of the demolition work that you're doing, do you think it's possible for something like that to go to scale? I mean you mentioned things that you were doing in Gallup, New Mexico and other places, but do you think there's more service to local communities that can be mined here?
>> Colonel Kevin C. Riley: Absolutely. The program is called Innovative Readiness Training program, and I do have some information on that. The city or the community does propose through the Department of Defense, through the website, and it gets the process going. Abby is pretty familiar with that, as you've submitted a couple of them. And it's a tedious process, but once you get past all the hurdles it is scalable to a very large scale. We talked about the airport in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the houses down in Gallup, New Mexico, tearing down several thousand houses at a time. Here we go - tearing down several thousand houses would require more than just our little Base, it would require a number of different units to come in and that can be managed through that program, the IRT program. And it is very possible. It is very scalable. So I'll defer the rest of my time to my esteemed colleague to the left.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Mayor Freeman-Wilson, welcome. Sorry about the flight problems.
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: Well, thank you, and I'm sorry about the flight problems, too. That's one of the things that I don't control anywhere. [laughter]
>> Cecilia Munoz: Well, we're very glad that you're here. We've been having a conversation - I'm Cecilia, by the way.
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: Yes, of course.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Nice to meet you. We've been having a conversation about the Federal, local partnership in dealing with tearing down blighted properties and dealing with issues like innovative ways to bring energy policy into a local community. Kerry was just talking about a solar project in the middle of Detroit, for example. And Abby, who is sitting next to you, just brought in some work that the Justice Department has been doing with the City of Youngstown and expanding community policing and supporting their local police in both preventing violent crime, but expanding community policing. So those are kind of the topics that are on the table. One of the things that we're exploring is the local, Federal relationship, the extent to which Federal partners may have helped you, may have not helped you. I'm trying to keep the door open to constructive feedback on whether or not, our theory of the case which is that if we were to work in service of your community and your leadership and your goals that we'd be able to maybe help you go a little further than we had been previously. So I'd love and particularly I know you've been doing, well, obviously, you're the Mayor, you work in all of these areas, but in particular work with respect to public safety.
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: Yes.
>> Cecilia Munoz: But your intersection with Federal partners in particular.
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: Well, first, let me just take a couple of seconds to just thank everyone for the opportunity and say that it's a great honor to be on the Panel with these esteemed guests and especially you, Ms. Munoz. You know, we have been extremely helped or we have been helped a lot I would say by our partnership with the Federal Government. Shortly after taking office in January of 2012 I got a visit from our Regional HUD Secretary, Antonio Riley, or HUD Administrator, and he said that I'm from the Federal Government and I'm here to help. [laughter] And, of course, I'm like ...
>> Cecilia Munoz: Words right there.
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: Yes, exactly. And I'm like, okay, and I'm thinking, okay, I'll entertain him for maybe 30 or 60 days and send him on his way. But I am just pleased and humbled to say that it really did transform into a wonderful working relationship, not with just HUD but with the EPA, with the Department of Justice, with the Army Corps of Engineers, with HHS and all of those Federal partners that have offices in Chicago. And the two areas where I would just highlight are two things that we have previously found intractable, quite frankly, in the City of Gary, and that was vacant and abandoned properties and the other was with our criminal justice efforts. Relative to blight, just the whole notion of blight, when we got into office we were told there are 20,000 vacant and abandoned properties in the City of Gary. I was like, gee, I don't think there are 20,000 structures. So I didn't know, but I couldn't answer that question because I really didn't know how many there were. But one of the things that we were able to do early on was to adapt thanks to the students at the University of Chicago. I don't know if I should be saying that here, but they gave us or introduced us to the local data survey that was being used in Detroit. And we were able to quantify the problem, first step, but upon quantification we were then able to adapt another thing that was going on in Ohio and Michigan and to get the Department of Treasury dollars that were coming through the hardest hit fund to really put a dent and to begin to put a dent. And so we were able to find out that there were actually 6,500 vacant structures. We were able to determine that probably 4,000 to 5,000 of them would be eligible for demolition or deconstruction through the hardest hit fund. And because of that partnership that we had developed because as a result of this work with HUD and the EPA and the Department of Transportation early on we developed the Northside Partnership, which led to the local data survey, which led to the quantification and the creation of this Garymaps.com, and we were able to put together the best application in the State of Indiana for this money once they were able to develop their process. And we were so far ahead of the other communities that even when they opened up the second round of dollars they said, oh, you know, for the larger cities or the cities in Group A we're opening up $5.8 million, you can apply for $4.4 million because we know that you will qualify for that. And I'm like but what about Indianapolis? I'm thinking and I was like I'm not really that worried, but what about Indianapolis, what are they going to get? Obviously, our problem was bigger, but it's because of that collaboration, it's because of that work. The second area is with our work with Justice, and again they hadn't been that involved before, but midway through I believe it was '13 we were having such a hard time with violent crime, particularly murders. And, you know, there's a Native American staking ceremony that you have where you just stop and just say, you know, this has got to stop. And I wrote a letter to then Attorney General Holder and I wrote a letter to the Governor of our State asking for help. And as a result of the letter to General Holder we were able to become one of the first cities to be involved with the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center. And I'm telling you I have never had an experience as a guinea pig be so positive because we were able to get training for our police officers, we were able to then be engaged with the John Jay College and the work that they were doing with police community relations and all of the training that they're doing with implicit bias, and that has opened up our opportunity to also be involved in some of the other activity that will ultimately and has ultimately allowed us to bring our crime down. Our murder rate is half of what it was this time last year. Now, you know, I'm generally afraid to say that publicly because you never know what will happen. But what I can say is that in changing the strategy, in having the support, in getting the collaboration with the Federal Government it has caused not just the local Government to come to the table, but the county Government, the state Government, and private foundations. I mean we have had investments from Knight [Assumed Spelling] and that we haven't had in 10 years. So all of that has been a snowball affect and I'm not saying it's not hard work because it is by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but it is also the most rewarding and it's that way because we have some really good partners at the table.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Thank you. So we're going to go to questions, but before we do I just want to say briefly because it's important, we're obviously talking about cities and that's who is represented on the Panel. I just want to say out loud the Federal Government is also bringing this approach to rural communities and to tribal communities. We've tried to be deliberate about making sure that we do this around the country and in all different kinds of communities and there are different lessons to be drawn from what we've learned in cities compared to what we do in partnership with tribes and with rural communities, so maybe that's fodder for future forums here at The Ford School. But I know folks have been submitting, I've been seeing cards flying around, so what have we got?
>> Joshua Rivera: Thank you all so much. My name is Joshua Rivera and I'm an MPP student there and I'll be kind of giving the audience questions. So our first audience question concerns demolition in Youngstown and Detroit. The audience member asks two questions. How are the communities health protected during demolitions? And the second is how are demolitions prioritized, which areas do you go to first?
>> Cecilia Munoz: So, Kerry, on health and then we'll just go down the line, go for it.
>> Kerry Duggan: Thank you for the question, Joshua, or whoever asked it. One actual really good story that's coming out of this Detroit work are the demolitions. So the 10,000 demos is Signiant, but what I think is more significant is about a week or two ago the EPA team out of Region 5 that developed a toolkit for how to do green demolition was given a major award by the President. So that was based on their work in Detroit. It's very rare that, I would say this kind of tongue in cheek, the EPA says good job on your demolition, you've done it in a green fashion, right, for 10,000 demos. Detroit is actually considered now the model for how to do green demolition. So I keep saying the word green, but what does that mean? It means keeping the dust down, using water, notifying the neighbors that a home is going to come down and that type of thing. So there's information that we can provide you online about this practice. We're hoping that it does become the model practice.
>> Cecilia Munoz: So any other comments on the health piece?
>> Abigail Beniston: I would just say, yes, that the health avenue of it does come into play and with every demolition that we do asbestos is abated, you have the rules and regulations from the EPA to minimize the dust. So the EPA begins to be your best friend as to making sure that you follow each and every rule, but that always comes into play and is number one before we do begin to demolish.
>> Cecilia Munoz: And what about the prioritization question?
>> Arthur Jemison: Sure, so on the prioritization it's important to talk about. I also don't want people to underestimate the health hazards of having a vacant house next to your house. And the actual cash impact of having your house not be insurable because the other person's house is dangerous. So there are health impacts to not getting rid of houses. Now say that I evangelize about that because I was a nonbeliever in that for some time, coming from Boston to Detroit. The prioritization is very important. People I think perceive the demolition strategy as sort of a thing. It's part of, it's one of four things, so it's prioritized in areas that have the highest amount of occupancy in the City. So the way that that works is if you live in a neighborhood and there's a bad house on your street and the broadcasting power of that house is the 20 people on your street. If you live in an area where there's 10 houses and 10 people the broadcasting power of those 10 houses is impacting only 10 people. So we have to do the demolitions in places where the demolition is going to have the maximum broadcasting impact to the men, women and families that are living in the neighborhood, who say, okay, that house is gone, I'm going to redouble my efforts to stay here and be a good neighbor. So they're prioritized around areas with the highest occupancy so that we can get those places stabilized and new things can happen.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Madam Mayor?
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: We've also done a similar approach in terms of prioritizing not only areas where the occupancy is high, but also areas where we have targeted redevelopment. But we also have added a layer of data and so we're using a group called Econometrica [Assumed Spelling] I believe is the name of the group, where they look at reports, they look at the permits that have been pulled, they look at sewer bills, they look at utility, other utility bills to determine where it's best for us to spend the dollars on demolition.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Great, do we have another question?
>> Gabrielle Horton: Good morning or good afternoon. My name is Gabrielle Horton. I'm a first year here at The Ford School. I'm studying public policy. And one of the audience members asked a question about race, which I think we're sort of being confronted with in all sectors of our society, especially some of our rust belt cities that are here featured today. So the question is rust belt cities experience extreme racial segregation due in large part to Federal policy, what is the Federal Government doing to address this issue? And I probably would expand that to say what are some of these collaborations you all are speaking of doing to address these concerns?
>> Cecilia Munoz: So I have an approach, but does someone on the Panel want to take it before I dive in?
>> Arthur Jemison: I'll defer to the Mayor.
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: Go ahead, I defer, I'll defer.
>> Arthur Jemison: Well, look, this is a very knotty issue and it's hard to talk about in the time permitted. I'm sure - I'd love to actually hear the Mayor, in particular, on this point. You know, my mom and dad are cast technicians, they're from a particular generation and a particular world view about racial matters. And we're working in cities that fully represent black people to the city and to the country. I mean Detroit, Gary, a few other places. There's not too many other places that really represent black people and how we're doing to the country as much as Detroit, Gary and a few other places. So obviously there's going to be an opinion and there's going to be a racial conversation. I think I always come back to how the cities of Detroit, Gary and a few others, when you look at the landscape you think about the wealth gap and you think about the secondary impacts of the wealth gap. I think about things that are happening in Detroit that are really positive. I see a lot more of a mixture of African-American and white, progress and investment, but it's not where I want it to be. It needs to be greater and in particular African-American investment and participation in the growth of the city. I'd like to see that enhanced. It's a matter of both personal and actually because Detroit is what it is it's a matter of - it's in our professional interests to cultivate and develop black talent in our city. But the whole idea about the way that Federal policy plays a role here, I mean I think people would like to talk about the GI Bill and they'd like to talk about FHA mortgages and how those things impacted and created wealth in America and how that wealth wasn't available necessarily, wasn't available to be created in the same ways in black communities. I think that that's true. It's hard to - I spend a lot of my time trying to think about, okay, what, think about places and it's not always easy to immediately go to what is a manner of creating that African-American wealth that is needed to sort of address the longer term issues. I mean it's a knotty question, I appreciate it, I don't have an answer other than to say that it is front-of-mind in the work that we're doing.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Mayor?
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: You know, when I talked about bringing credibility to our efforts, this is one of those areas where it's important because the approach to Gary prior to our Administration was that we'll do whatever we need to do around Gary. We'll develop around Gary, we'll even develop Gary's airport without Gary's input. Because there was no belief that, quite frankly, a city of predominantly African-American people could execute. And I won't say that that wasn't founded in some degree of reality because in the past there had been diminishing execution, but because we sat down with folks from the Federal Government who said show us your plan and we were able to do that, and the Federal Government was able to come in and say to our neighbors around Northwest Indiana who had incidentally fed off Gary for a long time, but to say to them this is an Administration, this is a group of folk who have credibility, we're looking to get the work done, it has made a tremendous difference. Now that doesn't mean that once that credibility exists you don't have to do it because you do. And it also doesn't mean that there aren't some folk who are just living in the past and who will still approach you like you don't know what you're doing. But at least because of the policies and because of the Federal Government's willingness to say we want to work with the City Administration it makes a difference. It made a difference to our local community foundation. Before, they were one of the entities that was developing, investing on the periphery, on the lakefront community, you know? And finally I said to them, I said we don't need any money out there, they have a lot of money. And they said, you know, you're right, this is a past practice and we're willing to work with you.
>> Cecilia Munoz: I think there's value and this is part of our theory of the case in demonstrating that progress is possible and that we can work in a way which is in service to it. And that, and what you just said, Mayor, I hope is a proof point of what it is we were trying to get at in developing this way of working overall. And I think it's very important in this moment, where people have questions about whether or not Government has value in people's lives, especially at the Federal level. I work for a President who has an answer to that question, and this is one of the ways in which we are putting it into action. Based on the assumption that it is local leaders who understand best how to move forward and certainly better than we do and that we can bring our expertise to bear in the service of that in a way that moves things forward. But, look, it's our job to demonstrate that it actually does move things forward and that there's value to working in this way. I would just say two quick other things is that a lot of the policies that we are putting forward in this Administration are aligned around these sets of questions. But we came into office at a time of epic economic downturn and put forward a series of policies that were aimed at not just assuming that a rising tide was going to lift all boats, but to both raise the tide and be deliberate about pockets of the country, communities in the country where there were big disparities, where you can't just assume that if things get better they get better for everybody. They don't, we know that. and it was more than gratifying to see a couple of weeks ago a release of census data which showed that, yes, we lifted all boats and medium income went up by more than it has in 50 years, but it went up more for communities at the bottom. And that is another proof point that the theory of the case here, that you have to be deliberate in investing in particular communities, in particular places where there are disparities paid off. Now God knows there's a lot more to do, but we are hopeful that that is evidence that not just the work on these kinds of policies, but on housing, on education, on putting tax dollars into the pockets of people, that all of those things ultimately pay off. Another question, please?
>> Joshua Rivera: Our next question comes from the audience and is geared to our esteemed Mayor or the Panel. The audience member states that you spoke about the impact of these Federal, local, private partnerships, but this audience member had two questions. Can you elaborate a little bit about how these partnerships were developed? And, second, how long do these partnerships take and in your mind what are the biggest complications in getting them to go forward?
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: They were developed in two stages. And so I talked about Antonio Riley coming to the City from HUD and we started meeting with his team really on a biweekly basis. And so after that initial meeting it wasn't, okay, well, let's move on to the next thing. We actually sat down, rolled up our sleeves, looked at the areas of the City where we thought we could have the most impact the quickest. And one of the things that we prioritized was a vacant hotel that had stood next to City Hall for about 20 years. I mean you could literally see through it. And if you've ever gone down the toll road you saw it. And so we said, you know, there were a lot of folks who had come to town, Donald Trump was one of them, who said we're going to redevelop this hotel. And, of course, it never happened. And so I said, you know what, I'm not going to sell anybody a bill of goods about redeveloping a hotel that should not be redeveloped. And that was one of the first projects that we worked on with HUD, with the EPA, with our other local partners to say what does it cost to take this down, what do we need to do? We were able to redistribute some of the dollars that we had gotten from HUD through some of the programs that had not been utilized previously, we got permission to do that, we got similar permission from the EPA, and we took it down. And that went such a long way in just getting people to believe, but it also kind of gave the team that hope that, okay, so now what's our next project? And so we identified certain communities and we were able to then target our demolition there and deconstruction there. We were able to target our other planning there. And all of this predated the second round or the announcement of the second round of Strong Cities and Strong Communities. And so when that came out and I got a letter saying you're invited to apply, I called Antonio and I said, you know, this is from the White House but, quite frankly, I don't want them to mess this up. [laughter] I'm like we've got a good plan here, so I'd just as soon pass on that and let somebody else try their hand. But he said, no, no, we should apply, you guys should apply. And so we did and that just strengthened that partnership because what it allowed us to do was to take some of the folks who were just coming every two weeks and they were literally embedded in City Hall, and up until their last week which was actually last week they worked and came to work every day in City Hall alongside of our team, which allowed us - I mean the nature of business in a city is putting out fires most days, and so in addition to putting out the fires we also had the luxury of planning because we had an architect from HUD and we had a career professional from the EPA and we had someone from actually two people from the EPA and that made all the difference in the world. So that's how it happened for us.
>> Cecilia Munoz: And just a quick word on how that happened in the first place, this was really in the first year of the Administration where we passed the Recovery Act, there were a lot of things that were going to put resources into communities, but in terms of tackling communities that had been hit the very hardest, you know, we engaged in a policymaking process understanding that aside from the recovery work we were doing there wasn't going to be new money, we weren't going to necessarily be able to sell Congress on some big funding initiative to get into places that were struggling more. So we had to figure out what assets we had in the Federal Government that we could deploy and it turns out that's our people, so that's what the Strong Cities Strong Communities program is. It doesn't give you a nickel, but it sends people like Kerry to work on the Mayor's team and that turns out to help a lot. >. Kerry Duggan: I have to interject with one quote that you just reminded me of, during Detroit's bankruptcy I had a technical session, which I mentioned earlier, and it was this all day long really heady deep dive into the infrastructure issues and lighting. And at the end of the day the Chief Operating Officer of the City of Detroit during its bankruptcy said, Kerry, your technical assistance is more valuable than your money. I thought that was a quotable quote.
>> Karen Freeman-Wilson: That's it, that's it. That is absolutely the case, and I tell people that all the time. So often as City leaders we think about how do you get a grant, how do you get money from the Federal Government? Now I'm not saying I don't want any money, I do, but what I've come to understand is that the technical assistance, the ability to walk across, work across agency lines, the willingness of the Federal agencies and those who work in them to collaborate has been so - has just been priceless to the City of Gary. Now the complication is the attitude that local residents have because they're still stuck on the old stuff, right? And so when we say that we're part of the Strong Cities Strong Communities initiative they're looking for the big check. And when I say, oh, no, no, there's no check, then they're looking like someone pulled the wool over my eyes and that I'm not really paying attention. But, you know, that's the down side. But ultimately they come to see, as well, when things get done.
>> Cecilia Munoz: The other really lovely affect it's had is on the Federal employees, themselves, who end up on your teams and end up falling in love with the work and with your cities and that's been a lovely thing to watch, as well.
>> Gabrielle Horton: This next question is for Kerry and also our Panelist from Youngstown, Ohio. How is local feedback incorporated into Federal grant making processes and also the competitive grant competition? So can you sort of talk about what that looks like as you sort of get ready for new partnerships and maybe renewing old ones or existing ones?
>> Cecilia Munoz: Abby, do you want to start or Kerry?
>> Abigail Beniston: I'd say that we have a large population of outspoken residents, so they are very abundant with their feedback. So I think that goes especially in what I do in cleaning up and stabilizing and revitalizing the neighborhoods, that goes into our decision making every day. Not to go too far back, but when the question was asked about prioritizing demolition, I mean number one on top of the health is also the safety of our residents. So making sure that we listen to the residents' voices, we listen to what their needs are, also take into account that not every one of their voices is going to be on the right track. But that goes into play as even in our partnership with the Air Base it wasn't just demolition. We kept it very broad in our Public Works Department for things like street signs because it may seem minimal, but when there's 600 missing street signs it's very difficult for anyone to invite somebody to their house and expect them to get there if they don't know where they're going. So just I think that it is something that comes into our everyday decisions in looking for grant opportunities and prioritizing our different initiatives is listening to the residents. The revitalization of the neighborhoods affects every neighborhood. You may have your high crime areas, but there is a vacant blighted house in just about every neighborhood across the US.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Kerry?
>> Kerry Duggan: Sure. Thinking about Detroit, Arthur had mentioned that he started finding these Federal civil servants in the Mayor's Cabinet meetings, but in addition to the Cabinet meetings we were also invited to attend all the community meetings. So the Mayor hosts regular, at a regular interval community meetings throughout the City, and we were invited to sit with the Mayor's Cabinet at those meetings. So we were hearing exactly the same feedback that not only the Mayor but mandatory Cabinet members were also sitting there taking everything in, so we heard all of that stuff. And one way, avenue that has actually played out in a feedback loop back to the Federal Government, thinking about the street lighting and how that played out, that program became the model for an accelerator used in the Federal Government. So the feedback we got on the ground is actually kind of funny when you think about the people come out and bring the utility workers coffee and bagels or whatever because they were so happy to see the street lighting, but more importantly the technical feedback about how the lights were performing. We were able to take that information back to the labs and it ended up being part of a program that is now the model for how to do a conversion.
>> Cecilia Munoz: Great.
>> Joshua Rivera: This will be the last question for our Panelists and the final question from the audience concerns the future place making initiatives. The question is given the Federal resources how can these initiatives be sustained in the next five, maybe 10 years? And looking forward where does the Federal Government see the best places to assist in the future in terms of the types of cities that should be?
>> Cecilia Munoz: So I'll take a stab at that. So one of the initiatives that we haven't talked about in this instance, but which is part of the Federal place making program is called the Promise Zones initiative, there are now 22 Promise Zones, which is another brilliant invention that doesn't bring a dime with it. We're getting really good at those. [laughter] But what it does do is give the places which are designated, and they're not necessarily cities, sometimes they're neighborhoods, sometimes they're tribes, gives them preference points with respect to a bunch of Federal grants, what makes them more competitive. And so the first round of Promise Zones has gotten now ultimately hundreds of millions of dollars of existing Federal resources just because they became more competitive. But that's because they had a plan and all of the things that we asked them to do, they had a plan, they knew what their metrics were, they knew who their partners were and how they were going to measure their results, and so that is what ultimately has made them competitive for Federal grants. So there are now 22 Promise Zones and it's a 10-year designation, so that means the first ones are about five years in. but the most recent Promise Zones, I think there were seven or eight in the last round, have just been designated Promise Zones are going to be Promise Zones for the next 10 years. So that's one way that we know this effort continues. A second way is that, and my colleague, I'm going to embarrass my colleague, Elizabeth Goro [Assumed Spelling], in the back. She works both for DPC and OMB and she is part of an initiative that is really making sure that we entrench this way of thinking into the Federal bureaucracy. So people like me aren't going to be, I'm not going to be sitting in my chair back in the West Wing after January 20th. But there are hundreds upon hundreds of folks in the Federal family who work at HUD, who work at EPA, who work at the Department of Energy and all of the other agencies who they're the ones who are doing this work, they're the folks that we're embedding on Mayors' teams, they're the ones who we have been asking to work in this way. So we've spent especially the last couple of years identifying folks, making sure that they have trainings, working with an external partnership for public service, an external organization to help train folks. So we now have hundreds of folks who are working this way, who have kind of fallen in love with the notion that this is how the Federal Government should work. And so that's another way that we are sustaining this because ultimately this isn't so much about the individual programs, it's very much about the spirit in which the Federal Government approaches its partnerships with local communities. Which is I think a good note to close on, it's this notion, Mayor, going back to what you were saying, but what is really visible in what all of you were doing, which is that these kinds of changes are possible. This is not - we are not at a point where these are intractable problems that can't be solved, not anywhere in this country, not in Detroit, not in Youngstown, not in Gary, not in the Pine Ridge Reservation. What we're finding is that we have all kinds of resources that we tend not to think of as resources, that we tend not to count. And this is a really, really important moment to be having that conversation. I was saying to a group of students earlier the thing that the President fears the most is cynicism, this notion that things are just broken and they just can't work and that we can't make these neighborhoods places of opportunity anymore. And he just, he believes that's wrong and we have evidence that it's wrong, and that there is brilliant local leadership and great innovation that people in this country remain capable of and that great things are happening every day and that we can be catalysts and do more of it. And so on that very hopeful note let's thank our Panelists for the work that they do and for being here today.
[ Applause ]
>> Susan M. Collins: So I have to say as a policy school it is really an honor and a pleasure to have hosted what I suspect many of you also found to be a very inspiring conversation and one that really highlights the role that committed talented people can play in making a difference and moving things forward. I wanted to thank our audience for joining us, for some really excellent questions. I know we didn't get to all of them, but perhaps you'll stay outside in our Great Hall and continue that conversation. Please join me in a final round of thanks to our Panel and especially to Cecilia Munoz who was our Moderator. Thank you so much.
[ Applause ]