12 Races to Watch in Chicago's Municipal Elections

SHELBY BREMER | February 18, 2019

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With Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stepping aside, and a number of young progressive challengers vying for aldermanic seats, City Council could look quite different after the Feb. 26 municipal elections. Here's a look at 12 big races happening across the city Before Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in September 2018 that he would not seek a third term in office, there were already about a dozen other candidates vying to take him on. After he dropped out of the race, even more, threw their hats in the ring - making the field of candidates running to be Chicago's next mayor the largest in city history.

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2021 will be an excellent year for technology firms

Article | August 21, 2020

Cities, counties, and states are being forced to upgrade or purchase new technology. The old legacy systems are now inadequate, inefficient, and somewhat dangerous because of their vulnerability to hacking. Many of the old systems are almost completely obsolete. They are unable to accommodate new applications. In today’s data driven world, technology modernization leads to less cost, increases in efficiency, fewer requirements for human resources, and huge increases in convenience for citizens. Research on numerous capital improvement plans for cities, counties, and states reveals that funding is being allocated for major technology purchases and upgrades throughout the country. Massachusetts In a bill just signed by the governor, the Act Financing the General Governmental Infrastructure of the Commonwealth, $660 million has been allocated for information technology (IT) needs. Community colleges are scheduled to receive $140 million for cybersecurity, software, hardware, and infrastructure upgrades. Public schools will be eligible for competitive matching grants from a program that received $50 million. Much of the education funding will be used for access to broadband and other digital learning curricula. The IT funding includes $10 million for a statewide data sharing system for all criminal justice agencies and $10 million for the state’s Department of Health. Cities and counties in Massachusetts also will receive funding. Sommerville’s need to acquire modern backup IT appliances and disaster and cybersecurity projects will get funding. The county of Berkshire is granted funding for a study to determine the cost of constructing a municipal broadband network. Avon will receive funding to move the township’s financial software to the cloud for increased security, and Easton will get funding for an e-permitting geographic information system and some technology-based service delivery software. Texas City leaders in Houston plan to spend millions to upgrade some outdated technology. The current computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system is more than 13 years old and has limited functionalities. The city's public safety department is in need of a new system to efficiently respond to police, fire, and medical calls for services. Funding allocations are outlined in the city’s 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan. The public safety CAD replacement is scheduled to receive $1 million, and the city has allocated $2.2 million for new budgeting software. Nevada The Las Vegas Public Works Department plans to procure a software solution for the city’s capital improvement project program management system (CPMS). The department is challenged with aging IT infrastructure, reduced resources, and currently, each phase of the CPMS uses separate software applications. This is labor intensive and ineffective. The plan is to have one software solution that tracks and manages all phases of the CPMS, including concept, planning, design, permitting, construction, and closeout. The city has budgeted $350,000 each year from 2021-2025 to complete this project. Virginia The city of Norfolk plans to upgrade its Department of Utilities’ billing system at a cost of $2 million. Over two years, city leaders plan to spend $4 million per year to purchase IT infrastructure. Purchases will include public safety radios, courthouse equipment, an electronic health record system, security appliances, a cybersecurity assessment, and upgrades to e-services platform. The city of Portsmouth will upgrade its financial software beginning in 2021 with full implementation by 2024. The project will include software and hardware upgrades and the streamlining of third-party software. Beginning in 2022, the city will purchase record retention software to house permanent, and eventually all, citywide digital records. Plans also call for updating the city’s public safety records management/computer aided dispatch system at a cost of $900,000. New software will improve mobile computing and analysis tools, management dashboards, and multijurisdictional expandable capabilities for future potential collaborations with surrounding communities. Pennsylvania The city of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology has a total of $153.6 million in city tax-supported funding programmed over its six-year FY21-FY26 capital program. Of the $22.5 million recommended, $8.67 million is for major upgrades for network infrastructure stabilization and enhancement. Another $13.83 million will support citywide departmental applications. This funding will be used for replacement of an old tax legacy system, a new personnel accountability system for the fire department, an integrated jail management system, and an enterprise resource platform modernization effort for procurement, accounting, and logistics. In 2021, the city also will design and implement a new fare collection system at a cost of $1.54 million to replace or enhance the current revenue collection equipment. North Carolina The Forsyth County Board of County Commissioners has approved a 2020-2021 annual budget which includes a $6.2 million enterprise resource planning system. The county’s budget, finance, and human resources software programs are in critical need of replacement. In Chatham County, there are plans to replace the current tax office software at a cost of $1 million, and the current software is being evaluated for new purchases. Oregon The city of Salem’s Information Technology Department has announced plans to update its financial system at a cost of $650,000. This upgrade is needed to maintain support of the application and increase functionality. The city also plans to update its enterprise storage array at a cost of $250,000. This equipment is primarily used for enterprise applications including financial services, cash handling, parking, utility billing, police records, and other city records flagged for retention purchases. There is absolutely no doubt – 2021 will be a good year for companies that have new technology to sell to public officials. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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Cities, counties launching projects to reach sustainability goals

Article | September 4, 2020

Motorists and automobile lovers are already noticing rather rapid change. Sustainability goals adopted by elected officials at cities and counties are continuing to promote projects that support walking, biking, and using public transportation. Housing density, walkable communities, technology enhancement and convenient public transportation are the goals. Parking options are being reduced. Automobiles are being banned on many community streets, and cities are adding parks, entertainment venues, affordable housing, and more retail. Mixed use development, biking lanes, and convenient transportation options for non-motorized travel are the goal. The arguments for such changes are that people will be healthier and safer, the air will be cleaner, and there will be more options for people with disabilities. The trend is called ‘livable and walkable communities,’ and as it sweeps through the country, it opens up thousands of partnering opportunities between public entities and private sector contractors. Indiana The city of Indianapolis plans to add more sidewalks throughout the city and has commissioned an inventory to determine how many and which streets don’t have a sidewalk. The results of that study will be published by the end of 2020. The city, which covers 360 square miles, has approximately 8,400 lane miles of streets. Indiana’s Department of Transportation maintains about one-third of the state’s sidewalks, and the cities are responsible for the rest. The study is part of the Indy Moves plan, a long-range planning document that combines walking, biking, and public transportation goals. More than 400 projects are outlined that include building new roads, developing greenways, upgrading existing roads with sidewalks, and constructing more bike lanes. Adding sidewalks to every street without them could cost more than $1 billion. The sidewalks, however, appear to be a high priority because city officials have pledged net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and that requires fewer automobiles in the city. Texas In August, the city of Houston approved a plan that is built around walkable places and transit-oriented programs that encourage pedestrian-friendly spaces. The city, like many others throughout the country, will work to promote mixed-use development designed for walkability. For three years, the city has studied ways to make neighborhoods more walkable. Its new plan lists Midtown, Emancipation Avenue, and the Northside as the first places of high focus. Ordinances will be effective beginning October 1. Some of the first initiatives include the construction of facades closer to the road, expansion of sidewalks and relocation of parking lots to the side or rear of buildings. Additionally, the ordinances call for additional bike parking standards in areas that are within a half-mile walking distance from Metro transit station platforms. New Hampshire The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission recently unveiled its Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plan. The document outlines projects that include constructing streets and paths that encourage walking and biking. It calls for developing safer intersections and compact and well-signed city blocks. The city of Manchester has applied for a $25 million federal grant to will help fund a pedestrian bridge and the addition of a new street to help alleviate traffic congestion around the Southern New Hampshire University parking garage. City leaders hope to know by November if their grant request has been approved. If so, projects related to improving connectivity and walkability will be launched. The plan calls for an approximate $125 million investment, but the projects could unlock $600 million more in anticipated development. The new developments are expected to include a facility for 1,802 residential units, a hotel with 154 rooms, 785,000 square feet of office space, and 198,000 square feet of retail space. Illinois The city of Chicago has announced an initiative called INVEST South/West. This plan commits $750 million of public funds for projects in 12 commercial corridors in 10 neighborhoods. The objective of this plan is to improve streetscapes and public and also strengthening transportation networks and repurposing vacant lots for public amenities and affordable housing. Currently, three solicitation documents have been released for one neighborhood but numerous others will be released in coming months for projects in other neighborhoods. The initial solicitation documents call for proposals by November 24 with construction to begin by the end of 2020. Projects outlined for the various neighborhoods were developed through a months-long community-engagement process, and the developers and contractors will be expected to begin work quickly. California The city of Modesto has approved a 20-year plan that calls for bicycle lanes as well as widening and enhancing of sidewalks. Other projects are also planned with the overall objective of making neighborhoods more convenient for non-drivers and encouraging foot traffic and bicycles. City leaders point out that the downtown area has strong office, restaurant, and entertainment sectors, but there is a desire to reduce automobile traffic. Denser housing options and the encouragement of transportation options that include walking and biking are the goal. Construction of new home sites, retail, and other uses will be left to developers. City leaders plan to replace the Stanislaus County Courthouse and adjacent jail to make that property available for new, denser home sites. A pedestrian-friendly route would lead to the Tuolumne River. Georgia Clayton County and the cities of Sandy Springs, Savannah, and Valdosta were selected for funding in Georgia Tech's 2020 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. Each region will receive $100,000 in grant funding to be used for planning purposes. The Clayton County Smart Pedestrian Planning project outlines plans to promote mobility, equity, and the identification of smart technologies to support walkability in communities. Sidewalk data will be collected, and the county will oversee the selection of pilot projects in locations that represent different neighborhood typologies. The first projects will be studied for future development of additional regions. Cities and counties throughout the country are rushing to meet sustainability goals and these efforts are resulting in an abundance of contracting opportunities for developers, engineering firms, construction companies, landscape firms, and technology providers. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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Washington’s Nightmare

Article | December 3, 2020

The Russian-Chinese strategic partnership (RCSP), indoctrinated in 1996, is Eurasia’s geopolitical anchor in the 21st century, shaping its evolution and entrance into the Multipolar World. No other political relationship between the two continents’ actors even comes close, with the RCSP’s only formidable rival being the US via its privileged military alliances with NATO, the Gulf Kingdoms, and Japan. In this century’s struggle for the supercontinent, the interplay between the RCSP and the US will come to define global politics. Western media has been a lot of noise is being raised up, and some have stressed the importance of the Washington consensus, while others believe that it is Moscow's dependence in Moscow. The first is often trumpets Americans and prove the aggression of their government against Russia and China, while others are intended to promote the disinformation campaign to divide Russia and China from each other. The rare mention of the warning is raised up, and the United States to slow down its rules, which is the most responsible way for this development is the western voter. The purpose of this article is to provocatively state that being raised up are becoming a reality in the development and manifestation of a Washington nightmare, and which go beyond Eurasia, also from North Africa and Latin America. It strives to challenge the West's position, but to a direct transition to a multi-polar world, and this is the goal that both countries have expressed 1997 to show solidarity. The United States is not willing to recognize the tectonic changes that have occurred in the world since then, and its stubbornness in expanding the unipolar moment of depression is the largest source of global destabilization. Despite the fact that patients have difficulty with fear and the disorder is raised up quieter, more defensive and more consistent than ever. Discovering links with Russian-Chinese politics in Eurasia and beyond, art proves that lifted up and developing, is actively working on what the world is multi-polarizing for us. AND PART: Structure Russian-Chinese talks in Beijing, May 2014 Before starting geopolitical details, RCSPE must determine its structural basis. There are the role of Russia and China, the principles of their cooperation and institutional activities for the transformation of the international order. Russian balance and Chinese gate There are several roles segmented with which both partners communicate. Russia has a military and political balance in all of Eurasia, which represent an alternative (either the United States or China), the great powers, developing countries and interested organizations. This shows that Russia is working closely with China to ensure that this balance in line with the strategic goals of both sides, sometimes the dynamics of "good policeman, bad cop." China this year moves to the largest economy in the United States and is the dominant economic force in developing countries. Deep and privileged relations in the development of commodity and agricultural commodity markets in Africa, Latin America and Pearl economically valuable for Russia, especially in the light of recent events. So that Russia can provide military and political balance in China in key regions of the world, you can restore economic opportunities and facilitate trade through the established Chinese elite connections and networks. Of course, the tandem of energy between Russia and China is far from perfect, and its strategic use of the whole world, but the general theory of this approach is "hand in hand": Russia is balancing the Chinese gate. More and more people moving from these two countries, such as the Middle East and Latin America see more clearly the multipolar objectives and close cooperation in these countries; Just as two Eurasian seeds are getting closer and closer, relationships are increasingly difficult to understand. Cooperation cradle The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is at home, where he was born and grew up is raised. Founded in Shanghai in 1996. In 2001, with Uzbekistan, it was transformed into SCO. Since then he has started cooperation with Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, and has established a partnership with Sri Lanka, Turkey and Belarus. These countries are directly under the direct influence of the PRSP, where Russia and China could have a significant impact on a greater or lesser degree.

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How local government scaled up for remote workers

Article | June 25, 2020

The biggest IT challenge local governments faced during the COVID-19 pandemic has been scaling existing infrastructure to accommodate many more workers than they had planned for, IT leaders said during a June 17 panel discussion. “Our remote access solution was originally scaled for a major snow day, not for 3,000 to 4,000 remote users,” Charles Gore, IT security manager for Loudoun County, Va., said during a webinar presented by CompTIA’s Public Technology Institute. “We were looking at 500 users remote. We had to spread the scoping across multiple technologies, which we had, but we needed to very quickly adjust to accommodate the new users.”

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In Stockholm employs over 41 000 people. You meet us, for example in schools, homes for the elderly, in the park, and when to seek planning permission or go to the swimming pool to train...

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