By Jueseppi B.
Obama foundation releases vision for presidential library, museum
The foundation in charge of building President Barack Obama’s presidential museum and library released details of what potential bidders have to consider in their proposals. | Getty Images
From Lynn Sweet:
The foundation in charge of building President Barack Obama’s presidential museum and library — an institution sought by a variety of Chicago interests — on Thursday told potential bidders in broad terms what they needed to put on the table.
The long-awaited “requests for qualifications” document does not include any price tag for the construction and endowment for the institution, which will likely run significantly upwards of $500 million, according to people familiar with the scope of the project.
Replies to the RFQ’s are due June 16, with those making the first cut to be invited to submit formal “Request for Proposals” (RFP) later this summer. The foundation expects to select a site in early 2015.
The RFQ document by design does not contain lists of detailed items, in part because it is “intended to serve as a source of inspiration for respondents.”
The foundation is looking at much more than a building and a site.
The winning bid must achieve — among many other items — linked economic development by “anchoring public and private investment,” “contribute to a cleaner, safer planet, ” “create a new international destination,” and perhaps in a hat tip to Mrs. Obama’s signature campaign for healthy eating, and exercise, support “a healthy lifestyle.”
The foundation, also by design, does not want to exclude any entity wanting to make a pitch for the project at this stage.
The initial bidding is open, according to the document, “to any institution of higher learning, not-for-profit organization, private developer, or municipality that wishes to sponsor, develop, and maintain a multi-unit facility to be known as the Barack Obama presidential library.”
The foundation is led by Chicagoan Marty Nesbitt, the co-CEO of The Vistria Group and treasurer of Obama’s two White House campaigns; Julianna Smoot, a co-chair of the 2012 re-election bid and the 2008 National Finance Director and J. Kevin Poorman, the Wilmette businessman who took over several companies run by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker when she stepped down to join Obama’s cabinet.
“I don’t have any preconceived ideas,” said Nesbitt told me on Thursday. “I want to know what people are thinking.”
The bid document puts in writing, Smoot told me, “the values and the priorities that will be reflected” in the facility.
That language in the document refers to a “multi-unit facility,” perhaps a signal that the First Couple — who make the final decision — are looking for more than one physical building to be their legacy institution.
That creates all kinds of possibilities and seems to be a carve-out especially valuable for Hawaii, which would be a long-shot, bidding on its own.
The University of Chicago has been working on a proposal for more than a year and has been taking steps to collaborate with potential rivals: the University of Hawaii, the University of Illinois and a leading Bronzeville community group.
One of the other items in the “RFQ” is for the winner to partner “with other organizations to share ideas, resources and audiences.”
I earlier reported that Hawaii, Obama’s birthplace realizes is will have difficulty competing the massive library and museum. Instead, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told me the state wants to land an Obama presidential center in Honolulu — as a “natural adjunct to whatever physical presence a presidential library would have on the mainland.”
The Obama foundation is also looking for by-in from the communities surrounding proposed sites by requiring the bidder to include the concerns of local interests in developing a bid. The RFQ calls for a “strategic plan for engaging community stakeholders,” calling “a vital component of a successful response.”
To that end, the bidder will have to mount a significant effort, according to the RFQ, which asks for information outlining “a long-term community engagement plan,” to include the input of “key community partners,” that is, “local and regional chambers of commerce, elected officials, residents’ associations, etc.” The bidder will be asked to “describe available means of community engagement, such as town hall meetings, online campaigns, etc.”
The bidders will also be asked to provide:
— a pitch on how the proposed development would “have an impact on the greater community” regarding linkage to education, tourism, and economic development.
— aerial photographs of the site legal and topographical survey indicating general contours of the site.
— detailed description of the current zoning of the property.
— population characteristics including demographics.
Besides the U of C and Hawaiian interests, Columbia University in New York, with a 17-acre site near its upper West Side campus and big fundraising ability is in the mix as is a Bronzeville community group, Chicago State University and the University of Illinois-Chicago, where university board chief Chris Kennedy, who has talked to U of C officials about working together.
Real estate developer Daniel McCaffery is pitching for the museum to be located on the Southeast Side on the now cleared site of the former U.S. Steel South Works. McCaffery wants to forge a strategic alliance with the University of Chicago — or whatever entity emerges as the prime bidder to site the library on 60 lakefront acres he will donate for the project.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel told me he wants the city to submit a unified bid; it’s not clear yet how he will proceed in this two-step process.
University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer said in a statement, “Today’s announcement by the Barack H. Obama Foundation represents another important step toward a future presidential library.
Together with a number of civic and institutional leaders who are passionate about the future of Chicago’s South Side, I look forward to making the case that the Obama Presidential Library would be ideal for one of our neighboring communities.”
UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, in a statement about her West Side school said, “As Chicago’s only public research university, and as a comprehensive health sciences center, UIC has a public mission that parallels the Obama agenda of social justice. In our community, and for all humankind, this young campus has shared a destiny with the Obama Presidency’s aspirations and legacy — to rebuild community, innovate in health care delivery and methods, and serve an increasingly diverse America.”
Thank you Ms. Lynn Sweet.
West Wing Week 3/21/14 or, “24 Soldiers”
This week, the President celebrated St. Patrick’s day alongside the Prime Minister of Ireland, continued to work toward a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, hosted Palestinian President Abbas, awarded 24 Medals of Honor, and traveled to Florida to speak on the importance of supporting working families.
Weekly Wrap Up: FLOTUS in China, March Madness, and More
For the sixth straight year, the President filled out his brackets for the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. On the men’s side, he has Louisville, Michigan State, Florida, and Arizona headed to the Final Four, with the Spartans winning it all
Too bad the President also had Duke going all the way to the Elite Eight.
On Tuesday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans for their service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Nineteen of them were previously overlooked for the Medal of Honor due to their racial or ethnic backgrounds
“No nation is perfect,” the President said at the ceremony. “But here in America, we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal.”
As families and friends gathered around the As families and friends gather around the Sofreh-e Haft Sin to celebrate Nowruz, President Obama offered his best wishes for the new spring and new year.
In his message, the President speaks directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the possibility for the first time in many years of a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world – including a better relationship with the United States and the American people.
The First Lady arrived in Beijing on Thursday, where she met with First Lady Peng Liyuan, visited the Beijing Normal School, and took in historic local sites.
While in Beijing, the First Lady also toured the Forbidden City, which served as home to China’s emperors for more than 500 years. The buildings and outdoor spaces are now part of a museum that visitors can tour and explore.
Touring the Forbidden City
President Obama traveled to Orlando to talk about improving economic opportunity for America’s women and working families.
Speaking at Valencia College, where more than half of the students (56 percent) are women, the President explained that women face “particular challenges” in our economy.
President Obama updated the American people on the situation in Ukraine and the steps the United States is taking in response.
This week, I was honored to join a first-of-its-kind meeting at the White House: a roundtable of business leaders and advocates called upon to discuss building public-private partnerships aimed at helping end domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States. The meeting served as an opportunity to share strategies and concrete steps companies can take to address violence in their workplaces and communities.
During the gathering, we heard from several companies that are working to improve the status quo, including Avon, Macy’s, Allstate, Viacom, and Kaiser Permanente.
The need for action could not be more urgent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five women is the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. In fact, 60% of Americans 15 years of age or older know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Not only does domestic violence affect victims and families; it can also harm entire communities and the nation. More than 8 million paid days of work are lost every year because of domestic violence, and even by conservative estimates, domestic violence costs our economy more than $8 billion a year in lost productivity, health, and mental health costs alone.
In order for the United States to continue to lead the world in innovation and reap the health, security, and economic benefits offered by cutting-edge discoveries in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), we must engage the nation’s full talent pool in these growing fields, including America’s girls and women.
Across the country, state and local leaders are on the front lines of climate change—and it is impossible for them to ignore the consequences. In 2012 alone, extreme weather events caused more than $110 billion in damages and claimed more than 300 lives.
While no single weather event can be attributed to climate change, we know that our changing climate is making many kinds of extreme events more frequent and more severe. Rising seas threaten our coastlines. Dry regions are at higher risk of destructive wildfires. Heat waves impact health and agriculture. Heavier downpours can lead to damaging floods.
Even as we work to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and expand renewable energy generation, we need to take steps to make our communities more resilient to the climate-change impacts we can’t avoid—some of which are already well underway
White House Climate Data Initiative Launch
The White House, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration highlight the Administration’s commitment to empowering America’s communities with the information they need to prepare for the impacts of climate change, including new announcements on using data-driven technologies and open government data to strengthen our Nation’s ability to prepare for the effects of climate change today and in the future. March 19, 2014.
President Obama Hosts a Screening of “Cesar Chavez: An American Hero”
March 19, 2014 | 9:01 |Public Domain
President Obama delivers remarks before a White House screening of a film celebrating the life of Cesar Chavez, who dedicated his life to making sure that our country lived up to the words of our founding and the idea that all of us are created equal.
President Barack Obama and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Deputy Director of Public Engagement (Cesar Chavez’s granddaughter), after she introduced The President at the screening of the film “Cesar Chavez”
President Barack Obama hugs Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Deputy Director of Public Engagement (Cesar Chavez’s granddaughter), as he arrives at a screening of the film “Cesar Chavez”
Actors Diego Luna and Rosario Dawson speak after President Barack Obama made remarks at a screening of the film “Cesar Chavez” at the White House
Actress America Ferrera attends a screening of the film “Cesar Chavez” in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
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