Articles

Overview

Articles

Article Features Eden Dabbs

Getting a Grip on Graffiti

Eden Dabbs is a communications consultant and an associate editor for Western City. She can be reached at edendabbs@comcast.net.


Graffiti is a challenge for many California cities. In addition to being an eyesore, it can negatively impact the quality of life in a community and affect people’s perceptions about safety.

Article Features Steve Hofbauer

Going After Gangs: What’s Working

Steve Hofbauer is a council member for the City of Palmdale and chair of the League’s Gang and Graffiti Subcommittee. He can be reached at shofbauer@cityofpalmdale.org.


Gang activity is on the rise throughout California and the nation. In Los Angeles alone, gang membership is estimated at 40,000. FBI and California Department of Justice statistics show that violent crime rose 3.7 percent nationally and 4.1 percent in California in the first six months of 2006 compared with the same time period in 2005. And according to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s National Youth Gang Survey, in 2004, approximately one-fourth of all homicides in 171 cities with populations of more than 100,000 were considered gang related. These numbers exclude Los Angeles and Chicago, where more than half of homicides involved gangs.

Palmdale Fights Identity Theft with Community Education

The City of Palmdale won an Award for Excellence in the Public Safety category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Elk Grove Targets Street Racers

The City of Elk Grove won the Grand Prize in the Public Safety category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Santa Rosa Residents COPE with Emergencies

The City of Santa Rosa won an Award for Excellence in the Public Safety category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Santa Clarita Fights Back Against Graffiti

The City of Santa Clarita won the Grand Prize in the Internal Administration category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Building Public Support For Affordable Housing: A New Toolbox

The nuts and bolts of winning community support for affordable housing is the subject of a new Institute for Local Government (ILG) publication, Building Public Support for Affordable Housing: A Toolbox for California Officials.

Article Legal Notes Michael ZischkeBradley Brownlow

State Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Water Supplies and CEQA

Michael Zischke and Bradley Brownlow are attorneys specializing in the California Environmental Quality Act and land use law with the San Francisco office of Cox Castle & Nicholson. Zischke is co-author of the treatise Practice Under the California Environmental Quality Act, published and updated annually by California Continuing Education of the Bar. He can be reached at mzischke@coxcastle.com. Brownlow can be reached at bbrownlow@coxcastle.com.


Last February, the California Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated ruling in Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible Growth v. City of Rancho Cordova,1 a case that has significant implications for water-strapped cities considering the approval of large development projects.

Article Special Series Julie Spezia

Strategies and Tools for Meeting California’s Affordable Housing Needs

An alarming trend is appearing in California’s communities: We are losing our young adults (age 20 to 34). It’s not surprising that when young couples decide to start a family and create a home, they look outside the state for an affordable place to live and work. This is happening throughout the nation in areas where home prices and rents have far out paced take-home pay. Not coincidentally, these same communities have not allowed much in the way of new home production in the past 20 years. Meanwhile, young adults are finding them selves priced out of their hometowns and are forced to move farther away from their families.

Article Special Series Tom Adams

The Road Less Traveled: Why Fewer Miles Are Better

Last year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, California’s landmark law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The largest single sector of greenhouse gas emissions comes from cars and light trucks, much of which is attributable to our land use patterns.

Article Special Series Gilda Haas

Are We Growing Together or Growing Apart?

4 Questions to Consider

Last year, my hometown of Los Angeles was awarded the dubious distinction of being the most unequal city in the country. The gap between L.A.’s richest and poorest residents is greater than in any other U.S. city. In 1970, according to the Brookings Institute, 52 percent of L.A. neighborhoods were middle income. By 2000, that dropped to 28 percent, ranking lowest among the top 100 metropolitan areas in the country. In the process, Los Angeles had achieved an economic inequality index equivalent to that of Mexico.

Article Special Series Ray Kerridge

Growing Up Versus Growing Out: Sacramento’s Infill Challenges

4 Questions to Consider

Something big is looming in Sacramento. Projected to expand by more than 200,000 residents — nearly 50 percent of its current population — by 2030, California’s capital is facing significant growth.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Survey Shows High Ratings for the League and Grassroots Regional Network

Eva Spiegel is communications director for the League and managing editor of Western City. She can be reached at espiegel@cacities.org.


In just five years, the Grassroots Regional Network (GRN) has become an integral part of the League’s effort to restore and protect local control for California cities. This innovative program put 15 regional representatives in communities throughout the state in 2002 to increase cities’ impact on the legislative process and statewide ballot measures. The GRN strengthens the connection needed between city officials and the League to accomplish common objectives. The League has a collaborative relationship with city officials, working to help them focus their message and ensuring an effective role for them in shaping public policy that affects cities at the state and national levels.

Article Features Kristen Anderson

Strategies for City Involvement in Child Care and Early Education

Kristen Anderson has been Redwood City’s child care and preschool coordinator and planner for more than 20 years. She is a planning and policy consultant and author of Planning for Child Care in California. Anderson can be reached at kmanderson@redwoodcity.org.


California cities are investing in child care and early education as they recognize the economic, social and educational value of such programs to their communities. Expanding workforce participation of mothers over the past several decades — whether by choice or welfare reform mandate — has increased the demand for these programs from dual- and single-parent households of all income levels. While not everyone chooses licensed child care (centers or family child care homes), most people want their children to attend preschool for its school readiness and socialization benefits.

Article Features

The Exposition Offers Myriad Municipal Solutions

More than 250 private firms, nonprofit organizations and public agencies at the Exposition will showcase new products and innovative programs that deliver results for cities. Explore the Expo for new ideas and information that you can take back to your city and use right away.

Article Features

2007 Annual Conference Preview

Sacramento Welcomes The Annual Conference
Sept. 5–8, 2007


Each year, more than 2,000 elected officials, city staff and professionals come together at the League of California Cities Annual Conference to network, learn and reignite their passion for public service in municipal government. This year, California’s capital hosts the conference.

Westminster Collaborates to Solve Parking Problem

Several government agencies worked together to develop and implement a solution that serves the needs of all their customers.

Long Beach Youth Services Provides Opportunities

In 2003, the City of Long Beach created a comprehensive Youth Services Program, involving the Long Beach City Council, city departments, Long Beach Unified School District and local agencies serving youth, to provide equal-access recreational and educational opportunities for youth. In 2005, the America’s Promise Alliance named Long Beach one of its “100 Best Communities for Young People.” The judges noted that Long Beach supports the alliance’s goals for youth, which include having caring adults in their lives, safe places in which to learn and grow, a healthy start and future, an effective education and opportunities to give back to their community.

Ridgecrest’s Youth Energize City Government

City leaders wanted to give kids options for recreation and alternatives to getting in trouble.

Carlsbad – Introduces Students To City Government

The City of Carlsbad, recognizing an opportunity to create a connection between the municipal govern ment and residents through its children, developed the CityStuff elementary school curriculum for third-graders, who were not being taught about local government in the public schools.

Santa Clarita – Mentors City Employees

It’s no secret that government agencies will soon be facing an employment crisis as the baby boomers begin to retire. How are public sector leaders preparing the next generation to succeed them? As city department managers are nearing retirement, fewer young professionals are in line waiting to fill their positions.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Badges for Officeholders and Prominent Members of the Community: A Bad Idea

This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG) Ethics Project, which offers resources for local officials on public service ethics. For more information, visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust. ILG is grateful for the input of Martin J. Mayer, attorney, Jones & Mayer law firm, on this article.


QUESTION

I’m a newly appointed police chief, and I’m getting requests for law enforcement-type badges from our newly elected officials, which I find perplexing.

Article Special Series Lester Snow

Meeting California’s Future Water Needs

Lester Snow is director of the state Department of Water Resources (DWR). For more about DWR, visit www.water.ca.gov .


A clean and reliable water supply fuels California’s economy, landscape and population. The Golden State is the nation’s top exporter of computers, electronic products and food. With more than 36 million people, California is also the most populous state in the nation. Redwood forests, sandy beaches, wild rivers, mountains and deserts make up the state’s landscape, and this diverse natural environment is home to many endangered species.

Article Special Series Gary A. Patton

Water and Growth in California

Gary A. Patton is the executive director of the Planning and Conservation League, a statewide organization that has been working on land use and environmental issues in the California Legislature for more than 40 years. From 1975-95 Patton served as a member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. He is the author of that county’s successful growth management program. He can be reached at <gapatton@pcl.org>. For more about the Planning and Conservation League, visit www.pcl.org .


The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) makes it a legal requirement for local governments to study the impacts of any proposed action before they make growth-related decisions. In recent years, state legislation has emphasized that local governments must fully explore water supply issues in connection with their development-related decisions (see Government Code section 66473.7).

Article City Forum

Keep California Beautiful: Join the Proud Community Program

Keep California Beautiful (KCB), an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is a nonprofit environmental organization established in 1990. KCB’s goals are to promote litter prevention, recycling and beautification by developing public-private partnerships at the state level as a way to provide necessary resources to local communities.

Article President’s Message Maria Alegria

How California Cities Are Meeting the Challenges of Climate Change

The issue of climate change presents some robust challenges for California city officials and their communities. At the same time, it offers numerous opportunities for leadership and innovation.

Santa Barbara Uses Co-Generation For Renewable Energy

The City of Santa Barbara won an Award for Excellence in the Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Article Features Tracy Petrillo

2007 Annual Conference Preview
Don’t Miss It!

The League of California Cities 
109th Annual Conference 
Sept. 5-8, 2007 
Sacramento Convention Center


Tracy Petrillo is director of education and conferences for the League and can be reached at <tpetrillo@cacities.org>.


Attend the upcoming annual conference and be part of League history in the making! This conference is the only event that brings together city officials, city staff, dignitaries, policy-makers, subject matter experts, and private and public sector leaders from throughout California. Filled with workshops and learning opportunities, policy development meetings, networking events and the Expo showcase of municipal products and services, the annual conference is packed with extraordinary value.

Article Features Michael Peevey

California Leads the Way on Solar

Michael Peevey is president of the California Public Utilities Commission.


As part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Solar Initiative (CSI), the state has set a goal to create 3,000 megawatts of new, solar-produced electricity by 2017 — moving the state toward a cleaner energy future and helping to lower the cost of solar photovoltaic systems for consumers. The program’s goal is to help build a self-sustaining photovoltaic market.

Article Features Kit ColeJeffrey Brown

Reducing Greenhouse Gases in City Operations and Services: Best Practices From the Private Sector

Kit Cole is director of external affairs and sustainability initiatives for Waste Management and can be reached at <kcole@wm.com>. Jeffrey Brown is director of environmental affairs for Safeway and can be reached at <Jeff.Brown@safeway.com>.


Business leaders are embracing policies and practices designed to reduce green house gases, and many of these efforts can easily be replicated in city operations. Some of these practices are presented here.

Article Features Steve Sanders

California Cities Tackle Climate Change

Steve Sanders is program director for the California Climate Action Network program of the Institute for Local Government. He can be reached at <ssanders@ca-ilg.org>.


Global warming poses a real threat to California and the rest of the planet. Local communities can implement the following strategies to reduce carbon emissions and combat global warming, both in their own operations and throughout the community. In most cases, these strategies not only help the environment but save money and make great economic sense as well.

Article Features Mark Leary

Making It Easier to Buy Green

Mark Leary is executive director of the California Integrated Waste Management Board.


The Golden State is becoming much greener. Government offices throughout the state are finding it easier to buy green products, thanks to the efforts of the California Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Task Force, a collaborative effort led by the California Integrated Waste Management Board and state Department of General Services, along with 20 other state agencies.

Article Features

Climate Change: Responding to Climate Change – Action Steps for Cities

Climate change is receiving unprecedented attention at local, state, national and worldwide levels, and the State of California is at the forefront of innovative action to slow the emissions of greenhouse gases. In response to the intense interest in these and related environmental topics, Western City is devoting a section of its July and August issues to climate change. These articles examine how cities can help reduce carbon emissions and slow the impact of global warming by taking action, such as investing in energy efficiency, engaging in sustainable planning, and adopting green purchasing programs and deconstruction ordinances.

California Climate Action Network Launched

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is launching a new program, the California Climate Action Network (CalCAN).

Article Legal Notes Craig Labadie

Frequently Asked Questions About the Public Records Act

Craig Labadie is city attorney for Concord and president of the League’s City Attorneys Department. He can be reached at clabadie@ci.concord.ca.us. Labadie gratefully acknowledges the assistance provided by Kourtney Burdick, the League’s deputy general counsel, in drafting this article.


The purpose of the Public Records Act (PRA) is to give the public access to information that enables them to monitor the functioning of their government.1 Its fundamental precept is that governmental records shall be disclosed to the public, upon request, unless there is a specific reason not to do so.2 Most of the reasons for withholding a record are set forth in the PRA.

Article Special Series Hans Johnson

The Amazing, Changing California Population

Hans Johnson Ph.D. is a demographer and research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. He is the author of numerous reports on the state’s changing population, all of which are available at www.ppic.org.


Any number of superlatives could be used to describe California’s astounding growth. The state’s population, which has doubled since 1965, consists of more than 37 million people today. That growth sets California apart from the rest of the developed world. During the 20th century, California grew at a faster rate than any other large developed region on earth. The state’s population now exceeds that of all but 32 countries. To put it another way, California’s population is larger by several million than all of Canada’s, and within the next 10 years it is likely to surpass that of Spain.

Article Special Series Carol Whiteside

Examining Options for Growth in California

Carol Whiteside is executive director of the Great Valley Center based in Modesto. She can be reached at carol@greatvalley.org. For more information about the Great Valley Center, visit www.greatvalley.org.


The California story is about growth. Since the Gold Rush, people have come to California from every corner of the earth, seeking wealth and opportunity, fleeing long winters and harsh governments, and looking for the chance to build a new life. The population has doubled, redoubled and doubled again. Looking ahead, demographers at the state Department of Finance project that our population will continue to grow from 37 million today to more than 50 million by 2040.

Article City Forum Jim FergusonJohn Phillips

The Palm Desert Energy Partnership Focuses on a Sustainable Energy Future

Jim Ferguson is a council member for the City of Palm Desert and can be reached at info@govlaw.com. John Phillips is executive director of the Energy Coalition and can be reached at john@energycoalition.org. For more information about the Energy Coalition, visit http://energycoalition.org.  


It seems everyone’s talking about greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. In California, public officials are taking a hard look at the fact that electricity generation is one of the biggest offenders; it’s one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the state.

Irvine’s Community Energy Partnership Program Focuses on Changing Behavior

The City of Irvine won an Award of Excellence in the Planning and Environmental Quality category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Glendale’s Trash Exclusion Program Helps Keep Downstream Beaches Clean

The City of Glendale won an Award of Excellence in the Planning and Environmental Quality category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Article Features Annette Puskarich

Climate Change: Deconstruction – A Practice Worth Salvaging

Annette Puskarich is recycling coordinator for the City of Palo Alto Public Works Department and can be reached at annette.puskarich@cityofpaloalto.org.


As a nation, we’re generating a lot of waste. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), materials discarded from building-related activities, known as construction and demolition (C&D) debris, account for one-third of the total waste generated in the United States.

Article Features Craig W. HoellwarthJohn DeakinLeslie Kramer

Climate Change: Increasing City Buildings’ Energy Efficiency – Nine Questions City Officials Should Ask

Craig W. Hoellwarth is principal of GREEN INQ, a consulting firm that provides green/sustainable planning and design services, and can be reached at craig@GreenInq.com. John Deakin is senior energy and sustainability manager for HDR/Brown Vence & Associates, which specializes in solid waste management planning and energy management consulting, and can be reached at John.Deakin@hdrinc.com. Leslie Kramer is vice president of HDR/Brown Vence & Associates and can be reached at Leslie.Kramer@hdrinc.com.


As energy costs rise and widespread concern about climate change increases, cities can limit their greenhouse gas emissions and save money by reducing energy use in municipal buildings and investing in energy efficiency. This article explores questions city officials should ask about energy use and efficiency so they can make informed decisions about city buildings.

Article Features Linda Adams

Climate Change: California Leads the Fight Against Global Warming

Linda Adams is the State of California’s secretary for environmental protection.


California has a long history of environmental leadership. When Gov. Schwarzenegger asked me to head the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), he told me, “I want clean air, clean water and no excuses.”

How Your Agency Counsel Should Advise You When Agency Contracts Represent a Conflict of Interest

QUESTION

We are upset with our new agency counsel. She has advised us to stop purchasing vehicles through our local car dealership, which is owned by one of our elected officials. We are in a remote area, and this dealership is the only one within 20 miles (which is important for servicing vehicles under warranty, for example). Before the dealership opened four years ago, our staff spent a great deal of time traveling to the dealer in the next community to purchase and service cars. And because the dealer is public minded, the agency usually gets a good discount on products and services.

Article Special Series William Fulton

Plotting a Course for the Next Generation of Growth

William Fulton is president of Solimar Research Group, Inc., and a council member for the City of Ventura. He is the author of several landmark books on land use and cities, including Guide to California Planning, The Reluctant Metropolis and The Regional City. Fulton can be reached at bfulton@solimar.org.


Here’s one of the most amazing facts I’ve ever heard: California has been adding more than 1,000 people to the state’s population every day for almost 70 years.

Article City Forum James Grundman

Defending Your Agency Against Spam, Spyware and Other Techno Threats

James Grundman is information systems manager for the City of Rohnert Park. He can be reached at jgrundman@rpcity.org.


Did you know that while your agency is defending its information technology (IT) from spam, spyware and other threats, it could actually be saving money too?

Livermore Looks at Street-Level Imagery

The City of Livermore won the Grand Prize in the Internal Administration category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Article Features Ken Hampian

Keeping an Eye on Video Monitoring

Ken Hampian is city administrative officer for the City of San Luis Obispo. He can be reached at khampian@slocity.org . This article is adapted with permission from the April 2007 issue of Public Management (PM) magazine published by ICMA, the International City/County Management Association based in Washington, D.C.


Last year, I was in a city hall conference room discussing with staff members the options for dealing with persistent and costly vandalism at city facilities; in this case, at a park and in city hall restrooms. The discussion led to the idea of video monitoring as a strategy to discourage vandalism. Like many people, I’m of the generation that grew up reading George Orwell’s book 1984, and so my first reaction to this idea was that it gave me the creeps! At the gut level, I just hated the idea of video monitoring for anything other than legitimate police work, and I didn’t want to see a lot of cameras in public places.

Article Features

Mayors and Council Members: Don’t Miss Monterey Events!

Next month, more than 500 elected officials will gather in Monterey for an unparalleled educational opportunity at the Mayors and Council Members Executive Forum and Advanced Leadership Workshops. These sessions provide the latest information and tools to enhance elected officials’ effectiveness.

Article Features Laura Peabody

10 Things Your Information Technology Director Wants You to Know

Laura Peabody is president of the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC) and chief information officer for the City of Walnut Creek. She can be reached at peabody@ci.walnut-creek.ca.us. For more information about MISAC, visit www.misac.org.


Recently, I asked participants in the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC) listserv what they wished their elected officials, city managers, department heads and other decision-makers knew about technology. The topic struck a chord, and a lively discussion of a “Top 10 List” ensued.

Grant to ILG Allows Cities and Counties to Help Uninsured Children Get Coverage

Many city officials understand the link between health insurance for kids and some of the specific issues their communities are currently tackling, such as childhood obesity, at-risk youth, teen pregnancy, nutrition, truancy and public safety. But approximately 800,000 children in California do not have health insurance.

Article Legal Notes Liane Randolph

17 Tips for Running Your Campaign Committee

Liane Randolph was chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 2003–07. She can be reached at liane.randolph.pra@ gmail.com.


Now that you’ve decided to run for office, you need to know the basics of running a campaign committee. This article provides a short overview of the requirements of the Political Reform Act.

Article

How Cities Nurture Economic Development

DOWNEY Puts Contaminated NASA Property to Economic Reuse 

In 1999, the federal government closed the 160-acre Downey NASA Industrial Plant. This ended 70 years of pioneering aerospace activities that encompassed construction of the Apollo moon modules and the nation’s space shuttle fleet. The site had significant soil contamination and faced an uncertain future.

Article City Forum Lillian Henegar

Seeking More Accountability: A Fresh Take On Economic Development

Lillian Henegar is director of policy and outreach for the California Redevelopment Association. She can be reached at lhenegar@calredevelop.org.


Greg LeRoy, founder and director of Good Jobs First, spoke at the California Redevelopment Association (CRA) Annual Conference held Feb. 28–March 2, 2007, in Long Beach. LeRoy is author of The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation. In his speech, he shared several ways California’s local governments could better drive job creation and economic development in their communities.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Climate Change at a Tipping Point

Every few hundred years an individual or idea comes along that focuses the lens through which we see our world and our role in it. For scientists this is known as a “scientific revolution.” 

Porterville Revitalizes Orange Avenue Neighborhood

In the mid-1990s, the City of Porterville was searching for solutions to the problems in its Orange Avenue area. The avenue, a gateway to the city’s downtown area, had become known for drugs, crime and vagrants. Its infrastructure was substandard, with crumbling sidewalks and no traffic signals to help pedestrians cross the street. Decaying buildings dotted the area. Orange Avenue was desperately in need of repair. 

Sonoma Cultivates Small Business Growth and Economic Development

Home of the last Spanish Mission, the Bear Flag Rebellion and world-class wines, the City of Sonoma has long partnered with the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau to sustain tourism, its number one industry. But small businesses, which make up the majority of the city’s economy, were on their own.

Article Features Lou Paulson

Firefighters Offer Their Perspective on Public Pension Reform

Lou Paulson is a 20-year fire captain with the Contra Costa County Fire Department. He currently serves as president of California Professional Firefighters, representing 30,000 rank-and-file first responders.


There is a looming retirement crisis in California and around the country that — if left unattended — will impose untold millions of dollars in additional costs to state and local government, and threaten vital services such as police, fire, transportation and parks.

Article Features Rod GouldBob Lasala

Public Pension Reform: What’s Next?

The spike in public pension costs fueled the call for reform.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Freebies: Friend or Foe?

QUESTION

Our agency recently was criticized in the press because our elected officials receive season tickets to our local sports venue, which our agency owns but is operated by a private contractor. No laws have been broken because the operator of the facility provides these passes to the agency. Our attorney has advised us this means that the passes do not need to be reported under the gift rules and are not subject to the gift limits. This explanation did not satisfy the press.

Article City Forum Michael KarpmanClifford M. Johnson

Network of California Cities Shares Gang Prevention Strategies

Reprinted with permission from the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Nation’s Cities Weekly. Michael Karpman is program associate for outreach at NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families (IYEF). Clifford M. Johnson is executive director of IYEF.


Municipal leaders, law enforcement officials and community partners from 13 California cities came together in Oakland on Jan. 24–25 to identify and share strategies for reducing gang violence and victimization in their communities.

Long Beach’s Health Education Center Serves a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community

The City of Long Beach won an Award of Excellence in the Community Services and Economic Development category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Livermore Connects Families with Vital Services to Help Children Succeed in School

The City of Livermore won a Grand Prize in the Community Services and Economic Development category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam

La Mesa Makes a Project Out of Parks

The City of La Mesa won an Award of Excellence in the League Partners category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Fairfield’s Community Heroes Provide Fun on the Run

The City of Fairfield won an Award of Excellence in the League Partners category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam

Article Features Richard James

Community Service Providers: Plan Now — The Boomers Are Coming!

Richard James is director of community services for the City of Palo Alto and can be reached at Richard.James@CityofPaloAlto.org. Lisa Hendrickson of Avenidas Adult Services also contributed to this article and the original report for Palo Alto.


It’s no secret that California is graying. Newspaper, television, government and scholarly reports tell us that the first wave of the Baby Boom generation is now entering into their retirement
years and we are on the threshold of a major shift in demographic characteristics. In the next
30 years, our state’s “senior” population will double due to the sheer size of the Boomer group and — thanks to medical and health advancements — live longer than any previous generation. 

Article Features Christine LarsonJoan M. TwissThea Perrino

Connecting the Generations: How Cities are Fostering Understanding and Trust

Christine Larson is a freelance writer in Sacramento and can be reached at christine.larson@comcast.net. Joan M. Twiss is executive director of the Center for Civic Partnerships and can be reached at jtwiss@civicpartnerships.org. Thea Perrino is program coordinator of Healthy Cities and Communities and can be reached at tperrino@civicpartnerships.org


In the next 25 years, the number of California residents over age 65 will more than double, swelling to nearly 18 percent of the population. Meanwhile, the number of children will grow faster than the working adult population.

Institute Housing and Land Use Program Charts New Directions

Last year, the Institute for Local Government (ILG) Board of Directors engaged in a period of reflection concerning future directions for its housing and land use program. After hearing from local officials and others, the board concluded that the program had a solid reputation for quality products in its key areas of focus: regulatory takings; housing; open space/farm- land issues and assisting planning commissioners.

Article Legal Notes Melanie M. PoturicaDavid A. Urban

A City Council Member’s Role With Respect to Individual City Employees

Melanie M. Poturica is managing partner at the law firm of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore in Los Angeles, and can be reached at mpoturica@lcwlegal.com. David A. Urban is an attorney with the firm, and can be reached at durban@lcwlegal.com.


In the public eye, city council members are at the top of the city’s government structure, presiding over large and small bureaucracies that may include police officers, firefighters and many other types of employees charged with serving the public interest. Accordingly, when residents are aggrieved by or interested in the conduct of a particular employee, they may view their council member as that employee’s ultimate “boss” or de facto CEO of the city, who can cause the employee to be disciplined or even terminated, and who could certainly take such lesser actions as communicating with the employee’s direct supervisor or reviewing the employee’s personnel file for information relevant to the issue.

Article City Forum Curt Hagman

Cities and County Work Together To Share Tax Base

Many cities formed in the 1980s and ‘90s were at a distinct disadvantage when negotiating their original tax split with counties. Recently, Chino Hills and San Bernardino County found a way to…

Roseville Makes Smart Choices to Reduce Sprawl

By 2050 the population of the Sacramento region, including southwest Placer County, is expected to double to almost 4 million people. If traditional low-density development continues, this growth is likely to reduce the quality of life as open space and agricultural land is lost, traffic increases and air quality declines.

Signal Hill Revives a Failing Neighborhood

Las Brisas, a vibrant and attractive neighborhood in the City of Signal Hill, now thrives where dispiriting conditions once made any notion of improvement difficult to envision. This small but decisive urban victory was orchestrated by the Signal Hill City Council and redevelopment agency, which set their sights high and developed a clear plan to improve their community.

Eureka’s Multiple Assistance Center Maximizes Support for Homeless

The concept of a multiple assistance center (MAC) aims to break the cycle of homelessness by successfully transitioning program participants toward stable employment and permanent housing. The City of Eureka’s MAC project was first introduced in 1996 as a new approach to solving issues of homelessness. By integrating on-site specialized care and support services with on-site transitional housing and multiple-step programs, the MAC is designed to help families and individuals achieve self-sufficiency.

Article Features

Spotlight on Housing

California’s serious shortage of affordable housing located close to jobs affects residents and cities throughout the state.One of the League’s continuing goals is to work for expanded housing supply and affordability, consistent with “smart growth” and environmental principles. The League has worked with builders, environmentalists and other groups on achieving these goals and actively shares information about housing.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Let’s Not Make a Deal: Vote-Trading and Similar Practices Raise Legal and Ethical Issues

This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG) Ethics Project, which offers resources for local officials on public service ethics. For more information, visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust.


QUESTION

I am a newly elected official. When I ran for office, I pledged to support a certain policy I’ll call “X.” After working with staff at our agency, a resolution to do X is now pending before our governing body.

Article City Forum Maria AlegriaChris Mckenzie

Thanks to Our “No on Proposition 90” Partners

Maria Alegria is mayor of the City of Pinole and president of the League. Chris McKenzie is executive director of the League.

Article President’s Message Maria Alegria

The Grassroots Network: Building a Better League

How long have you been involved with the League? If it’s only been a few years, you may (understandably) be inclined to take a few things for granted. 

Lincoln Puts Neighborhood Electric Vehicles on the Road

The City of Lincoln won an Award of Excellence in the Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation category of the 2006 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.


With its population expecting to hit approximately 50,000 residents by 2010, the City of Lincoln’s Department of Public Works had to address the following concerns: 

Article Features Dan Carrigg

Locals Are a Growing Force in the Legislature

Dan Carrigg is legislative director for the League and can be reached at carriggd@cacities.org.


The beginning of each two-year legislative session brings with it fresh hopes and opportunities as a new group of legislators enters the Capitol. For local governments, the 2007–08 Legislature is a special class. A full 16 years after the passage of term limits in 1990, what has long been envisioned is finally happening: Former local elected officials – most with a city council background – will constitute a majority in both houses of the Legislature.

Article Features Liisa Lawson Stark

Infrastructure Bonds Are a Positive Investment for California, But Long-Term Needs Require Additional Resources

 Liisa Lawson Stark is a legislative representative for the League. She can be reached at lstark@cacities.org. Bill Higgins and Genevieve Morelos also contributed to this article. Bill Higgins is a legislative representative for the League and can be reached at higginsb@cacities.org. Genevieve Morelos is a policy analyst for the League and can be reached at gmorelos@cacities.org.


As Californians, we are fortunate to live and work in the Golden State. We boast the fifth largest economy in the world and are visited by millions of people each year, who come to experience the unique cultures of our cities and our diverse natural resources. California is “Hollywood,” and we represent what so many others think is the ideal life. The world looks at California as a leader in economic prosperity, employment opportunity and recreational activity for a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.

New Grants Mean New Resources For Cities and Counties

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is the nonprofit, 501(c)(3) research affiliate of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties. Its mission is to develop forward-thinking resources to help local officials serve their communities. For more about ILG and its work, visit www.ca-ilg.org.


Recent grants to the Institute for Local Government (ILG) from the Bank of America Foundation, Community Technology Foundation and James Irvine Foundation will bring new publications, services and technology resources to Californiacities and counties.

Article Legal Notes Benjamin P. Fay

Are You Receiving All of Your Property Taxes?

Although county and state controllers work hard to ensure that property taxes are allocated correctly, mistakes are made that can cost cities millions of dollars.

Article City Forum

League Honors Two Individuals As 2006 “Legislator of the Year”

The League’s lobbying strength relies on cultivating and maintaining effective relationships with legislators both in Sacramento and their districts. When legislators make extra efforts to assist the League, they deserve our recognition and thanks. 

Article Features G. Wayne EgglestonFred Smoller, Ph.D.

Using Citizen Surveys to Give Residents A Voice in City Government

G. Wayne Eggleston is a council member for San Clemente and can be reached at egglestonw@san-clemente.org. Fred Smoller, Ph.D., is an associate professor of political science at Chapman University and can be reached at fsmoller@socal.rr.com.


One way local officials show they value their residents’ opinions is to conduct a survey regarding local issues and city services. The City of San Clemente conducts a resident survey every few years to track and improve the delivery of services, generate discussion about community issues, and get feedback on specific policy initiatives the city council is considering.

Article Features Dan Carrigg

Highlights of the 2006 Legislative Year

Dan Carrigg is legislative director for the League and can be reached at carriggd@cacities.org.


Many people thought the Legislature would accomplish little or nothing in 2006, but that was not the case.

Article Features

Special Recognition for Legislators Who Supported Local Government in 2006

Throughout 2006, many legislators offered assistance to the League or were supportive of city issues in various ways. The following 10 legislators, selected by the League’s lobbying team, are individuals who stood out during the 2006 legislative session for their efforts in working with the League and supporting local government. 

Article

Cities Work to Build Affordable Homes For California’s Senior Residents

Brian J. Heaton is communications specialist for the League and can be reached at bheaton@cacities.org.


As California’s population continues to grow, so does the challenge of providing affordable housing for families with very low, low or moderate incomes. Making such homes available for seniors is equally difficult.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Making a Federal Case Out of Corruption

QUESTION

I have been closely following the prosecution of a local colleague who is facing corruption charges. It would be an interesting story if it weren’t so sad. This guy is quite bright and prided himself on knowing exactly where the boundaries are in terms of the Political Reform Act and other such laws. But now he finds himself in federal court, charged with crimes that include something called “honest services fraud,” extortion and income tax evasion. He’s had to hire an expensive lawyer experienced in federal court practice to defend himself against these charges.

Article City Forum Arne CroceJan PerkinsJoanne Speers

Assessing the Ethical Culture of Your Agency

Los Gatos Builds Community Unity

“Imagine what could be done if you had 50 volunteers, or a hundred or more.” This was the challenge presented by the Los Gatos Town Council and the idea behind the creation of Community Unity. 

Santa Clarita Strives to Keep Teens Alive

So fast, so furious — and so dead. Santa Clarita’s 16- to 18-year-olds make up 12 percent of the driving population, yet they are involved in 25 percent of all driving collisions. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for those aged 16 to 19, and more than 60 percent of teen passenger deaths occur while another teen is driving. 

Carlsbad Makes Sportsmanship a Priority

Poor sportsmanship creates an unpleasant environment, impacts safety and results in huge declines in participation across many types of activities. In celebration of its mission to promote respect, unity, safety, enrichment, encouragement and teamwork, the City of Carlsbad’s Recreation Department pioneered a local solution. The Teaching Respect, Unity and Sportsmanship through Teamwork (TRUST) program integrates the value of good sportsmanship at all levels — including city leadership, staff, parents, children and volunteers — through a comprehensive training and communications program that has significantly increased satisfaction among the participants.

Article Features

2006 Annual Conference Review

Special thanks to the following California Association of Public Information Officials members who contributed to the on-site conference newsletter and this article, and helped staff the conference media room: Randy Bachman, Redding; Ann Erdman, Pasadena; Judy Franz, Santa Monica; Bill Gay, El Centro; Mike Maxfield, Yorba Linda; Mark Mazzaferro, Vallejo; Kevin Melin, Roseville; Bill Polick, County of San Diego; Sue Schlerf, Reno, Nev.; Scott Summerfield, consultant; Tom Manheim, San Jose; and Krista Lemos, University of Minnesota, Crookston. 

Article Features Anna Caballero

Engaging the Community in Salinas: How Residents Saved the Libraries

Faced with a budget deficit and library closures, Salinas residents took a proactive approach.

Symposium Explores Better Communication Strategies for Promoting Local Government

Have you ever had this experience? You are at a gathering chatting with people you don’t know. You ask them what they do; they reciprocate. You explain that you are involved in local government. They grimace or make a disparaging remark or joke about government.

Article City Forum Michael Coleman

Is Your City in Good Financial Shape?

A safe and secure community depends on fiscally healthy local governments that can provide public services for the community, with a balance of revenues and costs over time – even as the…

Article Features Michael G. Colantuono

Metered Utility Rates Are Subject to Proposition 218

The state Supreme Court has determined that metered rates for water, sewer service and government-provided waste collection are “property-related fees” under Proposition 218.

Article Features Robert Locke

How GASB 45 Will Affect Your City or Agency: What You Need to Know

Many cities that have begun implementing the new accounting requirements of GASB 45 have discovered that the results can be shocking. What are your agency’s options?

Article Special Series Bonnie Lowenthal

How Long Beach Weathered the Storm and Restored Its Fiscal Health

In 2002, the city discovered that its $368 million general fund had a structural deficit of $43 million, a figure that would exceed $102 million in just three years if nothing were done.

Article Legal Notes Terence R. Boga

Controlling Disruptive Public Speakers At Open Meetings

Terence R. Boga is a shareholder of Richards, Watson & Gershon in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He serves as city attorney of the City of Westlake Village, and is the immediate past chair of the Executive Committee of the Public Law Section of the State Bar of California. He can be reached at tboga@rwglaw.com.


The nature of a council meeting means that a speaker can become “disruptive” in ways that would not meet the test of actual breach of the peace or of “fighting words” likely to provoke immediate combat.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

When an Elected Official Feels Passionately About An Issue: Fair Process Requirements in Adjudicative Decision-Making

When an Elected Official Feels Passionately About An Issue: Fair Process Requirements in Adjudicative Decision-Making

QUESTION

I am extremely upset. When I ran for office, one of my campaign promises was to do whatever I could to get adult entertainment establishments shut down in our area.

Article City Forum Tony Ferrara

Preparing for a Worst Case Scenario: California Energy Commission Offers a Set-Aside Program for Petroleum Fuels

Tony Ferrara is mayor of the City of Arroyo Grande and chief of State Agency Training and Support for the California Specialized Training Institute, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He can be reached at Tony_Ferrara@oes.ca.gov.


What would your city do if fuel was not available — at any price? Imagine that your contract supplier tells you that your regular fuel delivery will be delayed “indefinitely” due to a market disruption, refinery shutdown or the occurrence of a major disaster. Given the volatile nature of today’s petroleum markets, local government emergency plans must address potential fuel shortages.

Monterey Park Improves Traffic Safety for Drivers and Pedestrians

The City of Monterey Park covers 7.73 square miles in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles, and the roadway system comprises 350 miles of paved streets. Most of the business districts and older residential sections have roads that were designed and installed in the 1920s. Traffic-related problems have increased due to the physical constraints of the streets, a burgeoning multilingual immigrant population and the city’s location between three of the most frequently traveled freeways in Los Angeles County. 

Cathedral City Launches “Stop Identity Theft” Program

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), approximately 10 million people are victims of identity theft each year. Each victim spends an average of $1,500 and 175 hours to recover a portion of their losses. 

Eureka Establishes Mobile Live-Fire Training Program

Consistent training on essential firefighting skills is critical for the protection of communities, citizens and firefighters. But the City of Eureka Fire Department and members of surrounding allied agencies lacked the ability to practice realistic structural firefighting techniques on a frequent, consistent basis. Unfortunately, this problem is not unique to the city’s fire department. There are no agencies within the tri-county area of Humboldt, Del Norte and western Trinity counties that operate facilities capable of simulating structural fire conditions in a controlled environment – despite the existence of qualified instructors. 

Cities of Los Angeles County Form Interagency Communications System

Before Sept.11, 2001, most public safety agencies lacked the resources to communicate directly with one another via radio. In some cases, even police officers and firefighters within the same city were unable to communicate over radio. Add the inability of public works crews to communicate with first responders, and the end result was a generally less-than-efficient emergency response.

Colton Modernizes Emergency Access for Gated Communities

Controlled access gates at residential communities can present a formidable obstacle for law enforcement. Nationwide, public safety personnel have been challenged with the task of gaining immediate emergency access to gated private communities. Agencies everywhere are faced with the same dilemma: what to do when access gates delay emergency services. How can municipal administrators assist emergency responders in better serving the public? One solution is to give them the keys to the city, or something even better, the e-keys to the city. 

Article Features Janice Rutherford

Hurricane Katrina’s Lessons for California Cities

As a native Californian, I’m accustomed to the aftermath of earthquakes. I have seen my own belongings cracked and smashed, and concrete turned to powder by the Northridge quake. A friend saw her kitchen knives fly out of their storage block and embed themselves in the opposite wall during the Landers quake in 1992, which had a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale. Despite these experiences, I was not prepared for the devastation I saw along the Gulf Coast in May 2006, when I joined a group of Rotarians on a relief work trip to the town of Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Article Features Jerome Hauer

Television Series Is Fiction, but Chemical Nerve Agent Threat Is Real

For five seasons of Fox’s television series “24,” protagonist Jack Bauer and his colleagues at the Counter-Terrorism Unit have struggled to protect the United States from threats ranging from bio-terrorism to nuclear attack. This program may be great entertainment, but it also reflects real threats that we face in the world today. 

New Resources for Local Officials
Success in Public Service: What You Need to Know Before You’re Appointed or Elected

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) has a new resource for local agencies. It’s the brainchild of an intern who posed the question: Wouldn’t it be better if people knew about ethics laws before they sought either election or appointment to public office? That would enable them to make a more informed decision on whether public service is right for them. ILG has taken this idea and created a pamphlet for potential candidates for local office, produced with the generous support of the law firm Best Best & Krieger LLP.

Article City Forum

San Bruno Partnership Builds Affordable Senior Housing at Former U.S. Navy Facility

For more information about California Communities’ affordable housing programs, contact: Michael LaPierre, program manager; phone: (925) 933-9229 ext. 212. For more information about KDF Communities, contact: Ray Harper, principal; phone: (949) 622-1888.


In a model public-private partnership, the City of San Bruno has teamed with KDF Communities and its partner, Citizens Housing Corporation, to develop Village at The Crossing (“the village”), an amenities-enriched senior housing community due for completion in early 2007. Set within San Bruno’s The Crossing, a mixed-use master-planned development on a 20-acre former U.S. Navy facility, the 228-unit project features 159 one-bedroom and 69 two-bedroom apartments designed for seniors at several affordability levels.

Lincoln Partners With School District to Improve Infrastructure

The City of Lincoln is one of California’s fastest growing communities. In 1990, its population numbered 7,800; today, it has grown to 27,000. Lincoln has been faced with the challenge of expanding its municipal and recreational facilities fast enough to keep pace with the needs of the community.

Lafayette, Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County Join Forces to Construct a Veterans’ Memorial Building

The San Francisco Bay Area cities of Lafayette and Walnut Creek, together with Contra Costa County, recently cooperated to build an elegant new Veterans’ Memorial Building. This $7.8 million development is one of the most significant projects for veterans completed in Northern California during the past 50 years.

Fairfield and Solano County Collaborate to Meet Community Needs

In 1998, the County of Solano had outgrown its offices in downtown Fairfield and planned to consolidate its operations in another location. The county was considering a site in one of Fairfield’s business parks.This move would have had a major adverse economic impact on downtown Fairfield because the county is the downtown area’s largest employer, occupying an area equal to four city blocks. The move would have also taken prime industrial land slated for private sector job generation and eliminated tax increment revenues from the local redevelopment agency, as the business park was in a redevelopment project area.

Article Features

California Cities Adopt National League of Cities’ Platform for Strengthening Families

Every day, mayors and city council members are reminded that strong cities are built on a foundation of strong families. Local officials recognize that public safety, economic development, workforce strength and fiscal stability are intricately linked to the well-being of children and families.

Article Features Tracy Petrillo

All Politics Is Local

Tracy Petrillo is director of education and conferences for the League and can be reached at tpetrillo@cacities.org.


Attend the League’s 108th Annual Conference and learn alongside more than 2,000 peers, colleagues and friends. Join us in shaping policies that affect cities and experience renewed excitement for your role in municipal government. Registration is available onsite.

Article Features Brad Rovanpera

CAPIO: The Nurturing Network for Public Information Officers Turns 35

Brad Rovanpera is public information officer for the City of Walnut Creek and can be reached at rovanpera@walnut-creek.org.


It seems like a logical assumption: A government of the people, by the people and for the people should inform the people. But four decades ago, only a smattering of cities in California actually employed full-time public information officers (PIOs) to do just that. Mayors and city managers were largely responsible for disseminating public information, if it was done at all. For most cities, the concept of actually budgeting funds to hire a full-time staff PIO was an unfamiliar one.

Article Features Yvonne Hunter

Resolutions: How the League Makes Policy

Yvonne Hunter is a legislative representative for the League and can be reached at huntery@cacities.org.


Do you have an idea for a new policy direction for the League? Do you want to get cities informed and energized about a particular issue? Is there a late-breaking issue that needs attention? You — or your city, division, department or policy committee — can take that idea and sponsor a resolution based on it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that any half-baked policy idea will suddenly become new League policy. Successful resolutions have a compelling statewide municipal impact.

Article Legal Notes David DeberryJeff Ballinger

Group Homes in the Neighborhood

David DeBerry is city attorney for the City of Orange and can be reached at ddeberry@cityoforange.org. Jeff Ballinger is city attorney for the City of San Jacinto and an attorney in the Riverside office of the law firm Best Best & Krieger; he can be reached at Jeff.Ballinger@bbklaw.com.


Group homes have long had a presence, albeit a controversial one, in California. Because neighbors are often concerned about noise, traffic, crime, safety and a decline in property values associated with group homes, city council members are frequently besieged with demands from constituents that a group home not be allowed in their neighborhood. This article addresses some of the policy and legal implications of group homes, with a focus on sober living facilities.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Promoting a Culture of Ethics at City Hall

QUESTION

Our city recently experienced an embarrassing scandal when one of our department heads circumvented our contracting procedures to steer a contract to a friend. To make matters worse, there were cost overruns and the product that was ultimately delivered didn’t fully meet the city’s needs. The media had a field day, accusing the city of cronyism and misuse of taxpayer resources.

Article City Forum Gary Sandy

Building Bridges With Local Universities

Gary Sandy, a former mayor of Woodland, is the director of local government relations for UC Davis. He can be reached at gasandy@ucdavis.edu.

Glendale’s Junior Ambassador Program Promotes Environmental Stewardship

For 12 years, the City of Glendale’s Neighborhood Services Department has operated successful environmental education programs in the city’s elementary schools. Continuing this education at the middle school level was the next obvious step to maintaining environmentally sustainable behavior in Glendale youth. Neighborhood Services needed to develop a program that would motivate junior high school students to take civic responsibility for their environment.

La Habra’s Teens Help Turn Things Around

In the early 1990s, the City of La Habra was experiencing rising numbers of drive-by shootings and homicides. The city ranked second in Orange County for gang-related shootings. The increased violence was attributed to several factors, including a lack of organized recreation programs for youth and a recent influx of gang members from outside the area. In response, a concerned group of community members formed a task force to work with the city to address the problem.

Foster City Gives Youth an Advisory Role and a Voice

Located along San Francisco Bay on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose, Foster City is a growing community of 28,803 residents, offering the benefits of metropolitan living with small town, neighborly appeal.

Article Features Thomas E. Robinson

“Healthy Parks” Program Promotes Healthy Cities

Parks in the City of La Mirada, as well as other communities in Los Angeles County and throughout California, are playing a key role in the battle to reduce the alarming rise in numbers of unfit and obese children and adults.

Article Features Tracy Petrillo

The League of California Cities Annual Conference

In 1898, officials from 13 cities came together to form the League of California Cities. They traveled by train and ferry, riding on 55 miles of double track cable car lines operated under 10 separate franchises in the city of San Francisco, and they bought a choice steak dinner at the Palace Hotel for a dollar.

Article Features Connie A. Busse

Leadership for Healthy Living: Los Angeles Tackles the Epidemic of Childhood Obesity

 A bright beautiful Los Angeles day contrasted recently with some bleak and stunning news -— weight gain by adults in Los Angeles County in the past eight years has been 44 million pounds. This is a gain of six pounds for the average person with one in every five adults in the county now considered obese, according to a Los Angeles County Department of Health survey.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Giving Credit Where Significant Credit Is Due

Will California regain its position as leader in public services?

Ethics Program Report: AB 1234 Implementation Is a Key Priority

During the past six months, the Institute for Local Government (ILG) has made helping local agencies with AB 1234 implementation and compliance a key priority. AB 1234 is the new law that mandates ethics training for specified local elected and appointed officials, and imposes certain requirements with respect to local agency expense reimbursement practices.

Article City Forum

Santa Rosa Encourages People to “Build It Green”

Growth and environmental protection are often at odds, but not in the City of Santa Rosa, where city leaders decided three years ago to bring the two into balance. The result was the voluntary Santa Rosa Build It Green (SR BIG) program.

Pacifica Improves Beach Facilities and Environmental Quality

The City of Pacifica won an Award for Excellence for this project in the Planning and Environmental Quality category of the 2005 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.


Each year, more than one million people visit Pacifica State Beach, which many consider one of Northern California’s better surfing beaches. Owned by the state parks system and locally operated by the City of Pacifica, it’s the first beach south of San Francisco that is safe for swimming and water sports. Flanked to the north and south by rocky headlands, the beach stretches along Highway 1 in a narrow swath of sand, cobbles and upland dune structures. It was once the site of a historic railroad that traversed the area. But over the years, buildings and construction fill had encroached upon the beach.

Oxnard’s GREAT Program For Groundwater

The City of Oxnard won an Award for Excellence for this project in the Planning and Environmental Quality category of the 2005 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.


Like many California municipalities, the City of Oxnard faces a number of challenges related to water resources, including a growing population, greater demand on water supplies, reductions in groundwater, more costly and less reliable imported state water, and the need to restore local wetlands.

Santa Maria Turns Two Environmentally Sensitive Liabilities Into an Innovative Community Asset

The City of Santa Maria won an Award for Excellence for this project in the Internal Administration category of the 2005 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.


Located in Santa Barbara County, the City of Santa Maria is a fast growing, predominantly agricultural community with a population quickly approaching 90,000. Santa Maria provides a full range of municipal services to its residents, including solid waste collections and disposal.

Article Features Margo Reid Brown

Rubberized Asphalt Concrete: When the Rubber Is the Road

Margo Reid Brown is chairperson of the California Integrated Waste Management Board.


California currently generates more than 40 million scrap tires annually. These are tires that have lived out their purpose and can potentially threaten California’s environment and our health if not managed properly. While more than 75 percent of this amount is recycled, the state still faces the challenge of handling more than 10 million surplus tires annually, the majority of which end up in landfills or, in some cases, illegal stockpiles.

Article Features Yvonne Hunter

Eight Important Questions City Officials Should Ask About Flood Control in Their City

Yvonne Hunter is a legislative representative for the League. Numerous individuals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors also contributed to this article, and their assistance was invaluable.


In the aftermath of the horrific floods and devastating damage in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities last year, California is taking a hard look at its own flood management infrastructure and laws. This articlepresents questions city officials should ask about flood issues in their city so they can make informed decisions and be prepared in the event of a flood. These questions are a starting point for discussion and should not be considered all-inclusive or complete.

Article Features Judy CorbettJake Mackenzie

Ahwahnee Water Principles Provide a Blueprint for Ensuring Future Clean Water Supplies

Judy Corbett is executive director of the Local Government Commission (LGC) and can be reached at jcorbett@lgc.org. Jake Mackenzie is a council member for the City of Rohnert Park and can be reached at blumacjazz@aol.com. For more about LGC, visit www.lgc.org.


California’s growing population, $1.4 trillion economy and natural resources all depend on clean, reliable and affordable water. Many cities and counties are facing major challenges related to water pollution and stormwater runoff as well as concerns about whether there is enough reliable water for current and future residents.

Article Features

Locally Made Animated and Documentary Films Inspire and Entertain

The Greenlight Earth Day Film Festival, held in Palo Alto on April 22, 2006, featured animated cartoons, documentaries and dramas that illustrated how individual actions can reduce overall environmental impacts and improve the quality of life for everyone. 

Article Legal Notes Michele Beal Bagneris

10 Tips for Creating a More Effective City Council-City Attorney Relationship

Michele Beal Bagneris is city attorney for the City of Pasadena and president of the League’s City Attorneys Department.


City attorneys have a unique role in working with city councils, especially in light of the attorney’s ethical and other obligations. Unlike the city manager, the city attorney often does not have daily interaction with council members, and the council’s primary interaction with the city attorney is in city council meetings. The city council-city attorney relationship works best when there is open communication, mutual respect and trust. This article offers 10 tips to help council members create a more effective relationship with their city attorney.

AB 1234 Self-Study Opportunity, Part Two: Laws and Ethical Principles Related To Governmental Transparency and Fair Processes

This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government Ethics Project, which offers resources for local officials on public service ethics. For more information, visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust.


AB 1234 requires elected and appointed officials to take two hours of ethics training if they receive compensation for their service or are reimbursed for their expenses. The ethics training requirement may also apply to agency employees designated by the agency’s legislative body.

Article City Forum Terry Amsler

New Technology Informs and Engages Residents

Terry Amsler is program director of the Collaborative Governance Initiative for the Institute for Local Government (ILG) and can be reached at tamsler@cacities.org. The Local Government Commission also contributed to this article. For additional information on ILG’s Collaborative Governance Initiative, visit www.ca-ilg.org/cgi.


Public officials are finding that information technology can enhance their communication with constituents and expand ways to engage the general public in planning and problem solving. Some of the most successful tools and techniques are described below.

Cupertino Builds Webcast Studio and Creates Revenue Stream

The City of Cupertino won an Award for Excellence in the Internal Administration category of the 2005 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.


The City of Cupertino’s government access TV channel operation began to outgrow its control room space at city hall when live webcasting commenced. The professional ability of the staff, as well as residents’ appetite for information, had driven ongoing infrastructure improvements, but the city’s budget to support the operation was not keeping pace. The challenge then was to continue to improve, maintain and expand communication infrastructure in light of budget shortfalls and staffing cuts.

Beverly Hills Finds a Better Way to Serve Its Residents

The City of Beverly Hills won an Award for Excellence in the Internal Administration category of the 2005 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.


The City of Beverly Hills consistently strives to maximize the efficiency of internal operations and the effectiveness of its public service. Several years ago, it recognized an opportunity to streamline customer service approaches to better meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors. The city’s efforts resulted in the development of the Online Business Center (OBC).

Los Angeles Forms Partnerships to Clean Up Skid Row

The City of Los Angeles won an Award for Excellence for this project in the League Partners Award category of the 2005 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.

Article Features Tom HendersonJames Hettrick

Loma Linda’s Connected Community Program Sets A New Standard

Tom Henderson writes for Network World and can be reached at thenderson@extremelabs.com.  James Hettrick is director of information systems for the City of Loma Linda and can be reached at jhettrick@lomalinda-ca.gov.


Today, many communities have multiple broadband provider choices. These include phone companies offering DSL, cable TV companies providing broadband cable, wireless providers of Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi mesh hotspots or cellular broadband, and dial-up access services. Each of these vendors can wire a residence or commercial space to receive their services.

Article Features Scott SummerfieldSheri BenninghovenKaren George

How Technology Can Dramatically Improve Customer Service

Scott Summerfield is the former public information officer for the City of Newark and former communications director for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. Sheri Benninghoven served as the first communications director for the League of California Cities, after working as public information officer for the City of Anaheim. Benninghoven and Summerfield, principals of SAE Communications, now consult with cities on their communications planning and messaging. Karen George is the former public information officer for the cities of Claremont and Fremont and now serves as public information coordinator for the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Anoka, Minn.


Your city probably has an impressive website – and maybe an advanced phone information system, too.  But are you using these electronic tools in a strategic way or just jumping on the “latest and greates” bandwagon?

Article Features Dave Truax

Things to Consider Before Deploying Free Wireless Access

Dave Truax is deputy chief information officer for the City of Modesto and a member of the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC). He can be reached at dtruax@modestogov.com. Special thanks to MISAC, whose officers contributed to the development of this article. For more information, visit www.misac.org.


Many municipalities are facing common dilemmas: increasing population, budgetary reductions, economic and socioeconomic challenges, and more. In the search for solutions, policy-makers are turning to wireless technologies. Literally hundreds of cities across the United States are instituting wireless networks, with business models ranging from free access to wholesale pay-per-use. The list of problems to be addressed by these networks is equally diverse, from conquering the digital divide to revitalizing downtown areas.

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government Jerry Patterson

How to Leave Your Legacy as a Champion of Good Local Government

Jerry Patterson is a past president of the Institute for Local Government and the 2005 recipient of the League’s Presidents’ Award for longstanding service to California cities. He is a former member of Congress and former mayor of the City of Santa Ana. Patterson presently serves on the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees.


As you work in the trenches of day-to-day service to your community, you may have wondered: How can I ensure that my efforts have a lasting impact? Are there ways I can help to provide a foundation for continued good local government? How will I be remembered by my community, my colleagues in public service and my family? What will my legacy be? 

Article City Forum James Hamill

SCIP Helps Cities Finance Infrastructure Needs

The Statewide Community Infrastructure Program reduces the cost of bond issuance and improves interest rates for projects of any size.

Article Features Wayne Schell

Tips for Successful Local Economic Development

Economic development is an investment, not a cost. Both business and government play important roles in economic development. Business marshals and mobilizes human, financial, physical and natural resources to create marketable goods and services that generate a profit. Government provides infrastructure, incentives and services that support business, which in turn produces jobs and revenue.

Article Features

Bakersfield Houses World’s Largest Ice Cream Facility

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream recently expanded its Bakersfield operation, making it the world’s largest ice cream plant. The $100 million expansion of the Bakersfield Operations Center more than doubles the size of the facility, from 250,000 square feet to 650,000 square feet. The plant has the capacity to churn out 70 million gallons of ice cream in addition to 98 million dozen frozen snacks per year.

Article Features Jude Hudson

How Hollywood Can Boost Your Local Economy

When film productions come to town, jobs are created and money flows into local businesses.

Article Features John F. Shirey

Show Me the Rooftops: Housing and Economic Development With a Redevelopment Perspective

Housing and economic development are inextricably connected. Housing brings construction-related jobs and economic activity, attracts and retains permanent jobs, and draws retail and entertainment opportunities. Housing may not be the only factor in economic development, but it has a powerful influence.

Article Legal Notes Margaret W. BaumgartnerRebecca L. Katz

“Man’s Best Friend?” Breed-Specific and Other Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs

Margaret W. Baumgartner and Rebecca L. Katz are deputy city attorneys with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.


Dogs and humans have lived in close proximity for millennia. Although historically humans have thought of dogs as “man’s best friend,” sometimes a dog will unexpectedly kill or severely injure its owner or another person. Most dog owners, however, do not realize their pet is capable of killing someone before it happens.1

Article City Forum Don Schatzel

Fighting Obesity: Recreation, Parks and Community Services Department Leaders Join Forces

Don Schatzel is administrator for the Rio Linda and Elverta Recreation and Park District and president of the League’s Recreation, Parks and Community Services Department. He can be reached at dons@rcip.com. Special thanks to the California Parks and Recreation Society, which also contributed to this article.


Obesity presents a growing threat to the health and well-being of California’s children and adults. One of the major contributing factors to obesity is a lack of physical activity, and for many people, getting enough exercise can be a challenge.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

AB 1234 Self-Study Opportunity, Part One Office-Holder Perks
Laws and Ethical Principles Related To Public Officials’ Personal Financial Gain and Office-Holder Perks

AB 1234 requires elected and appointed officials to take two hours of ethics training if they receive compensation for their services or are reimbursed for their expenses. The ethics training requirement may also apply to agency employees designated by the agency’s legislative body.

Oakland’s Neighborhood Law Corps Puts Young Lawyers to Good Work

Oakland is the eighth largest city in California, and more than 125 languages are spoken within its city limits. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States. With this great size and diversity come many challenges. Generations of Oakland residents are caught in a cycle of crime and poverty, with little hope for advancement. Low-income neighborhoods are plagued with the chronic problems associated with blighted buildings, crack houses, toxic pollution and slum housing conditions. To make matters worse, corner liquor stores — which are overly concentrated in these neighborhoods — act as magnets for illegal activity.

Library Gets “In the Zone” for Teens

When the newly constructed 60,000 square foot Mountain View Public Library was opened in October 1997, it was met with great enthusiasm from all segments of the community. It has since become a model for other libraries and welcomes visitors from neighboring jurisdictions seeking to implement a similar cohesion of utility and aesthetics at their library facilities.

The City of Oxnard’s Preschool Goes Mobile

The City of Oxnard has historically been home to numerous recent immigrants, primarily from Mexico and Central America. Many lack formal education, and few speak English. Families often remain uninformed about the need for early educational experiences for their children prior to compulsory school entry at age 6. Because they work long hours as day laborers in agriculture, packing houses, restaurants, motels and construction, these parents do not have the opportunity to transport their children to preschool programs.

Article Features Martha Lennihan

What City Officials Should Know About Evolving Laws Linking Water and Land Use

Every city official should understand the fundamentals pertaining to their city’s water supply situation. As discussed in the March issue of Western City, municipal water supply sources can vary enormously. How involved cities are with the generation and delivery of their water supply ranges from the “do it yourself” model to reliance upon wholesale water purveyors, who may generate the water supply or obtain it from large water development projects such as the State Water Project (SWP) or federal Central Valley Project (CVP).

Article City Forum Amanda Rose

California Housing Finance Agency’s HELP Boosts Affordable Housing

In 2006, approximately $10 million in low-interest loans will be available to California cities for affordable housing programs.

New Decision-Making Tools Available

The nuts and bolts of agency decision-making are the subject of two new Institute for Local Government (ILG) publications, Getting the Most Out of Public Hearings and An Ounce of Prevention: Best Practices in Making Land Use Decisions.

Fremont Hears the Housing Needs of Deaf Seniors

Contact: Bill Cooper, housing project manager, City of Fremont; phone: (510) 494-4520; e-mail: bcooper@ci.fremont.ca.us.


America’s population of senior citizens is not only increasing but expected to live longer as well. This trend presents new opportunities and challenges to providers of affordable housing. Some seniors are able to move in with relatives or into age-restricted facilities for care and support. Others cannot, and as a result become isolated and vulnerable as they grow older. The City of Fremont has taken a lead role in identifying housing needs for vulnerable and underserved members of the community, including deaf seniors, who are approximately 3 percent of Fremont’s population.

Glendale Gets Systematic About Rental Housing Inspections

Contact: Elena Bolbolian, administrative analyst, City of Glendale, Neighborhood Services Section; phone: (818) 548-4802; fax: (818) 240-7239; e-mail: ebolbolian@ci.glendale.ca.us.


In 2002, the City of Glendale undertook a demonstration project to ensure that rental housing in a specific neighborhood met minimum habitability standards. From 2002 to 2004, inspectors visited properties with two or more units located in that neighborhood to educate residents and inspect the premises. Even though participation was voluntary, 92 percent of the properties were inspected. As a result of the project, housing standards improved, and the demand on traditional code enforcement services declined.

Goleta Resolves Decades-Old Conflict, Preserves Coastline in Perpetuity

The Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County constitutes approximately 15 percent of Southern California’s shoreline but represents nearly half of its remaining rural coast. This stretch of the coastline offers unspoiled views, numerous recreation opportunities and a refuge for wildlife populations that have been severely reduced or eliminated from much of their former range. One undeveloped area at the southern gateway to the Gaviota Coast, a scenic 137-acre property in Goleta known as Ellwood Mesa, is treasured by residents and visitors for its beauty and abundant recreational opportunities.

Calistoga Helps Families To Afford and Build Their Own Homes

In 2003, Calistoga Affordable Housing (CAH), a new local nonprofit, proposed to the Calistoga City Council a development of 18 mutual self-help affordable houses in the heart of Calistoga near schools, parks and shopping. Self-help affordable housing projects are unique, requiring a commitment from each selected family of 30 hours per week to work with the construction team that builds the houses.

Article Features Martha Lennihan

What City Officials Should Know About Their City’s Water Supply

Martha Lennihan works with many cities and other public and private entities on water and related natural resource law issues. Her statewide practice reflects more than 20 years of experience with issues such as surface and ground water, fish and wildlife, and endangered species laws and institutions. She can be reached at mlennihan@lennihan.net.


During California’s early years, obtaining healthy drinking water was a challenge. Giant strides in technology and public support for enhanced drinking water quality largely solved that problem, and new water quality issues related to runoff took the front seat. The quantity and reliability of water supply has not been a dominant concern for most municipalities — until now.

Article Legal Notes Patrick Whitnell

Coping With the Paroled Sex Offender Next Door

Patrick Whitnell is assistant general counsel for the League.


Dr. McEchron testified that there is no cure for sex offenders and that “there are never any guarantees that they might not reoffend.”

Article City Forum

Resources for Disaster Preparedness

Careful planning is the best way to prepare your city for a disaster, whether it’s natural or manmade. Your toolbox should include a crisis communications plan, protocols for declaring a state of emergency, procedures for securing vital public records and techniques for educating the public about what to expect and how to be ready when a disaster strikes.

Article President’s Message Alex Padilla

Cities’ Infrastructure Is Essential To a Successful State

Sometimes certain issues are just ripe for reform.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Career-Saving Tips on Mass Mailings

Question

Our agency has undergone a management transition. The new leadership believes strongly in community outreach — including keeping the community well informed and soliciting their feedback through questionnaires. I have been hired to help in that effort.

Redondo Beach Transforms Busy Highway Into User-Friendly Street

Contact: Brad Lindahl, capital projects program manager, City of Redondo Beach; phone: (310) 372-1171, ext. 2286; e-mail: Brad.Lindahl@redondo.org.


Artesia Boulevard carries between 35,000 and 45,000 vehicles daily through the cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Lawndale. The street is lined with residential units, commercial areas and a regional shopping mall, the South Bay Galleria. Maintenance on the street had declined over the years; the road was deteriorating and aging trees had damaged the median curb and gutters.

Lincoln Cleans Up Its Wastewater With Developers’ Help

With the development of several large housing projects, the City of Lincoln is poised for rapid growth over the next 10 years. In 1997, the city’s population was approximately 7,900 residents, with projections of 50,000 residents by 2010 and build-out expected to be 60,000 residents. However, the city had concerns about the existing wastewater treatment facility’s environmental impacts and its ability to handle the demands of a growing population.

Martinez Invests in New Train Station To Revitalize Downtown

Contact: Richard Pearson, community development director and transportation projects manager, City of Martinez; phone: (925) 372-3525; e-mail: rpearson@cityofmartinez.org


Located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area, the City of Martinez has a quaint and charming downtown with a Main Street and old brick buildings. However, in the 1990s, the downtown area’s economic health was in danger. Both “anchor tenants” (Contra Costa County offices and the Superior Courts) were considering relocating, and no new businesses were moving in, no housing was being built and old businesses were leaving.

Article Features Ritch Wells

Lessons in Disaster Management From Glendale

Looking back at 2005, government officials in California will no doubt reflect on the number of natural and manmade disasters nationwide that required some form of emergency response. In the Gulf Coast states, hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused extensive damage and challenged the resources of emergency responders. In California, government agencies coped with torrential rainstorms, floods, brush fires and fierce windstorms. In addition, Southern California emergency responders were confronted with the Metrolink train derailment that cost 11 people their lives.

Article Features Annemarie Conroy

Preparing Your City and Citizens for Disaster

Last year, as the nation witnessed the massive devastation along the Gulf Coast, cities everywhere were reminded of the importance of emergency planning. In a state that’s highly vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters, California cities should be particularly focused on emergency preparedness.

Article Legal Notes JoAnne Speers

New Laws on Ethics Training and More for 2006

JoAnne Speers is general counsel for the League and can be reached at jspeers@cacities.org.


Adverse publicity and prosecutions related to local officials’ compensation and use of public resources has led to new state laws that take effect Jan. 1, 2006. One law, AB 11, targets city council member compensation levels. Another, AB 1234, takes aim at expense reimbursement practices.