Popular Articles

Article Features Patrice Chamberlain

Police Departments Use Creative Approaches to Build Public Trust

A foundation of community trust and strong community relationships is crucial for law enforcement to effectively prevent crime and safely resolve situations that involve residents.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

The “Front Page” Test: An Easy Ethics Standard

As an elected official and public servant, your actions and words are often subject to intense public scrutiny. Thinking about how the average constituent on the street will perceive your actions…

Article Legal Notes by Patrick Whitnell, Corrie Manning and Luis Haro

Regulating Hate Speech in California

Even though hateful speech is generally protected under the First Amendment, some hate speech does not receive protection.

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 Features by Nat Rojanasathira and Dominic Lazzaretto

It Starts With Civility: Elected Officials’ Role in Attracting and Retaining Employees

Tips for local officials.

Article Features by Brian Haddix

Small Cities Fund Public Works Infrastructure Projects With Clean Energy Savings

How can a city shift its power supply to clean energy, create jobs, complete projects on its deferred maintenance list and improve its bond rating — without raising taxes or local water and sewer utility rates? Two small cities offer a model.

Article Legal Notes by Joaquin Vazquez

Safe Sidewalk Vending Act Curbs Local Regulations: What You Need to Know

This new law affects cities in several significant ways.

Milpitas Initiative Targets Workforce Development

The city helps local manufacturers attract qualified young workers.

Article Features by Karalee Browne

Community Choice Aggregation Drives Economic Development

This option reduces electricity costs, provides cleaner energy options, and offers economic opportunity and increased transparency.

Article Features by Hafsa Kaka

Santa Ana Establishes 200-Bed Interim Homeless Shelter in 28 Days

A public-private partnership and the community mobilized in response to rapidly increasing homelessness.

Article Legal Notes by Christian Marsh

California’s Public Trust Doctrine Draws Attention in the Courts

During the past decade, California has experienced a surge in the volume of public trust cases and recent court decisions.

Article Legal Notes Joan L. CassmanCecilia M. Quick

Declaring a State of Emergency: What You Need to Know

Patterson’s HOST House Tackles Homelessness

The city financed a transitional residence for its homeless population.

Article Legal Notes Christi Hogin

Sober Living Businesses in Residential Zones

This article presents the current legal constraints and considerations related to local regulation of sober living homes and residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities, which is limited…

Article Executive Director's Message Carolyn Coleman

Finding Solutions to the Affordable Housing Shortage

Significant barriers and disincentives constrain the production of housing. These include local and national economic and job market conditions, challenges for developers and a lack of funding and…

Article Features by Melissa Kuehne

City Use of Social Media: Legal & Other Considerations

Little legal precedent exists related to what cities can and cannot do on social media. However, when making decisions about how to engage on social media, cities should consider a number of legal and practical issues.

Article Features by Michael Coleman and Michael G. Colantuono

Hot Topics in California Municipal Finance

The next recession may be just around the corner, but the state is much better positioned to weather it — and that bodes well for local governments. Hot topics include sales tax and more.

Article Executive Director's Message Carolyn Coleman

Taking Proactive Steps to Avoid Scandal

When making decisions or taking action, the savvy local official embraces the notion that the law creates a floor for ethical behavior — not a ceiling. In other words, just because a particular…