Article Features Lorraine Okabe

Annual Conference Highlights

Lorraine Okabe is assistant director of education and conferences for the League and can be reached at For more information about the conference, visit

The League’s 2012 Annual Conference & Expo offers fresh ideas on how to better meet the needs of your city and residents. Browse cost-saving services and products at the Expo; in the educational sessions, discover practical tools for making tough decisions and ideas that you can put to work immediately upon returning to your city.

At the Expo, more than 230 exhibiting companies (including 62 first-time exhibitors) will showcase products and services to help cities accomplish more for less. Visit the Expo show floor and meet vendors face to face, learn about new product applications, discover free services and develop new sources of supplies and services.

Expo Highlights Grand Prize Giveaway

Two Grand Prizes will be given away during the League’s Annual Conference & Expo. Entry forms are available in the front of the Expo Hall near the main entrance. One lucky city will win seven BlackBerry PlayBooks offered by AT&T, and another fortunate city will win an 8×10-foot banner compliments of AAA Flag & Banner. Meet both of these exhibitors during the Expo. (This promotion is not an endorsement of any product or service.)

The awards will be presented at the Annual Business Meeting on Friday afternoon, and you must be present to win.

Don’t Miss the League Partner Speaker Theater

The League Partner Speaker Theater, located in the League Partner Village area of the Expo, offers sessions that highlight innovative projects, programs and solutions that have worked in California cities. Learn from elected officials, city staff and industry experts who have found solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing cities. Topics include:

  • Working Together to Implement New Pipeline Safety Requirements;
  • Stockton: Report From the Front — AB 506 and Its Aftermath; and
  • Implementing Solar in Your City.

Come Prepared

Visit the annual conference page on the League website at to help plan your schedule. This year, the Host City Reception will coincide with the Grand Opening of the Expo on Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Networking Opportunities

The conference offers a variety of ways to connect with your colleagues from throughout the state to discuss common concerns, share solutions and exchange ideas. Networking events at the conference include gatherings hosted by the League’s diversity groups and regional divisions.

Diversity Groups

The League is committed to promoting involvement for all that reflects the diversity of California’s cities. The board of directors has recognized the following diversity groups: African-American Caucus, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, the Gay Lesbian Bisexual & Transgender Local Officials Caucus, Latino Caucus and Women’s Caucus. The diversity groups will have displays on the Expo show floor. Be sure to sign up to join one or more of the League’s caucuses and attend their networking events at the conference, which are open to all attendees.

Municipal Departments

The League’s professional departments are an integral and important part of the organization, serving as a catalyst for educational events and networking. The 11 departments are:

  1. City Attorneys;
  2. City Clerks;
  3. City Managers;
  4. Community Services;
  5. Fire Chiefs;
  6. Fiscal Officers;
  7. Mayors and Council Members;
  8. Personnel and Employee Relations;
  9. Planning and Community Development;
  10. Police Chiefs; and
  11. Public Works Officers.

The professional departments play an essential role in making League policy and assisting with conference program development; they are also represented on the board of directors. Most department business meetings will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Regional Divisions

The League’s regional divisions function as its grassroots advocacy teams. They offer a great way for city officials to get involved in activities that support the quality of life in their communities. The divisions provide the League board of directors with a diverse range of perspectives from members throughout the state and are staffed locally by the League’s regional public affairs managers. Many League divisions are holding networking events throughout the conference. Contact your regional public affairs manager for more information and costs.

Brown Act Requirements and League Conferences

The Brown Act, also referred to as California’s Open Meeting Law, permits the attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at a conference or similar gathering open to the public that addresses issues of general interest to the public or to public agencies of the type represented by the legislative body. However, a majority of the members cannot discuss among themselves — other than as part of the scheduled program — business of a specific nature that is within the local agency’s subject matter jurisdiction.

The League has long been a strong advocate for open government and transparency. Cities throughout California continue to comply with the requirements of the Brown Act even though the Legislature has suspended several of its provisions for a three-year period. City officials believe that this compliance serves the best interests of their communities and helps to foster transparency in local government.

About the Conference Logo

This year’s conference logo was designed by Jenifer Forsythe, web specialist for the City of San Mateo since July 2001. She designed and maintains the San Mateo website (, the San Mateo Police Activities League website ( and the city’s employee intranet. Forsythe also creates a variety of marketing and print products for San Mateo, including the Annual Community Report and a variety of flyers and posters.

 “You really have only a few seconds to really catch someone’s attention and convey a story or message — I love the challenge of doing that,” says Forsythe. “The design concept for the League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo came to me pretty quickly, but I spent hours fine-tuning it. I’m honored to have my design showcased at the event.”

Forsythe received a conference shirt, complimentary conference registration, official bragging rights and copies of all related promotional materials.

This article appears in the September 2012 issue of Western City
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