Articles

Overview

Articles

Article City Forum Cory Golden

Fix-It Fairs and Repair Cafés Divert Waste, Aim to Change Mindset

Repair cafés help cities send a message that just because something is broken, it need not be thrown away.

Fresno Uses Mobile App to Reach and Engage the Community

The app facilitates a dialogue with Fresno’s diverse residents.

Article President’s Message L. Dennis Michael

Using Technology to Better Serve Our Communities

Many California cities are looking at how the Internet of Things can serve the public.

Article Features

On the Record
What’s the most helpful aspect of League membership?

Mayors and council members describe the most helpful aspect of League membership.

Article Features Ahmos Netanel

Collaboration With CAMTC Results in Safer Communities

The California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) certifies massage professionals who meet the Massage Therapy Act’s requirements.

Article Features Chris McKenzie

Measuring Progress on Massage Therapy Oversight, Collaboration and Governance

While CAMTC has taken positive steps to increase transparency and accountability, some additional work is still needed.

Article Legal Notes Bruce Galloway

Maximizing Revenue From City Property With Municipal Leases

A municipal lease transaction should be evaluated for various legal issues.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Christina Vincent

Carlsbad Focuses on Economic Opportunities in High-Tech Sectors

A city biotech incubator, a talent attraction campaign and a higher education initiative for workforce development help foster economic growth.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

League Communications Keep Members Connected

The League offers many ways to stay current on the latest legislative activity, advocacy efforts and professional development opportunities.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

The Rules of Our Trade

A 6-year-old boy’s rules for his Spy Club provide food for thought regarding public service.

Article Features Steve Sanders

Sustainability Offers a Path to Prosperity

Sustainable communities are often better able to thrive and become more prosperous; sustainability is not just about the environment.

Article Features

On the Record
What’s the most challenging aspect of your work as a city council member?

City officials describe the most challenging aspect of their work on the city council.

Article Features Gary Kendrick

Powerful Local Control Remedy Addresses El Cajon’s Alcohol Nuisance Problems

For years, the City of El Cajon grappled with the impacts of aggressive panhandlers, transients, serial inebriates and illegal alcohol sales to minors.

Sanger Collaborates to Prepare Its Workforce

The city worked with its major employers, the local transit agency and Reedley College to address a shortage of workers with needed skills.

Arts and Entertainment District Boosts Santa Clarita’s Economy

The city revitalized a historic neighborhood using public infrastructure improvements, economic development and the arts to attract new visitors, shoppers and businesses.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Executive Forum and Advanced Leadership Workshops: Training, Resources and Networking for Mayors and Council Members

Continuing education is essential in every profession. These two conferences are geared to both experienced and recently elected mayors and council members.

San Pablo Demonstrates Its Commitment to Creating a Healthy Community

The city is using a variety of initiatives to address its high rate of childhood obesity.

Article President’s Message L. Dennis Michael

The Extraordinary Value of Volunteers

Volunteers connect the community and enhance the quality of life in cities throughout the Golden State.

Article Legal Notes Karen TiedemannLynn HutchinsRafael Yaquian

What You Need to Know About AB 2 and Community Revitalization Tools

City officials seeking creative ways to finance economic development projects should take a look at the tools provided by AB 2.

Cathedral City’s Garden Program Takes a Fresh Approach to Health

The program offers an enjoyable way for children and adults to learn organic gardening, be physically active, make smart food choices and work together.

Rocklin Matches Volunteers With Those in Need

A web-based volunteer recruitment tool meets the needs of the city’s residents and its community partners.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Volunteers Needed: Study Examines New Ways to Fund Transportation Infrastructure

A statewide study will examine replacing the outdated gasoline tax with a road user charge.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Managing CalPERS in Crisis

By definition, effective public managers are both problem-solvers and leaders, but it requires a special type to take the helm of a public agency in crisis.

Article Features Charlotte DicksonKanat Tibet

Complete Parks: New Concept, New Toolkit

Parks play a key role in the fight against childhood obesity and can contribute significantly to cities’ economic prosperity.

Article Features Julia Lave Johnston

Planning for Healthy and Sustainable Cities: National City Offers a Model

National City used a comprehensive planning approach to address community environmental and health concerns.

Article Features Dan Carrigg

New Economic Development Tools Offer Opportunities for Creativity

Three new tools provide a number of promising options.

Clovis Builds Dry Creek Trailhead to Educate and Connect the Community

The City of Clovis transformed a three-acre unimproved lot into an educational community recreation area that protects natural resources and promotes healthy living.

La Mesa’s Seniors Help With Safe Routes to School

The city recruited seniors to supervise and support students as they walk or bike to and from school.

Article City Forum Cory Golden

Planning Commission Often Leads to City Council

If you want a sneak preview of a city council’s future, a planning commission meeting is a good place to start.

California Cities Use Creative Approaches to Recycling

As California residents and businesses increase the amount of material they recycle, local governments seek ways to build additional recycling facilities and expand existing programs.

Article President’s Message L. Dennis Michael

League Leaders Set 2016 Strategic Goals

Each year we ask a diverse group of about 100 city officials to tell us which policy envelopes we need to push, which walls we need to scale and what partnerships we need to build. Bringing…

Article Features Tim Cromartie

Drones: A Growing Hazard in the Absence of Tighter Regulations

The steadily growing use of recreational drones has risen to the level of endangering first-responder aircraft as well as commercial jetliners. New regulations, while helpful, may not go far…

Article Legal Notes Margaret Rosequist

Temporary Directional Signs Lead U.S. Supreme Court to the Strictest First Amendment Scrutiny

Following a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, California cities should ensure that their sign codes comply with the court’s strict approach to defining content neutrality.

Article City Forum Mark Cowin

California’s Water: Drought, Floods And Preparedness

Although we have millions of acre-feet of empty space behind dams to capture storm runoff and snowmelt, that space cannot protect Californians against levee breaks, mudslides or overflowing urban…

Article Features

On the Record
What advice would you give a newly elected council member?

City officials offer advice to newly elected council members.

Article Features Dan Carrigg

2015 Legislative Year in Review

Significant positive developments for the League included the adoption of a new economic development tool for lower-income communities and the passage of a medical marijuana regulatory bill package.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Significant Progress Made on 2015 League Strategic Goals

The strategic goal-setting process involves representatives from all of the League’s policy committees, departments, divisions and diversity caucuses as well as its entire board of directors….

Salinas Fosters Ag Tech Innovation

Technology will soon be radically transforming agriculture and the Salinas Valley, home to an agricultural industry that generates over $8 billion annually.

Article City Forum Jen JacksonHeidi Sanborn

Extended Producer Responsibility: Protecting Public Health and the Environment

Ensuring that residents properly dispose of hazardous wastes — such as pesticides, batteries, needles and pharmaceuticals — from their homes is an important part of protecting the environment…

Article President’s Message L. Dennis Michael

Transparency, Ethics and Doing the Right Thing

It takes only one scandal to give the public the impression that all local elected officials are not to be trusted, and public perception can be very slow to change. How can we build our…

Article Features

On the Record
What’s the best advice you ever received about serving in public office?

City officials share the best advice they’ve received on serving in public office.

Article Features Jodi Remke

Making Campaign Finance and Government More Transparent

The State of California houses a treasure trove of extremely valuable information; the problem is extracting and presenting it in a way that is meaningful and readily accessible. The Fair…

Article Legal Notes Bruce A. BarsookJoshua A. Goodman

Factfinding Under AB 646: Impacts and Lessons Learned

When a city and a recognized employee organization are unable to reach agreement on matters within the scope of bargaining, an impasse occurs. In addition to any other resolution process the…

Article City Forum Tim CromartieEva Spiegel

California Cities Prepare for Implementation of Medical Marijuana Legislation

California finally has a strong regulatory framework that upholds local control, protects public safety and enhances patient safety. League staff and legal counsel are participating in…

Public Engagement in Budgeting Leads to Greater Trust and Transparency

Engaging the community can inform the budgeting process and help residents understand the hard choices involved.

Article Features Robert Leland

Forecasting for an Uncertain Fiscal Future

The lingering revenue effects from the Great Recession, changes to pension contributions, rising retiree medical costs and other factors almost guarantee that the financial future for California…

Article Features Eva SpiegelJude Hudson

The Sharing Economy’s Impact on Cities

Ride-sharing and home-sharing services are affecting cities in a variety of ways. Seven California cities report their experiences.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

New research on the early brain development of poor children may be useful in helping us rethink our intervention approaches.

Brea and Fullerton Merge Fire Command to Maximize Resources

The consolidation occurred without layoffs, demotions or loss of pay to the affected employees and provided immediate financial relief for both cities.

Article City Forum Norman Coppinger

U.S. Communities Provides Savings, Efficiency and Value

The U.S. Communities purchasing alliance provides world-class products, resources and solutions. California cities saved approximately $4.5 million in 2014 through U.S. Communities.

Article President’s Message L. Dennis Michael

Preparing Your Community for Fire Danger

The combination of drought, higher temperatures and abundant dry vegetation means that California’s fire season is now a year-round phenomenon.

Article Features Suzanne ShenfilAmiel Thurston

Hoarding’s Hazards: Fremont’s New Approach Improves Safety

Hoarding is a costly problem for cities to tackle, often taking hours of staff time and costing thousands of dollars.

Article Features Jude Hudson

West Sacramento’s Path to a Safer, Healthier Community

A crime-ridden trail spurred unhappy residents into action and led to a collaborative effort involving a local nonprofit, the city, school district and multiple agencies.

Menlo Park Builds Relationships for Safer Neighborhoods

The city is the first in the nation to have a full-time police officer position funded by a private company.

Restorative Peace Building Initiative Succeeds in Reedley

Mediators work with crime victims and offenders to help resolve conflict and make amends.

Article City Forum Elisha Harig-blaine

Ending Veteran Homelessness

Cities have made dramatic progress in the effort to end veteran homelessness, thanks to bold leadership and historic levels of federal resources.

Article Legal Notes Thomas B. BrownRichard Doyle

California Supreme Court Upholds Inclusionary Housing Programs

The California Supreme Court in June 2015 issued one of its most important and city-friendly decisions in many years, reaffirming the breadth of cities’ power to address the affordable housing…

Cities, Counties and Schools Work Together to Stretch Community Dollars

A newly updated online resource provides a framework for implementing partnerships.

Article Features Cory Golden

Challenges of Closing the Digital Divide

The City of Winters illustrates the difficulties of deploying broadband in smaller cities.

Article Features Katie Sacco

League of California Cities 2015 Annual Conference & Expo Highlights

Take a look at the conference’s networking opportunities, Expo and more.

Article Features Karalee Browne

Palo Alto Builds on a Legacy of Innovation as a Sustainable Community

Many of the more progressive policies and programs in place today started as smaller pilot programs.

Article Features Eva Spiegel

League’s Latino Caucus Celebrates 25 Years of Leadership

The Latino Caucus was the first diversity caucus established within the League.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Those Pesky Elephants in the Room

A number of “elephants” lurk in city halls statewide.

Rancho Cucamonga Involves Youth to Improve Community Health

Young people help inform and shape policies that improve healthy eating and active living.

Article City Forum

Fighting Hunger and Obesity When Kids are Out of School: Summer Meals in Your Community

The Summer Meal Coalition offers support to cities developing plans to meet 2016 goals.

Article President’s Message Stephany Aguilar

The Role of Vision, Tenacity and Humility in Leadership

Dreamers see the possibilities that others are intimidated by or cannot envision, and they frequently are told they will undoubtedly fail.

Article Features Leland Chan

Why Banks Don’t Serve Marijuana Businesses

The reluctance of banks to offer services is bad news for marijuana businesses and agencies that seek to accommodate them.

Article Features

Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards Highlight Best Practices

The awards recognize exceptional achievements made by California’s cities and counties to preserve and protect the public’s investment in the local street and road system.

Article Features Katie Sacco

League of California Cities 2015 Annual Conference & Expo Preview

Join city officials from over 400 cities throughout the state at the League’s largest conference of the year.

Acknowledging Excellence in City Programs

Sponsored by the League Partners, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence recognizes cities’ efforts to creatively address local challenges.

Article Legal Notes Trevor RusinAndrea Visveshwara

Home Sharing in the New Economy

Online hosting platforms make it easy to rent a home or room for short periods of time. Cities’ traditional regulatory tools allow communities to address short-term rentals and their potential…

Advancing Climate Action, Sustainability and Community Well-Being

A recent symposium brought together state and local leaders to explore opportunities for accelerating sustainability activities in California.

Article Features Ken Farfsing

Stormwater: The Orphaned Utility

How quickly can stormwater utilities be rescued from their financial straitjacket so they can start helping resolve the state’s chronic water supply problems?

Article Features Dave Cogdill

Heeding the Call for Water Conservation

If every home in the state were retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, over 300 billion gallons of water could be saved per year.

Article Features Mark W. Cowin

Seeking Sustainability for California Groundwater

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act establishes a new structure for managing California’s groundwater and gives new authority to local agencies.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

The Rise of City Leadership in an Age of Dwindling Discretionary Federal Resources

The new federal landscape will require innovative leadership from city officials and other civic leaders.

Benicia Turns Green Laws Into Greenbacks for Local Businesses

The Business Resource Incentive Program combines economic development and environmental sustainability.

San José’s “Bring Your Own Bag” Ordinance Cuts Plastic Bag Pollution

Plastic bag litter and increasingly stringent regulations signaled it was time to act.

Article City Forum

Find Information at Your Fingertips

Resources and information on a broad range of local government topics are available in a helpful archive.

Article President’s Message Stephany Aguilar

Cars of the Future: Connected and Autonomous

Just as the Internet and smartphones changed the world, the advent of connected and autonomous vehicles will have a profound impact on our lives and our cities.

Article Features Kristina Ray

Leveraging the Power of Social Media When Disaster Strikes

Emergencies offer an opportunity to connect with residents.

Article Features Lea Deesing

What City Officials Need to Know About Cybersecurity

Hackers generally hit the easiest targets first. Such an attack may be financially based rather than an attempt to cause mayhem in your city. Risk can be mitigated in many ways, but one of the…

Article Features The Institute For Local Government Sustainability Team

Converting Waste to Energy: How to Make it Happen in Your Community

Local jurisdictions with anaerobic digestion projects in their communities report multiple benefits.

Covina Develops Software for Rental Inspection Program

The city developed a proactive model and software to streamline inspections.

Article City Forum

League’s New Mobile Advocacy App Instantly Connects City Officials With Their Legislators

Timing is a critical element when you’re dealing with the legislative process, and this new tool helps city officials respond to calls for action.

Article Legal Notes Joan BorgerRebecca Moon

Ride Sharing in the New Economy

Cities have regulated taxis for decades for legitimate reasons related to local public safety and consumer protection. Now ride sharing services present a new set of challenges.

Partnering for Prosperity

Residents, entrepreneurs and nonprofit representatives in Merced share ideas on how business and community leaders can partner to help grow, strengthen and diversify the local economy.

Article Features Ryan Becker

Using Tourism to Grow Your Community’s Economy

Travelers spent $117 billion in California in 2014, and tourism provided jobs for more than 1 million Californians. Many regional destinations are leveraging their unique qualities and…

Article Features Nancy Kerry

Reducing Unfunded Liabilities for Other Post-Employment Benefits

Learn how one city reduced its liability by 73 percent.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

How Civic Architecture and Sports Build Community

Public spaces unite us and inspire our nation’s explorers, dreamers and leaders.

Team Chico Boosts Economic Development

Team Chico is a public-private partnership that helps businesses identify and explore opportunities for growth and expansion.

Fontana Arts Program Invigorates Local Economy

A dynamic arts program enhances the community’s quality of life and the local economy.

Article City Forum Dan Carrigg

Prospects for Community Economic Development Are Finally Looking Up

Two new tools and positive developments on the legislative front are welcome news for cities.

Article President’s Message Stephany Aguilar

Beyond Books: Leveraging Resources for Library Programs

An International City/County Management Association report, Maximize the Potential of Your Public Library: A Report on the Innovative Ways Public Libraries Are Addressing Community Priorities,…

Article Features Rich Gordon

Property Tax Postponement Program Helps Seniors and People With Disabilities Remain in Their Homes

Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation in September 2014 bringing a successful property tax postponement program back to communities throughout California. Assembly Bill (AB) 2231 (Chapter 703,…

Article Features

From City Hall to the Capitol: Making the Transition, Part 2 of 2

Ten of the 2014 freshman state legislators are alumni of the League’s California Civic Leadership Institute® (CCLI) or have participated in aspects of it. This is the largest class of CCLI…

Enthusiasm Plays Central Role in Success of “Live Well Perris” Public Health Program

The City of Perris won the Award for Excellence in the Health and Wellness Programs category of the 2014 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. To learn more about the award program, visit www.helenputnam.org.

Article City Forum Greg Lucas

How Libraries Build Community

Anyone who believes libraries are a withered vestige from sepia-tinted yesteryear hasn’t been inside their neighborhood branch lately.

Article Legal Notes Barbara J. ParkerKiran Jain

The Challenges of Open Data and Privacy Issues

The recent advent of extraordinary technological advances has made it possible to provide easy access to city information and data. It has also presented an unprecedented opportunity to improve…

Article Features Web Exclusive Kathy Espinoza

Preventing Tech-Related Injuries: Watch Out for Distractions

Using laptop computers, tablets and smartphones is part of everyday work and home life. Technology connects us to information and each other. But it can take a toll in the form of eyestrain, back and neck pain, headaches and other — sometimes unexpected — ways.​

Article Features Web Exclusive Ken PulskampWade Mckinney

City Managers: The Next Generation — A Look at MPA and MPP Programs in California

Teaching something as complex as city management presents a challenge. It’s not only public finance and organizational behavior, it’s also a delicate balance of practical skills, political savvy, on-the-job experience and service. Many top-tier institutions in California are geared to instill the basics, but debate continues about how and what to teach aspiring city managers. Should we acknowledge that not every student will eventually step into the role of city manager? What is the best way to identify potential and nurture it? Can good city management be taught?

Engaging Residents Helps Build Vibrant Communities

A new resource presents an overview of land-use planning, who is involved, why community engagement matters and ways to participate.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

“Once Upon a Time”: Storytelling and the Art of Leadership

City leaders often must inspire people to accept and even support changes in their lives that they might otherwise oppose, and storytelling can play a key role.

Dublin Uses Public-Private Partnership to Transform Neighborhood

The city converted public housing to privately owned affordable housing and created a new neighborhood. The five-year planning process involved all key stakeholders, including existing residents,…

Article Features

From City Hall to the Capitol: Making the Transition, Part 1 of 2

Freshman legislators with backgrounds in local government explain what they bring to the state Capitol and describe their districts’ priorities.

Article Features Julie Pierce

The Future of SB 375 Implementation and Regional Planning

All 18 metropolitan planning organizations in California will have adopted their first Regional Transportation Plans under SB 375 by May 2015. This article looks at what SB 375 has accomplished…

Article City Forum Kirstin Kolpitcke

New Law Strengthens Local Regulation of Massage Businesses

New legislation returned to California cities and counties the authority to adopt ordinances regarding the massage therapy industry through a combination of land-use and business regulations.

Article President’s Message Stephany Aguilar

Grappling With the Challenges of Transportation Infrastructure Financing

California’s local streets and roads network is currently funded through a variety of sources including the state gas tax, federal transportation funds, local tax and bond measures, and…

A Renaissance for Long Beach Airport

The $45 million project, completed five months ahead of schedule and on budget, was funded by a General Airport Revenue Bond and passenger facility charges.

Article Features Cory Golden

A Growing Risk: Oil Trains Raise Safety and Environmental Concerns

An oil boom in North Dakota and Canada from the Bakken shale formation and a lack of pipeline infrastructure have led to a dramatic increase in oil-by-rail shipments nationwide. As the volume…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

New Study Reveals Nearly $7.3 Billion Needed Annually to Make Streets and Roads Safe

In 10 years it is expected that, without greater investment, 25 percent of local streets and roads will be ranked “poor” — compared with 6 percent today. The local system will have an…

Article Legal Notes The League Of California Cities’ Committee On The California Public Records Act

Cost-Effective Public Records Act Compliance and Records Transparency Following Proposition 42

City policies and practices can maintain records transparency, simplify responding to disclosure requests and reduce costs even before a records request is submitted.

Article Web Exclusive Karalee BrowneMelissa Kuehne

Road Diets Make Streets Leaner, Safer and More Efficient

Community Leadership Programs: Empowering Future Leaders

Community-based organizations often provide leadership development programs for residents or specific underrepresented populations and offer an opportunity to invigorate civic engagement.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

League Sets 2015 Strategic Direction in Leadership Workshop

A senior leadership meeting of city officials from throughout the state used a dynamic, inclusive goalsetting process that built on the success of prior years and charted some new directions…

Article Features Dan Carrigg

2014 Legislative Year in Review

League actions in 2014 included sponsoring and supporting legislation on infrastructure, economic development and the redevelopment dissolution process. Other efforts focused on improving the…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Make Your City Hall a Star

Help the League build its archive of images, and put your city hall in the spotlight.

Santa Clarita Uses Collaborative Approach to Tackle Youths’ Drug Abuse

An upward trend in substance abuse spurred a partnership of the city, county and school district.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Ethics, Transparency and Building Public Confidence in Local Government

This month Western City focuses on the issues of ethics and public trust. The League and the Institute for Local Government (ILG), the nonprofit research affiliate of the League and the California State Association of Counties, offer a variety of helpful resources about these topics for local elected officials and city staff.

Article Features Lea Deesing

Electronic Transparency and Open Data: A Movement Worth Joining

Taking information that local agencies already have and making it open to the public reduces in-house costs and builds efficiencies for both staff and constituents. In the past the public…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

New Mayors and Council Members’ Academy Provides a Strong Start

Held each January in Sacramento, the academy features seasoned experts who present the nuts and bolts of city council operations.

Article Legal Notes Stephen A. McewenLisa S. Kurihara

Addressing Health and Safety Issues Related to Public Encampments and Vehicle Habitation

In dealing with public encampments and vehicle habitation, city officials must be sensitive to the constitutional rights of the affected individuals, who are often homeless, and the many…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Promoting Good Governance Within Your Agency

A critical part of good governance involves officials and staff knowing and understanding the duties and responsibilities of their agency — and their position within the agency — as well…

ILG Welcomes California’s Newly Elected Local Officials

Newly elected local officials and staff can get up to speed on a variety of key topics using free resources designed to meet their needs.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

The Fiscal Challenges Ahead for Cities

With three major municipal bankruptcies in California cities in recent years, it is clear that the risks of overcommitting a city to long-term liabilities are not just theoretical — they are…

Article Features Lee Price

The Balanced Triangle and the City Clerk’s Role in Local Government

The clerk’s role is to ensure proper process and open, transparent government. As professional managers, clerks are uniquely qualified to do just that.

Article Features Michael Coleman

League Provides Municipal Financial Health Diagnostic Tool

California’s economy is improving, and local revenues are picking up. But fiscal challenges remain, especially in the area of escalating costs. More cities are heading into financial peril….

Article City Forum Norman Coppinger

CalTRUST Offers a Safe, Convenient Investment Pool for Local Agencies

Organized as a joint powers authority, CalTRUST offers short-term, medium-term and money market accounts. These accounts provide easy, safe and reliable options for public agencies.

Article President’s Message Tony Ferrara

Is Your City Prepared for The Next Major Disaster?

California is vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, wildfires, tsunamis, hazardous materials spills, acts of terrorism and many other natural and human-caused disasters. For this reason state law…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Legislative Briefing Webinar Wraps Up the Session, Sets Stage for 2015

The briefing covers the culmination of the two-year 2013-14 legislative session and highlights key bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in each of the League’s primary lobbying areas. The League’s…

Article Legal Notes Michael R. CobdenTeresa L. Highsmith

The Better Part of Valor: Amending Local Sex Offender Ordinances

Few city officials or residents favor the idea of repealing an ordinance intended to protect children from sexual predators, but many cities with such ordinances are being forced to do just that as…

Goleta Makes Emergency Preparedness a Priority

The Goleta Prepare Now/Goleta Prepárese Hoy program provides education and training to community members so they can assist their families and neighborhoods during a disaster.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Getting Public Employees Off to a Good Start

How does one sensitize the public agency’s workforce to the special obligations of being a public agency staff member? Strategies include discussing practical examples from the media to help…

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Disruptive Technology, Public Policy and Leadership

Public sector leaders face a number of challenges related to disruptive technology.

Article Features Ed Wilson

Regulating Fracking in California: An Overview

Recent legislation provides a new regulatory framework.

Article Features Catherine Reheis-Boyd

Making the Case for Fracking

Expanded production of the Monterey Shale Formation could create new jobs.

Article Features Damon Nagami

California Needs to Call Time-Out on Fracking

Safeguards have not kept pace with fracking, which poses hazards.

Article Features Mary Beth Barber

Engaging Your City’s Youth Through the Arts

Cities can participate directly in youth arts programs that have lasting impacts.

Article Features Anna Swanson

PREVIEW: 2014 Annual Conference & Expo Highlights
Los Angeles Convention Center, Sept. 3-5

Attend educational sessions and hear speakers with inspiring ideas.

Eureka Reaches Teens With GULCH

Eureka Reaches Teens With GULCH Youth helped design a character building program.​

Monrovia’s YES Program Opens Doors For At-Risk Teens

Monrovia’s YES Program Opens Doors For At-Risk Teens The program provides career opportunities and guidance.

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

How Your Participation in the League Can Help Your City — and You

Becoming involved in the League provides many benefits not only for cities and elected local officials, but also for staff and department heads.

Article Features

Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards Highlight Exceptional Efforts

Launched in 2014, the awards highlight cities and counties using innovative projects to achieve safety, preservation and sustainability goals for the local street and road systems.

Article Features Anna Swanson

Preview: League of California Cities 2014 Annual Conference & Expo
Los Angeles Convention Center, Sept. 3-5

Take a look at the many professional development and networking opportunities in store at the 2014 Annual Conference and Expo.

Article City Forum

New Tool Helps Understand Candidates’ Positions on Issues Important to Cities

An online questionnaire gives communities an opportunity to gain insights about candidates’ views on local control and other issues of importance to cities statewide.

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…

Santa Clarita Uses Community Approach to Strengthen Neighborhood

The city partnered with residents to find creative ways to address tough challenges.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

When Tragedy Strikes: A Leader’s Role, Revisited

When a tragic event occurs and an investigation follows, it’s helpful for elected local officials to keep a few key issues in mind.

Be a Beacon: The Power of Recognition

The Beacon Award program, a catalyst for innovative and effective solutions, addresses climate change at the local level and informs the community about these activities.

Article Features Heidi SanbornGretchen Olsen

Product Stewardship Saves Money, Creates Jobs and Reduces Waste

The law that established California’s landmark waste hierarchy of “reduce, reuse and recycle” led to collaborative efforts and the concept of product stewardship.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Why Home Rule Is the Birthright of California’s Cities

Local control, or home rule, provides the foundation for city governance. This article examines the state’s history and the Legislature’s tradition of meddling in local affairs.

Article Features Karalee Browne

Beacon Award-Winner San Rafael Makes Sustainability a Priority

San Rafael has focused on sustainable land use by preserving open space, encouraging mixed-use infill development and adopting green building requirements. Now its community is actively reducing…

Article City Forum Anna Swanson

2014 Annual Conference & Expo Offers New Sessions and Exciting Additions

The 2014 League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo includes many new features and opportunities.

Elk Grove Rain Garden Plaza Showcases Water Conservation

A public project demonstrates sustainable stormwater management practices and offers an educational, inviting space.

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

Taking Service to the Next Level With 311

The 311 Customer Service Center operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide access to City and County of San Francisco government information and services. The goal is to assist callers…

Article Features The Institute For Local Government Public Engagement Team

Technology, Tools and Techniques to Reach Your Community

Local governments use a wide variety of technology options in their efforts to connect with their communities. While some technology may be costly, many options are reasonably priced and the range…

Article City Forum Melissa Kuehne

Use Free Technology to Enhance Public Meetings

Local governments can access free resources and borrow equipment, including keypad polling devices and translation gear, to enhance public meetings and engage the community.

Article Legal Notes Leah Goldberg

The Gatto Act Provides Cities With New Opportunities for Environmental Cleanup

The Legislature’s elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012 stripped cities of several important tools to address blight in the community. Meanwhile, contamination or the threat of…

Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications
Part 2 of 2

The issues related to refraining from participation in an agency decision can be vexing. It may be tempting to abstain because of concerns about making an unpopular decision or simply not knowing…

Sustainability Yields Fiscal and Economic Benefits

New resources offer practical tips to enhance cities’ economic prosperity and fiscal health.

Article Features Kim Summers

High Desert Cities Collaborate for Economic Development

Five cities took an innovative approach to attract business.

Article Features Scott OchoaSharon Mann Garrett

Glendale’s Economic Development Programs Revamp Its Image

A decade of public-private development partnerships provided impetus for change.

Article Features Cheryl Kitzerow

Temecula’s Business Incubator Helps Startups and More

The city provides resources to help local small businesses succeed.

Article Features Craig Watson

Inspiring the Creative Economy: How Cities Increase Economic Activity Through Innovation and The Arts

The arts can be an important economic engine for cities, no matter how large or small.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Are City Governments the Last Bastion Of Democracy?

Cities are not just the laboratories of democracy; they may well also be its salvation.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Upcoming Legislative Milestones: Take Note, Take Action

Calls and letters to legislators from city officials expressing their positions on bills are a critical part of the League’s advocacy activities.

Article Features Frank Benest

Is Your City Council Stifling Innovation? Tips to Promote Smart Risk-Taking

Innovation requires risk-taking — not wild gambles, but calculated risks. Unless council members and top management create an environment that encourages “smart” risks, there will be little…

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

San Francisco’s “Kindergarten to College” Program Improves the Odds For Students

The first publicly funded, universal children’s college savings account program in the United States has a simple yet ambitious goal: Make sure every child in San Francisco can save for…

Article City Forum Melissa Kuehne

Free Tools to Help With the City Budget Process

The municipal budget process typically begins in the spring. City officials and staff can find a wide range of free materials online to assist in budget creation, financial management and more.

Article Legal Notes Gail A. Karish

Wireless Industry Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority

Wireless industry lobbyists continue to advocate before Congress, state legislators and the Federal Communications Commission that local zoning requirements are a barrier that must be cleared away….

San Clemente’s “Fun on the Run Fitness” Focuses on Youth

The Fun on the Run Mobile Recreation program visits four low-income neighborhood areas weekly to keep children engaged and active after school with physical activities, games, crafts and nutrition…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications
Part 1 of 2

The issue of when to refrain from participating in an agency decision can be vexing. This is an area where the law provides some but not all of the answers.

ILG Releases Updated Online Guide to Planning Healthy Neighborhoods

Throughout California, city and county officials make planning, policy and land-use decisions on a weekly basis. Local officials understand that such decisions affect their community’s…