Articles

Overview

Articles

Article Features Tim Cromartie

Understanding State Mandates and Suspended Mandates: Local Government Impacts

This article presents an overview of state mandates, reimbursable mandates and options for cities when mandates are suspended.

Article Features Kirstin Kolpitcke

Regulating the Massage Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

In 2008 the massage industry helped craft SB 731, which established a voluntary certification process for massage professionals through the California Massage Therapy Council. The bill’s intent…

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

The Alchemy of Leadership and the Consent of the Governed

What impact does the public’s distrust of government officials have on how people perceive leadership? Why do some unpopular leaders later achieve prominence while other more popular leaders…

Article City Forum Caitlin Fitzwater

Get Creative: California Arts Council Offers Grant Funding Opportunity

The California Arts Council’s new Creative California Communities (CCC) Program supports innovative projects that harness arts and culture as a key economic development or arts service strategy…

Ontario Provides Homeless With Continuum of Services

The City of Ontario partnered with Mercy House Living Centers to create a full-service continuum of care that would provide the social and capital infrastructure necessary to transition all…

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

California’s Crumbling Infrastructure: An Urgent Priority

For the ninth time in the past 10 years, the League has identified infrastructure investment as one of its top priorities. You don’t have to look far to understand why.

Article City Forum Samantha Caygill

California Civic Leadership Institute® Makes Strides in League-Legislative Relations

CCLI is one of several programs that address the League’s key strategic priority to “build effective partnerships to help respond to growing community needs.” Each year, 20 to 30 local…

Article Legal Notes Stephen E. Velyvis

Practical Advice for Minimizing CEQA Liability in Your City

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the primary state law that requires public agencies and their decision-makers to understand and evaluate the environmental consequences of their…

Malibu’s Legacy Park: A Public Works Approach to Sustainability

Every year, thousands of visitors flock to Legacy Park, which was designed to showcase six regionally significant habitats, including the coastal prairie, woodlands, coastal bluffs, riparian…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Agency Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Romantic relationships in the public agency workplace raise a number of ethical issues and carry significant risks. This article explores the problems such relationships can create for the agency…

How Local Officials Can Support Citizenship and Civic Participation

Approximately 2.5 million “lawful permanent residents” living in California are eligible to become U.S. citizens. Local officials can leverage their leadership to encourage naturalization…

Article Features Dan Carrigg

2013 Legislative Year In Review

In 2013 the League focused on sponsoring and supporting legislation to help develop new community and economic development tools and funding options for city services. On other fronts, it was…

Article Executive Director's Message Chris Mckenzie

League Leadership Reviews Progress On New Advocacy Strategy and Sets 2014 Goals

When the leadership of the League gathered in November for the annual goal-setting meeting, League staff was pleased to report that the organization had concluded a largely successful 2013…

Article City Forum Carolyn Ballou

Connecting Veterans With Services Benefits the Entire Community

California is currently home to 1.8 million veterans, and an additional 40,000 veterans are expected to return to the state every year for the next several years.

Montclair and Ontario Invest in Future Workforce

Like many cities throughout California, Montclair and Ontario are faced with breaking the cycle of low adult educational attainment, family poverty and workforce development hurdles. An innovative…

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

Making City Operations More Transparent

Most residents want to know how decisions — particularly budget-related decisions — are made at the local level and how much a particular course of action is going to cost the city and its…

Article City Forum Bill Bogaard

Accountability and Transparency in Local Government

In the wake of the Bell scandal the League condemned the breach of public trust and took steps to facilitate public access to critically important city government information, such as the salaries…

Article Legal Notes Gregory P. PriamosNeil D. Okazaki

California Supreme Court: Cities May Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Over the past several years, California cities and counties have faced the issue of whether to permit or ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Many cities imposed bans or prohibited dispensary…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Understanding the New Travel-Related Exceptions to California’s Gift Rules

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission recently reorganized and — in some instances — relaxed the rules on when a public official may accept free or discounted travel. The changes…

Article Sustainable Cities Yvonne Hunter

Financial Resources to Support Energy Efficiency

California’s energy utilities and state agencies offer rebates, zero-interest loans, grants and other types of financing incentives to cities, residents and businesses.

Resources to Help Promote Public Trust and Confidence in Local Government

The competency of both local officials and staff provides a basis for establishing public trust and confidence. Elements of ethics, public input and transparency also play a key role.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Can Art and Emotion Inspire Effective Leadership?

Artist and speaker Erik Wahl’s performance at the League’s recent annual conference inspired city officials to think creatively about the skills they may have that can be put to work in serving…

Article City Forum James Hamill

Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing for Commercial Building Upgrades

Efforts to achieve greater energy efficiency in commercial and industrial buildings are often hampered by substantial upfront costs. To help local businesses overcome these cost barriers,…

Walnut Creek Takes a Graphic Approach to Its Budget

The city did something dramatically different with its budget report to capture the community’s attention about a looming deficit.

Article Features Gary M. Caporicci

What Local Officials Need to Know About New Elements in GASB Financial Statements

Two new elements required for government financial statements may seem complicated at first glance, but will improve the accuracy of reporting by including future commitments.

Article Features Yvonne Hunter

Understanding the Basics of Public Safety Realignment

Under realignment, state prisons will house the most serious offenders while county jails will house lower-level felons. This article examines which offenders are covered, sentencing, post-release…

Article Features

2013 League of California Cities Annual Conference Resolution #2

At the League’s 2013 Annual Conference, the League General Assembly approved Resolution #2, related to public safety realignment.

Article President’s Message José Cisneros

Getting a Handle on Financial Issues

Many cities are experiencing very painful financial difficulties. Elected city officials grapple with budget challenges nearly every day. But cities are using a number of innovative approaches to…

Article City Forum Lauren Kimzey

Interactive End-of-Session Legislative Briefings Set for November

With numerous mandates coming from the state Capitol, ensuring that your city is compliant can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned city official.

Article Legal Notes Amy Greyson

Due Process Walls in the City Attorney’s Office: Safeguarding Fair Hearings

In light of a recent court decision, cities should make sure their practices are consistent with the due process rights of parties involved in quasi-judicial proceedings.

Santa Maria’s Listos: Disaster Preparedness Program Builds Trust

The City of Santa Maria’s Listos program emphasizes sharing emergency and disaster preparedness skills, using a culturally appropriate curriculum that overcomes language and trust barriers.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Using Public Resources: Special Issues Around Expenses and Expense Reimbursement

Tips for public agency employees on travel, expense reimbursement and credit card usage.

Article Sustainable Cities The Institute For Local Government Team

Bright Ideas for Connecting Youth and Sustainability

Activities that help youth become involved in and understand issues related to sustainability span a broad range.

Pondering Innovation at the Local Level

How does innovation occur in local government? What can local officials interested in seeing their agencies engage in innovation do to support innovation?

Article Features Yvonne Hunter

Historic Preservation: A Springboard For Economic Development

Local agencies are using historic preservation to promote financial vitality.

Article Features Bina LefkovitzJonathan RaymondJay Schenirer

Summer at City Hall: Partnership Focuses on Youth

Summer at City Hall focuses on teen learning and leadership and provides a model for other communities seeking to create an engaging and enriching summer program for youth.

Article Features Anna Swanson

Annual Conference Highlights
League of California Cities 2013 Annual Conference & Expo Sacramento Convention Center, Sept. 18-20

A look at the highlights of the League of California Cities 2013 Annual Conference & Expo.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

The Conversations We All Need to Have, Again and Again

Rather than have a national “conversation” about race, President Obama suggested, in effect, that we have millions of conversations about it over the next few years.

Article City Forum

Institute Offers Programs and Resources at the League Annual Conference

The Institute for Local Government is offering several sessions at the League of California Cities 2013 Annual Conference & Expo to provide educational opportunities for city officials.

A Tale of Two Cities: Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek’s Community Service Days

These projects increase civic pride and produce remarkable results.

Article Features Lindsay Buckley

Beyond the Light Bulb: Natural Gas Opportunities for Local Agencies

Natural gas offers ways to increase efficiency and save money.

Article Features Anna Swanson

Annual Conference Preview
League of California Cities 2013 Annual Conference & Expo Sacramento Convention Center, Sept. 18-20

An overview of the League of California Cities 2013 Annual Conference & Expo coming to Sacramento next month.

Article President’s Message Bill Bogaard

A New Advocacy Approach for Building Stronger Cities and a Stronger State

Each year the League board of directors adopts a strategy for focusing the organization’s efforts. This year’s strategy emphasizes working with the state Legislature on issues of local control…

Article City Forum Marcus Ginnaty

Solar Decathlon Features Innovation, Municipal Day and More

An international competition of solar-powered, energy-efficient houses designed by teams of college students, is coming to Southern California.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Using Public Resources for Gifts and Charitable Purposes

Many agencies are finding their spending decisions under increasing scrutiny.

Article Sustainable Cities The Institute For Local Government Sustainability Team

Sustainability’s New Normal: Capturing Multiple Benefits

California cities and counties are increasingly finding that investing today in energy efficiency, sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions has both immediate and longer-term benefits.

ILG Releases Updated Sustainability Best Practices Framework

The newly revised framework offers options to consider for local action in 10 areas from energy efficiency and conservation to efficient transportation, promoting community and individual action…

Article Features

On the Record
How does the League help you serve your community?

Local elected officials weigh in on how the League of California Cities helps them serve the public.

Article Features Don Nottoli

The Current Plan is Flawed

Article Features Mark Cowin

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan: An Overview and Local Perspectives

The Delta supplies a large share of the water used in Southern California and other parts of the state. A new plan proposes dramatic changes to how water is moved from the Delta.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Why We May Mean “Local Diversity” When We Talk About “Local Control”

Gov. Jerry Brown recently observed that in a state that values diversity as much as California, you would think there would be more support for honoring the differences among communities. So what…

Article City Forum Anna Swanson

It’s Not Too Early: Plan Your Time at The League’s 2013 Annual Conference & Expo

Expert speakers and panelists will discuss a wide range of topics in sessions that take place concurrently throughout the conference. Many cities choose to have their officials and staff coordinate…

Cathedral City Takes Action on Energy Efficiency

Using a variety of partnerships and local initiatives, Cathedral City reduced its energy costs.

Article Features Web Exclusive

Award of Excellence for Writing

Western City Article on Controversial Bay-Delta Conservation Plan Wins Award

Article Features Steven R. MeyersBritt K. Strottman

Under California: Knowing What Lies Beneath

Most people are generally unaware of what lies beneath the streets they travel on each day. Understanding the sub-surface infrastructure is an important local government consideration.

Article President’s Message Bill Bogaard

Using Technology to Enhance Transparency

Technology offers many ways for local governments to increase and enhance the transparency of their operations. A proactive approach is best when it comes to providing information to residents and…

Article City Forum

Meetings and Technology: Finding the Right Balance

Local agency officials and staff are wise to be mindful of transparency and fair process issues related to technology.

Redlands311: Smartphone App Serves Residents

The app provides a way to report a wide range of issues, including potholes, vandalism, water leaks and more, directly to city staff.

SmartRiverside Transforms Community and Fosters Innovation

SmartRiverside has helped transform the city by promoting high-tech businesses, encouraging collaboration and creating a forum for communication between students and high-tech organizations.

Who Gets to Use Agency Seals, Logos, Letterhead and Other Insignia?

Examining how other local agencies handle these issues provides a helpful starting place for determining which approach best serves your agency’s needs.

Article Sustainable Cities Karalee BrowneSteve Sanders

Collaboration Promotes Economic Development and Advances Sustainability

A diverse alliance in the San Francisco Bay Area is showing that cooperation and collaboration among neighboring communities and the business sector can pay big dividends in new jobs that combine…

Institute Offers Resources for Sustainable Economic Development

New tools are available for local leaders looking for resources to help their cities meet fiscal challenges and thrive in today’s economic climate.

Article Features Samantha Caygill

From Local Government to the Legislature: Making the Transition Part 2 of 2

Freshman legislators share insights about the California Civic Leadership Institute®.

Article Features Craig Watson

How the Arts and Cultural Tourism Spur Economic Development

How cities are taking advantage of local talent to showcase their community’s unique personality and stimulate economic activity in numerous ways.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

If You Rebuild It They Will Come: How State-Local Partnerships Have Changed the Face of California and Its Cities

Today multiple bills are pending to recreate tax-increment financing. It requires vision, persistence and enough public investment to attract private capital and development that produce…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Tap Into Strong Cities
Strong State For Models of Economic Development

This program offers ideas for city officials seeking new ways to maximize their city’s economic development opportunities.

Article Features Samantha Caygill

From Local Government to the Legislature: Making the Transition

In November 2012 the Legislature welcomed 39 new members, the largest freshman class since 1966. In the Assembly, 69 percent have local government experience.

Article President’s Message Bill Bogaard

Supporting Health in Our Communities

By supporting wellness efforts, cities can offer an environment where residents and employees are encouraged to be more physically active, eat nutritious food and enjoy the advantages of good health.

Article City Forum Charlotte DicksonTim Crawford

Cities for Workforce Health: New League Partner Program Helps Cities Build Wellness Culture

Designed to help cities build a stronger wellness culture over time and engage their employees in healthier lifestyles, this program provides online tools, grants and more.

Article Legal Notes Robert A. Blum

Opportunities to Save Pension Costs Through Collective Bargaining After Pension Reform

The Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 mandates uniform, generally lower benefit formulas for all “new members” of California public agency defined benefit retirement plans.

Lancaster’s Holistic Approach to Healthy Neighborhoods

The Neighborhood Impact Program uses neighborhood revitalization and partnerships to address health, safety and social issues.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Get Your Public Meetings Back on Track

Disruptions in public meetings seem to be increasingly common. This article offers tips for local agency officials on handling conflict and strategies to help make meetings more productive.

Article Sustainable Cities Jennifer ArmerSteve Sanders

Fresno’s Planning Process Builds Trust

Communities use planning to make choices about the future. But the process can be as important as the final plan itself and provide a foundation for future efforts around local issues and concerns.

Meetings: Bane or Blessing? New Resource Center Offers Help

Meetings can present a broad range of challenges for local officials. A collection of useful materials offers practical information on related topics that include chairing a meeting, dealing with a…

Article Features Kirstin KolpitckeDan Carrigg

Neglecting Annexation and Incorporation Will Not Serve the State’s Growth Goals

State policies for achieving sustainability have staked much on the success of cities. Yet the state’s recent actions signal a lack of appreciation for the vital function cities serve as centers…

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Are We at the Tipping Point in Building a New State-Local Partnership?

As the economy begins to recover and the state budget shows signs of stabilizing, the challenges facing California require strong leadership at all levels. Many of our new state legislators came…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Showcase Your City’s Work: Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Program

The deadline for this year’s award program is April 11, so start planning now to enter your city’s outstanding programs that creatively address local challenges. Winners enjoy a variety of…

Fontana Revitalizes Downtown With a Focus on Seniors

The city provided its senior population with high-quality, affordable housing close to the services they need.

Article Features Jennifer ArmerSteve Sanders

Partnerships Make Roadways Safer

In tough economic times expectations remain high for cities to provide quality public services and facilities, though resources to fund desired projects are scarce. One strategy for overcoming…

Article President’s Message Bill Bogaard

The Impact of Our Crumbling Infrastructure on California’s Economy

The state’s goals around reducing greenhouse gas emissions are based on a vision that concentrates growth in urban cores and utilizes transit. To meet these goals, cities must be able to make…

Article City Forum Jennifer Whiting

New Report on Roads: Fix Problems Now or Pay More Later

Pavement conditions are deteriorating throughout California, and while the costs are high for even the most basic repair and maintenance, the price tag for waiting is far higher, from both an…

Article Legal Notes Brian I. Hamblet

Making Drug Dealers Pay For Law Enforcement

Cities are increasingly using civil actions rather than criminal prosecution to curb illegal drug sales within their borders. Often such actions are taken either under general nuisance laws or the…

Perris Reaches Out to Make Sewer System Upgrade Possible

How one city overcame significant community resistance.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Public Agency Attorney Ethics

Attorneys must meet a number of requirements (including ethics requirements) to be able to practice law in California. But what happens when public agency attorneys are pressured to justify…

Article Sustainable Cities Karalee Browne

Peer Learning Network Advances Leadership in Sustainability

The Sustainable Communities Learning Network links nonprofit, governmental, private sector and community organizations statewide. It provides a way to share best practices and seek information from…

In Case We Haven’t Met: ILG Provides Tools and Resources for Local Leaders

The ILG website offers a broad array of tools for newly elected local officials and their staff as well as seasoned officials.

Article Features Dan Carrigg

2012 Legislative Year In Review

While the past few years have presented major challenges for cities, the events of 2012 included some bright spots as well. This article presents an overview of the year’s legislative…

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

League Leadership Sets Strategic Path For 2013

More than 100 city officials worked together to develop the League’s strategic goals for 2013, which include building partnerships, continuing pension reform, expanding community and economic…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Helping Mayors and Council Members Take Leadership to the Next Level

The League provides a wide range of resources to help local elected officials build their capacity to better serve their residents.

Article President’s Message Bill Bogaard

Cultivating Transparency in Your City

When news is breaking about the abuse of public trust in another city, local elected officials are likely to be asked, “How can we be sure that something similar isn’t happening here?”

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Tools for Enhancing Transparency

Cities throughout California are engaged in a variety of efforts to make local government operations as transparent as possible. The League provides local officials with a variety of resources on…

Article Legal Notes Kent J. Bullard

Filarsky v. Delia: An Unqualified Win For Qualified Immunity

The doctrine of qualified immunity protects government defendants from liability as long as their conduct did not violate clearly established law. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on the issue…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Blind Spots: Money, Public Service and the Ethical Hazards of Self-Interest

Recent media coverage of public officials’ ethical lapses raises questions about the underlying causes of such behavior. This column explores why people make poor choices and the roles that…

Article Features Eric S. Berman

GASB’s New Defined Benefit Pension Standards: Sunshine or Rain for Cities?

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s release of new defined benefit pension standards could not have come at a better time or a worse time, depending on one’s point of view.

Article Features Helene Leckman Leichter

Make Volunteer Programs a Financial Asset, Not a Liability

As cities implement deeper budget cuts, volunteers are performing more physically and intellectually demanding functions.

Article Sustainable Cities Yvonne Hunter

Financing Energy Efficiency: Options And Issues to Consider

Efforts to finance energy-efficiency projects benefit from thinking ahead about the pros and cons of different options.

Resources to Help New Leaders Get Started

Understanding “how to get things done as a newly elected official” is a priority for local officials. New online resources help streamline the process.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Making Strides on Public Pension Reform

The League made pension reform its top strategic priority in 2012 and succeeded in accomplishing this goal as the legislative session concluded.

Article City Forum John ByrneJon Penkower

A New Approach to Financing Energy Efficiency

A new program gives local governments access to tax-exempt financing for sustainable energy investments and projects.

San Carlos Adopts Innovative Contracting Techniques to Maintain Service Levels

Like many California cities, San Carlos has faced some serious budgetary challenges in recent years.

Article Features Eva Spiegel

New High-Tech Tools Keep Residents Safe, Informed and Engaged

High-tech tools are making it possible for cities to issue alerts in real time to their communities, respond more quickly to emergencies and maximize scarce resources.

Article President’s Message Bill Bogaard

Focusing on Economic Development

In an era of tight economic resources, how can we best promote the economies of our cities and California as a whole?

Article City Forum

Mark Your Calendar Now for November Legislative Briefings

The Legislative Briefings cover information of critical importance to cities and are offered in two formats, online and in person, to make them readily accessible for all member cities.

Article Legal Notes Matthew R. Silver

Realignment: How Cities Can Maximize Existing Powers and Recover Costs to Fight Crime

Cities can draw on their own police powers and state laws to abate problems from drugs and prostitution to graffiti and gangs.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials Daniel D. Purnell

Regulating Lobbying Activities
Part 2 of 2

This column presents options for securing compliance with local lobbying laws and questions to ask about what kind of laws make sense for a particular community.

Article Features Lorraine Okabe

Annual Conference Highlights

An overview of upcoming highlights at the League of California Cities 2012 Annual Conference & Expo.

Article Features Kyra Ross

Join a League Policy Committee and Make Your Voice Heard

Policy committees play an integral role in the League’s decision making process and influence on statewide policy affecting cities.

Article Features Jessica Reynolds

League to Launch a New Communications and Outreach Assistance Program

Cities can tap into the opportunity provided by an increased focus on municipal issues.

Article Features Kevin Payne

The Next Generation of Economic Development Tools: Community Development Corporations

Cities throughout California are seeking ways to help create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods.

Article Sustainable Cities Yvonne Hunter

Today’s Youth: Tomorrow’s Green Workforce

Green training programs that focus on youth also contribute to local economies and job expansion.

“Shout Out” to Youth About Local Civics and Careers in City Government

By acting now, local officials can build a future pool of committed, prepared public servants.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Taking the Long View

The League’s role in advocating for cities has a rich history.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Strong Cities
Strong State Brings Home the Value of Cities and City Services

Help your city connect residents with valuable information and reach opinion leaders.

Article Features Eva Spiegel

10 Questions to Ask Before Installing Solar Power on Agency Facilities

As the cost of installing solar photovoltaic systems on agency facilities has declined over the past few years, local agencies are considering the benefits. Asking the right questions can help make…

Article President’s Message Mike Kasperzak

Reflecting on Our Progress and Moving Forward

The League has met the challenges of the past year, and much work remains to be done.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Don’t Miss the Leadership Gala at the Annual Conference

The gala is the perfect occasion to mix, mingle and support the League’s work on behalf of cities.

Article Features Lorraine Okabe

Annual Conference Preview

A look at the highlights of next month’s conference.

Article Legal Notes Richard PadillaJoaquin Vazquez

What You Should Know About Hiring CalPERS Retirees

Many cities have hired recent retirees to bridge staffing needs during the economic crunch. But failing to recognize and comply with requirements of the statutes governing such hires can result in…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials Daniel D. Purnell

Regulating Lobbying Activities
Part 1 of 2

This article examines common elements of lobbying laws and how these laws typically regulate lobbyist behavior.

Article Web Exclusive

Web Exclusive
Which project in your city are you most proud of?

 (Asked at the League’s 2011 Annual Conference)

Article Features Pauline Roccucci

Draft Stormwater Permit Draws Cities Together in New Coalition

California city officials were stunned when the State Water Resources Control Board issued a highly prescriptive 93-page draft permit containing a number of stringent, unfunded mandates.

Article Sustainable Cities Yvonne HunterJessica Aviña Tong

Sustainability’s Many Faces: Beacon Award Program Participants Create Vibrant Communities

Cities and counties throughout California are demonstrating leadership in creating vibrant, healthy communities by adopting policies and programs that support sustainability.

New Resources: The Latest in Best Practices and More

Local officials looking for tools to help them serve their communities now have access to a variety of new resources.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Summer Reading: Food for Thought

A new book reminds us how good leaders seize crises to remake organizational habits.

Article City Forum

New Program Offers Help With Planning for Energy Emergencies

The California Local Energy Assurance Planning program offers local governments support in planning for interruptions to energy supplies.

Article Features Lorraine Okabe

Annual Conference Preview

The League of California Cities 2012 Annual Conference & Expo provides a unique opportunity for city officials and staff to learn from policy-makers and experts.

Article President’s Message Mike Kasperzak

Putting Technology to Work

The Internet is no longer a new tool, and many cities are making good use of it. In this era of fiscal austerity, we are all working to do more with less. Cities are using technology to improve…

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Redesigned League Website Offers New Tools and Features

The website features enhanced tools to help League members advocate for their cities, become involved in the policy-making process and learn about important upcoming educational opportunities for…

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

Local Agency Electronic Media Use and California Public Records Law

Members of the public and local agency officials carrying out the public’s business increasingly use electronic media to communicate. This article provides an overview of the law, discusses some…

Hollister Uses Solar Technology to Save Money and Educate Workforce

The city took an innovative tack in dealing with unpredictable electricity rates and used a public-private partnership to train workers for the green energy industry.

Local Agency Opportunities for Website Transparency

Public agency transparency comprises two dimensions: information and process. This article includes a handy checklist of items local agencies may want to consider including on their website.

Article Features Julio J. FuentesJoseph Montes

Creating Economic Development at the Local Level

The City of Alhambra took action early this year on an innovative plan to stimulate economic development and identified a range of tools to help finance new projects.

Article Sustainable Cities Steve Sanders

Built to Last: Charting a Path to a Sustainable Economy

Two very different cities offer remarkable examples of pioneering efforts to chart a more sustainable economic future.

California’s Green Economy Links Economic Development and Sustainability

The continued expansion in core green industries, such as energy generation and efficiency, recycling and waste, clean transportation, water and wastewater, offers cause for guarded optimism.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

What Comes Next?

In the wake of the elimination of redevelopment agencies, city officials and legislators are wondering, “What comes next?”

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Key Milestones Ahead in 2012 Legislative Session

One of the most critical periods for legislative action is between now and the first week of July. Learn how you can support the advocacy efforts of California cities.

Gonzales Grows Green: An Innovative Economic Program

Gonzales offers an excellent model of an economic development program that focuses on sustainability and builds trust and understanding.

Article President’s Message Mike Kasperzak

Act Now to Create a Healthier Community

As local officials, we grapple with a lot of challenging issues and tough situations, and we don’t always agree on the best thing to do. But once in a while we come across something that makes…

Article City Forum Charlotte Dickson

HEAL Cities Campaign Supports Healthy Communities

Obesity and related diseases threaten the health of cities’ most vulnerable populations, particularly children and youth. As part of an effort to address obesity, California cities are participating in the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign and adopting land-use, economic development and employee wellness policies that support health.

Article Legal Notes Martin Kosla

Strategies for Curtailing Frivolous Lawsuits

State and local governments can be targets for vexatious litigants, individuals who file “do-it-yourself” lawsuits and represent themselves in court.

La Mesa Gives Seniors a Lift

The Rides4Neighbors program provides a variety of flexible transportation options for eligible senior residents.

Understanding Changes to the Gift Rules

A variety of changes to the gift regulations took effect Jan. 1, 2012. The goal was to simplify the gift regulations and make them easier to understand, while reinforcing the principle that public…

Article Features Gary Gallegos

Trailblazing a Sustainable Path

A new era of transportation planning has dawned in California as metropolitan planning organizations throughout the state work to comply with Senate Bill 375.

Article Sustainable Cities Jessica Aviña Tong

Operation Mulch-a-Lot: Long Beach Chips Away at Blight and Green Waste

Long Beach has a creative use for vacant city lots that offers several added benefits.

Resources for Involving the Public in Land-Use Planning Decisions

Land-use planning can present difficult and divisive issues for communities. A local agency’s land-use planning decisions literally affect people where they live.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

The Power of Groupthink: The New Denial

Groupthink is a phenomenon in which the group members form individual opinions that match the group consensus rather than critically evaluating information.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Celebrating 30 Years: The Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Program

This year marks a milestone for the League and California cities.

Hayward Uses Murals to Fight Blight

Hayward’s Mural Art Program offers an outstanding example of a local effort that has helped reduce crime, build public-private partnerships, enhance community pride and save taxpayers’ money.

Article Features Dan Carrigg

Tips for Building and Maintaining Relationships in a Term-Limited Legislature

City officials should consider changes brought about by term limits.

Article President’s Message Mike Kasperzak

Social Contract Is the Cornerstone of Effective State-Local Relations

Maintaining our social contract with state legislators is easier when we first make an effort to understand their perspective and work style, rather than just expecting them to vote a certain way.

Article City Forum Eva Spiegel

Protect Local Control by Supporting CitiPAC

A strong and well-funded political action committee is essential to deterring initiative efforts that would cut funds for local programs, weaken local decision-making or transfer state…

Article Legal Notes Lan Wang

Project Labor Agreements: What You Need To Know

Cities and other public entities are generally required to put significant contracts out for competitive bidding and to award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder. Sometimes a decision is…

Cathedral City Takes a Smart Approach to Water

A grant program helps homeowners eliminate their thirsty landscaping and use a drought-tolerant xeriscape approach instead.

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 Sustainable Cities Yvonne HunterSteve Sanders

Regional Partnerships Provide Leadership

Partnerships among public, private and nonprofit groups are nothing new, and examples abound. However, innovative partnerships that build capacity to address sustainability, energy efficiency,…

Resources for Leaders in Difficult Times

While there is no easy answer to the difficult decisions local leaders must often make, a number of strategies can make such work easier. A key element of the Institute for Local Government’s…

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

League Board and Leaders Chart Strategic Path for 2012

A group of 130 League leaders and board members met recently to set the organization’s priorities for the coming year.

Article City Forum Samantha Caygill

California Civic Leadership Institute Expands to Engage More Local Leaders

Now in its eighth year, CCLI gives local leaders an in-depth understanding of the critical and complex issues affecting the state, including water, transportation, energy and housing. The program…

Article Features Dan Carrigg

2011 Legislative Year in Review

The stage was set for 2011 when California voters approved Proposition 22 by a margin of 61 percent in the November 2010 statewide election. Once Governor Brown proposed to eliminate redevelopment…

Article President’s Message Mike Kasperzak

Moving Toward “We”

Article City Forum Thomas E. Shanks

Rebuilding Trust in Local Government

Article Sustainable Cities Yvonne HunterSteve Sanders

Sustaining Your Sustainability Programs

Investing in sustainability leads to healthier communities and improved economic vitality while saving money, conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.