Article President’s Message Judy Mitchell

Vigilance Is Crucial

Regardless of how the state budget deficit is addressed, we have a long, hard road ahead of us to protect funding for local services in the years to come. City revenues continue to be on the table,…

Article Features

Coping with the Crunch: Utility and Water Savings

Cities are implementing a number of innovative strategies.

Article Features Don BenninghovenJim DahlLeslie Daigle

An Ocean of Opportunity

The Marine Life Protection Act gives cities a tool to protect both economic and natural resources.

Article Web Exclusive Yvonne HunterDana Papke Waters

Carbon Calculators: Definitions and Related Resources

Article Legal Notes Michelle Marchetta Kenyon

How Cities Can Manage Legal Costs Without Increasing Risk

City attorneys are exploring ways to provide more cost-effective legal assistance while maintaining the level of service expected by the city.

Article City Forum Heidi Sanborn

Too Much Waste Costing Too Much Money: It’s Time for Product Stewardship

Despite recycling efforts, waste generation continues to increase.

Article Sustainable Cities Yvonne HunterDana Papke Waters

Calculating Carbon Emissions

Is it better to invest in high-efficiency fluorescent lamps or a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system if you can’t do both?

Article Features Eric Mchenry

How GIS Can Save Money and Increase Efficiency for Cities

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to automate the notification process reduced the amount of staff time needed to do the job by 90 percent. And that’s just one of several recent…

Article Features Michael Siminovitch

Tips for Your Community: How to Save Lighting Energy

The California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California, Davis, puts the goals of green design and energy-efficient lighting into practice and offers local governments a number of…

Article President’s Message Judy Mitchell

Regional Effort Helps Communities Save Money, Energy, Water and the Environment

City officials are searching for ways to improve municipal efficiency, conserve resources and stretch the public’s dollars. In Southern California, a regional collaboration has found a way to do…

Article Features John F. Shirey

Is the State Eating Its Seed Corn? How Cutting Redevelopment Kills Jobs

Investments by redevelopment agencies represent one of the state’s most meaningful economic development programs.

Article City Forum Troy BrownAnton DahlerbruchMarcia L. GodwinJulie C.T. Hernandez

Cultivating Diversity in Municipal Management

Article Legal Notes Michael EstradaDebbie Cho

Using Design-Build Can Save Money on Public Construction

The Legislature recently granted California cities expanded authority to use the design-build project delivery method.

Article Sustainable Cities Margo Reid Brown

Building a Green Economy: The Recycled Market Development Zone Program Provides Help and Resources

The RMDZ program provides affordable loans and technical assistance that can help a manufacturing business through the challenging formative stages of developing new recycled-materials products.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Reforming California’s Governance: Is It Time for a Grassroots Revolution?

Amid mounting evidence that the state government is hopelessly dysfunctional, various groups are putting together a reform agenda.

Article Features Kyra RossBill HigginsJennifer WhitingMeghan Mckelvey

What the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Means for Your City

The federal economic stimulus funding is on a fast track. Here’s what you need to know about what’s available and how to apply.

Article Features Greg CoxJim MadafferJohn Ohanian

Help Starts Here: 211 Connects Residents With Resources

Article City Forum Anne C. Fairchild

Unusual Recipe Averts a Staffing Crisis

Thoroughly screened and well-prepared interns were quickly able to help staff meet heavy workload demands in the City of San Luis Obispo. Now the city has a pool of highly trained and certified…

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Changes to the Gift Rules, PART 1 OF 2

In 2008, the Fair Political Practices Commission modified the Political Reform Act’s gift rules. One of these changes – the increase in the limit on the annual monetary value of gifts local…

Article President’s Message Judy Mitchell

Hard Times: Why We Must Protect Funding for Vital Community Services

It’s critically important for city officials to continue reminding our state leaders that without these essential services, that quality of life will decline precipitously.

Article City Forum Patricia Lock-DawsonRonald O. Loveridge

The Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway Builds a Path to Success

For the first time ever, the three counties that surround the Santa Ana River have joined forces with 14 cities and the private sector to complete the crest-to-coast trail.

Article Legal Notes Richard Lam

Clean It or Lien It: Dealing with Foreclosed or Abandoned Properties

What are the viable options to protect the safety of neighborhoods where foreclosed homes are abandoned and become unsightly invitations to unlawful activity and sources of health risks?

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Sustainable Communities: An Urban Imperative

The League has set its strategic sights for the second year in a row on “supporting sustainable communities.”

Article Features Souri Amirani

New Approaches for Urgently Needed Road Maintenance

Thinking outside the box, using new technologies and leveraging funding opportunities are innovative strategies that cities can use to address deteriorating streets and pavement.

Article City Forum Dorothy Johnson

Developing New Talent in Public Works

Article President’s Message Judy Mitchell

It’s Time to Get Back to Basics

The League’s strategic goals for 2009 include promoting economic stimulus and infrastructure investment.

Article Features Dan Carrigg

2008 Legislative Highlights and Recognition

The legislative year was dominated by a three-way battle among the governor, Democrats and Republicans over how to close a $24 billion deficit spanning two budget cycles.

Article Legal Notes Nikki Hall

Addressing ADA Accessibility Issues in the Public Sector

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has been in effect for nearly two decades, many public entities are not yet in compliance with its accessibility requirements.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Commonplace Miracles of Local Democracy

Voters are overwhelmingly reinvesting in their local governments, local infrastructure and local services by approving ballot measures that authorize tax increases and bond issues for public…

Article Features Patricia E. HealyAlma Flores

Santa Ana Uses Inclusive Approach to Develop Ethics Code

Article President’s Message Heather Fargo

Looking Ahead to the New Year

The coming year holds new possibilities and challenges, including the need for budget reform at the state level. At the national level in preparation for a new president, the U.S. Conference of…

Article City Forum Terrence Murphy

Tax-Exempt Lease-Purchase Financing Options for Local Governments

Local agencies use this solution to leverage time and resources.

Article Features John Laird

Two-Thirds Budget Vote Has to Go

Article Features Fred Silva

California’s Two-Thirds Legislative Vote Requirement and Its Role in the State Budget Process

What does the two-thirds requirement mean for California’s budget process?

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

The League at 110: Focused on Local Control – and Always Looking Ahead

Protecting local control requires flexibility and responsiveness to the needs and desires of the electorate on issues that demand substantive, thoughtful public policy – without sacrificing local…

Understanding Local Government: Three Resources on Municipal Finance

Three publications cover the nuts and bolts of fiscal management and revenue resources.

Article Sustainable Cities Kathleen Les

Moving Toward Fuel-Efficient and Alternative-Fuel Fleets: 10 Questions Local Officials Should Ask

Increasing fuel prices and tightening budget constraints have many local officials exploring a transition to fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.

Article Legal Notes Benjamin D. Winig

Lost In Translation: Local Public Agencies and Translating Official Documents

A look at the federal and state laws related to translation requirements.

Article City Forum Stephen D. LodgeRobert Davis

Operation Meltdown

Article President’s Message Heather Fargo

Keeping Cities Strong

Article Special Series Al Savay

The Public Engagement Toolbox

Al Savay, AICP, is community development director for the City of San Carlos and can be reached at

Meaningfully engaging the public requires planners and government officials to develop a public participation toolbox that can be used in a wide variety of situations. Local governments may use several effective approaches, depending on whether the project is an ongoing planning initiative or a public input process.

Article Features Gus CaravalhoCraig ChavezDavid Pierce

Inspiring Leadership: Next Generation Update – A New Opportunity

Article Sustainable Cities Kathleen Les

Greener Buildings Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Communities are increasingly embracing green building measures.

Article President’s Message Jim Madaffer

Building the League’s Momentum

In terms of shaping statewide public policy, the League’s expanding leadership role at the ballot box is its most significant accomplishment.

Article City Forum Larry Owens

Santa Clara Builds a Solar Community

Under the umbrella of the neighborhood Solar Program, Santa Clara is creating a solar community.

Article Legal Notes Timothy H. IronsElizabeth M. Del Cidattorney

SB 97: The “Other” Global Warming Act

Article Features Scott SummerfieldSheri Benninghoven

Telling Your Story Through Effective Media Relations

Article Features Frederick C. DockJoaquin T. Siques

Traffic, Transit, Technology and the Rose Parade

Article Features Joanne HallRob Wilson

Pleasanton Saves Time and Money Through Technology

Work that preciously took up to two days to complete is now finished in a matter of minutes, thanks to software that integrates computerized maintenance management systems with geographic information.

Article Features Lillian Henegar

Sustainable Redevelopment Builds Better Communities

By promoting urban-centered growth and restoring contaminated areas to viable use, redevelopment helps preserve the environment and open space while reducing sprawl and commute times.

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Why the League Supports Honest and Responsible Eminent Domain Reform

The League and its coalition partners are working to build support for Proposition 99 and to educate voters about the great harm that Prop.98 could do to our communities.

Article Legal Notes Christi Hogin

Building Green With Carrots and Sticks

Cities are increasingly using regulations and incentives to develop new greener building practices that reduce development’s short-and long-term environmental impacts.

Article City Forum Laurence Wiener

Tips for Reading an Environmental Impact Report

Laurence Wiener is an attorney with Richards, Watson & Gershon and can be reached at

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was conceived in the 1970s to promote the goal of ensuring that local government decision-makers understand the environmental impacts of their decisions. To implement this goal, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research developed CEQA implementation guidelines, which stated that Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) should be no more than 150 pages and written in plain language that can be readily understood by decision-makers and the public.

Article Features Ken LomanCharles Summerell

Planning for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions

Ken Loman is a policy consultant for the California Climate Action Network, a program of the Institute for Local Government (ILG), and can be reached at Charles Summerell is a program analyst for ILG and can be reached at Special thanks to the following individuals who contributed to this article: Betsy Strauss, special counsel to the League; Beth Gabor, public information officer, Yolo County; Jill Boone, sustainability consultant to the City of San Mateo; and Nancy McKeever, PLACE3S program manager, California Energy Commission. For more information about ILG’s climate change program, visit

An increasing body of scientific research links greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with rising land and ocean temperatures, changes in storm and rainfall patterns, seasonal temperature variations, rising sea levels and other evidence of climate change.

Article Features Brian HeatonBill Higgins

The Housing Element Process: How California Cities Are Faring

Brian Heaton is former communications specialist for the League. Bill Higgins is the League’s housing and land use legislative representative and can be reached at

At first glance, drafting a new housing element may not seem that complicated. The housing element requires a city to plan for its fair share of housing for each income category: very low, low, moderate and above moderate. The city must identify the land where this housing will be located. To the extent that communities cannot complete this inventory, they must develop a program so that all the land will be identified and appropriately zoned by the end of the five-year planning period.

Article Features Jude Hudson

Planning with Fire: Balancing Growth and Safety in Fire Hazard Areas

California’s catastrophic fires raise a number of questions about fire safety and land use planning.

Livermore’s Advance Team Expedites Planning

The City of Livermore won an Award for Excellence for this project in the Internal Administration category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information about the award program, visit

Fairfield Improves Quality of Life for Residents With Special Needs

The City of Fairfield won an Award for Excellence for this project in the Housing Programs and Innovations category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information about the award program, visit

Hemet Involves Landlords to Revitalize Neighborhood

The City of Hemet won an Award for Excellence for this project in the Housing Programs and Innovations category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information about the award program, visit

Article Executive Director's Message Chris McKenzie

Sustainability Offers the Biggest Bang for Your City’s Buck

Increasing energy efficiency and promoting sustainability reduce a community’s carbon footprint and also provide long-term cost savings of taxpayer dollars.

ILG Launches Local Government 101 Project and Seeks Your Ideas

Does your city want to help its residents understand how local government works? Are you frustrated when people complain about how city revenues are raised and spent? Do you wish you had an easy way to explain the Brown Act and Public Records Act to the public and your newly elected and appointed officials?

Article Legal Notes Michael JenkinsHelyne MesharHernan Molina

Domestic Partner Rights in California

Michael Jenkins is a partner with the law firm of Jenkins & Hogin and serves as city attorney for the City of West Hollywood and several other Southern California cities; he can be reached at Helyne Meshar is principal of Helyne Meshar & Associates and legislative advocate for the City of West Hollywood; she can be reached at Hernan Molina is deputy to West Hollywood Mayor John Duran and can be reached at

It has been three years since California’s Domestic Partner Law was enacted. This article traces the law’s history, explains California cities’ role in its development and implementation and includes specific recommendations to ensure that your city is in compliance with the law.

Article City Forum Terrence Murphy

New Programs Provide Funds for Street and Road Improvements

Two new programs for California local governments leverage current sources of funding to finance road improvement projects.

Article Features Darrell Steinberg

SB 375 Explained

Senator Steinberg (D-Sacramento) offers insights into the thinking behind his bill.

Article Features Eva Spiegel

Legislators from Local Government Weigh In

The 2007-08 Legislature is a special class because former local government officials now constitute a majority in both the Senate and Assembly. When these new members took office in January 2007, they brought fresh ideas and a local perspective to statewide policy-making.

Article Features Joshua W. Shaw

Why Funding Public Transit Is Critically Important

Joshua W. Shaw is executive director of the California Transit Association (CTA). He can be reached at For more information about CTA, visit .

Public transit vehicles carry millions of Californians, providing traffic congestion relief and vital access for residents. But state policy-makers are not investing adequately in public transit. Since FY 2001, they have shifted, loaned or just plain cut $2.94 billion in transit funding.

Cathedral City Neighborhoods Vote to Build Infrastructure

Cathedral City won a Grand Prize for this project in the Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information about the award program, visit

Article President’s Message Jim Madaffer

Infrastructure, Vital Services and More: 2008 Priorities

The League’s strategic priorities for 2008 include expanding infrastructure investment.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Semper pro Populus: Fiduciary Duties and Public Service

This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG) Ethics Project, which offers resources on public service ethics for local officials. For more information, visit ILG thanks the following individuals for their contributions to this article: Buck Delventhal, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office; Joe Pannone, Aleshire and Wynder; Richard P. Shanahan, Bartkiewicz, Kronick & Shanahan; and Louis Leone, Stubbs & Leone.


As the chief executive for a local government agency, I have seen elected officials become bogged down in the details of various ethics laws. Instead of examining the proper thing to do in a specific situation, the focus shifts to whether a certain course of action will get an official in trouble with the law.

Article City Forum

League Honors Assembly Member Anna Caballero as 2007 “Legislator of the Year”

In 2007, the League awarded Assembly Member Anna Caballero (D-28, Salinas) its “Legislator of the Year” award, in appreciation of her support for local government on a variety of issues throughout the legislative session.

Article Features Eva Spiegel

An Interview With Assembly Member Hector de la Torre

Eva Spiegel is communications director for the League and can be reached at

Proposition 90, the eminent domain reform initiative on the November 2006 ballot, was a Trojan horse measure that included provisions unrelated to eminent domain. Prop. 90 would have cost California taxpayers billions of dollars annually and would have eroded basic laws protecting the state’s economy, environment and communities. The measure would have also undermined cities’ land use authority and local control. It was part of an effort to capitalize on public outrage over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelov. City of New London, which affirmed its previous ruling that government can use eminent domain to acquire private property for economic development purposes.

Article Features

Legislators Who Supported Local Government in 2007

The League’s lobbying strength relies on cultivating and maintaining effective relationships with legislators, both in Sacramento and at the local level. When legislators take extra steps to help California cities, they deserve our recognition and thanks. Assembly Member Anna Caballero (D-28, Salinas) was honored by the League as “Legislator of the Year” in September 2007.

Article Features Dan Carrigg

Highlights of the 2007 Legislative Year

Dan Carrigg is legislative director for the League and can be reached at

In his 2007 State of the State address, Governor Schwarzenegger called for an era of “post-partisanship.” Recently reelected, the governor was eager to build upon the legislative achievements of 2006, which included voters’ approval of the state infrastructure package, the enactment of AB 32 (Nuñez) climate change legislation, the increase of the minimum wage and other accomplishments. The governor maintained that 2006 proved politicians could set aside their differences and tackle California’s problems.

Walnut Creek Mobilizes the Community for Health and Wellness

The City of Walnut Creek won an Award for Excellence in the Health and Wellness Programs category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit

Santa Maria Takes Steps Toward a Healthier Community

The City of Santa Maria won an Award for Excellence in the Health and Wellness Programs category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit

Chino Shapes Up With a Healthy Coalition

The City of Chino won an Award for Excellence in the Health and Wellness Programs category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government Daniel K. Whitehurst

Leading Isn’t Easy; You Might Want Some Help

Daniel K. Whitehurst is incoming president of the Institute for Local Government. He is a former mayor of Fresno and past president of the League’s Mayors and Council Members Department. He can be reached at

People don’t want their public officials to be “leaders.” Marty Linsky, a faculty member at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, makes this point, and I think he’s right. Voters say they want strong leadership, but what many really want is the opposite: someone who will protect them from having to change their minds or their ways. And they often get their wish; there is no shortage of candidates who run for public office not to lead, but to be popular or important.

Article Sustainable Cities Steve Sanders

Preparing For a Warmer World

Global warming has the potential to threaten California’s economy, environment, communities and residents in many different ways. This article presents an overview of these impacts.

Article Legal Notes Kourtney BurdickJoanne SpeersPatrick Whitnell

The Origins of California City Powers

Kourtney Burdick is deputy general counsel for the League and can be reached at JoAnne Speers is executive director of the Institute for Local Government and a former general counsel for the League; she can be reached at Patrick Whitnell is general counsel for the League and can be reached at

This column offers a brief and very general historical look at California cities’ constitutional history and powers. This information sheds light on some of the struggles cities face in protecting local control in the courts and the Legislature.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Understanding the Role of Ethics Commissions

This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG) Ethics Project, which offers resources on public service ethics for local officials. For more information, visit ILG is grateful to these individuals for their assistance in preparing this article: Dan Purnell, executive director, Oakland Ethics Commission; Heather Mahood, assistant city attorney, Long Beach; Jennifer Sparacino, city manager, City of Santa Clara; and Carol McCarthy, deputy city manager, City of Santa Clara. Generous funding for the development of this column was provided by the International City-County Management Association (ICMA) Retirement Corporation (, whose mission is to build retirement security for the public sector.


We have a citizens’ group in our community considering whether to propose establishing an ethics commission. We have looked for information about ethics commissions but have not really found much. Can you help?

Article Special Series Bill Higgins

California’s Growth Demands Vision, a Long-Term Plan and Clear Policy Direction

Bill Higgins is a legislative representative for the League and can be reached at Previously he was director of the Land Use Program for the Institute for Local Government.

California is in the throes of massive population growth — it has doubled in size since 1965 and is expected to be home to more than 50 million people by 2040.

Article City Forum Maria Rivera

The Rule of Law

Maria Rivera is an associate justice for the First District Court of Appeal, Division Four, where she has served since January 2002. From January 1997 to January 2002, she was a judge of the Superior Court in Contra Costa County. She can be reached at

This article is excerpted and condensed from a speech given by Justice Rivera to the League’s City Attorneys Conference on May 3, 2007, in Monterey, California.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good public servant becomes so at a high cost of personal sacrifice. We need such men and women; when we find them we owe them our gratitude and, above all, our respect.”

Article Features

On the Record

This article appears in the December 2007 issue of Western City
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Article Features

2007 Annual Conference Review League Celebrates “Cities Shaping California’s Future”

Special thanks to the following California Association of Public Information Officials members who contributed to the on-site conference newsletter and this article, and helped staff the conference media room: Ann Erdman, public information officer, Pasadena; Brad Rovanpera, public information officer, Walnut Creek; Judy Franz, retired deputy city manager, Santa Monica; Mark Mazzaferro, public information officer, Vacaville; Mike Maxfield, public information officer, Yorba Linda; Scott Summerfield, principal, SAE Communications; Sue Schlerf, assistant city manager, Reno, Nev.; and Tom Manheim, public outreach manager, San Jose.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Rod Diridon Jr.

Santa Clara Infuses Ethics Into Campaigns

Rod Diridon Jr. was a founding member of both the Santa Clara Campaign Finance Reform Committee (chair) and the Ethics Ordinance Committee. He is a former two-term city council member and currently the city auditor and elected city clerk for the City of Santa Clara. He can be reached at

The City of Santa Clara won the Grand Prize in the Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit

For many, “ethical government” is an oxymoron. At all levels of government, too many disappointments in promising candidates have made voters skeptical and cynical about the ability of government officials to achieve a high professional standard of ethics.

Pittsburg CARES About Neighborhood Improvement

The City of Pittsburg won an Award for Excellence in the Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit

Pittsburg is a historic city in the east San Francisco Bay Area with many older established neighborhoods, some of which are showing their age and have fallen into disrepair and blight. In 2004, the city launched a major redevelopment effort aimed at various commercial and industrial areas — but primarily focused on downtown. Longtime residents expressed dismay that they were being left behind and the city didn’t care about their issues or improving older neighborhoods. Although various municipal departments were working to address these issues, there was no uniform action plan among the various departments to effectively demonstrate these efforts to residents.

Article Legal Notes Kourtney Burdick

Living Wage Ordinances

Kourtney Burdick is the League’s deputy general counsel. She can be reached at

In response to the rising cost of living in California, 21 cities have enacted living wage ordinances (LWOs). Included in this group are large cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Oakland; small cities such as Sonoma and Fair-fax; and medium-sized cities like Berkeley.1 These ordinances vary in some respects, but in general, their purpose is the same: They set a wage requirement that is higher — often much higher — than federal and state minimum wages.2

Article Special Series

California ’s Infrastructure: A Legacy in Peril

This article is excerpted from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) California Infrastructure Report Card 2006. Reprinted with permission. For more information about ASCE, visit Special thanks to Yazdan Emrani, president, ASCE Orange County Branch, and Mike Kincaid, past president, ASCE San Francisco Section, co-chairs of the California Infrastructure Report Card 2006, for their assistance.

The magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, the dams and water systems of the west, our transcontinental railroads and unparalleled network of modern interstates, and the airports, seaports, tunnels and transit systems that serve our cities — all of these are part of California’s infrastructure.

Article Special Series

Why We Must Invest in California’s Water Infrastructure

Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor of California.

As everyone reading this magazine knows, a solid infrastructure system is the key to a strong economy and a high quality of life.

Article City Forum Ronald O. Loveridge

Helping Green Homeowners Hang Onto Their Green

Ronald O. Loveridge is mayor of Riverside and a past president of the League. He can be reached at

Riverside recently became the first city in the state to offer incentives to builders who meet the strong, measurable requirements of the California Green Builder (CGB) program. This cost- effective, turnkey program improves the environment without increasing the city’s workload or costing its taxpayers a penny.

ILG Launches Civic Engagement Survey and New Services for Cities

The James Irvine Foundation and the Community Technology Foundation of California have provided financial support to the Institute for Local Government to help increase local governments’ capacity to more successfully implement inclusive public involvement processes. The goal is to help cities and counties successfully involve their diverse communities in civic engagement efforts. With an initial focus on the Central Valley, participating cities to date include Lodi, Madera, Selma and Stockton.

Article Features Michael MorelandDennis Kneier

The New Role for Council Members in the Audit Process

A heads up for city councils on new requirements related to their city’s financial statements.

Article Features Mike Madrid

Winning Local Revenue Measures: Tips for City Leaders

Prudent moves to make before moving forward with a local revenue measure.

Article Features Michael Coleman

The Road Ahead for Funding City Infrastructure Needs

Michael Coleman is fiscal policy advisor to the League. More information on city finance is available on his website at

In the coming months, cities will see the first substantial influx of all locations of street and road, housing and other infrastructure funds from the November 2006 bond measures. With this, California’s much needed public works improvements will be under way. In FY 2008-09, it is likely these allocations will continue. Voters have responded to pleas for infrastructure funding, and the state is making good on the commitment to fund local projects. Local governments now have a great responsibility to produce results and, down the road, cities will be asked for greater action and participation in meeting California’s infrastructure needs.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Making a List and Checking It Twice: Preparing for the Season of Giving

This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG) Ethics Project, which offers resources for local officials on public service ethics. For more information, visit ILG is grateful to the cities of Los Gatos, West Hollywood and Petaluma for contributing materials to this column. Generous funding for the development of this column is provided by the ICMA Retirement Corporation (, whose mission is to build retirement security for the public sector.


The holidays are coming up, and this year our agency wants to do a better job of handling issue of gifts from outside sources. It has generally had a no-gifts policy, but we haven’t actively enforced it, and there is a kind of unwritten exception for gifts of nominal value (for example, plates of homemade cookies from residents or logo items from vendors). What are your thoughts, and what do other agencies do?

Article Special Series Ellen Hanak

Delta Blues: What Troubles in the Delta Mean for California

Ellen Hanak is an associate director of research at the Public Policy Institute of California. Her recent report (co-authored by Jay Lund, William Fleenor, Richard Howitt, Jeffrey Mount and Peter Moyle), Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, is available online at

On any given day, a visitor to California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta might see acres of verdant cropland, meandering boaters, recreational anglers and some Swainson’s hawks or sandhill cranes. Being there, it’s hard to imagine that this peaceful region is in deep trouble and that its fate will have serious consequences for residents throughout the state.

Article City Forum Phil Coleman

New Ideas for Solving the Police Chief Recruitment Crisis

Phil Coleman is a retired chief of police for the City of Davis and can be reached at

In the 1980s and ’90s, a California police chief vacancy would attract at least 60 to 80 applicants. Larger and more politically stable communities could anticipate twice that number, and vacancies for police chief were relatively rare (about one a month on average).