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Articles

Article Features Tom HendersonJames Hettrick

Loma Linda’s Connected Community Program Sets A New Standard

Tom Henderson writes for Network World and can be reached at thenderson@extremelabs.com.  James Hettrick is director of information systems for the City of Loma Linda and can be reached at jhettrick@lomalinda-ca.gov.


Today, many communities have multiple broadband provider choices. These include phone companies offering DSL, cable TV companies providing broadband cable, wireless providers of Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi mesh hotspots or cellular broadband, and dial-up access services. Each of these vendors can wire a residence or commercial space to receive their services.

Article Features Scott SummerfieldSheri BenninghovenKaren George

How Technology Can Dramatically Improve Customer Service

Scott Summerfield is the former public information officer for the City of Newark and former communications director for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. Sheri Benninghoven served as the first communications director for the League of California Cities, after working as public information officer for the City of Anaheim. Benninghoven and Summerfield, principals of SAE Communications, now consult with cities on their communications planning and messaging. Karen George is the former public information officer for the cities of Claremont and Fremont and now serves as public information coordinator for the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Anoka, Minn.


Your city probably has an impressive website – and maybe an advanced phone information system, too.  But are you using these electronic tools in a strategic way or just jumping on the “latest and greates” bandwagon?

Article Features Dave Truax

Things to Consider Before Deploying Free Wireless Access

Dave Truax is deputy chief information officer for the City of Modesto and a member of the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC). He can be reached at dtruax@modestogov.com. Special thanks to MISAC, whose officers contributed to the development of this article. For more information, visit www.misac.org.


Many municipalities are facing common dilemmas: increasing population, budgetary reductions, economic and socioeconomic challenges, and more. In the search for solutions, policy-makers are turning to wireless technologies. Literally hundreds of cities across the United States are instituting wireless networks, with business models ranging from free access to wholesale pay-per-use. The list of problems to be addressed by these networks is equally diverse, from conquering the digital divide to revitalizing downtown areas.

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government Jerry Patterson

How to Leave Your Legacy as a Champion of Good Local Government

Jerry Patterson is a past president of the Institute for Local Government and the 2005 recipient of the League’s Presidents’ Award for longstanding service to California cities. He is a former member of Congress and former mayor of the City of Santa Ana. Patterson presently serves on the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees.


As you work in the trenches of day-to-day service to your community, you may have wondered: How can I ensure that my efforts have a lasting impact? Are there ways I can help to provide a foundation for continued good local government? How will I be remembered by my community, my colleagues in public service and my family? What will my legacy be? 

Article City Forum James Hamill

SCIP Helps Cities Finance Infrastructure Needs

The Statewide Community Infrastructure Program reduces the cost of bond issuance and improves interest rates for projects of any size.

Article Features Wayne Schell

Tips for Successful Local Economic Development

Economic development is an investment, not a cost. Both business and government play important roles in economic development. Business marshals and mobilizes human, financial, physical and natural resources to create marketable goods and services that generate a profit. Government provides infrastructure, incentives and services that support business, which in turn produces jobs and revenue.

Article Features

Bakersfield Houses World’s Largest Ice Cream Facility

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream recently expanded its Bakersfield operation, making it the world’s largest ice cream plant. The $100 million expansion of the Bakersfield Operations Center more than doubles the size of the facility, from 250,000 square feet to 650,000 square feet. The plant has the capacity to churn out 70 million gallons of ice cream in addition to 98 million dozen frozen snacks per year.

Article Features John F. Shirey

Show Me the Rooftops: Housing and Economic Development With a Redevelopment Perspective

Housing and economic development are inextricably connected. Housing brings construction-related jobs and economic activity, attracts and retains permanent jobs, and draws retail and entertainment opportunities. Housing may not be the only factor in economic development, but it has a powerful influence.

Article Features Jude Hudson

How Hollywood Can Boost Your Local Economy

When film productions come to town, jobs are created and money flows into local businesses.

Article Legal Notes Margaret W. BaumgartnerRebecca L. Katz

“Man’s Best Friend?” Breed-Specific and Other Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs

Margaret W. Baumgartner and Rebecca L. Katz are deputy city attorneys with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.


Dogs and humans have lived in close proximity for millennia. Although historically humans have thought of dogs as “man’s best friend,” sometimes a dog will unexpectedly kill or severely injure its owner or another person. Most dog owners, however, do not realize their pet is capable of killing someone before it happens.1

Article City Forum Don Schatzel

Fighting Obesity: Recreation, Parks and Community Services Department Leaders Join Forces

Don Schatzel is administrator for the Rio Linda and Elverta Recreation and Park District and president of the League’s Recreation, Parks and Community Services Department. He can be reached at dons@rcip.com. Special thanks to the California Parks and Recreation Society, which also contributed to this article.


Obesity presents a growing threat to the health and well-being of California’s children and adults. One of the major contributing factors to obesity is a lack of physical activity, and for many people, getting enough exercise can be a challenge.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

AB 1234 Self-Study Opportunity, Part One Office-Holder Perks
Laws and Ethical Principles Related To Public Officials’ Personal Financial Gain and Office-Holder Perks

AB 1234 requires elected and appointed officials to take two hours of ethics training if they receive compensation for their services or are reimbursed for their expenses. The ethics training requirement may also apply to agency employees designated by the agency’s legislative body.

Library Gets “In the Zone” for Teens

When the newly constructed 60,000 square foot Mountain View Public Library was opened in October 1997, it was met with great enthusiasm from all segments of the community. It has since become a model for other libraries and welcomes visitors from neighboring jurisdictions seeking to implement a similar cohesion of utility and aesthetics at their library facilities.

Oakland’s Neighborhood Law Corps Puts Young Lawyers to Good Work

Oakland is the eighth largest city in California, and more than 125 languages are spoken within its city limits. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States. With this great size and diversity come many challenges. Generations of Oakland residents are caught in a cycle of crime and poverty, with little hope for advancement. Low-income neighborhoods are plagued with the chronic problems associated with blighted buildings, crack houses, toxic pollution and slum housing conditions. To make matters worse, corner liquor stores — which are overly concentrated in these neighborhoods — act as magnets for illegal activity.

The City of Oxnard’s Preschool Goes Mobile

The City of Oxnard has historically been home to numerous recent immigrants, primarily from Mexico and Central America. Many lack formal education, and few speak English. Families often remain uninformed about the need for early educational experiences for their children prior to compulsory school entry at age 6. Because they work long hours as day laborers in agriculture, packing houses, restaurants, motels and construction, these parents do not have the opportunity to transport their children to preschool programs.

Article Features Martha Lennihan

What City Officials Should Know About Evolving Laws Linking Water and Land Use

Every city official should understand the fundamentals pertaining to their city’s water supply situation. As discussed in the March issue of Western City, municipal water supply sources can vary enormously. How involved cities are with the generation and delivery of their water supply ranges from the “do it yourself” model to reliance upon wholesale water purveyors, who may generate the water supply or obtain it from large water development projects such as the State Water Project (SWP) or federal Central Valley Project (CVP).

Article City Forum Amanda Rose

California Housing Finance Agency’s HELP Boosts Affordable Housing

In 2006, approximately $10 million in low-interest loans will be available to California cities for affordable housing programs.

New Decision-Making Tools Available

The nuts and bolts of agency decision-making are the subject of two new Institute for Local Government (ILG) publications, Getting the Most Out of Public Hearings and An Ounce of Prevention: Best Practices in Making Land Use Decisions.

Fremont Hears the Housing Needs of Deaf Seniors

Contact: Bill Cooper, housing project manager, City of Fremont; phone: (510) 494-4520; e-mail: bcooper@ci.fremont.ca.us.


America’s population of senior citizens is not only increasing but expected to live longer as well. This trend presents new opportunities and challenges to providers of affordable housing. Some seniors are able to move in with relatives or into age-restricted facilities for care and support. Others cannot, and as a result become isolated and vulnerable as they grow older. The City of Fremont has taken a lead role in identifying housing needs for vulnerable and underserved members of the community, including deaf seniors, who are approximately 3 percent of Fremont’s population.

Glendale Gets Systematic About Rental Housing Inspections

Contact: Elena Bolbolian, administrative analyst, City of Glendale, Neighborhood Services Section; phone: (818) 548-4802; fax: (818) 240-7239; e-mail: ebolbolian@ci.glendale.ca.us.


In 2002, the City of Glendale undertook a demonstration project to ensure that rental housing in a specific neighborhood met minimum habitability standards. From 2002 to 2004, inspectors visited properties with two or more units located in that neighborhood to educate residents and inspect the premises. Even though participation was voluntary, 92 percent of the properties were inspected. As a result of the project, housing standards improved, and the demand on traditional code enforcement services declined.

Goleta Resolves Decades-Old Conflict, Preserves Coastline in Perpetuity

The Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County constitutes approximately 15 percent of Southern California’s shoreline but represents nearly half of its remaining rural coast. This stretch of the coastline offers unspoiled views, numerous recreation opportunities and a refuge for wildlife populations that have been severely reduced or eliminated from much of their former range. One undeveloped area at the southern gateway to the Gaviota Coast, a scenic 137-acre property in Goleta known as Ellwood Mesa, is treasured by residents and visitors for its beauty and abundant recreational opportunities.

Calistoga Helps Families To Afford and Build Their Own Homes

In 2003, Calistoga Affordable Housing (CAH), a new local nonprofit, proposed to the Calistoga City Council a development of 18 mutual self-help affordable houses in the heart of Calistoga near schools, parks and shopping. Self-help affordable housing projects are unique, requiring a commitment from each selected family of 30 hours per week to work with the construction team that builds the houses.

Article Features Martha Lennihan

What City Officials Should Know About Their City’s Water Supply

Martha Lennihan works with many cities and other public and private entities on water and related natural resource law issues. Her statewide practice reflects more than 20 years of experience with issues such as surface and ground water, fish and wildlife, and endangered species laws and institutions. She can be reached at mlennihan@lennihan.net.


During California’s early years, obtaining healthy drinking water was a challenge. Giant strides in technology and public support for enhanced drinking water quality largely solved that problem, and new water quality issues related to runoff took the front seat. The quantity and reliability of water supply has not been a dominant concern for most municipalities — until now.

Article Legal Notes Patrick Whitnell

Coping With the Paroled Sex Offender Next Door

Patrick Whitnell is assistant general counsel for the League.


Dr. McEchron testified that there is no cure for sex offenders and that “there are never any guarantees that they might not reoffend.”

Article City Forum

Resources for Disaster Preparedness

Careful planning is the best way to prepare your city for a disaster, whether it’s natural or manmade. Your toolbox should include a crisis communications plan, protocols for declaring a state of emergency, procedures for securing vital public records and techniques for educating the public about what to expect and how to be ready when a disaster strikes.

Article President’s Message Alex Padilla

Cities’ Infrastructure Is Essential To a Successful State

Sometimes certain issues are just ripe for reform.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Career-Saving Tips on Mass Mailings

Question

Our agency has undergone a management transition. The new leadership believes strongly in community outreach — including keeping the community well informed and soliciting their feedback through questionnaires. I have been hired to help in that effort.

Redondo Beach Transforms Busy Highway Into User-Friendly Street

Contact: Brad Lindahl, capital projects program manager, City of Redondo Beach; phone: (310) 372-1171, ext. 2286; e-mail: Brad.Lindahl@redondo.org.


Artesia Boulevard carries between 35,000 and 45,000 vehicles daily through the cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Lawndale. The street is lined with residential units, commercial areas and a regional shopping mall, the South Bay Galleria. Maintenance on the street had declined over the years; the road was deteriorating and aging trees had damaged the median curb and gutters.

Lincoln Cleans Up Its Wastewater With Developers’ Help

With the development of several large housing projects, the City of Lincoln is poised for rapid growth over the next 10 years. In 1997, the city’s population was approximately 7,900 residents, with projections of 50,000 residents by 2010 and build-out expected to be 60,000 residents. However, the city had concerns about the existing wastewater treatment facility’s environmental impacts and its ability to handle the demands of a growing population.

Martinez Invests in New Train Station To Revitalize Downtown

Contact: Richard Pearson, community development director and transportation projects manager, City of Martinez; phone: (925) 372-3525; e-mail: rpearson@cityofmartinez.org


Located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area, the City of Martinez has a quaint and charming downtown with a Main Street and old brick buildings. However, in the 1990s, the downtown area’s economic health was in danger. Both “anchor tenants” (Contra Costa County offices and the Superior Courts) were considering relocating, and no new businesses were moving in, no housing was being built and old businesses were leaving.

Article Features Ritch Wells

Lessons in Disaster Management From Glendale

Looking back at 2005, government officials in California will no doubt reflect on the number of natural and manmade disasters nationwide that required some form of emergency response. In the Gulf Coast states, hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused extensive damage and challenged the resources of emergency responders. In California, government agencies coped with torrential rainstorms, floods, brush fires and fierce windstorms. In addition, Southern California emergency responders were confronted with the Metrolink train derailment that cost 11 people their lives.

Article Features Annemarie Conroy

Preparing Your City and Citizens for Disaster

Last year, as the nation witnessed the massive devastation along the Gulf Coast, cities everywhere were reminded of the importance of emergency planning. In a state that’s highly vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters, California cities should be particularly focused on emergency preparedness.

Article Legal Notes JoAnne Speers

New Laws on Ethics Training and More for 2006

JoAnne Speers is general counsel for the League and can be reached at jspeers@cacities.org.


Adverse publicity and prosecutions related to local officials’ compensation and use of public resources has led to new state laws that take effect Jan. 1, 2006. One law, AB 11, targets city council member compensation levels. Another, AB 1234, takes aim at expense reimbursement practices.

Article Features Eve O’TooleYvonne Hunter

Effective Advocacy: What City Officials Need to Know About How Congress Works

Eve O’Toole is the League’s legislative representative in Washington, D.C., and principal of MARC Associates. Yvonne Hunter is a legislative representative for the League in Sacramento.


As cities pursue opportunities on the federal level, understanding the nuances and differences between the federal and state legislative processes is key to advancing your objectives with your federal elected officials. Although the basic process is similar, there are significant differences.

Article Features Terry Amsler

Hearing the Public’s Voice: Shaping a More Collaborative Governance

Terry Amsler directs the Collaborative Governance Initiative for the Institute for Local Government. He can be reached at tamsler@ca-ilg.org or (916) 658-8263.


“Across the country, cities are in the midst of a fundamental shift in the way that citizens and government work together. Frustrated with prevailing arrangements, many local leaders have put a new emphasis on mobilizing citizens in order to make decisions, overcome conflicts and solve critical public problems.”

Article Features Scott SummerfieldSheri Benninghoven

Successfully Communicating With Key Messages

Scott Summerfield is the former public information officer for the City of Newark and former communications director for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. Sheri Benninghoven served as the first communications director for the League of California Cities following her tenure as public information officer for the City of Anaheim. Benninghoven and Summerfield, principals of SAE Communications, now consult with cities on their communications planning and messaging.


You’ve been asked to deliver a “state of the city” address to the chamber of commerce or do a lengthy interview with the city hall reporter from your local newspaper. You’ll probably check with staff for updates on major projects and issues, gather some statistics and use this research when you’re in the spotlight. Sounds pretty easy, right? You’ve done it many times and you invariably feel successful when the speech goes off without a hitch or the interview contains accurate details about your important initiatives.

Article City Forum

League Honors Legislators of the Year

Presented in appreciation of the legislators’ support for local government on a variety of issues throughout the legislative session, the awards were announced at the League’s annual conference, held in October 2005 in San Francisco.

Article Features Dan CarriggThe League Legislative Staff

Recognizing Legislators’ Work in 2005

Dan Carrigg is the League’s legislative director. League Legislative Representatives Yvonne Hunter, Jean Flournoy Korinke, Anthony Thomas and Deputy Executive Director Dwight Stenbakken also contributed to this article.


Although numerous legislative measures affecting local government were signed into law in 2005, most have minimal impact on core local authority. So while the larger battles raged over the politics of the November special election, from a local government perspective, 2005 was a fairly positive year.

What Have We Done for You Lately?

Local officials have access to a broad range of resources on topics including housing, land use, ethics and public engagement provided by the Institute for Local Government (ILG).