Features

Overview

Features

Article Features By Melanie Perron

Legislative year in review: What city leaders need to know about 2022

California’s massive state budget surplus dominated every legislative conversation this year and lawmakers competed fiercely to ensure their priorities were passed. Through it all, Cal Cities fought for the best interests of cities: Cal Cities tracked or engaged with 1,430 bills and protected cities’ interests in the courts, at the federal level, and in the regulatory arena.

Article Features By Marlene Coss

Redwood City implements first citywide equity plan, articulating its commitment to equitable services and programs

Like many communities, Redwood City was caught off balance in 2020. The resulting two years of work underscore the long-term commitment needed to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Article Features By Marty Neideffer and Hilary Bass

Five ways Community Capitals Policing reimagines public safety

In recent years, calls for police reform have mounted alongside calls to reduce the rise in crime. By understanding and addressing the root causes of crime, cities can address both concerns and create communities where everyone can feel safe and succeed. This requires a radical reshaping of how we understand public safety.

Article Features By Ed Fleming

How communities can enhance their viral wildfire immunity

In many ways, wildfires spread just like viruses, but faster. So, what can epidemiology teach us about making our communities safer against wildfires? It is a question worth investigating given our current fire conditions.

Article Features By Jan Harnik

Billions of dollars have been invested in broadband infrastructure, but more advocacy and funding are needed

Despite bold steps from cities and historic investments from the state and federal governments, California’s digital divide persists. A 2021 survey on broadband adoption found that nearly 1.25 million households — 10% of the state’s total — remain unconnected to the internet at home. It is crucial that local governments continue to lead the way and advocate for swift action.

Article Features By Ken Striplin

How to respond to harassment and incivility without sacrificing civic debate

Peaceful protests are a staple of American democracy. However, public discourse has become increasingly abusive and violent. When this happens, it is vital that municipalities respond with solutions that build greater community trust and equip city leaders with strategies to protect themselves and their families.

Article Features By Jennifer Whiting

What to expect at the 2022 Annual Conference and Expo

Next month, over 1,800 California city officials will come together for the League of California Cities Annual Conference and Expo in Long Beach. The conference offers numerous ways to learn, collaborate, and connect with like-minded professionals about top city issues, including housing, infrastructure, organic waste recycling, and public meetings. 

Article Features By Helene Schneider

The secret sauce: Creative ways California communities are addressing homelessness

Public agencies are often caught between demands for swift action to solve or hide homelessness and the reality that sustainable solutions take time, investment, and political will to bring to scale. Officials throughout California are finding bold, creative ways to break this decades-old stalemate.

Article Features By Maria West

Here’s how cities are responding to organic waste recycling regulations — and the resources available to help them

California’s new organics waste law is the most ambitious change to trash in 30 years. The law seeks to dramatically reduce methane pollution, a key contributor to the climate change crisis, by reducing organic waste. Although the road to full implementation is ongoing, the state has seen remarkable progress since the requirements took effect earlier this year.

Article Features By Doug Linkhart

Making equity stick: How to build diversity, equity, and inclusion into the foundation of your city

Equity and inclusion are at the heart of good civic engagement. Communities with inclusive civic engagement experience stronger civic responsibility. As our nation’s values have evolved, local leaders have placed an increased emphasis on creating more equitable and inclusive services, policies, and recently, government charters.

Article Features By Caroline Beteta

Cities, regions, tourism agencies collaborate to accelerate the state’s uneven tourism recovery

Tourism is spurring the recovery of lost jobs and revenue in many cities, particularly rural ones. However, those gains have not been felt equally, especially in large, urban communities. It is crucial that cities and other tourism stakeholders, regardless of their recovery level, have plans in place to help them navigate future uncertainties.

Old bridge
Article Features By Caroline Cirrincione

Congress passed a historic infrastructure law: What this means for California and its cities

For years, the League of California Cities has fought for state and federal infrastructure funding. In 2021, the federal government responded with an infrastructure package, including $45 billion expected for California. Cal Cities is carrying out multiple strategies to ensure cities have what they need to access the funding.

Apartment complex exterior
Article Features By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

As housing challenges reach new heights, cities pave the way for millions of homes

The supply and affordability of housing is one of California’s most persistent, high-profile issues. Cities are actively planning, zoning, and approving millions of new homes, but even in the highest-producing cities, there is still an acute lack of housing. This begs a figurative, and increasingly literal, million-dollar question: Why?

Article Features By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Transformative and desperately needed: The American Rescue Plan Act one year later

In March 2021, cities across the nation breathed a sigh of relief as an economic package that included $65 billion for municipalities finally made its way through Congress and was signed into law. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided badly needed direct and flexible funds to cash-strapped cities on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.

Article Special to Cal Cities By Frank V. Zerunyan

The value of local public service

As we reflect on the many projects made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act this month, it is important to consider that which has incalculable value: public service. Put simply, local government is where the rubber meets the road and policy becomes action. This article by Frank V. Zerunyan, Mayor of Rolling Hills Estates and Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, reflects on the unique, vital role that city officials play in keeping our democracy and communities healthy. 

Aerial view of Sacramento and the state Capitol.
Article Features By Melanie Perron

2021 Legislative Year in Review

For many, the beginning of 2021 felt like a continuation of 2020. COVID-19 continued to significantly impact the globe and cities throughout the state were still reeling from the economic impacts of the pandemic. Any guarantee of state or federal relief for cash-strapped cities was tepid at best. One silver lining was that the League of California Cities was able to build upon key relationships in the Legislature to advance top priorities for cities in 2021.

Article Features By Eric Rosoff, Mike Despain, and Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fire service: Seven steps agencies can take

Firefighters are some of the nation’s most trusted professionals, even more than healthcare workers, first responders, and teachers. However, within the fire service ranks, the trust is more fragile when it comes to creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. The very things that have made fire departments successful — a strong sense of brotherhood, an emphasis on measurable operational results, and a close living-working environment — are often the very things that make attempts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion inside fire stations uniquely challenging.

Article Features By Elisa Arcidiacono

The state passed major police reform bills in 2021: what the new laws mean for cities

Police reform has been a top legislative priority for progressive lawmakers in California for years, and while there have been some significant criminal justice measures signed into law in the past decade, many more bills never made it to the governor’s desk. This year was different.

Police car
Article Features By Deanne Machado

The perfect storm: policing in the era of decriminalization and unfunded budget pressures

In a decade, how might city leaders recall this period of policing in California? Will it be remembered as a period of great reform or one of great posturing? The evidence appears to support the former, as criminal justice reform in the domains of drug decriminalization and property crime have significantly affected the role and expectations of California law enforcement agencies.

Man flying drone
Article Local Works Features By Don Redmond

Chula Vista’s high-flying first responder reduces costs and response times, improves de-escalation tactics, and saves lives

In the wake of tragedies throughout the nation involving police officers, communities are asking for police reform and better de-escalation tools and training. The Chula Vista Police Department, serving a population of 270,000 in San Diego County, responded in part by developing an innovative drone program that can respond to emergencies and provide officers with the information needed to de-escalate situations.