Features

Overview

Features

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 Features 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.

Aerial of Chico, CA
Article Features By Lisa Yarbrough

Elk Grove and Chico use technology to increase public engagement on important housing decisions

For many cities, a key component of addressing the affordable housing crisis includes planning for more high-density projects. However, cities must also ensure that community insight and feedback are front and center when deciding how and where affordable housing is constructed. Two Northern California cities — Elk Grove and Chico — have taken civic engagement to a whole new level.

Article Features

Climate change, pension costs, public safety, equity, and more: Upcoming Annual Conference and Expo speakers provide a sneak preview

For the first time in two years, city leaders throughout the state will come together in-person to collaborate on shared issues and celebrate the successes of the past year, at the League of California Cities Annual Conference and Expo, September 22-24, in Sacramento. The excitement is palpable: More than 750 officials signed up within the first 10 days of opening registration. Western City invited conference speakers to share key insights from their upcoming talks. 

Attendees visit the expo hall.
Article

Meet the Annual Conference and Expo exhibitors

Over 150 exhibitors are scheduled to showcase their products, solutions, and services to the League of California Cities Annual Conference and Expo attendees. Get to know the exhibitors* by exploring them here before meeting them in person at the conference at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento. The Expo is open on Sept. 22 and 23. 

Article Features By Mark Brown, Sashi McEntee, Dan Schwarz, and Bill Tyler

How Marin County is changing the wildfire prevention paradigm

Marin County, like many of California’s cities, towns, special districts, and counties,  provides fire prevention services. In Marin, nineteen different agencies have this responsibility — plus several regional, state, and federal land managers as well. With nearly 70,000 housing units in Marin’s wildland-urban interface, fire danger is a very real and immediate concern for many residents. The county worked together to create a comprehensive fire prevention plan.

Tiny homes
Article Features By Lisa Yarbrough

Livermore’s award-winning inclusive engagement approach is paying dividends for the community

Since 1949, the National Civic League has celebrated the best in American civic innovation by awarding the prestigious All-America City Award to ten communities nationwide. This year, Livermore was the only city in California to receive this honor. The award celebrates the city’s inclusive engagement efforts to improve equity and resilience.

Folsom Lake bridge
Article Features By Sean Bigley

Beyond the drought
How an integrated approach to water planning is helping the city of Roseville weather the drought with an eye toward the future

Water efficiency is a California way of life, and when the Regional Water Authority in the Sacramento region asked members to start using more groundwater and take other actions to reduce reliance on local lakes and rivers, the city of Roseville responded almost immediately, thanks to its innovative approach to water supply planning called Integrated Regional Water Management, and its partnership with the state.

A session of government in progress.
Article Features By Melissa Kuehne

Focus on good government is critical as cities navigate challenging times

The post-pandemic recovery will require city leaders to address significant challenges and make difficult decisions about the allocation of scarce funding, possible reductions in services, and reprioritizing city initiatives. Elected leaders and staff cannot effectively address such challenges without a strong foundation of good government — trust, accountability, responsiveness, and transparency. Now is the ideal time to ensure that your city’s foundation is solid.

A key path to growing local revenue and sustaining local economies is investing in economic development to ensure that businesses are successful.
Article Features By Gurbax Sahota

The pandemic crushed local economies; recovery depends on how cities navigate emerging economic development opportunities

While communities across California and the country excitedly await the disbursement of badly needed relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and potential assistance from the president’s American Jobs Plan, one question is being asked over and over again — how do we make the most of these precious one-time investments?

Big Bear Lake Director of Planning and Inspections Sue O'Strander, Vista Director of Economic Development Kevin Ham, Corona  Economic Development Director Jessica M. Gonzales, Long Beach Director of Economic Development, John Keisler
Article Features By Jill Oviatt

Local economies were decimated by the pandemic. Now California cities are rolling out their blueprints for recovery

Western City magazine invited California cities of different sizes and different economies to share their top priorities for economic development as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic. As California reopens for business, municipal economic development offices are busy analyzing strategies to best position their communities to not only survive – but thrive – as resilient, inclusive, and vibrant places to live. Regardless of size and geography, these cities had a number of priorities in common.

The city of Santa Rosa’s “Fulton Road Reconstruction” project repaired approximately 3,200 lineal feet of 4-lane principal arterial pavement and associated bike lanes.
Article Features by Jill Oviatt

Despite pandemic-related challenges, California cities pave the way to award-winning infrastructure projects

Upgrading local streets and roads is critical to communities, and many projects were well underway when the pandemic hit in early 2020. Thanks to the innovation, dedication, and creativity of local officials, the projects were not only completed, but received statewide recognition through the 2021 Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards.