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Features

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 bhiggins@cacities.org.


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.

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 josh@shawyoder.org. For more information about CTA, visit www.caltransit.org .


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.

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 espiegel@cacities.org.


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 carriggd@cacities.org.


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.

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 Features

On the Record


This article appears in the December 2007 issue of Western City
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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 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 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 www.californiacityfinance.com.


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 Features Tracy Jarman

San Diego Partnership Thinks Outside “The Box” to Enhance Emergency Medical Services

Tracy Jarman is chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and can be reached at tjarman@sandiego.gov.


San Diego Medical Services Enterprise (SDMSE) is a public-private partnership formed as a limited liability company between the City of San Diego’s Fire-Rescue Department and Rural/Metro, a private ambulance company. Since its founding in 1997, SDMSE’s paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have worked hand-in-hand with city fire department responders on the scene of more than 90,000 emergency calls per year.

Article Features Eden Dabbs

Getting a Grip on Graffiti

Eden Dabbs is a communications consultant and an associate editor for Western City. She can be reached at edendabbs@comcast.net.


Graffiti is a challenge for many California cities. In addition to being an eyesore, it can negatively impact the quality of life in a community and affect people’s perceptions about safety.

Article Features Steve Hofbauer

Going After Gangs: What’s Working

Steve Hofbauer is a council member for the City of Palmdale and chair of the League’s Gang and Graffiti Subcommittee. He can be reached at shofbauer@cityofpalmdale.org.


Gang activity is on the rise throughout California and the nation. In Los Angeles alone, gang membership is estimated at 40,000. FBI and California Department of Justice statistics show that violent crime rose 3.7 percent nationally and 4.1 percent in California in the first six months of 2006 compared with the same time period in 2005. And according to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s National Youth Gang Survey, in 2004, approximately one-fourth of all homicides in 171 cities with populations of more than 100,000 were considered gang related. These numbers exclude Los Angeles and Chicago, where more than half of homicides involved gangs.

Article Features Kristen Anderson

Strategies for City Involvement in Child Care and Early Education

Kristen Anderson has been Redwood City’s child care and preschool coordinator and planner for more than 20 years. She is a planning and policy consultant and author of Planning for Child Care in California. Anderson can be reached at kmanderson@redwoodcity.org.


California cities are investing in child care and early education as they recognize the economic, social and educational value of such programs to their communities. Expanding workforce participation of mothers over the past several decades — whether by choice or welfare reform mandate — has increased the demand for these programs from dual- and single-parent households of all income levels. While not everyone chooses licensed child care (centers or family child care homes), most people want their children to attend preschool for its school readiness and socialization benefits.

Article Features

The Exposition Offers Myriad Municipal Solutions

More than 250 private firms, nonprofit organizations and public agencies at the Exposition will showcase new products and innovative programs that deliver results for cities. Explore the Expo for new ideas and information that you can take back to your city and use right away.

Article Features

2007 Annual Conference Preview

Sacramento Welcomes The Annual Conference
Sept. 5–8, 2007


Each year, more than 2,000 elected officials, city staff and professionals come together at the League of California Cities Annual Conference to network, learn and reignite their passion for public service in municipal government. This year, California’s capital hosts the conference.

Article Features Michael Peevey

California Leads the Way on Solar

Michael Peevey is president of the California Public Utilities Commission.


As part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Solar Initiative (CSI), the state has set a goal to create 3,000 megawatts of new, solar-produced electricity by 2017 — moving the state toward a cleaner energy future and helping to lower the cost of solar photovoltaic systems for consumers. The program’s goal is to help build a self-sustaining photovoltaic market.