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Article Features Brad Rovanpera

CAPIO: The Nurturing Network for Public Information Officers Turns 35

Brad Rovanpera is public information officer for the City of Walnut Creek and can be reached at rovanpera@walnut-creek.org.


It seems like a logical assumption: A government of the people, by the people and for the people should inform the people. But four decades ago, only a smattering of cities in California actually employed full-time public information officers (PIOs) to do just that. Mayors and city managers were largely responsible for disseminating public information, if it was done at all. For most cities, the concept of actually budgeting funds to hire a full-time staff PIO was an unfamiliar one.

Article Features Yvonne Hunter

Resolutions: How the League Makes Policy

Yvonne Hunter is a legislative representative for the League and can be reached at huntery@cacities.org.


Do you have an idea for a new policy direction for the League? Do you want to get cities informed and energized about a particular issue? Is there a late-breaking issue that needs attention? You — or your city, division, department or policy committee — can take that idea and sponsor a resolution based on it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that any half-baked policy idea will suddenly become new League policy. Successful resolutions have a compelling statewide municipal impact.

Article Features Thomas E. Robinson

“Healthy Parks” Program Promotes Healthy Cities

Parks in the City of La Mirada, as well as other communities in Los Angeles County and throughout California, are playing a key role in the battle to reduce the alarming rise in numbers of unfit and obese children and adults.

Article Features Tracy Petrillo

The League of California Cities Annual Conference

In 1898, officials from 13 cities came together to form the League of California Cities. They traveled by train and ferry, riding on 55 miles of double track cable car lines operated under 10 separate franchises in the city of San Francisco, and they bought a choice steak dinner at the Palace Hotel for a dollar.

Article Features Connie A. Busse

Leadership for Healthy Living: Los Angeles Tackles the Epidemic of Childhood Obesity

 A bright beautiful Los Angeles day contrasted recently with some bleak and stunning news -— weight gain by adults in Los Angeles County in the past eight years has been 44 million pounds. This is a gain of six pounds for the average person with one in every five adults in the county now considered obese, according to a Los Angeles County Department of Health survey.

Article Features Margo Reid Brown

Rubberized Asphalt Concrete: When the Rubber Is the Road

Margo Reid Brown is chairperson of the California Integrated Waste Management Board.


California currently generates more than 40 million scrap tires annually. These are tires that have lived out their purpose and can potentially threaten California’s environment and our health if not managed properly. While more than 75 percent of this amount is recycled, the state still faces the challenge of handling more than 10 million surplus tires annually, the majority of which end up in landfills or, in some cases, illegal stockpiles.

Article Features Yvonne Hunter

Eight Important Questions City Officials Should Ask About Flood Control in Their City

Yvonne Hunter is a legislative representative for the League. Numerous individuals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors also contributed to this article, and their assistance was invaluable.


In the aftermath of the horrific floods and devastating damage in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities last year, California is taking a hard look at its own flood management infrastructure and laws. This articlepresents questions city officials should ask about flood issues in their city so they can make informed decisions and be prepared in the event of a flood. These questions are a starting point for discussion and should not be considered all-inclusive or complete.

Article Features Judy CorbettJake Mackenzie

Ahwahnee Water Principles Provide a Blueprint for Ensuring Future Clean Water Supplies

Judy Corbett is executive director of the Local Government Commission (LGC) and can be reached at jcorbett@lgc.org. Jake Mackenzie is a council member for the City of Rohnert Park and can be reached at blumacjazz@aol.com. For more about LGC, visit www.lgc.org.


California’s growing population, $1.4 trillion economy and natural resources all depend on clean, reliable and affordable water. Many cities and counties are facing major challenges related to water pollution and stormwater runoff as well as concerns about whether there is enough reliable water for current and future residents.

Article Features

Locally Made Animated and Documentary Films Inspire and Entertain

The Greenlight Earth Day Film Festival, held in Palo Alto on April 22, 2006, featured animated cartoons, documentaries and dramas that illustrated how individual actions can reduce overall environmental impacts and improve the quality of life for everyone. 

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 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 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 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 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.