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Features

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 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.

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 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.