2021 was another year of considerable change and challenges for
our cities, yet these leaders remained resilient and dedicated to
keeping their residents safe, rising to challenges, and taking
action to ensure a strong recovery. When many of these same
leaders came together late last year to review the achievements
and accomplishments that the League of California Cities
delivered in 2021 and plan for the year ahead, it was clear that
they were ready and more prepared than ever to lead their
communities in the new year.
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.
Four outgoing and former elected officials from throughout the
state shared the most important elements of leadership, their
advice for newly electeds, and the local projects that they are
most proud of.
Driven by unparalleled wind conditions, the 2017-19 wildfires —
Tubbs, Thomas, Woolsey, Camp, Kincade, Tick, and in Orange
County, Canyon II and Holy Fire — underscored the significant
challenges facing police and fire agencies in these at-risk areas
and the urgent need for enhanced planning measures.
According to a recent report from the National League of Cities,
more than 80% of local government officials have experienced some
form of harassment, abuse, or violence while in office. That same
report states that 87% of public officials have observed an
increase in such behavior, with many noting a dramatic increase
since the beginning of the pandemic.