One year ago, League of California Cities President and El Centro
Mayor Cheryl Viegas Walker shared her thoughts about the role of
city leaders in a time of unparalleled challenges and
uncertainty, as well as her vision for the future. Now, as her
term draws to a close, she looks back at the successes of the
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.
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.
After seeing thousands of San Luis Obispo residents march through
the streets for George Floyd, the San Luis Obispo community and
city council knew that more work needed to be done to create a
diverse, inclusive community. While diversity and
inclusivity have long been core values of the city
government, it became clear that there was much more to be
At this year’s League of California Cities Annual Conference and
Expo, the Institute for Local Government (ILG) will host sessions
on a number of timely topics related to our core pillars of work,
including leadership and governance, public engagement,
sustainable and resilient communities, and workforce and civics
One-third of California’s TK-12 students perform below grade
level, including students in Moreno Valley, Riverside County’s
second-largest city. The city recognized the need to support
students, parents’ need to work, and the community overall.
Realizing this, Moreno Valley collaborated with local school
districts to create an expanded afterschool learning program.
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.
Even if the world meets the goals set forth by the Paris Climate
Agreement, the effects of a warming environment will be felt in
California for decades. “Historical and unprecedented” wildfire
seasons and droughts are becoming the norm and sea levels are
predicted to rise by as much as seven feet by 2100. However, many
local leaders are doing more than just hardening their
communities against climate change; they are also actively
working to reduce its effects.
Issues of equity and inclusion have taken center stage since
2020, with calls for increased diversity, parity, and social
justice in every aspect of government and civic life. City
leaders are on the frontlines of creating policies and procedures
that create an equitable environment both at city hall and in
The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated California’s housing crisis,
adding even more urgency and complexity to an already dire
situation. Land availability and housing affordability continue
to dominate local policy discussions, while at the same time city
leaders grapple with the best way to implement regulations for
the growing short-term rental industry. Moreover, all of these
decisions require significant public input. During the League of
California Cities Annual Conference and Expo, hear from city
leaders and industry experts about ways in which cities
throughout the state can tackle the myriad of housing issues
facing their communities.
To the uninitiated, public service seemed relatively
straightforward. You run for office and serve your term or you
apply for the position, just like any other job. However, due to
the nature of their position, city officials are governed by a
complex set of laws and principles that do not necessarily apply
in the private sector. Moreover, many officials are part of
unions or local employee associations, which are also governed by
their set of laws and principles.
The inner workings of a city, including partnerships among
elected and appointed officials and adherence to ethical
behavior, transcend city hall. The city’s leadership style sets
the tenor and tone for residents and the community at large and
often informs the level of trust that residents place in city
City leaders have more data and ways to interact with their
residents than ever before. However, too much of a good thing can
be a bad thing. Many leaders, especially those operating on
shoestring budgets and staff, may have difficulty cutting through
the noise to find the right data points, if they have the time to
do so at all. Additionally, regardless of their ability to
leverage data, all city leaders must contend with the legal
challenges of an increasingly polarized, negative, and at times,
hostile, public discourse on social media.
Public agencies continue to navigate through the damaging effects
that COVID-19 has had on their revenues, general fund returns,
and the economy. Meanwhile, their pension obligations continue to
grow, putting further strain on their impacted budgets. Pension
systems face an uncertain economic outlook with discount rate
targets that are mismatched with future expected returns.
Keeping families and communities safe is one of the primary
functions of city government. However, the last few years have
brought new challenges, including a sharp increase in
cybercrimes, a lack of dedicated resources for critical issues, a
desire from residents for faster services, and recent legislative
changes that require new ways of approaching old problems.
Here’s how several city leaders and industry experts are meeting
these challenges head-on. Learn more by attending their session
during this year’s League of California Cities Annual Conference
Keeping families and communities safe is one of the primary
functions of city government. The last few years have brought new
challenges, such as a sharp increase in cybercrimes, a lack of
dedicated resources for critical issues, and recent legislative
changes that require new ways of approaching old problems. Here
are three ways city leaders and industry experts are increasing
public safety in California’s cities.