Public Trust and Ethics

Overview

Public Trust and Ethics

Article Advertorial By Patricia Kirk

A cultural tradition; a spiritual calling

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians practice the spirit of Yawa’, the concept of acting on one’s belief.  Part of that belief system is taking care of your community. Thirty years ago, when the tribe was living in poverty, people from the San Bernardino area brought food, clothing, and whatever else was needed to sustain tribal members through the difficult times. The tribe has been giving back to the residents of San Bernardino ever since.

Article President’s Message By League of California Cities President Cindy Silva

The building blocks for sustaining public trust

Local governments are viewed as the most trusted level of government. When cities have the trust of the public, they foster robust public engagement and community collaboration. Most importantly, public trust leads to better decisions. In her message this month, League of California Cities President and Walnut Creek Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Silva outlines three foundational pillars for building and maintaining that trust. 

Article Features By Doug Linkhart

Making equity stick: How to build diversity, equity, and inclusion into the foundation of your city

Equity and inclusion are at the heart of good civic engagement. Communities with inclusive civic engagement experience stronger civic responsibility. As our nation’s values have evolved, local leaders have placed an increased emphasis on creating more equitable and inclusive services, policies, and recently, government charters.

Article Special to Cal Cities By Hung Wei

From Taipei to Cupertino: The journey to find and serve my hometown

Public trust is built in — and with — the community. It cannot be mandated. This article is a first-person account of how the connection between city and citizen develops. Cupertino Council Member Hung Wei reflects on her journey to become an elected official and what it means to be honorable. It serves as an excellent example for Western City magazine’s public trust and ethics issue.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Elaine Jeng

Rolling Hills Block Captain Program improves public trust and disaster preparedness

Like many of California’s communities, Rolling Hills is located in an area that is extremely vulnerable to wildfires. City officials have long attempted to pass policies that enhance wildfire safety, but these attempts were often interpreted as infringements on individual freedoms. Today, attitudes and policy have shifted considerably thanks to a community-city partnership.

Article Special to Cal Cities By Frank V. Zerunyan

The value of local public service

As we reflect on the many projects made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act this month, it is important to consider that which has incalculable value: public service. Put simply, local government is where the rubber meets the road and policy becomes action. This article by Frank V. Zerunyan, Mayor of Rolling Hills Estates and Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, reflects on the unique, vital role that city officials play in keeping our democracy and communities healthy. 

Article News from the Institute for Local Government By Melissa Kuehne

Breaking the cycle: Steps for reducing negative discourse and incivility in public meetings

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.

Article Local Works By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Lessons in leadership from outgoing or former mayors and council members

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.

Article Executive Director's Message By League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman

City leaders level up again in 2021, serving their communities and charting a clear path for Cal Cities’ 2022 Action Agenda

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. 

Article Legal Notes By Amy Oppenheimer and Christina Ro-Connolly

Unintentional misconduct is still misconduct: Tips for investigating unconscious bias

Countless studies have confirmed that bias, particularly unconscious bias, informs our interactions, even in people who are genuinely committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In the workplace, this is commonly expressed in who we prefer to hire.

Article President’s Message By League of California Cities President Cindy Silva

Cal Cities’ equity roadmap can help cities chart an equitable pandemic recovery

On any given day in any newspaper across the country, you’ll most likely find a story chronicling how communities of color have been hit hardest by the pandemic, and how economic recovery in these same communities is occurring at a much slower rate. The facts make it very clear that the pandemic accelerated and exacerbated many of the already-existing inequities in our communities around income, housing affordability, and homelessness.

Article Features By Eric Rosoff, Mike Despain, and Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fire service: Seven steps agencies can take

Firefighters are some of the nation’s most trusted professionals, even more than healthcare workers, first responders, and teachers. However, within the fire service ranks, the trust is more fragile when it comes to creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. The very things that have made fire departments successful — a strong sense of brotherhood, an emphasis on measurable operational results, and a close living-working environment — are often the very things that make attempts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion inside fire stations uniquely challenging.

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government By Julia Salinas

Change happens at the speed of trust: Key lessons from ILG’s equity roundtable

The pandemic has brought equity to the forefront of many city programs and services. From updating recruitment practices and hiring equity officers to developing equity ordinances and reexamining public policies and programs, cities throughout California have made notable changes to their daily and long-term operations. 

Hayward sign
Article Local Works By Alexa López

Becoming your community’s ally: How the city of Hayward continues to move the equity needle by listening and learning

While Hayward had an anti-discrimination action plan in place since the 1990s, city officials realized five years ago that it was in dire need of updating. Hayward city leaders took immediate action to reassure the community that the city was in fact an ally. 

Diverse hands joined together
Article News from the Institute for Local Government by Institute for Local Government

Connect with ILG — and these local leaders — at the Annual Conference and Expo

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 education.

Article By Cal Cities Annual Conference and Expo speakers

Labor relations, ethics, and litigation: What cities need to know

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. 

Article Local Works By Erica A. Stewart, Any Peaase, and Beya Makekau

A roadmap to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in a predominately white, affluent community

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 done. 

Article By Cal Cities Annual Conference and Expo speakers

Ensuring your city works for everyone: best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion

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 their community. 

Folsom Lake bridge
Article Features By Sean Bigley

Beyond the drought
How an integrated approach to water planning is helping the city of Roseville weather the drought with an eye toward the future

Water efficiency is a California way of life, and when the Regional Water Authority in the Sacramento region asked members to start using more groundwater and take other actions to reduce reliance on local lakes and rivers, the city of Roseville responded almost immediately, thanks to its innovative approach to water supply planning called Integrated Regional Water Management, and its partnership with the state.

City of Redlands Police Chief Chris Catren sits with members of the community.
Article Local Works By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

“We look way too similar to Derek Chauvin”: Building public trust in an era of distrust

At Redlands — where Chief Catren has spent his entire career — building trust is as simple as being transparent and following through on every call or complaint, no matter how mundane they may seem. To put it another way, “They know you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do, because you always do it.” There’s practically a non-zero chance that someone will have a neutral encounter with the police. It’s either positive or negative. Every department must “outweigh a single negative experience with hundreds of positive ones.”