Public Trust and Ethics


Public Trust and Ethics

Article By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Anti-Asian hate crimes are down, but people are still worried. And for good reason

It’s easy to think of anti-Asian hate as a red or purple state problem. But most incidents occur here in California. Even though anti-Asian hate decreased in 2022, experts are warning this could be an aberration. Here’s what cities can do to mitigate the next wave of hate.

A group of mostly white men, and a few women, standing together for a photo in 1911.
Article Executive Director's Message By League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman

Cal Cities at 125: The issues change, our mission has not

Over 100 years ago, city leaders from throughout the state came together as the League of California Cities because they wanted to make a difference. “They sound much like the city officials I’m privileged to serve alongside today,” writes Cal Cities CEO Carolyn Coleman.

A judge's gavel sitting on a desk.
Article Legal Notes By Matthew R. Silver, Lauren E. Brown, and Natalie Sahagun, Civica Law Group, APC

How does CARE Court, California’s new legal approach to behavioral health care, work?

The CARE Act takes a novel, albeit controversial, approach to mental health care. Unlike previous laws, it focuses on incentivizing long-term treatment rather than imprisonment or involuntary commitment. Seven counties have already begun implementation. The rest must follow suit in 2024.

A group of men and women posing for a picture next to podcasting equipment and cardboard cutouts of wildlife.
Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Ramiro Adeva

Agoura Hills podcast is a blueprint for community engagement

Agoura Hills once faced a familiar conundrum: How do you bridge the communications gap between a city and the people they serve? The Good Life Agoura Hills podcast is helping the city close that gap in a fun, cost-effective, and accessible way.

A group of residents watching a Lakewood city council meeting in person..
Article Features By Jan Perkins and Dan Keen

Essential tips for effective city council meetings

Effective governance doesn’t happen by chance. There is a cadence to a successful meeting, with a long chain of steps that start well before the meeting starts. Here are some best practices for smoother, more effective council meetings that staff and elected officials alike can use.

An aerial view of a suburban community.
Article Local Works By Jackie Krentzman

Gateway cities band together to bridge housing funding gaps

Approximately 4,000 affordable housing units in Southern California’s Gateway region have stalled due to funding shortfalls. A group of cities has formed an affordable housing trust fund, which they hope can close funding gaps — especially in small, under-resourced communities.

Article News from the Institute for Local Government By Erica L. Manuel

A new training helps cities turn ‘down the fires of contempt’

The rise in incivility, partisanship, and polarization is making it difficult for agencies to maintain the basic decorum needed to carry out their missions. ILG’s partnership and training with Braver Angels seeks to bridge the partisan divide and rebuild the social fabric.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Jessica Hill

Modesto leverages good data to help a growing homeless population

Around 80% of Stanislaus County’s homeless population lives in Modesto. City leaders know what services to provide. However, coordinating those services was difficult without good data. Inaccurate data can slow down services and drive up costs.

Article President’s Message By League of California Cities President Ali Sajjad Taj

Trust is critical to governing and advocacy

Public trust is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Just as our residents count on us to deliver services, they trust us to govern in a way that considers their best interests and improves their communities. At the core of this responsibility is advocating for our communities.

Article Solutions for Cities Alex Mellor

What cities need to know about naloxone distribution

Fentanyl is behind an alarming spike in drug overdose deaths. While more can be done at the state and federal levels to end this tragedy, cities have at least one tool at their disposal to help reduce the number of overdose deaths: naloxone.

Article Features By Doug Linkhart

Cities in California are making systemic changes to advance racial equity

In the U.S., public trust is tied not just to good governance and public outreach, but also historical issues of racism. To create change and increase trust, we need to change the structure of our systems.

Article Local Works By Sarah Henry and Andrew Thomas

Alameda’s journey from restrictive to pro-housing policies

Alameda was the first Bay Area city to have its 2023-31 housing element certified by the state. How did a city that had restrictive and discriminatory land use regulations change its tune? For starters, it had a two-year conversation with the community about equity and housing.

Article Legal Notes By Breana Inoshita and Austin Cho

Litigation is taking California’s public trust doctrine from the waterfront to the forefront

The public trust doctrine was once limited to the management of shores, navigable waterways, and submerged lands. It once operated more as a background principle in California, but a 2018 legal decision has expanded the doctrine and opened the door to new litigation.

Article News from the Institute for Local Government By Ruben Duran and Victoria Hester

What cities need to know about the state’s new remote meeting law

Some local agencies are considering making remote or hybrid meetings the new normal and recent changes to the Brown Act — including AB 2449 (Rubio, Blanca, 2022) — have given cities a new way to conduct hybrid meetings. However, this law has several restrictions and raises a host of administrative questions.

Article Features By Ken Striplin

How to respond to harassment and incivility without sacrificing civic debate

Peaceful protests are a staple of American democracy. However, public discourse has become increasingly abusive and violent. When this happens, it is vital that municipalities respond with solutions that build greater community trust and equip city leaders with strategies to protect themselves and their families.

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 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 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 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 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.