Public Trust & Ethics

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 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. 

Article Features By Eric Rosoff, Mike Despain, and Brian 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 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.

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 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. 

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. 

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 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.” 

Two people shaking hands with an onlooker.
Article Legal Notes by Shelline Bennett

Bringing back decorum and civility in the public sector

City councils set the tone, tenor, and behavior that agencies look to emulate. Leadership and ethics go hand in hand and require honesty and personal integrity. The age-old adage is true — people follow willingly, with greater productivity, if their leaders are individuals they respect. What can elected officials and senior city management do to help set high standards for employees, elected officials, and the city itself?  

Building blocks with the word 'trust.'
Article Executive Director's Message by Carolyn Coleman

Rebuilding Public Trust

As local leaders chart their city’s roadmap to recovery, rebuilding public trust must be as important a priority as rebuilding our local economies. Leaders at every level of government must do their part to address the pervasive loss of trust that is on the brink of bankruptcy. As the level of government closest to those whom they serve, local leaders are uniquely positioned to be the laboratories for trust-building. This month’s issue of Western City magazine features real-world experiences, resources, and best practices that can help.  

A session of government in progress.
Article Features By Melissa Kuehne

Focus on good government is critical as cities navigate challenging times

The post-pandemic recovery will require city leaders to address significant challenges and make difficult decisions about the allocation of scarce funding, possible reductions in services, and reprioritizing city initiatives. Elected leaders and staff cannot effectively address such challenges without a strong foundation of good government — trust, accountability, responsiveness, and transparency. Now is the ideal time to ensure that your city’s foundation is solid.

Article President’s Message By League of California Cities President and El Centro Mayor Cheryl Viegas Walker

Cal Cities delivers on local control, funding, and resources for cities

The decisions that we make every day as city leaders, especially housing and land use decisions, cannot be made in a vacuum. All city services and programs must be viewed through a lens of equity, and this new Advancing Equity Advisory Committee will play an integral role in identifying how cities can recognize and eliminate disparities in our systems.

Article Executive Director's Message by Carolyn Coleman

Inspiring city leaders prepare to meet challenges head on

While our local leaders have lofty aspirations for an equitable recovery, they also recognize that our hopes and dreams cannot be accomplished without a strong local-state-federal partnership. 2021 will be a year when we will need to fight for our cities more than ever before. Working side by side with the inspiring local officials leading our communities, the League of California Cities remains committed to helping cities meet these challenges head on in 2021. 

Article Local Works by Jill Oviatt and Lisa Yarbrough

Lessons in Leadership: Outgoing mayors and city council members share advice on what it takes to be an effective leader

Through their many years of service in local government these outgoing mayors and council members have sage advice about how to be an effective city leader and wise words for new mayors and council members as they embark on their journey to lead their city forward.

Article Legal Notes by Thomas D. Jex and Denise S. Bazzano

A Refresher on General Conflict-of-Interest Rules

This article provides newly elected officials an overview of some of the key conflict-of-interest rules under the Political Reform Act — and a refresher for more seasoned council members.

Article Features by Erica L. Manuel

Civility as a Tonic for What Ails Local Democracy

Americans’ confidence in government is at an all-time low. Leaders in every level of government will need to do their part to address this trend, but local governments in particular can play a unique and important role to help stem eroding confidence in democratic institutions and principles.

Alisal Vibrancy Plan Addresses Equity Issues in Salinas

This plan is the result of advocacy and a collaborative process with city staff, community-based organizations, and residents that increased public engagement, public dialogue, and trust and brought new leadership into planning processes.