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FEBRUARY 2014 |

The Monthly Magazine of the League of California CitiesÂŽ

Legacy Park: A Public Works Approach to Sustainability p.11 California’s Crumbling Infrastructure p. 3 Minimizing CEQA Liability p. 7

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CONTENTS 2 Calendar of League Events 3 President’s Message California’s Crumbling Infrastructure: An Urgent Priority

11 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence

Malibu’s Legacy Park: A Public Works Approach To Sustainability

By José Cisneros

For the ninth time in the past 10 years, the League has identified infrastructure investment as one of its top priorities. You don’t have to look far to understand why.

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City Forum

By Samantha Caygill

California Civic Leadership Institute® Makes Strides in LeagueLegislative Relations CCLI is one of several programs that address the League’s key strategic priority to “build effective partnerships to help respond to growing community needs.” Each year, 20 to 30 local government elected officials interested in running for legislative office participate in the two-part CCLI program.

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Legal Notes

By Stephen E. Velyvis

Practical Advice for Minimizing CEQA Liability in Your City The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the primary state law that requires public agencies and their decision-makers to understand and evaluate the environmental consequences of their discretionary decisions before making them. Moreover, CEQA requires that public agencies not only consider but take action to mitigate or avoid significant adverse environmental impacts where feasible.

 very year thousands of visitors E flock to Legacy Park, which was designed to showcase six regionally significant habitats, including the coastal prairie, woodlands, coastal bluffs, riparian corridor, wetland meadows and vernal pools. Perhaps most remarkable, the park was engineered to treat and beneficially reuse water that would otherwise discharge into Malibu Creek, local beaches and Santa Monica Bay.

14 Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

 A gency Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

 omantic relationships in the public R agency workplace raise a number of ethical issues and carry significant risks. This article explores the problems such relationships can create for the agency and its employees and looks at the potential adverse impacts on community perception and the agency’s credibility.

17 Job Opportunities 23 Professional Services Directory

Cover Image: Legacy Park Cover Photo: Courtesy of City of Malibu and League of California Cities


President José Cisneros Treasurer San Francisco

1400 K Street Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 658-8200 Fax (916) 658-8240

First Vice President Tony Ferrara Mayor Arroyo Grande

Second Vice President Katherine Miller Council Member Stockton

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Magazine Staff

Immediate Past President Bill Bogaard Mayor Pasadena

Executive Director Chris McKenzie

FEBRUARY

Editor in Chief Jude Hudson, Hudson + Associates (916) 658-8234 email: editor@westerncity.com

5–7

City Managers’ Department Meeting, Long Beach Geared to the unique needs of city managers, this conference covers issues affecting cities throughout California.

Managing Editor Eva Spiegel (916) 658-8228 email: espiegel@cacities.org

20 – 21

Advertising Sales Manager Pam Maxwell-Blodgett (916) 658-8256 email: maxwellp@cacities.org

Board of Directors’ Meeting, San Francisco The League board reviews, discusses and takes action on a variety of issues affecting cities, including legislation, legal advocacy, education and training, and more.

Administrative Assistant Anita Lopez (916) 658-8223 email: alopez@cacities.org

MARCH 19

Contributors Dalea Fong Koreen Kelleher Jason Rhine JoAnne Speers Jennifer Whiting Patrick Whitnell

Practical Advice for Minimizing CEQA Liability in Your City, Webinar Learn more about minimizing CEQA liability and have your questions answered by environmental/land-use attorneys Stephen Velyvis and Kristina Lawson.

26 – 28

Public Works Officers’ Institute, Sacramento Designed for professionals at every career level, this conference covers the latest developments in public works.

Associate Editors Jim Carnes Carol Malinowski Carolyn Walker

26 – 28

Design Taber Creative Group Advertising Design ImagePoint Design For photo credits, see page 18. Western City (ISSN 0279-5337) is published monthly by the League of California Cities, 1400 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814. Subscriptions: $39.00/1 year; $63.00/2 years; student: $26.50; foreign: $52.00; single copies: $4.00, including sales tax. Entered as periodical mail January 30, 1930, at the Post Office, Los Angeles, CA 90013, under the Act of April 13, 1879. Periodical postage paid at Sacramento, Calif.

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APRIL 23

Legislative Action Day, Sacramento Get updates on legislation affecting your city, and meet with your legislators.

MAY 7–9

City Attorneys’ Spring Conference, Indian Wells This meeting covers the latest trends and issues affecting public law practitioners and provides an opportunity to connect with colleagues.

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Postmaster: Send address changes to Western City, 1400 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Western City Trademark Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. ©2014 League of California Cities. All rights reserved. Material may not be reprinted without written permission. This issue is Volume XC, No. 2.

Planning Commissioners’ Academy, San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Tailored to meet the needs of planning commissioners, planning directors, planning staff and other interested officials, the academy offers sessions on the major planning and land-use issues facing cities.

Event and registration information is available at www.cacities.org/events. W

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For the latest information on League conferences and events, follow us on Twitter @CaCitiesLearn. For legislative and policy updates and more, follow @CaCities. Follow Western City @WesternCityMag. Join us on Facebook. www.facebook.com/westerncity www.facebook.com/LeagueofCaCities www.cacities.org


President’s Message by José Cisneros

CALIFORNIA’S CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE:

AN URGENT PRIORITY The League adopted three strategic goals for 2014, which Executive Director Chris McKenzie presented in his January 2014 Western City column, “League Leadership Reviews Progress on New Advocacy Strategy and Sets 2014 Goals” (online at www.westerncity.com). My column this month focuses in more detail on one of the goals: Provide New Options for Infrastructure Investment and Economic Development.

support infill housing and the increased demand on our roadways. Numerous studies suggest that not only is our infrastructure unprepared for this growth, it isn’t in condition to adequately support even the current population. As California grows, its infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating. Quite simply, California is crumbling.

For the ninth time in the past 10 years, the League has identified infrastructure investment as one of its top priorities. You don’t have to look far to understand why.

The infrastructure situation at the local level is bleak. Approximately 83 percent of Californians live, work and play in cities. As the state has struggled to balance its budget, it has cut infrastructure funding programs and taken local revenues. Cities face monumental challenges as they endeavor to address local needs.

Demographers project that California’s population will continue to grow by 300,000 to 400,000 annually. These new residents will need roads to drive on, public transit to commute, clean water to drink, schools to attend and parks to play in. As California adopts new landuse policies, infrastructure is needed to www.westerncity.com

A Sobering List of Challenges

Local Streets and Roads. Residents bear the brunt of the state’s funding cuts as they travel local streets and roads, continued Western City, February 2014

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California’s Crumbling Infrastructure: An Urgent Priority, continued

which comprise 81 percent of California’s roadways. The 2012 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment found that local streets are rapidly deteriorating. The average ranking is “at risk.” Nearly twice the current funding level is needed just to maintain the status quo. In the next decade, $82 billion is needed to bring streets up to “best management practices.” Bridges. Failures in local bridges can have catastrophic economic and public safety consequences. Bridges are typically built to last 50 years. The 2012 National Bridge Inventory database tallied a total of 11,863 local agency bridges in California; 5,544 are more than 50 years old, and another 2,384 are between 40 and 49 years old. Public Safety Facilities. With the implementation of public safety realignment in 2011, local governments took on more responsibility for housing inmates. As a

We are calling for the state to join local governments in finding new tools to address these undeniable and nearly immeasurable needs. result, city and county jails are becoming overcrowded and will need construction upgrades to house these prisoners. Affordable Housing. California’s population has grown but affordable housing production has lagged. Even as people have lost jobs and wages, the price of housing remains among the highest in the nation. This most significantly affects low-income Californians, twothirds of whom spend more than half of their income for housing. Without

the tax-increment financing tool, cities are hard pressed to find ways to help build the low- and moderate-income housing needed for teachers, firefighters and retail workers. Water Supply. California is ranked highest among all states in terms of water infrastructure needs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment determined that since 2007, California’s water

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infrastructure needs increased from $44.2 billion to $44.5 billion. California’s needs include an estimated $26.7 billion to improve drinking water transmission, $8.4 billion for water treatment and $6.4 billion for water storage. Wastewater Management. Significant investments are needed to address renewal and replacement, maintenance, security and reliability funding for California’s wastewater infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2013 California Infrastructure Report Card estimates that $4.5 billion will need to be spent annually for the next 10 years to modestly improve wastewater infrastructure. Flood Control. The ASCE 2013 California Infrastructure Report Card also found that the backbone flood control and drainage systems serving California cities, including channels, levees, retarding basins, dams and pump stations, vary widely in condition and capacity to prevent flooding from major storms. Levees protect thousands of homes, businesses and critical community infrastructure.

It’s estimated that funding shortfalls for regional flood control facilities exceed $2.8 billion annually over the next 10 years. Stormwater. As regional water quality boards adopt more stringent requirements, local agencies are being called on to adopt expansive and expensive stormwater management programs, requiring funding that simply does not yet exist. The League is currently conducting a survey of its members to assess the magnitude of this need, but anecdotal reports suggest it is immense, and funding options are extremely limited without changes in state law. Zero-Emission Vehicles Infrastructure. California cities are already home to tens of thousands of plug-in electric vehicles, and the state currently represents 30 to 40 percent of the national market. To support this growing technology and to meet the governor’s target of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, the related infrastructure requires significant investment. This includes everything from installing the actual chargers to ensuring that electricity is available and reliable. Technology. The Federal Communications Commission expects that by 2016 the number of mobile broadband users worldwide will reach 5 billion. Nevertheless, more than 9 million Californians are unable to access broadband in their homes. Significant investments must continue to be made if California is to remain a national and world leader in communications technology. Schools. Schools are also deteriorating. According to a 2012 UC Berkeley report, California’s K-12 Educational Infrastructure Investments, 73 percent of the schools in California are more than 25 years old, and they are starting to fall apart.

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The High Cost of Waiting California will need to invest a staggering $500 billion in infrastructure over the next two decades. While these costs are high, the price of waiting is much more expensive. The conclusions are inescapable — we must pay now to update our infrastructure or pay much more later to replace it. We have already delayed too long. We are calling for the state to join local governments in finding new tools to address these undeniable and nearly immeasurable needs. Many proposals to do so are already being floated. It will likely take a combination of several of these proposals to make a difference. It is time to decide which proposals are the best and move forward. But state and local officials cannot do this alone. It will take the support of our constituents to succeed. The League is continuing to protect funding and promote tools for local economic development, infrastructure investment and job creation. As city leaders, we must also work with the state and federal governments, opinion leaders, the media and our residents to develop answers — and funding — to repair and replace our collapsing infrastructure. We are ready to work together to prevent California from deteriorating even further. Join us in finding solutions for our future. ■

Connect With Your Community About Infrastructure Needs For links to resources and tools to help educate community members about the urgent need for infrastructure funding, read the online version of this article at www.westerncity.com.

Western City, February 2014

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Local elected officials interested in running for the Legislature visit the Big Creek Hydroelectric Facility as part of the CCLI program’s activities.

California Civic Leadership Institute Makes Strides in League-Legislative Relations ®

by Samantha Caygill The Legislature welcomed one of its largest freshman classes ever in 2013. It’s likely that 2014 and 2016 will also bring substantial numbers of freshman legislators. Accordingly, the League is continuing its prestigious California Civic Leadership Institute® (CCLI) with a focus on recruiting the most viable candidates possible for the next two years. CCLI is one of several programs that address the League’s key strategic priority to “build effective partnerships to help respond to growing community needs.” Each year, 20 to 30 local government elected officials interested in running for legislative office participate in the two-part CCLI program.

Program Details Officials meet at Southern California Edison’s Big Creek Hydroelectric Facility for the first part of the program, which comprises policy education and informational tours. The lodge at Big Creek is nestled in a quaint mountain town and provides an informal environment where League staff, League Partners and city officials can become acquainted away from the stresses and distractions of everyday life. The group holds policy discussions that encompass a wide range of perspectives. CCLI participants also tour the hydroelectric facility, America’s first large-scale integrated hydroelectric project, and experience firsthand the vision of those who brought the project to fruition in 1911. The program’s second part takes place in Sacramento and addresses the political realities of serving in the state Capitol. Former legislators, top political consultants, lobbyists and others address the group about the ins and outs of public service in

Sacramento and the related challenges they may encounter both personally and professionally. Panelists candidly address topics ranging from how to handle political party pressure to how serving in the Legislature may affect one’s family life. CCLI participants get their most important questions answered and gain a deeper understanding of the demands and rewards associated with a legislator’s responsibilities.

New Term Limits Change the Focus for Many Legislators Since the program’s inception, city officials and the League staff have built more collaborative and open relationships with legislators. In the context of the new term limits that allow an individual to serve up to 12 years in the Legislature, more legislators are focusing on longer-term goals that will benefit the state. In the wake of the abolition of redevelopment agencies, the League experienced tremendous support from new legislators such as Assembly Members Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), who as former local elected officials understood the impact the loss of redevelopment had on cities and sought to alleviate some of the hardships it created for cities. The League also appreciated the efforts of Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), who in his role as vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Local Government proved a thoughtful partner to city governments on many issues.

Looking Forward Alumni of CCLI become part of a connected group that the League works with on a regular basis. While it may be impossible to agree on every issue, having an established relationship and a shared experience of open dialogue is extremely beneficial for all CCLI participants as they seek solutions to the challenges facing California. The League looks forward to continuing the CCLI program and building strong working relationships with its alumni in the Legislature. ■

Samantha Caygill is assistant director of public affairs for the League and can be reached at scaygill@cacities.org.

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PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR MINIMIZING CEQA LIABILITY IN YOUR CITY BY STEPHEN E. VELYVIS

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the primary state law that requires public agencies and their decision-makers to understand and evaluate the environmental consequences of their discretionary decisions before making them. Moreover, CEQA requires that public agencies not only consider but take action to mitigate or avoid significant adverse environmental impacts where feasible. In other words, CEQA is a powerful law that in its 44 years of existence has undoubtedly helped shape a greener, more sustainable California. It is precisely because of its power, however, that CEQA can be controversial and may be used (or, as some believe, abused) by interested parties to delay, modify or even stop projects they consider objectionable. Yet, despite any outcry over perceived CEQA abuses and related calls for CEQA reform, the current discussions

in city halls throughout the state and political debate in Sacramento are only the latest in a long-standing discussion that has resulted in sporadic and modest legislative CEQA reforms. In other words, neither a major legislative overhaul nor a decreasing focus on CEQA is likely to happen soon. Local officials carrying

About Legal Notes This column is provided as general information and not as legal advice. The law is constantly evolving, and attorneys can and do disagree about what the law requires. Local agencies interested in determining how the law applies in a particular situation should consult their local agency attorneys.

out the people’s business should consider the following tips to help ensure CEQA compliance and limit potential liability related to development projects or other activities in their cities. continued

Stephen E. Velyvis is a partner with the law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen and can be reached at svelyvis@bwslaw.com.

www.westerncity.com

Western City, February 2014

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Practical Advice for Minimizing CEQA Liability in Your City, continued

Conduct a Thorough Preliminary Review in Search Of Potential Exemptions Local elected officials may know from experience in serving their cities that many projects (especially small and infill projects) are truly exempt from CEQA. But if your city is going to approve a project without environmental review based on an exemption determination, make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, because exemptions can raise red flags to ardent project opponents. The first step is to conduct a thorough preliminary review of a proposed activity to determine whether the activity is a project that is subject to CEQA and, if so, whether the project is exempt from CEQA. Statutory exemptions are straightforward because they are absolute, so a

project that is statutorily exempt from CEQA requires no further environmental review or consideration. In contrast, categorical exemptions are subject to exceptions. When any applicable exemption is identified for a project, city staff should carefully collect and develop evidence for the record to demonstrate how and why the project falls within the language and meets all elements of the exemption(s). It is perfectly fine to assert more than one applicable exemption. However, if the city is claiming a project is categorically exempt and there is any legally adequate evidence in the record of a possible adverse impact, then more substantive environmental review may be required. And while CEQA does not require agencies to follow any specific procedure in approving CEQA-exempt projects, once

1. Expressly mentions that determination and cites that exemption in any public notices or agendas issued leading up to a final decision; and 2. Files a Notice of Exemption (NOE) as soon as possible after approving the project. Doing so will ensure that the city can easily secure dismissal of any subsequent CEQA litigation brought by parties who failed to challenge the exemption before project approval and thus failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. It will also trigger a strict and short 35-day statute of limitations period within which any related CEQA lawsuits must be filed or lost forever. When preparing and filing an NOE for an approved project pursuant to a CEQA exemption, make sure that the city:

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• Satisfies all the NOE content requirements, most notably by: 1) including a finding that the project is exempt, with a brief statement of reasons and a citation to the statutory and/or CEQA Guideline section memorializing the exemption; and 2) identifying all project applicants/approval recipients, as CEQA requires any subsequent legal challenge to name all such parties identified in the NOE; • Files the NOE promptly with the county clerk after the project is approved and insists the clerk: 1) post the NOE within 24 hours and for a full 30 days; and 2) thereafter return the NOE with a notation of the period it was posted; and • Revises and re-files the NOE if there is any doubt regarding its validity. Otherwise CEQA’s 180-day statute of limitations period rather than the short 35-day limitations period may be found to apply.

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Looking for Footnotes? A fully footnoted version of this article is available online at www.westerncity.com.

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CEQA Prefers Environmental Impact Reports Of course, not all projects are exempt from CEQA. If a project is subject to CEQA and no exemptions apply, agencies must conduct an initial study to determine whether the project may have a significant effect on the environment and what type of CEQA document is needed. Some agencies and applicants may seek to steer projects with potential adverse impacts toward preparation of a Negative Declaration or a Mitigated Negative Declaration and away from a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) based on an aversion to the additional time and cost associated with EIRs. But it may be advisable to do just the opposite, especially when opposition is certain and litigation likely. The reason is simple. Because CEQA’s policies prefer EIRs, the law effectively protects those who prepare them by applying the “substantial evidence” standard of judicial review to EIR challenges. Under that standard, as long as the EIR’s factual conclusions are supported by substantial evidence, a reviewing court may not reweigh that evidence and may not set aside the agency’s decision — even if the opposite conclusion could have been reached. In other words, this highly deferential substantial evidence standard applies to all of the city’s factual conclusions, findings and determinations in the EIR, the scope of an EIR’s analysis, the amount or type of information contained in the EIR, the methodology used to assess impacts, and the reliability or accuracy of the data supporting the EIR’s conclusions. In stark contrast, the “fair argument” standard of review applies to court challenges to Negative Declarations and Mitigated Negative Declarations. The fair argument standard entails a strong presumption in favor of requiring full EIRs. The presumption is embodied in numerous provisions, which require that if a project is not exempt and may cause a potential adverse environmental

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The CEQA compliance process can be criticized for being complex and costly; however, it need not be. impact, the lead agency must prepare an EIR. It takes only one piece of substantial evidence showing that a project may have a significant adverse impact to require preparation of a full EIR under the fair argument standard, even if other and more voluminous contrary evidence exists. Given this very low threshold, there is much less risk of losing a CEQA challenge if an EIR is prepared from the outset for big or controversial projects. In sum, EIRs typically take longer to prepare and cost more than Negative Declarations and Mitigated Negative Declarations. But EIRs are much easier to defend when challenged, and that initial expenditure of time and money for an EIR can be sound insurance against the much greater delay and cost associated with having the project approval and Negative Declaration or Mitigated Negative Declaration set aside because an interested party presented a fair argument of a possible significant adverse environmental impact.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle This familiar mantra of sustainability applies to CEQA as well — specifically, the reuse of previously adopted Negative Declarations, Mitigated Negative Declarations and EIRs. As noted earlier, because CEQA favors the preparation of EIRs, it can benefit those who prepare them. In addition to applying the deferential substantial evidence standard to the key factual determinations in an EIR, CEQA applies that same standard to agency decisions to reuse a prior EIR. Indeed, CEQA provides that once an EIR has been completed and certified for a project, no additional environmental review need be completed even if the project requires a further discretionary

approval, as long as the agency demonstrates that no new or more severe impacts will result. Moreover, because of CEQA’s policy favoring prompt resolution of challenges to agency land-use decisions and the related presumed validity of unchallenged CEQA documents, the deferential standard also applies when an agency proposes to reuse a Negative Declaration or Mitigated Negative Declaration for related subsequent discretionary approvals. continued on page 19

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Malibu’s The park offers visitors numerous recreational opportunities as well as educational information and art showcasing endangered habitats.

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Legacy Park:

A Public Works Approach to Sustainability

T

he City of Malibu is known worldwide for its beautiful beaches and rugged mountains. Now its 19-acre Legacy Park is putting the city on the map as a place where environmental leadership and innovative financing help address community concerns. Malibu counts preserving natural resources and keeping oceans and waterways clean among its top priorities. Legacy Park supports these priorities in several ways: • It serves as a recreation area in the heart of Malibu while simultaneously cleaning stormwater and urban runoff;

• The park’s design recycles captured and treated stormwater for irrigation; • Educational artwork and informational kiosks teach park visitors about endangered Southern California habitats; and • Legacy Park uses a financial model that demonstrates local government’s entrepreneurial ability to provide fiscal stability for a valuable community amenity. The park provides a public gathering space for thousands of visitors every year in the center of Malibu. Residents and

visitors have access to 15 acres of open space, with walking trails that meander through the natural landscape. Numerous community events are held in the park, including the yearly Earth Day Celebration and the weekly Story Time Hour. An outdoor classroom enables students to gather and learn about the importance of preserving and protecting local watersheds and habitats. As Council Member Laura Rosenthal says, “Legacy Park serves as a gateway to our Civic Center and is a place for respite that also benefits the entire Malibu Creek watershed. continued

The City of Malibu won the Award for Excellence in the Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation category of the 2013 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.helenputnam.org.

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Western City, February 2014

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Malibu’s Legacy Park: A Public Works Approach to Sustainability, continued

Its ecological purpose and design promote the Malibu mission of preserving our natural resources.” Visitors to the park also learn about endangered native Southern California habitats. The park was designed to showcase six regionally significant habitats, including the coastal prairie, woodlands, coastal bluffs, riparian corridor, wetland meadows and vernal pools. Each habitat area includes artistic large-scale animal mosaic sculptures that highlight the characteristics of that ecosystem.

Unique Approach to Improving Water Quality

Less visible than the recreational aspect — but of prime importance to the city — is the clean water element of Legacy Park. Stormwater and urban runoff are known sources of water quality degradation in Malibu Creek and Santa Monica Bay.

“Malibu Creek watershed has historically exceeded the total maximum daily loads for bacteria and nutrients established by the State Water Resources Control Board,” says Bob Brager, Malibu’s public works director. “The park’s primary goal is to eliminate unnecessary contaminants from entering the ocean, and the city council took bold steps to ensure that happened.”

The collected water is sent to the nearby Civic Center Stormwater Treatment Facility for ozone disinfection. The treated water is then sent back to the park and dispersed through a subterranean irrigation system.

Malibu leaders looked beyond regulatory minimums and sought innovative and sustainable solutions to improve coastal water quality and preserve the local ecology for future generations. Legacy Park treats and beneficially reuses water that would otherwise discharge into Malibu Creek, local beaches and Santa Monica Bay. It diverts stormwater and urban runoff from a 330-acre watershed area through a system of bio-filtration devices and into the park’s 8-acre vegetated detention pond, which holds 2.6 million gallons.

Financing for the 19-acre park combined General Fund dollars with bonds, grants and private fundraising to proactively address clean water in the coastal community. The site includes three commercial properties in addition to the open area used as park space. A total of $35 million was raised to acquire and build Legacy Park, including $5 million in private donations from more than 1,000 people and local organizations. The park opened on Oct. 2, 2010.

Innovative Financing Supports Park

Malibu raised the majority of funding for the site acquisition from the sale of certificates of participation (COPs), which are similar to bonds. The city then executed a public-private partnership lease with a local developer to renovate the one large vacant commercial property. The lease generates sufficient revenue to pay the annual COP debt service and the park’s maintenance costs. “As the debt on the Legacy Park project is reduced through revenue generated by the commercial property, excess money is directed toward other high priority community projects,” says City Manager Jim Thorsen. “The park is fiscally selfsustaining while protecting natural resources for future generations.”

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The city’s government project partners include the State Water Resources Control Board, Santa Monica College, County of Los Angeles and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. Malibu also partnered with the Annenberg Foundation for a $2 million matching grant.

Widespread Accolades for Legacy Park

The park has earned recognition and awards for its engineering and design achievements from numerous sources, including the

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Legacy Park plays a vital role in treating and cleaning stormwater and urban runoff that would otherwise flow to local beaches. below Young families enjoy the park’s amenities as a band plays.

“ The park is fiscally self-sustaining while protecting natural resources for future generations.” — City Manager Jim Thorsen

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American Society of Civil Engineers, California Stormwater Quality Association and American Public Works Association. Malibu Council Member Lou La Monte sums up the project succinctly, “Legacy Park is an efficient stormwater cleaning machine that is encased in a beautiful, natural environment. It is an inviting, educational and innovative solution to keep our ocean clean using sophisticated financing and community buy-in.” Contact: Robert L. Brager, public works director and city engineer; phone: (310) 456-2489; email: bbrager@malibucity.org. ■

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Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Agency Romances:

LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

Question I’m a local elected official with a degree in land-use planning. My interest in land use has meant spending considerable time with our agency’s planning director — asking questions, attending community meetings and so forth. I have no supervisory authority over the director. So here’s the awkward situation. I find myself romantically attracted to the planning director, and I believe the feeling is mutual. A trusted friend and advisor believes that pursuing the relationship is a very bad idea. I feel this is unfair. This person could be “the one,” and I don’t understand why I should have to give up the chance at what could be a lifetime relationship just because I am a public official. Isn’t fairness a legitimate ethical value?

Answer Yes, fairness is a legitimate ethical value, but there’s much more to the analysis of the wise and ethical course of action in this situation. It’s important to keep in mind that your agency may have specific nepotism and relationship policies addressing relationships between employees and/or public officials. Accordingly, consult your agency’s personnel policies in addition to considering the recommendations highlighted here. If the planning director, as a department head, reports to and receives performance evaluations from the governing body on which you serve, it is strongly recommended that you do not pursue the relationship — or resign your office before doing so. The unequal power dynamic increases the risk of liability for a relationship (including costly litigation). To understand the dynamics underlying this advice, think of the media reports about charges of sexual harassment in situations where the person with more power says that the relationship was consensual when it started and the subordinate says it was not. continued on page 16

This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG), whose mission is to promote good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities. ILG thanks attorneys Arthur Hartinger and Matthew Weinberg, with the law firm of Meyers Nave, for their contributions to this article. In addition, ILG gratefully acknowledges the generous financial support of Meyers Nave for production of the 2013 “Everyday Ethics” columns. For more information and to access ILG’s resources on public service ethics, visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust.

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Looking for Footnotes? A fully footnoted version of this article is available online at www.westerncity.com.

A secret relationship is always just one social media post away from being revealed.

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Western City, February 2014

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Agency Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, continued from page 14

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Downside Risks to The Agency

Another important ethical value is responsibility. This includes the responsibility to consider the downside risks of pursuing the relationship — risks to your agency, other staff members, the planning director and you.

Your question says that you believe the planning director is romantically attracted to you. How do you act on this belief? Indicating your interest of exploring a relationship with the planning director may lead to trouble in itself. How can you

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be sure the planning director will not be afraid of negative job implications should he or she decline to engage in a romantic relationship? What if this individual rejects your first advance, but you interpret the rejection as a signal of playing hard to get? Should you continue trying? It is important to remember that for a public official, the simple expression of romantic interest in an agency employee creates a risk of a possible sexual harassment complaint against the agency. For now, let’s say you express interest in a romantic relationship to the planning director in a permissible fashion, but the director indicates the interest is not mutual. What happens the next time you disagree with the planning department’s recommendation or analysis of an issue? You owe your constituents a responsibility to raise concerns (respectfully and constructively, of course) if you have them. The director, however, may question whether your disagreement stems from a bona fide difference of opinion or your hurt feelings from being rebuffed. This concern may deepen every time you continued on page 20

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Call Pam Maxwell-Blodgett at (800) 262-1801 to place a display (boxed) ad or for rate and deadline information, or email admanager@westerncity.com. Website Job Postings Display ads are posted on our website at no additional charge. But if you miss the deadline for getting your job opportunity ad into the magazine, you can post it on the Western City website right away. To post your job opportunity ad on our automated website, visit www.westerncity.com or contact Anita Lopez, administrative assistant; email: alopez@cacities.org; phone: (916) 658-8223.

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Western City, February 2014

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Police Chief

City of Bell, California A community of over 35,400 within less than 2 square miles, the City of Bell is located on the west bank of the Los Angeles River and is a suburb of the City of Los Angeles. Many know the city of Bell from the corruption scandal in 2010 – that was then, this is now. The new Council and City Management team are providing the leadership necessary to move this city forward. The City’s debt has been cut in half and they are operating with a structurally balanced budget this fiscal year. The new Chief will oversee a staff of over 43 in the areas of administration, patrol operations, detective operations, communications, records bureau, and traffic with a budget of $4.9 million. Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree/Command College/ FBI Academy preferred. Salary up to $170,000 DOQE with competitive benefits.

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Please send your cover letter and resume electronically to:

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City of Monterey – Finance Director

The City of Monterey is a historic and progressive coastal community with a resident population of approximately 30,000, and daily populations rising to 70,000. Monterey is a full-service city with approximately 450 full-time and regular part-time employees. The Finance Department is comprised of three operating divisions including Administration, Accounting, and Revenue. The Department provides a full range of financial services including treasury, revenue collection, accounting and auditing, payroll, budgeting, long-term financial planning, risk management, and purchasing. The Finance Director is an Executive, at-will classification that provides highly responsible staff assistance to the City Manager and City Council and coordinates the development, analysis and implementation of the annual City budget. Eight years experience, including at least three years of management experience and the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in a related field is required. A CPA Certificate is highly desirable.

The salary for the Finance Director is $161,333, plus an attractive benefit package. Please visit the City of Monterey’s website at www.monterey.org for more information. The closing date for this job opportunity is February 28, 2014.

Photo/art credits Cover: Courtesy of City of Malibu and League of California Cities Page 3: left, Sdubi/Shutterstock.com; right, Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock.com

Pages 7, 8, 9: NorGal/Shutterstock.com Pages 10, 11, 13: Courtesy of City of Malibu and League of California Cities Page 15: Jerrysa/Shutterstock.com

Page 5: Isak55/Shutterstock.com

Page 16: Sgame/Shutterstock.com

Page 6: Courtesy of League of California Cities

Page 20: Janos Levente/Shutterstock.com Page 23: Archana Bhartia/Shutterstock.com

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Practical Advice for Minimizing CEQA Liability in Your City, continued from page 9

Given the significant economic downturn that began in 2008, many of the projects approved around that time were understandably put on hold. Now that the economy is improving, the question of whether supplemental environmental review needs to be done is arising with increasing frequency as projects become financially feasible and are dusted off and re-envisioned. Local agencies can reuse their prior Negative Declarations, Mitigated Negative Declarations or EIRs and approve modest changes to those projects without any further environmental review as long as they demonstrate with supporting evidence that none of the triggering events listed in the CEQA Guidelines exist. It is also advisable to publish any decision to rely solely on an addendum to a prior CEQA document in the notices and agendas leading up to the further project approvals and to file a Notice of Determination with the county clerk soon after project approval. Doing so will similarly trigger CEQA’s “exhaustion doctrine” and a short 30-day statute of limitations period for any legal challenge.

Conclusion The CEQA compliance process can be criticized for being complex and costly, especially given the numerous decades

Interested in Learning More? March Webinar Will Cover This Topic in Greater Depth Environmental/land-use attorneys Stephen Velyvis and Kristina Lawson (who also serves as mayor of Walnut Creek and vice chair of the League’s Environmental Quality Policy Committee) will present a webinar on March 19 that explores the topic of this article in greater detail. Learn more about minimizing CEQA liability and take advantage of this opportunity to have your questions answered by experts. To sign up, visit www.cacities.org/events.

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of published and sometimes conflicting judicial opinions. As discussed here, however, it need not be. Practically speaking, if CEQA’s procedural requirements are followed strictly, CEQA exemption deter-

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Director of Human Resources Deadline: 5:00 PM on Friday, February 14, 2014 $137,848 - $167,949 annually DOQ (plus competitive benefits package, including 2.5%@55 for PERS “Classic” members). Located five minutes from the San Francisco airport, Burlingame is a destination City due to its vibrant downtown, waterfront, and hotels. Burlingame is a full service City with 200 employees and 29,000 citizens and an operating budget of $42 million. The City is seeking a HR professional with excellent interpersonal skills and significant public sector HR management experience. The HR director reports to the City Manager and works closely with the executive team managing labor relations, benefit administration, workers compensation, organizational development and recruitment. For more detailed information about this exciting opportunity, visit www.burlingame.org.

Director of Employee Relations City of Lakewood, Colorado

Ideally situated between Denver and the Rocky Mountains, Lakewood is Colorado’s fifth largest city with over 143,000 residents and has more than 7,000 acres of parks and open space with approximately 80 miles of hiking and biking trails. Lakewood has a culture of sincere service and caring for others and supports a healthy work/life balance for all of its nearly 1,000 employees. The Director provides human resources leadership, support and services to a large organization of diverse employees and ensures that the culture of the city is reflected in its policies and practices. This is a tremendous opportunity to join a high performing organization in a critical role. Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s preferred. Hiring range is $115,000 to $140,000 DOQE, no social security, excellent benefits.

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Western City, February 2014

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Agency Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, continued from page 16

These concerns are all fodder for political opponents and the media. J

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CITY MANAGER — City of Cudahy The City of Cudahy (population 23,805) seeks a professional City Manager and change agent with high integrity that is experienced and possesses the capacity to manage a small governmental agency. The ideal candidate will be expected to promote and demonstrate personal and professional conduct of the highest standard. Additionally, the candidate should have an open style of management and work collaboratively with a new and dynamic City Council, department heads and staff to foster a working environment encouraging individuals to excel in their areas of responsibility. The selected individual will have a strong community presence and open door policy. Due to the City having a large number of people who only speak Spanish, a bilingual candidate who can speak English and conversational Spanish would be helpful but not necessary. Salary will be based on experience and education. Closing date is March 31, 2014. Send resume to Human Resources Coordinator, Jennifer Hernandez at jhernandez@ cityofcudahyca.gov or mail to 5220 Santa Ana Street, Cudahy, CA 90201. For more information please call (323) 773-5143, ext. 223.

Fire Chief The City of Pinole is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, on the shores of San Pablo Bay in West Contra Costa County. This position is a key member of the City’s executive leadership team, receiving administrative and general policy direction from the City Manager. The position plans, organizes and provides administrative direction and oversight for all Fire Department functions and activities, which include fire prevention and inspection programs, response to fire suppression, medical emergency, rescue and hazardous materials incidents. The position leads a department of 19 sworn personnel and may recruit and supervise volunteer personnel, as well. Minimum qualifications include a Bachelors degree and Certification as a Chief Officer by the State of California or National Fire Officer Executive. CLOSING DATE: MARCH 3, 2014, at 4:30 pm. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of a completed application. For more information about this opportunity and to obtain an Employment Application, please visit our website at www.ci.pinole.ca.us or contact Human Resources at 510-724-9006 or fkuykendall@ci.pinole.ca.us. Salary $148,572.

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disagree. The planning director may feel subjected to a hostile work environment, which could lead to a lawsuit and bad publicity for the agency or otherwise cause the planning director to seek employment elsewhere. These results could be costly to the agency. If the planning director simply feels uncomfortable around you, his or her performance might suffer. On the other hand, even if the planning director is open to a date and possible relationship, the road to an enduring relationship is littered with romances that don’t work out and leave bad residual feelings. Such bad feelings may result in an uncomfortable and unproductive working environment or even a sexual harassment complaint (regardless of the fact that you understood the relationship to be consensual). The potential fallout from a relationship gone bad increases both your personal risk and the risk to the agency. Difficulties in the relationship can also spill into the workplace, creating performance issues and tensions in public settings. Both are damaging to the

Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies and Training A public agency must provide clear notice to its employees that the agency does not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. Each agency should adopt a sexual harassment policy and distribute it to all employees as well as elected and appointed officials. A strong sexual harassment policy will help mitigate some of the risks mentioned here. In addition, California law requires periodic training for supervisors on the rules against sexual harassment for larger employers (those with 50 or more employees).

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agency’s effective operation. As a leader within the agency, you have a responsibility to avoid these risks.

The Downside of the Upside Risks There are also risks to you if the relationship works out for a while or longer. As a decision-maker, your obligation is to put the public’s interest first. If there is a romantic relationship between you and a staff member, the public may understandably question whether that relationship affects your ability to be objective about that staff member’s recommendations and budget decisions that might affect him or her. Project proponents and opponents may also question your ability to fairly evaluate staff recommendations. In permits and entitlement proceedings, an argument may be made that you need to step aside from the decision-making process because of concerns about fair process and bias. Internally, other staff may rightly or wrongly perceive that the planning director receives preferential treatment as a result of your relationship. This can result in questions about whether the planning director’s success within the agency is due to merit or the romantic relationship with you. Believe it or not, other agency employees’ perception of favoritism may create a hostile work environment. At a minimum, the employees’ perception may damage the planning director’s career. Your relationship might also compromise the agency’s executive officer. Should the planning director have performance issues that need correction, the executive may be reluctant to act on these issues due to your romantic involvement. Similar issues can arise in the area of budget and salary decisions. In addition, “pillow talk” can be a concern if the planning director is getting information about elected

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officials’ views to which the agency executive is not privy. Or the opposite can happen: As an elected official, your perception of the internal operation of the organization may be skewed by pillow talk from the planning director.

These concerns are all fodder for political opponents and the media. Even if none of these risks materialize, you may nonetheless be criticized for incurring them. Critics may request your resignation. continued

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Assistant City Manager City of Daly City, CA

“Gateway to the Peninsula” Located at the northernmost edge of San Mateo County and adjacent to San Francisco, Daly City (pop. 102,600) enjoys a central location, diversified economy, excellent transportation links, and a growing young and productive labor force. Daly City is a full-service city of 511 employees with a $73M general fund budget. City Manager Pat Martel is seeking candidates with proven executive level, local government management experience; generalist skills; high professional competence; strong interpersonal and team-playing skills; and astute judgment to work closely with the organization in order to facilitate effective and efficient programs and services to the community. Bachelor’s degree is required; Master’s preferred. Salary range is $163,982-$199,342.

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Western City, February 2014

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Agency Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, continued

Discretion Versus Deception

Internet, such an approach is not likely to succeed for long. A secret relationship is always just one social media post away from being revealed. When it is, each party will look deceptive, which will damage your reputation for trustworthiness and responsibility. Furthermore, if

The potential parade of horrible situations can make it tempting to conceal the relationship. In an era in which concealable handheld devices easily produce photographs and recordings and provide methods to upload the content to the J

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Compensation: $109,896 - $168,648 DOQ, plus a generous benefits package and CALPERS retirement. Closing Deadline: Friday, March 14, 2014 The scenic arts community of Laguna Beach California, host to famous arts festivals and tucked along several miles of the world’s most beautiful coastline, seeks an innovative, customer service oriented team leader to fill this dynamic position. With a staff of twenty-eight in four divisions, the Director works closely with the City Manager guiding key decision making in the areas of Planning, Zoning, Code Enforcement and Building. View detailed information regarding qualification requirements and compensation at www.lagunabeachcity.net. A city online application, cover letter, resume, salary history, and at least five professional references are required.

Finance Director City of La Quinta, CA

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If — in spite of the risks — you pursue the relationship, you will want to be up front with the agency’s chief executive so

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City of Laguna Beach, California

Blessed with the natural beauty of the Santa Rosa Mountains, La Quinta (pop. 38,000 + 15,000 seasonal) is the “Gem of the Desert.” Long hailed as an exclusive resort getaway with some of the best golf in the country, La Quinta has grown into a retail, restaurant, art, and entertainment hub tucked in a quaint, residential mountain cove. Appointed by the City Manager, the Finance Director will oversee a staff of 6 and $73.3 million total operating budget. Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business or public administration, or similar is required as well as municipal finance experience. Salary range is $139,746 to $169,862, and appointment will be made within the range depending on qualifications.

the relationship goes bad, your deception could bolster the planning director’s possible sexual harassment claim.

Please send your cover letter and resume electronically to:

Peckham & McKenney apply@peckhamandmckenney.com Resumes acknowledged within two business days. Call Bobbi Peckham at (866) 912-1919 for more information. A detailed brochure is available at www.peckhamandmckenney.com. Filing deadline is February 26, 2014.

It’s Not Just Relationships Between Staff and Elected Officials Other forms of romantic liaisons that can raise issues include relationships between staff or elected officials and those who do business with the agency in some manner. Examples include romantic relationships with those who are vendors or contractors for the agency, need the agency’s approval on contracts or other matters and those who otherwise might sit across the bargaining table (for example, in the context of labor relations). Ethics issues arise anytime the public might reasonably question whether a romantic relationship results in preferential treatment for an individual. For that reason, it’s a good idea to review the gift rules under the Political Reform Act. The regulations provide for some exceptions to the gift reporting and limit rules for “bona fide dating relationships,” but those exceptions do not apply to lobbyists. You still may need to disqualify yourself from decisions related to the gift giver, however. For more information, visit the Institute for Local Government’s Gift Resource Center (www.ca-ilg. org/GiftCenter and specifically www.ca-ilg.org/GiftsQuestion3) and consider its materials on local regulation of lobbying (www.ca-ilg. org/lobbying-restrictions).

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he or she can do whatever possible to ensure that the interests of the planning director and the agency are protected. This may include verifying and documenting the consensual nature of the relationship, reiterating the agency’s policy against sexual harassment, conforming to the

agency’s nepotism policy, and making a commitment to avoid either preferential treatment during the relationship or retaliation should the relationship end. However, such agreements may not necessarily protect you or the agency from liability for sexual harassment.

Professionalism and concern for others dictate that both parties be discreet about the relationship. This includes treating each other as if the relationship did not exist in professional situations (including avoiding terms of endearment as well as romantic or sexual gestures, which are always inappropriate in the workplace). The staff and fellow electeds will likely prefer to keep the relationship out of conversations. Avoid any arguments or tensions in the work environment. And remember, the agency’s communications systems should not be used for personal communications.

Consider the downside risks of pursuing the relationship — risks to your agency, other staff members and you.

Conclusion In short, the advice your friend provided — that pursuing the relationship is generally a bad idea — is sound. Public service involves sacrifice. In this instance, your responsibilities to the agency and your constituents to avoid risks and maintain your objectivity (as well as the perception of objectivity) trump your personal interests. If you truly believe that pursuing the relationship is worth the potential risks, then you should consult with your agency executive before taking any action. Perhaps you can work out a solution to the satisfaction of yourself, the planning director and the agency. ■

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Western City, February 2014

25


2014

THE CALIFORNIA MUNICIPAL REVENUE SOURCES HANDBOOK Edition

Michael Coleman

The Municipal Revenue Sources Handbook is the definitive resource on municipal funding for city managers, city finance directors, academics and other professionals engaged in the complex world of municipal finance. To order please visit www.cacities.org/publications


Western City February Issue