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The Monthly Magazine of the League of California Cities

Special Issue: Advancing Equity

Long Beach Launches Office of Equity to Engage, Educate, and Serve p.12 Advancing Racial Equity in Local Government p.7 South San Francisco Develops Equity Solutions Tailored to the Community p.15


CONTENTS 2 Calendar of League Events Executive Director’s Message 3   Bold Approaches and New Ideas to Solve Old Problems

By Carolyn Coleman

 his special issue of Western City T highlights efforts to disrupt systemic inequities in city institutions and policies and replace them with systems that are inclusive and fair.

President’s Message 5 

 Hope Is Not a Strategy, but It Is a Requirement for Leadership

By Cheryl Viegas Walker

It’s helpful to remember that leadership isn’t always about remaining stoic and displaying optimism. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is both human and acceptable, especially in relentlessly difficult circumstances.


 dvancing Racial Equity A in Local Government

By Rita Soler Ossolinski

 he National League of Cities created T the Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) initiative to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities. REAL offers tools and resources designed to help local elected leaders create cities where people from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds thrive.

#LocalWorks 12 

 Long Beach Launches Office of Equity to Engage, Educate, and Serve

By Adam M. Lara

L ong Beach established its Office of Equity in January 2017 to address and improve equity, community health, and safety for those most underserved in its communities.

Effective tools for the timely financing of community-based projects.

South San Francisco 15 

Develops Equity Solutions Tailored to the Community

By Rich Garbarino

 As elected officials, we have the responsibility to work toward the goals of equality and justice for all in the services we provide to our diverse residents. It’s imperative that we commit to addressing systemic racial bias wherever and whenever we encounter it and provide greater access, transparency, and oversight to build strong trust within our communities.

California Cities Helen Putnam 18  Award for Excellence

 A lisal Vibrancy Plan Addresses Equity Issues in Salinas

 his plan is the result of advocacy and T 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.

Job Opportunities 19 

CSCDA enables local government and eligible private entities access to efficiently finance, locallyapproved projects that provide a public benefit. Since 1988, CSCDA has issued more than $60 billion in tax-exempt bonds for affordable housing, healthcare, infrastructure, schools, and other fundamental services. CSCDA is a joint powers authority created by:

Professional Services 23  Directory

 n the cover: Residents participate in O the 2017 Long Beach Pride Parade.

(800) 531-7476 www.cscda.org

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

President Cheryl Viegas Walker Council Member El Centro

First Vice President Cindy Silva Council Member Walnut Creek

Second Vice President Ali Sajjad Taj Mayor Artesia

Immediate Past President John F. Dunbar Mayor Yountville

Magazine Staff

For a complete list of the League board of directors, visit www.cacities.org/board.

Editor in Chief Jill Oviatt (916) 658-8228; email: joviatt@cacities.org


Managing Editor Jude Lemons, Citrus 3 Communications (916) 658-8234; email: editor@westerncity.com Contributing Editor Kayla Woods (916) 658-8213; email: kwoods@cacities.org Business and Creative Manager Amanda Cadelago (916) 658-8226; email: acadelago@cacities.org Advertising Sales Cici Trino Association Outsource Services, Inc. (916) 961-9999; email: cicit@aosinc.biz Administrative Assistant Savannah Cobbs (916) 658-8223; email: scobbs@cacities.org Contributors Rose Kevranian

Executive Director Carolyn Coleman

December 4

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

7, 9, and 11

Municipal Finance Institute, Virtual Event This conference provides essential information for city officials and staff involved in fiscal planning for municipalities.


Fire Chiefs Leadership Seminar, Virtual Event This virtual event features a department business meeting and a session of importance to city fire service professionals.

Associate Editors Carol Malinowski Carolyn Walker Design Taber Creative Group

17 and 18

Advertising Design ImagePoint Design For photo credits, see page 22. 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.




Postmaster: Send address changes to Western City, 1400 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Western City Trademark Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. ©2020 League of California Cities. All rights reserved. Material may not be reprinted without written permission. This issue is Volume XCVI, No. 11.

January 2021 20–22

New Mayors & Council Members Academy, Virtual Event* This vitally important training prepares newly elected officials for the demands of office and introduces them to the legal constraints on city councils.


City Managers Conference, Carlsbad* Geared to the unique needs of city managers, this conference covers issues affecting cities throughout California. *Due to the evolving circumstances related to COVID-19, the dates and locations of these events are pending and subject to change. The League will communicate updates regarding these events as soon as they can be confirmed. Thank you for your patience.







City Clerks New Law & Elections Seminar, Virtual Event The seminar covers laws affecting elections as well as other aspects of clerks’ responsibilities.



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FSC ® is an independent, not-for-profit organization that promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management worldwide. Products with the FSC label are independently certified to ensure that they come from forests managed to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Event and registration information is available at www.cacities.org. 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 Visit us on LinkedIn at Western City Magazine.


League of California Cities


Executive Director’s Message by Carolyn Coleman

Bold Approaches and New Ideas to Solve Old Problems


am humbled and honored to be leading the League at this defining moment in the nation’s history. Cities and city leaders face unparalleled hurdles — an unrelenting global pandemic, devastating wildfires, heat waves, power outages, and pandemic-induced budget shortfalls that are jeopardizing core city services — all of this while deafening cries for equity and justice ring out from the streets of our nation. In response, cities have been leading the way, acting quickly to protect their residents from the virus, supporting those affected by stay-at-home orders and business closures, and providing assistance to struggling businesses and families who have fallen behind on rent or mortgage payments. They are also taking concrete actions to evaluate, reimagine, and reform our institutions to ensure local government systems are equitable and just.

The League’s mission includes not only advocating for the common interests of cities, but also helping city leaders lead on challenging issues their communities face by providing education and resources that focus on promising strategies and new solutions. Just as the League pivoted to help city leaders navigate through the pandemic, wildfires, and power shutoffs, we are also pivoting to support leaders as they take action to advance equity in their communities.

This special issue of Western City

highlights efforts to disrupt systemic inequities in city institutions and policies and replace them with

This special issue of Western City highlights efforts to disrupt systemic inequities in city institutions and policies and replace them with systems that are inclusive and fair. “Advancing Racial Equity in Local Government,” which starts on page 7, provides an introduction to the National League of Cities’ Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) initiative and shares four proven city strategies to help city leaders lead in addressing racial inequity in their communities.

systems that are inclusive and fair.

As a Black woman, issues of race, equity, and justice are deeply personal for me and have been part of a recurring narrative of systemic inequity for a majority of my life. These issues are fueling the many diverse voices calling for change that we hear loudly today. It is inspiring to stand alongside California’s local


leaders who are, to borrow from Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, “challenging the status quo with bold approaches and new ideas to solve old problems.”


Western City, November 2020


Bold Approaches and New Ideas to Solve Old Problems, continued

Salinas residents participate in a visioning workshop, Long Beach volunteers plant trees to beautify a neighborhood, and South San Francisco families attend a city planning event.

left to right

This special issue also profiles several California cities that are driving meaningful and deliberate change within their cities to ensure equitable access to city services. In 2017, the City of Long Beach created an Office of Equity dedicated to improving equity, community health, and safety for those most underserved in its communities (see page 12). In July 2020, the City of South San Francisco launched the Mayor’s Commission on Racial and Social Equity to explore how best to deliver improved services in mental health, education, policing, policies and practices, and social services (see page 15). And the City of Salinas developed a community-driven plan to better serve people living in a neighborhood that was underserved and neglected for decades (see page 18). The Alisal Vibrancy Plan is the result of years of visioning, community organizing, and relationship building between the city and Alisal residents, and focuses on improving outreach to the community and removing barriers that these residents often faced when interacting with city government. The plan was officially unveiled in early 2020.

including Chula Vista, Oakland, and Stockton, to participate in the City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery program, a new effort that will help cities confront budget crises while strengthening their commitment to equity in the wake of COVID-19. As city leaders take the lead to root out systemic inequities in their communities, the League will support their efforts with new tools and resources that will include access to experts, technical assistance, articles, peer networking opportunities, and educational sessions at League convenings. For those who missed the League’s August webinar, Advancing Racial Equity: An Introduction, you can find a recording of it on the League website. If you happened to miss one of several sessions on race and equity featured at the League’s 2020 Annual Conference & Expo in October, not to worry — those who registered for the conference have access to all of the recorded sessions until April 6, 2021. Visit www.cacities.org/ advancingequity to find the links.

As city leaders take the lead to root out systemic inequities in their communities, the League will support their efforts with new tools and resources that will include access to experts, technical assistance, articles, peer networking opportunities, and educational sessions at League convenings.

These stories represent only a handful of examples of city leadership in advancing equity in their communities. California cities are also embedding equity in their budgeting processes. Bloomberg Philanthropies recently selected 30 cities nationwide,


League of California Cities

This is only the beginning. We truly hope you enjoy this special issue. In the coming months, the League looks forward to helping empower and equip local officials with tools to address and heal inequities in their communities. ■


President’s Message by Cheryl Viegas Walker

President Viegas Walker addresses California city officials; Viegas Walker confers with Management Assistant Liz Zarate outside El Centro City Hall, right. left

Hope Is Not a Strategy, but It Is a Requirement for Leadership This is my first “President’s Message” and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts about the issues facing us as elected city leaders in this time of unparalleled challenges.

Perspective in a Tough Year 2020 has brought us to a state of crisis that we might have sometimes feared but hoped never to encounter. As the year unfolded, local elected officials throughout California faced a series of unprecedented situations that touched every aspect of life in our communities — our health, our families, our homes and schools, and the air we breathe. In early March, I traveled with California city officials and League staff to the National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C., where discussions focused on the emerging coronavirus pandemic, a new priority for NLC. Afterward, flying back to Los Angeles from New York City, it was bone-chillingly eerie to walk through empty terminals at JFK

and LAX. It was the kind of surreal feeling we would all grow accustomed to as the COVID-19 pandemic transformed life in our country and around the world. In the months that followed, California city officials worked hand in hand with the League to comply with emergency orders and keep our communities safe. We advocated for our cities at the state and federal levels. We continued providing essential services to our residents, even in the face of challenges that constantly changed just as we were coming to understand them. Then George Floyd was brutally killed while in police custody, and the issues around equity and justice came to the forefront in our cities. Nationwide, citizens protested and demanded accountability and change from their government, both locally and nationally. Local leaders worked to address the pain expressed by our communities. The League stepped up with resources to support cities committed to justice for all.

As we worked to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and launch dialogues with our community and within our cities about advancing equity, a series of dry lightning strikes ignited blazes statewide. California’s worst-ever wildfire season brought still untold losses to communities, livelihoods, and our beloved forests and open lands. The lives lost, and the ongoing impacts to our most vulnerable people because of the fires, are yet another tragedy in a year already overfilled with them. The call for leadership, and the need for mutual support among our communities to address these challenges, has never been louder.

Leadership and Support Coping with adversity on so many fronts takes its toll. We hear this firsthand from our nurses and firefighters. We hear it from schoolteachers. We feel it from our children, who have been deprived of so many of their normal joys. We know it from continued


Western City, November 2020


Hope Is Not a Strategy, but It Is a Requirement for Leadership, continued

grandparents unable to see their grandchildren. And we hear it from our citizens who assemble peacefully to ask for change. It’s helpful to remember that leadership isn’t always about remaining stoic and displaying optimism. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is both human and acceptable, especially in relentlessly difficult circumstances. I have been reflecting on our history and on 1968, which marked a turning point and a very difficult year encompassing the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and a contentious presidential election. Our nation faced difficulties of enormous magnitude. How did we live through that year and find the strength to move forward? This year, 2020, is our generation’s 1968. These unprecedented times have made me reflect on the fact that while hope is not a strategy, it is a requirement for leadership. As elected officials, sometimes we need to step back and ask: What is it that drew

me to public service in the first place? For many of us, it’s a commitment to doing the right thing for the people in our communities. And in today’s world, our residents want to be comforted by knowing that we are working as hard and as best we can for their communities. Ribbon-cuttings and celebrations are all well and good — but making hard choices, in hard times, is the duty we have been entrusted with. Empathy and compassion are essential elements of effective leadership. It’s more important than ever to listen to the concerns of our residents, who are facing enormous burdens, and say, “I hear you” — and follow up with renewed energy. I want everyone reading this to know that the League is here to support you and offer resources you can draw on to serve your city, preserve hope, and maintain your morale. Both the League and the Institute for Local Government (ILG) are committed to good governance, and you can find numerous tools and materials on their

websites (www.cacities.or​g and ​www.ca-ilg. org)​to enhance your leadership skills to face these crises. Now is our time to step up and lead with the help of the League. Today’s California is not the California of yesteryear. Cities are facing a global pandemic, climate change and destructive wildfires, an unparalleled housing and homelessness crisis, mounting social unrest, and decimated city budgets. To support city officials during this trying time, the League has to become increasingly accessible, nimble, and far-reaching, making it a more strategic and powerful advocate for city interests than ever before. At the same time, the League will be a welcoming home, offering hope and encouragement to local elected leaders and city staff when our spirits are sinking. I encourage you to join me in cultivating that hope and supporting each other as we move forward in our work to serve our communities and create a better future for all Californians. ■

clockwise from far left

Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Viegas Walker at a League board meeting in February 2020; Viegas Walker helps prepare free meals for curbside pickup at the library; and Viegas Walker participates in a Women’s Caucus meeting prior to the pandemic.


League of California Cities


Nationwide, city leaders and staff are making a concerted effort to address the racial inequities in their communities.

Advancing Racial Equity in Local Government by Rita Soler Ossolinski In the wake of the 2014 unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, the National League of Cities (NLC) created the Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) initiative to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities. REAL offers tools and resources designed to help local elected leaders build safe places where people from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds thrive socially, economically, academically, and physically. Since its inception, REAL has developed a portfolio that includes training, technical assistance, assessment work, and capacity building for city leaders. This work has connected REAL to leadership in over 400 cities — to leaders who are committed to using an equity lens in the design and delivery of city services and to pursuing equitable access to those services for all residents.

The Present Reality Our nation’s cities are currently grappling with overlapping crises, not one pandemic but two: the long-standing pandemic of systemic and structural racism and

COVID-19. With the virus, data quickly emerged highlighting significantly disproportionate numbers of infection and mortality for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Heightened awareness of these disproportionalities became a spotlight on racial inequities. When George Floyd was killed while handcuffed and in police custody on May 25, it became a moment of reckoning. COVID-19 is the virus; system failure is the crisis. The confluence of these two pandemics has sharpened the resolve among many city leaders to undertake the hard work of racial equity. NLC REAL is responding to inquiries, helping cities assess their readiness and define their desired outcomes.

The Data Data on disparities based on race undergird REAL’s approach to our work with cities, including the content and design of our training, assessments, technical assistance, and capacity building. Race is the single greatest predictor of one’s success in this country, and the data consistently bear this out. From infant mortality to life expectancy, race predicts how well one will

do. In education, employment, housing, health, and criminal justice, the data for BIPOC are clear and inform the reality. • By July 11, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID data tracker reported that in the United States 34 percent of cases and 17 percent of the deaths were among Latinx people, who make up 19 percent of the U.S. population; 20 percent of cases and 23 percent of deaths were among Black people, who make up 13 percent of the population; and 37 percent of cases and 50 percent of deaths were among white people, who make up 60 percent of the U.S. population. • In 2017–18, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that average graduation rates for white public high school students (89 percent) were 10 percentage points higher than the average for their Black peers (79 percent). • Pre-COVID, the Economic Policy Institute data showed that “Black unemployment is at least twice as high as white unemployment at the national level.” continued

Rita Soler Ossolinski is program director of the Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL) initiative of the National League of Cities and can be reached at ossolinski@nlc.org www.westerncity.com

Western City, November 2020


Advancing Racial Equity in Local Government, continued

• Early in 2020, the Urban Institute reported that “the gap between the Black and white homeownership rates in the United States has increased to its highest level in 50 years, from 28.1 percentage points in 2010 to 30.1 percentage points in 2017.” Less than 50 percent of Black individuals own their homes while nearly 75 percent of whites do. • In 2017, the CDC reported that life expectancy for Black individuals is 3.5 years less than for whites. • The Pew Research Center reported in 2017 that the imprisonment rate for Black people in the U.S. was six times the rate for whites. • In 2015, the New York Times reported, “FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report showed that 31.8 percent of people shot by the police were AfricanAmerican, a proportion more than two and a half times the 13.2 percent of African Americans in the general population.” Using every measure for individual success in this country, it becomes clear that our BIPOC communities face extraordinary barriers.

as one of the worst places economically for African Americans in the nation, Grand Rapids developed a citywide effort in 2015 to improve racial equity.

racial equity as a lens throughout its continuous improvement processes.

Grand Rapids developed its own racial equity toolkit, tailored to local needs, that is used during the budget process and to address racial equity in other city processes and projects, including continuous improvement process planning and improving the future state of services, programs, and economic incentives.

In 2017, San Antonio, Texas, was ranked as one of the most unequal cities in the country by the Economic Innovation Group. Recognizing the ranking and the history of segregationist policies that led to it, San Antonio’s leaders have made significant strides to reconcile the city’s past with an equitable future for its residents through the San Antonio Office of Equity.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss started Grand Rapids’ racial equity work during her first year in office in 2016. The first two years of the city’s work included a focus on community power building and the development of racial equity tools. The city’s annual Neighborhood Summit elevates residents’ voices and provides meaningful support for community members to understand their own power and build power collectively. The City Manager’s Office is developing accountability measures to build on the city’s racial equity toolkit and embed

San Antonio, Texas

Today, the Office of Equity works within city government to dismantle all forms of racism, supporting city departments’ responses to equity-related community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The office also tracks and helps advance the nationwide movement for racial justice by providing technical assistance and training to city departments, using tools including the Equity Rapid Response Tool, the Racial Equity Indicators Report, and the Equity Matrix.

City Examples Nationwide, city leaders and staff are making a concerted effort to address the racial inequities in their communities. For many city leaders, it can be hard to know where to begin the work, or what to model their programs on. With the generous support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, NLC REAL compiled profiles of 12 cities that have made a commitment to addressing racial equity in a unique way. By documenting and sharing the strategies of each city, NLC hopes to create a platform that makes it easy for city leaders and staff to learn from each other and develop strong networks of communication. Four examples are highlighted here.

Grand Rapids, Michigan In response to a Michigan Department of Civil Rights report on the economic impacts of racial disparities in the city and Forbes magazine listing Grand Rapids


League of California Cities

Ivy Taylor, former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, shares a warm moment with youngsters from her city participating in the My Brother’s Keeper program. San Antonio took action on several fronts to dismantle all forms of racism within its city government and is working to advance equity and justice.


City leaders took steps to recognize the way neighborhoods have been shaped through exclusionary policies based on race. The Office of Equity is working with city leaders and departments to utilize an Equity Impact Assessment for budget decisions. San Antonio embraced a partnership with SA2020, a nongovernmental organization developed through a community visioning process, which helped the city develop and track metrics to both extend the local government’s capacity and hold it accountable. The use of an Equity Impact Assessment, including historical context, led the mayor and city council to approve a new allocation of street maintenance funds that account for historic inequities while distributing resources equitably among all council districts.

Tacoma, Washington For the City of Tacoma, the push toward racial equity demonstrates the power that lies in the hands of concerned residents.

Over a year before the city government took public action, community members urged local leaders to analyze the racial disparities in Tacoma’s hiring practices. After examining the lack of adequate representation in both race and gender among city government employees, leaders knew that a change was needed. With community members acting as catalysts, Tacoma has become dedicated to the cause of equity and empowerment for all residents. Tacoma took stock of how important racial equity was to residents when it came to accessing city services and infrastructure. A resounding 71 percent of those polled noted that this issue was important to them. The city began developing the Equity and Empowerment Framework, a plan to make equity a consistent guiding principle citywide. The plan also laid out clear goals to guide the city’s work. Tacoma created the Office of Equity and Human Rights to implement the policies laid out in the Equity and Empowerment Framework. The office uses its capacity to provide a platform for community

organizations through the Equity and Empowerment Capacity Building Fund. The city uses presentations and training sessions to educate city staff on inequitable policies that have shaped city government. While analyzing how to make Tacoma’s staff more representative of the city’s population, Tacoma developed the Handbook for Recruiting, Hiring & Retention: Applying an Equity Lens to Recruiting, Interviewing, Hiring & Retaining Employees to institutionalize these practices and help educate other groups.

Long Beach, California During 2018–19, the City of Long Beach was one of six cities in REAL’s learning cohort in the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation initiative. Long Beach is committed to creating a community where everyone can thrive. As a city with a majority of people of color, Long Beach was wellpositioned to deepen the positive impact of governing for racial equity by building continued

City of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, center, gathers with youths as part of the My Brother’s Keeper program, which focuses on tackling disparities to improve outcomes for boys and men of color.


Western City, November 2020


Communities across the nation protested in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Advancing Racial Equity in Local Government, continued

upon existing opportunities and developing a comprehensive racial equity plan. By creating a plan, the city moved toward institutionalizing governance practices that support equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. The plan also helped the city identify opportunities to be more explicit around race. The city has demonstrated its commitment to advancing racial equity by: • Creating the Office of Equity and the “Everyone In” Economic Inclusion initiative. • Coordinating projects and investments to revitalize North Long Beach. • Sustaining ongoing work with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity. • Conducting efforts to produce a demographically representative body of leadership and influence within the city. For more about the continuing progress to advance racial equity in Long Beach, see page 12.

The Future NLC REAL will continue to work with cities and city leaders to fulfill its mission

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and vision. Striving to scale and amplify the work, NLC is collaborating with the network of 49 state municipal leagues to expand its reach. Training, capacity building, and providing support to cities in the development of racial equity plans will be the focus. Acknowledging that no two cities are alike as they undertake this journey and make a commitment to equity, REAL is prepared to tailor its resources and tools to specific needs. To access the resources available to city leaders, visit https://nlc.org/REAL. For additional information, email REAL@NLC.org. ■

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Additional Resources for Cities To strengthen local elected officials’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities, REAL offers the following resources and reports, available at www.nlc.org/racial-equityresources-and-reports. Municipal Action Guide: Advancing Racial Equity in Your City compiles six immediate steps for improving outcomes for all residents. Municipal Action Guide: Responding to Racial Tension in Your City provides important contextual and tactical information to support your municipality’s efforts to respond effectively. Repository of City Racial Equity Policies and Decisions includes examples of concrete policy and budgetary changes local elected officials have made to prioritize racial equity in their cities and towns. Racial Equity Resolution provides a template and talking points that explain why pursuing equity is good for local government. The City Leader’s Compass to the My Brother’s Keeper Landscape offers resources for city leaders working to respond to the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. This publication highlights a comprehensive set of steps cities can take to tackle disparities, change systems, and improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.

To learn more, please visit calrecycle.ca.gov/tires/rac


League of California Cities


Thank you to all of our 2020 League Partners Platinum ($15,000+) 1,2
















Gold ($10,000+) Anaergia ENGIE Services Inc.2 Hanson Bridgett LLP1,2

ALADS AMR2 Charles Abbott Associates2 Californians for Energy Independence Capitol Public Finance Group2 Clear Channel Concentric Power 2

ABM Accela2 Advanced Disposal2 Aircon Energy Alvarez-Glasman & Colvin2 Amador Valley Industries2 Association For Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs2 Athens Services2 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo 2

Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard1 LECET Southwest Lewis Investment Company2 COX Communications Crown Castle Dart Container Corp.2 EMS Management2 Fascination Ranch2 Garaventa Enterprises2 Goldfarb & Lipman LLP Joe A. Gonsalves & Son2

Meyers Nave1,2 Morongo Band of Mission Indians2 James Ramos2

Avenal Finance Avery Associates2 Best Way Disposal2 Boulevard2 Brookfield Norcal Builders Inc2 California Health Collaborative Cerrell2 DW Development2 Desert Valley Medical Group Inc./ Prime Healthcare2 Dublin Crossing2

Greenwaste Recovery Inc.2 Greystar2 Harris & Associates2 Keenan & Associates Mid Valley Disposal2 Mt. Diablo Recycling2 NorCal NECA

E&J Gallo2 Fieldman Rolapp & Associates Genentech2 Geo-Logic Associates2 Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP2 Hill International2 IVAR2 Kosmont Companies2 Lozano Smith2

Basic ($1,000+) Accretive Realtors2 Associated Builders & Contractors2 CARE2 CR&R2 California Apartment Association2 California-Cambodia Sister State Inc.2 California Contract Cities Association2 California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission California Real Estate2 California Refuse Recycling Council California Waste Solutions2

Carpenter/Robbins Commercial Real Estate Inc.2 City National Bank2 Civil Engineering Associates2 Classic Communities2 Contra Costa Association of Realtors2 Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council2 Cost Control Associates Inc. Cunningham Davis2 Der Manouel Insurance Group2 Desert Valleys Builders Dividend Finance2 Dokken Engineering2 EMS Management LLC2

Verizon Ygrene2 Young Homes2

Silver ($5,000+)

Bronze ($3,000+) 2

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians2 Western States Petroleum Association

East Bay Sanitary Company Inc2 Emanuels Jones and Associates Fard Engineers2 Fresno Police Officers Association GHD Inc.2 Giacalone Design Services2 Gilton Solid Waste2 Gray Bowen Scott2 Gridley Galleria2 Griffin Structures2 HR Green Highridge Costa Housing Partners Hospital Council of Northern California Innisfree Ventures2 J.R. Roberts/Deacon Inc.2

Join the Partners Program Today! Contact Mike Egan | (916) 658-8271 | egan@cacities.org

Northrop Grumman Redflex Republic Services Inc.2 ServPro Southern California Gas Company State Farm Insurance Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth

Trane1 Transtech Engineers Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations Tripepi Smith & Associates1,2 Vanir Construction Management Zanker Green Waste2

Marin Sanitary Service2 Matarango Inc.2 The Mejorando Group Bob Murray & Associates NHA Advisors PARS2 Peters Engineering2 Ponderosa Homes II Inc.2 Prime Healthcare2 Psomas2 Quality Management Group Inc.

Rutan & Tucker LLP SCI Consulting Group SGI Construction Management2 San Bernardino County Safety Employees2 Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians2 Smart Cities Prevail TREH Development2 Willdan Woodard & Curran

Jamboree Housing Corporation Jones Hall2 Jones & Mayer Kasdan Lippsmith Weber Turner LLP Livermore Sanitation2 Madaffer Enterprises1,2 Marchetti Construction Inc.2 Mechanics Bank2 Napa Recycling2 Nimitz Group2 Orange County Realtors Phillips 662 Pinewave Development Group Inc2 Pleasanton Garbage Services Inc.2 Procure America Recology2

Retail Strategies Riverside Construction2 Rutan & Tucker2 San Jose POA San Mateo County Association of Realtors2 Santa Monica POA Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians2 Specialty Solid Waste & Recycling2 Swinerton Management2 Townsend Public Affairs Inc.2 Transwestern Vali Cooper & Associates Inc.2 Van Scoyoc Associates2 West Builders2

1 – Institute for Local Government supporter 2 – CITIPAC supporter Partial list as of 09-15/2020

Long Beach Launches Office of Equity to Engage, Educate, and Serve by Adam M. Lara Long Beach (pop. 472,217) is committed to creating a city where everyone can thrive. In July 2016, the Long Beach City Council asked the City Manager’s Office to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of aligning, better coordinating, and improving the efficiency of several existing initiatives and programs. These included the city’s Language Access Plan, Safe Long Beach Violence Prevention Plan, and the My Brother’s Keeper and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) programs. The council also asked for the study to include an assessment of the feasibility and benefits of establishing a new Office of Equity.

Council Member Rex Richardson brought the issue to the council’s attention in 2016. He said, “While Long Beach has had a commitment to preventing violence, creating better outcomes for our residents, the efforts are fragmented across departments. [This] proposal ... demonstrate[s] that Long Beach is serious about equity, violence prevention, and diversity by taking the natural step of providing these critical areas of focus a real home in our city.”

Adam M. Lara is a policy and programs analyst for the City of Long Beach and can be reached at Adam.Lara@longbeach.gov.


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The city took action. In January 2017, Long Beach consolidated these programs and initiatives in its Health and Human Services Department — and also established the Office of Equity. This move underscored the city’s sense of urgency and seriousness to address and improve equity, community health, and safety for those most underserved in its communities.

Office of Equity Engages, Educates, and Provides Tools The Long Beach Office of Equity takes a three-pronged approach to advancing equity. 1. Engaging community voices to inform the design and implementation of policy and systems change. The office provides equity impact statements as a tool or guidance for departments to use in assessing the equity implications of COVID-19 response and recovery. It also oversees key equity-focused programs such as the Language Access Program, Long Beach Justice Fund, and the Cannabis Equity Program. 2. Making inequities visible by using data and storytelling. The Office of Equity is committed to uplifting community voices in policy decisionmaking processes and strongly believes this should include communities of color as key stakeholders. In addition, the office supports and encourages the disaggregation of data about communities most affected by a proposed policy or program. It provides a description of past and future city engagement with affected communities, benefits, and burdens that could impact those most affected by health inequities, and any mitigations planned to offset or address negative impacts.

3. Building the city government’s capacity to advance equity through training, tools, and technical assistance. The Office of Equity offers and facilitates Racial Equity 101 Training across city departments to build staff awareness of the history of race, identify implicit and explicit biases, and understand how individual, institutional, and structural racism impacts our lives. The training also provides information on how staff can use tools and implement practices to advance equity through their department with an Equity Toolkit framework. The toolkit was inspired by the Equity & Inclusion Lens Handbook from the City of Ottawa, Canada, and developed with support from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Innovation and Implementation Fund.

Advancement Highlights The Long Beach community has seen many advancements in equity since the city created the Office of Equity. A few highlights include improvements to the Language Access Program, which promotes greater access to city services, materials, and resources for people with limited English-language proficiency. (The local policy exceeds state requirements by providing services not only in Spanish, but also in Khmer and Tagalog.) The office partners with agencies that promote language access in Long Beach. The Office of Equity has also worked closely with immigrant rights advocates and supports the health and safety of the immigrant communities who comprise about 26 percent of the city’s population. In 2018, the Long Beach City Council requested that staff investigate the establishment of a legal defense fund, which led to the creation of the Long Beach Justice Fund. A one-time grant of $250,000 from the City of Long Beach and a $100,000 Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Cities Catalyst Grant from the Vera Institute of Justice supported the fund’s creation, and the city selected Immigrant Defenders Law Center as the legal service provider. The fund supports legal representation for immigrants who live or work in Long Beach and are facing deportation. As of September 2020, the law center had received 39 referrals from the community. The Long Beach City Council declared racism a public health crisis following the nationwide and local protests after the brutal and senseless death of George Floyd, a Black grandfather, father, and brother, on May 25, 2020, while handcuffed and in police custody. The declaration created a framework of four key steps to begin addressing systemic racism: 1. Acknowledge the existence and long-standing impacts of systemic racism in the United States and in Long Beach. 2. Listen to community members’ accounts and experiences of inequity and harm caused by racial injustice.

Families celebrate at the 2017 Long Beach Pride Festival; above, Long Beach youths play basketball at the 2016 Village Fest, an open street event that encourages residents to walk, bike, shop, and enjoy musical performances. Long Beach is committed to improving equity, community health, and safety. opposite


3. Convene stakeholders to evaluate the feedback from the listening process and shape policy, budgetary, charter, and programmatic reform ideas. 4. Catalyze action by presenting immediate, short-term, medium-term, and long-term recommendations for the city council to consider.


Western City, November 2020


Long Beach Launches Office of Equity to Engage, Educate, and Serve, continued

A diverse group of staff across city departments launched a Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative Team that developed 21 strategies and 107 potential actions through a highly participatory and intensive community listening process involving more than 1,500 community members. These strategies and action plans, presented in the Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative Initial Report, incorporate a racial equity lens to transform how the city government plans, prioritizes, makes decisions, implements, evaluates, and continuously adapts to listen to and serve the needs and strengths of the Black community and communities of color in Long Beach. The report details actions to address anti-Black racism, advance racial equity, and create a vision for Long Beach’s future where race does not determine social and economic outcomes. With this vision, Long Beach will begin to dismantle and eliminate systemic racism, recognizing the necessary starting point is dismantling anti-Black policies and practices and replacing them with those that ensure racial equity for all.

Lessons Learned The Office of Equity has learned many lessons and offers the following best practices for other cities to consider. Building transformational relationships and trust is imperative to serving our communities. The typical government process in Long Beach, however, was to reach out to community members most impacted by the policy or program after staff had already envisioned and mostly developed the project. To build trust and relationships, community outreach and engagement is now prioritized at the onset of a new project and is conducted continuously in an equitable manner. In addition, cities should also reconsider power dynamics as part of the relationship-building process and ensure that the communities most impacted are empowered and have authority in the decisionmaking process.

Long Beach residents participate in a community event at the 14th Street Park, above, and a job fair hosted by the city, left.

This work requires equity champions throughout all levels and departments in cities. Building an interdepartmental racial equity team to support and lead the racial equity agenda has significantly improved the Office of Equity’s capacity not only to offer and conduct staff training sessions, but also to creatively and strategically plan, design, and take collective action on key racial equity initiatives and projects, such as racial equity and reconciliation efforts. This includes getting buy-in from department heads and executives to coordinate and prioritize this work from the top down. To succeed, equity efforts need sufficient funding and staff. Until recently, the Office of Equity operated with a relatively small budget and only one full-time staff member. The lack of funding and staff considerably impacted the office’s capacity to achieve its goals. Recognizing the need to catalyze equity, the Long Beach City Council decided to move the Office of Equity into the City Manager’s Office starting in fiscal year 2020–21 as a way to provide more resources, attention, and visibility for the city’s equity efforts.

Future Work The City of Long Beach is working to align the strategies of this initiative with its budget to ensure this work receives the funding necessary to move forward. The Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative Initial Report marks the beginning of a long-term, transparent, strategic, and data-driven movement. The Office of Equity is developing a structure for the initiative, which includes a robust interdepartmental team to oversee the action plan’s implementation. ■

More Information Online For links to additional information and related resources, including the Long Beach Equity Toolkit, read the online version of this article at www.westerncity.com.

Community engagement is a key element of equity efforts in Long Beach.


League of California Cities


A new commission is working to advance equity for all residents.

South San Francisco Develops Equity Solutions Tailored to the Community by Rich Garbarino In June 2020, communities in the City of South San Francisco, throughout California, and across our nation expressed anguish and outrage over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor, and others, and the injustices prevailing in our society. Their deaths compelled our citizens to demonstrate the grief, trauma, and pain that our Black communities are consistently exposed to — and we must listen.

As elected officials, we have the responsibility to work toward the goals of equality and justice for all in the services we provide to our diverse residents. It’s imperative that we commit to addressing systemic racial bias wherever and whenever we encounter it and provide greater access, transparency, and oversight to build strong trust within our communities.

Mayor’s Commission on Racial and Social Equity In the City of South San Francisco (pop. 67,879), we are taking action. In July 2020, the city created the South San Francisco Mayor’s Commission on Racial and Social Equity. This effort was launched in partnership with San Mateo County. We consider our current programs and projects a starting point. Like many cities, we have historically failed to dig deeply enough into the solutions that will meet the needs. We recognize that building on an already flawed system will only guarantee additional flaws, and we are working to eradicate racism at the structural level and combat institutional inequity. continued Rich Garbarino is mayor of the City of South San Francisco and can be reached at rich.garbarino@ssf.net.

South San Francisco youths enjoy a community event in 2019.

Western City, November 2020


South San Francisco Develops Equity Solutions Tailored to the Community, continued

The commission’s mission is to proactively advance equity in the city’s internal and external processes and to recommend policy and program changes to overcome institutional inequities. Specifically, the commission’s objectives include: • Developing a thorough knowledge of institutional racial and social inequities in the areas of education, policing, health care (including mental health and addiction services), and other social services and identifying the cumulative impacts of institutional and structural inequities as each area relates to South San Francisco. • Examining police presence and relationships with respect to communities of color in order to build trust. • Building trust and strengthening partnerships with local communitybased organizations, community health organizations and agencies, and social justice organizations. • Collaborating with community members and other institutions and partners to develop and offer opportunities for change related to racial and social inequities. • Exploring and elevating successful models and best practices. • Submitting to the South San Francisco City Council recommendations for action designed to reduce or eliminate racial and social inequities within the scope of the areas of inquiry, and help the city better serve a diverse community and staff.

We recognize that each of these areas has a direct impact on the others, and there is a need to develop solutions to address each interrelated area of concern.

was to gain the base knowledge needed to understand the complexities surrounding current conditions and to determine areas where meaningful change is possible.

Inclusion is a vital component of this effort. The commission includes two council members; the city manager; the police chief; representatives from the South San Francisco Unified School District, San Mateo County, the local Coalition of Hope and Action Necessary for Growth and Empowerment South San Francisco (CHANGE SSF), and the Youth Advisory Council; four residents appointed as members at large; and one alternate. This ensures a diverse commission that represents the city’s ethnic and geographic diversity.

In Phase Two (November 2020 through January 2021), the commission is focusing on solutions — refining and stress-testing various options, engaging stakeholders, analyzing financial and legal constraints, and collaboratively arriving at a set of draft recommendations for policy and program changes.

Public input is a critically important part of the process, and the commission devotes time to hearing public comments at each meeting after the data and community information are presented. Each meeting also includes a question-and-answer session. The meetings are conducted virtually in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols. Community members can also provide comments via email as part of the ongoing process.

The Commission’s Work Plan The Mayor’s Commission on Racial and Social Equity is using a three-phase approach. Phase One (August through October 2020) focused on information gathering, including presentations by regional and national experts, city staff, outside agencies, and the public. The goal

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During Phase Three (February through July 2021), the commission will refine recommendations, develop implementation plans, and produce a final report, which it will deliver to the South San Francisco City Council by July 15, 2021.

Meetings Explore Specific Areas and Approaches During Phase One, the commission covered four areas: health and social services, public safety and policing, education, and housing and economic development. Commissioners reviewed data and information to get a clear understanding of the local context for each area and of community needs. Some of the approaches examined in Phase One included creating a response team for mental health crises, substance use, and homelessness. This team would focus on conflict management and de-escalation and linking people with supportive services. The commission also launched discussions with San Mateo County to explore a pilot program to embed a mental health professional with the South San Francisco Police Department (SSFPD). This individual would have an office at SSFPD and would work with its Homeless Outreach team and conduct follow-up calls with residents experiencing mental health issues. In addition, the commission looked at developing or expanding programs that use the community navigator, promotores (Spanish-speaking health educators and outreach workers), and/or peer-to-peer models to help community members learn about, connect with, and navigate supportive services.

Source: The Justice Collaboratory, Yale Law School


League of California Cities


With respect to public safety and policing, the commission reviewed core SSFPD functions and key data related to racial inequities in South San Francisco. The commission also reviewed best and promising practices. South San Francisco is committed to adopting a framework that includes recommendations by the “8 Can’t Wait” movement, such as banning chokeholds and strangleholds, de-escalation, exhausting alternatives before shooting, and comprehensive force reporting (see sidebar below). With respect to education, the commission looked at the local context related to racial inequities, including disparities in academic achievement and suspensions, and discussed approaches to address these inequities. The commission reviewed current programs that promote equity and address opportunity gaps, such as minimizing documentation required to participate in programs to reduce barriers for immigrant and migrant worker families, and expanded free access to science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) equipment and programming.

Developing Solutions to Build Equity For each area — health and social services, public safety and policing, education, and housing and economic development — the commission considers which policies, programs, and practices will reduce racial inequities in South San Francisco and which approaches will reduce structural and/or institutional racism. The commissioners examine ways to increase transparency and accountability, address bias (including implicit bias), build community trust and positive relationships, and expand community-based safety approaches.

Resolution Affirms City’s Commitment to Racial and Social Equity In addition to supporting the commission’s work, the South San Francisco City Council adopted a resolution on Aug. 27, 2020, that affirms its commitment to equity. The resolution states that city leaders


Demographics of SSFPD and SSF SSFPD Employees (n=124)

SSF Population (2017)



African American






Hispanic 41%


White Other

30% 34%

Source: City of South San Francisco and Raimi Associates

realize the direct and indirect connections of racism and economic disadvantage to public health and education crises. The city council vowed to stand with communities of color, the working class, and all of those disadvantaged by social or physical disability in efforts to reverse the effects of historically unfair policies and practices. The resolution also declares that while statements are important, action is critical.

The Work Requires Courage Setting out to change systems is not for the faint of heart. Nearly every idea or suggestion will incur both praise and criticism. This challenge is not easy, but it is worth it. It is not realistic to expect our commissioners to solve all problems and correct all systems of injustice, but they can identify and recommend changes that point South San Francisco in the right direction and build short- and long-term solutions. Glenn Harris, president of the Center for Social Inclusion, said, “Racial equity is about applying justice and a little bit of common sense to a system that’s been out of balance. When a system is out of balance, people of color feel the impacts most acutely, but to be clear, an imbalanced system makes all of us pay.” Common sense has not always dominated our practices or guided our principles as a nation. But now is the time to work toward our ideals and find systemic solutions.

Reform doesn’t happen overnight, and we don’t have all the answers right now, but as leaders, we will listen, and we will continue to work directly with our communities to create a better, more equitable city, state, and world. ■

8 Can’t Wait Created by Campaign Zero, a nonprofit organization that encourages policymakers to focus on solutions with the strongest evidence of effectiveness at reducing police violence, 8 Can’t Wait identifies eight protocols to help improve interactions between police and the community and ensure accountability: 1. Ban chokeholds and strangleholds. 2. Require de-escalation. 3. Require use-of-force continuum. 4. Duty to intervene. 5. Require comprehensive reporting. 6. Exhaust all other means before shooting. 7. Require warning before shooting. 8. Ban shooting at moving vehicles. The City of South San Francisco Police Department complies fully with 1–6 and complies with 7–8 except in exceedingly rare cases. Learn more at 8cantwait.org.

Western City, November 2020


Alisal Vibrancy Plan Addresses Equity Issues in Salinas The Alisal is a historically disadvantaged, 95 percent Latino community on the east side of Salinas (pop.162,222). Over 30 percent of Alisal residents (many of whom are farmworkers) live in poverty, and 50 percent of its population is under the age of 25. Most of the Alisal’s neighborhoods were developed when the area was part of unincorporated Monterey County before the City of Salinas annexed it in 1963. Because Salinas never had the resources to make all the necessary infrastructure improvements, the differences between the Alisal and the rest of the city are readily visible. East Salinas Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is a group of residents and community-based organizations working to support community engagement and leadership in the area. During a 2013 meeting in the Alisal about the city’s General Plan Economic Development Element, BHC pointed to the concurrent development of a Downtown Vibrancy Plan and advocated for a similar investment and vibrancy plan for the Alisal. In response, Salinas dedicated budget resources for funding and staffing, and work started on the Alisal Vibrancy Plan (AVP) in 2016.

Building Community Ownership in the Process and Plan The AVP is the product of years of visioning, community organizing, and

relationship-building between the City of Salinas and Alisal residents. Created with equity at its core, it is an action-oriented, community-driven plan to alleviate and reverse decades of neglect and underinvestment. Community engagement strategies developed through this process to eliminate barriers to participation have become best practices for community engagement throughout all city departments. The plan’s inclusionary engagement process led to residents’ ownership of and pride in the AVP, which increases the possibilities for successful implementation. The Salinas City Council unanimously accepted the plan in November 2019. “The city knew that it did not have the connections to conduct truly representative outreach with this community on its own, especially if it wanted to build trust and meet the needs of disenfranchised residents and have an authentic engagement process,” said Megan Hunter, director of community development for Salinas. Consequently, the city partnered with BHC to form a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of community-based organizations, whose work already focused on the Alisal,  to develop a strategy for in-depth, equityrooted engagement that would enable residents to drive the plan’s content. Residents knew their input was essential. Miguel Alcala, who served on the AVP Steering Committee, said, “In order for

To encourage attendance and celebrate the Alisal’s culture, community workshops include music and dance performances by local youths.

the city to make a change, people have to ask for it. If we don’t ask for what we want, how are they supposed to know what we need?” To help focus on equitable activities, the TAC adopted the Spectrum of Community Engagement to Empowerment developed by the Action Council of Monterey, a local organization focused on empowering people in Monterey County to transform their communities. The spectrum ranks activities on a 0–5 scale, from marginalization to empowering for impact. The TAC set out to create as many processes as possible toward the high end of the spectrum, sought to remove barriers to participation, and worked to provide a wide range of engagement opportunities. To ensure a representative plan and process, the TAC also developed the roles, responsibilities, and process for forming a steering committee of Alisal residents. The TAC selected members who reflected Alisal demographics and had direct ties to its neighborhoods and a strong desire to improve their community. This resulted in a multigenerational group that gave the AVP a diverse perspective. The city provided capacity-building training for steering committee members, so in addition to guiding topics and continued on page 22

The City of Salinas won the Award for Excellence in the Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, and Community Involvement category of the 2020 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information about the award program, visit www.helenputnam.org.


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Recreation & Park Services staff in the City of Norwalk created an inclusive, innovative project to support teens and youth struggling with anxiety, depression, bullying, and more. In a city where nearly 25% of the population is under age 18, the “We Have” Project delivers a critically important message of empathy aimed at youth — and links them with supportive services and organizations. The results are remarkable. Read about this Helen Putnam Award-winning project in the December issue, online Dec.1. www.westerncity.com

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Alisal Vibrancy Plan Addresses Equity Issues in Salinas, continued from page 18

content, members collaborated with staff on the design and implementation of large workshops and co-chaired five working groups. The working groups empowered residents to speak as neighborhood experts in developing the AVP and afforded stakeholders, officials, and technical advisors an opportunity to explore and create content around specific topics identified by the steering committee and community.

Meetings Designed to Be Accessible and Convenient Meetings, workshops, and open houses were all conducted in the Alisal. These were held after typical working hours and were 100 percent bilingual, predominantly conducted in Spanish. Full meals and child care were provided, which allowed more Spanish-speaking residents, parents, and youths to participate. Workshops also featured music and dance performances by local youths to celebrate the Alisal’s rich culture and encourage attendance. For those unable to attend the formal meetings, staff and city partners also conducted over 24 pop-up activities at community events and in public spaces. This multifaceted approach reached over 2,000 residents and led directly to systemic changes in how Salinas conducts outreach and approaches removing

Putting the community at the center of this process helps ensure its success. 22

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Alisal residents take part in a street fair, left, and a planning workshop, right.

barriers to participation. In 2019, the city’s Finance Department reached out to the Community Development Department to help design its first-ever public workshop for the annual budget, which was conducted bilingually and offered food and child care.

Plan Has a Beneficial Ripple Effect The AVP is also driving positive changes for the Alisal community through recent implementation efforts. When AVP leaders elevated concerns about displacement resulting from a possible rental housing inspection program, the city created a committee that includes TAC and AVP leaders to ensure representation in the ongoing development of housing policy. This committee is also researching ways to fund legal support and additional measures to enforce the AB 1482 (Chapter 597, Statutes of 2019) tenant protections that took effect Jan. 1, 2020.  The Economic Development Working Group made it clear that many minority small-business owners had frequent challenges with permitting due to language barriers and the complexity of regulations. The group recommended adding a bilingual business navigator to the Permit Center. As a result, the city is establishing this position through its CARES Act funding, with a focus on the Alisal area.

Photo/art credits Cover: Courtesy of the City of Long Beach Page 4: Courtesy of the cities of Salinas, Long Beach, and South San Francisco Page 5: Left, courtesy of the League of California Cities; right, courtesy of Spectrum Advertising Page 6: Top right, courtesy of Spectrum Advertising; left and bottom right, courtesy of the League of California Cities Page 7: Sean Rayford, Getty Images, courtesy of the National League of Cities

Art programming was also an AVP priority, and the steering committee identified creation of a mural as a short-term implementation project. Through the mural project, the city is collaborating with the community on its execution and on sponsoring art classes for youth taught by the muralist (pre-COVID). The city will continue project and policy collaboration and annual community meetings to assess progress and re-establish priority actions.

Creating a Model for Future Public Engagement The Alisal Vibrancy Plan is the result of advocacy and a collaborative process with city staff, community-based organizations, and residents that increased community involvement, public dialogue, and trust and brought new leadership into planning processes. The AVP has become the model for future engagement in Salinas — and in other communities that want to enhance involvement — by embracing resident empowerment and committing to removing participatory barriers for all stakeholders. Putting the community at the center of this process helps ensure its success.  Contact: Jonathan Moore, senior planner, Community Development Department; phone: (831) 775-4247; email: jonathanm@ci.salinas.ca.us. ■

Page 8: Courtesy of the National League of Cities and the City of San Antonio, Texas Page 9: Courtesy of the National League of Cities and the City of Long Beach Page 10: Brian Blanco, Getty Images, courtesy of the National League of Cities Pages 12–14: Courtesy of the City of Long Beach Page 15: Billy Hustace, courtesy of the City of South San Francisco Pages 18 and 22: Courtesy of the City of Salinas




























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