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JANUARY 2020 |

The Monthly Magazine of the League of California Cities

2019 Legislative Year in Review p.10 Torch Program Recognizes Leadership in Action p.8 Laying the Groundwork for Success in 2020 p.3

CONTENTS 2 Calendar of League Events 3 President’s Message Laying the Groundwork for Success in 2020

By John F. Dunbar

 ommunication and collaboration C are cornerstones of the ability to lead, and the League’s positive relationships with legislators are key to cities’ successes in the Capitol. Cultivating open two-way communication with our state leaders is essential to protecting the interests of cities and our residents.

8 City Forum

Torch Program Recognizes Leadership in Action and Continued Education

By Meghan McKelvey

 This voluntary program recognizes elected officials for continuing their professional development to enhance their knowledge and skills and for undertaking leadership roles to better serve the public. Since the Torch Program launched in 2003, hundreds of city officials have participated by meeting a series of requirements associated with its three levels of achievement.

10 2019 Legislative Year in Review

By Dan Carrigg

 When the 2019 legislative session began, Democrats had gained historic supermajorities in the Legislature. Yet progress for the progressive Democratic agenda was muted. And in the face of multiple attacks on local zoning authority and other challenges, the League and cities emerged surprisingly well.

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28 On the Record

 Mayors and council members discuss recent major changes in their cities.

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Visit online or give us a call:


President John F. Dunbar Mayor Yountville

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

Magazine Staff Editor in Chief Jill Oviatt (916) 658-8228; email: Managing Editor Jude Lemons, Hudson + Associates (916) 658-8234; email: Contributing Editor Kayla Woods (916) 658-8213; email: Business and Creative Manager Amanda Cadelago (916) 658-8226; email: Advertising Sales Cici Trino Association Outsource Services, Inc. (916) 961-9999; email: Administrative Assistant Savannah Cobbs (916) 658-8223; email: Contributors Katie Pebler Jennifer Whiting

Second Vice President Cindy Silva Mayor Walnut Creek

Immediate Past President Jan Arbuckle Council Member Grass Valley

Executive Director Carolyn Coleman

For a complete list of the League board of directors, visit

leaguevents January 22–24

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


Policy Committee Meetings, Sacramento The League’s policy committees review issues of interest to cities statewide and make recommendations to the League board of directors.


Legal Advocacy Committee Meeting, Sacramento The committee reviews and recommends friend-of-the-court efforts on cases of significant statewide interest to California cities.


Associate Editors Carol Malinowski Carolyn Walker


City Managers’ Conference, Napa Geared to the unique needs of city managers, this conference covers issues affecting cities throughout California.

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For photo credits, see page 23. 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.




Planning Commissioners’ Academy, Sacramento 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.


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







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



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. 1.



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First Vice President Cheryl Viegas Walker Council Member El Centro

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Event and registration information is available at Join us on Facebook.

President’s Message by John F. Dunbar

Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) with League First Vice President Cheryl Viegas Walker and League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman at a gathering of legislators and League members. left to right

Laying the Groundwork for Success in 2020 As 2020 begins, the League is preparing for numerous challenges — and opportunities — for cities on the legislative front. In pursuing our strategic priorities, the positions we will take on various issues may be unpopular with some state legislators and policymakers. With this in mind, it is more important than ever to prioritize relationship-building and collaboration. Relationships are key to the League’s ability to achieve successful outcomes. The organization connects us in many ways: through training and professional development activities, networking events

and participation in policy committees, regional divisions and professional departments. The friendships and connections fostered through the League are invaluable, giving us a network of colleagues upon whom we can call to share information, seek input and explore solutions to common issues affecting our cities. These connections also bear fruit over time, sometimes in unexpected ways, as our colleagues in local government move on to serve their communities as state legislators and in other capacities. For example, I first met Cecilia Aguiar-Curry

through the League when she was mayor of Winters, and we worked together on various issues of local importance. Today, Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry (DWinters) continues to partner with the League on municipal government issues. The relationship we built through our work with the League provides an excellent foundation for our discussions about pending and proposed legislation, and her background in local government gives her unique insights into the issues facing California cities. continued

Western City, January 2020


Laying the Groundwork for Success in 2020, continued

In a similar vein, the Town of Yountville has an ongoing partnership with the City of Rancho Cucamonga that started many years ago at a League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo. Dennis Michael, a League past president and mayor of Rancho Cucamonga, was at the conference with his staff promoting the city’s Geographic Information System. With their guidance and training, Yountville was able to customize its own system,

which would not have been possible for such a small town on its own.

The Importance of Respect and Open Dialogue

The relationships we have with our League Partners, who provide critical support to allow us to effectively represent our constituents, are equally important. Many of the League Partners participate in coalitions that play essential roles in helping us achieve our legislative and policy goals on behalf of our residents and communities.

The common thread and vital element in all of these relationships is respect. When we approach each other respectfully and courteously, we set the tone for productive discussions and we create an environment of cooperation where collaborative efforts can flourish.

Even though we may not always agree on how to best craft solutions, we often can agree on the desired outcomes we wish to achieve.

Trusted Advisors to California Cities for 40 Years.

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our offices • Los Angeles • Sacramento • San Francisco • San Diego • Fresno •

Respectful discourse is critical when we are working with League members, League Partners and the Legislature — particularly because we may not always be on the same side of an issue. Discussions can become delicate when opposing viewpoints are involved. Open dialogue is a key component of successful negotiation, and such dialogue provides opportunities to exchange ideas and explore solutions together. Successful negotiation requires strong two-way communication and understanding of each other’s perspectives. Communication and collaboration are cornerstones of the ability to lead and to have an impact with state leadership. Open dialogue also is critical to building and preserving relationships necessary to achieve our goals. The League’s positive relationships with legislators were very instrumental in progress made on behalf of cities in 2019. For example, Sen. Jim Beall (D-San José), Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) authored and supported legislation of tremendous importance to California cities last year. The first three legislators demonstrated exemplary leadership in crafting SB 5, the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program, and moving it to the governor’s desk. Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry authored ACA 1, which addresses local government financing, affordable housing and public infrastructure; the bill remains eligible to move in 2020. The League recognized these four legislators with its 2019 League Distinguished Legislative Leadership Award.



League of California Cities

Legislator of the Year Awards In addition, Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) provided significant support for the League’s efforts related to emergency response by authoring SB 209, which establishes the Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center. And Sen. McGuire authored SB 670, which requires telecommunications service providers to notify the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) when a telecom outage impacting 911 service and emergency notifications occurs (more detail about all of these bills can be found in “2019 Legislative Year in Review” on page 10).

Strong Relationships Support Partnerships and Progress The work of the League and its member cities in cultivating collaborative relation-

League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the 2019 League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo.

Sen. Anthony Portantino, center, receives his award from League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman and League President John F. Dunbar. right Legislators receive their awards; left to right President Dunbar, Sen. Jim Beall (D-San José), Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), League Past President Jan Arbuckle, League First Vice President Cheryl Viegas Walker and Executive Director Coleman. left

ships also has helped us achieve progress through many other strong partnerships. For example, in 2019, we were involved in extensive negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on the housing trailer bill. Our relationship with the California Association of Councils of Government (CALCOG) enabled us to collaborate on drafting revisions to the local planning grant language so that it worked equally well both for cities and regions.

The League enjoys a positive relationship with Gov. Newsom. During the late 2019 power shutoffs initiated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and other utilities, the governor and Cal OES worked closely with the League to provide up-to-date continued

The Importance of Tone: Tips for Communicating With Your Legislators We often hear people complain that politics today is more polarized than ever and that public discourse lacks civility. Bear this in mind and strive for a respectful, professional tone when you discuss issues of concern with your legislators and their staff. Taking a measured, factual approach will enhance greatly your chances of being heard. Listening is just as important as having the opportunity to speak, and sometimes more so. When you meet with your legislator or legislative staff, remember that a discussion is a dialogue, not a monologue. Make your key points clearly and listen actively to the response. Show that you’ve heard the other person’s perspective by repeating back to them what you understand them to mean. If something they’ve said is unclear to you, ask for more detail or explanation. The tone of a discussion typically has a major impact on the outcome. Though you may disagree on the issue at hand, your willingness to listen respectfully is a valuable tool in understanding the other person’s position and building a positive relationship.

Western City, January 2020


Laying the Groundwork for Success in 2020, continued

information on community resource centers and safety guidelines for cities. In response to the utility-led shutoffs, Gov. Newsom created the Local Government Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Resiliency Program, with $75 million in funding to support state and local government efforts to protect public safety and vulnerable populations and improve resiliency. The governor made himself

available on short notice for a weekend phone call with the League’s Executive Committee about the power shutoffs’ impact on cities and the need for state assistance to help local communities prepare for, endure and recover from the shutoffs. That conversation included the economic and direct financial costs cities incurred while protecting businesses and residents.

Gov. Newsom’s administration has put forward good public policy in this area, and cities will need his continued support as we work to address the long-term financial impacts of wildfires on local communities.

Preparing for the Challenges Ahead Our efforts need to continue in cultivating open two-way communication with our state leaders to protect the interests of cities and our residents. As 2020 unfolds, we know that difficult and complex issues are on the horizon. Even though we may not always agree on how to best craft solutions, we often can agree on the desired outcomes we wish to achieve. Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has modeled this approach in his work with the League. Despite not always aligning with our position on the issue at hand, he remains open to meeting with League members, divisions and leadership to discuss and explore potential solutions. This type of open communication is essential to success in our policymaking and advocacy efforts. As we move forward, I encourage you to keep in mind the importance of establishing relationships with your colleagues in other cities, our League Partners and legislators so that when challenging or even divisive issues arise, you already have created a respectful and collaborative foundation upon which to build. ■

League President and Yountville Mayor John F. Dunbar joins Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman at a League event.

left to right


League of California Cities

Thank you to all of our 2019 League Partners Platinum ($15,000+) 1,2



















Gold ($10,000+) Charter Communications COX Communications Energy Upgrade California ENGIE Services Inc.2 Hanson Bridgett LLP1,2

Interwest Consulting Group Inc.2 Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard1 LECET Southwest Lewis Investment Company2

Meyers Nave1,2 Morongo Band of Mission Indians2 Probolsky Research1 James Ramos2

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians2 Western States Petroleum Association Ygrene2 Young Homes2

Silver ($5,000+) ALADS2 AMR2 Charles Abbott Associates2 Californians for Energy Independence Capitol Public Finance Group2 Crown Castle Dart Container Corp.2

Dividend Finance LLC EMS Management2 Fascination Ranch2 Garaventa Enterprises2 Goldfarb & Lipman LLP Joe A. Gonsalves & Son2 Greenwaste Recovery Inc.2 Greystar2

Harris & Associates2 Keenan & Associates Mid Valley Disposal2 Mt. Diablo Recycling2 NorCal NECA Northrop Grumman Public Financial Management Inc.

Bronze ($3,000+) ABM2 AECOM Accela2 Advanced Disposal2 Alvarez-Glasman & Colvin2 Amador Valley Industries2 American Forest & Paper Association Association For Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs2 Athens Services2 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo Avenal Finance2 Avery Associates2 Best Way Disposal2 Boulevard2 Accretive Realtors2 Acquisition Partners of America LLC AndersonPenna Partners Inc.2 Associated Builders & Contractors2 BDE Architecture Inc. Blue Line Transfer Inc.2 CARE2 CIFAC CR&R2 CSAC EIA California Apartment Association2 California-Cambodia Sister State Inc.2 California Consulting, LLC California Contract Cities Association2 California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission

Brookfield Norcal Builders Inc2 CalPortland2 Cardiac Science Cerrell2 Colantuono Highsmith & Whatley PC2 Commercial Bank of California DD Dannar LLC DLR Group DW Development2 Desert Valley Medical Group Inc./ Prime Healthcare2 Dublin Crossing2 E&J Gallo2 Edgewood Partners Insurance Center

Energy Efficient Equity Fieldman Rolapp & Associates Genentech2 Geo-Logic Associates2 George K. Baum & Company GovInvest2 Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP2 Hill International2 Holliday Rock Company IVAR2 Kosmont Companies2 Locke Lord LLP Lozano Smith Madaffer Enterprises1,2

Redflex Renovate America HERO2 Republic Services Inc.2 ServPro2 Southern California Gas Company State Farm Insurance Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth

Trane1 Transtech Engineers Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations Tripepi Smith & Associates1,2 Vavrinek Trine Day & Co. LLP Walgreens Zanker Green Waste2

Marin Sanitary Service2 Matarango Inc.2 McKinstry The Mejorando Group Mitsubishi Cement2 Bob Murray & Associates NHA Advisors NL Industries Inc. NV5 Inc. Nixon Peabody Orange County Realtors PARS2 Peters Engineering2 Ponderosa Homes II Inc.2 Prime Healthcare2

Psomas2 Quad Knopf2 Quality Management Group Inc. Rutan & Tucker LLP SCI Consulting Group SGI Construction Management2 San Bernardino County Safety Employees2 San Bernardino POA San Diego County Water Authority Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians2 TREH Development2 USA Properties Fund Inc. Willdan

J.R. Roberts/Deacon Inc.2 Jamboree Housing Corporation Jones Hall2 Jones & Mayer Kasdan Lippsmith Weber Turner LLP Leibold McClendon & Mann Livermore Sanitation2 MCE Clean Energy Marchetti Construction Inc.2 Mechanics Bank2 Napa Recycling2 Newport Pacific Capital Company Inc. Nimitz Group2 Norton Rose Fulbright2 Phillips 662 Pinewave Development Group Inc2 Pleasanton Garbage Services Inc.2 Precision Advocacy Group LLC2

Recology2 Renaissance Downtown2 Retail Strategies Riverside Construction2 Rutan & Tucker2 San Jose POA San Mateo County Association of Realtors2 Santa Monica POA Seifel Consulting Inc. Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians2 Specialty Solid Waste & Recycling2 Stifel Nicolaus Swinerton Management2 Townsend Public Affairs Inc.2 Transwestern Vali Cooper & Associates Inc.2 Van Scoyoc Associates2 West Builders2

Basic ($1,000+) California Independent Petroleum Association 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 Computer Aid Inc. 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 East Bay Sanitary Company Inc2 Emanuels Jones and Associates Envise/Southland Energy Fard Engineers2 FlashVote1 Forefront Power Fresno Police Officers Association GHD Inc.2 Giacalone Design Services2 Gilton Solid Waste2 Gray Bowen Scott2 Gridley Galleria2 HR Green Highridge Costa Housing Partners Hospital Council of Northern California Innisfree Ventures2

Join the Partners Program Today! Contact Mike Egan | (916) 658-8271 |

1 – Institute for Local Government supporter 2 – CITIPAC supporter Partial list as of 12/1/2019

Torch Program Recognizes Leadership in Action and Continued Education by Meghan McKelvey Running a city successfully takes a lot of time, commitment and continuous effort to remain knowledgeable and up to date on current and potential local issues. The League’s Mayors and Council Members’ Department honors the hard work and commitment of its peers through the Leadership Academy Torch Program.

Each year, Torch Program participants who have completed a level are recognized at the Mayors and Council Members’ Department Business Meeting, held during the League’s annual conference.

This voluntary program recognizes elected officials for continuing their education to enhance their knowledge and skills as well as undertaking leadership roles to better serve the public. The recognition reflects leadership in action and is a personal assessment tool to evaluate one’s development as a public official. The program comprises three levels, each with its own requirements and leadership milestones.

“As an elected official, it is vitally important to have a grasp of the many issues that you deal with in order to represent the people in your community,” said Kelly Seyarto, council member for the City of Murrieta and current Mayors and Council Members’ Department president. “The Torch Program helps facilitate involvement in the constant learning process. It encourages public officials to develop their leadership skills and take advantage of what the League has to offer.”

Program Builds Skills and Networks

Program Requirements

“It really is an honor to have earned the Level III torch,” said Pippin Dew, vice mayor for the City of Vallejo. “It is a privilege for us to be able to serve our communities by being leaders at the League level and building those partnerships, collaborations and networks across the state with so many individuals who are dedicated to the betterment of all of our communities. Our passion to improve each of our own communities and then share with and learn from each other is nothing short of amazing! Being a part of the League and involved in the League’s leadership has been the most rewarding experience I have had as an elected official.”

Since the program launched in 2003, hundreds of city officials have participated by meeting a series of requirements associated with three levels of achievement. Torch Program participants have numerous opportunities every year to complete the requirements. The program encourages leadership within the League through service on League policy committees, task forces and board of directors and in regional divisions and diversity caucuses. In addition, participants can meet some of the requirements by being a member of the California Association of Councils of Government (CALCOG), their local council of governments,

Meghan McKelvey is manager of Department and Membership Services for the League and can be reached at


League of California Cities

completed a level. Each graduate received a lapel pin and a certificate. Congratulations to these 2019 Torch Program graduates. Level II - Advanced Leadership 1. Sean Ashton, council member, Downey 2. Juan Garza, mayor pro tem, Bellflower 3. Blanca Gomez, council member, Victorville 4. Ronn Hall, council member, Santee 5. Jesse Loren, council member, Winters 6. Blanca Pacheco, mayor pro tem, Downey Level III - Leadership in Action  embers with an asterisk were also recognized for their Level II M accomplishments. 1. Newell Arnerich, council member, Danville The 2019 graduates of the Torch Program receive certificates and lapel pins at the League’s 2019 Annual Conference & Expo in recognition of their accomplishments.

Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and associated committees as well as county, regional and state commissions, agencies or boards.

2. Melanie Bagby, mayor, Cloverdale 3. Pippin Dew, vice mayor, Vallejo 4. Marita Dorenbecher, council member, Yountville* 5. John F. Dunbar, mayor, Yountville* 6. Dominic Farinha, council member, Patterson* 7. Jan Harnik, council member, Palm Desert*

To reach Level I - Leadership, the elected official must attend the New Mayors and Council Members’ Academy or have three years as an elected official and attend one League conference and one League regional division meeting.

8. Steven Hofbauer, mayor, Palmdale*

Moving to Level II - Advanced Leadership requires completion of Level I, three years’ service as an elected official, participation in one of several specified events, attendance at and completion of three additional League conferences and participation in at least two leadership activities.

11. Marjorie Mohler, council member, Yountville*

To reach Level III - Leadership in Action, the participant must have completed Levels I and II, served five years as an elected official, participated in one of several specified events, attended and completed three additional League conferences and participated in at least five leadership activities.

Graduates Recognized at Annual Conference At the League of California Cities 2019 Annual Conference & Expo, the Mayors and Council Members’ Department recognized the achievements and leadership of 20 elected city officials who participated in the Torch Program during the past year and

9. Linda Krupa, council member, Hemet* 10. Sara Lamnin, council member, Hayward 12. Jerry Pentin, council member, Pleasanton* 13. Dana Reed, council member, Indian Wells* 14. Dan Wright, vice mayor, Stockton*

For More Information A list of mayors and council members recognized by the program since 2003 is available at This web page also includes details on the Torch Program requirements and the application, which participants submit upon completing a level (this can occur at any time during the year). Mayors and council members can apply to the program at any time, and graduates are recognized at the Mayors and Council Members’ Executive Forum and the League’s Annual Conference & Expo. ■

Western City, January 2020


2019 Year in by Dan Carrigg

A progressive dawn illuminated the state Capitol at the opening of the 2019 legislative session. Throughout several days of inauguration events and festivities, supporters celebrated the election of Gavin Newsom to the Governor’s Office. It was a clean sweep: Democrats now occupied all constitutional offices and obtained historic supermajorities in the Legislature. With former Gov. Jerry Brown, the prudent four-term octogenarian, out of the way, California could now plunge progressively forward. “Courage for a change” was Gov. Newsom’s campaign theme.

Yet California’s complex challenges and governing realities meant utopia would have to wait. The Town of Paradise was in ashes after a utility-caused wildfire. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) declared bankruptcy, requiring a major utility recovery and stabilization package to be crafted. Tension and Twitter battles with President Trump’s administration over immigration, the census, environmental policies and other issues became a distraction; by late September, the state had filed 60 lawsuits against the Trump

Dan Carrigg is former legislative director and deputy executive director of the League, now retired. The following League staff also contributed to this article: Jason Rhine, assistant legislative director; Rony Berdugo, legislative representative; Derek Dolfie, legislative representative; Charles Harvey, legislative representative; Bijan Mehryar, legislative representative; and Nick Romo, senior fiscal and policy analyst.


League of California Cities


Review administration. Despite Gov. Newsom’s goal to produce 3.5 million new units over six years, new housing production sputtered as developers balked at a weakening market with flattening rents and prices. And to the disappointment of legislators with plans for billions of dollars in new spending, Gov. Newsom’s budget was cautious. Like his predecessor, he avoided overcommitting and focused on repaying debts, building reserves and making one-time expenditures, including nearly $2.5 billion for affordable housing and homelessness. Overwhelming Democratic majorities failed to propel many progressive actions, with the most aggressive measures stalled or vetoed. Despite multiple attacks on local zoning authority, the League and cities emerged surprisingly well. Efforts to link allocation of local transportation street and road funds to housing production were rejected, and the initially controversial housing trailer bill was later approved in workable form. Aggressive housing density bills stalled for the year; many others were amended or sidelined. On other fronts, the League worked to neutralize or stop many labor and elections bills of concern and supported a solution to rural clean water issues through a 10-year

state funding plan instead of a water tax. Cities were again protected from liability for utility-caused wildfires through a repeal of inverse condemnation, and a compromise was reached to address law enforcement’s use of deadly force. Bills undermining local parking authority and scooter regulation also failed.

There was time for playing offense as well. The League sponsored legislation to provide cities additional resources and tools. SB 5 (Beall, McGuire, Portantino) would have restored a more robust property tax-based financing mechanism focused on building affordable housing and infill infrastructure. While the bill was passed by both the Senate and the Assembly, the governor vetoed SB 5 in the eleventh hour. ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry) would allow the voters to lower the vote threshold for local general obligation bonds, sales taxes or parcel taxes that invest in affordable housing and a wide variety of infrastructure and is pending in the Assembly. AB 147 (Burke), which Gov. Newsom signed in April, implements the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Wayfair decision that enables state and local agencies to collect millions of dollars in revenue from internet sales.

Legislative Leadership Styles and Governor’s Distractions Blunt Progressive Excess Battles do not always favor the strong. On paper, progressive proposals should have disrupted the status quo. Gov. Newsom took office touting bold visions and calling for courage, and Democratic legislators increased their dominance to 61-to-19 in the Assembly and 29-to-11 in the Senate. Republicans were vanquished bystanders and lacked leverage to block actions; their emotions surfaced during bitter floor debates at the end of the session. Yet despite their advantages, progress for the progressive Democratic agenda was muted. The governor reacted to many issues, described by one pundit as “swinging at every pitch.” Legislative dynamics also contributed. Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) have collaborative leadership styles that empower policy committee chairs and provide flexibility for their members on floor votes. This combination eroded the numerical partisan advantage and resulted in the most aggressive measures being watered down or stalled. continued

Western City, January 2020


2019 Legislative Year in Review, continued

Governor’s Initial Budget Contained Housing Funding and Threats to Local Government The excitement was palpable as Gov. Newsom unveiled his first budget proposal. Intense media interest caused the press conference to be moved to a larger room. With state coffers swelling and many ambitious proposals discussed on the campaign trail, reporters expected something new and different. But after the governor occupied the stage for nearly two hours, giving detailed explanations and displaying his command of state policy and finance, those who anticipated grandiose spending and new programs from the $20 billion surplus were disappointed. Gov. Newsom mirrored his predecessor’s cautious and prudent approach. He focused on building reserves, repaying debts, reducing pension obligations, avoiding establishing or expanding ongoing programs and offering a series of one-time expenditures. Even ongoing proposals reflected fiscal caution. At one point he held a press conference to announce a sales tax exemption for diapers and menstrual products that would be in effect for only two years. The historic state budget investment in affordable housing and homelessness, however, was impressive. The budget included over $2 billion for local planning grants, housing-related infrastructure, homelessness services, mixed-income housing loan programs and expanding the state’s tax credit program. But some negatives outweighed these positives for local authority. The governor’s most aggressive threats targeted cities — including tying the allocation of local transportation funds to housing production. When the housing trailer bill language was released, the details were even more aggressive. The bill empowered the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to:

• Authorize regions to monitor city progress on zoning; and • Penalize cities for noncompliance by taking local transportation funds. And there was more. Gov. Newsom revealed that he would consider limitations on development impact fees. Rather than reinstating local redevelopment authority, he preferred making one-time expenditures and merging tax incentives with the new federal Opportunity Zone program and enhanced infrastructure financing districts.

League Works With Transportation Coalition to Get Links to SB 1 Funding Off the Table The League worked for over a decade building the case for increased transportation funding to address declining street and road conditions. Part of that effort included working to develop and support the passage of SB 1 (Beall) in 2017 and, in 2018, defeat Proposition 6, which sought to repeal it. Consequently, the League was determined to fight any proposals that undermined this funding stream for cities. The League was the first organization to send an “oppose” letter on AB 1568 (McCarty), a bill to shift local street and road funds from cities on the basis of housing production. In addition, the League helped organize a coalition of transportation stakeholders to oppose the bill. After an aggressive lobbying effort, the bill stalled in the first committee

without a hearing. In a parallel effort, the League worked with transportation stakeholders to oppose the governor’s similar budget proposal. Fortunately, legislators were in no mood for this. Many had cast the tough votes to pass SB 1, and even those who had opposed the bill did not want to break faith with the voters by allocating the revenues differently than had been represented to the public.

Two-Phase Negotiations Over Housing Trailer Bill’s Planning Elements Throughout the spring, the League engaged in extensive negotiations with administration representatives on the housing trailer bill. The negotiations occurred in two phases over many months. Initially, Gov. Newsom proposed allocating $750 million to local agencies, with $250 million for enhanced housing-related planning and $500 million as rewards for locals achieving various “milestones.” In the first phase, the League focused primarily on the policy and planning elements. It was important that any new program be workable for cities and avoid establishing unrealistic and divisive conditions. As a result of these negotiations, the language was largely rewritten and eliminated the proposal for HCD to dictate additional zoning for hundreds of thousands of additional units. The League also collaborated with the Califor-

The League worked for over a decade building the case for increased transportation funding to address declining street and road conditions.

• Unilaterally impose on communities statewide zoning requirements for hundreds of thousands of new housing units;


League of California Cities

nia Association of Councils of Government (CALCOG) in rewriting the local planning grant language to work both for cities and regions. While negotiations addressed planningrelated issues, challenges emerged over designing the metrics to allocate the $500 million in rewards. The League proposed a tiered system of per-unit financial awards to local agencies, with enhanced funding for higher density, transit-oriented or affordable units. This system could have worked; however, the administration and Legislature ultimately opted to use these funds for infill infrastructure grants, which the League also supported. Last-minute changes triggered a second phase. Just before the budget deadline, the administration unveiled trailer bill language containing an aggressive packet of proposed fines, penalties and state receivership for jurisdictions lacking HCD housing element approvals. The League fought back against these punitive elements, working with legislative staff. Preserving due process in a court before aggressive actions could be taken against a city remained a critical League objective. After several days of intense negotiations, the League succeeded in revising the language to remove the most objectionable elements and ensure due process for cities. Finally, on July 5, the Legislature passed AB 101, the housing budget trailer bill, reflecting the compromise and negotiations that took place over seven months between Gov. Newsom, the Legislature and stakeholders. The bill: • Provides $2.5 billion to address the housing and homelessness crisis; • Creates incentives to increase housing production; • Establishes a process for a court to determine that a city or county has complied with housing element law; and • Imposes penalties, only as a last resort, if cities and counties disregard the direction of a court and continue not to fulfill their responsibilities under housing element law.

The biggest legislative threats to local authority came on housing and land use. Efforts to Create New Infill/ Affordable Housing Development Tools: SB 5 and ACA 1 One of the League’s 2019 strategic priorities was “Provide Cities Additional Funding and Tools and Preserve Local Authority to Address Housing Production, Affordability and Homelessness Challenges.” In pursuit of this priority, the League worked proactively with four key policy committee chairs to sponsor and support legislation that proposed expanding options for cities to finance affordable housing and infill development. The League recognized these four legislators with the 2019 League Distinguished Legislative Leadership Award for their efforts: • Sen. Jim Beall (D-San José), chair, Senate Transportation Committee; • Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), chair, Senate Governance and Finance Committee; • Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), chair, Senate Appropriations Committee; and • Assembly Member Cecilia AguiarCurry (D-Winters), chair, Assembly Local Government Committee. SB 5 was the most substantive and robust economic development tool to be proposed since the elimination of redevelopment. The bill would have created a local-state partnership to provide up to $2 billion annually to fund affordable housing, infrastructure and economic development projects that also supported state policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expand transit-oriented

development, address poverty and revitalize neighborhoods. It took tremendous legislative leadership by Sens. Jim Beall, Mike McGuire and Anthony Portantino to get SB 5 to the governor’s desk. Unfortunately, Gov. Newsom vetoed SB 5. ACA 1, authored by Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, proposes giving state voters the opportunity to approve local investments in affordable housing and infill infrastructure with a 55 percent vote. The author and the League worked extensively to build support for this measure, collaborating with a broad coalition of co-authors and organizations. Unfortunately, the measure fell just short of the required two-thirds vote on the Assembly floor but remains eligible to move in 2020. The League also appreciates Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry’s work with the League as chair of the Assembly Local Government Committee to coauthor SB 5.

Additional Resources Secured to Address Homelessness Gov. Newsom focused on homelessness, augmenting resources approved by Gov. Brown in 2018, and allocated $650 million to build emergency shelters, navigation centers and supportive housing. His budget included additional funding for the Whole Person Care Pilots programs, which coordinate health, behavioral health (including mental health and substance use disorder services) and social services, and housing for the mentally ill under the No Place Like Home program. Accompanying trailer bill language streamlined environmental review for continued Western City, January 2020


2019 Legislative Year in Review, continued

homeless shelters, navigation centers and new supportive housing units and allowed emergency shelters to be located in state highways’ right of way beneath overpasses.

Major Efforts to Override Local Zoning Stall; Other Measures Signed The biggest legislative threats to local authority came on housing and land use. The governor’s production goal of 3.5 million housing units by 2025 — despite the state never having approached that level of construction in its history — opened the door for more radical legislative proposals. Concepts included banning density reductions in all residential zoning for 10 years, allowing all existing single-family homes to be converted to rental fourplexes, letting developers pick maximum densities of their buildings and eliminating single-family zoning. Developer-supporting activists and sympathetic reporters applauded such proposals on social media. For some legislators, the focus on cities and zoning offered a softer political target. It avoided angering developers, environmentalists, labor representatives and other influential stakeholders. Also skipped were the challenges of dealing with more complex issues affecting housing demand, such as declining middle-class wages; lingering economic effects of the foreclosure crisis; contributions of state environmental, water and energy regulations to housing costs; and mountains of student debt diminishing the ability of potential homebuyers to save for down payments. The League proceeded carefully in this charged environment. It was impossible

to fight on all fronts at once. Instead, the League timed its engagement and worked on selected issues. By mid-session, cooler legislative heads prevailed and the most aggressive proposals stalled or were addressed by amendments.

Three additional bills on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) were also signed into law. While all were well-intended by the authors, these bills continue compounding the confusion over this law (which has become a moving target):

The League supported proposals affecting misconduct by landlords. SB 329 (Mitchell) prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants who rely upon housing assistance paid directly to landlords, such as Section 8 vouchers, and AB 1110 (Friedman) lengthens the time for tenants to receive notice before specified rent increases. The governor signed both bills.

• SB 13 (Wieckowski) prohibits local jurisdictions from imposing impact fees on ADUs of less than 750 square feet and limits charges on ADUs over 750 square feet to 25 percent of fees for a new single-family dwelling on the same lot;

Proposals opposed by the League but signed into law included: • SB 330 (Skinner), which prohibits a city from imposing any fee — except California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)-related fees — after the submittal of a “preliminary” application. The concern is that this would essentially ban project-specific fees because these fees cannot be determined until a city fully analyzes the project. Given this omission, more local projects would likely require full environmental impact reports (EIRs) to ensure project-specific impacts are addressed; and • AB 1763 (Chiu), which allows 100 percent of affordable housing within onehalf mile of a major transit stop to be up to three stories higher than other buildings with no more than one-half parking spot per unit. Such out-of-scale structures could further exacerbate community resistance to affordable housing and would undermine community-based housing plans.

Gov. Newsom and the Legislature deserve thanks for their unwavering focus on helping communities, including the Town of Paradise, recover from recent wildfires. 14

League of California Cities

• AB 68 (Ting) amends the statewide standards that apply to locally adopted ordinances concerning ADUs. Changes include prohibiting minimum lot size requirements, requiring at least 850 square feet per ADU and requiring approval within 60 days; and • AB 881 (Bloom) prohibits a local jurisdiction from requiring that a property owner live in the main house or one of the accessory structures, requires local agencies to ministerially approve ADUs on lots with residential or mixed-use zones and adds a definition of “public transit” to mean a location including but not limited to a bus stop or train station where the public may access buses, trains, subways and other forms of transportation that charge set fares, run on fixed routes and are available to the public.

Effort to Preempt Local Parking Authority Stalls The League led the opposition effort to AB 516 (Chiu), a bill sponsored by legal aid advocates proposing to eliminate the ability of cities and law enforcement to adequately enforce state and federal vehicle violations. The bill would have prohibited immobilizing or towing a vehicle with more than five unpaid parking tickets or traffic violations and extended traditional 72-hour violations by an additional five business days. The League worked to get the bill pulled off consent on the Assembly floor and persuaded 31 members to vote “no” or abstain, then continued to lobby with a coalition of

cities against the bill in the Senate. The League thanks Sen. Portantino for recognizing the bill’s flaws and holding it in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Statewide Disaster and Emergency Response Gov. Newsom and the Legislature deserve thanks for their unwavering focus on helping communities, including the Town of Paradise, recover from recent wildfires. Paradise received emergency cash assistance to maintain operations, followed by a broader budget package that assists all cities and counties impacted by recent disasters, including backfilling lost property taxes. Despite political differences, the governor and President Trump also worked together to ensure these communities received federal resources and support. The recovery of disaster-affected communities will take years, but the commitment and collaboration by all levels of government to assist these communities is commendable. To address future vulnerabilities, the budget included $300 million for disaster preparedness, emergency response, disaster-related planning, improving communications, purchasing additional equipment and pre-positioning first responder resources. The governor also signed two League-supported emergency response bills. SB 209 (Dodd) establishes the Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center as the integrated central organizing hub for wildfire forecasting, weather information and threat intelligence gathering. SB 670 (McGuire) requires telecommunications service providers to submit a specified outage notification to the Office of Emergency Services (OES) when a telecommunications outage impacting 911 service and emergency notifications occurs. Other League-supported legislation included AB 291 (Chu), a bill that proposed $500 million in ongoing funds to support local emergency planning but did not pass, and SB 45 (Allen), a proposed $4.3 billion bond for wildfire restoration, drought mitigation and water projects. Work on SB 45 will continue in 2020.

Many rural areas lack safe water supplies but residents are too poor to pay for upgrades, so the legislative debate focuses on how to pay for it. Tax Conformance With Opportunity Zones Stalls; Cleanup Needed on Changes to EIFDs The governor’s budget focused on economic development in two areas: providing state tax conformity for investments in affordable housing or green technology in new federal opportunity zones and removing the 55 percent vote requirement for bond issuance by Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs). Gov. Newsom’s Opportunity Zone proposal ran into legislative concerns over the details and costs and was not adopted. On EIFDs, Sen. Beall, who authored the original EIFD law, carried SB 128 to remove the vote requirement, but that proposal stalled and the bill was used for another purpose. With several days remaining in the session, AB 116 (Ting) removed the vote requirement, but imposed a lengthy public notice and protest process attached to EIFD formation. The League and the California Association for Local Economic Development raised concerns when the bill was on the governor’s desk. However, Gov. Newsom signed the measure.

Utility Wildfire Liability Package Adopted Prior to the summer recess, Gov. Newsom and the Legislature enacted a utility wildfire liability package in AB 1054 (Holden, Burke, Mayes) and AB 111, a budget trailer bill. Pressure to pass this legislation arose with the bankruptcy of PG&E, which faced billions of dollars in claims for wildfires started by faulty equipment and poor maintenance — along with concerns over future massive fiscal exposure from other utilities and their shareholders.

Over half of the $40 million insurance fund created by these bills is seeded by a state loan, with remaining contributions from utilities. Access to the fund is available only to utilities receiving California Public Utilities Commission (after 2021, its name changes to Natural Resources Agency) certification for their wildfire mitigation plans. To obtain a safety certification, an electrical corporation must establish an executive incentive compensation plan, approved by the Wildfire Division, linked to safety performance metrics that include tying 100 percent of such compensation to safety performance. Utilities obtaining this certification receive protection from future liability for wildfires, and other changes could make it easier to shift costs to ratepayers even if utilities are responsible for causing a fire. Previously a third party had to demonstrate that a utility’s action was not reasonable, but AB 1054 increased the threshold to one where “serious doubt” must be established that an electrical corporation’s conduct was not reasonable. A utility then has the burden of dispelling that doubt in proving its conduct was reasonable. It will be several years before the changes enacted in this legislation can be adequately evaluated.

Water Tax Battles End With Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Many rural areas lack safe water supplies but residents are too poor to pay for upgrades, so the legislative debate focuses on how to pay for it. The League worked with the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) and the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) to oppose various water tax proposals, which would have levied a tax on all water users continued

Western City, January 2020


2019 Legislative Year in Review, continued

with proceeds transferred to a state agency for allocation. This approach was flawed — taxing urban water users with no visible benefit would undermine support for paying for improvements to urban systems. After extensive discussions, participants agreed on an alternative financing plan ultimately included in SB 200 (Monning). The bill establishes a 10-year state commitment of up to $130 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund with a backstop guarantee from the General Fund. This solution avoids the problems associated with a water tax while still addressing the goal of helping provide an adequate and affordable supply of safe drinking water to communities statewide that need it. The League applauds the leadership of SB 200’s authors, Senate and Assembly leaders and the governor for finding a workable solution.

Sales Tax Collections Under Wayfair and Other Local Revenue Matters The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Wayfair v. South Dakota in June 2018 provides states more authority to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales and use tax. AB 147 (Burke), the implementing legislation supported by the League, clarifies the economic nexus thresholds to allow state and local agencies to collect a legislative estimated $400 million per year from out-of-state retailers and marketplace facilitators. This estimate may be low; actual revenue from this measure could be higher. Reflecting its recently refined policy on sales taxes, the League supported SB 531 (Glazer), which contains a recommendation adopted by a 2018 League task force to prohibit future sales tax agreements between local agencies and retailers with a warehouse, sales office or fulfillment center that results in a shift of sales taxes from other jurisdictions. Although SB 531 passed in both the Assembly and the Senate, Gov. Newsom vetoed the bill. In a related measure, the League opposed and requested a veto on AB 485 (Medina), which imposes an onerous list of conditions on economic incentives associated


League of California Cities

with siting a warehouse; however, Gov. Newsom signed AB 485 into law. Cities also benefit from League-supported AB 1637 (Smith), signed by the governor, which authorizes the state controller to automatically allocate to a state or local agency any unclaimed property in that agency’s name received as part of the controller’s unclaimed property database.

Responding to Local Recycling Challenges Local governments have long been responsible for ensuring that California achieves its recycling and waste management goals. California’s solid waste and recycling industries, however, are facing a series of critical issues. Materials including plastics and paper are piling up at local waste facilities throughout the state with nowhere to go. First among these challenges are China’s changes to its trade import policies. These changes, collectively referred to by China as the “National Sword,” have significantly disrupted California’s recycling industry by restricting foreign imports to China of recyclable materials and increasing the requirements for reduced contamination levels in recycling streams. This has increased costs to local governments, caused slowdowns in waste processing of other materials and put public health at risk. In response, the League worked with a coalition of local government and environmental organizations to support the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, contained in two identical measures SB 54 (Allen) and AB 1080 (Gonzalez). These measures would help California transition from single-use plastic containers to reusable or compostable packaging. In addition, the measures promote the development of in-state manufacturing that uses recycled material to reduce the waste associated with single-use packaging and products by 75 percent by 2030. These measures stalled in the final hours of the Legislative session; efforts to pass them will resume in January. Organic waste materials present another major challenge. Local agencies face in-

creasing organic recycling requirements, but the state lacks adequate infrastructure and markets. The League, along with a large coalition of environmental, waste industry and local government associations, advocated for $100 million for organic waste diversion programs and supported SB 667 (Hueso), which proposed a fiveyear investment strategy. Unfortunately, SB 667 stalled, but $25 million was allocated in the budget. AB 1583 (Eggman), which extends an existing sales tax exemption program benefiting investments in recycling infrastructure for five more years, was signed by the governor.

Public Safety: Use of Force, 201 Rights, Drones and Cannabis A two-year long debate in the Legislature over police use of force reached a conclusion with the governor’s signature on AB 392 (Weber) and SB 230 (Caballero). Initially, these bills took differing approaches. AB 392 proposed altering the long-established legal standard used to evaluate the appropriateness of law enforcement’s actions, while SB 230 approached the matter through increased training. The League and law enforcement organizations supported SB 230 and opposed AB 392. Further negotiations resulted in an agreement that removed the most objectionable elements of AB 392, and Gov. Newsom signed both bills. SB 438 (Hertzberg) addressed another longstanding dispute over local “201 rights,” affecting local emergency service delivery. The bill prohibits a public agency from delegating, assigning or contracting for 911 emergency call processing or notification duties regarding the dispatch of emergency response resources unless the delegation or assignment is to — or the contract is with — another public agency or made pursuant to a joint powers agreement or cooperative agreement. The governor signed the bill. League-sponsored AB 1190 (Irwin), which establishes a framework for local drone regulation, moved to the Senate where three policy committees have requested hearings in 2020.

The most contentious cannabis proposal was AB 1356 (Ting), which required local agencies to issue a minimum ratio of cannabis licenses to existing liquor licenses. The bill stalled after the League strongly opposed this measure due to its clear violation of Prop. 64. Two measures supported by the League to improve tracking and tracing of cannabis, AB 1288 (Cooley) and SB 658 (Bradford), also stalled. A budget trailer bill was adopted extending laws related to provisional licenses and providing support for community equity efforts.

League’s Efforts to Assist Annexations and Incorporations Continue to 2020 Sometimes it takes a long time to clean up a mess. In 2011, a budget trailer bill — SB 89 (Chapter 35, Statutes of 2011) — was rushed through the legislative process with no public hearings and swept away over $200 million annually in vehicle license fee (VLF) revenues from cities. This action severely harmed recently incorporated cities and cities that had annexed inhabited territory. Since then, the League sponsored numerous bills to right this wrong and re-establish good land-use policy going forward. Unfortunately, Gov. Brown resisted most of these efforts. A partial success occurred, however, in 2017 with the passage of SB 130, a budget trailer bill. With language drafted by the League, SB 130 assisted four recently incorporated cities in Riverside County that were harmed by the loss of up to 40 percent of General Fund revenue. Although SB 130 did not resolve issues associated with annexations or future incorporations, it provides the legislative template to also address these issues. With a new governor at the helm in 2019, the League sponsored two bills: AB 213 (Reyes) and AB 818 (Cooley and Quirk). AB 213 would restore funding to approximately 140 cities that had annexed inhabited territory in reliance on previous financial incentives and then suffered when the budget process swept away those funds through SB 89. AB 818

would restore fiscal support for new incorporations — otherwise no new incorporations will occur in the state. Both bills were held in the Legislature, and educational efforts continue with the administration on the policy benefits of these bills.

Pensions, Labor and Employee Relations The League, along with other organizations representing public and private employers, played defense in 2019 against several aggressive labor-sponsored measures. With Gov. Brown (who had demonstrated his willingness to contain costs and veto measures) no longer in office, labor groups reintroduced former proposals that had been vetoed in the past. Some proposals expanded presumptions under workers’ compensation, others limited contracting or required the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to divest from various investments. After long battles in the Legislature, the most onerous and costly bills failed to reach the governor’s desk. For those that did, Gov. Newsom appeared to draw some lines. For instance, in the final hours of the legislative session, he sent SB 266 (Leyva), which proposed that cities pay out of their General Funds to retirees for compensation that CalPERS determined was not allowed, back to the Legislature. This is an encouraging sign. In February, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Cal Fire, which clarified that the

purchase of “air time” was not a vested right. While the court avoided making wider pronouncements on vested rights under the “California Rule,” the court has several cases on its docket where broader interpretations could occur. The governor is obviously aware of pension challenges, because he dedicated over $4 billion in the budget to mitigate growing state liabilities.

Outlook for 2020 With a contentious presidential primary and election, controversial ballot measures, deteriorating relations with Washington, D.C., and continued pressure on land-use and housing issues, 2020 is expected to be a year of significant political tension. But if stakeholders take the right approach, opportunities may arise for collaborative solutions on major issues by avoiding divisive or partisan approaches and seeking leadership from Gov. Newsom, the Legislature and local governments. In such discussions, city officials must continue to remind all stakeholders of the core values and benefits of local democracy for the residents whom they serve. As a nonpartisan organization representing the collective voices of all cities, the League remains the conduit to communicate on major policy issues affecting cities and advance the interests of cities and their residents. Onward to a better future for California cities. ■

Western City, January 2020


The organizers of Demo Day celebrate at its successful conclusion.

San Rafael’s Employee-Driven Effort Focuses on

Meeting the Community’s Changing Needs Local government is in transition. Public trust in government has declined, and there is no shortage of high expectations. According to a 2016 survey, 85 percent of Americans expect the same or higher quality from government digital services as they would get from a private company. In other words, residents want to order government services in much the same way they buy a birthday present online. But local governments weren’t designed to be nimble and flexible enough to meet the demands of today’s changing technologies and community expectations. The traditional government model of bureaucratic silos filled with experts now seems archaic and irrelevant.

Creating a New Model for Local Government In the City of San Rafael (pop. 60,046), staff discussed how today’s typical government agency structure was largely designed in the 19th century and uses 20th-century technology to try to solve 21st-century problems. For local government employees, these observations can sting. They went into public service to help make the world a better place by doing meaningful work for and with their communities, but they now find themselves in a framework built for another time and for purposes that are no longer relevant.

In response, the city launched Together San Rafael, a collaborative effort to create a new model of local government that uses 21st-century tools to solve today’s problems. It has been motivating and liberating for staff to see how easily traditional bureaucracy can be set aside and something built in its place that matches their passion for innovation, mutual learning and community focus. Community Services Director Susan Andrade-Wax says, “Working for a city that encourages staff to try new things has been hugely inspirational and has helped me look beyond my individual department to see how I can support the city as a whole.” continued on page 22

The City of San Rafael won the Award for Excellence in the Internal Administration category of the 2019 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit


League of California Cities
















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Call Cici Trino, Association Outsource Services, at (916) 961-9999 to place a display (boxed) ad or for rate and deadline information, or email 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 or contact Savannah Cobbs, Western City administrative assistant; email: scobbs@; phone: (916) 658-8223.

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HUMAN RESOURCES/ RISK MANAGER Details: City of Upland is hiring a Human Resources/ Risk Manager Salary: $87,800- $118,082, plus excellent benefits. Open Until filled (1st review: 12/30/19) Responsibilities: The Human Resources/ Risk Manager works under general supervision to manage recruitment through selection, benefits, and other HR functions, as well as budgeting, general liability, claims and workers comp. Qualifications: at least five years of experience, plus a BA in public or business administration or related field. A master’s degree is desirable. To Apply: Submit an application via: Questions? call Upland Human Resources at (909) 931-4177, M-Th. Visit us at:



Public Works Director City of Burbank, CA


ocated in Los Angeles County with easy access to numerous transportation options, Burbank’s increasingly popular destination points attract more than 10 million visitors a year. Home to 108,000 residents, the City of Burbank is known as the “Media Capital of the World” as its strong entertainment base includes some of the biggest names in the business. The Public Works Department is supported by team of approximately 111 staff organized across six divisions. The ideal candidate will be an outstanding leader and mentor with a history of developing strong managers. He/she will have the demonstrated ability to inspire while holding people accountable to high standards and quality outcomes. With the passage of Measure P in 2018 bringing more projects online, previous success in overseeing CIP projects will be expected. At least seven years of public works experience that includes supervisory and management responsibilities and a bachelor’s degree are required. The salary range goes up to $230,507; salary is supplemented by an attractive benefits package. Visit for detailed brochure and to apply. This recruitment will close on Sunday, January 12, 2020. Tina White • 619.948.1786 Teri Black • 424.296.3111

Western City, January 2020


Current & Upcoming Opportunities Laguna Beach County Water District, CA General Manager The Laguna Beach County Water District is a nonprofit, local government agency that provides reliable, safe, and prudentlymanaged retail water service to customers within an 8.5 square mile area of southern Orange County, including portions of the City of Laguna Beach, a portion of Crystal Cove State Park, and the unincorporated community of Emerald Bay. The District is seeking a dynamic leader and strategic thinker to be its General Manager. The ideal candidate will be hands-on, well-rounded within the industry, and capable of organizing and directing staff to accomplish the District’s goals as well as working closely with managers of other water districts and agencies. An advanced degree from an accredited university or college in management, business, or public administration or equivalent experience is preferred. Candidates must possess ten (10) years administrative experience, including five (5) years at managerial level. Broad and extensive work experience in a management or administrative position, requiring the responsibility for the formulation and implementation of programs, budgets, and administrative operations is expected. The annual salary range for the General Manager position is open and dependent upon qualifications. Contact: Mr. Gary Phillips, (916) 784-9080 – Filing Deadline: January 19, 2020

City of San José, CA – Assistant Communications Manager The San José Police Department (SJPD) is recruiting for an Assistant Communications Manager position in the 9-1-1 Communications Center, responsible for managing the answering and dispatching of emergency 9-1-1 calls. The Bureau of Administration (BOA) is one of four bureaus within the Police Department and is comprised of the Communications Division, Operations Support Services Division (OSSD), and the Training Division. Under the direction of the Communications Manager, the Assistant Communications Manager is responsible for assigning, and reviewing the work of the Communication Division; conferring with department officials and others in the solution of personnel, operational, administrative, fiscal, and organizational problems; maintain liaison between Police Communications and other law enforcement and emergency service agencies; managing critical incidents when necessary; investigating and resolving complaints regarding subordinate performance and service levels; assist with overseeing project management; and determining staffing, equipment, and workspace needs. Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Business, Public Administration, Human Resources Management, Criminal Justice, Public Communications or related field; possess five (5) years of police, fire, or emergency medical dispatching experience, including two (2) years of police, fire, or emergency medical dispatching supervisory experience equivalent to Senior Public Safety Dispatcher or higher; and submit to and successfully pass a comprehensive background investigation as required by the SJPD. The annual salary range for the Assistant Communications Manager is $113,318 to $141,606, dependent on qualifications and experience. Contact: Mr. Joel Bryden, (916) 784-9080 – Filing Deadline: January 14, 2020

Join Valerie Gaeta Phillps at the CSMFO Conference for the Interview Quick Takes panel presentation in Anaheim, January 29, 2020 Look for us at the City Managers Conference in Napa, February 5-7, 2020

City of Aurora, CO Chief of Police

City of Newark, CA Police Chief

City of Cathedral City, CA Police Chief

City of Palo Alto, CA Assistant Director of Administrative Services

City of Healdsburg, CA Community Development Director

City of Stockton, CA Community Development Director

City of Hermosa Beach, CA Chief of Police

City of Vancouver, WA Deputy Fire Chief

If you are interested in these outstanding opportunities, visit our website to apply online.

San Rafael’s Employee-Driven Effort Focuses on Meeting the Community’s Changing Needs, continued from page 18


Finance Director

$10,000 – $12,155 per month APPLY BY: January 16, 2019 by 5:30 p.m.

THE POSITION: The City is looking to hire a team-oriented individual that is interested in joining a city that values individuality and creativity. The ideal candidate has a cooperative outlook with a can-do attitude, is self-motivated and has a proactive approach to problem solving. The Finance Director, will plan, organize, and administer the activities of the Finance Department; will establish appropriate systems, policies and procedures for effective operation of departmental functions to include but not limited to data processing, business licensing, central purchasing, and grant administration; directs the development and preparation of the City’s annual budget; IT oversight; and performs related duties as required. Applications are available at South El Monte City Hall and on-line at www. On-line applications and or resumes will not be accepted. Applications may be submitted in person or by mail to City Hall with attention to the Human Resources Division. For the detailed job announcement please go to: or call (626) 579-6540.


League of California Cities

Creating a Roadmap for Change The Together San Rafael effort began by forming a cross-departmental advisory committee representing all levels of the organization. The committee provides guidance to subgroups such as communications and storytelling, employee recognition, events, continuous learning and data and analytics. Creating a set of guiding principles was one of the committee’s first tasks. A diverse employee subgroup explored many ideas and narrowed them down to six, including “Start with community needs, which includes cultivating trust and cocreating services with customers.” Reimagining the status quo is another guiding principle. This includes finding the root problem, asking why we do it this way, trying new approaches, learning and trying again. The principles are woven into recruitment, performance evaluation, recognition, appreciation and employee life.

Transforming City Services Working with a company that specializes in innovation and engagement, the City of San Rafael created learning labs to teach cross-departmental cohorts of employees about human-centered design, how to create prototypes and refine them based on community input and how to solve realtime city problems collaboratively. Together San Rafael celebrates each employee cohort with a “demo day” at

a downtown theater so the teams can share their new skills and solutions. The cohorts have tackled challenges including the permitting process, illegal dumping, new employee orientation, obsolete and onerous regulations, fire threats from homeless encampments and more. Together San Rafael asked city employees, “How would you design your department if you could create it today, rather than as it was created decades ago?” As a result, the city elevated and expanded its former Division of Information Technology into a new department of Digital Service and Open Government, founded on these beliefs: • Government should be designed with and for people; • Data and information empower people to make good decisions; • Building capacity at all levels of the organization is key to sustainable, digital transformation; • The future of technology infrastructure is agile, adaptable and accessible; and • Openness and transparency make for better government. Together San Rafael is helping to design improved municipal services, informed by data and focused on the user experience. For instance, after examining the changing role of libraries in the digital age, the city combined its Community Services Division (parks and recreation) with its Library Department to form a new department focused on community enrichment and lifelong learning.

Culture change requires many small group brainstorming sessions and many sticky notes; after a successful Demo Day, team members celebrate at the local bowling alley; and a Learning Lab team shows off a presentation prop.

left to right

“These examples illustrate the type of government we want to be,” says San Rafael City Manager Jim Schutz. Together San Rafael has also increased community engagement. City staff and community members identify the core issue or problem and design solutions that will work for the person using the service, not just for staff at City Hall. “For our new city website and Customer Relationship Management system, we built beta versions of modules and conducted community testing before refining new iterations,” says Schutz. “We put these beta-version tools in various public places throughout San Rafael to get candid user feedback.” The city is realizing savings and improving efficiencies. Processes and transactions that formerly took countless hours of staff time at the public counter can now be done online, making the process more efficient and convenient for residents and businesses and allowing staff to focus on other priorities. Technology is crucial to municipal functions, but the culture and process of co-creating solutions to community challenges must be in place for technology to be effective.

Bringing the 21st Century to Your Community Together San Rafael is a ground-up, employee-driven effort to evolve and meet the changing needs of the community. Permission to transform — and not the specific team structure used — is the main driver of success. Patience is also important. “Dramatically reinventing the model for delivering essential community

services doesn’t happen overnight,” says Schutz. “But if you give residents and city employees permission to create profound change, you’ll be amazed at the results.” J







Contact: Jim Schutz, city manager, City of San Rafael; phone: (415) 485-3070; email: ■









New Year. New Job. Police Chief City of Ventura

Public Works Director/City Engineer City of Pacifica

Assistant Public Works Director/ Transportation & Business Services City of Mountain View

Construction Manager Senior Civil Engineer City of Napa • 424.296.3111 •

Photo/art credits Cover: PictureLake Pages 3–9: Courtesy of the League of California Cities Page 10: PictureLake Page 12: Bottom, left to right, stellalevi, spiderplay, anouchka Pages 12–17: Header, franckreporter Page 13: Top, clockwise from upper left, rodeno, strickke, benedek

Page 14: Left to right, plasticsteak1, MCCAIG Page 15: Top, left to right, HaizhanZheng, Charday Penn, jmoor17 Page 17: Top, clockwise from upper left, alexsl, Joe Seer/, lucentius Pages 18, 22–23: Courtesy of the City of San Rafael and League of California Cities Page 28: Jude Lemons

Western City, January 2020


Community Development Director City of Astoria, OR

Rich in history and character, Astoria sits near the mouth of the mighty Columbia River with expansive views of the Coast Range, Long Beach Peninsula, and Pacific Ocean. The city is home to beautiful Victorian and Craftsman homes, successful businesses and industries, art galleries, restaurants, microbreweries, and eclectic mix of shops. A welcoming, friendly, vibrant, and inclusive community, Astoria offers a sense of home and community. The Department is responsible for economic development, land use planning, zoning administration, building inspection, and historic preservation. Astoria has repeatedly earned national recognition for innovative planning and development projects that utilize state and federal grant funds for community improvement. Bachelor’s degree is required; Master’s preferred. Filing deadline is January 6, 2020. Contact Bobbi Peckham.

Assistant City Manager City of Moorpark, CA

Recognized as a comfortable, safe and beautiful place to live, the City of Moorpark (population 37,000) is located in a bucolic valley with majestic mountain views, a year-round climate, and a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities. The City’s outstanding schools, including an exceptional community college; low crime; historic downtown; and business community provide a wonderful environment to raise a family, work, and enjoy a variety of activities both locally and regionally. The Assistant City Manager will serve as Chief Operating Officer for the City and have broad responsibility of providing leadership and working with the City Manager in a variety of areas pertaining to the administration of City services, human resources, economic development, community engagement and organizational development. The position specifically has direct oversight of the City Clerk’s office, Human Resources and Risk Management. Other functional areas may be assigned dependent on the qualifications of the most desired candidate. Ten years of increasingly responsible experience in municipal government including a minimum of four years of administrative and supervisory responsibility, and a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four-year college, is required. The annual salary range of the position is $146,764 to $197,412, and the City provides an excellent benefit package. Filing deadline is January 10, 2020. Contact Tony Dahlerbruch.

Finance Director

Yavapai County, AZ

Located in north-central Arizona, Yavapai County (pop. 228,970) is one of the four original Arizona counties formed in 1864. Named after the Yavapai Tribe, whose name means the “people of the sun,” the County is just north Phoenix and about 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon, featuring some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the American West. Prescott is the county seat. With an adopted FY 2020 budget of $240 million and 1,700 employees, the County is financially sound. The FY 2020 budget of $833,000 supports 10 employees in the Finance Department. The Finance Director is an at-will position appointed by, and reporting to, the Board of Supervisors. Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field, and ten years of progressively responsible professional accounting experience, including five years of governmental accounting and supervisory responsibilities, are required. Graduate degree, CPA, or CPFO desirable, but not required. Senior deputy or assistant finance officers with governmental accounting experience are encouraged to apply. The hiring range is $100,009.05 to $120,821.23, DOQE. Filing deadline is January 17, 2020. Contact Andrew Gorgey.

Upcoming Opportunities Police Chief – City of Sebastopol, CA General Manager – Humboldt Community Services District, CA General Manager – Truckee Donner Public Utility District, CA

“All about fit” Community Manager

The Sea Ranch Association, CA The Sea Ranch is a community known world-wide for its concern for the environment and distinctive, thoughtfully sited architecture. It has been the subject of numerous books and articles, as well a recent exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Known for its strong focus on rural coastal living emphasizing ecologically sensitive land management, the Sea Ranch community aims to “perpetuate the rich variety of this rugged coastal, pastoral and forested environment for the benefit of all who acquire property at The Sea Ranch.” The Sea Ranch is located 125 miles north of San Francisco on about 3,000 acres along ten miles of dramatic Sonoma County coast. The Sea Ranch Association is a not-for-profit mutual benefit corporation owned by its members with 1,777 homes currently built out of 2,288 homesites. With an operating budget of $6.3 million, the Association is organized much like a small city with operations similar to administration, public works, building and planning, finance, parks and utilities. The Board of Directors is seeking an experienced manager with unquestionable ethics and integrity who has the ability through excellent interpersonal and communication skills to educate, facilitate and bring people together while promoting the design concept and protecting the environmental setting. Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s preferred. Salary range from $154,544 to $211,453 DOQE with comprehensive benefits (this is not a CalPERS agency). Filing deadline is January 13, 2020. Contact Phil McKenney.

Finance Director

City of Mill Creek, WA

Situated in Snohomish County approximately 20 miles north of Seattle and 10 miles south of Everett, the City of Mill Creek, Washington, is a picturesque community nestled just inland from the Puget Sound, north of Lake Washington, and west of the Cascade Mountains. Initially developed as a golf course community in a densely wooded area and incorporated in 1983, Mill Creek (pop. 20,470, 4.6 sq. mi.) is exceptionally well-planned and offers a hometown atmosphere with many of the amenities of urban living. The 2019-20 Biennial Budget is $59.1 million (GF $28.1 million, reserve $6 million) supports a staff of 61 FTEs. Mill Creek seeks an experienced, professional local government finance professional as its next Finance Director. A Bachelor’s Degree in finance, accounting, business or public administration, or related field, and five years of professional management experience in municipal finance are required. Washington State-specific experience preferred. Master’s Degree and/or CPA or CPFO highly desired. Residency encouraged. Experienced assistant and deputy finance directors seeking to make their mark are expressly encouraged to apply. Annual salary range is $107,400 to $141,400 dependent on qualifications. Comprehensive benefits. Filing deadline is January 20, 2020. Contact Andrew Gorgey.

Chief Financial Officer

Truckee Donner Public Utility District, CA Headquartered in historic Truckee, CA, in the incomparably beautiful Lake Tahoe Region, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD) is one of the most stable and progressive utility districts anywhere. With roots dating to 1927, the TDPUD provides sustainable, reliable, and high-quality water and electric services to over 13,000 customers in the greater Truckee area. In preparation for major leadership transitions in 2020, the District Board has been engaged in meaningful refinement of it mission and values for nearly a year. The TDPUD seeks an experienced, professional local government finance professional aligned with its core values (Accountability, Integrity, Timeliness, Safety, and Work Life Balance) as its next Chief Financial Officer. Bachelor’s Degree (finance, accounting, business or public administration, or related), and five to ten years of experience, including supervisory or managerial, are required. Utility industry experience preferred. Master’s Degree and/or CPA or CPFO highly desired. Annual salary range is $155,701 to $189,260 dependent on qualifications. Comprehensive benefits. Filing deadline is January 27, 2020. Contact Andrew Gorgey.

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Western City, January 2020


What is one of the biggest changes in your city in the past five years? Read more “On the Record” at

Dion Bailey Council Member Hercules

John Sanchez Council Member Buellton

Rochelle Nason Mayor Albany


League of California Cities

Our finances. We’ve had some financial challenges, but now our funding is sustainable.

New development — businesses, hotels and residential.

Our waterfront has blossomed into a really wonderful place that has improved the quality of life.

Gloria Partida Mayor pro Tem Davis

Santos Garcia Council Member Madera

Gilbert Alvarado Mayor Shafter

The explosion of numbers of unhoused citizens and the increased lack of housing, which have led to the biggest approval of new housing projects in a long time.

Our council is more diverse, with Latinos, AfricanAmericans and women, and we are working closely with our schools.

We’re partnering with our schools by investing more money and staff time.

Laborers’ International Union of North America


The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) partners with public and private entities, elected officials, community groups, and responsible contractors to build and maintain the infrastructure needs of communities throughout California while providing residents a career in the construction industry.

Find out more @ Visit us at booth #445

Oscar De La Torre Northern CA District Council (925) 469-6800

Jon P. Preciado Southern CA District Council (626) 350-6900

Profile for Western City Magazine

Western City January 2020  

Western City January 2020