Educational sessions at the annual conference offer professional development, focusing on workable solutions through current and timely topics. Targeting a broad audience, sessions address innovative, thought/discussion provoking, evidence based, trends, tools, and best practices. Connecting professional experience and collective understanding, these sessions aim to provide attendees the opportunity to gain practical skills and useful resources.

Breakout Sessions

#NotYouToo: Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors and Officials

Presented by two dynamic employment attorneys, this informational and interactive workplace harassment prevention training will focus on current and emerging issues resulting from the #MeToo movement, and teach officials and supervisors how to identify, prevent, and properly respond to workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and abusive conduct in order to avoid personal and agency liability in compliance with AB 1825/2053/1661. Two-hour session.

2017 Tax Bill and Its Impact on Affordable Housing

A summary of the 2017 tax bill provisions that will impact positively and negatively the development of affordable housing will be presented. Speakers will start with an overview of the bill’s housing related provisions and then provide commentary from an affordable housing developer, a financial consultant, and a community development/housing city staff member. There were a number of changes to the tax credit program which will change the way affordable housing projects that were in the pipeline as of late 2017 are being financed and will impact the financing of future projects..

Bargaining Perspectives from a Union and a Management Expert

This session features a union negotiator and a public agency negotiator sharing their insights, perspectives and approaches on negotiating, particularly during challenging financial times. They will discuss the realities of working out arrangements on labor issues such as pension and retiree health benefit issues, health changes, and layoffs and furloughs, as well as addressing negotiation impasses and AB646. The goal is to help attendees come away with an understanding of how to balance the parties' legal rights, the often differing perspectives of labor and management, and how to get to "yes" (or at least maintain good labor relations).

Before, During and After California Wildland Fires: The New Normal

Recently, a series of wildfires scorched California’s Wine County taking lives, destroying homes and costing the region billions of dollars. In this session, local leaders share lessons learned and best practices to help cities become more resilient before, during and after devastating wildfires. Participants will learn which policies and practices are essential before wildfires hit, communication and community engagement strategies to employ during the crisis, and how to address environmental and economic recovery when the smoke clears. Join us for a facilitated discussion to get all the information you need to be prepared for “the new normal”.

Bringing Cutting Edge Talent Strategies To Your Organization

With the retirement wave of baby boomers in full swing, Cal-ICMA launched the Talent Initiative, looking for ways to better attract, retain, and grow local government talent. Based on survey and focus group data collected from hundreds of city managers, human resources professionals, and emerging professionals statewide, this interactive session will explore recommendations from the Talent Initiative Report and discuss best practices that will help local governments thrive by getting the most out of their talent. The session will help participants enhance their organization's Employee Value Proposition and offer key strategies for winning the war for talent!

Cannabis Legalization in California: Nine Months Out

This panel will provide updates on critical aspects of the implementation of California’s regulatory structure for legalized cannabis sales, including the track-and-trace system; establishment of equity programs for state licensing and local permitting; regulation of cultivation, including the imposition of cultivation limits; progress with implementation at the local government level, including local regulation of deliveries; and an update on recent federal enforcement activities.

Changing Face of Economic Development: Land Use, Sustainability, Housing

Millennial demographics, internet fueled lifestyles, and a sharing economy alter land use and tax generation priorities for cities. The State is driving cities to change land use processes based on climate control and affordable housing mandates, while providing development incentives through new districts. Cities can comply with state mandates using new “sustainability and housing districts” (EIFD, HSD, WHOZ, NIFTI, CRIA) that blend zoning incentives and tax increment to yield taxes, jobs and housing. Learn how to accomplish economic development while complying with state housing/ sustainability mandates and attract uses/tenants that will thrive, not collapse in a digital economy.

City Hall for Everyone – Inside and Out

Planned by the League's Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender Local Officials Caucus. California continues to be a leader in assuring workplaces are welcoming for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons. City Hall for Everyone – Inside and Out provides specific strategies and procedures cities can utilize to assure diversity in their workforce and meet new state laws and regulations. Experts will explain the new laws and provide specific tools and resources available to cities as they implement state laws related to the recruitment, hiring and retention of LGBT persons.

Getting More from City Services - Increasing efficiency and effectiveness

Panelists will provide leading edge information and research on how cities can increase efficiency and effectiveness of city services – from public safety to capital improvements. With a combined 34 years of government audit experience and 10 national performance audit awards between both panelists, the tools, techniques and relevant examples will empower city officials from cities both large and small. Participants will take back concrete opportunities to implement in their cities to transform existing limited resources into high performing successes. The session is for anyone developing policy, responsible for overseeing operations, or professionals partnering with government to improve government services.

Getting the Most Value From Your City's Technology Investment

Information Technology is traditionally seen as a necessary evil in municipal government. IT often gets a bad rap with seemingly insatiable user expectations, ever-increasing budget and staff requests, maintenance agreements, project backlogs, and questionable results. Learn about technology strategy, GIS, citizen engagement, apps, smart cities, Internet of Things, records and email retention and more. Experienced city managers and CIOs share advice and experiences on how to make the most of technology investments to improve quality of life and strengthen communities. Attendees can tweet with the hashtag #CityITQuestions or email to ask questions and become a part of the session!

Hot Topics In California Municipal Finance

Learn about the latest major developments in California city revenues, spending and financing: important changes, significant challenges, new opportunities. Leading experts Colantuono and Coleman will outline legal developments, new laws, proposals for reform and explain the underlying issues for your agency's finances.

How to Overcome Obstacles to Passing Your Sales Tax Measure

After losing a sales tax measure in 2009 and a UUT modernization in 2010, the City of Chula Vista had to change perception before seeking much-needed infrastructure funds for storm drains and street repairs. The City and TBWB Strategies developed a wide-ranging, broad-based civic engagement effort. Paired with the City’s extensive needs assessment, this effort set the stage for resounding passage of Measure P in 2016, raising $178 million over the next ten years and creating momentum for other city initiatives. We will share strategies that can be applied to any city considering placing a local measure on the ballot.

Hunt the Future: Accelerate from Status Quo to Status Go

During these times of unprecedented and disruptive change, leaders at all levels of government must improve their ability to manage a perplexing paradox - how to stay focused on today's business while building for tomorrow. Leaders must be vigilant and disrupt the fossilized mental model of “we’ve always done it that way” and replace it with a progressive approach to continuous improvement. In this session, seven actions are shared that organizational leaders can implement to translate the headwinds of change into a tail wind and create the recipe required for future success.

Igniting Passion for Public Service: Civics Education & Workforce Development

California cities are experiencing a silver tsunami and low civic engagement. To address these challenges, innovative local governments are making strides by viewing youth as resources and critical assets in community building and members of their future workforce. In this workshop, learn from leaders whose cities are inspiring homegrown talent and community connection through a dual approach. Leaders will share how they are leveraging resources and increasing civic engagement through models like Summer at City Hall, Youth@City Council and Foster Youth@Work. This session provides tools and tips to help tailor an effective model for your city.

Improving Civic Engagement in Diverse Communities

Planned by the League's Asian-Pacific Islander Caucus. California has been a majority-minority state since 2000, and yet its democracy does not adequately reflect this diversity. This is especially true at the local level, where participation in local elections and a range of other civic activities, such as contacting public officials, attending local meetings, and signing petitions is marked by significant disparities by race, age, and income. Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan, a national expert on demographic diversity and civic engagement, will present results from a survey that digs deeper into these racial disparities, including among millennials of color. He will also discuss ways to innovate and boost civic engagement among millennials and communities of color in California.

It Can Happen to #YouToo: Harassment Claims against City Officials

The issue of workplace harassment is at the forefront and can be a game-changer for your city. What do you do if an elected official or top executive is accused of harassment? This session will provide the tools to lead from the top. It will provide specific guidance on the issues cities must consider and steps they can follow when they receive an allegation of misconduct. Learn from a widely respected municipal executive and an experienced employment attorney how to respond in a manner that is effective, meaningful and legally compliant.

Local Governments’ Role in Meeting California’s Environmental Goals

Achieving California’s ambitious climate and clean air goals requires monumental efforts. The public and private sectors must work together to support customer adoption of clean technologies, while ensuring electricity remains reliable and affordable. Local governments can play an important role in the clean energy future through the implementation of effective public policies. This discussion would focus on cost-effective approaches to achieving the State’s bold, clean energy vision, including carbon free electricity, electric vehicles, and increased use of renewables.

Mapping Black California — Using GIS To Identify Our Assets & Assess Our Challenges

Planned by the League's African-American Caucus. There are over 3 million African Americans living in California, and the Golden State is home to the single wealthiest Black community–and two of the top ten most affluent predominantly Black communities–in the United States, however Blacks in California continue to face numerous negative disparities: • We are over-represented in prisons and jails • We are under-represented in public universities • We have a higher high school drop-out rate • We are disproportionately affected by heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and obesity Utilizing GIS tools–specifically Esri’s ArcGIS, Story Maps, and ArcGIS Hub–the Mapping Black California initiative allows us to better understand the state of Black California, the social, political, and economic issues affecting it, and the means by which we can address the racial disparity problem.

Newly Proposed CEQA Guidelines Are Coming to Your Town!

Major proposed revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Guidelines are promising to bring big changes to city planning and environmental review processes. Come and hear city leaders, municipal planners, environmental consultants, and CEQA attorneys highlight how the proposed CEQA Guidelines may affect municipal efforts to implement the newly enacted affordable housing package, plan for energy-efficiency and implement Climate Action Plans, amend general plan circulation elements, and other topics. Attendees will take home tips and tricks for avoiding the roadblocks and pitfalls that may otherwise cost the unprepared both delay and dollars.

No More 8-5: Policies to Transform Your Traditional Workplace

With an aging local government workforce heading toward retirement, smart public employers will be attentive to the work preferences of the industry’s up-and-comers. A flexible workplace is not only important for attracting and retaining top talent, it is essential in advancing gender equity and positioning local government as an employer of choice. Based on a 2018 study of Municipal Management Association of Northern & Southern California(MMANC/MMASC) and HR directors, participants will explore what types of workplace flexibility emerging leaders value most, what other cities are doing, and how to overcome challenges in adopting flexible workplace policies.

State housing update: Directors from CalHFA, HCD, CDLAC and TCAC

There are four major state agencies working to help create and preserve affordable housing for very low, low and moderate income Californians and each is constantly innovating and evolving in ways that can benefit vulnerable populations in your city. The good news in 2017 was that state lawmakers passed a package of housing legislation that can help the Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Housing Finance Agency, the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and the State Treasurer’s Office do even more. Attendees of this session will hear updates from each agency.

Strategies and Thoughts on Updating Your Local Coastal Plan

The three most imposing letters in coastal communities must be LCP. As new commercial and residential guidelines emerge from the California Coastal Commission (CCC), and communities conduct their own studies to access the risks of sea level rise and climate change, current and future Local Coastal Plan updates will continue to be the most important tool to ensure responsible and balanced development. Explore how three cities in various stages of updating their coastal plans have addressed the changing coastal environment and hear about the feedback and interaction with the CCC. Discuss the importance of each community having the autonomy to address these issues in a manner that best accommodates local concerns and objectives, while finding a balance with the statewide objectives of the CCC. Areas of emphasis include sea level rise, bluff protection, circulation, visitor serving land use trends, and low cost accommodations. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the latest information, share thoughts and engage on the process for updating your Local Coastal Plan.

Strategies to Manage Increasing Pension Costs

Pension rate increases for public agencies will divert funds from other important priorities and projects. This workshop will identify strategies your city can consider to mitigate these cost increases. Solutions discussed will include increasing participation in payment of these benefits, alternatives to cut costs (via agreement and imposition), and methods of restructuring compensation and benefits to minimize impact of pension costs. This workshop will focus on CalPERS rules and regulations, but the principles discussed will be applicable to non-CalPERS agencies as well.

The Beaumont CA Scandal: Can it Happen to You?

As a citizen, you watched your city receive a $67 million judgment against it (almost twice the annual budget). Rather than transparency, you witnessed opaqueness by some city officials when discussing city matters. What can you do, run for office? Well, be careful what you ask for! Hear from the team that inherited the judgment, $20 million in claims, a city that was quietly insolvent for at least 8 years and the indictment of 7 city executives. Can this happen to you? Hear what happened in Beaumont, CA, lessons learned, and how it was repaired without resorting to bankruptcy.

The Benefits of Diversity in Municipal Management

When it comes to your city management staff, do they look, think and speak like the residents you serve? Having a truly diverse city staff can lead to some enormous benefits, such as creative problem-solving and the growth of a flexible, collaborative and inclusive work environment. And the more your community can identify with your staff, the better your public engagement can be. In this session, our panelists will share why they value diversity in their staff and how to grow a diverse workplace.

Three Important Emerging Planning Technologies

Technology fundamentally changes how we think about and engage in the practice of planning. In this fast-moving session, we will discuss the three most important emerging planning technologies for 2018: Personalization, Crowdsourcing, and Virtual Reality (VR). Come learn how cities, large and small, are using these technologies to: 1) convert planning documents into personalizable interactive websites; 2) use crowdsourcing to greatly enhance stakeholder outreach outcomes; 3) explore how VR technology is enabling innovative and cost-effective municipal real- time and transparent decision support. The session format includes a presentation of each technology and plenty of time for questions.

Tie into TIERS: A Guide to Practical Public Engagement

In this interactive session, participants will learn about a new public engagement framework created by the Institute for Local Government. The TIERS (Think-Initiate-Engage-Review-Shift) Framework provides a practical step-by-step approach for any local government, small to large. Share your challenges and hear from two cities that have begun to implement this framework, Mountain View (population 77,846) and Riverside (population 324,722).

Trading in the Cadillac for an OPEB-free Prius

Is your Agency’s medical plan potentially affected by the impending Cadillac Tax? This workshop will explore alternatives to retiree medical plans to avoid the Cadillac Tax and eliminate GASB liability by using National Medicare Advantage Networks, HRAs and other incentives, bargaining duties and how to negotiate such changes. At the conclusion of the session, attendees will take away a clear understanding of this impending increase to the cost of providing active and retiree health benefits and the means to minimize or avoid the taxes altogether, and, at the same time eliminate or reduce significantly their liabilities for Other Post-Employment Benefits.

Unconscious Bias

Planned by the League's Women's Caucus. Recent research suggests unconscious bias is a key factor, operating in both men and women, and causing them to downgrade a woman’s performance and leadership capability. For example, the "same" resume gets evaluated much more positively when a male name is put on it—the applicant is deemed more experienced, accomplished, smarter, etc. There is a different set of “rules” for women seeking leadership positions then men seeking the same position. This workshop will dive into the obstacles that keep women’s talents from being fully utilized and recognized in leadership positions and what we can do collectively to change it.


Annexations: Restoring Financial Viability

League Fiscal Policy Advisor Michael Coleman will explain how, contrary to good planning policy, actions of the legislature have made city annexations financially unviable and what we can do about it. In 2011, an important revenue source for land use annexations was wiped out, substantially reducing the funds that would come to a city in the annexation of a disadvantaged unincorporated area. There is a solution.

Benefits of Thinking Big: Overachieving with Limited Resources

Big dreams are admirable, but their realization requires effective community engagement and resource management. The vision of Norco’s George Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza was dismissed as unrealistic for a small semi-rural municipality, but Norco accomplished it by aggressively leveraging volunteerism. Similarly, transforming 130 long- neglected acres into SilverLakes, a world-class soccer and equestrian facility with a profound economic impact, required thinking big. Learning objectives include how to mobilize community resources and how to apply public-private partnerships to challenging sites, both applicable to diverse local conditions. Attendees will leave empowered, returning home with the inspiration and expertise to capitalize on big dreams.

Creating a Collaborative Community Development Initiative

Community improvements often mean attracting new business and new housing developments. However, research shows that marginalized groups within these communities have to move due to cost of living increases and lack of job opportunities. But what if we can improve the communities without displacing current residents? This talk will provide key strategies to help local governments engage in collaborative community development initiatives. Leaders will learn how to properly assess community needs so that no one is left behind, develop a long-term community development improvement strategy, and create and sustain strategic relationships between cities and the community.

Diagnosing Your Financial Health

Why do cities get into financial trouble? Is your city financially healthy and prepared to handle the course ahead? What are your strengths? What risks your financial sustainability? What questions should you be asking? League Fiscal Policy Advisor Michael Coleman will give you critical tips and tools to strengthen your city’s financial position.

Tackling the Homeless Crisis: Pathways to Housing and Rebuilt Lives

Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, and a challenge for cities whose streets, parks and other public facilities are overwhelmed. Shelters provide important respite, but how can we ensure the resources we spend move the homeless towards rebuilt lives? Berkeley is implementing The Pathways Project, a comprehensive plan that leverages existing services while adding new programs and facilities, with the goal of ending unsheltered homelessness over 5-8 years. Learn how your city can create a continuum of services, based on national best practices, to address this crisis for the benefit of the homeless, and for the entire community.

Discussion Forums

Rural Cities: Challenges and Opportunities

Presented by the Rural Cities Task Force of the Sacramento Valley Division, this session will stimulate discussion about challenges and opportunities in rural California cities with the ultimate goals of improving quality of rural life and deciding whether and how best to influence public policy. Topics include identifying common challenges; sharing successes that are improving rural community vitality; and exploring ways to inform policymakers about the impacts of public policies and programs on rural cities. Take-aways include fresh ideas for creating rural vitality in our communities statewide, and opportunities for continuing engagement.

Sessions and speakers are subject to change.

Conference App

The League of California Cities® mobile application is a great organization and conference tool. The app provides full access to the conference in the palm of your hand. You can see the schedule of events, build your own custom schedule, import your selected events into your calendar, access session materials, speaker bios, all exhibitor information, and the list goes on. The League’s mobile app is available for download through your device’s app store by searching “League of CA Cities”, “League of California Cities” or “CACities.”
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