Possible new state-local partnerships for economic development dominated both the board’s legislative discussions and its interaction with Governor Brown. The Governor did not outline specific policy initiatives he would be taking on job creation and economic development. The Governor in 2012 vetoed a number of bills, including a forerunner of this session’s SB 33 (Wolk), to authorize the creation of infrastructure finance districts at no expense to the state. He repeatedly reiterated that local governments should be free to set local priorities and programs and invited ideas and suggestions on the subject of economic development that would not impact the state budget.
Various League board members in the discussion with the Governor stressed the growing concern among city officials about the impact of the new public safety realignment program on local crime rates, particularly property crimes such as burglary. While indicating a possible willingness to explore these issues in greater depth, the Governor stressed that the realignment program had not resulted in the early release of a single prisoner. He also stated that counties were better positioned to provide supervision of parolees because they could provide the support services offenders need to get their lives back on track.
The session with CalPERS CEO Anne Stausboll primarily focused on the CalPERS board’s recent action to shorten its asset smoothing policy from 15 to 5 years. This change has the result of increasing employer contribution rates for participating cities while simultaneously more aggressively reducing cities’ unfunded liability and providing less volatility in employer rates over time in the event of future investment losses. League board members expressed their appreciation to CEO Stausboll for coming to the meeting and indicated strong support for a more sustainable CalPERS system. Individual speakers did however indicate that it would be challenging for their cities and others to afford the higher rates without additional revenue. Ms. Stausboll stressed CalPERS' desire to effectively communicate and interact with employers and the League before major policy initiatives occur.
The board received a report from a special board ballot counting committee that was charged with reviewing and tabulating the votes of cities on two recently board proposed amendments to the League bylaws. The committee reported that with 192 of 469 eligible cities returning ballots, 185 (or 96 percent) voted in favor of Amendment 1 to require that resolutions for the League General Assembly be concurred on by five cities or by city officials from at least five or more cities. The committee reported that 177 cities (or 92 percent) voted in favor of Amendment 2 to require approval of two-thirds of the League board of directors for a position on a proposed statewide ballot measure. With both measures having received the required two-thirds approval of those voting, the board canvassed the election results as required by the bylaws and adopted a resolution declaring the passage of the two bylaw amendments.
The board also discussed and provided direction to staff on a wide range of legislative positions recommended by the League’s eight policy committees and authorized President Bill Bogaard to appoint a special CEQA Reform Task Force. The board authorized League involvement with other statewide groups to evaluate the feasibility of lowering the special tax and general obligation bond voter approval level to 55 percent from two-thirds, subject to board approval of any specific proposal. The board also received updates on pending League litigation and friend-of- the-court brief filings by the League, reviewed the recommendations of a special Immigration Reform Task Force that will be reviewed by five League policy committees, accepted the annual audit of League finances for 2012, and honored Dan Harrison, director of administrative services, for his 40 years of faithful service to the League. Dan will be retiring May 31.
Lastly, the board received a variety of reports on the Institute for Local Government, the League’ Partner program, League dues, and fundraising for CITIPAC, the League’s ballot measure political action committee.
For more on the Governor’s meeting with the League board of directors, please see: “Governor Meets with League Board
,” CA Cities Advocate
, April 26, 2013.