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League of California Cities’® Annual Conference Brings Together City Officials for Education, Recognition, Networking and Resources

October 6, 2015
Over the course of three days last week, 2,000 California city officials joined together at the League of California Cities’® 117th Annual Conference & Expo in San José.
The event featured approximately 50 educational sessions, 265 exhibitors, engaging keynote speakers, recognition of excellent  work by cities, along with individual recognitions the adoption of several resolutions  and the swearing in of new League’s executive officers and board of directors.

League President and Scotts Valley Council Member Stephany Aguilar welcomed attendees on Wednesday afternoon during the opening general session. “I am extremely proud to be part of an organization that has worked since 1898 to protect local control for California cities and connect city officials from every corner of the state so we can share our experiences and become better public servants for our residents,” President Aguilar remarked. “Public service is more than a job. It is something we are called to do because we are inspired to dedicate ourselves to making our communities stronger.”
Helen Putnam Award for Excellence
The session included the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence, given to cities for their outstanding efforts to deliver services and engage residents. This year’s winners are the cities of:
  • La Mesa: CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration Award for its Intergenerational Safe Routes to School Program;
  • Salinas: Community Services and Economic Development for its Steinbeck Innovation Cluster;
  • Santa Clarita: Economic Development through the Arts for its Old Town Newhall Arts and Entertainment District ;
  • Rocklin: Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement for Rocklin Cares;
  • Cathedral City: Health and Wellness for its Cathedral City Garden Program;
  • Brea and Fullerton: Internal Administration for its Brea and Fullerton Fire Resource Sharing Program;
  • Sanger: Excellence in City Business Relations for its Sanger Job Training Initiative;
  • Clovis: Planning and Environmental Quality for its Dry Creek Trailhead;
  • Menlo Park: Public Safety for its Belle Haven Community Engagement;
  • Reedley: Public Safety for its Reedley Peace Building Initiative;
  • Palmdale: Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation for its Season of Service; and
  • Menifee: Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government for its Menifee Youth Advisory Committee. 
Lifetime Achievement Award and Special Recognition
Two individuals were also recognized during the session for their dedication to California cities.
League Immediate Past President and San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros presented the League Past Presidents’ Council Lifetime Achievement Award to Anna Caballero, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. Secretary Caballero previously served as both mayor and council member on the Salinas City Council. In 2007, during her tenure in the Assembly from 2006-2012, the League also recognized then Assembly Member Caballero as its Legislator of the Year.
League Immediate Past President Cisneros congratulated Secretary Caballero on this achievement. “Anna is a true leader and dedicated public servant who has devoted her professional and personal life to improving conditions for those in her community. She has been a strong voice for those without one and continues this mission in the Governor’s cabinet. I am truly honored today to present my friend and colleague Anna Caballero with this recognition.”
Clovis Council Member Harry Armstrong was also recognized for his decades of service to cities. As California’s longest serving city council member, Council Member Armstrong’s involvement in the Clovis city government dates back to 1966 when he was appointed to the Clovis Planning Commission. First elected to the Clovis City Council in 1970, he has been re-elected 11 times and has served his city as mayor five times.
Council Member Armstrong stepped down from the League of California Cities board of directors on Thursday, after having served a combined total of 27 years on the board. He has been a member of the League’s Transportation, Communications and Public Works Policy Committee since 1984, and active in the South San Joaquin Valley Division.
League Executive Director Chris McKenzie honored Council Member Armstrong for his dedication, leadership and service to the League.
“Harry’s dedication to the cities of California is unsurpassed. He has brought incredible integrity and focus to his decades of service not only on the Clovis City Council but to the League of California Cities and all the other local government related organizations and agencies he has served,” said McKenzie. ”The League of California Cities is eternally grateful for Harry’s 27 years of service on our South San Joaquin Valley Division, Transportation, Communications and Public Works Policy Committee, and countless task forces on important policy issues for cities.”
Council Member Armstrong expressed his gratitude in accepting the award. “The League has played such a critical role in improving and protecting all of our city’s interests over the years. I hope that by my participation on League committees, as a member of the board, and as a League president, that I’ve been part of that success. As I look back over the last 45 years, I can relish in all the friends that I have made, and the accomplishments that we have all achieved. I’ve been truly blessed.”
State Librarian Greg Lucas was Wednesday’s keynote speaker. The former San Francisco Chronicle and Capitol Weekly reporter spent years covering the Capitol and now serves as the head of California’s library system where he is responsible for the oversight of an archive with artifacts that date back to the 1500s.
Thursday’s general session featured demographic expert Cam Marston, who has studied generational trends in the workplace and marketplace for close to 20 years.
Attendees on Thursday also heard from National League of Cities President and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker who reported on the nation’s oldest and largest municipal association representing cities.
Latino Caucus Anniversary Celebrated
Latino Caucus President and Redwood City Council Member Alicia Aguirre celebrated the 25th anniversary of the League’s Latino Caucus during Thursday’s general session. After her remarks on the organization’s first diversity caucus, attendees viewed short video about the caucus. The video is available on the Latino Caucus website.
Institute for Local Government Beacon Award
Thursday’s general session included the recognition of the four recipients of the Institute for Local Government’s (ILG) 2015 Beacon Award, which honors local governments that lead the way on climate, energy and sustainability through voluntary action.
The four winning cities are:
  • Redwood City;
  • Hayward;
  • South Gate; and
  • Brisbane. 
ILG, the nonprofit research affiliate of the League of California Cities, launched the Beacon Program with support from the California Public Utilities Commission, in 2009 to mobilize voluntary local action to achieve energy savings and reduce GHG emissions. To date, 76 local agencies have passed resolutions pledging their commitment to sustainability and their participation in the program.
League Honors Three Legislators of the Year, New Offices and Board Sworn in for 2015-16
Annual Conference concluded on Friday with the last general session and the annual General Assembly. The two-hour meeting began with the recognition of the League’s three legislators of the year: Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), Assembly Member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Sen. Jim Beall (D-San José).
The League recognized Assembly Member Alejo for his commitment in passing legislation that would restore a redevelopment tool for disadvantaged communities and establish a 25 percent set-aside for affordable housing.
Assembly Member Cooley was honored for his leadership in passing the League-supported Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.
Sen. Beall was recognized for his long-term commitment to transportation issues and his efforts in the most recent legislative sessions to provide a new, sustainable source of funding for California’s state highway and local streets and road system. He has been particularly helpful in ensuring that the critical maintenance needs for the network of local streets and roads remains prominent in these discussions. 
For more information about the award and the 2015 Legislators of the Year please see, “Three Legislators Recognized with 2015 Legislator of the Year Award during League Annual Conference.”
New League Officers and Board of Directors 
Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael assumed the role of League president, replacing Scotts Valley Council Member Stephany Aguilar, who has held the position for the past year. Lodi Council Member JoAnne Mounce was elected first vice president and Palos Verdes Estates Mayor James Goodhart joined the officers as second vice president.
Under the League’s bylaws officers serve a one-year term with the outgoing president, Council Member Aguilar becoming immediate past president and participating as an active member of the League’s executive committee. Mayor Michael advances to his current position after serving the past year as the first vice president and Council Member Mounce becomes first vice president after serving her past term of second vice president.
For more information about the new League officers, please see, “Mayor L. Dennis Michael of Rancho Cucamonga Takes Helm as League President.”
The General Assembly approved three resolutions:
  • League Bylaw Amendment;
  • Overconcentration of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Facilities; and
  • Residential Rentals, Support for SB 593 (McGuire). 
More information is available at www.cacities.org/resolutions.

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