League of California Cities

Chula Vista, Oakland, and Stockton selected to participate in Bloomberg program to advance equity and economic recovery

Chula-Vista-woman-putting-food-in-box-with-man.jpegThree California cities – Chula Vista, Oakland, and Stockton – were selected to participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery program designed to help cities use data-driven best practices to address budget shortfalls and strengthen equity in the wake of COVID-19.

The California cities participating in the program have diverse populations and are eager to learn about strategies to drive financial recovery and ensure that their budget crises do not disproportionately harm low-income residents and communities of color.

“Chula Vista has a large Spanish-speaking and diverse socio-economic population, and we are always working to ensure there is equity in our budgeting and operational processes,” said Ed Prendell, Budget and Analysis Manager for the city of Chula Vista. “We’re really excited to participate in this program and learn how other cities are addressing these critical issues. We also look forward to the dialogue about how municipalities are dealing with rising pension costs, as that is another pressing issue facing our city.”

According to a League of California Cities data analysis released earlier this year, California cities face a $7 billion revenue shortfall over the next two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response, which is growing by billions of dollars as public safety measures continue.
Gov-Gavin-Newsom-Stockton-Mayor-Tubbs-give-elbow-tab-with-masks.jpg“Through the Bloomberg Philanthropies program, we hope to build upon our COVID-19 response which covers a range of challenges from housing and food distribution, to small business grants, and financial assistance for individual households,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. “We hope that through the technical knowhow of the Bloomberg team, we will find innovative solutions that will give our residents the help they need in a way that is cost effective and helps sustain our city budget for the months ahead.”

At the recent kick off meeting participants learned that they will be divided into cohorts to facilitate small group interaction, and also received a warm welcome from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

 “We are very excited about the opportunity to convene with our peers over the next year as we all wrestle with this unprecedented economic challenge,” said Margaret O’Brien, Interim Finance Director for the city of Oakland. “Our city has been recognized for its work in incorporating an equity lens into our budgeting process, specifically in how we prioritize capital projects. We look forward to learning best practices and gaining insight to refining our equity impact analysis so that we are both preserving and improving services for the communities most in need.”Mariachi-band-in-waterfront-park-posed.jpeg

The program, which runs from October 2020 to December 2021, enables leaders from 30 U.S. cities to share resources, get feedback on ideas, and produce a set of tactics for other local leaders to follow. Specifically, it is designed to provide mayors, chief financial officers, and budget directors in cities with populations between 100,000 and 1,000,000 residents with tools to ensuring an equity analysis is built into addressing incredibly complicated fiscal decisions.

This story was featured in the CA Cities Advocate newsletter on Oct. 28, 2020.
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