The annual League Leaders event is an opportunity for the organization to reflect on the year’s work and look forward. The goals established build upon the successes of prior years and set a course for the organization as it continues to serve as the leading voice of California cities. League President Rich Garbarino, council member, South San Francisco, led the 160 League leaders in attendance through the goal-setting process.
President Garbarino welcomed the leaders and acknowledged the significant impact their commitment to the League makes. “We are here because we believe in the League and the strength of our mission to serve the cities of California. When we take a step back and look at the many accomplishments of the past year, it is clear that we are successful because this organization brings the full representation of our membership to the table on each and every issue. It is an honor to serve with you,” remarked President Garbarino.
2017 Accomplishments Set Stage for 2018
League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman joined President Garbarino in welcoming the leaders and thanked them for their engagement. Coleman highlighted some of the legislative victories the League achieved this year, including Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of SB 649 (Hueso), the small cell bill. She noted that, while similar legislation had moved in other states, California was the only one successful in getting the Governor’s veto, which she credited to the over 300 cities who joined the League in lobbying against this bill.
“What you contribute as a leader of our organization matters, not just to the cities represented on this board of directors, but to all the cities in California. Our effectiveness as a League comes from the united voices of all California cities,” said Coleman.
Besides legislative highlights, Coleman also shared that, in response to rising pension costs, California cities have had a major presence at recent CalPERS Board of Administration meetings. In the October and November CalPERS’ meetings, more than 40 city officials testified calling for new tools and strategies to address retirement system sustainability.
League Legislative Director Dan Carrigg gave an overview of the year’s legislative accomplishments. He reported that the Legislature took action on a large number of major issues, including passing a housing package, an extension of the Cap-and-Trade program, investments in parks and funding for transportation infrastructure, all of which will benefit cities. He also described the League’s effective efforts to defeat several attacks on local control, demonstrating the strength of cities working together.
Board Takes Action on Several Measures Slated for 2018 Ballot
With statewide ballot measures affecting cities expected to be in play in 2018, the board received an overview of the League’s prior successes with ballot measures, including on measures enacting stronger protections for local control and funding, and were briefed on the mechanics of successful ballot measure campaigning. In all cases, the keys to the League’s effectiveness resulted from engaged members, strong coalitions, and grassroots organizing.
The board heard a presentation on a number of the ballot measures that have already qualified or may appear on the June or November 2018 statewide ballot. These cover a wide range of issues, many of which have implications for local government. Several of the measures that have already qualified are a result of League-supported legislation. The Board of Directors took action on four measures, three that have qualified and one that is on the street for signature collection.
Strategic Goals Adopted for 2018
- ACA 5 (additional protection for transportation funding): Support
- SB 5 (Park and Water Bond): Support
- SB 3 (Housing Bond): Support
- Pending ballot measure to repeal existing transportation funding for California cities: Oppose
The goal setting process is an important aspect of the League’s final board meeting each year. The discussion and debate is an opportunity for all the League’s leaders to examine the most pressing priorities for California cities and map out the League’s direction for the coming year. The goals focus the organization by providing a framework for advocacy.
The League Board of Directors approved four strategic goals for 2018. These are:
Address Public Safety Concerns of California Cities.
Ensure Sustainability of Public Pension and Retirement Health Benefits.
- Address public safety concerns arising from recently enacted reduced sentencing laws.
- Protect local funding and authority in the implementation of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
- Continue to preserve city rights to deliver emergency medical services (Health and Safety Code 1797.201).
- Seek additional tools and resources to address critical community challenges such as homelessness, mental health, domestic violence, drug rehabilitation, ex-offender reentry
, and human trafficking.
Protect Existing Transportation Funding for Local Priorities.
- Consistent with the League’s adopted pension sustainability principles, work with affected stakeholders, employees, CalPERS, legislators and the Governor to achieve meaningful options for cities to address growing unfunded pension liabilities that will ensure cities remain solvent and provide services to residents while continuing to offer employees meaningful and sustainable pension and health benefits.
Improve Housing Affordability and Support Additional Resources to Address the Homelessness Crisis.
- Protect existing transportation funding for local priorities and oppose efforts that would reduce or eliminate funding for cities.
- Increase state and federal financial support and provide additional local incentives and tools to improve housing affordability and develop more workforce and affordable housing. Support additional resources and tools to address the homeless crisis and advance the recommendations of the CSAC-League Homelessness Task Force.
More information on the 2018 goals and goals from prior years are available at www.cacities.org/priorities
Long-Term Strategic Planning Process Continues
During his year as president, Garbarino announced at the Annual Conference that, in 2018, the League would embark on a long-term strategic planning process to maximize on the organization’s successes in carrying out the mission of expanding local control. To guide the planning process, which will culminate in an actionable three-year plan, he appointed a task force
of League members representing the diversity of California cities. 2B Communications, a national strategic planning firm specializing in associations, is facilitating the process, which includes a member survey, stakeholder interviews, and a detailed review of the League’s operations and programs to inform the development of the strategic plan recommendations.
Elizabeth Bailey, 2B co-founder and principal, gave the leaders an overview of the process emphasizing that the final product will serve as a roadmap for the organization’s growth and change. It is designed to inform how the League can more effectively execute its mission and continue to build a strong and engaged membership.
The task force recommendations will be presented to the Board of Directors for approval during its summer meeting.