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League Board of Directors Takes Action to Protect the Interests of California Cities in the State and the Nation’s Capital

March 5, 2018
The League Board of Directors met Feb. 22–23 in Redondo Beach, where directors took action to support the organization’s advocacy efforts to promote local authority and received updates on League activities and briefings on policy developments.
Here are some highlights of actions taken by the board of directors at the meeting.
Ballot Measure Actions  
The board at its November 2017 meeting adopted positions on several measures that have either qualified for one of the 2018 statewide ballots or are being circulated for signatures to get on the ballot this year. These include support positions for Proposition 68, the parks and water bond (June 2018), Prop. 69, constitutional protection for SB 1 transportation funds (June 2018), the affordable housing bond (November 2018) and an oppose position to any measure that would seek to repeal SB 1.
Directors were briefed on these ballot measures and considered positions on two additional measures — one that has qualified for the June ballot and another on the street for signatures.
The board voted to support Prop. 72 on the June 2018 ballot, which incentivizes the building of rainwater capture system. If passed by voters, Prop. 72 would exclude the construction or addition of a rainwater capture system completed after Jan. 1, 2019 from being classified as newly construction for the purposes of property tax assessment. The Legislature placed this measure on the ballot through the passage of SCA 9 and SB 558 (Glazier) in 2017, which the League supported. Offering a property tax exclusion for new construction provides an incentive for a property owner to add a specific feature, in this case, a rainwater capture system. Voters have authorized several similar exemptions in the past to advance various desirable policies including exemptions for seismic safety, fire sprinklers, solar energy and disabled access.
The board voted to oppose the Tax Fairness, Transparency and Accountability Act of 2018, which is proposed for the November ballot but has not yet qualified. The measure would drastically limit local revenue authority. Among other limitations, the measure would eliminate local authority to impose a tax for general purposes by majority vote and instead require all local proposed tax increases be subject to a two-thirds vote. This proposal also requires two-thirds approval of all members of the local legislative body before a tax can be placed on the ballot. It would also restrict the ability of government to impose fees or charges other than those subject to Prop. 218. In addition, the measure would apply retroactively to local agencies and would void any local measure approved by local voters on or after Jan. 1, 2018 that does not comply with the act’s provisions.
The board may consider other measures on statewide ballots in 2018 during future meetings.
Information on measures the League has taken a position on can be found at www.cacities.org/2018ballotmeasures.
Federal Priorities
In preparation for the upcoming National League of Cities Congressional City Conference, March 11–14 in Washington, D.C., the board adopted its 2018 federal priorities.
They are: 
  • Support a Balanced Approach to Appropriations;
  • Support Direct Investment in Infrastructure;
  • Support Affordable Housing, Community and Economic Development;
  • Prevent and Reduce Homelessness;
  • Improve Rail Safety;
  • Recognize Voter-Approved Marijuana Laws and Address Banking Challenges of Marijuana Industry;
  • Preserve Local Control Over Installation of Telecommunications Infrastructure;
  • Increase Federal Aviation Administration Coordination with Cities;
  • Enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform;
  • Invest in Public Safety and Disaster Preparedness; and
  • Maintain Energy Efficient and Resource Conservation Strategies. 
More information on the 2018 federal priorities and materials related to the League’s federal advocacy efforts can be found at www.cacities.org/federal.
Board Adopts Resolution on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program 
The League has long called on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform; this remains a League federal priority today. In its meeting, the board approved a resolution, which supports the passage of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) “Dream Act” legislation, as part of comprehensive immigration reform or as a stand-alone bill, that would give young teens and adults who have grown up in the United States, are enrolled in high school, or completed a high school degree or GED equivalent, and have no serious criminal convictions, the means to remain in the country without fear of removal. 
The resolution further urges the President of the United States to stand by those Dreamers, who were brought as children and only know the United States to be their country, and to also take affirmative steps toward development of a bipartisan and more effective version of DACA, which includes a pathway to citizenship. The League’s letters to transmitting the resolution to the Administration and congressional leadership are available on the League website. 
Strategic Planning Process Update

Last year, the League embarked on a process to create the association’s first strategic plan in nearly 20 years with the intent to build on the League’s successes. The planning process is being led by a Task Force that comprises a diverse mix of League members from throughout the state and with the support of Elizabeth Bailey, the League’s consultant from 2B Communications. The plan is being informed by current data and research that includes interviews and surveys with members, external partners/stakeholders and staff, as well as an organizational analysis. The first of two planning sessions was convened on Feb. 22.

Bailey reported to the board that during that session the Task Force reviewed and vetted the research findings and began goal and strategy development that will focus on a number of key areas including advocacy, governance, and member engagement. The Task Force will meet again in April for the second planning session before bringing the plan to the board for approval in June and rollout at the League’s Annual Conference & Expo in Long Beach in September.

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