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Nearly 2,000 Officials Gathered in Long Beach for League Annual Conference & Expo

Dynamic Three-Day Conference Focused on the Most Pressing Issues Facing Cities; Celebrated League and League Member Accomplishments; Recognized Leaders

October 21, 2019
The City of Long Beach welcomed more than 1,900 city officials last week for the League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo, the highest number of attendees since 2008.
The conference featured more than 40 educational sessions, keynote and featured speakers, and more than 250 exhibitors. Attendees learned about innovative practices in California cities throughout the state, adopted policy resolutions, celebrated individual city accomplishments, and applauded the installation of the League’s 2019-20 officers and board of directors.   
“Challenges that cities face are dynamic and always evolving, but dedicated leaders like you are the reason why our residents are kept informed and safe. Because of your commitment to serving in local government, our communities are stronger,” said League President Jan Arbuckle, Grass Valley Council Member, during her welcoming remarks to conference attendees at the opening general session on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
“And the League – powerful, diverse and led by people who are inspired to make their cities the best places to live, work and raise a family – is here to serve you, and help you navigate these challenges as they arise.”
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia welcomed attendees to the city during the opening general session, followed by Executive Director Carolyn Coleman who delivered her State of the League address, including a video of statistical highlights during 2019. 
“The state of the League of California Cities is strong. And, we’re strong because of all of you. We’re like the old Kenyan proverb – ‘Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable’ – and, that’s what we are when we come together and speak with one voice,” said Coleman. 
The conference keynote speakers included John W. Martin, president and CEO of S-I-R’s Institute for Tomorrow, who touched on key trends impacting the future of our cities and towns, and Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the director of the Innovations in Government Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, who spoke about how to structure governance that uses data and how to create a culture that supports the use of data and innovation.  
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the conference during the Thursday general session on Oct. 17 to speak about homelessness, a topic that effects all communities across the state, “Homelessness is by far the biggest issue for all of us. We asked for and got emergency funding from the state,” said Mayor Garcetti. “But this is what I have to say to Sacramento. Thank you, but that money was only a third of what we asked for. We need help and we need it now."
National League of Cities (NLC) First Vice President and Los Angeles Council Member Joe Buscaino, provided an update on NLC’s federal priorities for cities and emphasized the importance of sticking together to have our local issues heard and addressed.
The conference also included an array of breakout sessions focusing on challenges that cities face, such as affordable housing and homelessness, pension sustainability, disaster preparedness and building resiliency, census preparation, transportation, technology, public banking and cannabis. 
2019-20 New Board Officers and Directors Elected
At its board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 17, the League board elected Yountville Mayor John Dunbar to serve as its president, El Centro Council member Cheryl Viegas Walker to serve as first vice president and Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva as second vice president. Grass Valley Council Member Jan Arbuckle, who served as the 2018-19 president, became immediate past president. The board also elected six new at-large board members. 
More information about the 2019-20 League board members is available on the League website and in a press release issued Thursday.  
Helen Putnam Award for Excellence
Twelve cities received the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence at the conference for their outstanding efforts to deliver services and engage residents. The award was established in 1982 and honors the League’s first woman president, a dedicated public servant and Petaluma’s mayor. 
This year’s winners were announced during the opening general session on Oct. 16 and included: 
  • CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration Award: Costa Mesa for its SMART Camp Program.
  • Community Services and Economic Development: Richmond for its Camp Achieve.
  • Economic Development through the Arts: Napa for its Napa Lighted Art Festival.
  • Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics & Community Involvement: Rancho Cucamonga for its Campeones para La Comunidad program.
  • Health & Wellness Program: Fontana for the Fontana Walks initiative.
  • Housing Programs and Innovations: Encinitas for its Housing for Generations program.
  • Internal Administration: San Rafael for its Together San Rafael program.
  • Planning & Environmental Quality: Daly City for ProjectGreenSpace.
  • Public Safety: King City for its Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence.
  • Public Works, Infrastructure & Transportation: West Sacramento for its On-Demand Rideshare.
  • Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government: South Pasadena for its Tech Day. 
League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations: Dublin for its Valor Crossing project. A video describing each of the city programs that won awards was shown during the conference. 
Past Presidents’ Council Lifetime Achievement Award
League Immediate Past President Rich Garbarino, vice mayor, South San Francisco, presented the Past Presidents’ Lifetime Achievement Award during the general session on Oct. 17 to Judy Corbett, who led the transition of the Local Government Commission to an independent nonprofit, and continued to lead the organization for more than three decades. The award is given annually to an individual whose lifetime of public service has had a significant impact on California cities and the state as a whole.
Cities for Workforce Health Grants Awarded
In collaboration with two League partners, Kaiser Permanente and Keenan and Associates, and in cooperation with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the League awarded $5,000 grants to five cities to improve their workforce health programs. The Cities for Workforce Health grant program launched several years ago to help cities improve their employee wellness programs.
The cities awarded grants were:
  • Belmont
  • Brentwood
  • Lake Elsinore
  • Glendora
  • Santa Ana 
Distinguished Legislative Leadership Award
The League selected four state legislators for its Distinguished Legislative Leadership Award. Sen. Anthony Portantino made the trip to Long Beach to accept the recognition on stage during the Thursday, Oct. 16 general session. Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Senators Jim Beall and Mike McGuire were also selected for their unwavering support and dedication to local communities, but were not able to attend the conference and will receive their awards at a later date. The League’s advocacy efforts strive to ensure that the voices of local leaders are heard in the Capitol. These efforts would not be successful if it were not for members of the Legislature who understand and support local government and help protect local control.
Institute for Local Government Beacon Award
The Institute for Local Government recognized 11 cities with the 2019 Beacon Award. This award honors local governments that lead the way on climate, energy and sustainability through voluntary action.
This year’s winning cities were:
  • Brisbane (Platinum)
  • San Carlos (Platinum)
  • Carson (Gold)
  • Cupertino (Gold)
  • El Cerrito (Gold)
  • Foster City (Gold)
  • San Rafael (Gold)
  • Santa Barbara (Gold)
  • Burlingame (Silver)
  • Santa Cruz (Silver)
  • Truckee (Silver) 
Each of the winning cities is featured in a Beacon Award video.  
During the General Assembly, voting delegates approved a resolution calling upon the federal and state governments to address the devastating impacts of international transboundary pollution flows into the southernmost regions of California and the Pacific Ocean.
More information on this resolution and others under consideration is available on the League’s website.
Conference photos, photo slideshows and videos shown during the conference can be viewed on the League’s YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter. Additional conference photos are coming soon!

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