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League of California Cities
Home > News > News Articles > 2020 > March > Cities Continue to Serve Residents and League Continues to Serve Cities Through Coronavirus Pandemic
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Cities Continue to Serve Residents and League Continues to Serve Cities Through Coronavirus Pandemic

March 25, 2020
Throughout the month of March, the global health pandemic of COVID-19 has completely altered Californians’ way of life, and has created unprecedented challenges for cities. 
 
Despite these challenges, local leaders across the state continue to rise to the occasion, and are developing new, innovative ways to continue to provide residents with the vital services they need most, especially in this moment.

The City of El Monte launched a “virtual city hall” to continue to provide services to residents during the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual city hall provides real-time services to residents, and allows them to schedule meetings, access city services, and speak with city staff.

“During times of crisis, our government needs to retool itself to address community needs, perform with compassion, professionalism and excellence,” El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero said in a recent news story. “Emergencies, like the crisis we are in, can bring out the best in human capacity and creativity.”

In Riverside County, the City of Calimesa knew that their senior residents relied on the meals they received through the Senior Nutrition Program at the city’s senior center. Due to health and safety recommendations, the city closed its senior center, but continues to provide weekly meal packages consisting of five frozen meals, milk, bread, and fruit to its senior population. The City of Newport Beach is also maintaining critical services for the city’s senior community, including meal delivery and transportation services.

The City of Pismo Beach is posting daily video updates from city council and city staff on social media to help residents stay informed on new ordinances, public health recommendations, and ways to support the city’s small businesses.

“We know that you may feel uneasy or scared, but know that your city government is prepared, and we’re working for you,” said Pismo Beach City Manager Jim Lewis.

The City of Sacramento has joined a broad coalition of public, private, nonprofit, labor and philanthropic partners to launch a fundraising effort to help those hurt economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign, called Donate4Sacramento, leverages and deepens support for families, small businesses and their employees, unhoused residents, and nonprofits.

“Every donation helps, no matter how large or small. With this fund, we can demonstrate our commitment to leave nobody in Sacramento behind. We’re strongest when we stand together,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Newport Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles are just a few of the cities implementing temporary modifications to their parking policies in an effort to reduce the financial burden on residents and local businesses.

City leaders are also grappling with how to protect those that are experiencing homelessness in their communities during the pandemic. This week, San Diego is converting its convention center to a homeless shelter.

“The San Diego Convention Center is a centerpiece of San Diego’s economy, and during this pandemic, it will be a centerpiece in our fight against the coronavirus,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at a Monday press conference.

This is just a brief snapshot of the countless actions taken throughout the state — and across the country — by local leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National League of Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to collect and share these efforts, and has created a Local Action Tracker. Their goal is to ensure mayors, city leaders, and other local decision makers have the information they need to lead their communities through this crisis.

The League coronavirus resource and response webpage is a resource for city staff, with daily updates on COVID-19 news, resources, and guidance specifically geared toward local leaders to help navigate the current situation and is updated as new developments occur.

The League remains in direct communication with the Governor’s Office, the California Office of Emergency Services, as well as federal agencies, and updates are going out to city leaders regularly to provide them with the information needed to protect their communities and operations. The League is providing daily updates to city leaders, through electronic communication and phone calls.

The League has sent a letter to the Governor, requesting that he take immediate action to pause certain statutory requirements so cities can devote the resources necessary to protect the health and safety of all Californians. The League also signed on to a coalition letter urging the Governor to retain the April 10 deadline for property tax payments and allow local officials to forgive penalties for property owners who are unable to pay by that date due to the pandemic, as authorized by law. These dollars provide essential services to residents and a delay would harm delivery of services to cities.  

Additionally, as a member of the National League of Cities (NLC), NLC has sent multiple letters on behalf of its members to Congress asking for the consideration of a number of proposals to support local government intervention in the cascading set of social and economic challenges resulting from the coronavirus disease. The League will continue to advocate, at both the federal and state level, on behalf of California cities to ensure they have the resources needed and are in the best position to respond to this crisis.

Cities that would like to share the actions they have taken in response to coronavirus can contact the communications team at communications@cacities.org. If you have questions related to COVID-19, please send them to covid-19@cacities.org.   


 
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