Today, the League of California Cities Board of Directors adopted the organization’s 2021 Strategic Advocacy Priorities during its meeting.
City leaders who serve in leadership positions in Cal Cities divisions, departments, policy committees, and diversity caucuses convened during several virtual meetings this week and last to chart the organization’s priorities for 2021 and ensure they are laser focused on the issues most critical to our cities and the residents our members serve. During the process, city leaders had the opportunity to review Cal Cities legislative achievements for 2020, discuss challenges cities are facing, and inform the organization’s advocacy goals in 2021.
City officials from throughout the state participated in the strategic planning meetings, developing the following annual priorities addressing challenges faced by California cities.
Secure state and federal funding for local COVID-19 public health response and economic recovery for all. Secure direct and flexible funding and resources for cities of all sizes so they can continue to protect residents from the pandemic, deliver essential services, support small businesses, and lead the recovery in our communities. Improve communication and coordination with regional, state, and federal governments on public health orders and programs to stimulate equitable economic recovery.
Secure funding to increase the supply and affordability of housing and resources to assist individuals at risk of – or already experiencing – homelessness while preserving local decision making. Secure additional resources to increase construction of housing, particularly affordable housing, workforce housing, and permanent supportive housing, and ensure cities retain flexibility based on the land use needs of each community. Increase flexibility and resources to provide navigation assistance and emergency shelters, and strengthen partnerships and collaboration with stakeholders to ensure mental health, substance abuse treatment, and wraparound services are available for adults and youth at risk of – or already experiencing – homelessness in our communities.
Improve state-local coordination and planning to strengthen community disaster preparedness, resiliency, and recovery. Pursue additional resources and support to mitigate the effects of climate change, sea level rise, catastrophic wildfires, and flooding in our communities. Promote community disaster preparedness, resiliency, and recovery in collaboration with the state and federal governments. Increase availability and access to the National Flood Insurance Program to include other natural disasters.
Protect and modernize critical infrastructure. Seek increased state and federal resources for critical and sustainable local infrastructure projects including roads, public transit, active transportation, water availability, and broadband deployment that enhance workforce and economic development and improve quality of life.
“Californians continue to suffer the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the adverse fiscal impacts to cities will continue well into 2021,” said League of California Cities President and El Centro Mayor Cheryl Viegas Walker. “City leaders have stepped up to protect and advocate for their communities, and to promote local economic recovery. We are in serious need of state and federal financial support and resources in order to deliver essential services to our residents.”
With its agenda now set, Cal Cities will begin working immediately to advance these objectives in the state and U.S. Capitols.
“Since the beginning of 2020, city leaders have taken action to protect their residents from a global pandemic, lead in the recovery of their local economies, respond to calls for equity and justice, and combat one of the worst wildfire seasons in history,” said League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman. “While the pandemic may have disrupted the advancement of a number of priority issues in the state Legislature and Congress in 2020, it also shined a floodlight on why cities need strong state and federal partners to address our shared constituents’ most pressing needs. Cal Cities and our more than 475 member cities continue to stand ready to partner with regional, state, and federal governments, as well as other stakeholders, to advance these priorities through solutions built on local community input and civic engagement.”