March 3, 2021
Take Action
Cities are encouraged to call Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla TODAY, and send a letter as soon as possible, to let them know that cities support the American Rescue Plan, which includes $65 billion in direct and flexible funding for cities of all sizes. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the relief package this week. Take action today! (Sample letter .docx)

Cities are urged to submit letters of opposition on SB 278 (Leyva), which would require public agencies to directly pay retirees and/or their beneficiaries, disallowed retirement benefits using general fund dollars. This bill is set to be heard in the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee on March 8. If your Senator serves on this committee, please call and send a letter opposing the measure by March 7. Take action! OPPOSE SB 278 (Leyva) (Sample letter .docx)
Cal Cities News

To ensure federal and state decision-makers understand the extent to which our communities have been impacted by the pandemic, it is critical that we provide the statewide impact at the local level, as well as examples of that impact. That is why we are asking cities to fill out the COVID-19 Impact Survey (2021 Update). Completed surveys are due Friday, March 5. Read more

There are 2,497 reasons city officials should sign up for the 2021 Legislative Briefing: Bill Introduction webinar on March 18, 1-3 p.m. That’s how many bills were introduced this legislative session. Join the Cal Cities legislative team for a briefing on the critical issues facing cities in the 2021 legislative session. Lobbyists will provide detailed information on key bills pending in the Legislature. Read more

Join your colleagues March 15, 17, and 19 for a program packed with need-to-know information! This must-attend event will feature the latest developments in public works, legislative updates, peer-to-peer networking, and more. Don’t miss sessions integral to Public Works professionals, such as autonomous vehicles, managing homeless encampments, and contract requirements! Read more
Message from the Executive Director

Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, the American Rescue Plan Act, which includes $65 billion in direct and flexible funding for cities of all sizes, is expected to be on the floor of the U.S. Senate as soon as this evening with final action expected within the week. We are calling on the Senate to waste no time in passing this bill. While Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla have expressed support for the relief package, they still need to hear from you about how COVID-19 has impacted local budgets and services and your need for these resources in the communities you both serve. Here’s how you can take action today. Read more

Over the last four weeks, Cal Cities has issued five action alerts to member cities requesting that they directly contact congressional representatives to urge support for the American Rescue Plan Act, which includes $65 billion in direct and flexible funding for cities. Cal Cities hosted a federal briefing call for more than 400 city officials, which featured an update from the National League of Cities on the funding breakdown for cities and the estimated timeline for congressional activity. Cal Cities will continue its advocacy efforts to get the proposal passed in the U.S. Senate and on to President Biden for his signature. Read more
Education and Events

Thursday, March 10, 2-3:30 p.m. — This webinar is part of a series by the League of California Cities to help guide city officials in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The California State Budget for FY 2020-21 authorized the Department of Finance (DOF) to allocate $500 million to cities to address the public health and public safety impacts of COVID-19. In coordination with DOF, Cal Cities is providing this session to support city monitoring responsibilities, best practices, and updates from the state on program oversight, monitoring, and interaction with recent federal guidance. Presenter: California Department of Finance Research and Analysis Unit Chief Kristin Shelton. Register now

Planning commissioners, city planning directors, and associated staff are invited to attend four days of educational sessions and opportunities to connect with peers at the virtual 2021 Planning Commissioners Academy taking place March 25, 26, 31, and April 1. This academy is a must for new and seasoned planning commissioners alike, with sessions ranging from the basic roles and responsibilities as a planning commissioner to updates on key legislative issues. Register now

The Municipal Law Institute Symposium is a one-day virtual event for local government attorneys and law students scheduled March 5. Presented by the League of California Cities, California Constitution Center, Institute of Governmental Studies, and the Bar Association of San Francisco, the symposium will bring attorneys and academics together to discuss “Converging Emergencies” and the lessons learned from an unprecedented year that raised challenging municipal legal issues regarding local finance, elections, housing, policing, race and equity, and more. Register now
El Centro was one of the first recipients of funding under Homekey, a statewide program designed to house those experiencing homelessness. Through a partnership between the city and a local college, the funding was leveraged to construct 26 tiny homes that will provide two years of permanent housing for college students who are former foster youths and are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Read more
Opportunities for Cities

​An affordable housing property has been acquired for middle-income residents in the city of Anaheim from the issuance of nearly $196 million in tax-exempt Essential Housing Revenue Bonds through the California Statewide Communities Development Authority. Read more

Each year, Cal Cities honors outstanding work in member cities throughout the state through the Helen Putnam Awards for Excellence. Apply online by April 8 at 5 p.m. Read more
More News and Events
The Legislature has numerous hearings on a variety of policy areas and bills of interest to cities in the coming weeks. More than 2,400 bills were introduced and will be heard in policy committees. The League of California Cities will be hosting a webinar on March 18 to discuss key bills impacting cities. The Senate and Assembly publish weekly television schedules online, as well as audio and video links when available. Read more

Tomorrow, March 4, 12:30 p.m. — Join the Institute for Local Government (ILG) for an update to the Beacon Program! The Beacon team will introduce new award categories, explain updates to existing categories, and introduce special districts to the program. The award application will open April 1 and ILG will preview what to expect, how to be successful in the program in 2021, and solicit your input on peer learning and educational webinar topics for the year. Read more

March 7-10 — Join more than 1,000 leaders from America’s cities, towns, and villages for an immersive program that provides local leaders educational opportunities through hands-on trainings and seminars focused on common local-level issues. Hear from National League of Cities Congressional City Conference general session keynote speakers and learn how to drive federal policy, engage in dialogue with federal officials, and strengthen intergovernmental partnership with decision-makers, while sharing ideas and building policy solutions for the future of your community.​ Register now
Thursday, March 11, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Hear from four local government icons about how best to tackle topics like social justice, equity, COVID-19 response and the growing polarization in our communities. This free webinar is the first in the Institute for Local Government’s new leadership series, LEADING LOCAL, which will serve as a thought leadership forum on challenging topics and issues local government leaders face. Presenters: San Diego County Supervisor (retired) Greg Cox, Oakland City Manager (retired) Henry Gardner, Santa Monica City Manager (retired) Rod Gould, Daly City City Manager (retired) Pat Martel. Read more
Thursday, March 18, 10 a.m. — The Supreme Court's 2021 docket is set for the 2020-21 term. Many new cases of interest to states and local governments have been added, ranging from a takings case to a case involving college athlete pay. Join the State and Local Legal Center for a discussion of the most interesting cases for states and local governments to be decided this term. Presenters: Dan Geyser of Alexander Dubose & Jefferson; Matthew Littleton of Donahue, Goldberg, Weaver & Littleton; Sarah Harris of Williams & Connolly's Supreme Court and Appellate practice; and Lisa Soronen of the State and Local Legal Center. Read more
Cal Cities in the News
Who should pay for pension mistakes? California Legislature could make a change, March 3, The Sacramento Bee (also appeared in The Fresno Bee, The Tribune, and The Merced Sun-Star)
Bijan Mehryar, a lobbyist for the League of California Cities, called Leyva’s proposal “unconstitutional,” saying it would “saddle local agencies with extensive fiscal liabilities at a time when cities have spent billions of dollars over the last year fighting the pandemic, protecting public health and delivering critical services.”

This week, more than 400 national and local organizations from across the country sent a letter urging the Senate to pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver much-needed aid and assistants to states and local areas.

Clearlake City Manager Alan Flora was quoted at a council meeting when talking about efforts to get Clearlake some relief from AB 1486. “In working with the League of California Cities and state Sen. Mike McGuire’s office to craft some modifications to this bill, we’ve definitely made our voice heard,” he said.