March 1, 2023


Hello Friends of ILG,


We hope you and your families are well following the drastic weather shifts we’ve seen in recent weeks. Even though much of the state is still experiencing frigid temperatures, March often marks the beginning of the transition from winter to spring, and we at ILG are reflecting on the winter months thus far. In February, we celebrated Black local government leaders during Black History Month and we engaged in numerous important conversations about community resilience. In March, we look forward to uplifting our women leaders (both past and present) for Women’s History Month, while also continuing our longstanding commitment to celebrate public servants in local government doing great work day-in and day-out.


Public service has never been easy, and my video message this month captures some of my observations and reflections on the year so far. It’s a feature on resilience – personal, professional and community resilience – which is key to long-term sustainability.


ILG’s month ahead will be another busy one. In addition to our first public engagement training of the year, be sure to catch us at the Planning Commissioners Academy in late March where our team will lead a discussion about housing and offer ethics and sexual harassment prevention trainings. We will also host our remaining Planning Commissioner trainings in Fresno and Oroville. Our Leadership & Governance Team is also very busy offering customized strategic planning and governance workshops to several communities across the state. Our webinar offerings will also resume in earnest this month, so be sure to look for registration details for those upcoming virtual events, too.


As always, myself and Team ILG look forward to connecting with you this month either virtually or in person. We appreciate your service and your partnership.   


In community,

Erica L. Manuel

CEO & Executive Director


A Conversation with ILG Board Chair Teresa Acosta


Women’s History Month kicks off today and we are starting off the month with some insights and inspiration from ILG’s Board Chair and Carlsbad City Councilmember, Teresa Acosta. Chair Acosta shares some of her lessons learned and advice for the next generation of local government leaders. 

Who are some of women leaders in politics or local government that inspire you? What lessons have you learned from them?


While I am inspired by famous and historical women leaders, I am most inspired by my female colleagues who show me different ways to live a meaningful, balanced life in today’s world. Most have overcome significant obstacles, while navigating family life and incorporating self-care, to become leaders.


For example, I am inspired by my friend Esmeralda Soria, a first-generation American and daughter of farmworkers, who in her quest to ensure equal opportunities for all, became a college professor, a Fresno City Council Member and now an Assembly Member. I am inspired by my fellow ILG board member Judy Mitchell, who after a successful law career decided to devote 20 years of her life to serving as a Rolling Hills Estates City Council Member, during which time she became President of the board of the League of California Cities. I am inspired by my former high school classmate Vanessa Delgado, who while raising her daughter, built a thriving business and served as a Montebello City Council Member and State Senator, and is now the first Latina Chair of the board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

What motivated you to run for office?


Although I worked in and around local government for almost 20 years, I had never wanted to run for office. Then, in 2019, there came a moment when everything changed. Several local leaders reached out to inform me there was an open seat on the City Council in my district, and they encouraged me to go for it. I knew there was a need for my experience, perspective and skills. I love my city, I was an active community leader, and I was interested in stepping up my service. I evaluated my family and work circumstances, realized I was ready to serve, and went for it! I was elected in 2020 and am the first Latina on the Carlsbad City Council.

What advice would you give to any young women and girls hoping to run for office or be involved in local government one day?


I encourage youth to volunteer or find internships to learn more about local government. If there is no opportunity available, ask questions and offer to help anyway. In early 2021, two college students contacted me asking if I had any volunteer opportunities for them because they were majoring in Political Science and wanted practical experience. I put the students together on a Zoom call and within a couple of months, the three of us had created “Carlsbad Volunteer Leaders,” a mentorship and leadership program for local youth, which is now in its third year.


What has been your favorite project or biggest accomplishment you’ve achieved since reaching elected office?


I am proud of our progress in Carlsbad. I think the single most impactful accomplishment we have made since I joined the City Council was updating our multi-pronged homelessness response, which in the last year resulted in successfully placing 62 people into permanent housing. 

I am also excited about the new Carlsbad Community Garden (our fourth!) which will be the first one installed in my district later this year.


What has been the best advice you’ve been given in your career? What did you learn from it?


The advice that really sticks with me comes from a quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” The point is we can disagree on issues and still act professionally and civilly. 


Remembering Former ILG Board Member Stan Caldwell


ILG was saddened to hear of the loss of Stan Caldwell in February, a former ILG board member and a past President of the California Special Districts Association. Stan began serving on CSDA committees in 2006 and on the CSDA Board of Directors representing the Bay Area Network from 2009 until his passing. Stan served as a member of ILG's board for four years.

He was an inspirational leader that advocated for California’s special districts and was a leader in our local government community. We share our condolences with his loved ones and those who knew him.

Read more about Stan's extraordinary life and legacy of public service here.  


TIERS Public Engagement Training Registration Now Open


Are you getting the results you want from your public engagement efforts?


Do you struggle with designing interactive public workshops?


Join us for the first TIERS training of 2023! This two-day virtual training will help California local government leaders, staff, and elected officials master equitable public engagement and build trust in their communities. Don't wait to register as the past two TIERS trainings have sold out quickly!


TIERS will help you operationalize your outreach and engagement efforts in a more sustainable and collaborative way and provide you with resources and digital tools necessary to authentically engage your community.


This comprehensive training is open to any local government leaders in California, both staff and elected officials. The content is specially designed to apply to a variety of common local agency initiatives requiring public engagement, ranging from housing and sustainability to participatory budgeting and public safety. The training sessions will take place virtually over two days, with five hours of training on each day. 


Registration for this comprehensive training is just $625.


Space is limited. Register by Friday, March 10 to secure your spot. 

Regional Planning Commissioner Trainings

Only three sessions left:

  • Kern, Tulare, Kings and Fresno Counties, March 3, 2023
  • Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Colusa, Yuba and Sutter Counties, March 10, 2023
  • Shasta, Trinity, Siskiyou, Lassen, Plumas and Modoc Counties | Postponed

These trainings are offered in-person, free of charge, exclusively for city and county planning commissioners; designed to benefit both new and seasoned professionals. In each training session, we reserve time to network and discuss local planning challenges and opportunities that are specific for each region. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with experts in the field and learn from fellow planning commissioners about best practices, emerging trends and lessons learned. Learn more and sign up for a training.


This training series is hosted by ILG in partnership with HCD and Placeworks.


Beacon Awards Now Open to Special Districts


Special districts are invited to apply for Leadership and Innovation awards now through May 1, 2023.


Our Beacon program helps local agencies understand the actions they can take- from clean energy to efficient transportation, adaptation planning, community engagement, and more - that are aimed at reducing emissions, saving energy, and building resilience. Through Beacon, local agencies gain access to best practices, resources, technical assistance, and peer support, and are eligible to earn annual award recognition.


Beacon Awards are open to cities, counties and special districts, but the special district award period runs now through May 1, 2023.


The Beacon Leadership and Innovation awards celebrate the efforts of local governments to implement collaborative, inclusive, and equitable climate resilience and adaptation programming in their communities.


Whether your agency is a Beacon participant or not, you are invited to submit an innovative project, program, plan, or policy your agency has implemented for Leadership and Innovation award consideration in the following categories:


  • Leadership in Climate Resilience and Adaptation
  • Equity and Engagement in Climate Resilience and Adaptation
  • Cross-Agency Collaboration in Climate Resilience and Adaptation
  • Innovation in Energy 
  • Innovation in Clean Transportation


Award winners will be celebrated in front of a statewide audience at the annual Beacon Awards Ceremony and the CSDA Annual Conference & Exhibitor Showcase. Learn more and apply at For questions, contact Nikita Sinha at


Cities and counties can apply for Beacon awards from April 7 to July 7, 2023.


ILG Helps State & Local Governments Catalyze Climate Action through Collaboration and Engagement


ILG CEO & Executive Director Erica L. Manuel served on the steering committee for the inaugural Catalyst Conference hosted by the California Strategic Growth Council. On Wednesday, February 1, over 300 government, community, Tribal, finance, industry and advocacy leaders came together to discuss existing solutions and identify actions to catalyze readiness and maximize near and long-term benefits of climate investments in frontline communities. At the event, Erica facilitated important conversations about building a framework for equitable investment. As a follow up to the conference, ILG will be hosting a series of virtual and in-person listening sessions with local government leaders to identify specific opportunities for partnership and collaboration between community leaders and their regional or local governments.


“ILG is committed to a “Yes, and…” approach to advance climate equity,” said Erica. “Community-led and informed solutions will require creativity, understanding and alignment. The ILG listening sessions will identify common barriers and elevate promising new strategies that can be scaled statewide.”

In the photo, ILG Assistant Executive Director Karalee Browne is joined by two of ILG’s BOOST program partners, Natalie Hernandez, Director, Resilience & Organizational Strategy, Climate Resolve and Sarah Risher, Program Analyst, California Strategic Growth Council.

ILG Board Reconnects at City Managers Conference


Some of ILG's Board members reconnected with city leaders at the League of California Cities City Managers Conference in Carlsbad in February. At the conference, city managers equipped themselves with essential information and updates needed to effectively run their cities and best position their communities for the future.


In the photo, ILG Board Chair Teresa Acosta and Board members Brett Channing, Paolo Kespradit, and Patricia Martel are joined by League of California Cities President Ali Sajjad Taj.

Team ILG Engages with Community Leaders at Community Economic Resilience Fund Kickoff


In February, ILG’s Erica Manuel and Seth Yund attended Valley Vision’s Building a Clean Economy for Everyone event. The event was a kickoff for the Sacramento region Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) efforts and emphasized the importance of keeping community voices at the center of regional economic development. The event featured a panel discussion with community members sharing barriers to and tips for inclusive economic opportunities in the expanding clean economy – their lessons are summarized in this article. The Keynote speaker, Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency Stewart Knox, further underscored the importance of bringing community voices into economic development spheres.


Valley Vision is the convener for Sacramento’s CERF planning efforts and ILG is a program partner focused on local government alignment. If your jurisdiction is interested in joining the Sacramento Region CERF Coalition, please fill out the CERF Interest Form to learn more.

ILG Facilitates Leadership & Governance Trainings for California Local Governments


ILG's Leadership and Governance Pillar continues the drumbeat of good governance by facilitating strategic goal-setting, team building, and other leadership trainings for local governments across the state. We are grateful to our cities, counties, and special districts for partnering with us to help facilitate these critical planning conversations which shape the future of so many communities.


Interested in learning more about our training offerings and scheduling one for your jurisdiction? Contact us! Learn more here.

ILG Leads Civility Session at CSDA Special District Leadership Academy Conference


Late last month, ILG Senior Program Manager Melissa Kuehne led a conference session at the CSDA Special District Leadership Academy in La Quinta. The session, "Promoting Civility in Times of Heightened Partisanship and Polarization," discussed the challenges local officials statewide are facing, including navigating polarization and partisanship at the federal, state and local levels. Local governments are working hard to balance this while also managing new board dynamics, continued uncertainty resulting from the COVID crisis and a myriad of other challenges local governments face on a daily basis. The panel of special district officials shared strategies and lessons learned about how to manage relationships, increase civility, continue operations and communicate effectively with your community.

Learn more about SDLA.


Did you miss our recent webinar "Advancing Climate Equity: State Regulations and Strategies for Local Governments"? Watch the webinar recording and access the materials here.

About the Webinar

This webinar featured local agencies that are leading the way on how to develop and implement environmental justice strategies. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research also discussed local government’s requirement to develop an Environmental Justice Element as part of their General Plan updates under California Senate Bill 1000 (Leyva, 2016)


HdL Companies: 23 Local Government Resources in 2023


HdL has compiled 23 local government resources including guidelines, books, articles, webinars, and more that provide best practices and education, insight on trending issues from the biggest local gov organizations, and go-to sources for industry news. Most resources provide national insight, but even those from our favorite state-specific local gov organizations are applicable to all public leaders in one way or another. Read more.

Tripepi Smith: You Like Your Logo, So Why Does It Keep Disappointing You?


What if you have a likable logo but it just doesn’t seem to be working as it should? Don’t worry! Lots of brands have this issue, particularly those of public agencies, so here’s a question: are you asking your lonely logo to do too much all by itself? Keeping your logo out of trouble supports a stronger brand which, in turn, makes your materials more professional and builds trust in what your organization has to say.

Read more

Western City: How to Respond to Harassment and Incivility


In light of recent vandalism incidents targeted at local government officials, ILG is revisiting this Western City article focused on addressing incivility without sacrificing civic debate. When these incidents happen, it is vital that municipalities respond with solutions that build greater community trust and equip city leaders with strategies to protect themselves and their families.

Read more


Nominate a Local Government Champion

Now is the perfect time to nominate a local government colleague for a job well done. Anyone working in one of California's counties, special districts or cities – from staff to elected or appointed officials – are eligible. Self-nominations are encouraged!

Help us celebrate the important work local leaders are doing in the areas of: 

  • Leadership & Governance;
  • Public Engagement & Equity;
  • Sustainable & Resilient Communities; and 
  • Workforce & Civics Education.

Nominees will be featured in social media posts and on our website.

LAST CHANCE FOR A FREE TIERS REGISTRATION: Nominations received by March 8 will be entered to win a free registration to the next TIERS pubic engagement training. Submit your nomination today!  

Click here to nominate.


ILG is the nonprofit training and education affiliate of the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the California Special Districts Association.

Planning Commissioners Academy

March 29-31, 2023

Hyatt Regency Orange County


Designed for new and seasoned planning commissioners alike, this conference provides city officials with information about the roles and responsibilities of a planning commissioner, offers a basic legal and practical framework, and helps foster relationships with fellow planning commissioners. Previous topics included CEQA, how to prepare findings and conditions of approval, the planning commission’s role and responsibilities, diversity and inclusion, leadership, relationships between commission, staff, and city council, key legislative issues, and more. 

ILG will also be presenting at the PC Academy. Be sure to attend our sessions:

  • AB 1234 Ethics and AB 1661 Sexual Harassment Prevention Trainings – time and date to be determined
  • Session attendees can receive MCLE credit for “AB 1234 Training: Understanding Public Service Ethics Laws and Principles,” and “AB 1661 Training: Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for City Officials.” ILG is a State Bar of California minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) approved provider and the organization certifies both these trainings meet the standards for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California in the total amount of 2 hours (general credits). Provider #13881.

  • Planning for the Future: Creative Strategies & Lessons Learned - Roundtable Session, time and date to be determined
  • Session Description: Cities across the state are struggling to meet increased housing needs in their communities. Planning Commissioners often help bridge the divide between community members and City Councils who set policy direction which do not always align. To help address this, many commissioners are seeking training, resources and tools to not only do their jobs better, but also help set their cities up for success. Join a panel of experts from local government, state government, and the private sector for a roundtable discussion covering creative policies, community engagement techniques, financing tools and other innovative strategies to help meet community, regional and state priorities. 

Learn more and register today.

Districts Make a Difference Video Contest Now Accepting Submissions!

Due March 31, 2023


High school students are invited to create a fun and informative short video (60 seconds max) highlighting the ways special districts ‘Make the Difference’ in local communities across the US for a chance to win a scholarship. Additional prize money will be given to the teachers of the winning students to promote technology and support distance learning.


The video submission window will be open until March 31, 2023. The top ten finalists will be chosen by Districts Make the Difference. Final winners will be selected during the public voting period May 10-17. 


The video entries will be scored on four criteria: accuracy and effectiveness, creativity and originality, production quality, and entertainment value.

At the end of May, Districts Make the Difference will award:

  • $2,000 for the First-place winner
  • $1,000 for the Second-place winner
  • $500 for the Third-place winner


Note: An additional $500 will be awarded to the student’s chosen teacher for each winning video! 

U.S. High school students grades 9-12 are strongly encouraged to participate in this contest for its educational engagement and scholarship opportunities. Enjoy creating a video and learning about special districts for a chance to win up to $2,000!


Learn more.

CSAC 2023 Legislative Conference Registration Now Open!

April 12-13, 2023 | Sacramento

Registration for the CSAC 2023 Legislative Conference is now open! The conference provides the perfect forum to receive the latest policy information from state leaders, issue experts and CSAC staff. Register here.

Save the date - CSAC and Cal Cities will also host a historic summit on homelessness on Wednesday, April 12. In this first-ever joint summit, County and City leaders will engage on a path to create a comprehensive statewide plan to address homelessness. Attendees will hear from Governor Gavin Newsom (invited) and legislative leaders and explore what works and what doesn't with paired County-City leaders. All attendees will gain the information they need to support an effective homelessness response system with clear roles and responsibilities as well as sustainable funding. 


Team ILG is excited to welcome CLEAResult as our newest Sustainability program partner. CLEAResult is the largest provider of emission-reducing energy solutions across North America, giving their clients and partners everything they need to make using less energy easy and accessible for everyone. Learn more about CLEAResult's work.

The ILG Partner Program provides a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your company’s commitment to good government at the local level and alignment with our program areas of leadership and governance, public engagement, sustainable communities and workforce and civics education. ILG’s Partner Program provides opportunities to connect with and engage local leaders and increase visibility through our website, trainings and other resources. Learn more and partner with us!


LCW’s 2023 In-Person Public Sector Employment Law Conference

Registration is now open for the 24th Annual LCW Conference taking place March 16-17, 2023 in San Diego. The LCW Conference is California's premier public sector employment and labor relations educational event. Conference speakers are California labor relations and employment law attorneys who have dedicated their careers to representing and supporting California's cities, counties, special districts, public safety agencies and public educational institutions. Register today.

Save Your Seat at RGS’ Management Leadership Academy


Join a group of local government managers in Regional Government Services’ comprehensive, advanced academy aimed toward developing leadership competencies. RGS’ Management Leadership Academy is designed for new or experienced Managers in local government by trainers with extensive experience in all types of local agencies. This Academy focuses on the manager's role as a strategic planner, goal-setter, and team manager. Managers translate executive vision into outcomes and programs that drive local government services. The Academy frames these core concepts in the unique local government environment. Register today

ICMA Local Government Excellence Awards


ICMA's Local Government Excellence Awards celebrate the value of professional management and honor creative contributions to professional local government leadership. These awards highlight public awareness of the value of professional management and its impact on the quality of life in our communities. The 2023 award nominations are open from January 10, 2023, through March 9, 2023. Learn more

SoCal Edison: New Law Seeks to Eliminate Metallic Balloon Hazards

Some California cities have banned them, public safety campaigns have persistently targeted them and state legislation has even tackled them. Still, released metallic balloons continue to bedevil Southern California Edison and other California utilities, causing public safety hazards and hundreds of power outages yearly when they float into power lines and electrical equipment. But a game-changing solution for electric utilities and their customers is on the way. Read more from SCE.

Placeworks Scholarship Application Now Open


Placeworks offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students from historically underserved backgrounds who are pursuing degrees in planning, urban design, architecture, environmental planning, landscape architecture, and related fields. Applicants must identify as American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Hispanic or Latino; or Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Additionally, applicants must be California residents who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies at an accredited California college or university and who are planning to enroll full-time in an eligible program during the next term. Deadline to apply is April 6, 2023. Learn more.

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