Cal Cities Board of Directors adopts 2022 Action Agenda; considers positions on potential ballot initiatives

Dec 8, 2021

During its Dec. 2-3 meeting, the League of California Cities Board of Directors adopted the organization’s 2022 Action Plan and 2022 Budget. The Action Agenda guides the organization’s legislative and educational efforts and is updated annually. The Board also considered positions on potential ballot initiatives in 2022 that would impact cities. Below, are additional details on the Board actions.

Cal Cities 2022 Action Agenda

Prior to the board vote, city leaders in Cal Cities divisions, departments, policy committees, and diversity caucuses convened for several virtual meetings to chart the organization’s priorities for 2022 and ensure they are laser-focused on the issues most critical to cities and the residents they serve. During the process, city leaders had the opportunity to review Cal Cities legislative achievements for 2021, discuss challenges cities are facing, and inform the organization’s advocacy goals for 2022.

The Board adopted the following strategic advocacy priorities:

  • Secure funding to increase the supply and affordability of housing and reform state housing laws to retain local authority. Secure adequate and sustainable funding for cities to increase construction of housing at all income levels, particularly affordable housing and workforce housing. Reform state housing laws to ensure cities retain local decision-making to meet the needs of their communities.
  • Attain investments to strengthen and sustain critical infrastructure. Advocate for policies that strengthen the conditions of local streets, highways, bridges, public transit, and broadband to improve workforce and economic development. Secure support for the modernization and expansion of the statewide water grid, including infrastructure, storage, and conveyance. Work with stakeholders to provide cities with access to the tools needed to ensure projects are delivered efficiently and cost-effectively to meet current and future needs.
  • Secure increased funding and resources to prevent homelessness and assist individuals experiencing homelessness. Secure additional ongoing, flexible resources to provide navigation assistance, emergency shelters, and permanent supportive housing. Enhance city and county coordination and strengthen partnerships with stakeholders to ensure adequate wraparound services are available for adults and youth at risk of, or already experiencing, homelessness in our communities, and effectively address mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Strengthen disaster preparedness, resiliency, and recovery from climate change impacts through improved collaboration and resources. Secure additional resources and support to mitigate the effects of climate change, including catastrophic wildfires, drought, and sea level rise. Promote collaboration with other city, state, and federal governments, to strengthen disaster preparedness, resiliency, and recovery.

With the 2022 Action Agenda now set, Cal Cities will begin working immediately to advance these objectives in the state.

ACA 7 and the Land Use Initiative

The Cal Cities Board of Directors voted unanimously, with one abstention, to “take no position at this time on ACA 7 and the land use initiative. The Board reaffirms its strong desire to protect local decision-making authority over land use, housing, and zoning to meet the needs of their communities. To that end, the Board directs staff, working with the relevant policy committees, to develop a menu of near-, mid-, and long-term strategies to reform state housing laws and to bring recommendations to the Board for consideration in spring 2022.”

The Board’s action was informed by the work of the organization’s ACA 7 Working Group. After a thorough review, the working group raised concerns that the measures may have significant, unintentional consequences, including pitting local jurisdictions against each other, and that additional feedback from cities is needed prior to taking a position.

Among the issues identified by the working group was the potential for unintended and negative consequences beyond housing that could arise if the initiative were to pass. For example, ACA 7 could result in a disjointed patchwork approach to the management of potential natural disasters, such as seismic hazards, wildland and urban fires, and floods.

Passage of these measures could also impede progress on environmental justice efforts that seek to mitigate health risks and other issues in disadvantaged communities.

The Board, along with the working group, recognized that while there are important concerns and unanswered questions with the proposed measures, an urgent need remains to address the supply and affordability of housing while affirming local decision-making with regards to land use.

As a result, Cal Cities staff will take immediate action to develop a menu of strategies to reform state laws impacting cities in the area of land use in collaboration with relevant Cal Cities policy committees and regional divisions.

Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act

During the meeting, the Cal Cities Board of Directors also voted unanimously to oppose Attorney General Initiative 21-0026A1 — the deceptively named “Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act.” The measure would significantly jeopardize cities’ ability to provide necessary services and critical infrastructure to residents. It would impose onerous and undemocratic restrictions on local governments and local voters that would reduce local revenues by billions every year, decimating vital services like fire and emergency response, infrastructure, libraries, parks, sanitation, economic development, and virtually all local services.