Cal Cities Board takes action on ballot measures; advances key initiatives during July meeting

Jul 20, 2022

The League of California Cities Board of Directors gathered for a two-day board meeting last week to review progress on the 2022 State Action Agenda, vote on ballot measures, and consider recommendations to further the organization’s governance work.

Cal Cities President and Walnut Creek Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Silva kicked off the meeting with a recap of the organization’s recent efforts to ensure cities’ top priorities are heard in the state Capitol. Silva also noted the measurable progress Cal Cities has made on its legislative, educational, and governance priorities in the last three months.

Action taken on gaming ballot measures

After an update on several priority bills in the Legislature — including measures related to housing and land use, behavioral health services, single-use plastics, and transportation — and ongoing state budget negotiations, the Board took action on two ballot measures that have qualified for the November ballot.

The Board voted to take a neutral position on Proposition 26, the California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Enforcement Act. This ballot measure would legalize in-person sports wagering on tribal lands and specific horse racing tracks and allow roulette and dice games at tribal casinos. It would also impose a new 10% state tax on horse racing tracks based upon daily sports wagers.

Additionally, the Board voted to oppose Proposition 27, the California Legalize Sports Betting and Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Fund, for several reasons: It jeopardizes local tax revenues, fails to ensure that all California cities receive funding to address homelessness, lacks proper enforcement mechanisms commensurate with the substantial increase in virtual sports wagering, and creates an unlevel playing field between existing cardrooms and new market participants.

This proposed measure would authorize online sports wagering in California upon the payment of a multimillion-dollar licensing fee and periodic renewal fees. It would also impose taxes payable to the state, some of which would be required to be allocated to the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program.

Speakers highlight national municipal trends and funding opportunities

The Board received several key updates during the meeting, including an overview of the National League of Cities (NLC) State of the Cities report from David Sander, Cal Cities Board Member and NLC Second Vice President. The survey identified top-level issues, such as economic development, infrastructure, workforce training, and transit, as identified by mayors throughout the nation in their state of the city addresses.

Sander also highlighted the Local Infrastructure Hub. Developed by Bloomberg Philanthropy and NLC, the Local Infrastructure Hub helps local leaders navigate, understand, and access information about funding opportunities available through the federal infrastructure law.

Dhakshike Wickrema, Deputy Secretary of Homelessness for the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, provided an update to the Board as well. Wickrema highlighted several state and federal funding opportunities that can help local jurisdictions reduce and end homelessness.

Candidate outreach efforts and visibility progress update

The Board also received updates on several key internal projects. Director of Communications and Marketing Jill Oviatt provided a comprehensive update on Cal Cities’ progress to raise the organization’s visibility. Over the past four years, Cal Cities has launched a new brand identity, improved its digital infrastructure, leveraged media relations, and restructured existing publications and processes to achieve this goal.

These efforts have led to more compelling and relevant content for city officials and policymakers, which both raises Cal Cities’ visibility and strengthens member engagement. Cal Cities recently won four national and international awards for its website relaunch and rebrand.

An update on Cal Cities’ outreach to statewide political candidates was presented to the Board as well. With significant turnover expected in the Legislature next year, forming lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with incoming lawmakers will be critical to Cal Cities’ future legislative priorities.

Earlier this month, Cal Cities invited the top-two candidates in open seats to participate in the 2022 California Civic Leadership Institute, an educational and relationship-building program for local officials seeking statewide office. This year’s program will feature candidate questionnaires, a “Boot Camp” experience in Sacramento in August, in-district “candidate experiences” in divisions, and a policy-related field trip.

Nominating Committee report for 2022-23 Board officers and at-large directors adopted

Upon receiving the report of the Nominating Committee, the Board approved the committee’s recommendations for the 2022-23 Cal Cities Board of Directors:

  • At-Large Director – two-year term:
    • Teresa Acosta, Council Member, Carlsbad
    • Jan Arbuckle, Vice Mayor, Grass Valley
    • Melanie Bagby, Council Member, Cloverdale
    • Marshall Goodman, Council Member, La Palma
    • Ray Marquez, Mayor, Chino Hills
    • Jaime Patino, Council Member, Union City
  • Second Vice President: Lisa Middleton, Mayor, Palm Springs
  • First Vice President: Dan Parra, Council Member, Fowler
  • President: Ali Sajjad Taj, Council Member, Artesia
  • Immediate Past President: Cindy Silva, Mayor Pro Tem, Walnut Creek

The election of the Board officers and at-large directors will take place at the September Board meeting during the Cal Cities Annual Conference and Expo.

Governance updates

The Board approved the Governance Committee Report, which included an update on the Committee’s recommendation that division, department, and caucus governance structures and processes be reviewed to ensure they align with Cal Cities’ mission and legal requirements. The report also recognizes that the substance, focus, goals, and activities for each “subunit” may be different based on their needs, issues, interests, and perspectives. 

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 8, in conjunction with the Annual Conference Expo in Long Beach.