An advocacy group for California cities supported Prop. 1. Now some members are leaving

Three Orange County cities voted this month to withdraw from the California League of Cities, with some leaders saying the advocacy organization isn’t representing their interests and has handed too much power over to the state.

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The California League of Cities is a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Sacramento that communicates with cities about laws being discussed in the state legislature, conducts training for city officials and gives local governments an opportunity to influence statewide policies. Out of 482 cities in California, the league counts more than 470 as members.

But elected officials in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Orange have opted to withdraw their cities’ membership over various issues, including the organization’s support of Proposition 1.

California voters this month narrowly passed the $6.4-billion bond measure that aims to reform California’s mental health system. The bond will support 10,000 treatment and housing beds and overhaul a 20-year-old tax for mental health services to also fund treatment for drug addiction.

A majority of Orange County voters — roughly 58% — cast a ballot against it with many voicing concerns that it could mean more sober living homes in neighborhoods, an issue that cities have attempted to regulate for decades.

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“I want to send a message that they shouldn’t have been on board with Prop. 1 in the first place,” Huntington Beach Councilman Tony Strickland said during a council meeting this month. “Their job is to represent us at the local government, not to represent Gavin Newsom.”

Orange County for years has been somewhat of a thorn in the side of Gov. Gavin Newsom and other progressive politicians in Sacramento. In the last few years, O.C. cities, including Huntington Beachpushed back on housing mandates handed down by the state. At the height of COVID-19, some cities fought Newsom’s decision to temporarily close beaches, and opposed other regulations adopted elsewhere in the state.

Cities outside of Orange County have also stepped away from Cal Cities in recent years, including Torrance and Redondo Beach.

League of California Cities Executive Director and chief executive Carolyn Coleman said in a statement that she respects the city’s decisions to leave and the organization will continue to advocate for the interests of all cities regardless of membership.

“While not everyone will agree on every position Cal Cities takes, Cal Cities’ advocacy positions are the result of a member-driven process that reflect a fundamental belief that cities in California are stronger when we stand united and advocate for the common interests of all cities,” she said.

Coleman added that the organization has taken seriously concerns they’ve heard about the impacts of an over-concentration of sober living homes and licensed recovery facilities in Orange County and elsewhere in California. Cal Cities has sponsored legislation that would create more oversight and regulation of the facilities.

On Tuesday, the city of Orange became the third municipality in the county this month to leave Cal Cities. Councilmember Kathy Tavoularis blamed the city’s financial outlook as one reason for recouping membership costs and a lack of power over policy decisions.

Membership fees are based on population, with a city the size of Orange paying slightly more than $34,000 a year.

“I don’t think we’ve had any influence,” she said. “We certainly didn’t with Prop. 1.”

“I want to send a message that they shouldn’t have been on board with Prop. 1 in the first place,” Huntington Beach Councilman Tony Strickland said during a council meeting this month. “Their job is to represent us at the local government, not to represent Gavin Newsom.”

Orange County for years has been somewhat of a thorn in the side of Gov. Gavin Newsom and other progressive politicians in Sacramento. In the last few years, O.C. cities, including Huntington Beachpushed back on housing mandates handed down by the state. At the height of COVID-19, some cities fought Newsom’s decision to temporarily close beaches, and opposed other regulations adopted elsewhere in the state.

Cities outside of Orange County have also stepped away from Cal Cities in recent years, including Torrance and Redondo Beach.

League of California Cities Executive Director and chief executive Carolyn Coleman said in a statement that she respects the city’s decisions to leave and the organization will continue to advocate for the interests of all cities regardless of membership.

“While not everyone will agree on every position Cal Cities takes, Cal Cities’ advocacy positions are the result of a member-driven process that reflect a fundamental belief that cities in California are stronger when we stand united and advocate for the common interests of all cities,” she said.

Coleman added that the organization has taken seriously concerns they’ve heard about the impacts of an over-concentration of sober living homes and licensed recovery facilities in Orange County and elsewhere in California. Cal Cities has sponsored legislation that would create more oversight and regulation of the facilities.

On Tuesday, the city of Orange became the third municipality in the county this month to leave Cal Cities. Councilmember Kathy Tavoularis blamed the city’s financial outlook as one reason for recouping membership costs and a lack of power over policy decisions.

Membership fees are based on population, with a city the size of Orange paying slightly more than $34,000 a year.

“I don’t think we’ve had any influence,” she said. “We certainly didn’t with Prop. 1.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Comments

  1. When I was on the Villa Park City Council some 10+ years ago, I convinced my colleagues to leave the League of Cities and not renew our annual membership by paying dues. There is no reason for any municipality to engage with this group that consistently works against our better interests, trains newly electeds to be answerable to the professional staff instead of the voters, and sucks money from the general fund for per capita dues, junkets, lunch meetings, conventions and travel with almost ZERO value added.
    As far as I’m concerned, these cities are late to awaken, but better late than never.
    Deborah Pauly, Esq.
    Councilwoman,
    City of Villa Park (2006 – 2014)

  2. The passing of Prop 1 is a sign of the times for Kalifornia. Eventually, Kalifornia will be a government-controlled state, short of being a dictatorial government state—with no voice for the people, only for the Politbureau cronies of Sacramento and the wealthy. Just saying.

  3. Tough love is tough. When combined with responsibility and consequences it can work for most. Those in charge do not want to be tough for various reasons often not consistent with what they say. Control is a center factor at all levels.

  4. Leo of Sacramento says

    lol, you folks are killing me….lol
    You join these organizations, “thinking if not outright believing”, they’ll offer some GOOD for your communities. OMG! Then you’re shocked, when they don’t. First clue: It was based in Sacramento. Second clue: Who was actually chairing this group? Some implant from GOVs office? That should have told you what that group was all about.
    Anyways, why are, cities paying for membership in this nonsense? That’s what the ELECTED REPs are supposed to be doing, aren’t they? Informing Cities of what’s up? What’s coming, what’s not, etc?
    As to the lady in charge? “Under her leadership, Cal Cities advances policies to expand local control through education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.” <—-really?
    Key words: EXPAND LOCAL CONTROL. Defined as? Govt knows what's best for you to be happy.
    Shades of Rollerball………….

    The State is broke, and just endebted itself another 6 BILLION, not including interest. smh.
    So much for Political experience; High education and being a business owner. Yea…ok.

    Leo Naranjo IV…………….smart enough to know, you don't spend 200 BILLION when your state only has 100 BILLION surplus; Politically sensed to know, the supposed EDUCATED politicians have, for nearly 40 years, driven this state to the ground; Understand enough to know that so called, Business men in our Legislature, would be either Foreclosed on or Bankrupt if they ran their so called, businesses, like they run this State. So, when I say, " Yes, I am running for California State Governor, 2026," don't come at me with the BS about political experience; business experience or high education levels. Look what all those checked boxes got you so far.

    Yes, I am running. Tough love was needed over 24 BILLION dollars ago; Prop 1 is a sham as is Prop 47; we have a 78 BILLION dollar deficit and grew another 51 Thousand homeless to now have 181,000 in our State. WTH?!!

    1) Cut the open-unfilled Job positions in State govt;
    2) Drop that train to no-where;
    3) Stop funding illegals;
    4) Stop closing Prisons (close 5 prisons, save a Billion dollars but loose 4 billion due to crime?)
    5) Start recovering 75% of our EDD loss of 36 BILLION to illegal payments;
    6) START reducing taxes, to encourage growth!!
    7) TRY to bring people back to our state, instead of trying to gouge them because they're leaving it.
    8) Promote businesses, not wage war against them!
    9) Stop wasting Billions to homelessness, on promises to fix the issue, while nothing is actually fixed;
    10) START, opening up our energy sources, and STOP crippling them over GO GREEN edicts.

    If people are TRUELY looking for changes WITH impacts to HELP the State, not just 'make noise with zero intentions of doing anything but getting paid while throwing stones', then I'll be your guy. If you'd rather stick to high energy bills, high gas bills, high crime, high homelessness, high housing prices, no insurance access, high taxes?? Then you'll vote for one of the 4 DEMO's vying for newsome's legacy of :

    Success is Failure and Failure is Success.
    Gov Newsome: THE most successful FAILURE in California's history.

    Leonaranjoiv@yahoo.com to learn more.

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