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Meeting Date: June 12, 2001

Subject/Title: League of California Cities Proposed Bylaws Amendment to increase dues to implement League Grassroots Network

Submitted by: Karen Diaz, City Clerk

Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager

Approve the League bylaws amendment, which will implement a statewide Grassroots Network to protect local control and reduce the likelihood of city revenues being taken by the State. The city’s share of this important effort will mean an increase of $2,241 in League dues. 


The League’s strategic planning process, initiated nearly 18 months ago, has re-energized both the League of California Cities and the membership by focusing on a primary mission to restore and protect local control for cities through education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.

The Grassroots Network proposal grew out of that process and has been refined by a special League task force. It would provide 14 new and reallocate 3 existing staff in 10 field offices to support the League’s 16 regional divisions and 476 cities in advancing legislation that benefits all cities. These staff would be available to assist city officials and the League’s regional divisions to work more closely with legislators, legislative district staff, news media, and community groups to form coalitions that will help protect city revenues and local control. 

In approving the Grassroots Network, the League board included a number of important accountability measures, including:

· The board will establish long-range goals (e.g., constitutional protection of local revenues) and annual objectives (e.g., specific legislation) for the program, and provide regular reports to the membership;
· The board will retain a qualified firm to conduct periodic unbiased, professional evaluations of member attitudes about the program and its effectiveness; and
· After five full years of operation, the League membership will be asked to vote on whether to continue operation of the program and the dues to fund it.

Through the Grassroots Network activities will be organized among city officials to support the common legislative agenda of the cities of the state; e.g., protecting local revenues, securing additional state funding for transportation; protecting local control, etc. We can no longer just lobby in Sacramento. This proposal adds a new dimension to such lobbying efforts by carrying out activities to influence legislative outcomes in each legislator’s district. 
Fiscal Impacts

The additional cost to the city, if the League membership adopts the Bylaws amendment, will be $2,241 bringing our total League dues to $6,511. This is a modest increase when compared to our existing revenue losses and the potential loss of our sales tax or Vehicle License Fee (VLF) revenue. The chart below illustrates the cost of the Grassroots Network in comparison to local sales tax (1/40 of 1% statewide) and VLF payments to cities (1/10 of 1% statewide). These are the existing revenues that are “at risk” if state government begins facing an economic downturn. The state permanently “borrowed” our property tax in the early 1990’s; no one doubts that they can grab VLF, sales tax and other local revenue sources if they choose to do so again. 

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