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March 2021


A Message From ILG’s Executive Director

Greetings from ILG,

The month of March was full of incredible highs and difficult lows. We celebrated Women’s History Month and the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated billions of dollars to cities and counties for much needed pandemic relief. But we also witnessed two horrific mass shootings, including a racially motivated attack in Georgia that elevated the growing wave of anti-Asian sentiment across the nation. At ILG, we welcomed a new Senior Program Manager of Equity & Engagement, Julia Salinas, but we also lost a beloved former employee, Steve Sanders, who passed away. 

This month’s newsletter will touch on some of these topics, while also providing timely updates about education, training and resources local agency leaders can use to navigate these complex issues and many more. (Along those lines, we’re excited to be hosting two new webinar series – one about Leading Local and one about Tackling the Housing Crisis.) And in commemoration of Women’s History Month, this newsletter will also profile the women of ILG and share some of the well-timed insights of our all-female team.

After one year of the pandemic, we can proudly celebrate the resilience of our California communities and acknowledge both the challenges and opportunities this moment in history has afforded us. The team at ILG remains grateful for and humbled by your growing support. 

In gratitude from all of us at ILG, 

Erica L. Manuel
CEO & Executive Director

March Spotlight

Featuring the All-Women, All-Star team of ILG!

There is no more fitting time than Women’s History Month to feature the phenomenal women of ILG. For the past two years, the organization has been woman-led and woman-run. Learn more about #TeamILG and what these powerhouse women think about key issues related to local government, gender and leadership. 

Read more

LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE: Addressing the Rise in Anti-Asian Discrimination

The rise in discrimination and violence against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community is both alarming and unconscionable.

Local government leaders play an important role in addressing and working to end racial discrimination and violence in our communities. While these crucial conversations are likely to be difficult, nuanced and complex, the leaders at California’s cities, counties and special districts should not shy away from them. ILG encourages our local leaders to host meaningful dialogue with their communities and advance policies that will achieve equity, justice and inclusion for all. 

Below are some resources that will help local leaders take meaningful action to address race-based violence and hate crimes.

Helpful Resources:


Housing Webinar: Exploring New Housing Laws and Ordinances
Session 1 of “Tackling California’s Housing Crisis” Webinar Series
Thursday, April 1, 2021
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

State laws and regulations pertaining to land use, housing and development are complex and eve- changing. Join this webinar to hear an update on current housing laws and proposed legislation that will impact local housing development.


  • Gustavo Velasquez, Director, Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Chris Lee, Legislative Representative, California State Association of Counties
  • Sohab Mehmood, Housing Policy Specialist, Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Jason Rhine, Assistant Legislative Director, League of California Cities

Moderated by Melissa Kuehne, Senior Program Manager, Institute for Local Government

This webinar is hosted by ILG in partnership with CalCities, CSAC, the Office of Planning and Research and Placeworks. Funding for the webinar series is provided by The Department of Housing and Community Development.


About the Series

California’s housing crisis is growing. To help city and county leaders better navigate complex housing issues in their communities, ILG is hosting a webinar series featuring subject matter experts on land use and housing, legal regulations and parameters and community engagement. This series will provide information and best practices, facilitate discussion and answer questions to help local governments better address housing issues in our communities.

Sessions take place the first Thursday of every month from 2:00 – 3:00 pm, April through October 2021.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • Rental and Mortgage Assistance, Tenant Protection and Other Tools to Support Residents During the COVID-19 Pandemic: May 6
  • Effective Leadership in Housing and Development: June 3
  • Equity and Housing: Meeting and Exceeding California’s Fair Housing Requirements: July 1
  • Strategies to Engage Your Community on Housing Issues: August 5
  • Climate-Resilient Land Use & Housing Policies: September 2
  • Housing Strategies to Tackle Homelessness: October 7

Learn more

 LEADING LOCAL Webinar: Addressing Hate Crimes
Friday, April 23, 2021
11:00 am – 12:30 pm

How can local leaders tackle complicated issues like race-based violence and hate crimes? Register for this webinar to learn from elected officials and non-profit leaders about how they are navigating the complexity of this topic. Learn timely tips about how to #stopAAPIhate, discuss discrimination and do more than just issue a public statement. 


Past LEADING LOCAL Webinars Available On Demand:

Upcoming Session Topics:
Webinar dates and times to be announced; topics subject to change

  • Building Personal Resilience 
  • Leading through Conflict
  • Building Bridges & Bridging Divides 
  • Implicit Bias
  • Exploring Equity in Your Local Agency
  • Civility & Ethics
  • Collaboration across Boundaries & Jurisdictions

About the LEADING LOCAL Series

2020 was fraught with unprecedented challenges ranging from a global pandemic, to extreme natural disasters, to a divisive and polarizing election cycle. Local government leaders are being asked to step up in entirely new ways. How can they serve as role models for their communities and their peers in these ever-changing times? LEADING LOCAL is a new thought leadership forum from ILG that is focused on addressing difficult topics and sensitive issues local government leaders face. Sessions will cover a wide range of issues and challenges like leading through conflict, civility and ethics, building personal resilience and more. LEADING LOCAL … because leadership starts at the local level. All LEADING LOCAL sessions will be specially curated with content for elected officials and staff at California cities, counties and special districts.


Western City Magazine
Beyond the Short Term: 
Land Use Principles to Advance Fair Housing Goals

By Karalee Browne, Assistant Executive Director

ILG has partnered with the California Department of Housing and Community Development to help local government agencies address housing needs in their communities. This Western City Magazine article highlights programs, initiatives, policies and legislation designed to tackle California’s growing housing crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated the inequities that exist in our cities. Perhaps one of the most glaring examples is the housing disparities that exist for renters and those experiencing homelessness. In general, these populations are more vulnerable than homeowners to the income disruption, stay-at-home policies and mass layoffs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past year, cities have implemented a variety of programs to help keep these vulnerable populations housed, but cities need to look beyond short-term relief. Local planning and policy decisions present some unique opportunities to remedy long-standing inequities, specifically through the housing element update process and activities related to fair housing laws (AB 686).”

Read more

Bakersfield Californian
Arvin, Lamont Area Chosen for Program to Improve Air Quality in Disadvantaged Communities

ILG congratulates BOOST community Arvin and local agency partner San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for being selected by the California Air Resources Board as a Year 3 AB617 community.

“After years of grassroots efforts to improve air quality, the communities of Arvin and Lamont now stand to receive tens of millions of dollars to address air pollution in their own neighborhoods.

The communities were chosen by the California Air Resources Board to be the next locations to participate in its Community Air Protection Program, implemented under AB 617, a bill signed into law in 2017 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. The program is designed to involve community members in developing new, innovative actions that go beyond existing state and regional regulations and programs to reduce air pollution in disproportionately burdened communities.”

Read more.


Beacon Revamped
ILG’s Beacon Program provides recognition and support for California local agencies that are working to build more vibrant, climate-conscious and sustainable communities. 

Beacon Awards Program Applications Opening Soon
The Beacon Awards Program recognizes voluntary efforts by local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and adopt policies and programs that promote sustainability. Award categories focus on progress toward saving energy, reducing GHG emissions, implementing sustainability best practices and adopting a Climate Action Plan. Participating agencies can apply for awards starting Thursday, April 1. Learn more.

Beacon Program Introduces New Award Categories
This year, ILG is offering new award categories that recognize achievement in Leadership, Innovation, Equity and Collaboration. 

  • 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

The award program has also been expanded and is now open to cities, counties, special districts and Beacon champions. Learn more.

Learn More and Apply to Join


ILG is the non-profit training and education affiliate of Cal Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the California Special Districts Association.

April Webinars

Is Your District Recession Ready?
Thursday, April 1
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free for CSDA members. Register here.

Litigation Lessons Learned From 2020
Tuesday, April 6
10:00 am – 11:30 am
Free for CSDA members. Register here.

Legislative, Legal & Local Responses to PFAS 2021
Tuesday, April 20
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free for CSDA members. Register here.

Webinar On Demand: Workforce Housing Program
Co-Hosted by ILG

Did you miss the CSCDA webinar about the Workforce Housing Program? Don’t worry, check out the recording! The webinar covered the need to identify strategies and funding to address the housing needs of all residents – including the “missing middle.” The webinar recording provides details on the Workforce Housing Program and tools available to help local governments meet the workforce housing needs in their communities. Access the recording here.

The CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government added more classes to their Winter-Spring 2021 Semester. Highlights include: Reimagining the World of Work, Financing California Counties and Initiating, Navigating, and Negotiating the Dynamics of Change in County Government. Browse the course catalog and see what’s ahead for April, May and June here.

April Classes

Cal Cities Planning Commissioners Academy

Legislative Update: Housing 
Includes housing panel presented by ILG
Thursday, April 1, 2021
9:00 am – 10:15 am

Learn about recent bills that have passed, as well as top issues that are trending in the legislature, and the significance for city planning commissioners.

ILG will be presenting information about technical assistance, resources and trainings that will be available this year through ILG’s partnership with the California Department of Housing and Community Development to help local leaders tackle the housing crisis and build their capacity as planning commissioners. 


  • Nicole Enright, Senior Program Manager, Institute for Local Government
  • ​Melissa Kuehne, Senior Program Manager, Institute for Local Government
  • Jason Rhine, Assistant Legislative Director, League of California Cities

Moderated by: Jason Rhine, Assistant Legislative Director, League of California Cities

Register here.

Cal Cities Ethics Trainings for Planning Commissioners (hosted by ILG)

Understanding Public Service Ethics Laws and Principles (AB 1234)
Friday, April 9, 2021
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Register here.

Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors and Officials (AB 1661)  
Friday, April 16, 2021 
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Register here.

Cal Cities City Attorney’s Virtual Conference 
Registration Now Open
April 29, 30
May 7, 14 & 21
Learn more and register here.


Webinar Series: Public Safety Reform & Innovation
Fridays, April 2, 9 & 16
9:30 – 11:15 a.m.
Public agencies across the nation are re-examining policing and public safety amidst public demands for racial justice, exploration of alternative approaches and reform. This webinar series will focus on current reform and restructuring efforts and necessary steps to implement change. The program is geared toward city and county officials, managers, police leadership and others interested in actionable steps toward safer and more equitable police practices and alternative public safety models. Co-hosted by ILG. Learn more and register here.

Article: Sales Tax – What Just Happened & What to Expect
The 2020 year was certainly full of challenges across California. Social unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, plus unprecedented wildfires across the Golden State posed significant strains in addressing community needs. Last January was generally trending in a positive direction, however, beginning in March, many city, county and special district budgets began to experience rapid declines in key general fund tax resources. Read more.

Article: Are Virtual Public Meetings Here to Stay?
As we conclude a full year of virtual meetings, the use of “Zoom” and other virtual meeting applications has become so commonplace that it might be easy to forget that such virtual meetings are not actually a permanent part of the open meeting laws. Read more.

E-Book: Coronavirus and Engaging Cities: Toward Community Recovery
Providing a lens on four strategic pathways to local recovery and reopening – mobility, housing and food security, local business and public realm – attention draws to the pivotal role of municipal governments. Bang the Table examines common challenges faced by cities and urban-level approaches that characterize municipal responses to rebuilding community beyond the pandemic. Download the e-book.

Article: Reach Codes Helping Cities Achieve Goals & Stay Competitive
With shelter in place orders due to the pandemic, countless local government leaders focused on how their communities want to live and work in the future. Reach codes have been gaining increasing attention statewide because they can help increase economic competitiveness, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, act on climate change and help ensure new and existing homes are built and remodeled with the health and welfare of occupants in mind. Read more.

Article: Preparing to Communicate a Coronavirus Case in Your Workforce
It is a deeply concerning scenario for employers and managers today: You receive a phone call with the news that one of your employees has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Do you have a response plan? Have you considered how you will communicate with your other employees, their families and other stakeholders? Read more.

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