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September 2013

Whither the Sales Tax?

I spent my childhood in the Central San Joaquin Valley where summers are hot. Not quite California desert hot, but it wasn’t unusual to have days-long stretches of 100-plus degree temperatures. Luckily, my parents had a pool and we did not hesitate to use it. In fact, we spent most of our summer days in swimsuits and, occasionally, sunscreen. My dad also spent a good amount of time maintaining that pool, dripping liquids into a plastic doodad to test the chemicals in the pool water. Then he swished in some chlorine, maybe, and brushed and skimmed. It was slightly interesting, but time-consuming, and remember, very hot out. I don’t know that he ever thought he had any other option, he just did it.

On the Road to Recognize Our Counties’ Work

Innovation is alive and well in our counties. Yesterday, I had the honor of presenting at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting, recognizing the county for two outstanding, innovative programs.

The presentation was part of our annual CSAC Challenge Awards road show. Other presentations are on tap: Mono County next Tuesday, Nevada County the following week, followed by Sacramento and Stanislaus Counties. The list goes on. Overall, we will be presenting awards at 11 board meetings over the next two months.

Pondering Innovation at the Local Level

How does innovation occur in local government? What can local officials interested in seeing their agencies engage in innovation do to support innovation? The Institute for Local Government (ILG) board of directors considered these topics at its spring meeting. A recent report by the New America Foundation’s California Civic Innovation Project provided the basis for [...]

California County Engineers Tackle Tough Policy Issues

While the California Legislature was feverishly working last week to pass last- minute bills, California’s County Engineers were looking at ways to affect the future of California’s infrastructure.

Almost 150 public works directors and staff from 37 counties around the state convened in Sacramento for their 8th Annual Policy Conference. With a focus on legislative policy development, the engineers tackled tough issues facing California’s public works departments, the public that they serve, and innovative ways to improve our declining infrastructure.

Do Healthy Counties Make Healthy People? Or Vice Versa?

There’s a story circulating today on the MSN news site that lists the 10 counties across the country where people live longer on average than elsewhere. Three of them, Marin, Santa Clara and San Mateo are here in California. These are not necessarily the places where individual people live to be the oldest—rather, these are the counties where the median age at death is the highest—in other words, more people are living longer there.

The story points out that most of the counties that made the list—including the three from California — generally have better access to health care — but the article points out another factor too.