Congratulations, San Diego and Sonoma counties! At the CSAC Annual Conference yesterday, both counties were honored for their sustainability achievements. Each received Beacon Spotlight Awards for their leadership to save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions. Their efforts demonstrate the effectiveness of voluntary action at the local level. Continue reading
It’s “Thankful November” (#thankfulnovember) season on social media. The notion is to take time during this season of Thanksgiving to reflect on the various blessings in one’s life.
At the Institute for Local Government, we are thankful for our local democratic institutions, through which communities pool resources and energies to provide necessary services and facilities that benefit all (or, as we believe at the Institute, to create great places… Continue reading
I grew up on a small “ranch” in Penngrove, Sonoma County, that had two houses for people and about a dozen houses for chickens—over the years, family farming in the poultry industry became less and less profitable and my father got out of the chicken business altogether in the late 1960s. Since then the chicken houses are all gone and another house—for people—has been added to the top half of… Continue reading
Research issued this year showed that more than 75 percent of county leaders in California believe that their public meetings are dominated by people with narrow agendas. Most of those surveyed confirmed that they want to have broader participation in such meetings. Yet many indicated difficulties engaging people beyond “the usual participants” — especially when trying to reach immigrants and young people. (Find the survey at http://bit.ly/1duueRL.)
More and more, Californians are turning to the initiative process to propose and enact sweeping changes to public policy in everything from taxes and school funding to social policies including immigration and gay marriage. As we have seen with Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage, the initiatives do not always stand the test of constitutional scrutiny. The initiative process can, to some degree, circumvent the delicate balance of powers… Continue reading