Counties Recognized for Sustainability Achievements

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

Thankful for Public Resources and Public Officials’ Wise Stewardship of Them

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

Conserving Ag Land: Funding the Williamson Act

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

Taking the Initiative: PPIC Poll and Panel Suggest Changes to Process

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