Rose Institute Launches Public Official Training

Twenty years ago, Southern California’s local elected and appointed officials never dreamed employee pension costs would one day threaten to overwhelm their budgets, or that economic development issues would consume so much of their time.

But those are the realities local leaders are forced to deal with today as the region’s explosive growth continues to put pressure on city and local governments.

In response to the increasing need for more information about such issues, CMC’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government is launching the Rose Academy for Civic Engagement, a first-of-its-kind training program specifically for Southern California public officials.

“We brought together elected leaders, business leaders, and academicians representing a wide range of political views and policy perspectives to give public officials cutting-edge information about some of the biggest challenges facing local governments in Southern California,” said Professor Ralph A. Rossum, Rose Institute director. “Thoroughly understanding all the issues is essential to good local governance.”

The inaugural session of the Academy for Civic Engagement will be launched Sept. 23-24 by a distinguished group of public and private sector professionals and academicians, including Southern California Association of Governments Executive Director Mark Pisano, State Sen. Tom Torlakson, Ontario City Manager Greg Devereaux, California Water Resources Control Board Member Richard Katz, Lewis Homes Operating Co. Exec. VP Randall Lewis, and Diversified Pacific Development Corp. President Jeffrey Burum.

The program also will feature a lively lunchtime debate on public policy issues between former State Senate Minority Leader Jim Brulte and State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Robert Hertzberg.

The Academy will offer a unique public-private sector perspective on key issues facing the region that include:

HousingThe fundamentals of housing affordability and availability and the changing role of the development industry

TransportationAn overview of transportation funding, current strategies for goods movement, and links among land use, transportation, and air quality

Government Finances in CaliforniaThe looming fiscal crisis of pension and benefit costs, the changing complexion of government finance in California, and the fiscalization of land use.

Economic Development Strategies to improve Southern California’s business climate and enhance the region’s job base.

Water Quantity and quality issues; Senate Bill 221 and its impact on residential development.

The Academy is a certificate program of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. The research work of the Institute focuses on redistricting, fiscal analysis, California demographics, survey research, and legal and regulatory analysis.

The Rose Institute also continues its collaboration with the Kosmont Companies to publish the annual Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey. This survey, comprised of approximately 367 county and city profiles across all 50 states, provides information highlighting the business advantages of each community.

A second session of the Academy for Civic Engagement is planned for March 10-11, 2006, delving into issues such as the interrelationship of transportation and housing policies, the relationship of cities and counties with Sacramento, solid waste, waste water, and storm water runoff.

“Learning never ends,” Rossum said. “No one appreciates that more than elected and appointed officials who are charged with making policy decisions that critically affect people’s lives.”

For more information, contact G. David Huntoon at the Rose Institute, 909 621-8159, or Evie Lazzarino, CMC director of Public Affairs & Communications, 909-607-9099.