Redondo quits League of California Cities

by Garth Meyer

The City of Redondo Beach ended its membership in the League of California Cities last week after more than 80 years.

The 3-2 city council vote March 21 came after Councilman Todd Loewenstein told of viewpoints being shut down at the League’s annual conference last fall in Long Beach.

“Their mission is to advocate and educate for local control. And they failed at that, in my view” said Loewenstein.

The debate was about State Bill 9 and the constitutional amendment advocated by “Our Neighborhood Voices”, co-founded by Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand.

The League represents all California cities, and disagreement about SB9 exists from city to city.

“I don’t mind the split, but they aren’t allowing opposing views,” said Loewenstein.

Jeff Kiernan, The League’s Southern California Advocate, Regional Public Affairs manager, spoke at the Redondo Beach council meeting last Tuesday, inviting the city to remain in the ranks.

“We are disappointed in the Council’s vote to not belong to Cal Cities in 2023,” said Rachel Vincent, League spokesperson, in a statement. “Cal Cities is the largest and the only statewide organization protecting local control for cities in the legislature and Congress, at the ballot box, and in the courts. Redondo Beach has been a member advocating with us against SB 9 and so many other anti-local control state bills. Together, our collective efforts enable us to stop dozens of bills each year that would undermine local authority.”

Kiernan talked about how the League is in the process of changing its bylaws to avoid situations like what occurred in Long Beach.

 Loewenstein said that views in support of the constitutional amendment (against SB9) were curtailed because of what League representatives said were people needing to get to flights that Friday afternoon.


District Two City Councilman Todd Loewenstein


“That was intentional,” said Loewenstein. “My theory is, I think they’re siding with a lot of what Sacramento is doing these days.”

While the Redondo Beach city council has been in agreement that the state is asking too much of them as far as new housing requirements, councilmembers Laura Emdee and Christian Horvath remained in favor of staying in the League, Emdee noting support given for the city’s case against SB415 (a state law that set all city, state and county elections to be held on certain dates).

“Let’s not forget the good things the League has done for us,” she said. 

City attorney Mike Webb clarified that the League is now acting in support of a Redondo lawsuit against SB9, at the city’s request, and if the city withdrew, “that will no longer exist.”

“It’s really challenging  for cities in the South Bay, that are already densely populated,” Loewenstein said. “I felt the League wasn’t following its mission. There’s nothing more important about local control than land use. A message needed to be sent – you need to hear people out.”

The city paid annual dues of $22,000 to the League, as of last year.

The city of Torrance also canceled its membership last year for similar, SB9-related reasons.

Non-member cities may still attend League conferences, though it costs more to register.

“One-size fits all doesn’t fit land usage. And they’re treating it that way,” said Loewenstein.

Redondo Beach will reconsider its membership next year. 

“Year by year, we’ll take a look,” Loewenstein said.ER


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