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Murrieta Councilman Suggests Split from League of California Cities

Murrieta is charged $25,000 annually for its membership with the League.

A Murrieta city council member recently suggested what could be considered a bold move.

Councilman Randon Lane asked his fellow council members to discuss splitting from the League of California Cities.

Murrieta is charged $25,000 annually for its membership with the League. Member cities reportedly benefit from legislative and legal advocacy, among other perks, according to Cacities.org.

After just returning from a League conference, Lane during a public meeting June 19 said he has "been somewhat disappointed with some of the decisions that have been made."

The League has a Sacramento staff and its member cities in support or opposition of pending legislation.

"They are trying to push for a stronger role in how they control what we are doing in our cities," Lane said.

"I believe it would be in our city’s best interest to have a discussion about our city’s participation in the League. I think the direction the League takes us in is somewhat concerning."

Lane, who sits on the League's Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee and serves on the League's Board of Directors, cited its recent stance on Senate Bill 186 as an example.

SB 186 would give the State Controller authority "to perform an audit or investigation of any county, city, special district, or joint powers authority, if the Controller has made findings that the local agency is not complying with the financial requirements in state law, state grant agreements, local charters, or local ordinances..."

The bill also states local agencies are responsible for the cost of the audit, but that the fees may be waived if the investigation comes up clean. A payment plan would be set up for any costs that could not be waived.

Lane said he was one of two who voted in opposition of the bill, while the majority voted to "oppose unless amended."

"This bill gives the Controller more authority to, on their own regard, come in and start auditing a city. The worst part about that is if they choose to do that, the city has to pay the bill."

Lane said he was philosophically opposed—and believed many others in attendance were—to the state having any more of a hand in what cities are doing.

"A comment was made that 'this bill is going to pass so we might as well get what we can and move forward.'"

Lane requested a city subcommittee discussion with Mayor Doug McAlllister, who currently serves as president of League of California Cities' Riverside County Division. Twenty-eight Riverside County cities—from neighboring Temecula to Banning to Palm Desert to Wildomar—belong to the League.

"I would ask that we have a discussion about our role and whether we participate, and past that I would like to bring it back to the full council," Lane said.

There could be another option for Murrieta should Lane's colleagues agree.

Councilman Alan Long said he was in on a recent conference call with the Association of California Cities, which he said was "much different" than the League of California Cities.

"I have been in contact with them as an alternative to the League for quite some time, so I am anxious to continue those meetings to see how that can benefit our city, our region and our state," Long said.

Sue K June 27, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Anything that costs the city budget $25,000.00 should be scrutinized with a fine toothed comb, so kudos to Randon Lane for this piece of action. However, the content of SB186 sounds like a much needed oversight which might prevent city councils from holding a free rein, the like of which happened in the city of Bell in years past. Perhaps it would be a good idea to replace the concept of a state oversight with an independent one, open to fair bidding competition, that would cost far less and yield public transparency.
D June 27, 2012 at 05:53 PM
It seems to me that Councilman Lane is concerned with losing the ability for Murrieta to make decisions based on local needs, not those of other cities. As local police departments and school districts can tailor funds and services to fit, the bigger the organization, the less the little guy matters. I live in little old Murrieta. If I want some sweeping mindset change to suit some far flung issue, I'll move to L.A. or N.Y. Thank you Councilman Lane for considering this matter.
PJH June 28, 2012 at 03:50 AM
James Cline why are you always so negative and angry? Checks and balances is always a positive in government or for a "small town" like Murrieta. I'm not a big fan of Mr. Lane but I will compliment him on his efforts to save the city money, so I agree that we can pull out of The League and put the $25,000.00 towards something else. So if I was an educated person and I was willing to work for $10.00 an hour because I believe in sacrifice to better the city I live in that makes me "unqualified" and "less competent"? I eagerly await your response.
PJH June 28, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I'm ready to pay more taxes and sacrifice my time and energy to help this city move forward. I suggested more then 10 plus years ago that the city council take a trip over to Irvine and look at the Spectrum. A place that families can go to during the day and in the evenings adults can enjoy. Oh and by the way it would generate quite a few tax dollars but instead the city wanted a developer who was going to turn the triangle into a cowboy themed attraction, after Temecula had started the development of Old Town. I'm sure you can tell by the vast emptiness of the triangle between the 15 and 215 how great things have gone for Murrieta. We have plenty of empty industrial complexes. The city council back in the late 90's was trying to keep Murrieta as a bedroom community while Temecula saw the future and now they have a very solid tax base and all the major stores. The sad truth is the only businesses opening up in Murrieta seem to be massage parlors and tattoo shops. What I’ve just typed may sound negative but it’s just the truth, I love Murrieta and wish it would have grown along with Temecula. If the city council would've focused on the development of the city back in the 90's and perhaps recruited qualified people to help them with the task, instead they forced businesses to go elsewhere. Your turn, go…
Lynda StarWriter June 28, 2012 at 07:22 PM
....alrighty, then, friends and neighbors. I believe dues benefit the members in professional affiliations/unions/leagues/country clubs/local clubs, etc. If I may simplify the grandiosity of the $25,000 annual fee for the League of California Cities by envisioning a $400 / year gym membership. A variety of fitness goals can be achieved with the help of the trained staff, certain equipment and the encouragement/stories shared among the peeps who go to the gym. Similarly, membership in League of California Cities (www.cacities.org) proffers a bundle of features and benefits pertinent to all things muncipal. Does one absolutely have to join a club to accomplish goals? Of course not. Then why is this important? Should SB 186 pass, I think State Controller John Chaing (www.sco.ca.gov) SHOULD conduct an audit when red flags (red ink) appear on the city's books. Fear of the state conducting an audit just for the sake of doing so eludes me. I perceive the League of California Cities to be a municipal think tank wherein members don't have to reinvent the dynamics of cityhood. Rather, membership is a synergistic, experiential, collective bringing home the adage, "two heads are better than one." Access to the representation of a multitude of cities may not be ideal in all ways, but it's certainly helpful -- as is the gym. On the flip-side, SB 186 may not pass. It's easier to address what currently exists. Perhaps we can cross that bridge when it appears.

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