The contract cities philosophy began in 1954 when the Lakewood Plan was born. It didn’t take too long before other new contracting cities were born. On November 20, 1957, eight cities gathered to form the California Contract Cities Association. They were: Lakewood, Bellflower, Duarte, La Puente, Norwalk, Paramount, Rolling Hills, and Santa Fe Springs. The first By-Laws were drafted in 1958.
The first Annual Municipal Seminar (AMS) was held in Palm Springs in May 1960. There were 25 participating member cities. The County Board of Supervisors proposed a 25% increase to the Sheriff’s services contract, setting the stage for the first major confrontation between the county and the new CCCA. The first amendments to the By-Laws were made in 1966. At the AMS in 1968, the Board voted to retain Voigt & Associates to provide administrative and public relations services. The Full Costing System of contract cost accounting surfaced in the late 1960’s. This ended up before the Grand Jury.
Discussions and negotiations on the Full Costing System continued into the 1970’s. Assemblyman Joe Gonsalves (City of Dairy Valley, now Cerritos) introduced a new bill that was passed and signed. In January 1974, the City of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Gonsalves Act. CCCA won the case in Superior Court and the decision was upheld by the State Supreme Court. More political wrangling went on. Bills were introduced in 1974 and again in 1977 by the County and ICA that would rescind the Gonsalves Act. Even more bills were introduced in 1978, but CCCA prevailed. CCCA filed a lawsuit in 1979 asking the Court to decide the constitutional question of who had the statutory obligation to provide emergency ambulance services in Los Angeles County.
The issue of the County’s statutory responsibility for providing emergency medical services continued well into the 1980’s. Five years of negotiations between CCCA and the County ensued. It finally went up through the courts with CCCA winning at each stage. The Superior Court found that the statutory obligation did, constitutionally, fall on the County. The Appeals Court upheld the decision and the State Supreme Court refused to hear the County’s request for a hearing. The County continued the fight for several years, but the decision in favor of CCCA was never changed. The Gonsalves Act was expanded to cover any county in the State that offered contract services, which increased CCCA’s membership. Relationship problems between cities and their local Sheriff’s forces developed. CCCA worked with the Sheriff’s Department and resolve the issues. Property tax issues with no-tax cities developed because of Proposition 13. CCCA proposed three pieces of legislation over several years, but CCCA prevailed. Executive Director Voigt announced he would retire after 20 years with CCCA. After considering several applicants, Sam Olivito was selected to replace Voigt. Sam joined the staff in 1985 and has been at the helm ever since.
The watch continued in Sacramento for new threats and challenges to the transfer of tax credit to the no-and-low-tax cities. The last legal hurdle in transferring the City/County Liability Trust Fund from County Administration to the California Joint Powers Authority Administration occurred. The Association formed the Contract Cities Liability Trust Fund Oversight Committee and City/County Claims Board. This took the combined efforts of more than one Administration. Membership in the Association grew to 77 member cities statewide. The By-Laws Committee recommended having a City/Manager/Administrator on the Executive Committee, which was approved during the 1999 Annual Municipal Seminar. CCCA successfully stopped an effort in the Sacramento Legislature to swap sales tax for property tax at the local level.
The Contract Cities was developed. The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) portion of the 1972 Clean Water Act and Phase II posed a very big issue that promised to be addressed during several administrations in the future. CCCA joined the effort to get the U.S. government to use all diplomatic means available to persuade Mexico to reverse its current extradition policy toward those accused of crimes that may carry a life in prison or death sentence penalty in the U.S. We worked with Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson who introduced AB-4X that would restore the Vehicle License Fee (VLF), which was passed. We made legislators who requested our PAC contributions more accountable. We worked to get Proposition 1A (2004-2005) passed. This protected local government revenues. CCCA worked on countywide services issues that resulted in lower increases to cities than expected. We worked with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors when they voted to take the seven zones in L.A. for emergency medical transport out of the hands of one ambulance provider and split them up among 4 providers.
The 2010s brought significant change and progress for CCCA. Longtime Executive Director Sam Olivito retired after 32 years of service to the organization in 2016 as new Executive Director Marcel Rodarte took the helm. Our legacy of fiercely advocating for our members continued to grow. On the advocacy front, CCCA was instrumental in defeating AB 1250 and protecting the loca contracting model. Additionally, CCCA played a key role in advocating with legislators to defeat SB 50 which would have usurped local control as part of sweeping housing reforms. Our Association continued to grow in strength by reaching a peak membership of 76 cities in 2017. Our robust advocacy efforts helped us to realize unprecedented influence with county and state policymakers to continue our tradition of promoting the contract model while strengthening local control and governance.
The second decade of the new millennium started with new challenges resulting from a global pandemic, civil unrest, and a resultant economic downturn. CCCA canceled its Annual Municipal Seminar for the first time in its history and adapted to the need to social distance by conducting the first ever virtual installation. All of this in the first few months of the decade!