A screenshot from the livestream of the Calimesa City Council meeting held May 6.
The Calimesa City Council last week discussed the merits of their continued membership in Cal Cities. (Screenshot)

The Calimesa City Council last week discussed the merits of its membership in the League of California Cities (Cal Cities), a membership that costs the city roughly $6,800 per year.

“I have no use for Cal Cities, I don’t think they do a damn thing for anybody in the [San Gorgonio Pass Area],” Mayor Bill Davis said at the May 6 meeting. “I can’t see anything that they’ve done for anybody in the Pass, not just us.”

However, Councilmember Linda Molina, who is the city’s representative for Cal Cities, said that she absolutely sees the value of membership in the organization.

“The relationship with Cal cities is one of advocacy,” she said.

That advocacy, for Molina, includes training programs for newly elected officials, the sharing of resources that Calimesa on its own would not have access to, networking opportunities as well as the ability to lobby state and federal legislators as part of a large group instead of as an individual city.

“It’s not perfect,” she said. “There are some cities who are considering pulling their membership because they’re not happy with some of the things that Cal Cities has voted on or maybe has not voted on, but I think for our city, I think it’s a good relationship.”

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Both Councilmember John Manly and Councilmember Jeff Cervantez said they felt that the organization’s continued advocacy for local control at the state level and the savings they receive on Cal Cities training programs make the cost of continued membership worth it.

Though for Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Hewitt, she felt that for the cost, the city was not getting adequate representation within the organization.

“We’re very conservative here, and they’re not necessarily,” she said. “We’re not necessarily on the same page with them. I don’t want to step on your toes, and I get where you’re coming from with making connections and learning. I’d like to see something more in our area, though, that represents us and the cities around us.”

And while the item was just a discussion at the meeting, City Manager Will Kolbow said he would work with Molina to bring in a representative from Cal Cities to speak directly with the council and answer their questions.

A full recording of the meeting can be found here on the city’s YouTube channel.

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