California City News Turns 10!
It was ten years ago this week that we took a deep breath and hit send on our first eNewsletter, drafted and blasted from a Corner Bakery in Irvine. Since then our production has moved a few times, including Orange, Sacramento, Long Beach, even a little Sherman Oaks.
We started this site with a simple idea: make news about local government fun, easy to digest and widely read. Hopefully that was clear, and from the top we’ll say an enormous THANK YOU to the readers who have been with us from the beginning. Thanks to all of you who have joined since.
This began, like many things, as a side project and a hobby. Many of our first posts were written late in the evening, with a backdrop of microwaved leftovers and Knight Rider reruns. We soon saw a significant demand, as our newsletter saw thousands of subscribers in just a few short weeks and people came to us with issues they wanted in front of a local government audience.
In those heady first weeks we saw an OpEd by Kristine Thalman, then Executive Director of the Orange County BIA, and shortly thereafter by then-Mayor of Fontana Mark Nuaimi, Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, as well as the Executive Director of the California Sod Producers Association (why not?) and the President of the California Mexican American Chamber of Commerce.
You can see that first post and get a look at how our site looked that first week here.
The last ten years have seen substantial change in local government. The Bell Scandal, loss of Redevelopment and the passage of SB 375 are probably the three biggest stories we’ve covered. We’ve seen the State Budget go from a months-long “kabuki” -- Remember Abel Maldonado swapping his vote for the removal of .12 cent gas tax? -- to a relatively low key affair with Democratic Supermajorities running the show.
We’ve seen huge local government wins, like the passage of Prop 22, and stinging losses, like the loss of Redevelopment and enterprise zones. We’ve seen Bell, fights over Eminent Domain and endless gadflies, recalls, scandals and city ‘TMZ’ fodder.
Perhaps the most striking is how certain issues ebb and flow. Looking way back to our very first post, “Red City vs. Blue City” in 2007, we were talking about… Sanctuary Cities. An issue that’s come roaring back in the last 12-18 months.
The politics of local government have always been among our best-read topics. This 2009 story on California’s “10 most liberal and conservative cities” is still the 4th most read story in our history. Stories on the same topic still rank among our Top 20 all time.
Rounding out the top 5? Well #1, #2, #6, #7 and #9 are all public safety-related. #1 is a 2014 story on King City holding the state’s highest murder rate (they had 5 murders in 2013) and at #2, a 2013 ranking of the “FBI’s Safest Cities in America”. In 2016, a study ranking Stockton and San Bernardino as the state’s “most dangerous” clocked in at #7.
Oh and the lists, so many over the years. Our #3 all time story is a 2013 list of the Top 100 Place to Live, and #6 another ranking of the “safest” cities in California.
A little surprising is that Bell didn’t rank higher, though the reforms around pay transparency spearheaded in its wake sure did.
Here’s a full look at our Top 10 of all time.
We also have to give thanks to all the writers and staff who have helped us over the years: Andy, Anthony, Nicki, Brittany, Felipa, Jeannette, Chris, Mitch, Powers… even Kevin.
Special thanks also to Burke, Williams & Sorensen, who have advertised with us going way back to 2009. Southtech Systems and MuniServices have also supported our work for years, and we love newer advertisers including OpenGov, FM3 and Kaufman.
Today, CaliforniaCityNews is read by more 10,000 city officials, staff and other fans of local government. Our jobs board has listed, literally, thousands of openings going back to 2008, and has more than 60 openings right now.
And CityNews was just the beginning. CaliforniaCountyNews launched in 2009 and now has 8,000 subscribers. We launched CalSchoolNews just a year ago and already have 10,000 readers there, and our Marijuana Policy site is newer still and growing quickly.
Thank you. And as always drop us a line.