2011 Helen Putnam Award Winning Entries
Community Services and Economic Development
The Hayward Public Mural Art Program was instituted as an anti-graffiti tool to combat the on-going and ever challenging graffiti problems on public and private properties. Since its inception over two years ago, residents, the City of Hayward and general public have enjoy beautiful works of art, seen a reduction in graffiti and a noticeable cost savings to property owners and the City's budget.
Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, & Community Involvement
The City of Concord still had a $5 million structural budget deficit at the beginning of 2010 (the middle of the City's fiscal year) after reducing staff by 25 percent, instituting mandatory furloughs, attaining pay and retirement concessions from employees and reducing programs and services. Essential services were on the chopping block. Before decisions about these drastic cuts were made, the City Council wanted to get meaningful input from the public about which programs were of the highest priority. Staff designed an engaging, interactive and thought-provoking game entitled 'Penny For Your Thoughts,' where funding for City programs was put in the hands of the participants.
Health & Wellness Programs
The Project Safety Net (PSN) Community Task Force is our community response to the tragic teen suicides the Palo Alto community experienced between May 2009 and January 2011. The PSN Community Task Force is broadly represented with parents, medical and other healthcare professionals from Stanford University, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto Medical Foundation and private practice, youth-serving non-profits, city commissions, the Palo Alto Youth Council and many others. The mission of the PSN Community Task Force is to develop and implement an effective, comprehensive, community-based mental health plan for overall youth well-being in Palo Alto. For more information please visit www.PSNPaloAlto.org.
Housing Programs & Innovations
The WaterSmart Landscapes Grant Program is an innovative source reduction program created to reduce green waste and excessive run-off water in Cathedral City housing developments. The program educates, encourages and assists homeowners in replacing green landscaping with Xeriscape, a more drought tolerant landscaping. This alternative landscaping method saves local homeowners time and money while preserving one of our most precious natural resources, water.
The Collaborative Problem-solving model is and Internal Civic Engagement technique that breaks away from traditional, top down decision making. It is a change model that promotes engagement and involvement in and organization (or a community). To apply the collaborative model to the budget dilemma, the City formed the Budget Strategic Planning (BSP) group. All employees were invited to participate regardless of their positional authority. Employees from every department participated.
League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations
Gonzales Grows Green involves long-term sustainability efforts to improve the entire community economically, environmentally, and with improved social equity. Small communities like Gonzales have many small businesses that have limited ability to invest in future planning activities or community involvement. Businesses need to remain profitable.
Planning & Environmental Quality
The City of Hollister partnered with ClearSpot Emergy Inc. to build a one megawatt solar power plant at the City's new wastewater treatment plant. Under a power purchase agreement, the City anticipates millions of dollars in savings and makes a valuable contribution to the environment for future generations.
The Santa Cruz Police Department, working with two recent UC Santa Cruz graduates, developed the first consumer-focused law enforcement iPhone application in the country. The free mobile application is available via iTunes and the Apple store. The mobile app provides access to the police department's scanner feed, online crime maps, videos, photos and a new departmental blog. In addition, consumers are able to submit crime tips from their mobile phone and view Nixle alerts.
Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation
Rides4Neighbors is an alternative transportation program providing eligible older and disabled transit dependent adults with rides to essential needs appointments, including but not limited to medical, dental, grocery and personal shopping, personal care or business, and social or civic engagements. The rides are provided by volunteer drivers, using their personal vehicles, who are compensated only by mileage reimbursement. In addition, a bi-weekly shopping shuttle provides door-to-door service to the local shopping center contracted through a local church; wheelchair accessible van service can be utilized by non-ambulatory wheelchair users; and, discounted taxi coupons can be purchased for use with Yellow Cab.
Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government
For the past several years, the Environmental Conservation Division has been working directly with Elementary School administrators and children to create fun and worthwhile environmental programs. City youth eagerly participate in these recycling efforts, helping to divert waste from landfills. Youth-oriented programs give kids an active way to have a strong voice in their local government and become stewards for the environment.
Rosie's Girls is a national program designed to build self-esteem, physical confidence, and leadership capacity for adolescent girls through an exploration of the trades and other non-traditional activities. During this intensive, three-week summer program, and a series of follow-up mentoring opportunities, girls learn and apply skills in the technical trades, such as carpentry, welding, firefighting, plumbing, automotive, and street maintenance. The program also includes creative expression, physical challenges, and critical thinking about gender equity. The RGSM core curriculum, and extended leadership opportunities include the development of political skills and financial literacy through a variety of hands-on activities in the civic arena.