As a political science professor, an elected official and a member of the National Civic League Board of Directors, Ron Loveridge has been a consistent and influential advocate of local government innovation, collaborative problem-solving, and active civic engagement.
Most recently, he was a driving force behind the League’s decision to launch a Model City Charter Revision project in 2020. The effort culminated in the publication of the Ninth Edition of the Model City Charter in November.
Loveridge’s familiarity with city charters and the role of the League in the development and spread of the city manager-city council form of government goes back to the 1960s when he was a graduate student at Stanford University. While researching his doctoral dissertation, he “read just about everything written” on the subject of city managers.” The result was his 1971 book, City Managers in Legislative Politics.
An associate professor at the University of California, Riverside, Loveridge was first elected to the local city council in 1979. In 1993 he ran for mayor and was elected, serving until 2012 when he decided not to run for another term. Loveridge is widely heralded for his collaborative leadership style as mayor and his active involvement in regional, state, and national organizations, including a term as president of the National League of Cities.
In 1998, Loveridge traveled to Mobile, Alabama, as member of Riverside’s All-America City Award winning delegation. Fifteen years later, he was asked by then National Civic League Board-member Bev Perry, a former mayor of Brea, California, to join the board.
Loveridge’s interest in regional governance, civic engagement, and the importance of social capital in a democracy, as well as his experience with the All-America City Award, made him a natural fit for the League’s governing body. Also, he recently noted, two of his political heroes—former Senator Bill Bradley and former San Antonio Mayor and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros—were both former chairs of the National Civic League Board of Directors.
Loveridge is a believer in “the new localism,” a theory developed by urban experts Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak that heralds the growing importance of cities and metropolitan regions as drivers of political and economic innovation and change.
When asked what about the challenges facing America’s cities today, Loveridge mentioned the growing influence of new technologies and social media networks. “We’ve shifted from the town square to the digital square,” said Loveridge. “It’s how we continue to govern ourselves in this new digital square.”
Loveridge laments the decline of local news organizations and the lack of trusted mediating organizations to provide accurate, widely shared sources of information. The result is an “informational free-for-all,” which seems to be driving anger, division, and, often, a limited understanding of policy choices.
Loveridge, was one of four co-chairs of the Model City Charter Revision Project Steering Committee. He also served on the board’s Model City Charter Task Force and on one of five working groups that met monthly for a year to develop ideas for the new edition.
Loveridge is leaving the League Board of Directors after serving three consecutive, three-year terms, the limit of service on the board under the League’s bylaws. “Ron brought a wealth of experience and wisdom to our board of directors,” said League President Doug Linkhart. “His leadership on the Model City Charter revisions was particularly valuable.”
In addition to his position as associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, Loveridge is director of the university’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.