Tag Archives: Strong Mayor

Sacramento’s First King

After last night’s Sacramento City Council meeting, about all we can do is whistle through our teeth.  With no public input whatsoever, a team of lawyers slapped together an initiative, plucking out only the most powerful aspects of mayoral authority in other cities.  This initiative, without a doubt, fundamentally changes Sacramento’s form of governance.  And each and every signature on that petition was bought and paid for by special interests.

Kevin Johnson doesn’t want to be a strong mayor.  He wants to be Sacramento’s King.  A strong mayor is about leadership – charisma, persuasion, hard work.  Joe Serna had it.  Phil Eisenberg, too.  We have yet to see anything in the form of true leadership from KJ.

If we approve his initiative, not only would it go into effect immediately (rather than wait for the people to choose the mayor who first uses the new sweeping powers), he’d get two votes on the council for over two years.  The mayor would get to hire and fire over 600 city employees with no one the wiser and no accountability to us, the citizens.  As the city attorney stated it, the mayor’s power under KJ’s proposal would be “unfettered.”

Ah.  But the proponents say: “There’s an independent budget analyst.  That will do the trick for us and bring some balance.”  Really?  I’d love to meet the bureaucrat who had the stones to square off against a 600-strong legion composed of KJ-appointees.  No checks.  No balances.  Just all KJ all the time.  Until death do us part.  Because, unlike any other strong mayor proposal, there is no limit to the amount of time KJ can spend in office.  Yes, my dear Sacramentans, KJ’s proposal has no term limits.

Let’s applaud Rob Fong for speaking truth to power – SPECIAL INTERESTS paid to get the mayor’s initiative on the ballot, not voters.  Not one of us has had a whisper of input into the mayor’s proposal and yet the mayor’s drumbeat is “let the voters be heard.”  All I heard last night were a gaggle of business interests and swooning basketball fans.

A new form of governance cannot be about KJ now or ever.  Sure, he’s an easy foil for opponents because of his brazen power grab, but maybe Sacramento does need a new look at its charter and how we raise our status as a world-class City?

Fortunately, Kevin McCarty wisely suggested several months ago that we do more than just debate the mayor’s initiative; the City Council approved and appointed a Charter Review Commission.  The CRC has been seeking out the best and the brightest from around the nation to look closely at our form of governance and, guess what?  They’ll come out with a report in just a few months.  Oh.  And their meetings are open to the public, unlike Tom Hiltachk and KJ’s strategy meetings.

Come on Sacramento!  Get out there.  This could be the moment we are called up to the big leagues or forever relegated to the bench.  Speak up.  Learn about our City government.  And decide that you want a corruption-free form of government.  With or without KJ.