Who is the Mayor of Los Angeles? how bout Houston? With the exception of New York’s Mayor’s Michael Bloomberg few people out of their communities cities limits know the mayor of a givin city.
During a layover in Denver, I was talking to a stranger who asked where I was from, “Sacramento” the man who was from a small town in Wyoming said” Kevin Johnson” is the mayor right?
Kevin Johnson’s well publicized efforts to retain the Sacramento Kings has made him well known to sports fans who supports his attempts to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
A couple months ago, the Mayor announced his intent to run for a second term as the mayor of California’s capital city. He has strong support some of the states strongest and most well known Democrats. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Lieutenant Govenor and the former mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom.
The former Phoenix Suns point guard will have the support of current and former NBA stars. What is missing is support from Sacramento. It appears he last lost support from many groups that supported him in 2008.
His position on gay marriage has put him at odds with the Stonewall Democrats, the area’s largest club.(Stonewall supported Heather Fargo in 2008) His non support of an boycott of Arizona has hurt his relationship with some high profile latinos in the city.
The issue that brought him national attention ,the Sacramento Kings has hurt him locally. There are many in the city who believe too much of the mayors attentions has been focused on the Kings and a new arena and not enough in solving the city’s economic and crime issues. Voters soundly rejected a measure to build an downtown arena in 2006.
Strong Mayor II (Burnt Bridges)
One of the ugliest episodes in the Mayor’s administration was on June 23,2010. A confident Kevin Johnson entered City Hall knowing he had the support of the council to take Strong Mayor to the voters. The change to the cities charter required voter approval. This change would allow the mayor to hire and fire the City Attorney, City Manager and other key staff positions as well would give the mayor veto powers on the city’s budget.
Most cities including Sacramento has the Council-Manager type of goverment where those postiions are approved by a vote of the entire council-where the mayor is one vote. His quest for strong mayor,was opposed by many in the city notably former two term mayor Anne Rudin. Rudin worked spent 21 years in city hall she and others questioned was the current system was broken?
Rudin said the current council-manager form of government is widely used throughout the U.S. and provides opportunities for the mayor to exercise leadership – “and he doesn’t just have to be a figurehead.”
But if the relationship is changed to one in which the mayor can veto an action that is supported by a majority of the City Council, “it would make the council and the mayor ‘adversarial,’” she said.
“Is this democracy?” Rudin asked. “Is there really a need for such a change? I am sure that Sacramento would be tied up with legal disputes for a long, long time.”
Rudin said the change to a strong mayor system might also create problems for Sacramento in its relations with the county, which doesn’t have a mayor at all in its overall government structure.
Before the meeting , the confident Mayor Johnson directed the City Attorney to draft the measure for November 2010 ballot. After a vote of 7-2 against the measure, Mayor Johnson went on a 30 minute televised tirade. Attacking many of the councilpersons some who endorced him for mayor in 2008.
So one might question the wisdom of an resent announcement that he intends to get the strong mayor measure on the ballot next year.
2008-2012 and the big Question
The 2008 campaign represented many firsts for Sacramento. It was the first Sacramento mayorial race with a high profile candidate it was also the most expensive. Kevin Johnson spent nearly $3.10 per vote. The incumbent Mayor Fargo spent nearly $1.25 per vote. Of course these are chips compared to Michael Bloombergs $174.00 per vote.
Mayor Johnson has baggage, with the cities unions, many of the city’s neighborhood assoications. However ,he seems to have support from Business. The support from Police fire councilmembers remain in question, as is the Democrat’s,Democratic support.
Steve Maviglio, his campaign manager told the Bee, “There likely is nothing the mayor can do to garner the support of some of these groups this time around”