Sex and Ethics in Sacramento City Hall The Good-The Bad-The Ugly

Many companies, organizations require their new employees to read or take a small course in sexual harassment at the time of hire.  For many organizations the course is mandatory for every employee.

While the course is mandatory for governmental employees it isn’t for many elected officials.

This oversite has cost governments hundreds of millions of dollars.   Earlier this year the groping of two female aids by an Assemblyman has cost the taxpayers of New York more than a half a million dollars

In California,businesses with more than 50 workers are required give sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors every two years.  This includes Legislators and their staffers.

 Sacratomatoville:  In a  November 2013 memo to council members, Sacramento City Attorney James Sanchez, told the City Council  “elected officials are not generally considered employees of the city and therefore are not required to complete the training.”

However, all elected supervise employees on behalf of the city,” the memo continued. “This office strongly recommends that all electeds receive the training required under AB 1825. The fact that training was received would put the city and the elected in a better position to argue that the city had taken reasonable steps necessary to prevent and correct harassment and discrimination.”  

 Just three council members were included ( Allen Warren, Jeff Harris and Rick Jennings) in a list of elected officials who have undergone training offered by the city. That list, compiled by the City Clerk’s Office, was obtained by The Sacramento Bee through the Public Records Act.   From the Sacramento Bee 

The Good

A few weeks ago, Council Member Steve Hansen asked the city auditor to review the city’s sexual harassment policies.  This request ruffled some feathers on the board. There are many influential organizations within the city requesting an Independent Council free of ties to the city.

Despite negative press in resent months the city seemed to be well…….


Tomorrow, the City Council will vote on a “good government” package that includes the creation of an ethics commission, an ethics code an commission tasked with drawing the boundaries for City Council Districts

In the proposal, elected officials would be required to take sexual harassment training every two years and would place restrictions on nepotism.   Newly elected officials would take ethics training within 60 days of taking office.

The Bad


The ethic commissioners (made up of administrative law judges, law school ethics professors, professional arbitrators and judges with expertise in elections) The commissioners would serve four-year terms and be appointed by the mayor, with confirmation from the City Council. The Mayor created the ” Good Governance Committee”  The committee met privately and are not subject to government transparency laws. Some members on this committee have been accused of a form of harassment by city employees.

Transparency and the Mayor have been at odds during his term .  There isn’t an indication this will change any time soon.  An independent ethic commission free from ties with city government (The Mayor and City Council ) is the only solution for Sacramento.


Perhaps a first in history of the City of Sacramento
First Mayor Johnson was accused of sexual misconduct with a city staffer
The accuser and her attorney are silent and are no longer pursuing a lawsuit against the city.
Then Vice Mayor Allen Warren was accused of sexual misconduct with a city staffer a Former City Supervisor has been accused of sexual harassment with the former staffer suing the city and finally a harassment compliant against Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby.
Warren and Ashby sat on the Good Governance Committee.

Mayor Johnson has possibly more ethical violations then any Mayor in the history of the City of Sacramento.    So if we sound a little skeptical about who Johnson would appoint we have to look at his his- story as mayor.

From improperly reporting travel expenses, to failing to report over $3.5 million in donations he solicited for charity organizations.  The mayor has paid thousands in fines to the Fair Political Practices Commission.
In 2012, The Associated Press  the said that it had identified 25 cases in which the mayor failed to file timely reports on donations to a non profit made at his request.

In 2013, Sacramento’s Big Box Ordinance was repealed.  The city said it was losing tax dollars to other communities.   At City Hall, those opposed to the change out numbered supporters  2 to 1.   Organized Labor,  Neighborhood Associations and the Stonewall Democrat’s (the city’s largest Democratic organization)  were against the repeal. 

According to the Bee,  Wal Mart has donated $800,000 to Mayor Kevin Johnson and his charities.  Jay Schenirer foundation received $50,000.  Councilwoman Angelique Ashby summer camp program received $7,000. Darrell Fong received $5,000 for the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and the largest recipient was Michelle Rhee, the mayor wife received 8 million for her Students First Program.

At first glance ,the council members receiving donations from Wal Mart might have abstained, thus eliminating the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The results of the audit requested by Steve Hansen revealed, that the city’s sexual harassment policy had not been significantly updated in years, although some changes had been made.   We also learned more than 130 supervisors hasn’t taken the state-mandated training.

There was a time when Sacramento conducted business as a small town.  In many ways, it still does.   The problem is, it isn’t  a small town and it will never will be again.   The new commissions could be positive for the city.  But only if they are independent.   The new commissions must be free of ties to individuals in government so it may act as an independent body. Men and women of different age groups who reflects the city’s diverse population.   Sacramento doesn’t have to rebuild the wheel, as there are many independent commissions throughout the state.



Conflict of Interest at City Hall? The Big (Wal Mart)Box Vote

What is Conflict of interest?

  Answer:  A conflict between the private interests and the official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust.

Local Donations to the Sacramento Mayor and Council Members From Wal Mart

From the Sacramento Bee

Mayor Kevin Johnson $800,000

Jay Schenirer foundation received $50,000.

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby summer camp program received $7,000.

Darrell Fong received $5,000 for the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

Michelle Rhee, Kevin Johnson’s wife received 8 million for her Students First Program.

Sacramento City Hall, 915 I Street

The Issue

In 2006, the City of Sacramento passed a Big Box Ordinance.  The City is considering rescinding the Ordinance .

 What is a big box Store?

A very large retail store, usually with 100,000 square feet or more .  (The average supermarket in Sacramento is 62,000 square feet)The West Sacramento Wal Mart Supercenter is 238,000 square feet)

Sacramento’s Big Box (Superstore) Ordinance

The law restricts Superstores in city and limits stores 90,000 square feet or more  where more than 10% of the floor area is devoted to the sale of non taxable merchandise (food)  Membership (CostcoSam’s Club)’Stores are excluded from the ordinance. 

  •                           What is the Problem with Wal Mart?

In 2005, Sacramento entered the national debate on the impact of Superstores to the economy. Wal Marts impact to smaller business is significant.  Smaller business, mom and pop business cannot compete with WalMart. many closed leaving  Walmart as the only option .  Wal Mart employees typically earn considerably less than their counterparts.  Most Wal Mart employees can not purchase homes.   In addition to wages most Wal Mart employee do not have medical benefits impacting county services

Why is would the city Rescind the ordinance ?

The City Says….

Sacramento is losing tax revenues to other cities.  Revenue which could restore Police, Fire and other services.

Conflict of Interest at City Hall?

Four elected members in positions of trust,indirectly received nearly nine million dollars from Wal Mart,who could benefit should the ordinance is rescinded.  It is all about appearance and integrity.  Should any of the four vote to remove the ordinance it will suggest. City Hall is for sale.


18 days: Prioritizing Mayor Kevin Johnson

40 million deficit, a rash or murders, robberies, 2500 pink slips for local teachers,fewer officers and firemen on the streets. these are just some of the challenges for Sacramento.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns

Mayor Johnson Starts Talks About Retaining ‘Sac Kings’ Name Post Maloofs

March 10, 2011 10:06 PM

Sacramento is taking the first step in courting new Kings before the “Maloof Kings” officially announce an exit. Mayor Kevin Johnson is engineering a plan to hold onto the “Sacramento Kings” at least even without a team.

What we will do is we will ask our City Attorney to look into this to see if we have any ability to keep the name of the Kings,” said Johnson.

But business owners and Sacramento residents who attended the meeting didn’t see that as a top notch priority.

“I represent Valley Yellow Pages and we support and help small businesses,” said Andre Kristich.

But the Mayor is trying to stir new debate about publicly financing an arena, and with the Maloofs seemingly now out of the picture,  voters may be more inclined to help build.


Thursday Mar 10, 2011

If you’ve been looking for a chance to tell Mayor Kevin Johnson what you think about the Kings’ possible move to Anaheim and the push to build a new

  • icle
  • City Beat: Tell Mayor what you think of the Kings

    Wednesday March 9,2011

    Tuesday Mar 8, 201
  • Hometown Report: Mayor hopes hoops remain relevant here

    Tuesday Mar 8, 2011

    Monday Mar 7,2011
  • read entire article
  • Mayor Johnson says Sacramento can’t influence Maloofs’ decision on Kings’ move

    Friday Mar 4, 2011
  • to Kings. read entire article
  • Kings move to Anaheim looking more likely, mayor says

    Friday Mar 4
  • and civic boosters have o… read entire article
  • Mayor Johnson, Maloofs have ‘candid, productive conversation’

    Thursday Mar 3, 2011
  • d entire article
  • Sacramento Mayor Johnson meets with Kings owners

    Thursday Mar 3, 2011
  • ncertainty about the team’s future home. read entire article
  • City Beat: Mayor jams with rock legend Jackson Browne

    Thursday Mar 3, 2011
  • rticle
  • Update: Johnson, Maloofs have ‘candid, productive’ conversation

    Wednesday Mar 2, 2011
  • City Beat: Mayor: Kings more likely to go than stay, but city will still fight

    Tuesday Mar 1, 2011
  • City Beat: Mayor to hold ‘State of Schools’ meeting tonight

    Monday Feb 28, 2011
  • read entire article
  • Mayor slams Kings for failing to produce documents

    Friday Feb 25, 2011
  • Mayor ‘very disappointed’ in Kings’ possible move

    Thursday Feb 24, 2011
  • e extensio… read entire article
  • Michelle Rhee, Kevin Johnson take on teacher seniority

    Wednesday Feb 24,2011
  • Mayor Johnson accompanies Rhee for launch of education campaign

    Wednesday Feb 23, 2011
  • me for real? read entire article
  • Mayor says he wants to keep the Kings in town but will not ‘be leveraged’

    Tuesday Feb 22, 2011
  • g he can to keep the Sacramen… read entire article
  • Mayor Johnson says arena efforts will continue, Kings or no Kings

    Monday Feb 21, 2011
  • ngs bask… read entire article
  • Johnson vows Kings arena effort will move forward, despite relocation rumors

    Sunday Feb 20, 2011