Marcos Breton

Marcos Breton: Sacramento Mayor Johnson could get more council allies

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013 - 7:45 pm

There is a chance for the city of Sacramento to pivot away from political pettiness that knew no bounds until, perhaps, now.

With the potential elections of Allen Warren and Steve Hansen to Sacramento's fractured City Council, we could see the end of inaction caused by personal animus toward Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Since he was elected in 2008, Johnson had been despised by enough council members to create a dysfunctional atmosphere akin to a failing company.

With Hansen and Warren poised to replace two Johnson antagonists, the Sacramento Kings may soon be alone as the worst run important organization in town. The nadir for the council came earlier this year when members led by Kevin McCarty voted to waste $200,000 on a worthless ballot measure meant only to stick it to Johnson.

Instead of a compromise, McCarty tried to block Johnson's play for more mayoral power with a ballot measure that would have created a citizens commission to rewrite city rules. It would have been a two-year process and a waste of more money but Measure M was, thankfully, trounced by Sacramento voters.

The capital of California needs jobs and more police officers on the street. It needs a focus on a downtown that could and should be so much more than it is. It needs flood control in Natomas and economic opportunity in Oak Park and Meadowview. It needs its elected officials to confront serious issues.

When I heard McCarty, Steve Cohn and Darrell Fong endorse the political games at the heart of Measure M, I felt depressed for Sacramento.

But the charter commission idea garnered only 26 percent of the vote when voters turned out en masse, a clear rejection of nonsense by residents.

If Warren and Hansen win, problem solvers like Councilman Jay Schenirer suddenly have willing partners to fix Sacramento. It could also neutralize politicos like McCarty, who were angry that Johnson leaped past them to get elected in the first place.

Yeah, its been that petty. Past city managers were chased off, in part, for being too close to Johnson.

It's not that Johnson hasn't shot himself in both feet and been too disengaged of late, but he was elected citywide twice and deserved more consideration.

Schenirer is a friend of Johnson's but has differed with him on key votes. Schenirer rightly opposed Johnson and led the council against a city police union that refused reasonable pension concessions to save jobs.

But Schenirer also sees the value of a celebrity mayor as a civic cheerleader who can do more things for Sacramento with his high profile and popularity.

It's what is needed now: Adults who put city interests over petty ones.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Marcos Breton

Marcos Breton, news columnist

Marcos Breton

Hello, my name is Marcos Breton and I'm the news columnist with The Sacramento Bee. What's a columnist supposed to do? I'm supposed to make you think, make you laugh, make you mad or make you see an issue in a different way. I'm supposed to connect the dots on issues, people and relationships that cause things to happen or prevent them from happening in our region. I also write a weekly baseball column during the baseball season. I am a voter in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, I have voted for Barry Bonds - twice. I am a native of Northern California. I am the son of Mexican immigrants. I've been at The Bee for more than 20 years, and I love Sacramento.

Phone: 916-321-1096
Twitter: @MarcosBreton

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