You may not agree with all the decisions that Sacramento City Council members are making, but there’s no denying they’re working together pretty well, a vast improvement over the dysfunction a few years back.
To break up this team, the challengers have to be clearly more qualified, or make a compelling case they’d do better on major issues. That isn’t the case in the three contested races on the June 7 ballot.
We endorse for re-election Allen Warren in District 2, Steve Hansen in District 4 and Larry Carr in District 8. (Incumbent Eric Guerra is unopposed in District 6.)
There has been unprecedented turnover since 2010; all eight council seats have new occupants. Mayor Kevin Johnson isn’t seeking another term this year.
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So some continuity and stability would be good, particularly with a new city manager coming on board later this year. Experience and knowledge matter, especially at this crucial time when the city has a chance to capitalize on better economic times and the new downtown arena, and to turn the corner on perennial problems such as crime and homelessness.
Warren, who was first elected in 2012, has done well representing one of the city’s toughest districts. He wants to expand youth programs to arrest the crime spike, and touts his work on reopening a public counter at a local police station and bringing in ShotSpotter, a technology that helps police respond quickly to gunshots and recover evidence, including casings that led to an arrest in the slaying of Grant High football player Jaulon “JJ” Clavo.
One blemish on his record is a sexual harassment allegation that was later withdrawn and that he categorically denies. Neither of his opponents is making it an issue.
Sondra Betancourt, who also ran in 2012, and Gregory Jefferson are committed community leaders in North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights, respectively. They both criticize Warren for not doing enough to help neighborhood groups. He should take that to heart.
Hansen, also first elected four years ago, has been a smart voice on important issues such as investments in the arts, including B Street Theatre and the rehearsal studios at the former Fremont School. He has also looked out for midtown and downtown, pushing to reopen Washington Elementary and to reduce vehicle and bicycle thefts.
He says he has much more to do – refurbishing the Community Center Theater, expanding transit and bicycling, reducing homelessness.
Hansen is a clear choice over Susan “Sioux” Colombe, an activist, volunteer and first-time candidate. She has personal experience on being homeless and a medical marijuana patient, a perspective she should share with city officials.
Carr, a former Sacramento Municipal Utility District director and Florin Road Partnership executive director, was elected in 2014 to fill the final two years of Bonnie Pannell’s term after she retired.
He hasn’t been flashy, but has been a steady presence on the council and an advocate for south Sacramento. He steered money for anti-crime, cleanup and economic development efforts and pushed for the city to put $750,000 into the county’s effort to reduce the alarming death rate among African American children. We need more of that cooperation.
His challengers are longtime pastor Ronald Bell, who ran two years ago, and youth nonprofit board member Chris Baker. Both are passionate about steering young people away from gangs and improving the relationship between police and residents.
Carr has worked with Baker and appointed Bell to an anti-gang task force. As across Sacramento, this district needs strong leaders on the streets, as well as City Hall.