City Beat

Environmental groups, Common Cause oppose Sacramento strong mayor plan

Two prominent environmental groups and an organization that advocates for open government announced today they are opposing the November ballot measure seeking to increase the authority of Sacramento’s mayor.

The Environmental Council of Sacramento, or ECOS, the Sierra Club and Common Cause of Greater Sacramento will all campaign against Measure L, according to a news release issued by the campaign fighting the ballot measure.

“ECOS feels that the present form of government better allows for transparency, accountability and dialogue with a body across the political spectrum to create solutions that are good for the environment and the people of Sacramento,” ECOS President Richard Guerrero said in a statement released by the opposition campaign.

Charlene Jones, a leader with Common Cause, added the group “shares a commitment to a government that serves the public interest, not the monied special interests.”

The groups joined the League of Women Voters, the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, Councilman Steve Hansen, former Mayor Heather Fargo and unions representing teachers, carpenters and plumbers in the opposition campaign.

Measure L proposes to shift much of the authority currently held by a city manager to the mayor, including the power to propose the city budget. A city manager appointed by the City Council currently makes many of the daily decisions at City Hall.

Under the proposal, the mayor would have the power to nominate and fire the city manager. The City Council would still vote on ordinances and approve the budget and the mayor’s choice for city manager. The mayor could veto council decisions, but the council could override mayoral vetoes with a supermajority vote.

Supporters of the measure include Mayor Kevin Johnson, business groups and the unions representing police officers and firefighters. They argue the plan will hold the mayor more accountable by shifting authority from an unelected city manager to an elected official.

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