City Beat

Law enforcement officials back Sacramento strong mayor

A group of current and former law enforcement officials announced Wednesday they were endorsing Measure L, the November ballot measure in Sacramento seeking to increase the powers of the mayor.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, former city police chiefs Rick Braziel and Arturo Venegas, and former sheriff and Sacramento Councilman Robbie Waters all voiced their support for the measure at a news conference outside City Hall. Former sheriffs Lou Blanas, Glen Craig and John McGinness have also agreed to support the measure, according to the campaign backing the plan.

Unions representing city police officers and firefighters have already announced their endorsements of the measure.

In addition to the new endorsements, the Measure L campaign also received a big financial boost Wednesday.

Kevin Nagle, the lead investor in minor-league soccer franchise Republic FC and a Sacramento Kings minority owner, donated $100,000 to the campaign, according to documents filed with the city clerk. And Laurene Powell Jobs, a Silicon Valley business executive and the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, donated $50,000.

“We’re excited to have supporters who represent a championship passion for our city and technological advancement for the future join thousands of Sacramentans in supporting Measure L,” said Joshua Wood, a spokesman for the ballot campaign.

Councilman Steve Hansen, who is leading the opposition campaign, said, “A lot of big money is flowing into the yes campaign and it is not clear why they need so much money.”

The measure proposes that the mayor should have the power to appoint and fire the city manager, shifting many of the daily duties from a city manager appointed by the City Council to a mayor elected citywide by the voters. Opponents argue that the current system is functioning well and are concerned that the measure would place too much power in the hands of one politician.

Jones, who was elected sheriff in 2010, said he had never gotten involved in a city campaign. He said the strong mayor measure would allow voters to “know where to look” when seeking accountability from City Hall on public safety issues.

Braziel was chief for five years, most of it while Mayor Kevin Johnson was in office. But he also reported to four different city managers and said that instability was tough.

“It’s extremely difficult for a public safety chief to set a path when the budget is constantly being changed,” he said, adding a strong mayor would provide more stability.