City Beat

Sacramento teachers oppose strong mayor; tourism board backs it

Three of the largest teachers unions in Sacramento announced Thursday that they are opposing the strong-mayor measure appearing on the November ballot. Meanwhile, the region’s top tourism board said it was supporting the measure.

The Sacramento City Teachers Association, the Natomas Teachers Association and Twin Rivers United Educators have joined the opposition to Measure L, according to Stop the Power Grab, the campaign committee fighting the measure. The California School Employees Twin Rivers Chapter 1717 is also opposing the measure.

Brenda Borge, identified as a local teacher, said in a statement that “we’ve got a well performing local government where officials work together and get things done.”

“Measure L is not needed,” said John Ennis, a special education teacher and the former head of the Twin Rivers union. “The city government is functioning just fine in its bipartisan way. There are adequate checks and balances in place to allow the city government to progress.”

The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau announced it was supporting Measure L. Endorsements were also announced by the Associated General Contractors of California Delta Sierra Chapter and the local Painters and Decorators Contractors Association.

Measure L would allow the mayor to appoint and fire the city manager, essentially shifting many of the daily decisions at City Hall from a city manager hired by the City Council to the mayor. Supporters of the measure say it would allow voters to directly hold the person making decisions at City Hall accountable and create a more efficient government.

But opponents, including the League of Women Voters and the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, argue that the measure would place too much power in the hands of one elected official.

The measure is backed by Mayor Kevin Johnson, who has a long-standing feud with local teachers unions since an organization Johnson founded was granted control of Sacramento High School and began operating the campus as a charter school with nonunion teachers in 2003.