Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Michelle Rhee, Steve Hansen debate Measure L

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been a major advocate of Measure L, the “strong mayor” bid.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been a major advocate of Measure L, the “strong mayor” bid.

While the statewide races aren’t inspiring too much interest among California voters this fall, Sacramento is getting fired up over Measure L, the “strong mayor” bid that would elevate the elected mayor above the City Council, giving him or her the power to veto ordinances and appoint a city manager. It is, depending on your view, either an opportunity to make Sacramento government more nimble or a shameless power grab.

More than a million dollars has now poured into the race, which has divided city council members and organized labor. Most of the money has gone to support Measure L, which was spearheaded by Mayor Kevin Johnson, including big contributions from local developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, Silicon Valley philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The two sides will debate the merits of the proposal today at a forum hosted by the Sacramento Press Club, 11:30 am at the Capitol Plaza Ballroom on 9th Street. Johnson’s wife and education advocate Michelle Rhee will square off against Councilman Steve Hansen, who is leading the opposition.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Who’s raking in the campaign cash as election season heats up? The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert Insider Edition app has got you covered. Our new interactive campaign finance tool is updated daily with contribution filings and independent expenditures, as well as running lists of the top donors, recipients, independent expenditure contests and committees. The Insider Edition app is available for download in the iTunes and Google Play stores for mobile and tablet devices. For a district-by-district look, check out Capitol Alert’s legislative election page.

H2-NO!: Opponents of Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond measure, are fighting an uphill battle against Gov. Jerry Brown’s millions in advertising. But the environmental groups behind the no campaign – who argue that its appropriations for new dam projects will be unproductive and that the measure would help with construction of Brown’s controversial Delta tunnels project – continue to make their case. They’ll be at the Berkeley Marina at 11 a.m.

INITIATIVE INFO: Still trying to figure out how to vote on Proposition 1 and the other five measures on the ballot this November? Representatives from the Legislative Analyst’s Office provide their expertise on the impacts of the initiatives – which deal with budget reserves, criminal sentencing and tribal gaming, among other complicated topics – while members of Sacramento State’s Project for an Informed Electorate discuss their funding and endorsements, 6 p.m. at the Sacramento Public Library on I Street.

COME TOGETHER: The California Department of Health Care Services is currently seeking a federal waiver to centrally manage and coordinate Medi-Cal’s state and county drug treatment programs. The Senate fiscal review and health committees will hold a joint information hearing on the waiver proposal, 1 p.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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