Darrell Steinberg intends to start rolling immediately once he is sworn in as Sacramento’s mayor Tuesday at the California Railroad Museum, and anyone who has watched him over the years would expect nothing less.
The city has good reason to have high expectations of its new mayor. Steinberg will be the most experienced leader this city has ever had. He will arrive in office with ambitions that are expansive but also realistic.
Having won election in a landslide in June, Steinberg has had plenty of time to plan his first 100 days and beyond. The city he will inherit from outgoing Mayor Kevin Johnson is on the ascent, thanks to a rejuvenated downtown. Steinberg will bring an attention to detail, a focus and a collaborative nature that is much needed.
Like Johnson and the city’s business leaders, Steinberg intends to continue the hard work of attracting more good jobs. To do that, he intends to work with other mayors in the Sacramento region, as well as leaders in the Bay Area.
His success will depend in part on the city’s ability to build more housing in midtown and downtown; to solve homelessness, which long has been a focus of his; and to improve mass transit. He hopes to work to enlarge the Sacramento Convention Center to attract more visitors, and to encourage UC Davis to have a more direct involvement with the city that is a mere 15 miles away, but might as well be 500 miles away.
He must encourage the Police Department to focus more on community policing, in which cops on the beat have connections with the people they serve and protect. And he is right to want to help improve the neighborhoods that make Sacramento a livable city, and to build an economy in which the city’s children can find work.
The people of Sacramento have come to know Steinberg well. From his days in the 1990s on the City Council through his time in the state Assembly and Senate, including as Senate president pro tem, he has shown himself to have a steady hand. He is skilled at the art of politics, and, importantly, has a sense of ethics. He is a liberal, but having been Senate leader during the Great Recession, he understands the value of taxpayers’ money.
Although he has been absent from the Capitol in the two years since he was termed out of the Senate, he now will have cause to return as mayor to make sure Sacramento gets its fair share – and then some.
Johnson is handing off a city that is better than what he found eight years ago. Steinberg has the good fortune of arriving in office when the economy is strong, and will have plenty to work with. Given his energy, enthusiasm and vision, we anticipate the best yet to come.