Kevin Johnson wants more say in role as city mayor

Sarah Hines

The American Riverfront Center was filled with more than 100 people looking to hear Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson speak about Measure L last night.

Usually filled with students looking to satisfy their hunger, people at the center during the mayor’s speech aimed to satisfy a different kind of need – answers. There were questions about the implications of elevating the amount of authority the mayor would have if the measure is passed.

Johnson began with anecdotes about the rate of high school seniors going to college after graduating increasing from 20 percent to 90 percent. After talking about the need for more literate citizens to decrease the correlation between prisoners and inability to read, he took questions and made statements based on Measure L.

Even if it means him not being in office, Johnson said he believes Measure L should be passed to give more power to the mayor because people already believe he has jurisdiction in areas he does not have control over.

“The way our governance structure is set right now, I can’t act as exactly as I want to,” Johnson said.

The way Johnson said he has to get goals he wants done is through getting permission from other people before being able to make a move.

“That’s not the efficiency and effectiveness of how city government should work,” Johnson said. “You want to be able to make decisions, be held accountable. That’s leadership. That’s what Sacramento needs.”

Another example the mayor brought up in support of Measure L was when people demanded he respond to the barber shop murders. He requested $1 million from the city manager to lead a task force, but was given $50,000 instead.

Associated Students Inc. Director of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies Brenda Martinez said co-hosting the event was intended as a way to get students more engaged in the political process.

Martinez is in support of increasing the range of authority Johnson would acquire through Measure L.

“I think he deserves to have his voice heard,” Martinez said. “ I think it’s something that would benefit the community because the person that we elect should be able to do things to benefit the community.”

Johnson will be speaking to the Sac State College Democrats on Measure L at the Foothill Suite at 5:30 p.m.