Measure L hands power to Mayor Johnson on a silver platter

State Hornet

Mayor Kevin Johnson has been heavily campaigning for Measure L and it is no surprise why. If the measure were to pass on Nov. 2, the elected mayor would have the power and authority that is usually handed over to a hired city manager who provides the leadership and direction for the operation and management of all City Departments..

As much as Johnson and his supporters of the so-called “strong-mayor” measure attempt to present it as being a cleaner and easier path to getting things done in City Hall, it is anything but. Measure L will give Johnson “powers beyond any city executive in California,” according to Ballotpedia.

The mayor would be the sole boss of the city’s hired city manager, who reports to the entire city council.

Earlier this year, the first strong-mayor debate took place inside SEIU Local 1000’s union hall downtown on March 26. It banished media from the so-called “public” forum, a huge red flag and suspicious start to the campaign season.

Unfortunately, red flags continue to pop up as we learn what it means to live in a strong-mayor city.

Measure L will no longer require the mayor to attend city council meetings, giving Johnson the right to ignore input from the public. It weakens the power of the city council and the voices of Sacramentan residents and neighborhoods tremendously.

It allows the mayor to veto any budget item or ordinance approved by city council. If the city council wanted to override the mayor’s veto, the measure will require a supermajority of 75 percent.

The “strong-mayor” measure will even allow Johnson to fire the city manager at will, without any public discussion or approval of city council.

Finally, it will streamline city government in favor of special interests, allowing it to focus its lobbying efforts on a single politician instead of the entire city council or the public.

Measure L takes power away from Sacramentans and hands it to the mayor on a silver platter.

In an article by the Sacramento Bee, City Councilman Steve Hansen worries the system would favor “the privileged and the wealthy.”

“I’m guessing, but I think the people who are putting the most money in, they believe they’ll be treated better in the system that’s being proposed than the one we have now,” Hansen said.

It is a legitimate concern with only one elected official calling all the shots. If a project or cause is not the mayor’s priority or is not backed by heavy funding, it is sure sit on the backburner.

In an effort to preserve the power of the city council and the voice of Sacramentans, residents opposed to Measure L have been canvassing neighborhoods including Sergio Rocha, a 26-year-old homeowner in Sacramento.

“Measure L greatly expands the power of the mayor by undermining the voices of neighborhood Council Members and ordinary Sacramentans. Vote no on L,” Rocha said.

A strong-mayor city is in no way a good fit for the city of Sacramento. Our city’s population is diverse and it is impossible for one person to dictate the future and interests of everyone who resides here.

Let us keep the decisions made for Sacramento in the hands of the people who live here.