Sacramento council votes against strong-mayor plan
June 24, 2010
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Sacramento’s City Council has rejected Mayor Kevin Johnson’s plan to increase the power of the mayor’s office, prompting an angry response from the mayor and former NBA star.
The council voted 7-2 on Tuesday against a measure directing city staff to draft a November ballot measure for Johnson’s strong-mayor proposal.
Councilman Rob Fong said the mayor has not shown the current system is not working.
“I don’t think the case has been made that there’s something wrong,” Fong said.
Johnson had expressed confidence that the council would approve the measure and said he was shocked by the vote.
“I can’t get five votes to at least have the city attorney draft some language that would be in the best interest of the public…” he said from his seat on the council after the vote. “That to me is what’s disheartening for me. That to me is a slap in the face of democracy to me.”
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Johnson, a former NBA star with the Phoenix Suns, said on his blog on Wednesday that he will continue to “fight for reform.”
The measure would change the structure of city government from the current weak mayor, strong city manager system. Johnson has only one vote on the City Council right now.
Under the strong-mayor plan, he would be able to propose the city budget, appoint and fire top city officials and veto certain council decisions, giving him powers similar to those held by the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and Fresno.
Supporters of the proposal say it would also give powers to the City Council, including the ability to override a Johnson veto with a two-thirds vote.
Critics say the city needs more time to debate the measure.