Johnson Wins Police Union Endorsement
Kevin Johnson has picked up a major endorsement in his race against Sacramento mayor Heather Fargo. It’s from the Sacramento Police Officers Association, with more than 8-hundred members.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
As with many union endorsements, this one is about jobs. Sacramento’s $58 million budget deficit means 10 to 20 percent cuts across all city departments – even the police force. And though he won’t say how he’ll pay for it, Johnson has called for putting more sworn officers on the streets. The police union’s vice president, Mark Tyndale, says that was a big influence in the endorsement.
Tyndale: “With the change in leadership, there’s also going to be a shift in what we believe will be priorities in the city. And we’re hoping that that will open up more doors within the budget process that we can make sure that law enforcement officers aren’t cut. And that’s, for us, very, very critical.”
Johnson said he was honored to get the endorsement. As he’s done throughout his young campaign, he called public safety his top priority.
Johnson: “And what I mean by that, we can’t just prosecute the criminal activities. We’ve gotta do a very good job on the front end and find opportunities to prevent some of the things that happen in our community, especially with our young people.”
Mayor Fargo said she was disappointed but not discouraged that she didn’t get the union’s support. She pointed to her own endorsements like the City Council and State Senator Darrell Steinberg. She said neither she nor the city council have any plans to take sworn officers off the streets. But since more than half of Sacramento’s general fund goes to police and fire, Fargo says those departments will have to take a hit.
Fargo: “If we were to do no cuts in the police and fire department, it would mean massive cuts in every other department and the departments do relate to each other. Having after-school programs for kids is part of what reduces youth crime.”
For the first time in the entire campaign, Fargo and Johnson will be in the same room today. The mayor will give her annual State of the City Address at the Sacramento State campus, and Johnson says he’ll be there – in his words, “hiding in the back.”