Metro Chamber Mayoral Nod Sparks Sharp Words
Metro Chamber President Matt Mahood
Kevin Johnson picked up another endorsement Monday in the race for mayor of Sacramento: from the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce's political arm. That led to some heated rhetoric from the chamber president and the current mayor, Heather Fargo.
Monday, April 21, 2008
It wasn’t so much what was said during Monday’s press conference. It was what was said afterwards.
Mahood: “I don’t think Mayor Fargo has demonstrated any vision for the city of Sacramento.”
That’s Metro Chamber president Matt Mahood. He cited project after project that he felt should have moved further along over the last four to six years: The Railyards. The Riverfront. K Street. The Kings Arena.
Mahood: “Those are areas where the mayor can stand up and say, by gosh, darn it, we’re gonna get this done, and this is how we’re gonna do it, and follow me. And that hasn’t happened.”
The rap against Fargo has long been that while her policy knowledge is solid, she’s short on vision. Many observers say it’s the other way around with her challenger, Oak Park developer Kevin Johnson. Yet Mahood said he didn’t think it was necessary for Johnson to discuss specific policies on economic development.
Mahood: “What Kevin talked to us about was working with the Sacramento Metro Chamber to develop specific economic development policies and procedures and a vision – that’s important – a vision for how he sees the city growing in the future.”
If Mahood was visibly frustrated, Fargo looked visibly angry when told of Mahood’s comments. Around lunchtime Monday, at her campaign headquarters in midtown, Fargo defended her record – though she calmed down a bit before she spoke on tape.
Fargo: “I’ll give him the arena, but all the rest, I feel we’re making great progress on. Do you want me to go through and highlight projects in each one of those areas, or what I’ve done?"
She then proceeded to do just that. And later, Fargo turned her attention to the chamber itself. She says it doesn’t represent Downtown Sacramento, but rather the entire Sacramento region.
Fargo: “That organization is much more conservative than the city of Sacramento. But they would like us to have the kind of businessman mayor that could be elected in some of these other smaller cities. That’s not Sacramento. So I think their view does not necessarily reflect the view of either the businesspeople or the voters in Sacramento.”
After all, Fargo says, Matt Mahood won’t get to vote for Kevin Johnson at all – because he lives in Folsom.