Candidates Disagree on City's Direction in Dueling 'Insight' Interviews

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, May 19, 2008

Heather Fargo and Kevin Johnson might not have gone on the air together, but it was clear they were on each other’s minds – even as they were just a hallway apart.  For example, Johnson took a not-so-subtle dig at Fargo’s time in office.
Johnson: “Things aren’t rosy and hunky-dory in Sacramento.  And when you have a leader that’s gonna bring in new ideas, new vision, work with people, be very aggressive on tackling these issues – which are some of the things I’ve been able to do for 18 years in Oak Park – I think it’s gonna make a world of difference.” 
And Fargo implied Johnson and others ignore how not so long ago, residents would drive to San Francisco for major events and even a good meal.
Fargo: “If people look at the record – if they get over the community amnesia and actually think about how different Sacramento is now compared to how it was before I became mayor, it’s going to make them feel pretty good about their city and also about me as their mayor.” 
The two candidates faced sharp questions about their past records and future plans.  One of the biggest areas of disagreement was on crime – starting with just how big an issue it was at all.

Johnson: “There’s a sense that we in our community do not feel safe, and that’s what I’m hearing every day from every neighborhood I’m going to.” 
Fargo: “Frankly, I am not hearing a lot – as I go out to the various formats and debates and community meetings that I’ve been to – about people’s concern about crime.” 
Johnson said Sacramento has one of the lowest ratios of uniformed officers to residents of any of the 50 largest U.S. cities – and connected that to a spike in crime since Fargo took office.
Johnson: “So we have to have a minimal number of police officers on the street to be effective.  We don’t have that right now.  And our budget cut 80 more officers.  That’s not acceptable.” 
And Johnson said the city must do more to combat gang violence.  Fargo agreed that there’s more work to do, but said there’s still been a lot of progress.
Fargo: “When that erupted a year and a half ago, we put a lot of resources into the community and were able to bring that to a halt.” 
She said the city’s added 75 police officers and 30 dispatchers over the last two years, and has a gang task force that meets every week.
KXJZ invited both candidates to appear together, but the Johnson campaign declined.  The two will square off Thursday night in their only one-on-one encounter.  That’s the last time they’ll meet before Election Day -- which is two weeks from today.