Johnson with initiative supporters earlier this year
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “strong mayor” initiative has qualified for the ballot. The measure would make the mayor the city’s chief executive, instead of the city manager. But it’s not yet clear when voters will get to weigh in.
Sacramento County elections officials certified the measure’s signatures this week. It’s now up to the city council to decide when to place it on the ballot. At least some council members don’t want to do that right away. Here’s Councilman Steve Cohn:
Cohn: “The mayor under this initiative would have greater powers than just about any mayor anywhere in the country. That, I don’t think, is a good plan for the future.”
Cohn and at least one other council member, Ray Trethaway, favor waiting for a city panel that’s also looking at a potential strong mayor system. The charter reform commission will release its recommendations later this year. Council members could place both Johnson’s initiative and the charter commission’s measure on the ballot together – perhaps as late as 2012. Johnson’s campaign spokesman, Steve Maviglio, says that would be stalling.
Maviglio: “50,000 voters in the city of Sacramento want to see something on the ballot. And it’s up to the city council to listen to them. I don’t know what they’re afraid of. And I don’t think it serves the city council to block the will of the people just to vote on something.”
Maviglio says voters should get their say at the first possible opportunity: the June 2010 primary election.
The council could decide as soon as next week.