Commentary: Mayor needs to collaborate with neighbors

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, November 6, 2009
After he was elected and even before he was sworn in, Kevin Johnson invited a dozen mayors from our region to breakfast. His message to them – Let’s work together to solve problems.

A year later, Sacramento’s self proclaimed collaborative mayor announced a winter shelter program for the homeless that included a plan to house 105 homeless men, women, and children in the city of Rancho Cordova. Incredibly, Mayor Johnson made his announcement without bothering to consult with the folks in Rancho Cordova.

When Ken Cooley, a city councilman there, read about the plan, he visited the proposed site and found a collection of dilapidated apartment buildings. Most had no stoves or refrigerators. Some had serious mold. When a city employee who accompanied Cooley poked a pen into the wall of one unit, ants came boiling out. Cooley doesn’t necessarily oppose bringing more homeless to Rancho, but he says there’s got to be a plan that includes decent habitation, security, services and programs.

Mayor Johnson’s zest to tackle tough problems is good - but his arrogant go-it-alone style hurts his ability to got things done. To succeed, Johnson has to do what he promised when he was elected. Work in respectful collaboration with others.

Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.