Johnson talks to residents about strong mayor issue
Mayor Kevin Johnson laid out his reasons for supporting a “strong mayor” form of government at a town hall meeting held Thursday night in Land Park. He said a strong mayor form of government would allow citizens to have more influence over their government than the current City Council/city manager system.
Johnson spoke to a crowd of about 100 people at his former junior high school, California Middle School in Land Park. The meeting was an open forum for residents to ask questions; it was not organized around a particular topic.
Kathi Windheim of the Greenhaven / Pocket neighborhood asked the mayor to address controversial legal issues with the strong mayor initiative. The initiative, which will go on the ballot in June 2010, proposes to change the city’s current system of government to a strong mayor system. “It’s alarming — the problems with the initiative,” Windheim said.
In response, Johnson made his case in support of the initiative. He said that cities often change to a strong mayor system when they become larger. Several other California cities that are the size of Sacramento have the strong mayor form of government, he pointed out. “When I said Sacramento has a chance to be a world class city, I think this is a tremendous opportunity to do that,” he said. “This is just an evolution.”
Among other arguments, he said that the strong mayor system would give residents more direct influence over city government. He said the city manager runs the city but is unelected. “It’s hard for you as a voter to have your vote count,” he said.
Photo by Jonathan Mendick.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.