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Mayor Kevin Johnson said he thought it would be a 9-0 vote.
He said he thought the Sacramento City Council would unanimously support his effort to ask City Attorney Eileen Teichert to draft official language for his updated strong mayor plan. When seven of his City Council colleagues voiced opposition to his effort at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, he let them know exactly what he was thinking.
In a 7-2 vote, the City Council prevented Teichert from drafting the language of Johnson’s new plan. Johnson and Waters voted in favor of asking Teichert to write the proposed measure. Under the city’s current government structure, the mayor votes on City Council issues.
After it was clear that he didn’t have the votes late Tuesday night, Johnson launched into a lengthy monologue and made comments to each council member.
Johnson indicated he felt slighted by Councilman Steve Cohn’s vote. “You were somebody that I went to bat for while you were running ... I watched you before I got to be an elected official, and I felt like you were one of the people that I was going to learn from,” Johnson said.
The mayor then called out Cohn for not voting earlier this month on whether the City Council should boycott Arizona companies.
It was “very disappointing” that Cohn did not participate in that vote, Johnson said.
“I’m sure you had your reasons; I certainly respect that,” Johnson said. “But I guess it makes me question ... the backbone, the ethos that you represent.”
Johnson told Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell he was disappointed with her vote.
“I remember before before I ran for office, I met you at Starbucks,” Johnson told Pannell. Johnson said Pannell told him that if he was elected, she would back him on his efforts.
Johnson’s exchanges with Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy were particularly tense. To express how she felt about Johnson’s new strong mayor plan, Sheedy used a quote from former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin: “You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day, it’s still a pig.”
She referred to the strong mayor plan as “the pig” that was being remodeled with lipstick.
Toward the end of the meeting, Johnson accused Sheedy of making comments under her breath and being disrespectful. Sheedy then told the public what she had muttered: “That’s why we don’t have a strong mayor.”
When Sheedy made her remark, she received boos from some audience members.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.