Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has gained more support for his proposed “strong mayor measure,” with endorsements from the Sacramento Association of Realtors and construction workers’ union Laborers Local 185.
Known as Measure L, it will further Johnson’s power base by taking certain responsibilities away from non-elected city officials and placing them under his authority.
Johnson and his supporters contend that the measure will provide for a more competent form of government. It gives the mayor authority to propose the annual city budget; moreover, according to the Sacramento Bee, if passed Johnson would have hire/fire power in regard to the city manager.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the construction union Local 185 would support the Mayor. Johnson was an enthusiastic supporter of building the new downtown arena that will be the home for the Sacramento Kings. Groups that oppose the measure, like the League of Women Voters, argue that the strong-mayor plan would give too much power to one city official.
Johnson, a former NBA player for the Sacramento Kings, is close friends with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle and has even been referred to as “Baby Barack.” The mostly popular mayor had his reputation tarnished in 2008 by accusations of “filing of false and fraudulent claims” to obtain federal funds for a non-profit group called St. Hope Academy. Johnson founded the group to run a local charter school in his home town of Sacramento.
Perhaps more damaging to his public image, an oversight committee report regarding St. Hope Academy included allegations of “inappropriate sexual conduct” against Johnson. According to Deadspin, the report also accused Johnson of making hush-money payments to make all this bad news go away.