Eye on Sacramento (EOS), a community watchdog organization, has criticized Measure L, also known as the “strong mayor initiative,” in a recent report that called the proposition’s justification “exceedingly weak,” according to local news reports.
Measure L, backed by former NBA star and Obama crony Kevin Johnson, would give the mayor the power to hire and fire the city manager, create budgets and hold veto power, but Eye on Sacramento stated that the organization “believes that the Sacramento city charter should not be overhauled without a showing by proponents of good cause and strong justification for doing so.”
EOS, which says it is independent and non-profit, added, “The campaign literature of the ‘Yes’ campaign argues that the current charter is ‘outdated’ and that while the city is not broken, Measure L is ‘just better.’ We find such justification to be exceedingly weak.” Local NBC News affiliate KRCA Sacramento reports that the group’s president, Craig Powell, issued a news release stating, “We made the decision to dive into the choppy waters of the Measure L debate because we were concerned that voters weren’t getting an accurate picture, nor a fair and complete assessment of its likely and potential impacts.”
The report delineated the various reasons that Measure L was a mistake:
- Sacramento’s council-manager system would be more responsive to police-citizen preferences;
- Other council members would lose power:
- The city would lose the power in bargaining with labor;
- If the additional power is given to the mayor, “pay to play” abuses could be engendered from private interests who wanted public funds.
The report concluded that there were “major concerns over the steady erosion of democratic values and democratic practices in city government in recent years.”
Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, has been running TV ads to support measure L.
Meanwhile, KRCA reports that Larry Reid, the vice mayor of Oakland, came to Sacramento on Tuesday for a “Yes on L” event. Reid sounded off: “I’m endorsing Measure L because as a longtime Council member who has worked in both systems, Measure L will create a stronger City Council and stronger neighborhoods.”
Councilman Steve Hansen, an opponent of Measure L opponent, lampooned the idea of imitating Oakland, saying, “Oakland is going to tell us how to run (our) government? Oakland is a mess. It’s one of the most dysfunctional cities in California. And you can point to their strong mayor government as part of the problem.”