Proponents of ‘Strong Mayor’ Initiative Didn’t Accurately Portray Shortcomings of Measure at Town Hall Wednesday, Charges Chair of Democratic Party of Sacramento County

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Thursday, March 27,  2014
Contact: Kerri Asbury, DPSC Chair, 916-607-8241

Sacramento, Calif. –The chair of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County (DPSC) charged Thursday that proponents of the “Strong Mayor Initiative” – including Mayor Kevin Johnson, a Democrat – are not “accurately” portraying the truth about the measure, which is scheduled for a public vote in November.

The comments following a “Strong Mayor Initiative” Town Hall Wednesday night before a standing room only crowd at the SEIU 1000 union hall. Speakers included proponents Mayor Kevin Johnson and Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and opponent Heather Fargo, flanked by community activists.

“I was pleased to see the enthusiastic participation of the public and SEIU members, but I was disheartened that the information presented by proponents was not accurately given,” said DPSC chair Kerri Asbury.

Specifically, Ms. Asbury suggested that claims by Mayor Johnson that an “ethics commission” would protect citizens under the “strong mayor” system were patently false and misleading.

“The ethics committee is virtually powerless. It has no authority, and no ability to subpoena. It’s very existence can be ended by the ‘strong mayor,’ who would have the authority to veto the ordinance that created the committee,” added Ms. Asbury.

“With misleading statements and untruths like this, it is essential voters, community activists and neighborhood associations carefully review the proposal for ‘strong mayor.’ It is devilish written, and the devil is in the details,” she added.

“There appears to be a growing level of corruption in our government where big donors cause big campaigns to be more costly and more ethically challenged. Sacramento should have real checks and balances to our governing system, free from external influence and protected by empowered watchdogs for the workers, residents and community groups,” Mr. Asbury explained.

The DPSC late last year voted to oppose the “strong mayor” measure, noting that the council-manager form of government has been working for Sacramento and that the city charter is not what needs to be changed, but rather the transparency and ethics of the mayor and council.