In any courtroom, Councilman Kevin McCarty would have beaten the rap for the alleged looting of Oak Park.
Oak Park made a compelling case—putting on hours of citizen testimony against McCarty and his council co-conspirators, mounting a protest rally that drew out 150 or so folks. By all accounts—and there have been many in the local media—the redistricting issue got the neighborhood’s attention.
But in the end, exhibit A was still the Oak Park Neighborhood Association’s own redistricting map, which early on looked a lot like the one the city council ultimately adopted—even (metaphorically) moving UC Davis Med Center into McCarty’s District 6.
“It wasn’t an issue until it was an issue,” says McCarty.
But the council map was blasted by Oak Park leaders, Mayor Kevin Johnson, The Sacramento Bee editorial board and McCarty’s District 5 neighbor, Councilman Jay Schenirer, for the “theft” of Oak Park assets.After a month of badgering, of being called thieves and racists by protestors, Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell lost her cool and called one heckler an “asshole” under her breath.
Pannell has since apologized. But watch how the mayor’s people milk it.
In an email that’s been making the rounds, K.J.’s spin doctor R.E. Graswich coached the insultee, Margo Rose-Brunson: “Margo, I have attached an edited version of your letter. I suggest you send it via email to the mayor and city council, plus local media.”
We’re laying off cops, but taxpayers have $80,000 to pay Graswich to help write letters against the mayor’s opponents? Or to live-blog council meetings on Twitter, attacking council members and generally trying to stoke political controversy? Can we have the city auditor check that out?
We’re now told by the Bee that the Oak Park redistricting flap should be a big election issue. It won’t be.
Nobody in McCarty’s District 6 is going to punish McCarty for trying to do what his constituents asked him to do—give them greater say over Med Center parking and traffic issues.
Pannell, if challenged for re-election, may come to regret calling Brunson an asshole. But a lot of her constituents will probably understand. Hell, Bites has called people worse names during office ping-pong matches. But absolutely nobody in Pannell’s District 8 is going to care about moving an imaginary line that in reality affected absolutely nobody in District 5.
Which is not to say that Johnson’s opponents on the council won’t suffer some casualties. Political organizer Kim Mack is going after Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, because she says she sees “a lot of neglect” in Sheedy’s District 2, which includes North Sacramento, Del Paso Heights and some other neighborhoods that have been struggling for a while.
Mack headed up local the Obama campaign in 2008, and worked on the Ami Bera for Congress campaign. She’s a Johnson supporter and helped during the early stages of K.J.’s strong mayor initiative.
She says she “hasn’t seen” the latest version of the SMI, but “in theory, I still support that form of government,” she told Bites.
Fairly or unfairly, Mack will be seen as the “mayor’s candidate,” possibly one of four to challenge the hard core of Johnson’s opposition in City Hall. But Mack rejects the idea that she’ll be K.J.’s proxy. “If people vote for me, they’re voting for Kim Mack,” she told Bites.
Mack, a former cop in the Army and police dispatcher, plans to emphasize public safety in her campaign. One thing she didn’t mention as an issue in her campaign? Oak Park and redistricting.