Mac Worthy, city council’s inscrutable conscience


Around City Hall, Mac Worthy is the master of hard-edged proclamations and poetic accusations. In four years he’s branded himself as a sly-tongued scold, swinging verbal haymakers at elected officials every chance he gets. He came to Sacramento from South Carolina in December 1960—a hard-working man who owned a janitorial business and became a study in civic pride. Now, the retired 75-year-old attends city council meetings unfailingly. And he’s always ready to keep it real with an old-school dressing down. Worthy usually nags council members with a blunt force moxie that seems like a near-sermon. When city leaders discussed the Railyards Project last month, Worthy assured them that “the low-income housing was dropped in it like a mickie in a drink.” When it was time for the city to renew the Oak Park Business District, Worthy announced the council got its community support via “buying through the pimps on a Sunday morning, the church.” Three years ago, Worthy was famously ejected from a meeting on his own birthday for saying the n-word six times in a matter of seconds. But Worthy hasn’t stopped taking the podium. Far from it. As Mayor Darrell Steinberg ushers in a new era for Sacramento, SN&R caught up with Worthy to get his latest views, as well as some previews of the barbs he’s sharpening.

So what’s your take on the new mayor?

He can’t move the city. He’s gonna run the same game that Jerry Brown ran when he went to Oakland, and fiddled around with everybody’s money and switched, and went to being governor. Darrell can’t move it.

Last week, Steinberg kind of rebuked you for calling politicians the scum of the earth. How did you feel about that?

I don’t feel bad. (Laughs.) See, the thing about it is, America’s politics is the scum of the earth. That’s why my man [Donald Trump] got elected president. Drain that swamp.

What should be the council’s top priorities?

They are not creating jobs. They’re liars. … People told [Councilman Allen] Warren to come to me. They told [Councilman] Rick [Jennings] to come to me, and talk about what this city needs for black people. How did we get three black people [on city council] and a mayor up here? Somebody sold out. They cannot put anything on the table for economics. We need economics. Property. You’re gonna buy the ghetto up, and not even give the folks a job?

Who’s your favorite city council member?

I ain’t got no favorite. Well, um, there’s the old white guy over here on the side.


No, the guy from the River District. … He sits beside [Councilman Steve] Hansen.

Jeff Harris?

Yeah, Harris is the man. But they will not listen. They will not listen to him.

Where do you stand on police accountability?

You cannot have that type of oversight on no police department in America. Sit beside the police. Sit down with them. Talk to them. And you will find out you gather intelligence—how they think. I cuss them out to their face, and I laugh and talk. … We’ve got to be communicating. But this is how [Councilman Larry Carr] thinks. Is he outside the law? Or is he in the shadow of the law?

What irritates you about Sacramento government now?

Bonds and grants. They tell people, “You don’t have to be a professional investor to buy bonds.” Who buys those bonds? Other countries. … [The Trump cabinet picks] are considered terrorists because we don’t know who is here. Because it’s where you don’t even know if you’ve got the right guy, cause there’s nothing in those countries to identify them. A guy could comes across the line here four times and you can’t identify him? Or how many different names he made? You couldn’t. Check the (inaudible). I’ve told all y’all we sold our grandmother’s dirty underwear to the illegals.

Will the meetings be different under the new mayor?

It’s not going to be different because you’re in debt. He’s gonna come in and give a Sunday school class, which we’re about to attend, (laughs) but that’s how it’s gonna be. This is a rubber stamp.

What neighborhood do you live in now?

Oak Park. … I’ve seen people show up in a limousine with a white super dome on their forehead—Anthony Bruno was my tailor—they look like something on a damn bum. … All the education black people got now and we still can’t come up with an economic idea. What did you study? We need to quit bitching about who’s prejudiced. I’m a prejudiced son of bitch, if I’m on a walk. To a bum. I don’t want a bum around me. (Laughs.) I ain’t got no extra money.