Meet your anybody-but-K.J. candidates for Sacramento mayor.
Bites has noticed a troubling trend in the races for the Sacramento City Council this year. Call it can’t-we-all-just-get-along syndrome.
For example, in the District 4 race (downtown, Midtown, Land Park) Steve Hansen’s slick mailers read, “Working together we can lead Sacramento.” In north Sac’s District 2, candidate Rob Kerth says, “It’s time to stop pointing fingers of blame and start working together.” In District 6, Mitch Netto, challenger to incumbent council member Kevin McCarty underlines the “with” in his statement: “I’ll work with the Mayor when his agenda helps District 6 or moves the city forward. When it doesn’t, I’ll fight for real solutions, not to score political points.”
This all fits the prepackaged narrative, cribbed mostly from The Sacramento Bee editorial page, that city hall is “dysfunctional” because some council members put up a fight about things like redistricting, strong mayor and the arena.
Nonsense. Given that the council just voted 7-2 to commit the city to a wildly uncertain plan to build the Sacramento Kings a new arena, given that the city is working hard to keep those hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidies for a Kings arena from coming to a public vote, Bites would say we need more fighters on the council, not fewer.
We’ll see if the three challengers to Mayor Kevin Johnson have much fight in them. When you’ve got as much money as K.J., everybody else is a fringe candidate.
Leonard Padilla is always up for an election. He’s run in every mayoral contest of the last 20 years, save one. He got 6 percent of the vote in 2008, 7.9 percent in 2004, 7 percent in 1996 and 3 percent in 1992. He sat out in 2000 while his daughter, Julie Padilla, showed up the old man, taking nearly 12 percent of the vote in that year’s primary.
This time Padilla is hoping to make the race a referendum on the arena deal, and he may be on to something.Richard Jones is … also back. And the newbie is Jonathan Rewers,
chairperson of the Sacramento Parks and Recreation Commission and former city staffer in the city parks and rec department and general services department. He was, at one time, the lead staff on the city’s Sustainability Master Plan, long before the K.J.’s marketing folks cooked up Greenwise. As the city downsized, Rewers found a job at SF Muni, helping with that agency’s capital planning.
Rewers suffers bit from the can’t-we-all-just-get-along syndrome, too, though he at least acknowledges the mayor’s bit: “Kevin is a great guy and a great advocate for the city. But he’s built up such a level of rancor that he couldn’t get things done.”
Rewers is opposed to the various strong-mayor plans, perhaps not surprising given his years in city service. He’s pro-arena, though he faults the current plan because it lacked real public input.
One thing that Bites hopes to hear more about. “I’m going to be talking a lot about what’s ‘uniquely Sacramento,’” said Rewers.
“Kevin talks a lot about a world-class city. I don’t disagree with that. But we live in a great city. I’m not trying to take us to a world-class city, but to take care of the needs of our citizens.”
Bites was hopeful that a higher-profile candidate like Phil Serna or Deborah Ortiz would jump in and give K.J. a run for his considerable money.
That didn’t happen, but would any establishment candidate really speak for the large plurality (and maybe majority) of Sacramentans who are deeply skeptical about this arena deal? Padilla can at least do that.
And it’s nice to see someone counter that old “world-class city” con, as Rewers appears to be doing with his “uniquely Sacramento,” tag. Not sure there’s a new mayor in this pair of challengers. But as a protest vote, either will do nicely.