You are on page 1of 32

An Eye on Sacramento

Policy Report
Measure L
The Sacramento Checks and Balances Act of 2!"
at the
The EOS #orum on Measure L
$%& p'm'( Octo)er 2( 2!"
Clunie Clu)house
Mc*inley Park
$! Alham)ra Boule+ard
For further information on this Report, please contact:
Craig K. Powell, President Dennis Neufeld, Director of Research
Phone: (9!" #$%&'&' Phone: (9!" (&9%'()
*%mail: craig+e, *%mail:
For further information a-out *,e on .acramento, please contact:
/isa 0arcia, 1ice%President, Communit, 2utreach
*,e on .acramento, !3' &(th 45enue, .uite K, .acramento, C4 9($33
Phone: (9!" )'&%'(93 % *%mail: lgarcia9!+, % www.e,
.' E/ecuti+e Summary "
..' Eye on Sacramento0s Prior Position 1 Current Role2 Scope of Re+ie3 $
4 Role of EOS $
4 ,ature and Scope of Re+ie3 $
4 EOS0s 5istoric Position on E/ecuti+e Mayor Proposals $
...' A Short Primer on the E+olution of Measure L 6
4 The City Council .nsists on Some T3eaks 7
.8' 9hat :oes Measure L Actually Entail; !
4 Summary of the Sacramento Checks and Balances Act of 2!" !
E/ecuti+e Mayor Pro+isions !
City Council Pro+isions !
Redistrictin- Pro+isions !
Ethics and <o+ernment Processes !!
Sunset Pro+ision !!
8' 5a+e Proponents Made the Case for O+erhaulin- City <o+ernance; !2
4 City <o+ernance Shouldn0t Be O+erhauled 9ithout <ood Cause !2
4 Proponents0 =ustifications for Measure L !2
The City Charter is Outdated !2
A)andoned =ustification% The City is Broken !&
Latest =ustification% Measure L is =ust Better !&
The Le-itimate( Core Ar-uments in #a+or of Measure L !&
8.' Likely 1 Potential .mpacts on Core Elements of City <o+ernance !"
A' Accounta)ility of City <o+ernment to Citi>ens !"
9ho :o 9e Blame 9hen City Performs Poorly; The Pro)lem
of :iffused Responsi)ility !?
B' Responsi+eness !$
4 Responsi+eness to .ndi+idual Citi>ens !$
4 Responsi+eness to the Policy Preferences of Citi>ens !6
4 Responsi+eness to Opportunities for Economic <ro3th !7
C' Efficiency and Effecti+eness of <o+ernment Operations 2!
:' Transparency 2!
4 .ndependent Redistrictin- Commission 2!
4 @Sunshine Ordinance@ 22
4 Mandated Pu)lic Meetin-s 2&
8..' Likely 1 Potential .mpacts of Measure L on 8arious Parties 2&
4 .mpacts on Council Mem)ers 2&

4 .mpacts on ,ei-h)orhoods 2"
4 .mpacts on City Employees 2?
4 .mpact on Senior City Mana-ers 2A
4 .mpacts on Bnions 2A
4 .mpacts on :e+elopment .nterests 1 ProCect Re+ie3s 2A
8...' 9ill 9e 5a+e an AdeDuate Pool of Eualified E/ecuti+e Mayor
Candidates; 26

.F' Ethics Pro+isions( Corruption 1 Cronyism Risks 27
4 Ethics Reforms in Measure L 27
4 The Risk of Corruption and Cronyism &
F' Measure L and 9anin- :emocratic 8alues in City <o+ernment &!
. *2. -elie5es that the .acramento cit, charter should not -e o5erhauled
without a showing -, proponents of good cause and strong 6ustification for doing so. 7he
campaign literature of the 89es8 campaign argues that the current charter is 8outdated8
and that while the cit, is not -ro:en, ;easure / 8is 6ust -etter.8 <e find such
6ustifications to -e e=ceedingl, wea:.
3. 7he proponent>s core 6ustifications are that the measure will impro5e
go5ernment accounta-ilit,, responsi5eness, efficienc,, effecti5eness and transparenc,.
&. <hile direct election of the cit,>s chief e=ecuti5e officer is an important
indicator of accounta-ilit,, we -elie5e that real accounta-ilit, in5ol5es 8-eing held to
account8 for performance. 2n that score, we find that a cit, manager is su-6ect to far
greater accounta-ilit, than an elected e=ecuti5e ma,or.
). 0o5ernmental responsi5eness comes in se5eral forms: responsi5eness to
citi?ens needs, responsi5eness to the polic, preferences of citi?ens and, importantl, to
.acramento, responsi5eness to opportunities for economic growth. <e find that
.acramento>s current council%manager s,stem is li:el, to -e more responsi5e to the needs
of citi?ens, -ut that there would li:el, -e no apprecia-le difference in each s,stem>s
responsi5eness to the polic, preferences of citi?ens. 4n e=ecuti5e ma,or ma, -e more
responsi5e to opportunities for economic growth.
(. Research clearl, demonstrates that cities that emplo, cit, managers are more
efficient and effecti5el, managed than cities run -, e=ecuti5e ma,ors.
!. Components of ;easure / will increase the transparenc, of cit, go5ernment,
-ut the details % and thus the effecti5eness % of such components are left largel, to the
future discretion of the cit, council.
#. ;easure / would li:el, reduce the power and influence of councilmem-ers to
a considera-le degree. .ince the influence of neigh-orhoods depends tremendousl, on
the power and effecti5eness of councilmem-ers, we conclude that ;easure / will
significantl, reduce the influence of neigh-orhoods on cit, polic,. 7he possi-le creation
of a neigh-orhood ad5isor, committee will li:el, do nothing to arrest a decline in the
influence of neigh-orhoods under ;easure /.
$. ;easure / ma, politici?e the appointment of senior cit, managers and result in
a loss of manager professionalism and potential difficulties in management recruitment.
4t the same time, ;easure / ma, open up management positions for d,namic and
action%oriented managers from the pri5ate sector.
9. ;easure / ma, wea:en the -argaining position of cit, go5ernment in la-or
negotiations due to political influence of pu-lic safet, unions on an e=ecuti5e ma,or,
potentiall, leading to higher ta=pa,ers costs and@or reduced ser5ice le5els.
'. ;easure / ma, 5er, well lead to an accelerated processing of de5elopment
pro6ects through the cit,>s en5ironmental and planning processes, and could possi-l, lead
to a lowering of en5ironmental and planning re5iew standards.
. At is highl, uncertain whether a sufficient pool of Bualified candidates for
ma,or will run for office following adoption of ;easure /. Af Bualified candidates do not
run for ma,or, the cit, will almost certainl, e=perience a deterioration in the Bualit, of
cit, management.
3. 7he creation of an independent redistricting commission and a strong code of
ethics, as called for -, ;easure /, will impro5e the integrit, and transparenc, of cit,
go5ernment. Cowe5er, the cit, council must trul, commit to creating an ethics
commission with the authorit, to enforce a code of ethics.
&. 7he increase in ma,oral powers under ;easure / will li:el, lead to increased
political fundraising -, the ma,or and greater ris:s of corruption and 8pa, to pla,8
a-uses in5ol5ing pri5ate interests see:ing ta=pa,er su-sidies for pri5ate pro6ects,
increasing the importance of a strong and effecti5e ethics code and ethics commission.
). *2. has ma6or concerns o5er the stead, erosion of democratic 5alues and
democratic practices in cit, go5ernment in recent ,ears. <e encourage 5oters to e5aluate
;easure D, in part, on whether the, -elie5e it will enhance or diminish our collecti5e
a-ilit, to democraticall, go5ern our cit, now and in the future.
..' Eye on Sacramento0s Prior Position 1 Current Role2 Scope of Re+ie3
Role of EOS
*,e on .acramento is a California nonprofit pu-lic -enefit organi?ation with three
functions: " to ser5e as a watchdog of the actions and policies of local .acramento
go5ernment and to help :eep .acramentans informed on such mattersE 3" to offer
pragmatic polic, solutions to challenging municipal pro-lemsE and &" to engage in
communit, outreach.
An our wor: as a ci5ic watchdog, *2. is 5er, selecti5e in the matters it chooses to
re5iew or in5estigate. 2ur polic, is to focus our limited time and resources on those
ci5ic matters that are of pu-lic importance, -ut which are not recei5ing adeBuate scrutin,
-, media, go5ernment or concerned citi?ens. An short, we tr, to shed light on the
shadows of local go5ernment, -ased on the wise ad5ice of .upreme Court Fustice /ouis
Grandeis that 8sunlight is said to -e the -est disinfectant.8
,ature and Scope of Re+ie3
<hile ;easure / has -een recei5ing increasing co5erage -, local media, much of
it has -een of the political 8horse race8 5ariet,, i.e. reporting on endorsements and
campaign fundraising of the campaigns for and against the measure. <e felt that
.acramento 5oters needed and deser5ed an in%depth, comprehensi5e and independent
e=amination of the measure. <hile we ha5e sought to -e impartial, we come to this
pro6ect with the e=perience of fol:s who>5e -een wor:ing Buite closel, with .acramento
cit, go5ernment for se5eral ,ears, which necessaril, has necessaril, affected our
perspecti5es and 5iews, for good or ill.
7his report has -een prepared -ased on a re5iew of academic studies and
pu-lications, polic, re5iews, news accounts, re5iews of the 3''9 Charter Re5iew
Committee>s report, cit, staff reports and other documents, consultations with participants
and o-ser5ers of 8form of go5ernment8 de-ates in other cities, inter5iews of
academicians, discussions with former and current elected and appointed municipal
officials, meetings with -usiness, la-or, neigh-orhood and other sta:eholders, spirited
(and en6o,a-le" discussions with campaign representati5es for -oth the 89es8 and 8No8
campaigns, participation in communit, meetings, legal research and, of course, re5iew of
the te=t of ;easure / itself and its predecessor e=ecuti5e ma,or proposals.
<e wish to than: the do?ens of people who ha5e ta:en the time to confer with us
on one or more aspects of our report.
EOS0s 5istoric Position on E/ecuti+e Mayor Proposals
.ince the announcement of the original e=ecuti5e ma,or initiati5e -, ;a,or
Fohnson in Fanuar, 3''9 through to the present da,, *2. has consistentl, supported the
-asic democratic right of .acramento 5oters to decide for themsel5es how the, should -e
go5erned. 2nce count, elections officials certified that more than &),''' registered cit,
5oters had signed petitions see:ing a 5ote on the e=ecuti5e ma,or initiati5e, it -ecame, in
our 5iew, the dut, and responsi-ilit, of elected cit, officials to honor and respect the
e=pressed aspirations of the 5oters -, placing the measure on the -allot. 7he council
ma6orit,>s repeated refusals to do so o5er the ,ears led to prolonged (and unnecessar,"
council turmoil and frustrated democrac,. <e are pleased to finall, see ;easure /
placed -efore the 5oters and applaud the supporters of the effort for their perse5erance.
7hat said, *2.>s unwa5ering support of placing the proposal -efore the 5oters
was ne5er an endorsement of the merits of the proposal itself, a distinction we ha5e gone
to great lengths to ma:e clear o5er the ,ears. <e ha5e consistentl, reser5ed 6udgment on
the Buestion of whether the proposal merits the support of 5oters.
An this report, we face sBuarel, for the first time the merits (and demerits" of
;easure /. Anstead of adopting a simple 8support8 or 8oppose8 position, we ha5e done
our -est to fairl, and impartiall, inform the pu-lic and the media of the li:el, and
potential impacts of ;easure /, including identification of potential -enefits and ris:s.
Craig Powell, President
*,e on .acramento
2cto-er 3, 3')
...' A Short Primer on the E+olution of Measure L
7o understand the contents of ;easure /, it is helpful to understand how it
e5ol5ed politicall, since its origins in 3''9. An the 3''$ ma,oral race, ;a,or Ke5in
Fohnson openl, campaigned in fa5or of a strong or e=ecuti5e ma,or re5amp of the cit,
charter. Ce announced in Fanuar, 3''9, 6ust one month into his term as ma,or, his
sponsorship of an e=ecuti5e ma,or initiati5e and soon thereafter su-mitted petitions
signed -, o5er &),''' registered cit, 5oters, a num-er sufficient to Bualif, it for a spot on
the -allot as a charter amendment.
4 legal challenge -rought -, the .acramento Central /a-or Council led to a court
ruling which found that the initiati5e (since du--ed 8.trong ;a,or Anitiati5e .'8 or
8.;A .'8" was an unlawful attempt to -roadl, 8re5ise8 rather than more narrowl,
8amend8 the cit, charter. Dnder state law, a proposal to re5ise a cit, charter can onl, -e
placed on the -allot -, action of the cit, council or -, the action of a 5oter%appro5ed
charter re5iew commission, not -, 5oter petition.
.trong ;a,or Anitiati5e .' (or .;A .'" was drafted -, the ma,or>s pri5ate
attorne, and had recei5ed no pu-lic 5etting prior to the circulation of initiati5e petitions.
At proposed to grant the ma,or e=tremel, -road e=ecuti5e powers, including the power to
directl, hire and fire se5eral hundred senior le5el cit, managers and staff. At also
contained no ma,oral term limits and none of the ethics%enhancing features (or
8sweeteners8" included in toda,>s ;easure /.
4 ,ear or so after .;A .' was sidetrac:ed -, the courts, the ma,or returned to
the cit, council with a retooled proposal, du--ed .;A 3.'. At dramaticall, reduced the
num-er of cit, managers and staff directl, under ma,oral control. 4fter a num-er of
council hearings and e=tensi5e de-ate, the council turned down the ma,or>s reBuest to
place the measure on the -allot, leading to a 5er, pu-lic ma,oral rant against his council
colleagues that -ecame legendar,.
An 3'3, a group aligned with the ma,or emerged to pu-licl, propose ,et another
strong ma,or proposal, du--ed .;A &.'. 7his effort in5ol5ed much more communit,
outreach than pre5ious 5ersions and the proposal itself included se5eral modifications
that addressed some of the concerns of the opponents of .;A 3.', including the addition
of term limits, a pro5ision calling for an independent redistricting commission, an
independent -udget anal,st, an ethics code and other ethics%enhancing measures. An a -it
of council sleight of hand, a council ma6orit, dodged the tough political issue of placing
.;A &.' on the -allot -, placing, instead, on the No5em-er 3'3 -allot a measure as:ing
5oters if the, wished to create a formal charter re5iew commission which would itself
ha5e the power to place charter re5ision proposals on the cit, -allot.
7he maneu5er allowed the then council ma6orit, to wash their hands of the strong
ma,or issue -, claiming that it was now up to the 5oters to decide whether the, wanted
to create a charter re5iew commission to consider ma6or re5amps to the charter, including
a strong ma,or proposal. 4s there was 5er, little popular support at the time for creating
a charter re5iew commission and no real campaign to support it, the commission proposal
was trounced at the polls, lea5ing the strong ma,or issue in lim-o once again.
7he No5em-er 3'3 elections, howe5er, changed the ma:e%up of the cit, council,
with strong ma,or opponents .and, .heed, and Ro- Fong lea5ing the council and the
4llen <arren and .te5en Cansen 6oining it. <hen the group -ac:ing the strong ma,or
proposals, .acramento 7omorrow, reintroduced strong ma,or in 2cto-er of 3'& (in a
5ersion now du--ed .;A ).'", it recei5ed a much more recepti5e council reception. 7he
three carr,o5er supporters of the strong ma,or concept (the ma,or himself, 4ngeliBue
4sh-, and Fa, .chenirer" were 6oined -, strong ma,or supporter 4llen <arren. <hen
.te5e Cohn shifted his position on the strong ma,or issue from opposition to tentati5e
support, .;A ).' was poised to land a spot on the -allot.
7he Cit, Council Ansists on .ome 7wea:s
First, howe5er, the council insisted on some changes. 7erms limits for council
mem-ers were dropped completel, while the term limit for ma,or was reduced from
three terms to two (not counting Fohnson>s first two terms, this ena-ling him to ser5e an
FDR%esBue ! ,ears in office", the reBuirement of 5oter appro5al for council and ma,or
pa, raises that e=ceed ( percent per ,ear was dropped, a pro5ision was added that
pro5ides that the cit, council 8ma,8 create an ethics commission and a neigh-orhood
ad5isor, committee, and the current charter reBuirement that the cit, council meet
wee:l, was changed to reBuire onl, two council meetings per month, reducing the
num-er of reBuired council meetings -, more than half (-ut with no corresponding
reduction, of course, in councilmem-er pa,".
4t a final council hearing on .;A ).' on No5em-er (, 3'&, howe5er,
councilmem-er 4ngeliBue 4sh-, pressed the council to increase the term limit for ma,or
-ac: up to three terms from two, which would allow Fohnson to ser5e a total of 3' ,ears
as ma,or .acramento, eight ,ears as a 8wea:8 ma,or and 3 ,ears as a 8strong ma,or,8
four ,ears longer than FDR. 4sh-,>s sha:, 6ustification for such a long limit was that 8it
would be difficult for the mayor of Sacramento to go through the ranks of national and
statewide offices and reach the top position of such organizations in just two terms.8
Aronicall,, it was onl, si= months later that Ke5in Fohnson was elected President of the
D... Conference of ;a,ors, two ,ears into his second term as the 8wea:8 ma,or of
An short, the tri-ute e=acted -, the cit, council for placing .;A ).' % ;easure / %
on the No5em-er 3') -allot was:
(" eliminating an, 5oter controls o5er their own pa,,
(3" cutting the num-er of reBuired council meetings -, more than (' percent,
(&" dodging term limits on themsel5es, and
()" adding that the, 8ma,8 create an ethics commission to monitor their ethics.
At was certainl, not the council>s finest hour. Gut it did finall, li-erate the strong
ma,or issue from its status as a cit, council%held hostage and pa5ed the wa, for 5oters to
decide for themsel5es how the, wished to -e go5erned.
.8' 9hat :oes Measure L Actually Entail;
Summary of the Sacramento Checks and Balances Act of 2!"
7he changes that ;easure / would ma:e to the cit, charter -rea: down into four
structural components (-ased on summaries pro5ided -, the cit, attorne,>s office":
E/ecuti+e Mayor
7he ma,or would -e the cit,>s chief e=ecuti5e officer.
7he cit, manager would -e the cit,>s chief administration officer and report
directl, to the ma,or.
7he cit, manager would -e appointed -, the ma,or, su-6ect to council
confirmation, and ma, -e fired -, the ma,or with '%da,s prior notice to the
7he ma,or, through the cit, manager, would propose the -udget at least 9' da,s
-efore the -eginning of the fiscal ,ear.
7he ma,or would ha5e 5eto power, including line%item -udget 5eto.
No person could ser5e as ma,or for more than three full terms, not counting terms
started prior to ;easure />s appro5al.
City Council
*ight%mem-er council (now without ma,or"
No mechanism for -rea:ing )%) tie 5otes (which could create no end of
7he council would select its own council president and 5ice%president
7he council must deal directl, through the ma,or e=cept that councilmem-ers
ma, deal with department directors
7he council would appro5e -udget on a ma6orit, 5ote, su-6ect to a ma,oral 5eto,
which can -e o5erridden -, 5ote of si= mem-ers (&@)ths superma6orit, of an
eight%mem-er council"
7he council would appoint the head of newl,%created 2ffice of Andependent
Gudget 4nal,st
7he council would continue to appoint and dismiss cit, attorne,, cit, treasurer
and cit, cler:.
*sta-lishes a nine%mem-er independent redistricting commission.
7he council must pass ordinance esta-lishing mem-er Bualifications and method
of selectionE ma,or and council, howe5er, ma, not -e in5ol5ed in their selection.
7he council must pass an ordinance that reflects, without alteration, -oundaries
adopted -, the redistricting commission.
Creation of redistricting commission is not su-6ect to 8sunset8 pro5ision and is,
thus, permanent.
Ethics and <o+ernment Processes
7he council would -e reBuired to pass -, ordinance a Code of *thics and Conduct
for elected officials and appointed mem-ers of -oards, commissions and
committees with pro5isions for the remo5al from office of an, elected official
who 8su-stantiall, 5iolates8 the Code.
7he council 8ma,8 Hor ma, notI create an *thics Commission for the 8purpose of
re5iewing and monitoring the Code of *thics ordinance,8 -ut with no authorit, to
enforce it.
7he council 8ma,8 Hor ma, notI esta-lish -, ordinance a Neigh-orhood 4d5isor,
Committee for the purpose of considering the interests of the cit,>s
7he council must pass a 8.unshine 2rdinance8 which shall 8li-erall,8 pro5ide for
pu-lic access to cit, meetings and records.
7he council must hold at least two meetings per ,ear outside of its cham-ers.
7he ma,or must hold at least two town hall meetings per ,ear.
7he ma,or must hold a pu-lic meeting for the pu-lic to Buestion the Bualifications
of cit, manager candidates.
7he council must hold a pu-lic meeting for the pu-lic to Buestion the
Bualifications of cit, attorne,, cit, cler: and cit, treasurer candidates.
7he council must hold at least two pu-lic hearings on the ma,or>s proposed
4 -alanced -udget must -e adopted -, Fune &'th.
Sunset Pro+ision
4ll pro5isions of ;easure /, other than the redistricting commission, will sunset
in si= ,ears, on Decem-er &, 3'3', unless the 5oters appro5e a permanenc, 5ote
no later than No5em-er 3, 3'3'.

8' 5a+e Proponents Made the Case for O+erhaulin- City <o+ernance;
City <o+ernance Shouldn0t Be O+erhauled 9ithout <ood Cause
4 cit, charter, li:e a constitution, should not -e amended lightl, or without
demonstra-le good cause. 4 -road re5amping of the cit, charter which reallocates power
among the cit,>s :e, components should -e considered with e5en greater circumspection
and reBuire greater 6ustification. 4s *dmund Gur:e put it, 8circumspection and prudence
are part of wisdom.8 4 ma6or re5amping of cit, go5ernment will -e disrupti5e in
potentiall, un:nown and un:nowa-le wa,s. ;anagers ma, lea5e, ris:ing the loss of
talent and institutional memor,. 4n, su-stantial reallocation of political power ine5ita-l,
results in some gain of power -, some actors and the loss of power -, others, power
-eing understood to -e a finite Buantit,.
2ur current cit, manager, Fohn .hire,, pre5iousl, e=pressed unwillingness to
ser5e under an e=ecuti5e ma,or form of go5ernment. 4lthough he>s e=tended his
emplo,ment contract with the cit, until Fune 3'( and has adopted a more 8wait and see8
attitude towards ser5ing under an e=ecuti5e ma,or, can we realisticall, e=pect .hire,,
who has ser5ed as a chief e=ecuti5e officer in each position he>s ser5ed in for the past
Buarter centur,, to accept the role of wor:ing as a chief administrati5e officer under the
da,%to%da, control of Ke5in Fohnson as the cit,>s chief e=ecuti5e officerJ Af he did accept
such a role, how long could he -e e=pected to lastJ
.hire, has -rought considera-le sta-ilit, to a cit, that emplo,ed four different
cit, managers in the two%,ear period preceding his appointment as cit, manager. Cit,
emplo,ee morale is considera-l, stronger now than in the pre5ious ,ears of managerial
tumult. Ce has instituted reforms that ha5e reined in galloping emplo,ee health care
costs and reBuired emplo,ees to pa, their full 8emplo,ee>s share8 of their pensions,
something no pre5ious manager has done. <ith the cit, headed towards a ma6or 8fiscal
cliff8 in 3'$, with -udget deficits of K)' million or more, the departure of .hire, as cit,
manager would -e a ma6or set-ac: for the cit,.
Proponents0 =ustifications for Measure L
7he Cit, Charter is 2utdated. Af the proponents> campaign literature is to -e
-elie5ed, one of their primar, 6ustifications for ;easure / is that the cit, charter is old,
outdated and hasn>t -een materiall, re5ised in o5er 9' ,ears. <e find this to -e the
wea:est of 6ustifications, -ordering on speciousness. An fact, its enduring age shows that
it has stood the test of time. 4nd if it has stood the test of time and is wor:ing, wh,
o5erhaul itJ No one would seriousl, suggest o5erhauling the D... Constitution -ecause it
is 8outdated8 at 33( ,ears old. (Ancidentall,, the cit, charter was materiall, 8updated8 in
9#' when the cit, shifted from a s,stem of electing councilmem-ers -, district to
electing them at%large (ending the practice of /and Par: -eing the home to fi5e
councilmem-ers". 4t the same time, the charter was modified to elect our ma,ors 5ia
cit,%wide 5ote instead of tapping the top 5ote%getter in council elections as the cit,>s
4-andoned Fustification: 7he Cit, is Gro:enE . 4t a panel discussion on .;A 3.'
in 3', C.D. Communications Professor Gar-ara 2>Conner, a co%chair of .acramento
7omorrow, made the statement that .;A was needed -ecause cit, go5ernment was
8broken,8 a sentiment shared -, .acramento Gee columnist Dan <alters at the time, who
in the same ,ear characteri?ed .acramento as 8the worst run city of its size in
California.8 4nd there was ample 6ustification for such a conclusion at the time: cit,
ser5ices were plummeting, the cit, was struggling with massi5e and recurring deficits,
the cit, council was ri5en with conflict, unemplo,ment was s:, high, the real estate
mar:et had crashed, foreclosures were endemic and the cit, manager post had -ecome a
re5ol5ing door.
/atest Fustification: ;easure / is Fust Getter. 7he cit,>s condition has impro5ed
significantl, since Professor 2>Conner>s 8-ro:en8 cit, comment, to the point where the
89es8 campaign has a-andoned its 8-ro:en cit,8 6ustification and shifted to another: 8The
current system isn't broken, Measure is just better.8 (from a 89es8 on ;easure /
ad5ertisement, Anside Pu-lications, Anc., 2cto-er, 3')". 7hat>s not terri-l, helpful to
5oters loo:ing for tangi-le 6ustification for o5erhauling the cit, charter.
7he /egitimate, Core 4rguments in Fa5or of ;easure /. /oo:ing -e,ond the
sha:, campaign rhetoric crafted -, the 89es8 campaign>s political consultants, the
supporters of ;easure / claim that it will ma:e cit, go5ernment more accountable,
responsi!e( transparent( ethical and better at meeting the growing and increasingly
comple" needs of .acramento. 7hese are all legitimate claims with some real -asis in
fact and we will e=amine each in turn in the following section, entitled 8/i:el, L
Potential Ampacts on Core *lements of Cit, 0o5ernance.8
4 local critic of ;easure /, former assistant state treasurer ;ar: Paul, asserts that
the 89es8 campaign has deplo,ed such good go5ernment terms as 8accounta-ilit,,8
8responsi5eness,8 8transparenc,8 and the li:e as mere 8talismans,8 sei?ing upon them so
as to preempt their use -, the opponents of ;easure /. (;ar: Paul, 8.trong ;a,or,
<h,J,8, .eptem-er #, 3')". <hile such loaded terms ha5e
-een e=tremel, o5erused (and often misused" -, politicians and political consultants to
the point of -ecoming useless clichMs, the, are not mere clichMs in the de-ate o5er
;easure /. 7he claims merit serious re5iew.
8.' Likely 1 Potential .mpacts on Core Elements of City <o+ernance
A' Accounta)ility of City <o+ernment to Citi>ens
7he single most effecti5e argument put forth -, the supporters of ;easure / is
that the most powerful official in cit, go5ernment, currentl, the cit, manager, should -e
directl, accounta-le to 5oters -, -eing elected -, 5oters. At is an argument that is
difficult to refute. At is -roadl, appealing to those who 5alue the fundamental, democratic
right of 5oters to select and control those who rule them. At is an argument that goes to
the heart of democratic self%go5ernance.
At also has close parallels to federal and state go5ernment structures with which
5oters are far more familiar. 7he common % and erroneous % understanding of most 5oters
is that ma,ors ser5e as the chief e=ecuti5e officers of their cities, much as the president is
the chief e=ecuti5e of the federal go5ernment and go5ernors are chief e=ecuti5es of state
go5ernment. An fact, howe5er, !' percent of cities in the D... use a council%manager
model of go5ernance, where a cit, council selects a professional cit, manager to run the
da,%to%da, affairs of cit, go5ernment and to carr, out the policies set -, a cit, council.
;a,ors in such s,stems are t,picall, mem-ers of the cit, council who ser5e as the
ceremonial and facilitati5e leaders of their cities.
;a,or Fohnson freBuentl, shares anecdotes of con5ersations with 5oters who are
astonished to disco5er that he lac:s the direct power to order potholes to -e filled.
.hifting to a ma,or%council or e=ecuti5e ma,or form of go5ernment would, certainl,,
ele5ate the ma,or>s power in cit, go5ernment to the le5el at which most 5oters thin: it
alread, e=ists, reducing the pu-lic>s widespread present misunderstanding of how
.acramento cit, go5ernment operates.
Cit, managers function more li:e prime ministers in a parliamentar, s,stem.
<hile 5oters in such s,stems directl, elect mem-ers of parliament, the political part,
achie5ing a parliamentar, ma6orit, selects the prime minister who will wield e=ecuti5e
power o5er go5ernment, su-6ect to :eeping a parliamentar, ma6orit, happ, with their
performance. 4 5ote of 8no confidence8 -, a ma6orit, of parliament can lead to the
remo5al and su-stitution of the prime minister, much as si= mem-ers of the current nine%
mem-er .acramento cit, council could decide at an, 7uesda, e5ening council meeting to
fire the cit, manager.
As a directl, elected chief e=ecuti5e more 8accounta-le8 to 5oters than a chief
e=ecuti5e selected -, a parliamentar, ma6orit, (or a ma6orit, of the mem-ers of a cit,
council"J Certainl, there is a much more direct lin: -etween the 5oters and the chief
e=ecuti5e in a ma,or%council form of go5ernment: the 5oters do the hiring instead of a
ma6orit, of councilmem-ers who are a step remo5ed from 5oters.
Gut accounta-ilit, implies much more than 6ust initial, direct selection -, 5oters.
At most criticall, means -eing 8held to account8 for poor performance. 2nl, if
conseBuences are meted out for poor performance can a chief e=ecuti5e -e fairl,
considered to -e 8accounta-le.8 Gut meted out how and -, whomJ An a council%ma,or
s,stem, a council super%ma6orit, can Buic:l, remo5e a cit, manager. 7he .acramento
cit, council essentiall, e=ercised such power to change cit, managers twice in the two
,ears preceding .hire,>s appointment as cit, manager.
Gut in a strong ma,or s,stem, 5oters ha5e onl, two means of meting our
conseBuences to a poorl, performing ma,or: the, can turn him out of office -, election
on the fourth ,ear anni5ersar, of his initial hiring or the, can pursue the e=treme remed,
of remo5ing him from office 5ia a recall election.
.an Diego faced a real constitutional crisis last ,ear when then ma,or Go- Filner,
who wielded e=ecuti5e ma,or powers appro5ed -, .an Diego 5oters in 3''(, -ecame the
su-6ect of an a5alanche of se=ual harassment complaints and accusations of sha:ing
down de5elopers for contri-utions to charities fa5ored -, Filner. Protracted negotiations
led to a deal in which the Cit, of .an Diego essentiall, paid for him to resign from office,
pic:ing up his legal costs and limiting his ci5il lia-ilit,.
7ossing a ma,or out of office -, election is also no eas, tas: and one that will
li:el, -ecome more difficult if ;easure / is adopted. 0reater ma,or power is li:el, to
result in more ro-ust ma,oral fundraising, as contri-utors tend to gi5e more to those
officials who wield greater power than those with less power, particularl, contri-utors
who ha5e dealings with the cit, such as cit, unions and su-sid,%see:ing de5elopers.
<hile remo5ing ma,ors from office 5ia election can and does happen (witness Ke5in
Fohnson>s defeat of incum-ent Ceather Fargo", it will li:el, -ecome somewhat more
difficult in a post%;easure / en5ironment.
At seems clear that a cit, manager, su-6ect to termination on an, gi5en 7uesda,
night, is su-6ect to greater accounta-ilit, for his or her performance than an e=ecuti5e
ma,or who is securel, ensconced in a four%,ear term of office. Ne5ertheless, the
council>s e=ercise of o5ersight authorit, o5er a cit, manager is one step remo5ed from
o5ersight -, 5oters themsel5es. An a strong ma,or s,stem, e=ecuti5e o5ersight, though
greatl, diminished, is left to the 5oters themsel5es.
9ho To Blame 9hen the City Performs Poorly; The Pro)lem of :iffused
7here is one area in which ;easure / will help clarif, and increase accounta-ilit,
in cit, go5ernment. Currentl, when something goes 5er, wrong, mem-ers of the cit,
council will often -lame the cit, manager (or one another", the cit, manager will
o-liBuel, -lame council mem-ers, others will -lame the cit, attorne,>s office, while still
others will -lame line managers in the departments in5ol5ed in the scandal. At is 5er,
difficult in such circumstances for the pu-lic and the media to determine who should -ear
ultimate responsi-ilit, for the cit,>s failure.
4n e=ample of such finger pointing occurred three ,ears ago when *,e on
.acramento re5ealed the terms of a prime gar-age contract that were e=tremel, onerous
to the cit, and its ratepa,ers, and which has led to hi:es in cit, gar-age rates. 7he cit,
appro5ed a 3'%,ear e=tension % on a no%-id -asis % of a contract with G/7 *nterprises,
Anc. that loc:ed in s:, high rates for the disposal of gar-age collected -, cit, gar-age
truc:s. (7he contract has since -een transferred to <aste Connections"
<as the de-acle the fault of the managers and staff of the cit,>s utilities
department who were snoo:ered in the contract negotiationsJ <as it the fault of the then
cit, manager who failed to monitor the contract and assure that competent staff were
handling the negotiationsJ <as it the fault of the then cit, attorne, or his deput, cit,
attorne, for mishandling the dealJ .hould -lame -e placed on the cit, council for hearing
the matter late at night and allowing 5irtuall, no opportunit, for pu-lic inputJ 4ll of the
Cad the matter come to light under an e=ecuti5e ma,or s,stem, the answer would
ha5e -een clearer: the ma,or, in sole charge of the cit, -ureaucrac, (e=cept for the cit,
attorne,", would ha5e -orne primar, responsi-ilit, for the harm to cit, ratepa,ers from
such a -otched cit, contract (although he might also ha5e -lamed the law,ers". G,
concentrating power and authorit, in the ma,or, ;easure / would help reduce, to some
e=tent, the finger pointing that is a product of diffused responsi-ilit, in current cit,
go5ernment. Gut e5en if a strong ma,or could ha5e -een held responsi-le for such a
de-acle, what effecti5e means would 5oters ha5e had to hold a strong ma,or accounta-le
for such unforced ma6or errors short of initiating a recall or waiting until he ne=t stands
for reelectionJ
An terms of meaningful accounta-ilit,, the nim-leness with which a cit, council
can act to remo5e a poorl, performing cit, manager trumps the o-stacle laden path 5oters
face in holding a incum-ent strong ma,or responsi-le for poor performance.
B' Responsi+eness
7he 8responsi5eness8 of a cit, go5ernment can -e e5aluated in three respects: ("
the case%-,%case responsi5eness of cit, go5ernment to particular concerns and complaints
of pri5ate citi?ensE (3" the o5erall responsi5eness of the go5ernance s,stem to the polic,
preferences of its citi?ensE and (&" responsi5eness to opportunities for economic growth.
Responsi+eness to .ndi+idual Citi>ens
<e ha5e found no studies that ha5e e=amined whether cit, responsi5eness to
indi5idual citi?en>s concerns is -etter under one form of go5ernment or the other. Gased
on our e=perience and familiarit, with the wor:ings of cit, go5ernment, we -elie5e it is
li:el, that constituent ser5ice would -e superior under the current council%manager
model than it would -e under an e=ecuti5e ma,or s,stem.
Dnder the current s,stem, a citi?en has three potential points of access to the cit,
-ureaucrac, for help in resol5ing pro-lems:
the ma,or>s office,
the citi?en>s councilmem-er>s office, or
direct contact with the -ureaucrac,.
Direct contact with the -ureaucrac, is complicated -, the fact that man, callers
ha5e little to no :nowledge of which cit, official to contact for help in addressing their
particular issue. (7he cit, refuses to post on the cit,>s we-site its internal phone director,
of managers, 6o- titles and contact information that would help citi?ens identif, and
directl, reach the cit, official the, need to contactE the cit, director, is a5aila-le,
howe5er, on *2.>s we-site at www.e,". Calls to the cit,>s
understaffed & information line are often su-6ect to wait times of '%( minutes.
Calls to the ma,or>s office for assistance come from all parts of the cit,, forcing
receptionists to direct calls Buic:l, either to & or to cit, departments while pro5iding
little to no direct help or ad5ice to callers.
Calls to indi5idual councilmem-er>s offices, howe5er, are treated Buite differentl,.
Councilmem-ers and their staffs are uniforml, sensiti5e to calls for assistance from
constituents, each of whom is a potential future 5oter for (or against" the councilmem-er.
Council staff learn how to na5igate the cit, -ureaucrac, on -ehalf of constituents and are
Buite s:illful and moti5ated to find the right person to help the caller with their pro-lem.
1er, often, staff mem-ers call the rele5ant cit, office or -ureaucrat directl, on -ehalf of
the constituent.
An our e=perience, cit, emplo,ees place the highest priorit, on addressing calls
for assistance the, recei5e from councilmem-ers or mem-ers of their staff. <h,J
Gecause, in a council%manager form of go5ernment, the cit, manager>s focus is :eeping
the mem-ers of the cit, council % his -osses % happ, with his 6o- performance. Cit,
emplo,ees :now that if a councilmem-er e5er lodges a complaint with the cit, manager
a-out a cit, emplo,ee who has -een neglectful of a councilmem-er>s reBuests for help,
that emplo,ee will -e in serious hot water with the cit, manager, which is ne5er a good
career strateg,.
An an e=ecuti5e ma,or s,stem, the cit, manager wor:s at the pleasure of the
ma,or, not the mem-ers of the cit, council. ConseBuentl,, his focus and priorit, will -e
on :eeping the ma,or continuousl, happ,, not responding to reBuests for help from
councilmem-ers. 7hat shift of the cit, manager>s focus from ser5ing the council to
ser5ing the ma,or will li:el, -e Buic:l, internali?ed -, cit, emplo,ees up and the down
the cit, hierarch,. ConseBuentl,, the alacrit, with which cit, emplo,ees currentl, wor:
to sol5e constituent pro-lems passed along to them from councilmem-er>s offices will
li:el, diminish, reducing the cit,>s responsi5eness to the concerns of indi5idual citi?ens.
Constituent ser5ice ma, also decline for constituents of councilmem-ers who end
up 8on the outs8 with an e=ecuti5e ma,or for, sa,, failing to support the ma,or>s
legislati5e agenda. An a strong ma,or s,stem, councilmem-ers who 8cross8 a strong
ma,or politicall, can pa, a 5er, hea5, price. 4 cit, -ureaucrac, that was once
cooperati5e with the councilmem-er can turn chill, and uncooperati5e. 4ccess to 5ital
information, all of which is controlled -, the ma,or in an e=ecuti5e ma,or s,stem, can -e
denied. Former and current elected officials from a num-er of cities ha5e uniforml,
e=pressed concern to us with -eing denied access to information in strong ma,or%run
cities. 4nd in politics and go5ernment, information is power.
7his is not merel, a h,pothetical ris:. An a recent column, .acramento Gee
columnist ;arcos Greton made the point that councilmem-er .te5e Cansen, a leader of
the campaign against ;easure /, will ha5e committed 8political suicide8 if ;easure /
passes. 4s Greton put it, 8if 'strong mayor' passes, it almost certainly would mean
#ansen would be buried so deep in the City Council chambers they would ha!e to pipe
light down to him.8 Greton e=pressed his assessment of the future wor:ing relationship
-etween the ma,or and Cansen: 8$nd the idea of being able to work with %ohnson once
you'!e crossed him like this& '.%. don't play that game.8 (;arcos Greton, 8Cansen
7a:es a Ris: in 2pposing Fohnson on .trong ;a,or,8 .acramento Gee, 4ugust 9, 3')".
<hile an e=ecuti5e ma,or could tr, to -uild a constituent ser5ice operation in his
office to ma:e up for the li:el, reduced effecti5eness of councilmem-er constituent
ser5ices, it is unli:el, that ma,oral staffers will share the same moti5ation and de5otion
to effecti5e constituent ser5ice as council staff. <h, would the,J 7he negati5e impact on
the ma,or of a disappointed constituent is much more diffused and attenuated (-eing one
of 9',''' 5oters" than the negati5e impact on a councilmem-er of a disappointed
constituent, who ma, -e one of 6ust (,''' regular 5oters in some districts.
7here will also -e a reduction of ma,oral awareness and familiarit, with
constituent pro-lems under ;easure /. Dnder ;easure /, the ma,or would no longer
ser5e as a mem-er of the cit, council or regularl, attend its meetings. Ce would no
longer come face%to%face on a wee:l, -asis with constituents who ta:e the trou-le to
come down to Cit, Call and summon the courage to address the ma,or and council on
indi5idual pro-lems the, ha5e in dealing with the cit,. ;a,or Fohnson has often -een
mo5ed to offer staff support to help to constituents who feel defeated -, their dealings
with the -ureaucrac,. Ansulating the ma,or from such e=periences will li:el, reduce his
engagement in such matters.
Responsi+eness to the Policy Preferences of Citi>ens

Does a council%manager or an e=ecuti5e s,stem do a -etter 6o- of assuring that the
policies of cit, go5ernment reflect the polic, preferences of its citi?ensJ 7hat was the
Buestion poised -, a large%scale stud, -, political scientists Chris 7ausano5itch of DC/4
and Christopher <arshaw of ;A7 issued earlier this ,ear (7ausano5itch and <arshaw,
8Representation in ;unicipal 0o5ernment,8 ;arch 3'), Cam-ridge Dni5ersit, Press".
7he authors aggregated a collection of nationwide sur5e, results to determine the
political leanings of ,!'' D... cities and towns. 7he, then e=amined the t,pes of
go5ernment structures used in each of those municipal go5ernments. Finall,, the,
gauged the social, political and en5ironmental policies enacted -, each of those
7he authors> conclusion: that all municipal go5ernments, irrespecti5e of structure,
tend to implement policies that align with the political ideolog, of their constituents. 4s
.am .urgis of Cit, /a-s put it, the, found that 8all local go!ernments are more or less
e(ually good as listening to their !oters.8 (.am .urgis, Cit, /a-s, Ful, &, 3')".
8These results ... cast doubt on the hypothesis that simple institutional reforms
enhance responsi!eness in municipal go!ernments,8 7ausano5itch and <arshaw
o-ser5e. 7he, define 8responsi5eness8 as the tendenc, of go5ernments to ad6ust 8to
changes in citi?ens> 5iews -, mo5ing polic, in the direction of those 5iews.8
.urgis writes that 8these results do suggest Sacramento !oters ought to be
skeptical of the idea that the o!erall policy direction of the city will change
dramatically if they grant the mayor more e"ecuti!e power. $s these political scientists
put it, they could get rid of the mayor altogether and it probably wouldn't make much
of a difference, policy)wise8 (.turgis, supra".
2n the one hand, the stud, should ease the concerns of those worried that
;easure / will lead to a ma6or shift in the policies of cit, go5ernment. 2n the other
hand, the stud, ma, disappoint those who ma, -e counting on ;easure / to lead to a
ma6or change in the direction of cit, polic,. 2ne conclusion seems fairl, clear: ;easure
/ will li:el, ha5e little effect on the polic, direction of the cit, as current polic, is li:el,
alread, reflecti5e of, and responsi5e, to the polic, preferences of .acramento residents in
most cases.
Responsi+eness to Opportunities for Economic <ro3th
4 recurring theme of ;a,or Fohnson as e=pressed in his comments in support of
;easure / is that the cit, has not -een sufficientl, engaged, energetic and organi?ed to
sei?e upon opportunities for economic growth, particularl, opportunities for recruiting
new -usinesses and retaining e=isting -usinesses.
Ce recounts the stor, of <aste Connections, a ma6or firm that had -een -ased in
Folsom, -ut not long ago decided, li:e so man, California companies, to mo5e its
headBuarters to lower%ta= and more lightl, regulated 7e=as. 7he ma,or sa,s that the
C*2 of <aste Connections called him to gi5e him a heads%up that the compan, was
seriousl, considering a mo5e to 7e=as. *5en though the compan, was not technicall,
headBuartered in the Cit, of .acramento, the ma,or understood the implications to the
cit, of a ma6or compan, mo5ing out of the region. <hen the ma,or tried to organi?e a
concerted cit, effort to :eep <aste Connections in the region, he ran up against
resistance. 7he cit, manager didn>t :now if there was support on the cit, council to ta:e
steps to help :eep a compan, headBuartered in a near-, cit, from lea5ing the area.
7he ma,or>s natural instinct for action was met with the realit, of go5ernment%-,%
consensus .acramento. 7he ma,or sees a need for .acramento to ha5e a single leader
who can, first, define a 5ision and then act upon it. ;a,or 0reg Gallard of Andianapolis
put it this wa, in remar:s Buoted in a Gee article this wee::
8*t is important that somebody, in collaboration with others, sets the !ision for
the city and has the mechanisms to dri!e it forward. *f people don't like +what
they do,, !ote them out.8 (.acramento Gee, 8;a,ors Conference <raps up in
.acramento, .eptem-er &', 3')".
7he ma,or sees ;easure / as 8the mechanism to dri5e it Hhis 5isionI forward.8
Gut he hasn>t done too -adl, in his deplo,ment of the current mechanisms of cit,
go5ernment on matters of importance to him. Ce was a-le to recruit the council support
he needed to :eep the Kings in .acramento and pro5ide hundreds of millions of dollars of
pu-lic su-sidies to -uild a new entertainment and sports center in Downtown
.acramento. Ce wor:ed seamlessl, and 5er, Buic:l, with the cit, manager and his staff
to -ring the intricate deal to a speed, conclusion.
Cas he reall, -een constrained -, an insufficientl, responsi5e cit, go5ernment
under the current s,stemJ <hile the de5elopment of polic, consensus on, sa,, -usiness
recruitment, does ta:e time in our current council%manager s,stem, once polic, is set
there is no reason wh, cit, go5ernment can>t -e as rapid in responding to recruitment
opportunities as it was in deplo,ing to :eep the Kings in .acramento and to -uild a
ta=pa,er su-sidi?ed Downtown arena. 7here is nothing restraining the cit, from
organi?ing 8tiger teams8 comprised of reps from each :e, cit, department to rapidl, sei?e
upon such opportunities, in tandem with partners in the -usiness communit,.
<e thin: that there is a 5alid argument for how a single indi5idual could -e 5er,
effecti5e in -oth setting a 5ision and e=ecuting on that 5ision. Currentl,, the ma,or
neither unilaterall, sets polic, or unilaterall, implements polic,. Gut e5en with
e=ecuti5e ma,or powers, the ma,or will -e compelled to see: -u,%in from the cit,
council on most ma6or matters. Real estate pro6ects reBuire land use entitlements which
will remain within the pur5iew of the cit, council e5en after adoption of ;easure /.
Financing of ma,oral initiati5es that reBuire spending or -orrowing authorit, will remain
within the authorit, of the cit, council.
Cowe5er, an e=ecuti5e ma,or would ha5e man, more tools at his disposal to
pressure the council into appro5ing his agenda, tools such as the line%item 5eto, control
o5er councilmem-er access to information and control o5er pro6ects in councilmem-ers>
districts. 4n e=ecuti5e ma,or can ma:e the life of a councilmem-er prett, misera-le if
he chooses to do so (.ee Rahm *mmanuel, ;a,or of Chicago". Gut it -egs the Buestion
of whether he reall, needs such hea5,%handed le5erage to secure council consensus on
polic, initiati5es. Af the cit, were to sin: -ac: into the :ind of fractious d,sfunction that
it was mired in fi5e ,ears ago, a much stronger case could -e made for the need for
strong, almost coerci5e ma,oral power o5er the de5elopment of cit, polic,. Gut that>s
not where the cit, is toda,.
C' Efficiency and Effecti+eness of <o+ernment Operations
Proponents claim that ;easure / will -ring greater efficienc, to the operations of
cit, go5ernment. 7he a5aila-le research comes to e=actl, the opposite finding. 4 recent
stud, -, AG; (8.marter, Faster, Cheaper: 4n 2perations Genchmar:ing .tud, of ''
Cities,8 ;a, 3'" found that:
Cities with city manager forms of go!ernment are nearly -./ more efficient
than cities with strong mayor forms of go!ernment. This finding appears to
!alidate the assumption underlying city manager forms of go!ernment, notably
that in!esting e"ecuti!e authority in professional management shielded from
direct political interference should yield more efficiently managed cities.
2lder studies found that 8there is no apparent difference in the efficiency le!els
of the two municipal go!ernment structures.8 (Kath, Ca,es and .emoon Change, 87he
Relati5e *fficienc, of Cit, ;anager and ;a,or%Council Forms of 0o5ernment.8
.outhern *conomic Fournal, 1ol. (#, Assue , pg. !#" and that 8there is no impact on the
le!el of ta"es or spending8 -etween the two structures. (Da5id R. ;organt and Fohn P.
Pelissero, 8Dr-an Polic,: Does Political .tructure ;atter,8 7he 4merican Political
.cience Re5iew, Dec. 9$', 1ol. #), No. , pp 99%'!".
An ran:ings of cities -, le5els of efficienc, (Reason Pu-lic Polic, Anstitute,
8Competiti5e Cities: 4 Report Card on 4merica>s /argest Cities,8 3''" and -est
management practices (0o5erning Magazine, 3'''", the top two rated cities in -oth
categories were Phoeni= (at N" and *l Paso (at N3", -oth of which operate under the
council%manager form of go5ernment. 4uthors of the Reason sur5e, found that 8cities
with city managers are almost 0./ more likely to be efficient than those8 with
e=ecuti5e ma,ors. 81erhaps city managers without the political pressure of running
for office can more readily focus on efficient operations of city ser!ices8 the authors
:' Transparency
Proponents claim that the pac:age of reforms included in ;easure / would
increase the transparenc, of cit, go5ernment. 7hat is almost certainl, true. Gut we also
o-ser5e that e5er, one of the transparenc, enhancing features of ;easure / could ha5e
-een adopted at an, time -, the cit, council o5er the ,ears (and still can -e" or could
ha5e -een su-mitted (and still can -e" -, the council to the 5oters as stand%alone charter
amendments without -eing tethered to the more contro5ersial core purpose of ;easure /:
e=pansion of ma,oral powers.
.ndependent Redistrictin- Commission
.ome of these reform proposals ha5e -een percolating up through the political
process for ,ears. 7hree ,ears ago, in the aftermath of the cit, council>s redistricting
fiasco which led to record protests at cit, hall, *2. teamed up with minorit, leaders in
the area to launch 8*mpower .acramento,8 a citi?ens reform group led -, *fren
0utierre? and initiall, focused on adoption of a cit, charter amendment creating an
independent redistricting commission. 7he goal was to persuade the cit, council to place
the proposal on the cit, -allot. *2. did the leg wor: of researching and e5aluating
independent redistricting efforts in other California cities and crafting a charter
amendment. 4fter recei5ing the support of the ma,or>s office for our proposal, *2. and
*mpower .acramento was surprised to find that our proposal had -een -olted onto the
latest 5ersion of the ma,or>s strong ma,or proposal, which effecti5el, too: the political
wind out of the sails of our effort to place a stand%alone independent redistricting
commission proposal on the -allot.
7he strateg,, of course, of the proponents of ;easure / has -een to pac:age as
man, appealing good go5ernment features as possi-le with the core strong ma,or
proposal. <hile the strateg, ma, -e transparentl, opportunistic, particularl, since such
reforms could, as noted a-o5e, -e separatel, adopted -, council ordinance or charter
amendment, the good go5ernment features are all positi5e, al-eit woefull, incomplete,
steps towards producing more transparent and democratic go5ernance in .acramento.
7he redistricting proposal will open up the process of drawing council district
-oundaries, -, ta:ing it out of the -ac: rooms and putting it sBuarel, in pu-lic 5iew. 7he
:e, challenge of such a measure is to craft a mechanism for the appointment of
independent mem-ers of the redistricting commission who will -e free from influence -,
incum-ent elected officials. ;easure / does reBuire that such commissioners -e entirel,
free from influence -, the ma,or and council, -ut lea5es to future council ordinance to
figure out the actual method of selecting commissioners. *2. and *mpower .acramento
found that the fairest wa, of assuring commissioner independence was to rel, on either
incum-ent or retired .uperior Court 6udges to manage the process of selecting
Af ;easure / passes, the cit, council will ha5e 6ust 9' da,s to pass an
implementing ordinance fleshing out how the redistricting commission will operate. Af
;easure / fails to pass, we urge the cit, council to hold hearings on the issue and refer
place a stand%alone charter amendment to create such a commission on the ne=t
municipal election -allot
7his is trul, a -lan: slate mandate reBuiring the cit, council to adopt within 9'
da,s an ordinance 8li-erall,8 pro5iding for greater pu-lic access to cit, meetings and
records. 4lmost three ,ears ago *2. as:ed the cit, council to adopt ' transparenc,
reforms that we had de5eloped (winnowed down from a list of (' some reforms options
we initiall, considered". 7he cit, council adopted onl, one of the ', -ut it was the most
important one. At is toda, commonl, :nown as the .unshine Rule and it reBuires that the
cit, pu-licl, release the terms of all ma6or proposed cit, contracts at least ' da,s prior
to the council appro5ing such contracts.
7his feature would force the council, for the first time, to seriousl, address issues
of cit, go5ernment transparenc, with a deadline. 7he resulting ordinance would ha5e to
meet ;easure />s mandate of 8li-erall,8 pro5iding for greater cit, transparenc,. 7here is
no wa, a stand%alone measure could e5er replicate the pressure to impro5e cit,
transparenc, that ;easure / pro5ides.
Mandated Pu)lic Meetin-s
;easure / includes a slew of mandates for additional pu-lic hearings, each of
which address a recogni?ed cit, short%coming in assuring open go5ernment. For
e=ample, the mandate that the ma,or produce a proposed -udget 9' da,s -efore the
-eginning of a new fiscal ,ear would reBuire release of the proposed -udget -, 4pril 3nd,
a month earlier than the current mandated release date of the draft -udget. ;easure /
also mandates that there -e two pu-lic hearings on the -udget. Copefull,, such meetings
would -e in the nature of town hall meetings where citi?ens will ha5e -road input into the
setting of cit, -udget priorities.
7he measure also reBuires that the ma,or hold a pu-lic meeting where the pu-lic
can e=amine the Bualifications of candidates for cit, manager, addressing the pro-lem of
the cit, council hiring a cit, manager -ehind closed doors with ?ero pu-lic input. 7he
council would -e reBuired to hold similar pu-lic meetings to 5et the Bualifications of
candidates for cit, attorne,, cit, treasurer and cit, cler:.
4 more s,m-olic pro5ision reBuires that the ma,or hold two pu-lic town hall
meetings each ,ear and that the council hold two council meetings awa, from cit, halls
each ,ear.
8..' Likely and Potential .mpacts of Measure L on 8arious Parties
.mpacts on Councilmem)ers
;easure / will almost certainl, lead to a considera-le loss of power for
councilmem-ers. First, the cit, manager will no longer wor: for, report to or -e
accounta-le to councilmem-ers as the council will lose the power to dismiss the cit,
manager. Anstead, the cit, manager will wor: for, report to and -e accounta-le to the
e=ecuti5e ma,or. ;uch of councilmem-ers> current power lies in their ultimate authorit,
to remo5e the cit, manager if he does not perform to their satisfaction. <ith the loss of
dismissal power o5er the cit, manager, councilmem-ers will ha5e significantl, less
influence o5er the cit, -ureaucrac,.
;easure />s shift of -road -udgetar, power from the cit, manager to the ma,or
will also diminish councilmem-er power. Now, the cit, manager ta:es significant time
during the course of each ,ear (more than si= months" to methodicall, gauge the -udget
priorities of council mem-ers, which leads to the release of a draft -udget that the cit,
manager alread, :nows will -e fa5ora-l, recei5ed -, a council ma6orit,. Dnder ;easure
/, the cit, manager will -e preparing the -udget proposal for a constituenc, of one: his
-oss, the e=ecuti5e ma,or. ConseBuentl,, councilmem-er influence on the de5elopment
of the -udget will drop dramaticall,.
0i5en the ma,or>s power under ;easure / to 5eto a -udget not to his li:ing and
the e=traordinaril, high &@)ths ma6orit, council 5ote (! out of $ mem-ers" reBuired to
o5erride a ma,oral 5eto of the -udget, the ma,or need corral onl, three council 5otes to
defeat an o5erride of his 5eto of the -udget.
/ittle media attention has -een paid to ;easure />s grant of line%item 5eto power
to the ma,or. Dnder a line%item 5eto, the ma,or can ?ero out an, one or more of the
thousands of line items in the cit,>s massi5e annual -udget. 7he council would ha5e to
muster a &@)ths ma6orit, to o5erride each indi5idual line item 5eto. 4s a practical matter,
under ;easure / not a penn, is li:el, to -e spent -, the cit, without the appro5al of the
e=ecuti5e ma,or. From a raw power perspecti5e, the a-ilit, of a ma,or under ;easure /
to ?ero out spending and pro6ects that -enefit a single council district will pro5ide him
with tremendous coerci5e power o5er a recalcitrant councilmem-er. *5en the threat of
such action will often -e enough to -ring councilmem-ers into line.
Not e5er, councilmem-er>s power will diminish under ;easure /. 7hose
councilmem-ers who -ecome uniforml, lo,al to the e=ecuti5e ma,or and ne5er wa5er in
that support will li:el, see little to no change in their power and influence. Gut their
freedom and fle=i-ilit, to represent the interests and 5iews of their constituents will
li:el, -e compromised and su-ordinated to their primar, lo,alt, to the ma,or and his
An short, ;easure / will li:el, lead to a significant reduction in councilmem-er
power and influence o5er cit, go5ernment. Perhaps the council>s decision to put a
pro5ision in ;easure / reducing the num-er of reBuired council meetings from once
wee:l, to 6ust twice monthl, was a recognition that the, wouldn>t ha5e as much to do
after passage of ;easure /.
2ne aspect of ;easure / which will mitigate the li:el, loss of councilmem-er
power is a pro5ision reBuiring the creation of an 2ffice of Andependent Gudget 4nal,st
under the direct control of the cit, council. 7he cit, -udget anal,st will -e a chec: on an
e=ecuti5e ma,or>s -road control of the cit,>s -udget process and should help offset, to
some e=tent at least, councilmem-ers> li:el, reduction in full and eas, access to cit,
financial information under an e=ecuti5e ma,or s,stem.
.mpacts on ,ei-h)orhoods
4s noted a-o5e, ;easure / will li:el, reduce the power and influence of
indi5idual councilmem-ers. 7his reduction in the power of councilmem-ers will li:el,
lead to a corresponding fall in the influence of neigh-orhoods and neigh-orhood
organi?ations at cit, hall. <h,J Gecause councilmem-ers are dependent on the support
of residential 5oters for their reelection.
<hile councilmem-ers are assuredl, influenced -, those who contri-ute to their
campaigns, it is a councilmem-er>s constituents and their preferences that ha5e -, far the
greatest influence on the positions adopted -, councilmem-ers. Cit, council elections
are e=ercises in retail politics. *2. studies ha5e shown that, while a candidate must
recei5e a certain threshold le5el of funding to -e competiti5e in a race for council, once
that threshold le5el of funding is reached, then the amount raised -, candidates a-o5e
that threshold -ears 5irtuall, no relationship to the outcome of council races. Anstead, our
e=perience is that those candidates who are most effecti5e in connecting with 5oters at
their front doors are the ones who consistentl, pre5ail in council races.
G, the end of a council race, the pre5ailing candidate is the one person in that
council district who is -est attuned to the 5iews, concerns and aspirations of 5oters in the
district. At is those 5oters who will decide whether a councilmem-er is returned to office
for a second term. 4s a result, the 5iews of residents ha5e the most dominant influence
on their councilmem-er>s positions.
G, contrast, ma,ors are t,picall, less connected on an indi5idual or retail -asis
with their cit,%wide constituents. 7he, spend more time than councilmem-ers with
representati5e of 5arious cit,%wide interest groups and less time than councilmem-ers
with representati5es of neigh-orhood groups. ;a,ors also tend to -e more reliant on
campaign fundraising for their political continuit, than councilmem-ers. Running cit,%
wide campaigns are an e=pensi5e proposition while council district races are far less
e=pensi5e and are less dependent on prodigious fundraising.
4s a result of these different influences, councilmem-ers tend to -e highl,
sensiti5e to, and focused on, neigh-orhood concerns, while ma,ors, as a general rule,
tend to focus more on cit,%wide issues of concern to a ma,or>s interest group donors and
issues relating to the Downtown core where man, of his contri-utors ha5e economic
interests. ConseBuentl,, an, reduction in the power or influence of councilmem-ers will
lead to a decline in neigh-orhood influence on cit, go5ernment and an increase in the
influence of interests concerned with Downtown interests.
.upporters of ;easure / ma:e the case that the current structure of cit,
go5ernment leads to an e=cessi5e focus on parochial neigh-orhood interests and an
insufficient focus on cit,%wide issues. 7here is some merit to that argument, particularl,
since onl, the ma,or, presentl, a largel, ceremonial post, is the onl, mem-er of the
council elected in a cit,%wide 5ote. <e ha5e also had councilmem-ers who ha5en>t
disguised their almost monomaniacal focus on matters concerning their district and
e5incing far less concern with cit,%wide issues. 2ne such mem-er>s most memora-le and
re5ealing standing line was, 8<hat>s in it for m, district.8
;ost councilmem-ers, howe5er, are Buite conscientious a-out their dual
responsi-ilit, to represent -oth their district and the cit, as a whole. District
parochialism ma, ha5e -een a concern some ,ears ago, -ut we>5e see little e5idence of it
in recent ,ears. Af it is seen again as a ma6or concern, it could perhaps -e more easil,
addressed -, increasing the si?e of the cit, council from nine to, sa,, & mem-ers and
ha5ing the four additional councilmem-ers elected 5ia a cit,%wide 5ote.
4n additional o-ser5ation: if a councilmem-er happens to -e on the 8outs8 with
an e=ecuti5e ma,or, that councilmem-er and his neigh-orhood constituents will li:el,
see their influence at Cit, Call drop much more precipitousl,.
7he cit, council threw a -one to those concerned a-out the waning influence of
.acramento>s neigh-orhoods under ;easure / -, adding a last%minute a pro5ision to the
measure that pro5ides that the cit, council 8ma,8 esta-lish -, ordinance a Neigh-orhood
4d5isor, Committee for the purpose of considering the interests of the cit,>s
neigh-orhoods. 7hat>s it. Not a single further word flushing out the composition,
staffing, -udget, scope or -rief of such a committee. 7he use of the word 8ad5isor,8
sends the clear message that the committee will ha5e no authorit, whatsoe5er, 5irtuall,
guaranteeing that its influence will -e the same as all other cit, ad5isor, committees,
which is ?ero. 7he addition of the pro5ision was a transparent effort to mislead 5oters
into -elie5ing that neigh-orhood 5iews will actuall, count for something as a
conseBuence of the creation of such of a committee
At is particularl, galling % and re5ealing % that the council couldn>t e5en muster the
will to actuall, commit to creating such a powerless, superfluous committee. G,
pro5iding that the council 8may8 create such a committee, the, signal a lac: of
seriousness, commitment and credi-ilit,. 7he council 8ma,8 create a neigh-orhood
ad5isor, committee on an, gi5en 7uesda, night. 7o add such meaningless fluff in a
charter amendment is a ci5ic em-arrassment. 7hat a recent .acramento Gee editorial
supporting ;easure / cited this pro5ision as a -eacon of hope that neigh-orhood
concerns will recei5e a fair hearing at cit, hall % e5en though the influence of their
council representati5es will -e diminished -, the measure % is either naO5etM or
.mpacts on City Employees
Cit, emplo,ees ta:e their cues from their -oss, the cit, manager. <ith the cit,
manager currentl, ''P accounta-le to the cit, council, cit, emplo,ees are toda, highl,
solicitous of the concerns of councilmem-ers. Dnder ;easure /, the cit, manager will
-e answera-le solel, to the e=ecuti5e ma,or. ConseBuentl,, cit, staff will reorient their
focus to ser5ing the wishes of the ma,or and will li:el, pro5ide a lower le5el of ser5ice
to councilmem-ers.
An terms of polic,, the ma,or will ha5e a much greater a-ilit, to direct cit, staff to
implement his 5ision and his priorities, e5en greater than that of the cit, manager under
the current s,stem. Currentl,, the cit, manager must alwa,s -e conscious of the need to
:eep his nine 8-osses8 satisfied (or, more accuratel,: to upset not more than fi5e of them
at an, one time, as si= 5otes are what>s reBuired to dismiss a cit, manager". Cis multiple%
-oss challenge ma:es him more cautious in de5eloping and implementing polic,.
Dnder ;easure D, such polic, am-iguit, or caution will -ecome largel, a thing
of the past. 4n e=ecuti5e ma,or will li:el, ha5e relati5el, free rein in summoning the
-ureaucrac, to act upon his polic, directions. 7his could -ecome a particularl, 5alua-le
tool in responding Buic:l, and effecti5el, to opportunities to recruit new -usinesses or to
respond to rapidl, de5eloping crises.
.mpact on Senior City Mana-ers
2ne of the ma6or concerns with a change from a council%manager to an e=ecuti5e
ma,or is whether it will lead to political and cron, appointments to management
positions in cit, go5ernment. 7he cit, manager controls the hiring and firing of hundreds
of senior cit, managers and staff. Dnder the cit,>s current personnel policies and
practices, we ha5e a senior cit, staff that is highl, professionali?ed, well%trained and
largel, free from political influence. 7he cit, manager currentl, ser5es as an effecti5e
-uffer -etween senior cit, staff and the rough and tum-le world of cit, council and
ma,oral politics. 7hat insulation will li:el, end with the passage of ;easure /. 7he
ma,or will -e free to appoint whome5er he wants to these positions.
<ill senior cit, managers feel that their positions ha5e -ecome less secure if
;easure / passesJ <ill we see a departure of managers lea5ing to accept more secure,
apolitical positions with other citiesJ <e>re not sure. Corporate cultures ta:e a long time
to de5elop and a long time to change. 25er time, howe5er, we ma, see a change in the
t,pe of managers the cit, emplo,s. .ome ma, -e political, -ut some ma, also -e more
d,namic and action%oriented, less cautious than man, current cit, managers. <e could
see the hiring of more managers from the corporate world, -ringing an entirel, new
perspecti5e and approach to cit, management.
.mpacts on City Bnions
7he cit,>s police and firefighters unions ha5e -een strong supporters and
campaigners for ;easure /. <ill the, recei5e more fa5ora-le treatment in contract
negotiations under an e=ecuti5e ma,or than the,>5e recei5ed under the cit, managerJ An
recent contract negotiations, the cit, manager has -een firm in insisting that all
-argaining groups agree to pro5isions reBuiring their mem-ers to full, fund the
8emplo,ee>s share8 of their pension o-ligations. An the case of the police union contract,
an impasse in negotiations led to a referral of the matter to mandator, -inding ar-itration.
<ill an e=ecuti5e ma,or, the recipient of ma6or contri-utions and other support from
police and fire unions, -e as firm as the cit, manager has -een in 5ital union contract
negotiationsJ ;an, ha5e their dou-ts. Af an e=ecuti5e ma,or is less firm in contract
negotiations than the cit, manager, cit, ta=pa,ers would ultimatel, -ear the cost of
higher salar, le5els and pension costs.
.mpact on :e+elopment .nterests 1 ProCect Re+ie3s
;an, in the en5ironmental communit, ha5e e=pressed concern that an e=ecuti5e
ma,or, who will li:el, -e the recipient of significant campaign contri-utions from
de5elopment interests and firms in the construction industr,, will use his power to reduce
the current le5el of staff, planning commission and council scrutin, of de5elopment
proposals as the, mo5e through the cit,>s en5ironmental re5iew and planning process. At
is 5er, possi-le that an e=ecuti5e ma,or would use his powers to e=pedite re5iews and
reduce the time pro6ects spend in the re5iew process.
An our 5iew, that would not -e an unhealth, de5elopment. 7here is an old (and
true" adage in the de5elopment -usiness: 8time :ills all pro6ects.8 De5elopers tie up
considera-le capital, incur su-stantial de-t and e=pose themsel5es to ma6or ris:s in
-ringing pro6ects to mar:et (as e5idenced -, the large num-er of local de5elopers who
failed in the 0reat Recession". Dela,s add to pro6ect costs, increase uncertaint, and
reduce the tempo of -eneficial de5elopment and economic growth.
<hether an e=ecuti5e ma,or will reduce standards used -, cit, staff in
conducting en5ironmental and planning re5iews is another Buestion. ;ost standards are
imposed -, ordinance and cannot -e unilaterall, -,passed -, an e=ecuti5e ma,or.
Finall,, most significant pro6ects reBuire entitlements, such as ?oning changes and
conditional use permits, the granting of which will remain in the sole domain of the cit,
council (although an e=ecuti5e ma,or will ha5e man, tools at his disposal to pressure
council mem-ers to fall into line with his agenda".
8...' 9ill 9e 5a+e An AdeDuate Pool of Eualified E/ecuti+e Candidates;
2ne of the great uncertainties raised -, passage of ;easure / is what impact it
would ha5e on the pool of a5aila-le, willing and Bualified candidates for ma,or in an
e=ecuti5e ma,or s,stem. Af ;easure / is adopted, all future .acramento ma,ors will,
upon -eing sworn into office, -ecome the chief e=ecuti5e officer of a -illion%dollar
municipal corporation that emplo,s o5er ),('' emplo,ees and is responsi-le for
protecting our personal safet,, pro5iding us with safe and relia-le water, sewer ser5ice,
gar-age collection, par: maintenance, de5elopment ser5ices, -uilding code enforcement
and so on. At is not a position for those needing training wheels or amateurs who lac: the
e=perience, training, management and leadership s:ills, character, demeanor or 6udgment
needed to lead and effecti5el, and efficientl, manage an increasingl, comple= enterprise.
Dnder the cit,>s current council%manager form of go5ernance, cit, managers
selected to run our cit, go5ernment ha5e t,picall, -een promoted o5er the course of
decades to positions of e5er increasing responsi-ilit,. 7he,>5e undergone e=tensi5e
professional training and education. 7he,>5e -een 5etted in positions that ha5e reBuired
them to manage and -alance -udgets, to lead and o5ersee thousands of emplo,ees
wor:ing in a 5ast arra, of functions and ser5ices, and the,>5e had to plan, e=ecute,
monitor and adapt countless programs and initiati5es. 7he,>5e -uilt up -road networ:s of
professional colleagues and ad5isors who can assist them in the discharge of their
responsi-ilities. 7he,>5e had their talents, character and mettle tested in multiple
positions o5er the course of decades.
Af we were to assess honestl, all the ma,ors who ha5e ser5ed .acramento o5er the
past )' ,ears (;arriott, Asen-erg, Rudin, ;iller, .erna, 9ee, Fargo and Fohnson", could
we honestl, conclude than an, one of them came into office with the reBuisite
Bualifications needed to assume immediate full e=ecuti5e leadership of cit, go5ernmentJ
<e don>t thin: that we could.
.o if we conclude that none of the indi5iduals on the roster of past .acramento
ma,ors had the Bualifications to ser5e effecti5el, as chief e=ecuti5e ma,ors of
.acramento, what assurances do 5oters ha5e that we will see an adeBuate pool of future
ma,oral candidates surface who will ha5e the Bualifications needed to assume such
responsi-ilitiesJ 7he fact is there are no assurances that candidates of such cali-er will
see: the office.
Proponents of ;easure / assert that there are directors of ma6or departments of
state go5ernment and other go5ernmental units who would -e encouraged -, the passage
of ;easure / and the resulting enlargement of ma,oral authorit, to run for ma,or. 2r
that there are ci5ic%minded C*2>s of larger corporations with the reBuisite s:ills who
would see: the office following adoption of ;easure /. Perhaps. 7he -usiness
communit, largel, a-andoned its pre5ious acti5ist role in cit, go5ernment se5eral
decades ago with the shift awa, from at%large to district election of councilmem-ers.
;eanwhile, the increasingl, com-ati5e nature of electoral politics dampens the am-itions
of possi-le candidates from the -usiness world.
Proponents claim that smart ma,oral candidates will hire competent and
e=perienced cit, managers to ser5e under them and who will carr, out the da,%to%da,
responsi-ilities of running the cit,. 7hat ma, help ma:e up for some, -ut certainl, not
all, of the shortcomings of ma,oral candidates who personall, lac: the reBuisite
Bualifications to ser5e as the cit,>s C*2. At is also uncertain whether .acramento could
attract a high Bualit, pool of candidates to fill a position that will -e, at most, a
su-ordinate chief administrati5e position or, perhaps more li:el,, a de facto chief of staff
position. <hile not widel, reported at the time, .acramento had a 5er, difficult time in
attracting Bualified applicants for cit, manager three ,ears ago when council turmoil and
high turno5er in the cit, manager position made the cit, a prett, unattracti5e place to
wor:. Recruitment could -e e5en tougher for a position with down%graded authorit,.
.F' Ethics Pro+isions2 Corruption 1 Cronyism Risks
Ethical Reforms in Measure L
;easure / would reBuire the cit, council to adopt -, ordinance a Code of *thics
and Conduct that would go5ern -oth elected officials and those appointed to cit, -oards,
commission and committees. .ignificantl,, the *thics Code must include pro5isions for
the remo5al from office of an elected official (i.e. a ma,or or councilmem-er" who
8su-stantiall, 5iolates8 the Code. 7his assures that the Code will ha5e some real teeth to
it. Cowe5er, the fact that the council included a mere promise to adopt such a Code
instead of e=erting the effort of actuall, writing it and enshrining into the cit, charter
shows a certain lac: of seriousness of purpose. 7he implicit message is that 5otes ha5e to
agree to ma:e the ma,or stronger -efore we>ll ta:e steps to ma:e cit, go5ernment more
7he council included a related section in ;easure / which pro5ides that the,
8may8 create an ethics commission. 7here are multiple pro-lems with this pro5ision.
First, -, using the weasel word 8ma,,8 the council lac:ed the fortitude to full, commit to
creating an *thics Commission. <ithout a solid council commitment to create an *thics
Commission, the pro5ision is illusor, and misleading to 5otes. Af the council refuses to
follow through and create the commission, the 5oters will ha5e -een effecti5el,
.econdl,, ;easure / pro5ides that the ethics commission will ha5e the 8purpose
of re!iewing and monitoring the Code of 2thics ordinance'8 Noticea-l, a-sent from its
stated purpose is the power of the commission to enforce the Code of *thics. <ithout
enforcement power, an ethics commission would -e toothless and ineffecti5e at assuring
ethical conduct -, cit, officials.
The Risk of Corruption and Cronyism
/ord 4cton>s famous admonition also has the 5irtue of -eing true: 81ower
corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.8 For the 9'Q ,ears the Cit, of
.acramento has operated under a council%manager form of go5ernment, it has -een
largel, free of the corruption scandals that ha5e -ede5iled a num-er of cities with an
e=ecuti5e ma,or form of go5ernment. Diffused go5ernment power pro5ides fewer
opportunities for corruption, while the concentration of go5ernment power in5ites
<e :now -, e=perience that campaign mone, follows political power. .o the
enhancement of ma,oral powers will li:el, led to a potentiall, significant increase in the
ma,or>s political fundraising, which will, in turn, further increase his political power and
influence o5er the cit, council and council candidates. As .acramento read, for the
potential creation of a political machine and its attendant deleterious effectsJ At is to -e
hoped that our current s,stem of ro-ust retail politics -, which council mem-ers are
currentl, elected will continue to ad5ance candidates to the council who will -e focused,
first and foremost, on the interests of residents rather than the agendas of politicall,
powerful e=ecuti5e ma,ors.
2ne area of ma6or concern to *2. is the cit,>s use of the cit, treasur, and
ta=pa,er mone, to su-sidi?e pri5ate de5elopment pro6ects % a form of 8cron, capitalism8
that has -een pro5en in stud, after stud, to -e not onl, monumentall, wasteful, -ut
corrosi5e of the pu-lic trust, particularl, when the recipients of such ta=pa,er largesse
gi5e campaign contri-utions to the officials with the power to grant such largesse. <e
noticed, for e=ample, that ;ar: Friedman, the in5estor in the Kings ownership
responsi-le for o5erseeing de5elopment of the new Downtown arena, has -een a ma6or
contri-utor to the ;easure / campaign. 7he owners of the Kings, including ;r.
Friedman, are the -eneficiaries of hundreds of millions of dollars of ta=pa,er su-sidies.
7hat ;r. Friedman is now contri-uting o5er K',''' to the ;easure / campaign appears
5er, much li:e a return fa5or for the su-sid, that he recei5ed from cit, ta=pa,ers.
Af ;easure / passes, it will -e imperati5e for the cit, council to ta:e seriousl, the
6o- of crafting a Code of *thics to eliminate not onl, classic Buid pro Buo e=changes, -ut
to eliminate the appearance of 8pa, to pla,8 corruption and fa5or trading, particularl, as
ma,oral political fundraising increases and the cit, continues to engage in ill%concei5ed
and wasteful su-sidies of pri5ate de5elopment pro6ects.
F' Measure L and 9anin- :emocratic 8alues in City <o+ernment
;easure / has not arri5ed on the political scene in a 5acuum. 25er the past few
,ears, *2. has grown increasing concerned with a stead, erosion of democratic 5alues
and democratic practices in cit, go5ernment.
An recent ,ears we ha5e seen -ac:room cit, hall deals that ha5e created
gerr,mandered council districts that ha5e disregarded traditional neigh-orhood
-oundaries and suppressed the legitimate political power and aspirations of .acramento>s
Cispanic 5oters to the 5er, cusp of illegalit, under federal and state 5oting rights laws.
<e ha5e seen the cit, council degrade citi?en input at council meetings -, cutting the
time allotted for indi5idual pu-lic comment -, &&P, ma:ing .acramento an outlier for its
stinginess in the amount of time it allows for citi?ens to spea: to their elected officials.
<e>5e seen the freBuenc, and duration of council meetings cut -, half. 4s part of
;easure /, the cit, council is see:ing to reduce the num-er of reBuired meetings it must
hold -, more than half. <e>5e seen elected and appointed cit, officials mishandle cit,
-allot materials and -allot arguments for illegitimate political purposes, resulting in a
grand 6ur, in5estigation and critical report. <e>5e seen the cit, use e5er, de5ice at is
disposal to depri5e cit, 5oters of the opportunit, to decide for themsel5es whether its cit,
should run up hundreds of millions of dollars of cit, de-t to pa, for ta=pa,er su-sidies
for a pri5ate arena de5elopment.
1oters ha5e -efore them a measure that was :ept off the -allot for ,ears -,
situational democrats on our cit, council who strongl, support the principle of 5oter
democrac, onl, when the, personall, support the measure to -e 5oted upon, -ut
stridentl, oppose 5oter democrac, when the, personall, oppose the matter to -e 5oted
<e urge 5oters to weigh ;easure / carefull,. <e suggest that, in addition to
other criteria ,ou use to e5aluate the measure, ,ou include a further one: will the measure
ad5ance or diminish our collecti5e a-ilit, to democraticall, go5ern our cit, now and in
the future. <e at *2. trust in the 6udgment and prudence of an informed .acramento
Broadcast ,ote% This EOS Report on Measure L is )ein- presented at an
EOS Pu)lic #orum on Measure L held on Octo)er 2( 2!" at the Clunie Clu)house
in Mc*inley Park' The entire #orum is )ein- recorded )y Access Sacramento for
later )roadcast on its ca)le tele+isions channels' #or information on )roadcastin-
times( please contact Anna Ro)ertson( EOS E/ecuti+e Assistant( at
annaHeyeonsacramento'or- or )y phone at I7!$J "&4?72' 8ideo of the #orum 3ill
also )e posted on EOS0s 3e)site at 333'eyeonsacramento'or- as soon as it )ecomes
a+aila)le to us' Gou can )ecome a mem)er of EOS )y +isitin- our 3e)site'