Sacramento’s Mayor, Kevin Johnson, is making his second pitch for a refurbished division of powers in the city’s government. Right now, his position is full time, but his responsibilities are seemingly part-time. But if his proposed Strong-Mayor charter amendment is approved, that would change.
Strong Mayors have become something of the trend in large cities where a single, elected official yield tremendous power over policy. With that additional influence comes greater exposure to political influences, but also the ability to be held accountable to the voters for how the city functions. The largest cities in California have adopted the system and the results have been largely positive.
Most notably, in San Jose we’ve seen the ability of Strong-Mayor Chuck Reed to push his agenda of pension reform and work to curtail runaway city finances. With a single voice above the din of local government bureaucracy, gridlock can be avoided or at least debate engendered.
From the Sacramento Bee:
The mayors of California’s larger cities have enjoyed – or at least experienced – marked increases in their authority in recent decades.
It’s happened, most notably, in Los Angeles,San Diego, Oakland, San Jose and Fresno as their voters came to understand that while diffusion of power appears to be democratic, in practice it more often leads to policy gridlock, narrow interest dominance and buck-passing that ill serve the larger public interest.
Read the full article here.