City ballot Measure A is a multifaceted proposal that has been the focus of much public debate ahead of the November 3 election.
The measure would fundamentally revise the city charter, making the mayor the city’s executive officer rather than the city manager, and would grant additional authorities and responsibilities to the position.
These include the ability to veto city council actions and budget line items, with the vetos requiring a city council supermajority of six votes to overrule. Additionally, the mayor would no longer attend city council meetings and would instead elect a council president to run and attend them.
“I think [Measure A] will move our city forward in a real, effective way,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg in interview with The Sacramento Bee.
The ballot has also drawn criticism, with some expressing concerns that the additional authorities granted to the mayor by the bill would create a power imbalance between the mayor and city council.
“If the mayor does something as an executive mayor that the city council wanted to override, it would now take six votes out of eight—instead of six out of nine—which is 75%. It’s a supermajority which is very hard to reach,” City Councilmember Jeff Harris told KCRA3 in interview. “Meaning that the mayor could push an agenda that the council didn’t like and would really struggle to override.”
The measure is also tied in with a proposal to require $40 million of city budgeting funds to be set aside for youth and inclusivity economic expenditures, a tie-in that has drawn skepticism and was previously characterized by Sacramento Youth Commission Vice Chair Naomi Piper-Pell as a move to “sweeten the deal” of the primary power shifts behind the measure.
“We are really glad that the city is trying to take some actions on some of the community proposals that have come up, the challenge is that we don’t like the idea that this is tied in with the same conversation about mayoral accountability,” Measure U Community Advisory Council chair Flojaune Cofer told CapRadio. “We don’t like the idea of this being a zero sum game.”
A previous version of the ‘strong mayor’ proposal appeared in the 2014 local election, with key differences in the details of the proposals including the built-in youth and inclusivity funding item in the 2020 proposal and the imposition of a two-term limit on the position of mayor rather than the three-term limit proposed in the 2014 legislation.
The measure is receiving funding from groups including the Sacramento Central Labor Council and the California Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee, and is supported by Mayor Steinberg and Councilmembers Angelique Ashby, Jay Schenirer and Rick Jennings.
The opposition campaign is receiving funding from groups including the Firefighters Local 522, the Sacramento Teachers Union, and the Sacramento Tenants Union and is supported Councilmembers Larry Carr, Allen Warren, and Jeff Harris.