Mayor Steinberg again pledges no third term as election nears with ‘strong mayor’ measure on ballot

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTLX) — Less than two weeks before the upcoming election, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has once again pledged that his next four years as mayor will be his last. 

“I have zero intention of running for a third term, and I won’t change my mind as some have asserted,” Steinberg told FOX40 in a statement. “I am beginning my 25th year of elected public service to the people of Sacramento. I will be ready to do something else with my life.”

But not all believe that he will ultimately be done four years from now. 

“It’s not binding. He has no obligation to honor that promise,” said Craig Powell, president of the political watchdog organization Eye on Sacramento. 

With the upcoming election, voters will decide if they want to give Mayor Steinberg more power. Measure A, also called the “strong mayor” measure, would do just that if approved. 

Powell said he believes the mayor setting his own term limit is a strategical move — one made right before he asks the public for help. 

“His way to soften the blow of that is to come out with this late promise: ‘Well, I will only serve one more term and that’s it,’” Powell said. “So, it’s a political move.”

Steinberg is attempting to become a strong mayor six years after former Mayor Kevin Johnson attempted the same thing. Johnson’s effort was not successful. 

If approved, a strong mayor format would come with a two-term limit. However, the city attorney for Sacramento recently said Steinberg’s first term over the past four years would not count toward that.

The strong mayor format itself does not have a time limit but the council would have to come back in 10 years to decide how they want to move forward with its governance. 

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