SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Sacramento city officials are voicing their opinions on Measure A, which, if passed, will give centralized executive power to the mayor’s office.
When 2,000 protesters showed up at Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s doorstep in June calling for police reforms, he told FOX40 something needed to be done but felt like he didn’t have many options.
“It is absolutely right for the people to want to hold the mayor accountable. But I don’t think a lot of people realize that the mayor actually has no tools, executive tools,” Steinberg explained.
He said the lack of tools is one of the reasons he’s pushing for Measure A, known as the “strong mayor” measure, which is up for a vote on the November ballot.
Currently, the mayor is one of nine equal votes on the Sacramento City Council.
Under the measure, the mayor would give up his vote and instead have veto power over the council.
The measure would also change the crafting of the city-wide budget that council members later approve.
“It’s currently the job of the city manager to propose the budget. Under the new plan, that authority would shift to the mayor,” Steinberg said. “That leader, whoever the Mayor is, can push with more clarity and more urgency toward what people would rightfully expect.”
But Vice Mayor Jeff Harris claims it would not only diminish the power of other council members but the voters.
“My constituents will have less influence on what happens in the city, how money is spent, getting issues that they want done, you know working with their council member. It would be much less effective,” Harris explained.
Harris said he’s also concerned over a portion of the measure that would require the city to set aside $40 million each year for youth development in underserved communities. He said it’s money the city doesn’t have.
“We’re already in deficit,” Harris said. “As we go into winter in the pandemic, it could get worse. And if the economy shuts down again this city is going to be broke for years.”
But Steinberg said the funding would make up a small portion of the budget which is typically over a billion dollars. He said neighborhoods can’t wait.
“Making sure that they’ve got safe and enriching things to do always,” Steinberg said.
The voters have the strength now to decide whether the “strong mayor” measure is right for Sacramento.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted and cited Councilman Allen Warren instead of Vice Mayor Jeff Harris.