City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

April 7, 2011
Ruling: City Hall, attorney must pay 'strong mayor' legal fees

Sacramento City Hall and the attorney who drafted Mayor Kevin Johnson's halted "strong mayor initiative" are on the hook for more than $114,000 in legal fees to the labor boss whose lawsuit killed the initiative last year.

In a tentative ruling issued Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court, attorney Tom Hiltachk and the city were ordered to split $114,158 in fees to the attorneys for Bill Camp, head of the Central Labor Council.

Camp had filed a lawsuit in 2009 seeking to block the strong mayor initiative, arguing the measure went beyond a mere amendment of the City Charter and therefore could only have been proposed for the ballot by the City Council or a charter commission. Johnson had proposed the initiative and a council vote had placed it on the ballot.

Under the proposal, the mayor would have been granted more authority over top city officials, the power to submit the city budget and veto authority over some City Council actions. Many of those duties are now carried out by an unelected city manager.

Judge Loren McMaster agreed with Camp in a January 2010 ruling and Camp later went after the city and Hiltachk for the legal fees. Hiltachk and the city were both defendants in Camp's lawsuit.

The tentative ruling states that the city should be liable for a smaller amount than Hiltachk because the attorney was "vigorous" in his opposition to Camp's lawsuit.

City Attorney Eileen Teichert had warned the City Council the strong mayor initiative was "an unconstitutional attempt to revise the City Charter," a warning the council ignored by placing the measure on the ballot in a 5-4 vote.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

Poll

Does the Kings' poor performance of late impact the arena work?

Ryan Lillis on Twitter

Follow "Ryan_Lillis" on Twitter

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Sacramento City Resources

City Web Sites

How to contact city officials