City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

November 22, 2011
Firefighters, builders support Johnson - but some Dems don't

It should come as a surprise to no one: The city's firefighters and many in the region's development community are throwing their support behind Mayor Kevin Johnson in his re-election bid.

He's still having trouble with some members of his own political party, however.

Recent endorsements of Johnson by the firefighters and builders follow the support of many well-known elected officials in the Democratic Party that I will report on in an upcoming Bee story.

Even as he gets the support of those elected officials, Johnson is still having a hard time with the local Democratic clubs and the unions that are closely aligned with those organizations. The reasons are varied - some of them are political, some are personal - and I'll explore those reasons in greater depth in my article.

Still, many of his allies remain loyal.

The firefighters union has been a loyal supporter of the mayor since he ran against former Mayor Heather Fargo in 2008, donating heavily both to Johnson and his political allies. The union has also shown its support for Johnson's favorite initiative: the proposal to turn Sacramento into a "strong mayor" city where the mayor's post is given increased authority.

"Mayor Johnson has demonstrated that he understands ensuring adequate public safety is vital to the protection and well-being of Sacramento residents," union vice president Ryan Henry said in a written statement.

Johnson also recently received the support of the newly-formed Region Builders coalition, a group of building trade professionals and associations. The group loves Johnson's pro-business side - especially his work on building a new downtown arena and streamlining the city's building permit process.

"The mayor has clearly demonstrated that he is dedicated to creating a more robust local business climate," Bill Porter, president of Region Builders' board, said in a statement.

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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


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