City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

May 24, 2012
Is Mayor Johnson dismissing competition or taking them seriously? Yes

In one breath, Mayor Kevin Johnson tells us how little he thinks of his competition. But then he insists his re-election campaign is not taking anything for granted.

So which is it? Both, apparently.

The mayor sent out an email to supporters this morning telling them he is "not taking anything for granted in what is expected to be a low turnout election." That statement follows others by the mayor and his campaign dismissing the quality of his challengers.

And, in a thinly-veiled shot at one of Johnson's competitors - city parks commissioner and municipal finance manager Jonathan Rewers - the mayor's campaign listed elected officials who have endorsed Johnson. That list includes Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assemblyman Richard Pan and former Mayors Phil Isenberg and Jimmie Yee.

Former Mayors Heather Fargo and Anne Rudin announced this week they were supporting Rewers.

Rewers clearly believes he has momentum in the race, saying the Fargo and Rudin endorsements prove he is a viable candidate. But he also faces a huge fundraising disadvantage and got into the race relatively late.

I asked Johnson's campaign consultant to explain how the mayor could dismiss his competition in public statements, while at the same time say he is not taking the election for granted.

You might recall Johnson somewhat mocked Fargo's endorsement of Rewers earlier this week. He's also skipped candidate forums, with his campaign saying his competition wasn't worthy of his presence.

"It's not mutually exclusive," Steve Maviglio said. "You never take anything for granted in politics. That's why we sent out the email."

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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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