City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

May 31, 2012
Sacramento's Democratic old guard continues split with Mayor Johnson

The city's Democratic establishment continues to display its dislike of Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Former Sacramento County Supervisor Illa Collin has endorsed mayoral challenger Jonathan Rewers in his bid to unseat Johnson in Tuesday's election. That's the third former Democratic officeholder to endorse Rewers - a Republican and one-time contributor to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"It is with deep honor that I accept Supervisor Collin's endorsement," Rewers said. "Her accomplishments and the respect she commands in Sacramento are without measure."

Collin joins former Mayors Anne Rudin and Heather Fargo in supporting Rewers, a finance manager for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the chair of Sacramento's parks commission.

Rewers said he has the support of "three women who served this community with distinction and who built the quality of life we all enjoy today. I am running to protect that quality of life these three outstanding women worked to create."

While several Democrats holding statewide, regional and national positions are supporting Johnson, the mayor has had a difficult time winning support from the city's Democratic old guard. The Democratic Party of Sacramento is not endorsing a candidate in the mayor's race.

The Party and some other Democratic clubs have been staunch critics of Johnson's multiple "strong mayor" proposals. Leaders of those organizations are also still bitter over the city school board's 2003 decision to grant control of Sacramento High School to Johnson's non-profit, which re-opened the campus as a charter school and hired non-union teachers.

Steve Maviglio, the mayor's campaign spokesman, said the lack of support from city Democratic organizations "just goes to show how out of touch they are."

"Given the mayor's record of taking on the status quo, it is not surprising that a handful of business-as-usual former politicians and party insiders would abandon their core principles to endorse a lifelong Republican and Schwarzenegger financial backer running against the Mayor instead of siding with our Democratic Governor, U.S. Senators, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and every other ranking Democrat in the state," he said.

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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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