City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

July 31, 2012
Mayor Johnson's campaign fires back at Democratic Party

Mayor Kevin Johnson's campaign spokesman has demanded that the head of the local Democratic Party be removed after she asked for a city investigation into the use of City Hall resources by the mayor's nonprofits.

In a letter to Democratic Party of Sacramento County vice chairman Chris Parker, campaign consultant Steve Maviglio asks that party chairwoman Kerri Asbury be disciplined and removed from her post "for repeated violations of the Party's bylaws." Specifically, Maviglio charged that Asbury violated bylaws by working against Johnson - a Democrat.

"The last time I looked, the Sacramento County Democratic Party should be spending its energy and resources on electing Democrats - not attacking members of its own party -- particularly a Mayor who is actively raising funds for our presidential nominee and who just last week testified before the Democratic National Committee on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors," Maviglio wrote, adding he believes Asbury has a "personal grudge" against the mayor.

For her part, Asbury said she was "flattered" to be the object of the complaint.

"I don't know why (Maviglio) finds me so threatening," she told me. "We're not attacking the mayor. We're just trying to call attention to something that concerns us. It wasn't a personal attack on the mayor or on Steve Maviglio."

Asbury has sought a city probe into the use of space in City Hall by nonprofits run by Johnson, including initiatives on a downtown arena, the arts, education and homelessness.

While paid staffers of those nonprofits are often seen working in the mayor's third floor office, mayor aides say the nonprofits operate off site.

Friction between leaders of local Democratic organizations and Johnson goes back years. Party leaders disagreed with the city school district's 2003 decision to grant control of Sacramento High School to a nonprofit operated by Johnson, who reopened the campus as a charter school with non-union teachers.

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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 rlillis@sacbee.com

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