City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

September 5, 2012
Hey Mayor Johnson, where you been lately?

Mayor Kevin Johnson has been quite the jet-setter lately (if you consider Tampa, Louisville and Charlotte exotic destinations).

Continuing a week-long tour, Mayor Johnson is in Charlotte, N.C., this week for the Democratic National Convention. He's a delegate with the state Democratic Party and has been attending many events - including speaking to the delegations from Georgia, Arizona, Utah and Hawaii.

Johnson also spoke to the national chapter of the college Democrats on Friday and has been in meetings with the U.S. Conference of Mayors - an organization for which he serves as the second vice president.

Johnson will be in Charlotte for the rest of the week, attending the nightly speeches at the convention. He's been busy on Twitter, updating the folks back home about his view from the cheap seats at last night's address by the First Lady, posing for photos with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and MC Hammer, and telling us about his time at a John Legend concert.

Before arriving in Charlotte, the mayor was in Louisville, Ky., where he delivered the keynote address to a group called Leadership Louisville. Among other issues, Johnson gave a bit of advice to Louisville on how to attract an NBA team.

And prior to that trip, Johnson was in Tampa, Fla., last week for a U.S. Conference of Mayors event planned to coincide with the Republican National Convention.

All together, Johnson has been gone since Aug. 28 (his spokesman, Joaquin McPeek, said the mayor has paid for all of his own travel expenses).

The mayor's travels will probably spark debate among some about whether he should be spending that time in Sacramento. Johnson has missed seven council meetings this year including Tuesday night's absence. Still, he hasn't missed a lot of vital debates lately (Tuesday's council meeting lasted just 1 hour and 13 minutes and last week's meeting was a stunning 38 minutes long).

Johnson was asked by The Bee's David Siders on Tuesday to talk about whether he's missed too much time in his hometown.

"When I get a chance to be a second vice president of (the U.S. Conference of Mayors), it is good for all of Sacramento," Johnson said. "We get a chance to talk about resources coming back to Sacramento, including all of Northern California, as well. So people by and large are very excited, and people told me the other day, they'd much rather have their mayor here participating in something that happens every four years, as opposed to a council meeting that's on a weekly basis."

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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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