City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

December 11, 2012
New Sacramento City Council takes office tonight

It's a little later than usual, but Sacramento's new City Council will be sworn in tonight at City Hall.

Newly-elected Council members Allen Warren and Steve Hansen will take the oath of office prior to the council's regular meeting. Both are coming off victories in November that were so narrow, election officials did not finalize the results until more than three weeks after the election.

Their victories also are another step in the ongoing transformation of City Hall. Five of the eight City Council seats have now changed hands in just the past two years.

December 4, 2012
Sacramento expected to make big changes to recycling, green waste collection

The City Council is poised tonight to make sweeping changes to the way green waste and recycling are collected.

Following the approval of Measure T on the November ballot, city staff is recommending that the council require the use of green waste bins and scale back the regular leaf collections made by the Claw. Measure T, which passed 51.4 percent to 48.7 percent, allows the council to make that change.

The Claw would still make regular leaf collection runs in November, December and January, and would also be available for appointments to pick up bulky items.

November 30, 2012
Warren, Hansen declared winners in Sacramento council races

With the vote count finalized today, developer Allen Warren and biotech firm manager Steve Hansen have been elected to the Sacramento City Council.

Sacramento County elections officials released a final tally this afternoon that found Hansen had defeated architect Joe Yee by 173 votes in the race for District 4, the seat representing the Central City, Land Park and part of South Natomas. That slim margin existed after more than 26,000 votes were counted.

In north Sacramento, Warren prevailed over former Councilman Rob Kerth by 206 votes. A total of 13,281 votes were cast in that district. We'll update the blog as soon as I hear back from the candidates.

November 27, 2012
Warren appears headed for victory over Kerth in Sacramento council race

Developer Allen Warren, a native son of Del Paso Heights, appears to have been elected to the Sacramento City Council to represent the neighborhoods of north Sacramento.

In election results updated today, Warren led Rob Kerth - the area's former councilman - by 198 votes. That's a big increase over the 35-vote advantage Warren held last week. More than 13,000 votes have been counted.

Meanwhile, Steve Hansen - a biotech firm manager and downtown resident - maintained his lead over architect Joe Yee. Hansen leads by 135 votes, roughly the same margin as the last update. That race appears too close to call.

November 21, 2012
Handful of votes still separate candidates in Sacramento council races

County elections officials are down to 27,000 provisional ballots left to count. And even at that late stage, two City Council races remain divided by razor thin margins.

In a surprising development after results were updated today, Allen Warren has taken the lead over Rob Kerth in the race for the north Sacramento council seat. But Warren leads Kerth by just 35 votes after 12,697 votes were tallied.

Meanwhile, Steve Hansen maintained his lead over Joe Yee in the District 4 race in Land Park, the Central City and the River Oaks neighborhood of South Natomas. But Hansen's lead is still slim; just 139 votes separate the candidates after nearly 25,000 votes were tallied.

November 19, 2012
Two weeks later, two City Council races remain too tight to call

The outcomes of two City Council races remained practically unchanged in results posted today - meaning both races are still too close to call.

Rob Kerth widened his lead slightly over developer Allen Warren in the north Sacramento council race. Kerth now leads Warren by 169 votes - an increase of 14 votes - with more than 12,000 votes tallied in District 2.

In District 4, Steve Hansen maintained his lead over Joe Yee. Hansen leads Yee by 151 votes in the campaign for the seat covering Land Park, the Central City and the River Oaks section of South Natomas. Nearly 25,000 votes have been counted.

November 15, 2012
Hansen expands lead over Yee in Sacramento council race

One City Council race is getting closer. In the other, one of the candidates has begun to widen his lead.

Former Councilman Rob Kerth saw his lead over Allen Warren decrease to 155 votes in the race for the north Sacramento council seat after nearly 12,000 votes were counted, according to results updated today. Kerth had led Warren by 200 votes earlier this week.

In the District 4 race, Steve Hansen now leads Joe Yee by 160 votes. Hansen had led Yee by 108 votes earlier this week in his attempt to represent Land Park, the Central City and the River Oaks neighborhood of South Natomas. More than 25,000 votes have been counted in that district, which is close to the total number both campaigns had projected.

November 13, 2012
Sacramento City Council races still too tight to declare winners

Both City Council races remain too close to call.

In results updated this afternoon, biotech manager Steve Hansen has taken the lead over architect Joe Yee in the race for District 4 in Land Park and the Central City. But Hansen's lead is just 108 votes with more than 22,000 counted, meaning the race won't be decided for at least a few more days.

North Sacramento's race is also very close, with the area's former councilman, Rob Kerth, holding a 200-vote lead over Allen Warren. That's after 10,582 votes were tallied.

November 9, 2012
Sacramento council, claw races remain too close to call

Both Sacramento City Council races remain too close to call after election results were updated this afternoon.

Former Councilman Rob Kerth has increased his lead over developer Allen Warren in north Sacramento. Kerth has 51 percent of the vote to Warren's 49 percent, a difference of 215 votes. That margin was just 63 votes earlier in the week.

The District 4 race is even tighter. Architect Joe Yee has taken back the lead in the latest results and now has a 46-vote advantage over biotech firm manager Steve Hansen. In results posted Wednesday, Hansen led by 28 votes.

November 9, 2012
With updates coming, many close calls in Sacramento elections

County election officials expect to update the results of Tuesday's election this afternoon and there are a few city races worth monitoring.

The closest race in the city - and maybe anywhere - is in City Council District 4, where just 28 votes separate biotech firm manager Steve Hansen and architect Joe Yee. That slim margin exists even after more than 16,000 ballots have been tallied in Land Park, the Central City and the River Oaks section of South Natomas.

In north Sacramento, 63 votes is the difference between Rob Kerth and Allen Warren. Kerth seems pretty confident in the final result, telling people on Facebook this week that it "looks good" and saying, "What a wonderful feeling it is to know that about half the people of North Sacramento have decided that I am the person to lead our community forward."

November 7, 2012
Sacramento sales tax approval likely means beefed up public safety

City Hall is suddenly entering unfamiliar territory: posting a help wanted sign.

With the passage of Measure U on Tuesday, city officials have begun assessing what they plan to do with the estimated $28 million in revenue an increase in the sales tax will provide the city.

City Manager John Shirey and two council members told me today the immediate focus would be on replenishing the ranks of the public safety agencies. There's talk of hiring more than 100 cops, bringing back specialty investigative units and ending rotating closures of fire department rigs.

November 7, 2012
Razor thin margins continue in Sacramento council races

The two Sacramento City Council races remain incredibly close.

Results updated just after midnight Wednesday morning showed a difference of just 28 votes separating biotech firm manager Steve Hansen and architect Joe Yee in the race for District 4, the seat representing Land Park, the Central City and the River Oaks section of South Natomas. Hansen held the slim margin over Yee with 16,220 votes counted.

In north Sacramento, the area's former councilman Rob Kerth led developer Allen Warren by 63 votes after 7,949 ballots were counted.

With many more ballots left to be counted, it could be days before either race is determined.

November 6, 2012
Sacramento sales tax measure passes, charter panel fails

Voters in the city of Sacramento have approved an increase in the sales tax to fund core services such as police and fire protection, parks maintenance and pool hours.

With more than 71,000 votes counted, Measure U led 62 percent to 38 percent late Tuesday. The measure calls for increasing the city sales tax from 7.75 percent to 8.25 percent - a hike that city officials said would generate $28 million a year for the budget.

Meanwhile, a measure seeking to create an elected charter commission failed by a large margin. With 69,364 ballots counted, Measure M trailed 75 percent to 25 percent.

Two City Council races remain too close to call.

November 6, 2012
Sacramento sales tax measure leading, charter panel losing

A measure seeking to raise the sales tax in the city of Sacramento by one half of a percent was leading by a wide margin in early returns tonight.

Another measure seeking to create an elected charter commission was losing overwhelmingly.

And a proposal to alter green waste collection by allowing the city to require green waste bins was passing by a slim margin.

November 5, 2012
Mayor Johnson hosting election night party at new K Street bar

His own re-election already assured in the primary, Mayor Kevin Johnson is holding a party Tuesday night - and he's inviting everyone.

The mayor is hosting an election night party at the new Oishii Sushi Bar & Grill at 1000 K St. The party is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

If you're interested in attending, the mayor's office asks that you RSVP to

November 2, 2012
Vote - and then get a flu shot - in Sacramento on Tuesday

Feeling a bit under the weather about your decision at the polls on Tuesday? County election officials have you covered.

Officials announced today they will provide flu vaccinations at three polling stations: the Fruitridge Christian Church, 4445 Fruitridge Rd. from 9:30 a.m. to noon; the Pannell Community Center, 2450 Meadowview Rd. from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and the elections office at 7000 65th Parkway from noon to 5 p.m.

"We think this is the perfect time to get a flu shot, especially for susceptible populations like the elderly who just happen to be one of the highest propensity voting groups," said Sacramento Supervisor Phil Serna.

November 1, 2012
Sacramento council campaign getting tense in final days

Hansenmailer.jpegAfter weeks of cordiality, the race for the city's most coveted council seat has gotten a bit contentious.

One candidate has filed a complaint with the state's political watchdog, charging the opposition with failing to report rent paid or donated for campaign office space. And the other side has taken issue with a campaign mailer they said implies President Obama has taken a position in the race.

First the mailer. Steve Hansen, one of the two candidates running for the seat covering Land Park, the Central City and the River Oaks section of South Natomas, sent out a piece this week featuring a photograph of the president. Under the picture, it reads, "Democratic Leaders & Progressive Organizations Support Steve Hansen for Sacramento City Council."

October 26, 2012
Former council candidate launches questionable website

A failed candidate for Sacramento City Council is apparently still trying to influence the campaign.

Terry Schanz, who finished fourth in the June primary for the District 4 seat covering Land Park and the Central City, has registered a website at, according to domain registration records. The website address is a reference to the Stonewall Democrats of Sacramento, the largest gay and lesbian political organization in the region.

Problem is, Stonewall's real website is

October 25, 2012
Mayor Johnson: Vote no on charter panel, but here are my picks if it passes

Mayor Kevin Johnson doesn't want you to vote to create a charter commission next month. But, like some others in the city who share that position, he also wants to cover his bases.

Johnson is urging city voters to shoot down Measure M, which would create an elected commission tasked with exploring changes to the way the city is governed. If it passes, however, the mayor has picked 15 candidates for the panel. Some labor and business groups also oppose the commission but are running slates of candidates of their own.

The mayor's full list of endorsements, including the charter candidates, can be found here.

October 17, 2012
Two big forums on Sacramento politics scheduled for tonight

Two of the biggest candidate forums in city politics will take place tonight.

In north Sacramento's District 2, council candidates Rob Kerth and Allen Warren will take part in a forum at the Artisan Building at 1901 Del Paso Blvd. The event - moderated by yours truly - is sponsored by the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership. It starts with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by the forum at 7 p.m.

On the other side of the city, the Land Park Community Association is conducting a candidate and ballot measure forum from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at California Middle School, 1600 Vallejo Way.

October 16, 2012
Mayor Johnson to campaign for Obama in North Carolina

Mayor Kevin Johnson is hitting the road for the president tonight.

As he has for much of the past month, Johnson will campaign for President Barack Obama for the rest of the week, this time in the swing state of North Carolina. Johnson has also campaigned for Obama in Florida, Arizona and around California.

"It is critically important for Sacramento and America to re-elect President Obama," Johnson said in a written statement. "With the race tightening, I'm doing all I can in a swing state to make sure that we continue to move America forward with the president's leadership."

October 2, 2012
Council to form committee to oversee sales tax increase

The City Council wants you to feel extra comfortable voting to raise the sales tax.

The council is expected to vote tonight to create a citizens oversight committee that would be charged with overseeing how the estimated $28 million in annual revenue generated by a proposed sales tax is spent. As I reported today, the city wants to raise the sales tax a half of a percentage point through Measure U on the November ballot.

If the tax measure passes, the oversight committee would be made up of a certified public accountant with audit experience; a representative of the business community; someone from a neighborhood group; a representative of a taxpayer association; and a member of the community chosen at-large.

September 17, 2012
Homeless groups to host City Council candidate forum

Homeless and affordable housing advocates are hosting a candidates' forum on Wednesday for the Central City and Land Park council district.

Both District 4 candidates - Steve Hansen, a biotechnology senior manager and a former vice chair of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, and Joe Yee, an architect and former city planning commissioner - are scheduled to attend.

The forum will be moderated by the League of Women Voters and will be begin at 7 p.m. at the Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ, 2700 L St.

September 14, 2012
Sacramento taxpayer group opposes Sacramento tax hike plan

The county's main taxpayers association has - not surprisingly - come out in opposition to the city's proposed sales tax increase.

The Sacramento Taxpayers Association announced its opposition today to a November ballot measure seeking to raise the city sales tax rate by half of a percentage point. The group charged that the city "has the funds it needs, it just needs to use them more expeditiously."

While the taxpayer group suggested the tax was needed to pay for raises and pension benefits given to city employees in past years, city officials argue the increase will provide a jolt to core services that have been severely cut back over the past several years. The tax proposal is also being floated in the same year the city wrestled increased pension contributions from nearly all of its unions.

August 29, 2012
Mayor Johnson to address college Dems at DNC convention

Mayor Kevin Johnson will be the keynote speaker at a gathering of the College Democrats of America this week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

More than 300 college Democrats are expected to attend the Friday morning event. Alejandra Salinas, the president of the College Democrats of America, said in a statement that Johnson "is a great advocate for student issues and is a mentor to college Dems everywhere."

This is another example of Johnson being more popular with Democrats outside Sacramento than with Democrats in his hometown. Johnson did secure the endorsement of the Young Democrats of Sacramento, but other major Democratic clubs locally have never supported his political ambitions. The mayor has, however, held Obama fundraisers, been endorsed by notable Democrats at the statewide level, and he addressed the Democratic National Committee at an event in Minneapolis last month.

August 17, 2012
Group files lawsuit over Sacramento sales tax measure

A local watchdog group has filed a lawsuit seeking to have its argument in opposition to the city's November sales tax measure placed in sample ballots.

Eye on Sacramento filed the lawsuit after Mayor Kevin Johnson - who had volunteered to pen the opposition argument to Measure U - failed to get his statement in before the deadline. The group, which has generally been an ally of the mayor's, called Johnson's mishap a "stunning failure."

As it stands now, no opposition argument to the half-percentage-point sales tax hike will appear in ballot pamphlets sent to voters this fall. There is a supporting argument.

August 13, 2012
Interest groups pay ballot fees for city charter panel candidates

A dozen of the 54 candidates running for the city's elected charter commission had their candidate statement fees paid for by interest groups, according to a list provided to The Bee this morning.

Of those candidates, eight had a portion of their fees funded by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's political action committee. Officials with the City Clerk's office said they have checked with state elections officials and the arrangement is permitted.

All together, the Metro Chamber PAC cut checks for $11,300 to help candidates it is supporting pay for a ballot statement. The full list of candidates whose statements were funded by interest groups can be found here: CharterCandidatesFunding.xlsx

August 10, 2012
Former Sacramento mayor Fargo among 56 candidates for charter panel

Turns out, there are more than just a few people interested in spending the next two years diving into the city's constitution.

A grand total of 56 city residents have filed paperwork seeking to run for a seat on the elected charter commission (the signatures collected by 17 candidates are still being verified). Voters will be asked in November if they want to create that commission and, if so, to choose 15 candidates to serve on the panel.

Many of the names on the candidate list are recognizable, most notably former Mayor Heather Fargo.

August 9, 2012
Mayor Johnson fails to write argument against tax measure


After volunteering to write the ballot argument opposing a sales tax measure on the November ballot, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson failed to get the language for that argument filed on time. That means city voters will only see a supporting argument in sample ballots sent to their homes this fall.

Johnson had volunteered in July to write the argument opposing the half-percentage-point increase. It's unclear if the argument was written, but it's certain that his aides didn't file the paperwork with the City Clerk before Wednesday's deadline.

August 7, 2012
Former Sacramento mayor Fargo interested in city charter panel

The growing list of potential candidates for the city's elected charter commission now includes a former mayor.

Former two-term Mayor Heather Fargo picked up campaign papers from the City Clerk's office Monday, the first step in declaring her candidacy for the commission. Fargo was among 10 city residents who picked up papers on Monday, bringing the list of potential candidates to 67.

Joining Fargo in expressing interest in the commission were Jonathan Rewers, a city parks commissioner who ran unsuccessfully for mayor this spring; Kerri Asbury, chair of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County; architect Bruce Starkweather; and Raquel Simental, a public affairs director for Planned Parenthood.

August 3, 2012
Sacramento charter panel attracting dozens of candidates

There appears to be quite a few people interested in spending the next two years on an unpaid job examining the city's constitution.

As of the close of business Thursday, 57 candidates had picked up campaign paperwork from the City Clerk's office for the elected charter commission, the first step toward getting their names on the November ballot. If the commission is approved in November, voters will choose 15 names from the list.

There are still nearly five business days left to jump into the race and some candidates may not follow through on handing in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. And while it's very unlikely the commission will attract a pool of 135 candidates - the number who ran for governor in the '03 recall - it appears the city may be forced to fund an extra ballot page to accommodate all the candidate names.

August 2, 2012
Mayor Johnson spent big in re-election, despite mocking opponents

Mayor Kevin Johnson sure spent a lot of campaign cash for a guy who didn't think too highly of his competition.

Newly-released campaign finance documents show Johnson spent a total of $541,281 on the June primary. That's compared to just a few hundred bucks by his three competitors combined.

That spending was part of what was a record year in city elections. I'll have more on that in an upcoming Bee article.

June 25, 2012
Sacramento City Council adding to packed November ballot

Another week, another ballot measure from City Hall.

The City Council is expected Tuesday to draft a November ballot measure to repeal 1977's Measure A, which prohibited the city from requiring yard waste containers. Repealing Measure A would allow the city to move forward with a much broader revamping of waste collection in the city, including cutting back on yard waste collection by The Claw.

Just last week, the council decided to place an elected charter commission on the November ballot. The council is also discussing a possible sales tax measure in November, and two council races will be on the ballot as well.

June 19, 2012
Sacramento council likely to ask voters to create charter commission

The City Council is expected tonight to place a measure on the November ballot that would create an elected commission to explore changes to the way the city is governed.

That 15-member elected charter commission would take two years examining the city constitution. If changes are recommended, the new charter would go before the voters in 2014.

The idea of an elected commission was floated in February as a response to Mayor Kevin Johnson's most recent "strong mayor" proposal. Johnson had sought a ballot measure on his proposal to increase his job's authority, but the council rejected his request.

June 5, 2012
Pannell declares victory in tense south Sacramento council race

pannell1.jpegCouncilwoman Bonnie Pannell (left) has declared victory in her bid for a fifth term.

With 32 of 33 precincts reporting, Pannell had taken 53 percent of the vote. Former NAACP branch president Betty Williams - a candidate backed heavily by Mayor Kevin Johnson - had 46 percent.

Pannell, who said the campaign was the toughest fight "in my life," said she would still try to work with the mayor.

"I can work with anyone," she said. "I'm there. He has to want to work with me."


Vote results: Customize your view

Voter guide: The candidates

Bee endorsements

June 5, 2012
Update: Land Park, downtown council race still very tight

As expected, the hotly-contested City Council race in Land Park and the Central City appears headed for the November election.

In returns updated late tonight, architect Joe Yee led with 27.7 percent of the vote. Biotech manager Steve Hansen followed close behind with 26.8 percent. Attorney and non-profit director Phyllis Newton had 24.5 percent.

If none of the candidates reaches 50 percent, the top two will face off in the November run-off.

June 5, 2012
Mayor Johnson declares victory in mayor's race

johnson.jpegMayor Kevin Johnson declared victory Tuesday evening after he won 58.3 percent of the vote in early returns. Johnson needs at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off in the November election.

Jonathan Rewers, a municipal finance manager and city parks commissioner, had secured 22.6 percent of the vote. Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla had 14.1 percent and insurance broker Richard Jones 4.4 percent.


Vote results: Customize your view

Voter guide: The candidates

Bee endorsements

June 5, 2012
Kerth, Warren emerge in North Sacramento council race

A City Council race in north Sacramento appears headed for the November run-off.

Former Councilman Rob Kerth led the packed field with the absentee votes counted, taking in 33.9 percent of the vote. Developer Allen Warren had 31.1 percent.

Kerth and Warren were followed by Misty Yaj, the first Hmong American to run for Sacramento City Council. Yaj had 13.4 percent.


Vote results: Customize your view

Voter guide: The candidates

Bee endorsements

June 5, 2012
McCarty has large lead in Sacramento council race

Councilman Kevin McCarty looks poised to take a third term in the district representing Elmhurst, Tahoe Park and other neighborhoods on the city's southeast side.

McCarty received 74.2 percent of the absentee vote released soon after the polls closed at 8 p.m. He needs at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off.

McCarty's opponent, information technology manager Mitch Netto, had taken in 25.6 percent of the vote in early returns.


Vote results: Customize your view

Voter guide: The candidates

Bee endorsements

June 5, 2012
Pannell has comfortable lead in south Sacramento race

pannell.jpegCouncilwoman Bonnie Pannell had a comfortable lead after absentee ballots were counted.

Pannell had 54.5 percent of the vote in her bid for another term in the council seat representing Meadowview and parts of Valley Hi.

Former NAACP branch president Betty Williams had 44.8 percent of the vote.


Vote results: Customize your view

Voter guide: The candidates

Bee endorsements

June 5, 2012
Mayor Johnson watching Sacramento council races closely

Mayor Kevin Johnson has a lot invested in today's election.

Not only is he seeking another term, but Johnson has campaigned for candidates in south and north Sacramento.

Taking a break from speaking to voters outside the Clunie Community Center in McKinley Park, the mayor said he was "just really excited to be on the ballot and have a chance to serve four more years in Sacramento." Johnson is challenged by municipal finance manager and city parks commissioner Jonathan Rewers, bounty hunter Leonard Padilla and insurance broker Richard Jones.

June 5, 2012
Sacramento city politics gaining more attention, cash

City politics continue to grow up.

A record field of candidates is seeking seats on the City Council today, bolstered by seven-figure bankrolls.

Seventeen candidates are vying for the four council seats in play today, the most going back at least 20 years. Those candidates have raised just over $1 million, the second election in a row that the council races crossed the $1 million fundraising mark.

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."

May 25, 2012
Business group issues misleading campaign ad against Pannell

A campaign ad attacking Sacramento councilwoman Bonnie Pannell exaggerates crime and unemployment figures for Pannell's south Sacramento district, a Bee analysis has found.

A mailer that arrived at homes in recent days claimed that District 8 - which Pannell has represented for 14 years - has the "worst crime area in Sacramento." It also said that 52 percent "of your district (is) out of work."

The ad was funded by the Better Sacramento Political Action Committee - a group of business owners and developers that is supporting Pannell's opponent, former NAACP branch Betty Williams. The group is closely aligned with Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is also campaigning for Williams to unseat Pannell.

May 25, 2012
Mayor continues massive fundraising effort in Sacramento

Jonathan Rewers may have picked up the endorsements of two former mayors this week in his bid to unseat Mayor Kevin Johnson. But with two weeks left before the election, Rewers still faces a monumental fundraising disadvantage.

The latest campaign finance filings show Rewers had raised $1,838 this year, nearly all of it in the form of loans to himself. Neither of the other two mayoral candidates - bounty hunter Leonard Padilla or insurance broker Richard Jones - has raised any money.

On the other hand, Johnson has raised $260,967 this year, including about $165,000 over the last two months, documents show.

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.

May 22, 2012
Former Mayor Fargo endorses Rewers in campaign against Johnson

Former Mayor Heather Fargo apparently hasn't gotten over her loss to Kevin Johnson three years ago.

Fargo has endorsed mayoral candidate Jonathan Rewers in his bid against Mayor Johnson, the Rewers campaign announced. Fargo was defeated by Johnson in 2008.

"I think in the past three weeks I have proven that I am the most qualified candidate to be mayor, have presented a clear plan and agenda, have given the voters the respect they want by going to their events and asking for their vote, and now I have the endorsement of someone who has served this city as mayor and delivered," Rewers said in a statement released by his campaign.

May 21, 2012
Mayor Johnson plans L.A. fundraiser with AEG chief, Villaraigosa

Mayor Kevin Johnson will be in Los Angeles tonight for a fundraiser hosted by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. But it's also an event that could have an impact on Sacramento's ongoing - although faded - arena effort.

Tim Leiweke, the chief executive of arena operator AEG, is one of the co-hosts of the fundraiser being held at The Ritz Carlton at L.A. Live, an entertainment district developed by AEG. Leiweke's company had agreed to operate Sacramento's downtown arena and Johnson is still hoping to attract the firm to the city, despite the arena effort's collapse.

Wealthy philanthropist Eli Broad - whose education reform interests are similar to Johnson's - and former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan are also listed as co-hosts of the Johnson fundraiser.

May 17, 2012
Business groups continue support of Newton, Williams in Sacramento council races

City business groups are talking big with their wallets in support of Phyllis Newton, one of seven candidates seeking the District 4 City Council seat covering Land Park and the central city.

Better Sacramento, a group of local business owners and developers, filed paperwork on Tuesday indicating it had spent $15,546 on mail pieces and consulting in support of Newton. The organization has emerged as a political and philanthropic interest over the past year.

Newton, an attorney and director of a disaster relief organization, was also the beneficiary earlier this month of mailers paid for by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. The chamber spent roughly $33,000 on the mailers, according to campaign documents.

May 16, 2012
Would Sacramento approve tax hike for cops, parks, firefighters?

The debate over whether to ask city voters to approve of a tax increase to fund core services is heating up at City Hall.

After years of behind-the-scenes discussions between the city's labor unions and elected officials, many members of the City Council appear willing to move ahead with a tax measure on the November ballot. Two council members and one council district director told me Tuesday they believe a majority of the council is supportive of a ballot measure.

As I reported in today's Bee, Council members such as Kevin McCarty think that if the city is able to get pension concessions from its unions, the public's appetite for a new tax would increase greatly.

May 16, 2012
Candidate wants to end policy allowing mayor, council members free parking in Sacramento

It's a nice perk that has quietly been on the books for a year: City Council members and the mayor don't have to pay for parking in metered spaces.

But one candidate for council thinks the arrangement is silly and would aim to do away with it if elected.

Steve Hansen, one of seven candidates running for the District 4 seat covering Land Park and the central city, tipped me off to a city policy that grants parking placards to council members, the mayor and their district directors. Using those placards, elected officials and their top aides can park for free in metered spaces - excluding blue, red and yellow zones.

May 15, 2012
War of words continues between union chief, Sacramento council candidate

First he bet Mitch Netto $1,000 he couldn't beat Councilman Kevin McCarty in the race for council District 6. Now, a union leader wants Netto to drop out of that race until he settles federal and state tax liens.

Matt Kelly, the executive secretary of the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council, released a statement late Monday telling Netto, "It is no joke to refuse to pay the taxes you owe!"

Netto has federal and state tax liens against him for roughly $75,000. He said the liens were a result of identity theft issues, but has not formally challenged the accusations in court.

May 15, 2012
Group born out of Sacramento redistricting debate enters political fray

A political coalition formed in the wake of last summer's contentious redistricting debate is beginning to campaign behind candidates in the City Council races.

Empower Sacramento, made up of minority and community groups, announced its endorsements on the steps of City Hall on Monday.

The group is supporting developer Allen Warren in north Sacramento's District 2 seat; attorney and disaster relief organization director Phyllis Newton in the District 4 seat covering Land Park and the central city; information technology consultant Mitch Netto in the District 6 race for Elmhurst and Tahoe Park; and former NAACP branch president Betty Williams in Meadowview's District 8.

May 11, 2012
Bounty hunter Padilla says 'Speed Freak Killer' Shermantine supports his mayoral run

Leonard Padilla hasn't sought the support of any of the city's labor unions or business groups. He even turned down an interview with the firefighters union.

But that doesn't mean the self-proclaimed world famous bounty hunter and mayoral candidate is without endorsements.

Padilla told me this week that serial killer Wes Shermantine is supporting his campaign. Shermantine, part of the so-called Speed Freak Killers duo, is on death row. Padilla has offered to pay him to reveal the locations of further victims.

May 11, 2012
Union boss bets candidate $1,000 he can't win Sacramento council race

Labor unions apparently aren't too fond of Mitch Netto.

Matt Kelly, head of the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council, sent an email to Netto on Wednesday offering to bet him $1,000 that he can't beat incumbent Councilman Kevin McCarty in the race for City Council District 6. McCarty is closely aligned to the city's trade unions.

The Netto campaign had invited Kelly and others to a fund-raiser hosted by steel company executive Steve Ayers and former Councilman Robbie Waters. In his response, Kelly made it pretty clear what he thinks of Netto. His unedited email read:

May 11, 2012
Restaurateurs endorse Newton in Sacramento council race

A new political action committee of local restaurateurs has made its first candidate endorsement.

The Greater Sacramento Restaurant Political Action Committee has endorsed Phyllis Newton, an attorney and non-profit director running for the council District 4. In addition to Land Park, that district covers midtown and downtown, where there is a high concentration of restaurants.

Seven candidates are vying for the seat.

May 2, 2012
Mayor Johnson taking sides in Sacramento council races


A pair of City Council races should be a good gauge of the mayor's political influence.

Mayor Kevin Johnson is backing former NAACP branch president Betty Williams in her run against Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell for the district representing Meadowview and other south Sacramento neighborhoods.

Johnson is also supporting developer Allen Warren in the packed north Sacramento race to replace Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, who is stepping down.

April 25, 2012
Padilla convinced he'll win Sacramento mayor's race, but will have a job for Johnson

Leonard Padilla now seems convinced he'll be Sacramento's next mayor. But he graciously offers to reserve a job for Kevin Johnson.

The well-known bounty hunter and five-time mayoral candidate said as much in an email exchange with an NBA fan relations rep. Padilla sent out a copy of the email exchange today.

Padilla has objected to the public financing of a new downtown sports arena, a thought he shared with NBA Commissioner David Stern in a recent note. The NBA thanked him for his response - touching off the following statement from Padilla:

April 25, 2012
Influential Sacramento firefighter union makes endorsements

The coveted endorsement of the city firefighters' union was handed out for most of the City Hall races this week.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, SMUD director Rob Kerth (council District 2), attorney and non-profit director Phyllis Newton (District 4) and Councilman Kevin McCarty were granted firefighter support in their races in the June primary.

Interestingly, however, the union opted not to endorse either candidate running for the City Council seat in Meadowview's District 8. Neither incumbent Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell nor her challenger, former NAACP branch president Betty Williams, are supported by the union.

April 20, 2012
Councilman McCarty can't guarantee he'll serve full term if re-elected

Councilman Kevin McCarty is running for re-election, but he's not promising voters he'd serve his entire four-year term if he wins.

McCarty relayed that message to The Bee's editorial board Thursday. He is running for a third term in the district representing Elmhurst, Tahoe Park and other neighborhoods on the city's southeast side.

But McCarty also narrowly lost a bid for the state Assembly in 2010 and still has his eye on the Capitol. If a few dominos fall his way - state Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is termed out in 2014 and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson is thought to be eyeing that Senate seat - McCarty is expected to make a run at the Assembly again.

April 20, 2012
Sacramento council campaign gets big cash infusion from business interest group

A powerful business interest group has poured $30,000 into the campaign for Betty Williams, the former NAACP branch president trying to unseat Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell in south Sacramento.

Better Sacramento is paying for field walkers and lawn signs to support Williams, according to a campaign finance report released Thursday. That cash infusion represents a huge investment in a district where only 5,000 people voted in the 2008 primary.

The contribution is also a sign of how contentious this campaign is becoming.

April 19, 2012
Councilwoman Pannell says she will serve one more term if re-elected

Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell said today this will be her final campaign.

Pannell, 63, who joined the council in 1998 following the death of her husband, Sam, told The Bee's editorial board that if she wins re-election in the June primary, her next term will be her last.

Pannell is facing Betty Williams, the former chair of the local NAACP branch, in the June primary. Her district covers Meadowview and other parts of south Sacramento.

April 19, 2012
Update: Sacramento mayoral candidates' forum held tonight

Mayor Kevin Johnson will not attend tonight's candidates forum in River Park after all.

"Due to ongoing events related to the arena, the mayor will be unable to attend tonight's event," Johnson's chief of staff, Kunal Merchant, told me. "We look forward to the opportunity to speak with the group at another date."

The River Park Neighborhood Association sent out a press release this morning stating that Johnson and candidates Leonard Padilla and Jonathan Rewers would attend a candidates forum. It sounds like only Padilla and Rewers will be there. The forum is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Fremont Presbyterian Church, 5770 Carlson Dr.

April 10, 2012
Bounty hunter, mayoral hopeful Padilla: arena deal bad for Sacramento

Now we know what Leonard Padilla thinks of this arena deal. And so does the NBA.

Padilla, the famed bounty hunter who is running for mayor this spring for a fifth time, sent a note to NBA Commissioner David Stern saying that he "will make every effort as a candidate for mayor and as mayor to prevent any public funding for the arena."

"I sincerely believe that if the NBA, the Kings, AEG want an arena in Sacramento, be my guest and build it without any public funding," Padilla wrote.

March 22, 2012
Special interests divided in Sacramento City Council campaign

The folks in Land Park, downtown and midtown better get ready for an intense campaign season.

The city's big special interest groups are splitting their allegiances in the race for the area's open City Council seat, meaning multiple candidates are going to have the cash and manpower to mount intense campaigns before the June primary.

In a somewhat unusual situation, interest groups that normally align with one another are disagreeing on whom to support. Seven candidates are running for the District 4 seat being vacated by two-term Councilman Rob Fong, and residents of the district are already reporting multiple visits to their homes from many candidates.

March 16, 2012
Another packed field for Sacramento City Hall races

Once again, a seat on the City Council is a hot ticket.

A packed field of 17 candidates has filed to run for council in the June primary. Another four candidates are running for mayor.

It was a similar story in 2010, when 16 candidates ran for council. That election marked a shift to more competition in local politics. As recently as 2008, the four council members who sought re-election ran unopposed.

March 8, 2012
Update: Sheedy not running for Sacramento mayor

All of that Sandy Sheedy For Mayor talk has fizzled.

Sacramento's chief arena opponent has apparently opted not to run against Mayor Kevin Johnson, despite a lot of chatter at City Hall today that she would. The deadline for Sheedy to file her campaign papers has come and gone. For the record, she never returned my phone call today.

As a result, Johnson will run against five candidates with little or no political experience.

March 8, 2012
Is Councilwoman Sheedy running for Sacramento mayor?

There's a lot of talk at City Hall today that Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy is going to jump into the mayoral race.

Several insiders told me today that Sheedy is considering running against Mayor Kevin Johnson and that she plans to file her campaign documents today. If she is, she has until 4:30 p.m. today to file those papers to meet the city's deadline for mayoral candidates to declare.

Sheedy has not returned my phone call seeking comment.

February 15, 2012
Bounty hunter Padilla to challenge Sacramento Mayor Johnson

Mayor Kevin Johnson finally has an opponent.

Sacramento bounty hunter and four-time mayoral candidate Leonard Padilla told me today he is definitely running against Johnson after pulling candidacy papers from the city clerk's office on Tuesday. Padilla's main campaign issue: the arena.

"I don't want the Maloofs (who own the Sacramento Kings) given one red cent, much less a quarter of a billion dollars," he said, referring to a proposal for the city to lease downtown parking to help finance a new sports arena.

February 14, 2012
Serna ends rumors, says he won't run for Sacramento mayor

Sacramento Supervisor Phil Serna said today he is not running for mayor, ending weeks of speculation that he might take on Mayor Kevin Johnson.

In an email sent to the media, Serna said he wanted to remain focused on "job growth in places like McClellan Business Park, Downtown Sacramento and the Power Inn Corridor, and I'm dedicated to protecting the American River Parkway."

"Running for mayor now would put campaigning over continuing to give my attention to these and other priorities," he said. "I'm not prepared to do that."

February 10, 2012
Could Mayor Johnson face a challenger in re-election bid?

For quite some time, opponents of Mayor Kevin Johnson have sought a candidate to challenge the mayor in the June primary. While no one has formally stepped up, talks appear to be getting more serious behind the scenes.

Those talks are being charged by a poll released nearly two weeks ago - found here MayoralPoll1-31-12.pdf - that showed fewer than half of those surveyed would vote to re-elect the mayor. More than half wanted to elect an unnamed "someone else."

The poll was clearly put together - and then distributed to the media - in an attempt to convince a candidate to run against Johnson. It was funded by the Sacramento Building Trades Union.

February 8, 2012
Unions push back against Sacramento's charter commission

Labor unions - those influential groups that have powered many a City Council campaign - aren't thrilled with the council's decision Tuesday night to place a charter review commission on the November ballot.

Hours after the council voted 7-2 to move forward with the ballot measure Tuesday, the president of the city police union told City Manager John Shirey he was suspending negotiations between his union and city officials. Other unions are worried about allowing an outside commission to dive into - and potentially rewrite - the way the city is governed.

The police union's argument is about dollars and cents. Mark Tyndale, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, said he was concerned about the cost of a commission and that he refuses "to consider further concessions that will only be used to fund the commission."

February 7, 2012
Mayor Johnson: Charter commission idea 'needs to be dumped'

Mayor Kevin Johnson's latest strong mayor plan goes head to head with a proposal to create an elected charter review commission at tonight's City Council meeting. And the mayor is making it pretty clear where he stands.

Johnson told reporters this morning he thinks "the charter commission idea needs to be dumped." Councilman Kevin McCarty has proposed placing the creation of a charter commission on the November ballot.

"I don't think it's in anybody's best interest and I feel like it's a reaction to the initiative that I brought forward," the mayor said.

February 1, 2012
Measure to outlaw labor agreements on projects fails to qualify for ballot

A proposed June ballot measure that would have prohibited the city of Sacramento from requiring labor organization agreements on publicly-funded construction projects has failed to gather enough signatures.

Sacramento County elections officials ruled today that 62 percent of the signatures it inspected from proponents of the Fair and Open Competition Sacramento measure were valid. Another 19 percent of signatures were from people not registered to vote and 7.5 percent were from voters registered outside of the city.

Supporters of the measure handed in 46,692 signatures to the City Clerk - far more than the 32,207 required to place the measure on the ballot. But the group fell well short of providing enough valid signatures, officials ruled.

January 31, 2012
Mayor's fundraiser likely to challenge McCarty for Council

The Sacramento City Councilman thought to have the easiest path to re-election in June may end up facing a well-heeled opponent.

Developer Jon Bagatelos - who is Mayor Kevin Johnson's chief fundraiser - appears certain to run against Councilman Kevin McCarty in council District 6, representing Elmhurst, Tahoe Park and several other neighborhoods on the southeast side of the city.

"I'm definitely going to run unless someone gives me a reason not to run," Bagatelos said this week.

January 31, 2012
Poll shows less than half support re-electing Mayor Johnson

A new poll commissioned by opponents of Mayor Kevin Johnson shows that fewer than half of those asked are likely to vote to re-elect the mayor. But with just five weeks left before the filing deadline, Johnson's opposition has been unable to come with a candidate.

The poll - conducted by EMC Research and paid for by the Sacramento Building Trades Union - showed 46 percent of the 400 city voters asked would vote for an unnamed "someone else" in the June primary. Another 41 percent said they were definitely or probably going to vote for Johnson.

While the mayor had a favorable rating of 53 percent, other results showed 30 percent of voters think "Johnson gets things done;" 34 percent said the mayor is "someone we can count on;" and 31 percent think he has the right priorities. The poll can be found here KJpoll1-31.pdf.

January 31, 2012
League of Women Voters supports November vote on strong mayor proposal

One of the region's most respected political groups is supporting placing Mayor Kevin Johnson's revamped strong mayor plan on the November ballot.

The League of Women Voters' board voted to support placing the proposal on the ballot. The board has not decided whether it supports the measure.

The City Council is scheduled to debate whether to place the measure on the ballot next week. However, there appears to be more City Council support for a ballot measure seeking to create a charter review commission to explore changing how the city is governed.

January 24, 2012
Mayor benefits, labor loses as City Council undergoes changes

The historic transformation of the City Council could mean a shift in the balance of power at City Hall.

With the announcement Monday that Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy would not seek re-election - combined with Councilman Rob Fong's decision to also step down this year - six of the nine seats at the council dais will have different representatives from just four years ago. That's an incredible shift for a City Council that had been a safe haven for incumbents for nearly 20 years.

With so many seats changing hands, it's worth exploring who benefits.

January 23, 2012
Sheedy will not seek re-election for Sacramento City Council

Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy will not seek re-election in the June primary.

Sheedy told me this morning she would not seek a fourth term for the seat representing north Sacramento neighborhoods in order to spend more time with her family.

"Ted and I have given over 30 years of public service and it's time for us to do this together," she said, referring to her husband, Ted Sheedy, a former county supervisor. "It's time get back to my family."

January 19, 2012
Sacramento City Council to consider arena ballot measure

While City Council support for the move appears limited, Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy's request for a June ballot measure asking voters if they approve of using public parking assets to help fund an arena is scheduled to be debated by the council on Tuesday.

Only Sheedy and Councilman Darrell Fong have expressed support for a public vote on the arena funding package. The council has until next month to place a measure on the ballot.

Sheedy has emerged as the most vocal opponent of a plan to lease city-owned parking facilities and enforcement operations to help finance a new downtown sports and entertainment center.

January 17, 2012
Steinberg endorses Johnson's 'strong mayor' plan

As he gets ready tonight to ask the City Council to place his latest plan to overhaul the City Charter on the June ballot, Mayor Kevin Johnson has gained the support of one of the city's most influential political figures.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Monday he was endorsing Johnson's plan - dubbed the Checks and Balances Act of 2012 - saying it is "a solid and responsible proposal."

However, while Steinberg's support is a boost for the mayor, the local Democratic Party remains critical of the mayor's plan.

January 13, 2012
Campaign: Mayor Johnson raised $546,775 in 2011

He doesn't have a serious opponent, but that hasn't stopped Mayor Kevin Johnson from amassing a large war chest for his re-election effort.

Johnson's campaign chief Steve Maviglio told me this morning that the mayor raised $546,775 in 2011. Campaign finance figures will be released later this month for all candidates involved in city races.

The fundraising total leaves Johnson with $410,385 on hand, according to Maviglio (Johnson still owes himself $500,000 from a loan he made to his 2008 campaign).

January 9, 2012
Former mayors Isenberg, Yee support Johnson's latest charter proposal

Two former mayors are supporting Mayor Kevin Johnson's latest proposal to overhaul the city constitution.

Former Mayors Phil Isenberg and Jimmie Yee are endorsing Johnson's plan and will serve as "honorary co-chairs" of the measure's political campaign, according to a news release sent out by the campaign this morning.

Under the plan, Sacramento would be governed by a "mayor-council" form of government, transitioning from the current system in which the unelected city manager handles most day-to-day operations.

January 3, 2012
Schanz joins packed field in downtown/Land Park council race

Yet another candidate has jumped into the race for the City Council seat representing downtown, midtown, Land Park and the River Oaks section of South Natomas.

Terry Schanz, a Land Park native and the legislative director for Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, announced today that he was running for the seat being vacated by Councilman Rob Fong.

Schanz joins downtown advocate Steve Hansen, Land Park attorney Phyllis Newton and city planning commissioner Joe Yee in the race.

December 29, 2011
Sacramento pastors are a new special interest in local politics

A phenomenon seen often in East Coast cities is developing in Sacramento politics.

Pastors and ministers of mostly African American churches have become a new special interest group in the city, endorsing two City Council candidates in the June 2012 election and Mayor Kevin Johnson's latest proposal to change how the city is governed.

I'll have more on the trend in a story printed in a few days in The Bee. But for now, I wanted to throw out some observations from the reporting I've done so far.

December 28, 2011
Poll shows support of Mayor Johnson's latest charter proposal

Supporters of Mayor Kevin Johnson's latest effort to revamp the city's governing structure released the findings of a survey today that shows support for both the mayor and the proposal.

A survey of 504 likely city voters by pollster FM3 showed 63 percent favored the "Checks and Balances Act of 2012." A memo summarizing the poll's findings was released to the media and supporters of the proposal, which can be found here: MaslinPoll.doc.

Voters particularly liked giving the mayor the authority to propose the budget, subject to City Council approval (67 percent support); giving the mayor veto authority over budget items, subject to council override (67 percent support); and having the mayor and council jointly appoint the city manager, as they do now (66 percent support).

December 21, 2011
Mayor's supporters propose city governance changes

Mayor Kevin Johnson today proposed an overhaul of the way the city is governed.

Well, sort of.

Johnson was noticeably absent during a morning press conference at which the "Checks and Balances Act of 2012" was announced. The mayor will ask the City Council next month to place the measure on the June 2012 ballot.

December 16, 2011
Developer Warren to announce Sacramento Council campaign

North Sacramento developer Allen Warren will announce this weekend that he is formally joining the race for the City Council seat currently held by Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy.

Warren will make the announcement on Sunday at a 3 p.m. event at Carol's Books on Del Paso Boulevard. He'll be joined by his mother, extended family members and longtime friends from the neighborhoods that make up the north side district.

Warren is part of a packed field running against Sheedy in the district representing North Sacramento, Del Paso Heights and many other neighborhoods north of the American River. Sheedy is running for a fourth term.

December 15, 2011
Mayor Johnson proposes 'strong mayor,' other charter changes for June ballot

Mayor Kevin Johnson is proposing a June ballot measure to overhaul the city's constitution, a plan that is expected to include a strong mayor initiative and a proposal to create an independent redistricting commission.

Johnson will ask the City Council at a Jan. 17 meeting to place the measure on the June ballot.

The mayor requested that council discussion at the end of Tuesday's City Council meeting. He said his supporters have drafted the language for the plan and asked City Attorney Eileen Teichert to analyze the proposal.

November 28, 2011
What Mayor Johnson's 'strong mayor' proposal looks like

We don't know when Mayor Kevin Johnson's strong mayor initiative will re-emerge. But we probably have a good idea what it will look like when it does.

As I wrote over the weekend, the mayor and his advisers are debating whether to revive the strong mayor proposal for the June primary election or hold off until the November ballot.

The plan favored by the mayor's team likely resembles the proposal they floated last summer, when the City Council rejected Johnson's wishes to have an initiative drafted by the city attorney.

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.

November 16, 2011
Riding redistricting success, LGBT club endorses Hansen in Sacramento City Council race

Armed with momentum early in the election season, the city's main political organization representing the LGBT community made its endorsement this week in a closely-watched City Council race.

The Stonewall Democrats - the largest Democratic club in the region - endorsed City Council candidate Steve Hansen this week in the race for District 4. That seat, covering midtown, downtown, Land Park and the River Oaks neighborhood of South Natomas, is being left vacant by two-term Councilman Rob Fong.

Stonewall followed that endorsement with a $2,500 donation to Hansen, a downtown resident and advocate.

November 11, 2011
Joe Yee running to return to Sacramento City Council

Another former councilman is making a run to reclaim his seat a decade after leaving office.

Joe Yee, who served on the council for seven months in 2000, announced this week that he will enter the race for the District 4 seat being left vacant by Councilman Rob Fong.

Yee, an architect and the chair of the city's planning commission, was appointed by the City Council to represent District 4 in 2000 when Jimmie Yee was named mayor following the death of Mayor Joe Serna Jr. Jimmie Yee was the area's councilman before and after Joe Yee held the seat (the two men are not related).

November 10, 2011
Poll targets Sheedy, shows 35 percent support her re-election

A political committee of local business owners - a group that has been critical of many sitting council members - conducted a poll of Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy last month that showed 35 percent of those interviewed in her north Sacramento district were likely to re-elect the three-term incumbent.

The poll - commissioned by Better Sacramento, a group of local business leaders previously known as the Sacramento 60 - was conducted between Oct. 19 and 21. That's around the same time Sheedy did her own poll of city voters that showed most favor a vote on any proposal for a new downtown sports arena involving the use of public assets.

Of the 300 voters interviewed, 88 percent said they had heard of Sheedy, according to a memo detailing the results of the survey by well-known pollster Jim Moore. While 35 percent said they would vote for her, 43 percent said they would prefer "someone new."

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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