The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 6, 2008
Mayor's debate: Did it change any votes?

My choices tonight at 6:30 p.m. were to watch Monday Night Football, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (zzzz), Jeopardy, Entertainment Tonight, Judge Judy, Friends or, over on the E! channel, the 25 Most Memorable Swimsuit Moments.

For some reason, I decided to watch the mayoral debate. Was that the right choice?

If nothing else, the Sac State debate further defined the differences between Mayor Heather Fargo and her rival, Kevin Johnson. Fargo thinks the city "is just fine." Johnson cites statistics that Sac is the second most dangerous place in California. Fargo touts what "we" have done for the city. Johnson touts what he's done, except when it comes to matters involving the ongoing investigation of his St. HOPE operation. 

Fargo made the claim that the Sacramento Teachers Association "has chosen to support me because of my support for education." Johnson noted that she got STA support "because of the status quo." In other words, Johnson is willing to take on the STA over school reform and charter schools. Fargo? Not so much.

Fargo wants a gang tax. Johnson thinks you can raise the same amount of money by cutting other city services. Fargo sounds like she would marry gay couples in front of city hall. Johnson would oppose ballot measures to block gay marriage, but claims to have the same position as Obama-Biden -- keep government out of it.

Johnson wants to "align priorities with the resources we have." Fargo wants more resources. Johnson touts change. Fargo touts experience. Johnson says officials should be held accountable (except for his own troubles with St. HOPE). Fargo likes to blame others, such as President Bush, who she blames for the economic meltdown.  Johnson attempted humor by talking about his discovery that trajectory would increase his jump-shooting percentage. Fargo didn't laugh. She also was the first to go deeply negative (as noted in an earlier post.) Ms. Mayor, lighten up.  

All in all, this debate probably didn't change many votes, but it was interesting to see and hear the concerns of Sacramento state students. My main regret is that KCRA didn't keep the camera on both candidates as the debate ended. You can tell a lot about a person about how they react to the conclusion of a pressure situation. Did they both smile? Did they look at each other? Was one angry, and the other relieved?

We need to get the tape. A picture tells a thousand words. (And I'm reaching my limit.)

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the California Teachers Association had endorsed Fargo. It was the Sacramento Teachers Association. Thanks to a commentator for pointing that out.


About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter