The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

February 25, 2010
Mayor Johnson says he can take a punch

In his second State of the City address, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson bragged on his accomplishments in his first 15 months and outlined his priorities for the coming year.

But in today's remarks to the Sacramento Metro Chamber, he was also about fence-mending with the City Council.

Johnson admitted that he sometimes was in too much of a hurry and forged ahead on his own. He promised to be more collegial and do better in helping the council reach consensus.

"I got the point," Johnson said to the council members in the audience of about 850 in a Hyatt Regency ballroom.

He ribbed council member Steve Cohn more than once during the speech. Afterwards, a beaming Cohn said Johnson gave "an excellent speech" that "hit all the right points" and said he was "100 percent" behind the mayor's initiatives: strengthening downtown, building a green economy, moving forward on a new arena and reforming City Hall.

But Johnson was also rather pointed in asserting that City Manager Ray Kerridge's resignation last week was more proof of a broken City Hall, and in vowing to keep pushing for his strong-mayor and government reform plan.

"Not all of us want to be reformed," the mayor added, chuckling to himself.

If the council stays as fractious as it has been, what could turn out to be the most telling from Johnson's speech is his use of a boxing theme.

Taking the stage to the Chumbawamba hit from a few years back, "I get knocked down" (But I get up again), he acknowledged he had been hit by some political haymakers, but said he has also learned to dodge the punches and to throw a few jabs himself.

"I've learned the key is not about getting hit, but it's about getting up again," he said of himself and the city he leads. "It's about really answering the bell."

However entertaining it might be, pointless political sparring is one thing the city could easily live without.

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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.

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