The Sacramento City Council that takes office Nov. 23 will look very different. But whether it will operate differently is still very much up in the air.
As many as three incumbents won't be there. Robbie Waters finished third in District 7 on Tuesday, the first council incumbent to lose since 1992. Ryan Chin and Darrell Fong will face off in a November runoff.
In District 1, Angelique Ashby is trying to hang on to enough of a lead to avoid a runoff with incumbent Ray Tretheway. In District 5, incumbent Lauren Hammond gave up her seat for what turned out to be an unsuccessful bid for state Assembly.
And there could be a fourth new person on the nine-member council come spring. District 6 council member Kevin McCarty is neck-and-neck in the Democratic primary for the 9th state Assembly District. If he outlasts Sacramento County supervisor Roger Dickinson, he would be the odds-on favorite to win the seat in November in the heavily Democratic district. Once he joins the Legislature, there would be a special election next March or April to replace him.
Unfortunately for Mayor Kevin Johnson, however, it's the current council who will decide by next month whether his latest strong mayor plan makes it to the ballot in November. And after he endorsed Ashby, Tretheway certainly will not be the fifth vote that Johnson needs to get the "executive mayor" plan before voters.
So it may end up that it'll be different faces, but the same system of governance at City Hall.