The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

August 3, 2011
Sacramento's city manager-to-be and the Cincinnati riots

All indications are that as soon as Thursday, Sacramento will have a new city manager -- John Shirey, now executive director of the California Redevelopment Association.

He has three decades-plus in a series of local government jobs, but he has been the chief administrator only once, in Cincinnati from 1993 to 2001. His tenure there was not always smooth sailing, with controversies over development projects and rocky relations with some council members.

His ultimate undoing came from the April 2001 riots after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man. The unrest was the worst since the 55 deaths in 1992 in Los Angeles after the acquittal of four police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King.

Less than a month after the riots, Shirey resigned to avoid being fired. "I just felt somebody was going to have to take the fall for the unrest and it was likely going to be me," he told The Bee's Ryan Lillis this week. "I just felt that I had used up my capital and done what I could do, and it was time for me to move on."

He had more to say in an April interview with Cincinnati public radio station WVXU marking the 10th anniversary of the riots.

Shirey said he was saddened by the riots, which he described as the culmination of years of ill feeling between the police department and the city's African-American community. Before the fatal shooting that sparked the riots, 14 other black men were killed in confrontations with police in six years on Shirey's watch.

He said he wished the incidents could have been avoided and that community relations would have been better, but he did everything in his power. Fair or not, he added, someone would have to be blamed for the riots. "As a chief executive, the buck stops with me," he said.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

The Bee's editorial board has posed a series of questions that it believes council members ought to answer before moving forward on hiring a city manager. To read what more the editorial board has to say about Shirey's impending selection, come to sacbee.com/opinion on Thursday.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com 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 Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com 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 feedback@sacbee.com. 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 feedback@sacbee.com. 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 sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com 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.

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

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