The Swarm

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May 15, 2012
Rewers appears before council as candidate, parks panel chief
Wearing his hat as chairman of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission, Jonathan Rewers will appear before the Sacramento City Council tonight and urge it not to cut the parks and rec budget.

For the second year in a row, the appointed commission is recommending that the council reject the city manager's proposed budget. This one would trim another $1 million and 19 positions.

In a letter to the City Council that he released in advance, Rewers noted that the parks department has partnered with nonprofits to keep community centers open, worked with Save Mart Supermarkets on a $1 million fund-raising drive to open pools this summer and is increasingly relying on volunteers to clean up parks.

"There are few if any tools left available to maintain a minimum level of core services to the community," he writes.

Given that situation, the commission voted 8-2 to encourage employee unions to make concessions and to implore the council to look at cuts in other departments. The commission also said that if results from a recent city poll are positive, the council ought to consider putting a tax measure for parks maintenance on the November ballot. 

For the next budget year, 2013-14, the city needs to look at increasing parks fees while still preserving public access, the panel said.

While Rewers will be speaking on behalf of the parks commission, he can't help but wear a second hat -- that of candidate for mayor. Indeed, he sent out the letter to the media under his campaign masthead. And he'll be directly addressing the man whose job he wants to take -- Mayor Kevin Johnson.

As I reported on Sunday, Rewers is running something of a stealth campaign that is based on criticizing Johnson for letting basic city services atrophy while being distracted by the arena and strong mayor.

Should be an interesting presentation tonight.

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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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