The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

June 8, 2012
Mayor Johnson, Rewers make nice after Tuesday election
There are apparently few, if any, hard feelings between Mayor Kevin Johnson and Jonathan Rewers, his most aggressive challenger in Tuesday's election.

At Thursday night's City Council meeting, Rewers congratulated the mayor. Johnson won a second term with 58 percent of the vote, while Rewers finished a respectable second with 24 percent in a grassroots campaign I profiled in which he said some not very kind things about the mayor.

"We both get to keep our old jobs," Rewers said.

"You made me work for it," Johnson replied.

The main reason Rewers showed up at Thursday night's meeting was to urge the City Council to consider a November sales tax measure. As chairman of the city Parks and Recreation Commission, he said that panel is working on a recommendation on how much money from a sales tax hike the parks system should get and what programs might benefit.

One obvious possibility, Rewers said, is to keep the city's pools open. A $1 million fund-raising drive led by Save Mart Supermarkets came to the rescue for this summer, but that money would have to be found for next year.

The Bee's editorial board today identified another possible way to spend money from a tax measure -- an anti-gang program that is running out of cash.

A quarter-cent sales tax increase would raise nearly $16 million a year for the city. But several council members said before asking voters to pay higher taxes, the city has to get its house in order -- including decreasing employee pension costs.

There are negotiations underway with city unions, but it doesn't appear they will be complete before Tuesday night, when the council is scheduled to approve a 2012-13 budget that includes another $16 million in spending cuts and another 252 in job reductions.

Under the proposal going before council members, any unions that agree to concessions by June 30 would have the layoffs in their area deferred. The council would have until July 31 to formally approve new labor pacts.

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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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