The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 22, 2011
Johnson says Sac deserves better on city manager search

To say that Mayor Kevin Johnson is underwhelmed by the self-declared front-runner for Sacramento's next city manager would be an understatement.

While making clear that he will support the City Council's eventual decision, Johnson is also making it clear that he's disappointed by the crop of applicants. The council could officially pick John Shirey, executive director of the California Redevelopment Association, in the next few weeks, if negotiations pan out.

"It's imperative that our next city manager have the managerial competence to ensure a steady hand at the wheel," the mayor said in a lengthy post on his blog this afternoon. "But we need so much more from our chief executive.

"The right up-and-coming city manager, one with fresh ideas and both public and private sector experience, could build a national reputation by taking Sacramento to the next level," Johnson continued. "From all accounts, that's not going to happen....Multiple candidates lacked even the minimum levels of experience established by the council."

Johnson supported keeping interim City Manager Gus Vina, but a majority of the council voted to do a national search, prompting Vina to leave.

The mayor also noted that the selection process has been conducted entirely behind closed doors.

The Bee editorial board also called on council members to involve the public far more in the process - to no avail.

Shirey may indeed be the best of the 30 applicants. But we'll apparently have to take the council's word for it.

July 20, 2011
Airport, downtown Sacramento back together in district

True to its word, California's Citizens Redistricting Commission has fixed an obvious flaw in its proposed congressional maps and put Sacramento International Airport in the same district as downtown and most of Sacramento.

An earlier plan had the airport in a separate district that included Glenn, Sutter and Yuba counties, among others. Sacramento County supervisors and others lodged a complaint, arguing that the airport's economic ties were to Sacramento, not to far-flung counties. They also made the point that it would make it much more difficult to secure federal funding that is the airport's lifeblood.

The Bee editorial board agreed with those arguments, saying it was a no-brainer.

The latest "visualizations" from the commission put the airport and downtown in the same congressional district. They also put the airport in state Assembly and Senate districts that include the city.

The commission is working feverishly toward an Aug. 15 deadline to finish and approve maps for congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization seats.

July 6, 2011
Did the media go overboard in the Casey Anthony case?

In all the blather following Tuesday's verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, two core truths emerged.

One is that the jury system worked, yet again. We certainly don't know if Anthony killed her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, or if it was a tragic accident. But jurors listened to six weeks of testimony, examined hundreds of exhibits and concluded that prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Anthony was guilty of anything other than lying to investigators.

The other truth is that some elements of the media behaved despicably. It was far less about justice for Caylee -- and far more about ratings and advertising dollars.

There's no denying that cable TV in particular focused on the salacious and elevated this case way beyond what it deserved. Nancy Grace convicted Anthony - or as she called her, "tot mom" -- over and over again on her HLN show. So it was little surprise that she showed an absolute lack of grace in response to the acquittal, claiming that "the devil is dancing tonight."

Do you think the media acted responsibly in the Casey Anthony case?

To read the full editorial, pick up The Bee or log on to on Thursday.

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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