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Tuesday's Council Results Suggest Balance of Power Won't Change

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Johnson appears to have lost one of his strongest allies, Councilman Robbie Waters, who’s in third place, four points out of a runoff.  Still, the mayor says he liked what he saw.


Johnson: “The city of Sacramento wants change. And they want elected officials that are gonna represent a new and improved Sacramento.”


He points to the other three races, where the candidates he endorsed finished first: incumbent Steve Cohn, and outsiders Angelique Ashby and Jay Schenirer.  We’re waiting to see which of those races are over and which will move on to November.  Johnson says he’s especially proud of Ashby, who may have knocked Natomas Councilman Ray Trethaway out of office.


Johnson: “For me, I put all my energy behind Angelique in District One.  That was the race I thought was the most important and the one I thought I could have the biggest impact on.  And to be in a position where we have a potential to win that outright, in a primary, says a lot.”


But political analyst Doug Elmets isn’t so sure the mayor’s excitement is justified.


Elmets: “It wasn’t a great night to be an incumbent.  And it probably wasn’t a great night to be the mayor.”


That’s because the council’s balance of power doesn’t appear to have changed, Elmets says.  The mayor still doesn’t have the five votes he needs to advance his agenda.  And as for the candidates Johnson supported …


Elmets: “They didn’t get elected on the coattails of Kevin Johnson. They really got elected based on the fact that they were able to resonate with the people of their district.”


That’s just fine with the mayor, though.  He’s glad new people are running for a council where – before Tuesday – an incumbent hadn’t lost since 1992.  The current group’s gridlock has soured some local business leaders on Sacramento’s ability to bounce back from the recession.  And Elmets says the new council offers all sides a chance to lower the temperature at City Hall.

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