Sacramento Needs Kevin Johnson as Mayor

In team sports, there comes a time when you realize that the squad that is on the floor or the field just cannot take your team to the next level – that its time to move in another direction and rebuild.

Letting go of past glory and embracing the promise of the future is a constant in sport – just ask Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Chris Webber – and in politics.

The time has come for a changing of the guard in Sacramento ’s political leadership. We need a game – changing talent with the vision, energy and drive to help Sacramento grow from its current cow town image to a First-Tier City .

That game-changing talent is Kevin Johnson.

Mayor Fargo is a 20 year veteran of the Sacramento City Council – a solid if unspectacular representative of the people with a very commendable record of which she and her supporters can be proud. Yet for all her accomplishments, Fargo has run out of gas at precisely the time when Sacramento needs her most.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Natomas, where the vision of Sacramento ’s future has bogged down in in-decision, poor execution by the City, and a council that has sacrificed its individual interests for the collective good of the region. Natomas is the gateway to Sacramento , and the development in North Natomas struggles to resemble its original promise: it fails as a pedestrian-friendly, auto-alternative community; the regional park, fire and police infrastructure remain unfinished; and the level of crime and violence rivals that of other troubled parts of the city. Our new community is being bled dry to support other priorities throughout the city, with little to no regard for the impact of these misplaced priorities.

Add to this the struggles of developing the Downtown Railyards and the fiasco of the bottomless pit of an arena plan (Measures Q and R) put before voters in 2006, and its no wonder people say Sacramento resembles Peter Pan’s never-never land –a city in perpetual adolescence, stuck between childhood and adulthood.

We already know what Heather can do. She has served us well as an activist and a council leader, fighting the battles of the last 20 years and helped shape what Sacramento has become, for better or worse. That reality has definitely fallen short of the vision falls squarely at the feet of Fargo , and we know what four more years will bring with her at the helm.

However, if we are to meet the challenges of the next 20 years, we need a leader who can take Sacramento to the next level. We need a leader who will harness the energy of the council into a cohesive majority, capable of making tough and (sometimes) unpopular short term decisions for the long-term interest of the city. We need a mayor who has a vision for our city, and the passion, energy and political will to call upon all stakeholders to make it happen with all deliberate speed.

Kevin Johnson is the hometown hero: the young man from the tough neighborhood that has risen to the heights of stardom yet has remained grounded in his commitment to Sacramento ’s future. Kevin possesses the right mix of vision, energy, commitment and thoughtfulness – and he understands that the people of Sacramento want to believe in the future. With Kevin, people can see change and believe in it, and they believe that they can make change happen – which is 95% of the battle.

Taking Sacramento to the next level won’t be easy. While Kevin lacks the 20 years of political experience of his rival, he more than makes up for it with instincts, guile and a strong business acumen. Besides, our challenges are not political – they are challenges of our collective will. Kevin will need to continue to be open to the ideas of others, and to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to implement his vision of a First-Tier City . He will need all of our collective help and sacrifice to make it happen, but it will happen.

On November 4, Sacramentans must find their collective will and vote for the future of Our First-Tier City. We need to vote for Kevin Johnson for Mayor.