Here’s the video from today’s Sacramento Press chat with me, Ryan Lillis and Jared Goyette about the mayor’s non-profits. One of us is not wearing pants.
“No, I’m not comfortable with it,” City Manager John Shirey told me earlier today, saying that he doesn’t believe it’s appropriate for the Mayor’s outside initiatives to be housed in City Hall, using City office space and other resources. That includes City interns and volunteers working on the mayor’s many policy initiatives.
“The people who are here need to be engaged in City work. Those non-profit organizations can not be using city resources unless they are sanctioned by the City Council,” Shirey explained.
For now, it’s an administrative matter, and not on the Council’s agenda. Shirey explained that in addition to her long list of regular duties, City Clerk Shirley Concolino has taken over administration of mayor and council offices. That’s the job formerly by Lisa Serna-Mayorga. Serna-Mayora, a long-time friend and aide to Johnson, resigned from the post after reports that she had misused city credit cards.
Concolino and her staff are sorting out who is occupying the seats and offices on the third floor. “What we’re doing now is identifying people who are working for these non-profit organizations and making arrangements for them to not be here anymore,” Shirey explained.
He added that he had been looking at the issue before SN&R’s story on the issue was published, and before the Sacramento County Democratic Party sent a letter to Shirey in July asking for an investigation. But he had other priorities, like the city’s budget deficit, to deal with.
“I inherited this situation. It never should have been allowed in the first place,” said Shirey.
I’ll have more “K.J. Inc.” follow-up in the next week’s new and improved Bites column in SN&R.
This podcast is a sort of companion piece to a story I’ve got out in this week’s News and Review. “KJ Inc.” is an attempt to explain–as succinctly as I can–some of the problems presented by mayor Kevin Johnson’s network of non-profit organizations, starting with the seldom-talked about Sacramento Public Policy Foundation.
These groups allow the mayor to raise unlimited amounts of money from big donors–much of it secretly. See below for documents showing all of the donations to the mayor and council member via “behested” payments for the last 7 years. Most council members raise money in this way for established charities. The mayor is different, raising more than a million dollars for his own organization–which is controlled by him.
The mayor has also managed to leverage a certain amount of free labor and office space for his non-profits, courtesy of the taxpayer. Despite the gift of public resources, some of the people who run the mayor’s operation–like Chris Tapio and Kunal Merchant–don’t feel obliged to answer any questions about what they do.
And it’s all legal.
I hope you’ll read the story, it’s not short. And listen to the podcast, it is short. And I hope the City Manager, John Shirey, will soon decide one way or the other whether he thinks it’s ok for the mayor to use City Hall to support his own private organizations in this way.
Thanks Isaac, for sitting down and talking with me about the story, and for all the other stuff you do.
On this week’s episode of the Sacramento Current podcast, the gang welcomes former Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo into the studio at 3rd Bedroom for an off-the-cuff chat about all things wonk-ish. Fargo opens up about what she’s been up to since the end of her administration, her opinions on the current state of the office, why it’s not the right time for charter reform, and her two cents on the arena. It’s a great talk and we hope you enjoy it.
This week’s opening music is “Beg, steal, or borrow” by Th’ Losin’ Streaks, the closing track is Agent Ribbons’ “Wood, Lead, Rubber”.
While there are four candidates on the ballot to chose from for Mayor of Sacramento, there are actually five candidates in the race. Edgar Hibert-Garcia has qualified as a write-in candidate for Mayor, creating a fifth choice for Mayor. He recently sat down for coffee and and a conversation with one member of the Sacramento Current podcast team.
You can find out more about Hilbert-Garcia by visiting his website. The election is June 5th.
What the heck is the Sacramento Current band rambling on about this week? Well, I’m glad you asked! In this latest episode, Tamie Dramer joins the panel and adds a long over due female perspective to our collective wonky-ness. We rap about a last-minute pullout at a mayoral forum, springtime gardening and how to get 23 trees worth of leaves into a green bin (spoiler alert: you can’t), and a look ahead towards a series of interviews with the candidates running for City Council.
If you enjoy the Sacramento Current podcast, don’t forget to share it with a friend!
On March 19th, Mayor Kevin Johnson, Leonard Padilla, and Jonathan Michael Rewers were invited to speak at a forum during the River Park Neighborhood Association Board Meeting. Johnson had to cancel due to “ongoing issues related to the arena”, but Rewers and Padilla each spoke at length about their vision of a new Sacramento. The audio attached is Padilla’s presentation.
In case for some strange reason you’re not familiar with Leonard Padilla, here’s his bio from his webpage:
Leonard Padilla has been hunting and capturing fugitives for over 35 years. He has built a reputation as the “World Famous Bounty Hunter” and has appeared in movies and television.
Padilla has also testified in court as an expert from the bail bond industry and has been instrumental in seeing legislation passed in the California legislature to improve the ability to capture fugitives in other states and abroad.
In 1982, Leonard Padilla opened the Lorenzo Patino School of Law with Attorney Doug Nareau, Heman Smith, and Judge Lorenzo Patino. The Lorenzo Patino Law School provides an affordable legal education for those wishing to practice law. Leonard is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
On March 19th, Mayor Kevin Johnson, Leonard Padilla, and Jonathan Michael Rewers were invited to speak at a forum during the River Park Neighborhood Association Board Meeting. Johnson had to cancel due to “ongoing issues related to the arena”, but Rewers and Padilla each spoke at length about their vision of a new Sacramento. The audio attached is Rewers presentation.
If you’re unfamiliar with Rewers, here is his candidate statement from the city’s website:
Sacramento is and has always been a great city. It’s not our monuments that make us great but the dedication and heart of the people. Through both good and bad times, we as a City Family have always moved forward in the best interest of all. Why do I want to be Mayor? Because, I believe that the role of the Mayor is to represent the needs and interests of the people, to reflect what is great about our City and responsibly ensure that even in the bad times Sacramento moves forward. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to maintain the foundations that make Sacramento an outstanding place to live. We have lost police officers and firefighters, our parks are turning brown, our swimming pools are closed and our youth are losing safe places to go. It is time for us to innovate, reimagine what a city can do and should do. For more than a decade, I have demonstrated that through creativity, transparency, fiscal responsibility and good business sense that you can lead by example – and make city government work. Leaders have followers, managers have subordinates. I’m not running for fame or power – just to make things work.