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Johnson gives up on Nov. ballot for strong mayor plan

Mayor Kevin Johnson said Tuesday that he is no longer campaigning to place the latest “strong mayor” proposal on the November ballot. However, he said he wants to continue the strong mayor campaign into 2011 or 2012.

Johnson had planned to ask the City Council this month to move the proposal onto the November ballot, but he said at his weekly press conference that he has changed course.

He acknowledged that his City Council colleagues are not interested in placing the plan on the ballot this fall. In a 7-2 vote in June, the City Council barred City Attorney Eileen Teichert from writing official language for the proposal.

“There’s not enough appetite for council to put this on the ballot,” Johnson told reporters Tuesday. “I got that. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit fighting for reform.”

While he is giving up on the November ballot, he said he may return to his campaign next year or in 2012.

“For me, it’s clear that it’s something we’re going to have to look at for 2011 or 2012, or somewhere down the road,” Johnson said. “And we’ll evaluate all those options and figure out what that looks like. But I do believe that at some point, before I’m out of office, we will have reform for the people.”

Joann Cummins, district director for Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, attended the press conference but declined to comment on Johnson’s announcements about the strong mayor campaign.

Sheedy is strongly critical of Johnson’s strong mayor campaign, and recently referred to his latest plan as “lipstick on a pig.”

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

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