Would-Be Mayor

Acuity with Jonathan Rewers

Back Q&A Sep 1, 2012 By Douglas Curley

Jonathan Rewers, 33, is the manager of capital planning and analysis for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Prior to taking the position in 2008, he worked for the Sacramento City Department of Parks and Recreation for 10 years. He currently serves as chairman of the Sacramento Parks Commission. In the June elections, Rewers garnered 25 percent of the vote in his quest to unseat Kevin Johnson as mayor of Sacramento. He is now a candidate for the City Charter Commission. 

“I ran for mayor because City Hall had become hyper-political. Before, the city had been much more solution-oriented. We were being honest about the facts and clear about what could actually be accomplished. That’s what I wanted to bring back.”

“This city’s financial situation is extremely reliant on property taxes. That’s not a good thing in the state of California, not since [Proposition] 13. There were a lot of homes built in the 1990s. Those residents require services, but the taxes being received today on those properties do not cover the services being provided. It’s the simple truth.”

“The condition of our public facilities also has an impact on private property value. No one is talking about this. To me, that is the problem with this city right now, and we need to fix it. Now we’re to a point where we can run the swimming pools — thanks to donations — but can’t staff them. We have park maintenance crews of one person. There is nothing left to give.”

“The City Council can’t cut anymore. Is there still some fat? Yes. But there is not enough fat to restore police services to prior levels or to reopen all of our community centers and swimming pools. Believe me, I was in the building for 10 years. We are not going to find enough waste, fraud and abuse to make a realistic difference.”

“I’m rarely, if ever, for tax increases. But I am now a strong supporter of the city sales tax initiative. To me, city government is as close to a private business as a public entity can be. The city provides services to its customers, the public, at a cost. Under our current economic conditions, what the public is paying is not covering that cost. So the voters must now decide if they want to pay a higher price or live with fewer services.”

“Personally, I think the idea of the charter commission sucks. I have recommended that people vote against it. “I’ve read the city charter. I think it’s fine the way it is. This is all political posturing about the ‘strong mayor’ movement. A strong mayor doesn’t add another cop. It doesn’t make our parks green. It doesn’t open our swimming pools or get our waste picked up.”

“There’s a legitimate concern the commission will be stacked with political hacks. If the voters decide there’s a need for the charter, then we need to elect appropriate people: individuals who know about the city charter and who have some sort of legal or policy background.”


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