How to revive Sacramento’s trust in the mayor and city government
We’ve opined and spent more than a few barrels of ink discussing 915 I Street in this Editorial space. Yet here we are, again, talking about City Hall and its issues when it comes to transparency, accountability and good government. These conversations invariably lead back to Mayor Kevin Johnson’s office. Here we go again.
Oftentimes, it feels as if we’re writing editorials that go straight into a black hole. But then, occasionally, we see the journalism in this paper impacting positive change. To that end, this week feels like the right time to revisit some of our City Hall editorials from recent months, a proverbial “Greatest Hits” from SN&R’s editorial board.
So, let’s start with the issue du jour: Johnson using private Gmail accounts for public business. This issue is new to many Sacramentans. But writers at this paper have put K.J.’s Gmails in the cross hairs for a while now.
We first dinged K.J. for his Gmail use in April, writing that “Mayor Kevin Johnson and his staff’s use of private email when conducting public business … is a problem.” (See “K.J., Hillary, email,” SN&R Editorial, April 30, at http://tinyurl.com/SacramentoEmailPolicy.)
The mayor dodges transparency by using secret and private email addresses to perform public work. This may be legal in California for now—the courts are hashing it out—but just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.
As we also wrote back in April, “The city needs to stop this practice of allowing private email for public work, and should implement a policy directing staff as soon as possible.” It’s been more than two months since we wrote this, and the mayor’s secret Gmail has spurred even more problems—and legal costs—for the city.
If this all sounds familiar, it’s because Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, also used private email and servers despite working as a public official. The hammer came down on Clinton this past February—but apparently the mayor did not pay much attention.
Email controversies abound at City Hall, another being the plan to delete older emails, ones between city Sacramento News & Review - How to revive Sacramento’s trust in the mayor and city government - Editorial - Opinions - July 9, 2015: