SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he will not seek a third term in 2024, despite his 'strong mayor' ballot measure seemingly allowing him to do so.
“I have zero intention of running for a third term, and I won’t change my mind as some have asserted," Mayor Steinberg said. "I am beginning my 25th year of elected public service to the people of Sacramento."
Steinberg said in four years time when he steps down from his current position, he "will be ready to do something else with [his] life.” What that something else may be though, he has not yet revealed.
Measure A, also known as the 'strong mayor' measure, does contained language that limits mayors to two terms. However, the measure would not apply to Mayor Steinberg's first term from 2016 to 2020. Even so, Steinberg's office says it was never his intention to use that little loophole.
"We thought it would cover him as well, but it turns out that when state law is applied the language of the measure technically exempts the current mayor, although it clearly applies to all mayors going forward," Mary Lynne Vellinga, a spokesperson for the mayor's office, said. "It was always our intention that the term limit also apply to Mayor Steinberg."
Measure A, the Sacramento Mayoral Accountability and Community Equity Act, would "establish greater accountability and stronger checks and balances to better ensure that the agenda, budget, leadership, and day-to-day management of the city of Sacramento are directly informed by, and aligned with the will of the voters," according to the city's website. This would essentially change the city's council-manager form of government to a mayor-council form.
In the past, similar strong mayor measures have failed to garner voter enthusiasm.
Voters rejected a similar measure once before and the city council has rejected it twice in recent years. In 2016, then mayoral candidate Darrell Steinberg supported the idea, but said he wouldn't bring it back.
"The voters spoke and like Councilmember Ashby, I don't plan to bring it back. I ran for office for mayor knowing that I would be running under this system, and I'm perfectly comfortable with being a strong mayor in this system because strength is not just about structure," Steinberg said during a 2016 Metro Cable broadcast.
Now, Steinberg has changed course with Measure A. His office says this measure is different from previous proposals. This measure contains a requirement that the city spend $40 million on economic development and youth with a focus on disadvantaged neighborhoods.
It also requires that the city analyze spending decisions through an equity lens and introduce “participatory budgeting,” under which a portion of the budget is determined through a public participation process.
In addition, this measure would add a ninth council seat, which the prior measure did not.