Sacramento Mayor's New Wheels

Katy Grimes: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has a fancy new set of wheels. So what? Sacramento is laboring under a $51 million deficit, has cut city jobs including fire fighters, police, and our parks are looking really seedy —  parks department employees have been cut by almost 40 percent.

But the always stylish mayor won’t look seedy in the old SUV anymore. KCRA Channel 3 broke the story last night and described the new SUV, as “a jet-black sport utility vehicle with tinted windows, a hybrid engine and a satellite television dish on its roof.”

The stupidity of a decision like is is mind boggling. It’s not just the cost, it’s the bad decision making that will lead to really bad PR and a continuing drop of confidence in this mayor.

The black SUV cost $51,250 and m adding insult to injury, was purchased from a dealer in Fresno.

According to KCRA, “To pay for it, the city of Sacramento used funding initially scheduled to replace two police vehicles; an aging Ford Expedition and a forklift used at the police department’s property division.” “So it’s basically cost-neutral,” Johnson said.

Spare me with the “revenue neutral” comments. Money was spent on an unnecessary vehicle. Already scheduled vehicle purchases should have been cut from the budget months ago anyway, if the city was serious about making real budget cuts.

Sacramento, like most other cities in the state, is upside down in an economic crisis and facing unfunded pension payments that will be impossible to make. Not only should the spending have been stopped, a massive overhaul should have taken place by the ‘reform” mayor. But instead, Johnson seems to have become what he so vocally criticized during his campaign – he now operates just like the government workers he claimed to abhor.

The SUV is a hybrid, “green vehicle,” as if that is justification for the purchase. But as with the other politicians in the state forcing the green industry on California, Johnson has bought in.

The highly subsidized green industry thus far, is a false market and not self-sustaining. But that doesn’t matter to liberal politicians, since the free market is just theory taught and mocked, and then left behind, in college classrooms.

“For the mayor of Sacramento, you have to lead by example,” Johnson said in the KCRA story. I’m sure that a few out-of-work cops and parks employees have comments about this kind of leadership.

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