SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson finally answered questions Tuesday about the deadline he missed to get an argument against a city sales tax increase on the November ballot.
We’ve been waiting for nearly two weeks for the mayor to tell us how this deadline was missed. The mayor was at the Capitol Tuesday for another reason, but we made sure before he left that he answered our questions.
“I assume full responsibility that my team missed the deadline,” he told CBS13′s Ben Sosenko. “Full responsibility. No excuse.”
In his first public comments since the ballot measure blunder, Johnson said he takes the blame, but the mayor followed that up by blaming a member of his staff.
“Somebody on our team missed the deadline, which wasn’t what we designed,” he said. “Unfortunately, they got confused between the charter ballot initiative, which was the next day, versus this ballot, so they got confused on that.”
The mayor had volunteered to write the ballot argument opposing the half-cent sales tax increase, but while he was vacationing in Hawaii, the argument was never submitted – even after at least three email reminders from the city clerk.
Johnson said he won’t feel responsible if the measure passes. “No, I think there is plenty of time for us to get the word out,” he said.
But some damage has already been done. The vice president of the Sacramento Taxpayers Association called the missed deadline “an unbelievable mistake.” And others have been critical of the mayor’s attention to detail.
“We have to internally look at what we did,” Johnson said about how to avoid similar errors in the future. “There’s no excuse. I think most people knew the deadline. Unfortunately, errors happen.”
Craig Powell, vice president of the taxpayers group, says they are extremely disappointed with a judge’s decision not to extend the deadline for ballot language against the measure.
His group will be making an announcement in two weeks on the next step to try to defeat the tax measure.