SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In a move that didn’t surprise many, former state Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg announced he was running to be Sacramento’s next mayor.
The vacancy opened last week after current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced he wouldn’t be running for a third term as accusations from his past continued to mount.
Steinberg joined the race a day after former assemblyman Roger Dickinson said he wouldn’t run, because he and Steinberg overlapped too much.
SAM SHANE: You realize you surprised no one today?
DARRELL STEINBERG: I know it was the worst-kept secret in Sacramento. I wanted to contact my supporters and do it right, and we had a great, great rally.
SHANE: I wanted to begin with you where I began last night, with Mayor Kevin Johnson, which is why we are here tonight. When the mayor decided not to run, he said that the sexual molestation allegations against him did not factor in his decision to not run for re-election. When he says that, do you believe him?
STEINBERG: I do. I actually thought for a long time that Mayor Johnson would not run for a third term. He had done, I think, a very fine job for the City of Sacramento. But you know, I’ve served in one of these high positions, I did for six years as president of the Senate, and 6 or 8 years in one of these positions I think is quite enough. I thought for sometime he probably would not run for the third term.
SHANE: Given that was the thought out there among many Democrats in Sacramento, the timing of all of this with that videotape of the teenaged girl talking with the investigator about allegations of molestation, and then all of a sudden it makes national headlines, and then we hear from the mayor saying I am not running, the timing does look rather unique and odd in some sense.
STEINBERG: Again, I don’t think he was going to run for a third term. But really the important point is that I am running for mayor of Sacramento. To me, I served 20 years, but elections are about the future. While I have a proud record that I’m going to to run on, I’m also going to put forward my vision for Sacramento. We’re on the verge of economic renaissance.
SHANE: Let’s talk about your competitor Angelique Ashby, and I want to show you on the screen and the viewers at home a statement that she released. “My advisors told me the only way to beat such a popular politician”—she is talking about you here—“was to tear him down. But that’s not who I am, and that’s not what our city needs. I decided I would only run on my own terms: staying positive. That’s how I won my first campaign, that’s how I’ve served our city as Vice Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, and that’s who I am.” We’ve heard all this before from politicians trying to stay positive. Is that possible in this day and age and why should people vote for you instead of her?
STEINBERG: It sure is possible, and in fact it’s what people expect, and I plan to do the same thing. Sacramento is a great community. It deserves a positive campaign.
SHANE: How are you going to clean up City Hall? There have been allegations of sexual harassment within in City Hall. People say it’s not transparent that, we need more openness and transparency. How do you clean up the character of the building?
STEINBERG: I strongly support mandatory sexual harassment training for all elected officials and all city employees. I support an independent ethics commission. I think transparency is key. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Let’s put it out there and make sure that the public knows what’s going on. It will be fine. Look, I know there have been problems, but there’s also been a lot of good things that have gone on in the city in the last number of years. I think people want a sense of optimism. They want to know that you’re going to continue this economic renaissance, focus on the homeless problem, focus on the schools and kids and help make this city the unique place it already is, but even more unique and greater. I’m excited. The first day, many to go. Let’s go.