SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s the final chapter for one of Sacramento’s most influential mayors.
During his farewell reception Tuesday night, Mayor Kevin Johnson told a group of about 200 people, “It is my hope that at the end of two terms that the people of Sacramento look back at my tenure and believe that I’ve left Sacramento a little bit better.”
Born in Oak Park, Johnson graduated from Sacramento High School and started his career in the NBA. He soon became the first African-American to serve as his hometown’s Mayor.
“He’s put some great things in motion for Sacramento that we’re going to feel the lasting affects of for years to come,” said Sacramento resident, Carolyn Veal-Hunter
“I think Kevin sincerely cares about the city, and the young people, we’ll miss him,” said council member Jay Schenirer.
Winning his first campaign in 2008, Mayor Johnson was re-elected in 2012. Over the past 8 years, he’s made his mark.
“I think the two things he’s going to be remembered for is the fact that he was able to keep the Kings in Sacramento, and that he could pull off building this arena in downtown Sacramento with an adjacent hotel, and the ultimate urban revitalization of the downtown core,” said political strategist Doug Elmets.
Keeping the Kings in Sacramento, building the $588 million dollar Golden 1 Center, and kick starting development of the rail yards, which will include a Kaiser hospital and new MLS soccer stadium are just some highlights of his political legacy.
In addition to the Mayor’s push to increase housing.
“Sacramento has become the world class city that I’ve always known and he knew we could be,” said Veal-Hunter.
Johnson’s only regret he says is that he didn’t get a chance to work closer with city staff in the last 8 years.
But as Mayor Johnson says his goodbyes and thank you’s, not everyone is painting a rosy picture of his time in office.
“Kevin has forgotten the most vulnerable, the homeless,” said Sacramento resident Anna Maria Munoz.
From criticisms due to rising homelessness, to failing to boost mayoral power after his strong-mayor initiative was shot down by voters, to sexual misconduct allegations, there have been a number of serious challenges.
Still some say they’re able to look past it.
“We have to look at what we brought him in for, and that was for building this city and for that, he’s done a good job, ” said one Sacramento resident.
Next Tuesday will be the final time Mayor Johnson will be at city council.