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OPINION – How is City Hall working for us? That’s the question The OBSERVER editorial staff repeatedly asked itself when reviewing Measure L, also known as the Strong Mayor initiative.

The answer is clear: City Hall is not working very well for many of the citizens of Sacramento. That is why The OBSERVER editorial staff has decided to endorse Measure L. Measure L is what Sacramento needs — right now.

This endorsement comes after careful deliberation. Changing a city charter is a very important decision, and should not be taken lightly. However, after close examination, it was clear to us that this is the right time to address how our city works.

Currently, City Hall is slow, unresponsive and archaic. Our city does things a certain way because, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” And while that works for those who have always benefitted from the system, the truth is, that way of governance has hurt more of us than it has helped.

When Sacramento’s forefathers created the city charter, it was at a time when Sacramento was very different than it is today. Today, Sacramento is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the country. However, the city is allowed to go about its business without adequately addressing the needs of its diverse and poorer neighborhoods — youth violence persists, litter covers streets and parks, business vacancies are rampant, the homeless is shut out, and slumlord practices are allowed to continue.

Why is that?

In a council-manager form of government, the city manager’s focus is keeping the members of the city council — his/her bosses — happy with his/her job performance. And as long as three or four councilmembers are happy, it doesn’t matter what the rest want, he/she keeps his job.

The council-city manager government structure empowers the status quo. It breeds mediocrity for a mediocre city. And apathy is born from mediocrity — thus creating disheartened residents who believe nothing will change no matter how hard they try. After all, as a resident, how do you get a change in your community when you have to ask the City Manager for permission?

Measure L changes that.

By making the Mayor of Sacramento the city’s chief executive, we put the power back where it belongs — back in the hands of Sacramento’s voters. Should Measure L pass, area residents will then have a say on who runs the city, and can hold that person accountable. Add that with Measure L’s neighborhood advisory council, all parts of the city will receive equal attention.

If we have not learned anything else from the great recession, we have learned that government has been slow when it comes to making decisions and taking care of the people. We need a nimble government that can be efficient and decisive.

Measure L offers us just that.

We urge you to vote YES for Measure L on the November 4 General Election.

Larry Lee

The operations of the weekly is a family affair: Dr. Lee's wife Mrs. Kathryn Lee has served as co-owner and business manager, while his sons Larry, Billy and Roderick (deceased) have served in various...