City of Sacramento

The City of Sacramento is a charter city and has a city council/city manager form of government. Sacramento was incorporated in 1849 and is the oldest incorporated city in California. The city's charter was adopted by voters in 1920.

The City Council consists of a Mayor elected by all city voters, and Councilmembers elected to represent the eight separate Council districts in the City. Each district is a separate geographical area with a population of about 51,000 residents. Each Councilmember must be a registered voter and live in the district they represent. Elected members serve 4 year terms and elections are staggered every two years in even numbered years.

The Council establishes City policies, ordinances, and land uses; approves the City's annual budget, contracts, and agreements; hears appeals of decisions made by City staff or citizen advisory groups; and appoints four Charter Officers, a City Manager, City Attorney, City Treasurer, and City Clerk. Councilmembers serve on several working committees, such as Law and Legislation, and Personnel and Public Employees. In 2002, City voters amended the City Charter and established a Compensation Commission to set the compensation for the Mayor, Council members and public members of City boards and commissions. This Charter Amendment also established the Mayor's position as a full-time job.

The City Council holds public meetings most Tuesday afternoons and evenings (at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively) in the City Council Chamber on the second floor of City Hall, 915 I Street in downtown Sacramento. The Council also holds special meetings and committee meetings which are open to the public. Agendas for City Council and Council committee meetings are available online and in the City Clerk's Office, Room 211 of City Hall.

The City also has a Legislative Affairs Unit; its primary purpose is to advocate, coordinate and advance the City's legislative agenda to enhance the City's ability to govern and provide essential municipal and community services.

Issues Facing the City

  • Flood control: Sacramento is protected from flooding by an antiquated levee system and is considered at risk for flooding. Some say we are a New Orleans waiting to happen. Folks argue whether the solution is more & bigger dams or revamping the levees. Partisan politics keeps anything but temporary fixes from happening.
  • Air quality: Sprawl and bad planning, as well as the fact that we sit in a valley, makes Sacramento's air quality up there with the worst of the state.
  • Housing costs & rising rent: Though Sacramento has lower housing prices than other cities in the state, they are still high, driven up by an early '00s feeding frenzy by out of town speculators. Though at this moment (July 2007) there is a housing glut and foreclosures are at an all time high, prices haven't dropped much. Meanwhile rents creep up, while wages stay the same - though no one seems to talk about renters in Sacramento.
  • Bad Mortgages & Foreclosures: As noted above, 2007 saw the housing market cave in, as a lot of people with really bad mortgages started seeing their housing payments soar. June saw a record number of foreclosed homes auctioned off. It is a subject that the city and county would rather not talk about.
  • Sacramento Kings: What to do with the Kings and their "need" for a new arena? If we are to go by ballot results, let the owners pay for the thing themselves. Meanwhile, the Kings still owe millions on a loan the city gave them years ago.
  • The "major league city" complex: For years, hucksters of every variety have played upon Sacramentan's insecurity to pitch thousands of bad ideas to the city and county with the promise of making Sacramento a "major league city," whatever that means. Actually what it seems to mean is driving out older established businesses and replacing them with chain stores. It is too bad that Sacramentans can't accept the city for what it is and build on what makes it unique (which is slowly being destroyed).
  • Sprawl development: Though there has been much infill development over the last few years, the trend in the Sacramento area is to build out. Thus we have become Orange County North. Will the sprawl end? Is there the political will to stand up to developers and home builders? Or are we going to have one solid block of suburbs from Yuba City to Stockton?
  • See Great Speeches and Interviews for in-depth information on regional politics.