Fox and Hounds Daily’s Black Bart Award as Californian of the Year in Politics for 2013 goes to: The Mayors. In a year when many of California mayors made headlines for different reasons: rallying support for changes in public pensions; dealing with bankruptcies or potential bankruptcies; or becoming entangled in scandal, many mayors around the state demanded the political spotlight.
As Joe Mathews wrote in his nominating article, “California mayors are notoriously weak players in politics, because of all the Progressive-era checks on their power, and our affection for city manager systems.
But this year saw mayors at the center of the conversation, for better and for worse. Antonio Villaraigosa departed, leaving a more substantial legacy in LA than is currently understood. Eric Garcetti arrived, full of new ideas. Kevin Johnson prevented the Sacramento Kings from leaving (albeit with an arena deal that is a huge giveaway to the basketball team’s new rich owners). Chuck Reed of San Jose organized a ballot initiative on pensions that is likely to make him the most vilified Californian in the year 2014. Ed Lee deployed BatKid to make San Francisco safe from everyone except gentrifying technologists. And who could forget Bob Filner, who succeeded in his ambition to get the whole country talking about San Diego government (though perhaps not in the way he intended)?”
John Wildermuth also nominated San Jose Mayor Reed for his efforts to reform the pubic pension system. Other mayors joined Reed, as well.
While state politics naturally focuses its attention on the powers in Sacramento, mayors around the state have managed to get a lot of attention on their own this year – as Joe writes, “for better and for worse.”
By having such an impact on the political life of California this year, Fox and Hounds Daily names “The Mayors” the winner of the 2013 Black Bart Award.
We named the Californian of the Year Award in Politics after gentleman highwayman Black Bart, a California original. He mixed a bit of larceny, artistry, and good manners with character to pushback when he thought the system was working against him.
Happy holidays to all.
(Fox and Hounds Daily will now take a siesta and begin publication again on January 2, 2014.)