Run, Roger, Run! SN&R’s CEO urges Roger Dickinson to enter city council race

Jeff vonKaenel

Please join me in supporting former Sacramento County Supervisor and former member of the California state Assembly Roger Dickinson in his race for Sacramento City Council.

There is just one problem: Roger is not running for city council.

I have never spoken with him about running for city council. However, I am writing this column because I believe that Sacramento would be a better place with Roger on the council. Here is why:

We in Sacramento are moving out of the Kevin Johnson era and into the (hopefully) Darrell Steinberg era of city government. This new era will be marked by regional cooperation instead of noncooperation, government transformation instead of public relations. And I anticipate that we will be able to more effectively solve critical issues.

We face challenges with homelessness, transportation and economic growth, and we need to develop community-wide programs that reform our criminal justice system and expand the region’s mental-health programs. I anticipate improvements, in part because we will have a new and very experienced mayor. But regional cooperation will require more than just changes in the city government.

In Sacramento, our biggest regional county, we already have new leadership. With the addition of Patrick Kennedy to the board of supervisors, which already includes Phil Serna and Don Nottoli, we have a working majority of knowledgeable, progressive board members. They have already been making an impact.

We’ve seen other impressive regional changes. The new president of Sacramento State, Robert Nelsen; the new CEO of Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council, Barry Broome; and the new President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, Peter Tateishi, are all moving their organizations forward. Sacramento Area Council of Governments, led by Mike McKeever, has already received nationwide recognition for its work.

Having a Sacramento City Council with knowledgeable, hardworking members is critical to finding effective regional solutions to our many problems. And government is complicated. It takes years of study to develop any real understanding of the issues. Some elected officials, even after years of service, never develop this understanding.

However, in his 16 years as a county supervisor and his four years in the Assembly, Roger demonstrated both a deep knowledge of the issues as well as an ability to get things done. While on the board of supervisors, he was a key player in the transition of McClellan Air Force Base to a successful business park, the construction of a new primary health-care center for the county and the conversion of county vehicles to run on clean fuels.

We need Roger on the council. It would be understandable that a former state Assembly member would not want to run for city council. But we’ve got the former head of the state Senate running for mayor. And public service is public service. Just because you are not the starting quarterback does not mean you should not suit up to be the wide receiver.

So please join me in supporting Roger Dickinson. What do you say, Roger?

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.