Former Phoenix Suns guard and Sac-town native Kevin Johnson may be the latest notable celebrity to run for public office. The Sacramento News & Review reports he may have consultants testing the waters for a possible run against Mayor Heather Fargo in June, who was otherwise going to run unopposed.
Upfront learned earlier in the week someone was conducting political polls on Johnson’s behalf. One pollee, Larry Tagg, told Upfront he got a call from a pollster putting out obvious campaign feelers for Johnson.
The survey started with the typical queries about local politicos, like Dave Jones, Roger Dickinson and Jimmy Yee. “As the call progressed, it became clear that the meat of it was a hypothetical race between Heather Fargo and Kevin Johnson,” Tagg explained.
And on Tuesday, Johnson announced he was resigning as chairman of the St. HOPE Board, which sounded to Upfront suspiciously like something that might just appear at the top of a mayoral campaign to-do list.
That St. HOPE Board also provides for one of Johnson’s two problems, which he’s likely to be hammered on if he runs — the board took over a Sacramento high school and turned it into a charter school, over the complaints of many parents. Johnson’s Oak Park developments are a bigger problem; they were cited for a litany of code violations over the past decade, getting the former guard a rep as a slumlord of sorts (he and A-Rod should talk about hiring competent managers for their buildings.)
Tom Ziller at the Fanhouse looked into whether KJ would be able to get a new arena for the Kings going further, as Sacto’s government has bungled proposals and such over the past few years, and Fargo apparently isn’t the type to get it going — not that it would require taxpayer money, apparently. (Plus, if the Maloofs are going to ask for taxpayer funds, they should be laughed at.) So, that’s a possibility — but that should probably be the last issue on KJ’s mind if he decides to make a run at it.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put a cigar tent in the back of the gov’s digs when he was elected. I expect KJ to have a regulation hoop put up in the back of the mayor’s residence and/or offices. Johnson’s expected to make a decision in the next couple weeks. If he decides to jump in, watch for some members of the political and sports press to pay attention to Sacramento as a city of its own rather than just home to state legislators.