One of the criticisms of San Diego’s current “strong mayor” form of government is that the mayor isn’t accessible to the public. Now, the mayor doesn’t have to attend City Council meetings and face citizens weekly like he did in the past.

This morning at a press conference to promote making the strong mayor system permanent, Mayor Jerry Sanders said the opposite is true: Because he doesn’t go to council meetings, he sees more people.

Very few people actually go down to council meetings. It’s the same people over and over and it’s certain groups. While City Council members are at City Council I have two and a half, three days where I’m out in the public all the time. Either talking to different groups throughout the community, holding press conferences. Yesterday, I was at Ocean Beach Elementary while the council was in session. So I think I probably see far more people as the mayor being given that latitude to be out and talking about issues that are important.

Other supporters of the strong mayor system including City Council members Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio and San Diego County Taxpayers Association President Lani Lutar joined Sanders at the press conference. Their comments added to supporters’ most common refrain that strong mayor makes someone accountable for the city’s decisions, rather than an unelected city manager.

Lutar said the strong mayor system, “provides the most significant level of reform and accountability the city has experienced in many years.”

“We can have disagreements about policy, but the mayor is chief executive who is now held accountable under the strong mayor form of government,” Lutar said.

Here’s a video explainer on the strong mayor system. City voters will decide whether to make the strong mayor system permanent next month.

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