Former state Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg intends to run for mayor of Sacramento and will make his formal announcement on Wednesday, according to people familiar with his plans.
Steinberg, 56, a Sacramento Democrat, served as Senate leader from 2008 to 2014, when he left office because of term limits. He earlier served three terms in the state Assembly, leaving in 2005.
He also was the author of SB 375, a major measure to reduce urban sprawl, promote “smart growth” and curtail long commutes by car.
Steinberg, a liberal Democrat, has advocated for improved social services and environmental protections. He is not well known outside Sacramento, despite his leadership role in the upper house, although in Sacramento he is seen as a major advocate of improved social services and environmental protections. He received statewide attention as the author of a voter-approved, 2004 ballot initiative that raised taxes to provide money for mental health services.
He also was the author of SB 375, a major measure to reduce urban sprawl, promote “smart growth” and curtail long commutes by car. The legislation is viewed as a national model.
Steinberg intends to announce his candidacy at an infill project at 5th and Broadway in Sacramento shortly before noon.
Current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star, said recently he would not seek reelection. Johnson has been dogged for years by reports about his personal conduct, including allegations that he sexually molested a teenage girl years ago in Arizona. Recently, a videotape of the girl’s statement to police investigators was released online by Deadspin, a sports news site.
The allegations tarnished Johnson as mayor, although he has been credited with spearheading the negotiations to keep the Sacramento Kings basketball team in town and for the development of a downtown sports arena, now under construction.
The most significant negative coverage of Steinberg’s tenure as Senate leader occurred when two then-senators, both Democrats — Ronald Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco — were indicted on corruption and other charges following a lengthy FBI investigation. Yee has since reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and awaits sentencing. Calderon’s trial is expected to begin early next year.
Steinberg was not implicated in any wrongdoing.
Another senator, Rod Wright, was convicted separately in a voter-fraud case for not reporting his true address when running for office.