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Councilmembers Accuse Mayor Of Withholding Money From Districts As Political Payback

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Political theater played out in the Sacramento City Council chambers Tuesday, all over money.

Several councilmembers directed frustration at Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, accusing him of keeping money from their districts as political payback. 

The unfunded project receiving the most attention from members of the public testifying was the proposed North Natomas Aquatics Center. It's in need of $14 million in funding and was not picked as a priority by the mayor. 

Swipe through renderings of the proposed aquatics center


"I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't very irritated, Mr. Mayor," Councilmember Angelique Ashby said.

"And it makes me angry," Councilmember Jeff Harris said.

READ: Summer-Like Weather Has Sacramento-Area Waterways Bustling

Councilmembers Harris and Ashby both represent Natomas. Neither of their districts received any project funding in the Mayor's priority list. 

"I think it's a glaring error in judgment on the mayor's part," Councilmember Harris said. 

The councilmembers allege the mayor's position is political payback for their opposition to his bonding plan. He says that's not true.

"Anytime you seek to make change, it's gonna be a little rock and roll," Steinberg said. "It's gonna be a little messy. There's gonna be some elbows."

The budget debate brought more than 100 speakers to this budget meeting. Lisa Pray lives in North Natomas and says she left city hall uncertain about the fate of the aquatics center. 

The council approved the mayor's funding ideas, with promises for more funding talks for Ashby and Harris' districts in the coming weeks. 

ALSO: Mayor Steinberg Presents New Sacramento Waterfront Plans

Councilmember Ashby says the city council agreed to try and find the money for the aquatics center project in the next 90 days. She says if that funding is identified, a groundbreaking could still come this summer. 

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