Commentary: Mayor-elect Johnson creates a buzz

We enter a new era of Sacramento politics with a new type of leader: Kevin Johnson, ex-NBA star, mayor-elect by landslide, a jumble of virtues and contradictions who will never be boring.

Johnson could be exactly what Sacramento needs right now. He could help shake Sacramento's undervalued sense of itself. Or he could be a disaster. Anything seems possible and nothing seems impossible with Johnson.

At Monday's unveiling of his transition team, Johnson was surrounded by movers and shakers basking in his presence.

"It's an intangible quality that some people have," said Adam Mendelsohn, former deputy chief of staff for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – and now part of Johnson's transition team. "Certain people make others go above and beyond what they would normally do."

Mendelsohn is helping Johnson for free, as are most of the lawyers, community leaders and big wheels jumping on his train.

We're talking Republicans and Democrats and more than a few heavy hitters. Mendelsohn remains close to Schwarzenegger and is partners in a PR firm with Steve Schmidt – who was senior adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain.

The woman screening candidates for Johnson's chief of staff is Michelle Rhee, chancellor of schools in Washington, D.C. Google her. She could be Secretary of Education someday. Yet here she is, in Sacramento, helping out our new mayor.

To read the complete column, visit The Sacramento Bee.