FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 31, 2012 –
As West Sacramentans go to the polls during the next week, the community seems to be facing another local election in which most citizens seem fairly happy with the job their city and school district officials are doing.
The mayor faces no opposition on the ballot. Only one challenger is running for city council. And, while a handful of candidates are fighting for spots on the school board, they are in general part of a “let’s make things a bit better” effort as opposed to a “throw the rascals out” groundswell.
The News-Ledger has had a chance to talk with everybody in these contested races, and here are our views as to the best choices on the local ballot:
For city council, there is some clarity among the choices. Two incumbents face a challenge from professional boxer Oleg Maskaev. Incumbents Oscar Villegas and Bill Kristoff clearly have the advantage based on their familiarity with West Sacramento issues and their knowledge of managing a city. Kristoff and Villegas should both be returned for another term.
In the race for three seats on the Washington Unified School District, there is talent spread among a bigger pool of challengers. First, it must be said that Mary Leland is a steady and solid hand among the current school board, and she should be returned for another term.
Second, it’s obvious that Katie Villegas is the best qualified among the challengers – she has experience operating in the corporate-style management structure of the school district, and she understands at least theoretically what a school board should do and (equally important) what it shouldn’t do. She makes a fine choice for a board seat.
For the third available slot, both incumbent David Westin and challenger Alicia Cruz would make sensible choices. Cruz has experience that includes a PTA presidency and membership on the board of directors of a local community group, and she would be a good school board member. Westin’s performance as a board member is far from perfect, but his push for school performance has been of value to Washington Unified. While he certainly does not deserve full credit for the district’s recent gains in student test scores (gains which stalled this year), he deserves a portion of the credit.
Partly because of this, and partly because he is a known quantity, Westin is the better choice for the third available seat.
As a local community newspaper, the News-Ledger in general will refrain from offering opinions on regional, state and local ballot issues. With one exception:
The governor’s Proposition 30 is an attempt to stabilize California’s shaky fiscal foundation. Its passage or failure will impact local governments and school districts. Voters should vote for Prop. 30, and they should urge their friends and neighbors to do the same.
Voting by mail? Yolo County Clerk Freddie Oakley tells us that a single 45-cent (or Forever stamp) will be enough to make sure this year’s Yolo ballot makes it to the elections department. The ballot isn’t thick enough this year to require extra postage.
Mail your ballot early to be in time for election day next Tuesday!
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Copyright News-Ledger 2012