Jan 162012
 

NEWS-LEDGER EDITORIAL — JAN 11, 2012 –

It’s been a good run for the West Sacramento Redevelopment Agency. This town heavily used the state-authorized agency to, sometimes quite literally, lay the groundwork for a lot of new projects.

After the city incorporated in 1987, local leaders strongly pursued growth – partly because that’s what local developers wanted, and partly to bring new shopping opportunities, clean up a troubled downtown and increase the city’s prestige.

Local use of the redevelopment agency wasn’t perfect. It’ll always be difficult to understand why some Southport farmland was declared “blighted” and included in the redevelopment agency, while one older Southport neighborhood that badly needed new infrastructure was left out of the redevelopment area’s boundaries.

But on the whole, the agency did a lot of good. It was crucial for tackling big projects that would have been too slow and too hard to finance if left just to the private sector. The agency helped clean up downtown, attract some prestige projects (the ziggurat, Raley Field) to the waterfront, and helped promote decent affordable housing. It also helped build a second access to Southport, making new homes and shopping possible there.

The West Sacramento agency hasn’t been guilty of the worst abuses of some California redevelopment agencies – such as taking land from underneath poor people to build shopping centers and arenas, as a sloppy editorial in the Wall Street Journal recently claimed these agencies “typically” do.

The state’s budget crisis has led to the proposed abolishment of local redevelopment agencies. This will leave West Sacramento without a favorite tool.

  Then again, West Sacramento needs a redevelopment agency less now than it did 20 years ago.

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  The new school board president is Teresa Blackmer. She takes over from Dave Westin, who steps down proud of presiding over two years of strong growth in local student test scores.
Westin endorsed Blackmer’s election to the board and the two have voted similarly on major issues (as has most of the board recently, most of the time). So the switch shouldn’t mark a big change in course for WUSD.

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  A string of local robberies in West Sacramento convenience markets and liquor stores has certainly caused eyebrows to raise – and it seems local police are taking the matter seriously.

  The robberies aren’t the only string of crimes, though. A stroll through  police department documents in recent weeks shows some other possible patterns. These observations aren’t very scientific, but here you go with a few:

  Over the past couple of months, there seem to have been a handful of “strong arm” robberies in which a guy on a bicycle has ridden up to a female pedestrian and stripped away her purse or bags. In at least one case, the attacker was successfully resisted.

  The most recent victim the News-Ledger is aware of was an elderly woman, robbed near a church on Sacramento Avenue on Friday.  In at least one case, the attacker was successfully resisted. The robberies seem to have occurred in the downtown area, near Sacramento Avenue, Jefferson, West Capitol and Merkley. It’s unclear whether different suspects have been involved in some of these incidents.

  The News-Ledger hasn’t yet seen a report of anyone seriously hurt during these robberies. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  Vacant, bank-owned homes have sometimes been hit by thieves looking for appliances. But a new trend seems to be the theft of heating and air conditioning units from the backyards of these homes. Several such thefts have been reported recently in Southport – on San Salvador Street and Sumatra Street, for example. The units are valued around $5-10,000 each.

  There seems to be a lot of BB-gun damage in the city’s north area. Somebody, or some people, are putting holes in car windows and apartment windows. There are also reports of teens with pellet guns and BB guns getting into trouble in other parts of town.

  Car burglaries are always a problem – newer subdivisions in Southport always seem to get more than their share of these. The News-Ledger heard two reports this week of petty theft from cars and garages in the area near the “state streets” around Park Boulevard and Meadow Road as well.

  Simple precautions – parking in a well-lit, easy-to-see spot, clearing your car of valuables, and keeping both the car and garage locked – wouldn’t hurt.

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  To comment on this post, please see the same post at our sister website, www.WestSac.com, by clicking here.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke

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