FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 4, 2014 –
By Steve Marschke
The annual “State of the City” address on May 21 lacked any major new public policy announcements. But it did offer some perspective on sweeping changes now working their way through a growing West Sacramento.
In his keynote address to the dinner crowd inside city hall, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon touted several current achievements as well as some on the horizon. Plans to replace the old I Street Bridge are truly underway, he said. And the new urban farm on C Street is an example of paying homage to the city’s identity as a planned “food hub” as well as an example of using “infill” land for new purposes.
West Sacramento’s current building boom is not one that looks outward, said Cabaldon. It’s a boom taking place within current boundaries.
He talked about the city’s new growth spurt, bringing new urban development to the riverfront and “Bridge District” area north of the freeway. Alongside Raley Field are coming new housing, shopping and businesses.
“Our last great boom was mainly played out in Southport,” Cabaldon told the crowd. “This is a significant change in the center of gravity to our community, returning us to our roots. This is a waterfront city, with deep roots connecting us to our sister city across the river.”
The new boom is now occurring along that river, he said.
While helping to present a civic award to the local branch of Sacramento City College (just across the street from West Sacramento city hall) Cabaldon commented on the local jobs picture.
“Our unemployment is at a six year low,” said the mayor. “However, our unemployment rate is still way too high. . . It isn’t for lack of jobs. West Sacramento has more jobs than it has adults, by far.”
But there’s a “mismatch in still sets,” he said. “That’s why the West Sacramento campus is so fundamental to the future of our community, and to economic opportunities in our city.”
Cabaldon also issued one dire warning for the evening. While he said he opposed the governor’s “tunnel” project to send water to the south state, Cabaldon maintained that at least one “tunnel” alternative was even worse.
The mayor talked about what he called the “Garamendi option,” which would pump Sacramento River water through the locks into the Port of West Sacramento’s channel, sending it down the canal as a first step in a journey to Southern California. That option would entail construction of a massive pumphouse near the locks, on the city’s valued riverfront. And, since water from the channel would be considered a drinking water source, it would necessarily lead to the closure of the port to ship traffic, he said.
This plan would be “a stake to the heart” of West Sacramento, said the mayor.
The “State of the City” dinner event was sponsored by the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.
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