Author Archives: Editor

Guilty of hammer attack at park


Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on Friday, a Yolo County jury convicted 21-year old Christopher Lee Castillo of West Sacramento for his participation in a gang assault of two juvenile victims in the Memorial Park area of West Sacramento on March 19, 2010.

The two victims and their family had been harassed by the gang members during the two months before the assault, said the D.A.’s office.

“When the two victims, who were brothers, went to confront members of the gang, they were ambushed by numerous gang members armed with weapons, and a pit bull,” according to the D.A.’s statement. “Defendant Castillo struck one of the victims in the head with a hammer, creating a deep gash.  After the assault the gang members continued to threaten and harass the family causing the family to move twice. Since the incident nine other defendants had entered pleas to various charges.”

[adrotate group=”9″]   The jury deliberated for less than four hours before returning guilty verdicts on all counts, including conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon and criminal street gang activity.  The defendant will be sentenced on December 14, before Judge Stephen L. Mock.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig credited the efforts of Officer Labin Wilson and the West Sacramento Police Department in investigating the case.  “The juveniles in this case were victimized for standing up to a gang of bullies,” commented Reisig in a press statement.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Free food Tuesday morning in West Sac


The Food Bank of Yolo County will distribute free food to eligible residents of West Sacramento and Clarksburg on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

[adrotate group=”9″]   Distribution times will be: 9-10 a.m. at the county building, 500 Jefferson Blvd.; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd.; 11-noon at the Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr.; and noon-1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse. Please bring a bag and attend only one site. For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

City’s incumbents reelected, but West Sac school board race too close to call

[adrotate group=”7″] FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 14, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters spoke last week on several local issues.

A week later, what we know almost for certain is that city council incumbents Bill Kristoff and Oscar Villegas fended off professional boxer Oleg Maskaev to retain their seats on the council, and Christopher Cabaldon will get another term as mayor. He ran unopposed.

It’s also pretty clear that challenger Katie Villegas, executive director of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance, will get a seat on the local school board.

But with absentee ballots and provisional ballots that made up about a quarter of the local vote still to be tallied, it’s less obvious which other two candidates will win a school board term.

Second place candidate Alicia Cruz has 4,915 votes so far, followed by incumbent Mary Leland at 4,598 and incumbent Dave Westin with 4,510. With 3,000 ballots yet to be fully processed, that cluster – particularly the 88-vote spread between Leland and Westin – doesn’t look overly secure. There’s only room for two of those three candidates to join Villegas as winners in the Washington Unified School District race.

“Between provisional ballots and absentee ballots that were dropped off at the polling places, I would estimate a little over 3,000 remain to be counted (in the West Sacramento race),” said spokesperson Tom Stanionis of the Yolo Elections Department. “That’s about 25 percent of the votes cast.”

What are “provisional” ballots?

“When somebody shows up at a polling place and they aren’t on the list, or they are on the list but they were mailed an absentee ballot which they can’t find or produce, we go through and research each one to see if that person can vote. Typically, they’re voting in the wrong place.”

The elections department is allowed up to 28 days to finish its vote count, but Stanionis said staff at the Woodland office would like to finish earlier – perhaps ahead of Thanksgiving next week.

KATIE VILLEGAS: Top vote-getter in the race for three seats on the school board (News-Ledger photo)

Villegas – top candidate in the school district race – told the News-Ledger she is “super excited” about her apparent top finish. She’s over a thousand votes ahead of second-place Cruz. Why does she think she succeeded?

“I worked seven days a week for about 10 weeks on this campaign,” she said. “I hit about 3,000 homes walking precincts. I think (the win came from) everything combined – the hard work, the message, and the work I’ve already done in the community,” she said.

Does she have a plan for “day one” when she’s seated on the board next month?

“I think I still have a lot of meetings before day one,” Villegas answered. “There’s a school board conference, meeting with the  (district) cabinet, touring schools. I think I’ll be getting up to speed pretty quickly.”

Westin, at least for the moment, appears to be losing his seat on the school board. But swing of about 90 votes could change that.

“With 3,000 votes not being counted, and the race so close, it’s too early to tell,” he commented to the News-Ledger.

Westin is perhaps the board’s best-known member in recent years, serving as president of the board during a period of dramatic student test gains.

Westin thinks some campaigning against him by an independent group is responsible for his current fourth-place in the standings.

DAVID WESTIN: former board president is now in fourth place, but hopes final ballots will lift him into the winner's circle (photo from WUSD website)

“We ran a clean, honest, positive campaign,” said Westin. “They ran a closing-in-on $50,000 special interest, developer-funded attack campaign specifically designed to go after me on false, misleading and inaccurate information. . . if they hadn’t run that, this would have been a blow-out result.”

Westin was referring to mailers by the “Keep West Sacramento Moving Forward” organization claiming the school district is a “mess,” and that claimed only eight high school juniors out of 500 here “are considered ‘college ready.’”

Their mailers urged a “no” vote on Westin. One mailer featured Mayor Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor suggesting “yes” votes on competitors Villegas, Leland and Cruz.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

School district redesigns website


Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento invites you to visit its redesigned website at

The site boasts “several customer service-oriented features, including mobile-enabled viewing, a search feature, greatly improved navigation, news/announcements” and more, said a district press release.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Helicopter, K9 search for suspect


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Police tried but failed to find a fleeing suspect Friday night after a pair of men in a car allegedly tossed a loaded handgun out the door during a traffic stop. The search led police to “set up a perimeter” near downtown West Sacramento and use a loudspeaker to warn citizens to remain indoors.

The incident started at about 11 p.m. when an officer tried to pull over the suspects’ car near West Capitol Avenue and Sycamore Avenue.

“It slowed down, and the gun was tossed out the window,” reported Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department. “It went forward a couple more blocks before stopping.”

[adrotate group=”7″] But as the car stopped, a male passenger in the front seat “bailed” from the car and took off on foot. The driver, 20-year old Santiago Herrera Valois of West Sacramento, was taken into custody without incident.

Backtracking, police found a loaded 9 mm Luger handgun in a storm drain. The gun was confirmed as stolen. Valois, a felon, faces several charges including possession of a firearm.

A Sacramento County helicopter and a K-9 unit joined in the search for the missing passenger, with one witness reporting that the search area included the neighborhood near Merkley Avenue and Evergreen Avenue.

They did not find or ID him, reports Sockman.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Free household items on Saturday


The West Sacramento Community Giveaway Day returns on Sat., Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. until supplies last, at Westfield Village Elementary School, 508 Poplar Avenue.

[adrotate group=”7″]   If your household needs some help with free donated food, clothing, baby items, shoes, toys and other household goods, you’re invited. Must be a West Sacramento resident. Proof of address and children required (driver’s license, Medi-Cal card, or utility bill, for example). Sponsored by the school, St. Joseph’s Mobile Mall, West Sacramento Grocery Outlet and Yolo County Children’s Alliance.

Volunteers and donations (cash, food, gift certificates and donated items) are welcome. Call (530) 757-5558 to donate goods.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Restaurant + food trucks at benefit

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — Nov 15, 2012 —

The new Broderick restaurant at 319 6th Street in West Sacramento plans a grand opening on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., in a benefit for East Coast hurricane relief.

[adrotate group=”9″]   The restaurant is at the site of the former Jazzy Blues Cafe and, before that, Westside Pub.

The grand opening also will host visiting food trucks. There will be live music at the restaurant.

The establishment’s website is at

Copyright News-Ledger 2012