Author Archives: Editor

Council Member Bill Kristoff Retires After Thirty Years of Service

By Jan Dalske for the News Ledger

Bill Kristoff will officially retire on November 16th when he attends his last city council meeting. His friends, family and colleagues came together recently at the West Sacramento City Hall Galleria for a retirement party. Bill has served on the city council for thirty years. Bill proudly states that “for every decision that West Sacramento made since the city was incorporated in 1987, he was a part of it”. He is the only original member of the West Sacramento City Council who is still serving.

The voters in West Sacramento first elected Bill Kristoff on Jan. 1, 1987, when they elected the first West Sacramento City Council: Mike McGowan, Fidel Martinez, Bill Kristoff, Ray E. Jones and Thelma Rogers. During Bill’s tenure he served as City Mayor in 1990, 1996, and 2001. He was elected by the WSCC in 2010 to serve a one year term as Mayor Pro Tem. Bill Kristoff was most recently re-elected to a four-year term on the West Sacramento City Council in November 2012.

He represents WS on the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency Joint Powers Authority, the River City Regional Stadium Financing Authority, the Local Agency Formation Commission, and the Regional Water Authority. He also serves as an alternate representative on the Sacramento County Regional Sanitation District Board and the Water Resources Association.

Bill feels that the city of West Sacramento is a small city that has encouraged big growth opportunities. The city is made up of residential, industrial and business components. He is most proud of helping pass Measure B, which encouraged industrial and business growth. He always tried to respect the city’s residents, listened to their concerns, and then followed up with actions.

When you ask Mr. Kristoff’s what his top priority was while he served on the city council, he will tell you that it was supporting the efforts to maintain the security of the levees that surround the City of West Sacramento. “Flood protection is better than we’ve ever had,” states Mr. Kristoff. “But levee standards change.” He acknowledges that levee protection requires continued attention. He also focused on the quality of the City’s infrastructure, which lead to improving roads and sidewalks.

While Bill served on the city council, West Sacramento added improvements to the Bryte Bend Water Treatment Plant, and the Harbor Boulevard interchange was widened. Other projects that the city council worked on include the Daniel C. Palamidessi Bridge, River Walk Park, Club West Teen Center, Raley Field and the River Cats team.

When the city charter concept of government was discussed, Bill agreed that West Sacramento did not need a charter. West Sacramento could see no benefits to leaving its general law designation. “West Sacramento has been blessed with great people with knowledge and outside the box thinking” is the way Bill sees it.

With the expansion of the 64,000-square-foot city hall, and the nearby community center, all of which are located on West Capitol Avenue, new retail and restaurant businesses were encouraged to open. Retail businesses were encouraged to locate in West Sacramento. The Nugget, Target and IKEA all encourage the residents of Southport to shop locally. West Capitol Avenue has been established as a pedestrian-friendly segment of West Sacramento’s growing downtown area.

During the years that Bill Kristoff served as a city council member many redevelopment projects were accomplished. The West Sacramento Redevelopment Agency improved the quality of life for West Sacramento residents by eliminating blight, renovating the housing stock available, creating new high quality housing opportunities, upgrading West Sacramento’s infrastructure and promoting the city as a prestigious office and business address.

Some of the more notable achievements that were completed during Bill’s time on the council include the Margaret McDowell Senior Housing complex, the Riverwalk Park, Agape Mobile Home Park infrastructure improvements, West Capitol Avenue streetscape, The West Sacramento Community Center, which is located next to the Sacramento Transit Center, Los Rios Community College campus, and the Yolo County Library. Metro Place at Washington Place, which features a variety of housing choices, and was completed in 2003.

Mr. Kristoff earned a Bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State University. This accomplishment followed two years of service in the U.S. Army. He is a lifelong resident of West Sacramento. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for thirty eight years before he retired as a Postal Manager in 2002. He is married to Brenda, and they have two grown daughters, Nicole and Jaclyn.

Councilmember Beverly Sandeen summed it up this way: “Bill is a true statesman. He leaves a great legacy, particularly with his focus on getting our flood protection and other key city infrastructure projects on place. He helped launch the West Sacramento Foundation to help the nonprofit organizations and school programs have an impact on youth. He has been a wonderful colleague on council.”

While Bill Kristoff will be remembered for being fiscally responsible, and helping the city complete several milestones, which include IKEA, and flood protection initiatives, among his other contributions. Bill still has his dreams for his city. He would like to see a hospital located along the river. Residents could receive emergency care faster, and the hospital would offer good paying jobs to locals. Another dream includes the establishment of a botanical garden at the port.

The residents of the City of West Sacramento are grateful for the 30 years of dedicated service that Bill Kristoff has given them and wishes him a happy retirement. But something tells me that Bill will still be involved, even if he is just watching from the sidelines. Maybe the newly elected city council members will help Bill accomplish his dreams.

Ribbon cutting to celebrate new roadway: the Village Parkway North

Roadway to improve traffic flow from Southport to the Tower Bridge Gateway

The City of West Sacramento has completed the Village Parkway North connecting to South River Road (and the Mike McGowan Bridge) south to Village Parkway at Stonegate Drive. In celebration, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, city manager Martin Tuttle and other supporters held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14. The 0.4 mile roadway is the next step in completing the connection envisioned by the City’s General Plan to provide a convenient north-south traffic alternative to congested Jefferson Boulevard. This new roadway includes extra wide separated bike lanes, street lights, sidewalks, two roundabouts, bus stop turnouts, plus landscaping and shade trees.
The Village Parkway North Extension provides a key connection between Southport neighborhoods and the growing Bridge District, which includes Raley Field and The Barn. The extension will also provide a link to Tower Bridge Gateway, with its east-west access across the city to the Tower Bridge. Village Parkway North also connects to the new six-mile Village Parkway South, which was opened in June as part of the City’s Southport Levee Improvement Project.

Courtesy of the City of West Sacramento

West Sacramento Fire Department Is A Class Act

By Julia McMichael

Effective Dec. 1, 2016, the Fire Department of West Sacramento will be upgraded by the Insurance Service Office (ISO) to a Class 1 rating. An ISO Class 1 fire department is one that provides excellent fire protection based upon an evaluation by the Insurance Services Office, a New Jersey-based for-profit company that provides these ratings. ISO sells the information it collects to insurance companies, which may use these ratings to determine property insurance rates. There are only twenty fire departments in California which have achieved this distinction. Nationally, the ISO evaluates over 47,000 fire districts. There may be as many as 178 cities with a “1” rating. Fire Chief John Heilmann states “the rating shows dedication to public safety from our Mayor and City Council to the City Manager down to Fire Administration. It reflects the hard work of fire personnel. We are very proud of that effort.”
The ISO provides the rating to insurance companies to assess how they rate homeowners and businesses for insurance purposes. The ratings are on a one to 10 scale, one being the highest rating. The rating is assessed as follows:
-10 percent of the rating is for emergency communications such as 911, telephone lines, operator supervision and staffing and dispatch
-50 percent of the rating is to assess equipment, staffing, training and geographical distribution of resources.
-40 percent of the rating is dependent upon water supply
The ISO auditor spent three days reviewing these factors before upgrading the department to Class 1. The Operation Chief and Fire Marshall coordinated with the ISO. Every five years, a reclassification audit takes place. The Fire Chief cited improved regional coordination and contracts including regional trainings at the West Valley Regional Training Consortium. The Department also has a new training tower. “Efficiencies and common operations make for a cohesive and coordinated operation,” says the Chief. This means that regional fire departments such as Sacramento and Davis provide services cooperatively and reciprocally with West Sacramento.
Responding to the Class 1 upgrade Mayor Christopher Cabaldon stated, “This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all of our personnel, and for that I want to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude.”
“This milestone shows support from not only Fire Department leadership and staff, but from the City Council, Public Works for maintaining water infrastructure and the Yolo Emergency Communications Agency,” said Fire Chief John Heilmann. “The designation has the potential for fire insurance savings for West Sacramento property owners.”

Mediation Battle Continues

By Michele Townsend

The negotiation battle between West Sacramento’s Teachers and Washington Unified School District (WUSD) continues after yet another bargaining meeting has come and gone, and still no settlement has been made. Public schools are funded by the government through federal, state, and local taxes, and most are part of a larger school system. Elected school board members and education officials implement and oversee strict rules and procedures that public schools must follow. These rules and procedures not only include what needs to be done, but also how things will be done, and by whom. Salary negotiations are no exception. The negotiation/mediation process occurs in steps of give and take (you hope!), until a settlement is made. Each step in the process has strict guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed to take place and the deadline in which that step must be completed by. The current negotiations began in May 2015. They begin when both parties (WUSD and Washington Teacher’s Association , or WTA) bargaining teams sit at the table together to understand each parties’ interests. When satisfaction between the two parties cannot be reached, a third party, or Mediator, is assigned to the negotiations. The impartial mediator listens to both sides and tries to come up with a satisfactory compromise. If no resolution is obtained by the mediator the mediator then brings in a Fact Finder. A Fact Finder is now in charge of the official panel. Once a Fact Finder is assigned, the parties do not sit together to negotiate. The Fact Finder meets with a mediator representing each team. to gather all information from both sides. The fact finding meeting was held on Thursday, August 25th. The mediator reportedly spent a considerable amount of time with both parties. All were optimistic, but again no settlement was reached. When a settlement is still not reached through mediation, the next step is “Fact finding”. A fact finder is appointed and agreed upon by both parties as a neutral person to listen and mediate between parties. Both parties have a mediator that works with the appointed fact finder. This is the step that the bargaining process is currently at.
On August 30th, 2016 the fact finding meeting was held. After 11 grueling hours the fact finding was unsuccessful. Don Stauffer, President of WTA, posted on WTA’s Facebook page “Technically, we are still in bargaining, and can continue to meet with the District. Currently, however, there are no further bargaining sessions scheduled”. Since the negotiations are still legally under fact finder control, all parties are “very harshly instructed” not to speak about ANY details regarding the negotiations. The one thing that all parties agree on, is that they are frustrated and exhausted. It seems they all felt “it was very close, but just couldn’t quite get there”. Both the WTA and the WUSD are providing as much information as possible to the public, and both have a lot of information on their websites.
As we saw at the multiple school board meetings where there were so many people in attendance that the room could barely fit everyone, as well as the protest held last Monday at River City High School by students and parents, this is not just any old dispute. We’re talking about our teachers. These are the people that not only provide our children’s academic instruction, but help our kids grow emotionally and socially as well. Many of them commute for miles, knowing that they could make more money somewhere else, but staying here because they love our kids, our town, and our district. They love our diversity, and enjoy seeing our children thrive. Many of them have been here through all of the growth and changes that have occurred in the last decade. They have gone through the training of new curriculum, and then again when additional new curriculum was adopted. Some of them were even our teachers, and now they are teaching our children. It is for these reasons, and so many more, that this topic has our community up in arms. We ALL support our teachers. This does, in fact, include the district and the board members.
In addition to the 150 students and adults that attended the protest that was held in front of RCHS, there are a number of parents that feel they can’t just sit around and wait. They want to make sure that the school board and the administration know how strongly they feel about the support for their teachers. As reported last week in the West Sacramento News Ledger, a group of parents held a meeting outside of school to plan a district wide “sit out” for Sept. 6th. the idea now, is to get the administrations attention about how strongly the community feels about taking care of the teachers that take care of us! What WUSD would like to explain is that the administration is not involved any decisions at this point, as the official panel has full control now. In addition, WUSD hears and knows the concern of teachers every day, and their “attention” will have no baring on the outcome. The school district and yes, the teachers, cannot stress enough that though they appreciate the passion and conviction, they feel that a sit out is the wrong way to show support. Parent Daisy Po’oi has created a Facebook page at Parentssupport#WTA. She is posting information about the negotiations, discussions, and has posted a draft letter of support that can be sent to the Board of Education. She said “The page will evolve and include more as the situation progresses and the community comes together”. There has been some negative feedback as well. Many parents are concerned that this topic is taking up class time and that it is not appropriate conversation for school. It is, in fact, talked about at schools, but that is because school is the common ground. But rest assured, it is not likely to be the staff that brought it up, nor are they allowing it to be disruptive. In fact, Education Code prohibits it. Both the teachers, and the children that I spoke to assured me that this is not, in fact, a classroom topic. The older kids who understand what is going on want to show their support and opinion. So far, they have all done it respectfully and appropriately. As for the younger kids, they may not understand the topic, but they may have heard people mention that we need to stick up for their teachers. Chances are, they are just trying to do that, and it doesn’t matter why.
It’s not just the parents that want to know what’s going on, however. School board member Coby Pizzotti has stated that he not only welcomes, but encourages, all community members, students and parents that want to show support, or speak to him regarding this topic, to please contact him. He would like to hear what everyone has to say between now and September 26.. Mr Pizzotti has stated that he can be reached by email; cpizzotti@wusd.k12.ca.us, cell phone, West Sacramento community discussion board, community forum, private message on Facebook, or by letter. He also stressed that he will do his VERY BEST to answer every correspondence that he receives as quickly as possible. He really does want the community’s input so that he can present it to the board prior to the release of the fact finding report on September 26 by the neutral member of the fact finding panel.

For more information and clarification regarding the negotiations visit WTA’s facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wtateachers/?fref=ts or WUSD’s website at http://www.wusd.k12.ca.us/Departments/Communication http://www.wusd.k12.ca.us/Departments/Communication—Community-Outreach/Negotiations-Updates/index.html. You may also call WUSD Human Recourses Dept. at (916)375-7600, ext. 1046.