Category Archives: News

West Sac may ban growing of medical marijuana in backyards


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento officials are considering a 45-day “urgency ordinance” banning the cultivation of marijuana in outdoor yards. The move comes while various courts are sorting out some of the issues about marijuana growing and the drug’s use in California.

State voters approved a proposition allowing the use of medical marijuana. Federal law still prohibits it.

Currently, city police “are not going after (growers) as long as they comply with the state,” said Charline Hamilton, West Sacramento Community Development Director.

That means that those with evidence of medical need may grow enough of the plant for personal consumption (enough for one or two people), and they can grow it outdoors. Marijuana dispensaries – including places growing enough marijuana for three or more people – are still prohibited in the city.

  But outdoor growing has led to new crime (such as people burglarizing the yards and homes of growers) as well as to complaints by neighbors about the “skunky” smell of the plant.

“The complaints we’ve received are mostly nuisance-related,” said Hamilton. “When it’s cultivated outdoors during certain times of the year, the smell can be strong.”

The proposed 45-day moratorium would ban outdoor growing, but still permit indoor cultivation.

A staff report for the city council gave some statistics on complaints since California softened its stance on marijuana growing and medical use.

The report said that “calls for service and crimes (plant theft, residential burglaries) related to cultivation of marijuana have doubled since last year.”

In 2012, there were 25 “cultivation related calls for service” and five “cultivation crime-related” calls – and possibly other calls made to the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team.

Local growers have not yet mobilized to speak up for the right to grow outdoors, said Hamilton.

The matter returns to the city council on Dec. 5.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

New use for old fast food site? West Sac ponders ‘incubator’ for restaurants


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento leaders are working on a project that would turn an old fast food restaurant somewhere in town into an “incubator” for restaurant startups.

Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento (News-Ledger file photo)

“Our idea was to convert an old fast-food joint into a demonstration of how healthy, locally grown food could be produced and sold,” Mayor Christopher Cabaldon told the News-Ledger. “We can provide opportunities for aspiring restaurateurs who want to produce healthy food, but do it without quitting their jobs and taking out a huge loan. Here’s the hardest part – if you want to start a restaurant – and we certainly need more restaurants in West Sacramento – unless you’re a chain, it’s very difficult.”

You can’t even start out cooking commercially from your home kitchen, he added. You’d need a commercial, government-approved facility. And it’s expensive to take on that kind of overhead for a risky new restaurant.

“Most consumers expect you to be there most nights a week, so you’re really talking about quitting your job and taking an enormous leap.”

So West Sacramento envisions a “Farm to Fast Food” facility that would support several new ventures at a time. The yet-unchosen site would also be a place for local farmers to sell their produce to the public.

“The (restaurants) would have different themes and different operators throughout the week,” said Cabaldon.

The city’s goal is to encourage “reasonably healthy” fast food alternatives in West Sacramento.

“Fast food exists and it thrives because it meets the needs of a lot of households, who don’t necessarily have time to cook a family meal.”

The goal would be for these new restaurants to try to be successful at the shared “incubator” facility before taking the next step, graduating and moving on to become self-supporting somewhere else.

As a mini-farmers market, he said, the new facility would also support small-scale, urban farming such as that being done by Dan Gannon and his Humble Roots farm in West Sacramento.

“The Eatery (restaurant) builds its menu partly on what’s available from Humble Roots, and Humble Roots knows it has that market.”

The city government just entered their “Farm to Fast Food” proposal into a contest sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies of New York (that city’s mayor is Michael Bloomberg). The competition offered a $5 million prize and four $1 million prizes to cities with innovative ideas for tackling national issues.

West Sacramento recently learned it wasn’t among the winners in that contest.

“No cities our size were among the winners,” said Cabaldon. But he still believes in the project.

“There are abandoned or failing fast-food drive-throughs on commercial strips all over the country. This idea was generated by a creative visioning session from a lot of local stakeholders, including farmers and restaurateurs.”

These stakeholders are scheduled to meet again within the next couple of months, and keep working on trying to make “Farm to Fast Food” a reality in West Sacramento, said the mayor.

  Do you like what you see here?

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  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

‘POLICE LOG’: West Sac’s crime roundup


By News-Ledger Editor Steve Marschke

  News items below are collected from police dispatchers’ notes and arrest reports. The information in them has often not been verified beyond the initial reports. To see West Sac’s ‘Police Log’ every week, take a look at the special offer at the bottom of this page.

Nov. 12, 4:02 a.m.
A caller from Fernwood Street told dispatchers a man was trying to steal a locked bike, but took off running when the caller interrupted by pounding on a wall. The would-be thief left behind a small bag containing bolt cutters.

Nov. 12, 4:41 a.m.
A Riverpoint Court retail store said three men stole three bags of clothing and fled in a Dodge Magnum.

Nov. 12, 12:47 p.m.
A caller from a supermarket on the 1600-block of West Capitol said a man outside “had loud music on and blew a foghorn in the (caller’s) face” before driving off. Other people provided a tentative ID for the suspect.

Nov. 12, 1:13 p.m.
A witness said there was a man walking along the street near Haverhill Street and Norfolk Avenue, trying out a remote garage door opener in front of each home he passed.

Nov. 12, 5:01 p.m.
A resident of Hobson reported there was a “kid” starting a fire in a field near the home. The kid was seen “adding branches and fuel to the fire.”

Nov. 12, 5:26 p.m.
A caller said there was a woman holding “what appeared to be a grenade” at a business complex on the 1700-block of West Capitol.

Nov. 13, 1:13 a.m.
A caller from a motel on the 900-block of West Capitol said a woman had just removed a window screen and climbed into one of the motel rooms.

Nov. 13, 1:57 a.m.
A fire was reported in a dumpster near a motel on Harbor Blvd.

Nov. 13, 5:45 a.m.
A man called from the 1700-block of West Capitol, saying he was “robbed at gunpoint a couple minutes ago” in front of a nearby motel. The man was screaming, and said he had Tourette’s Syndrome.

Nov. 13, 7:50 a.m.
A suicide threat came in from Southport.

Nov. 13, 7:57 a.m.
A citizen said a car just went through a fence on the 4500-block of Jefferson in Southport. The drive was still on scene and apparently wasn’t hurt.

Nov. 13, 8:34 a.m.
A witness said that an older man was now in the parking lot of Southport’s Town Center Plaza in a Toyota 4-Runner. The man just came out of the supermarket, where he was “walking around intoxicated, stumbling, and (he) smells.”

Nov. 13, 8:37 a.m.
A resident of Tortola Road said somebody stole packages from the front porch. The packages contained vitamins and gloves, worth about $200.

Nov. 13, 9:32 a.m.
A man reported a neighbor “drew a small revolver on him” during an argument on F Street.

Nov. 13, 11:12 a.m.
The rear license plate was stolen from a Subaru parked on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Nov. 13, 12:29 p.m.
A witness reported seeing an “elderly man” arrive on foot near Highland Drive and Lake Washington Boulevard – and then begin cutting wires and pipes from a power box.

Nov. 13, 1:08 p.m.
Riverbend Elementary requested a school police officer to remove a school from campus.

Nov. 13, 4:01 p.m.
On 5th Street: “Someone threw a shovel at another subject.”

Nov. 13, 4:13 p.m.
A fast-food restaurant on Westacre Road reported that an “extremely” drunk woman in a gold Chevy Tahoe just went through the drive-through window. The woman then drove away eastbound on West Capitol – with three or four kids in her car.

Nov. 13, 5:19 p.m.
A three-vehicle accident was reported near Jefferson & Webster. A Toyota Corolla, utility truck and Chevy Suburban were involved, but there were apparently no injuries.

Nov. 13, 5:27 p.m.
A 1998 Dodge pickup was discovered to have been stolen from a business complex on the 3200-block of West Capitol, sometime Sunday or Monday.

Nov. 13, 5:28 p.m.
A woman told a dispatcher that around Oct. 23, the clerk at a gas station on West Capitol “retained” her credit card. The card has since been used for several purchases in West Sacramento and Sacramento.

Nov. 13, 5:45 p.m.
A man said he had called police several times regarding a neighbor near Cold Springs Road and Roaring Creek Street who stores several vehicles on the street. The caller “has called many times and is not happy with the PD response.”

Nov. 13, 6:51 p.m.
The library on Merkley Avenue reported that a very intoxicated man about 65 years old just left, “saying something about going to the bus stop.” The man was “barely able to stand up.”

Nov. 13, 7:58 p.m.
A law enforcement agency asked local police units to stay clear of Harbor and West Capitol, possibly due to an undercover operation.

Nov. 13, 11:45 p.m.
A supermarket reported it had told a 56-year old West Capitol Avenue woman “approximately ten times that she is not allowed in” the store, but they just detained her for shoplifting.

Nov. 14, 1:40 a.m.
Two women were detained for shoplifting at a Riverpoint Court store.

Nov. 14, 1:23 a.m.
A citizen said there was a subject wearing black clothes and a dark beanie, with a shopping cart on Gooseberry Circle. The subject pushed the cart to a white van and drove away. The individual was suspicious due to recent burglaries in the area.

Nov. 14, 7:17 a.m.
A Honda Accord was repossessed from a Southport home.

Nov. 14, 7:57 a.m.
A domestic violence report came in from a north-area home.

Nov. 14, 8:42 a.m.
A motel manager on the 1800-block of West Capitol said someone burglarized a tenant. “An unknown suspect took his luggage from the room while he was sleeping.”

Nov. 14, 11:12 a.m.
The registration stickers were stolen from a car parked on Elder Drive.

Nov. 14, 12:17 a.m.
A hit-and-run was reported near 2900 West Capitol. The caller said a white truck just scratched his/her mother’s car and another vehicle. The suspect vehicle and second victim had left the scene.

Nov. 14, 12:30 a.m.
A man was reported “wandering around” a school and church on Todhunter Avenue, and was “last seen around the convent area.”

Nov. 14, 1:33 p.m.
A woman said she had previously reported her bike stolen. Now, the bike and a rider were in front of a store on the 3000-block of West Capitol.

Nov. 14, 3:05 p.m.
A woman reported an incident that occurred a couple hours earlier in a store parking lot:
She had been backing out of a parking place when she heard a man yelling. She stopped her car, and the man claimed that she had “hit his wheelchair-bound wife.” The wife wasn’t hurt and wheelchair didn’t appear to be damaged. The “victim” didn’t want police summoned, she just demanded $50.

Nov. 14, 5:14 p.m.
A man reported that sometime in the last ten minutes, somebody stole an outboard motor out of the back of his pickup truck while it was parked on Harbor Blvd.

Nov. 14, 5:20 p.m.
A Riverpoint Court store said there was a drunk man “sitting by the front door in the food center in row five.” The man was “very belligerent and violent.”

Nov. 14, 11:54 p.m.
A man said his Solano Street neighbors were involved in drug activity. The man said he had installed an alarm with a sensor beam that went across the neighbor’s driveway, an d”it has gone off four times already due to all the in-and-out foot traffic.”

Nov. 14, 3:38 p.m.
A mobile home resident on Sacramento Avenue reported he was cutting some bushes next to his home when he found a Taser and holster. He turned them in to police.

Nov. 14, 10:02 p.m.
A police officer stopped a vehicle at 5th and E streets. The 19-year old Lighthouse Drive woman driving the car had no license, and had outstanding warrants for charges including theft.

Nov. 14, 10:28 a.m.
An officer contacted a 39-year old homeless woman who had a store’s shopping cart at a bus stop at West Capitol and Pecan. In the cart were empty cans and trash, as well as a half-full 32-ounce bottle of beer and the woman’s wallet and ID. There were several warrants for her arrest, and she was jailed.

Nov. 14, 7:36 p.m.
A 41-year old homeless woman was arrested after she was found sleeping in a vacant trailer that didn’t belong to her on the 3200-block of West Capitol. There were also arrest warrants for charges including burglary and a drug offense.

Nov. 18, 12:03 a.m.
An officer saw a 22-year old Touchstone Place woman sitting in the driver’s seat of a stranded car on the road near Harbor and Evergreen. She showed symptoms of intoxication, and was arrested for DUI.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Wine & treats to benefit local charities


A number of local charities will benefit from your attendance at the “Hope Stocking Event,” planned by the West Sacramento Foundation for 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Club Pheasant.

Santa and honorary “elves” will join you for hors d’oeuvres and wine. $30. Give a tax-deductible gift and receive a commemorative “Hope Stocking” ornament. For information, tickets, or sponsorship opportunities, call Maria Simas, (916) 616-6512.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Celeste Hall gets her wings

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 21, 2012 —

By News-Ledger Staff —

Celeste Hall, a 2009 graduate of River City High School now serving in the Navy, received her wings as an Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (left).

She is presently on the USS John C Stennis, a seventh Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier. She’s the daughter of Heidi Haskins, granddaughter of Nanette Miller and great granddaughter of Albino and Nylene Freitas, all of West Sacramento. (courtesy photo)

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

West Sac native is the new warden

Ron Rackley: member of RCHS Class of 1984 is now the warden at a California correctional facility (courtesy photo)


By News-Ledger Staff —

Governor Jerry Brown’s office announced last month that Ronald Rackley, 46, of Elk Grove, has been appointed warden of the Deuel Vocational Institution at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he has served as chief deputy administrator since 2009. Rackley has served in multiple positions at the Deuel Vocational Institution since 1987.

This position does not require Senate confirmation.

 Rackley began his career with CDCR in 1987 as a Correctional Officer at Deuel. He is the only person in the 59 year history of DVI to promote from correctional officer to warden without transferring to another prison.  DVI, located in Tracy, CA, opened in 1953 as a medium security prison, with a large vocational training program. DVI’s current mission is as a reception center for 22 Northern California counties; and a medium security prison for male felons.

Rackley was born is Sacramento, and raised in West Sacramento by his parents Robert and the late Patricia Rackley.  He attended River City Senior High School, graduating in 1984.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

State audit says West Sacramento’s handling of redevelopment property was clean & legal


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento has become the first California city to be certified by the state controller with a clean bill of health for the manner in which the city “wound down” its redevelopment agency assets.


When the state abolished redevelopment agencies in a revenue-raising maneuver, cities like this one were left with property assets – some of them major – that were owned by the redevelopment agency, but suddenly in danger of being divvied up and parceled out. West Sacramento handled its redevelopment assets in various ways, putting acreage near Stone Lock under purchase option to the locally-controlled Port of Sacramento, and moving small potential “right of way” properties along roadways to the city itself.

The office of State Controller John Chiang has just announced that transfers like these were in compliance with the law. The properties transferred to the city served an obvious governmental purpose, he said.

At the same time, his office found the City of Hercules inappropriately handled $51.1 million of its assets, which must now be turned over to the local “successor agency” to the redevelopment agency in Hercules.

“We’re the first city in the state to have a completely clear audit,” Mayor Christopher Cabaldon told the News-Ledger. “The controller’s office was auditing whether the transactions that occurred as the redevelopment agency was winding down were appropriate. Some cities had problems.”

How much property did West Sacramento move out of the agency?

“In the range of $70 million, with some as large as parts of the Stone Lock District and some more like 50 square feet,” he said. “Most are not really high-value properties, like those rights-of-way. Our concern was that if we gave them up and they went to auction, somebody could pick them up for next to nothing because they had no development value. Then they could essentially hold us hostage and try to extort the taxpayers for huge sums of money because we need them (for road expansions and such).”

The audit process isn’t over, said the mayor. The state still needs to sign off that West Sacramento transferred some of its pre-existing tax obligations in a legal manner. The redevelopment agency had committed some of the local property tax increment to projects like the Bridge District and Stone Lock District, and the state needs to give approval for those commitments to continue.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012