Category Archives: News

City council incumbents state their intentions; challengers may file by Aug. 10


By Steve Marschke, News-Ledger Editor

  A number of seats for West Sacramento city office and local school board will be on the ballot on November 6.

MAYOR CHRISTOPHER CABALDON says he'll run for another two-year term this fall

Voters will be asked whether to return Christopher Cabaldon for another two-year term as mayor, and whether to give city council members Bill Kristoff and Oscar Villegas new four-year terms.

  Also up for their regularly-scheduled elections will be three of the five seats on the Washington Unified School District Board of Trustees. They’re the seats now held by board president Teresa Blackmer and by Mary Leland and David Westin.

  The three incumbents in the city race — Mayor Cabaldon and councilmen Villegas and Kristoff — each told the News-Ledger this week they will run again.

  “The city is in solid shape,” reported Cabaldon. “We have the economic challenges from the economy and from the state’s challenges, but we’re pushing through this without massive service cuts, swimming pool closures, fire station cuts, layoffs or certainly bankruptcy. We’re seeing economic development activity start to pick up.”

  Developer activity and building permits are creeping up, he said. Foreclosures are sliding down.   “The trends which have been negative for the past three years are now in the other direction,” said Cabaldon.

  He said West Sacramento needs to continue to focus on flood protection — “keeping the laser-focus of the city on what is a gigantic project for a city of our size.” He also wants to push waterfront development, including a new hotel, partly for economic benefit and partly for the “quality of life” issues that he expects new restaurants and other amenities to bring to all West Sacramentans.

  And Cabaldon believes the city government needs to keep pushing economic development, even though the state has taken away the tools that used to be available from the local redevelopment agency.

  Cabaldon, 46, has three “day jobs” with educational policy connections. He’s a program officer for the nonprofit California Education Policy Fund, executive director of the Linked Learning Alliance, and a director of the California Legislative Staff Education Institute.

COUNCILMAN OSCAR VILLEGAS will 'absolutely' seek another four-year term for West Sacramento

  “I’m absolutely running again,” Councilman Oscar Villegas also told the News-Ledger.

  Villegas, 45, works for a state agency that oversees state and local corrections department issues.

  What’s he done on the council?

  “I have been able to contribute to a balanced approach,” said Villegas. “My approach comes from a lot of on-the-job training, but I was born and raised here.”

  He said he wants to keep focusing on “the whole idea of making our fiscal practices sustainable.”

  “And the flood issue, crime rate and public safety issues have become near and dear to me.”

  Bill Kristoff is a retired postal employee, age 65.

  “I took out my (reelection) papers and I’m in the process of gathering the signatures,” said Kristoff.

  “The city’s in pretty good shape,” he commented. “We’ve been in better shape in the past, but we’re doing the right things. There are a lot of projects being talked about — although I only really get excited once I see sticks in the ground.”

  “Flood control is out top priority,” Kristoff agreed. “Making sure our budget is secure and making sure we have adequate funds to supply services is another.”

  Closing date to file as a candidate for this election is August 10, although candidates start their paperwork well in advance. If any of the incumbents does not file by Aug. 10, the filing period for challengers will be extended to Aug. 15. Anyone interested in running for mayor or city council should contact the city clerk’s office at 617-4500 or 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

COUNCILMAN BILL KRISTOFF: On the council since the beginning in 1987, Kristoff agrees flood control is still the major priority

The deadlines to become a candidate for school board are the same. For more information or to become a WUSD school board candidate, contact the Yolo County Elections Department, 625 Court Street Room B05 in Woodland, (530) 666-8133.

  Yes, 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

City video contest: entries due Sept. 6

From the West Sacramento News-Ledger

Deadline for a City of West Sacramento video contest has been extended to Sept. 6. Prizes include an iPad 2 and $300 gift cards from West Sacramento businesses. Make a short video (three minutes or less) “telling or showing…what you like about West Sacramento.”

The video can be about living, working or playing here in town. For more information, visit or call 617-4535.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Deadline for group solar buy-in

From the West Sacramento News-Ledger

  By purchasing solar voltaic systems, solar thermal equipment or other energy efficiency measures in a group, you can save money. Deadline to enroll is Aug. 7 for the program offered by Local Governments for Sustainability USA. As of Friday, 156 Yolo County members had signed up, approaching the goal of 175. if the group collectively installs 250 kW of solar power generation, contractor REC Solar will offer a rebate of $100 per kW up to $500.

The City of West Sacramento is a partner, reports Yolo Energy Watch.


Copyright News-Ledger 2012

West Nile: no aerial spraying planned yet


  The folks who fight West Nile Virus every summer by attacking the mosquito population report that no aerial spraying is planned at this time in the Sacramento-Yolo area — but low intensity ground spraying is underway from time to time.

  The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District reports that in Sacramento County thus far this season, 161 dead birds and 124 mosquito samples have tested positive for the virus. In Yolo, eight dead birds and four mosquito samples have tested positive.

  No “sentinel” chickens have turned up with the disease.

In addition to spraying to kill mosquitos, the “Fight the Bite” effort urges homeowners to take other anti-mosquito precautions — like emptying any standing water around their yards where mosquitos might breed, and reporting any neglected or abandoned swimming pools in their neighborhood.

   For more information on spraying plans and methods to ward off the virus, visit

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Dog apparently tortured, killed


Law enforcement officials are looking for help from the public after a Chihuahua-mix dog was found in West Sacramento, apparently tortured and killed.

A probation officer working with a yard maintenance crew found the dog on Thursday afternoon at 1720 Merkley Avenue, near Westacre Road.

“The dog’s legs were bound together and its mouth was tied shut,” according to the Animal Services Division of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department. “During the veterinarian’s preliminary examination and X-ray, it was determined the dog’s neck had been broken.”

The dog was a stray, with no ID or microchip. It was a 3-5 year old, small tan and white male.

Anyone with information is asked to help solve this “extreme case of animal cruelty,” said the Animal Services department. If you have information, please call the department at (530) 668-5287 or call West Sacramento Police at (916) 617-4900.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Port hopes feds will fund new barges, allowing it to start container-barging service

The $5 million crane unloaded about six months ago at the Port of West Sacramento hasn’t been used for its primary intended purpose yet. But Port Manager Mike Luken is optimistic. (Photo courtesy of Amy Cameron, Port of West Sacramento)


By Steve Marschke

News-Ledger Editor

  The $5 million crane received by the Port of West Sacramento in January primarily to handle shipping container traffic hasn’t actually lifted any shipping containers yet. But port manager Mike Luken said he is confident that his facility will still get a chance to start shipping things in big metal container boxes, and the crane will get a chance to help move them around.

  The money for the crane was part of $8.7 million the port received in federal stimulus money through the “Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery” (TIGER) grand program, applied for in conjunction with the ports of Oakland and Stockton.

  “The mobile harbor crane was about $5 million,” said Luken. “A container facility building was about $2 million. We had a dock strengthening project for about one million. The remaining funding we contributed to two barges to start the project at Stockton.”

  The ports hope to begin a barge corridor program to handle cargo between Oakland and the Central Valley, to generate revenue for the ports and reduce truck traffic on regional freeways. To do that, “we’re aiming to match the cost of moving cargo by truck,” said Luken.

  The Port of West Sacramento does not yet have any container-handling barges.

  “We have been applying for a different TIGER grant to get two barges,” Luken said.

  In the meantime, the imported crane will get some use, he said.

  “Yes, it was purchased with the intent to help this particular service, but it was also intended to be used for other cargoes. We haven’t used the crane yet, we just got it, just got it assembled.”

   The port’s financial picture is currently depressed, partly because of the reduced demand to ship cement — a recently-added Port of West Sacramento mainstay. He estimated that the port is averaging about a half-million to a million dollars a year in losses, and is dipping into reserves through the economic downturn.

  “We’re still climbing out of the recession, still using reserves,” said Luken. “We’re starting a couple of new cargoes, including iron fines. We’re hopefully starting that in two to four weeks.”

  Iron fines, a waste product from steel production, will be exported to be reprocessed into steel, said Luken.

  Yes, 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

Can you hit the low notes?


  The West Sacramento Community Singers need some tenor, baritone and bass voices. Rehearsals are Sundays from 305, Sept. 9 through Dec. 23.

  For information, email or call 376-0756.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012