Category Archives: News

‘West Sacramento Promise’ hopes to give free first-year college tuition for local grads

CHRISTOPHER CABALDON, Mayor of West Sacramento. (News-Ledger file photo, 2013).

CHRISTOPHER CABALDON, Mayor of West Sacramento. (News-Ledger file photo, 2013).


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

What if local high school graduates knew that if they took the proper courses, they would be guaranteed a place in the local community college – and their first-year tuition would be free?

That’s the premise of the “West Sacramento Promise,” a plan being developed by the West Sacramento Foundation and Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

If successful, the local version of the “Promise” would follow in the footsteps of programs set up in other cities, where local governments or philanthropists chip in to start a college savings account for young kids in the school district or to otherwise subsidize college costs. Most famous is the “Kalamazoo Promise,” where donors in that Michigan city guarantee to cover college costs in the state’s public education system for high school graduates who earn acceptance.

Cabaldon mentioned the “West Sacramento Promise” idea during his “State of the City” address last month. Yesterday, he talked to the News-Ledger about it in a little more detail.

“It’s part of the ‘Future Ready’ program I’m doing with the West Sacramento Foundation,” said the mayor. “It’s essentially a trust fund to support a variety of initiatives that help youth become more college- and career-ready.”

“The (West Sacramento Promise) concept comes from Long Beach,” he added. “It’s basically a partnership between the schools, local community college and the students.”

“If you graduate from River City High or the West Sacramento Early College Prep school, and you, as a student, have done all the right things, then you know you will have a place at the community college,” stated Cabaldon. “And what they’ve done in Long Beach is that they have used funds to pay (the student’s) tuition for the first year at community college.”

If successful, said Cabaldon, the new program here would address several big problems that discourage local students from entering college, or finishing degree program:

One is that the program would require participating students to complete the “A-G curriculum” college-prep track at the high school. They’d also have to rack up some college-level credits while in high school. Students could do that either by completing some “advance placement” courses in high school or by jointly enrolling in some community college courses while in high school. This would make local grads better prepared for college, said Cabaldon.

“Something like 70 to 80 percent of the students we send to community college now need remedial courses,” Cabaldon said. “This makes them less likely to complete their degrees or certificates.”

The “Promise” would also ensure that the local community college will hold a place for West Sacramento grads – giving them preferred enrollment.

And it would reassure them that the first year of tuition in that college will be free. Tuition in the Sacramento City College system runs $46 per unit, and a full-time student takes a minimum of 24 units a year.  While a lot of lower-income students already qualify for a fee-reduction waiver, they often don’t know it, said Cabaldon. The “Promise” would make it simple, at least for the first year.

“We’d be saying, ‘you’re not going to pay,’” he stated. “You are either going to get a fee waiver, or we’re paying, but you’re not going to pay.”

The “West Sacramento Promise” is still in its formative stages, said the mayor, and it’s being developed in tandem with a similar initiative in Sacramento.

How much will it cost?

Cabaldon said he doesn’t have an estimate, but he believes it will cost less than $500,000 per year to fund.  The first big project to raise seed money is a “GearUp” bicycle ride planned for October 12. Basic details of the ride are at

Cabaldon said he doesn’t have an estimate, but he believes it will cost less than $500,000 per year to fund.  The first big project to raise seed money is a “GearUp” bicycle ride planned for October 12. Details of the “Future Ready” program in West Sacramento can be found on FaceBook, said the mayor.

The West Sacramento Foundation is at

  On February 13, The News-Ledger published an editorial on a related subject. The News-Ledger suggested a new effort to create a $50 college savings account for every local kindergartner. You can find that editorial here.


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Copyright News-Ledger 2013



Food giveaway in West Sac today

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — June 12, 2013

The Yolo County Food Bank will distribute free food to eligible West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents on Tuesday, June 18. Hours and locations include the West Sacramento County Building at 500 Jefferson Blvd., from 9-10 a.m; Trinity Presbyterian Church at 1500 Park Blvd.; from 10:30-11:15 a.m.; Yolo Housing Authority at 685 Lighthouse Dr., from 11-noon; and the Clarksburg Firehouse, noon-1 p.m.

Please bring a bag and attend only one site. For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Wolfington guilty in 2011 motel stabbing


  Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s office announced that on Friday, a Yolo County Jury convicted gang member Billy Thomas Wolfington, Jr., 29, of second degree murder,, criminal street gang activity and personal use of a deadly weapon.  The jury found that on September 2, 2011, Wolfington stabbed and killed Bobby Jamar Brittenum, 29, of Sacramento.   The jury acquitted Shannon Lashaun Silva, 32, of Sacramento of related charges.

  Prosecutors had originally sought first-degree murder charges against both, with “gang enhancements.”

  The murder occurred at a party at the Town House Motel, 940 West Capitol Avenue. There, Wolfington and Silva confronted Brittenum, said the D.A.’s office.  Wolfington and Silva entered the hotel room and told other partygoers to leave the room.  Others protested and an argument ensued.  Witnesses testified that Silva then began punching the victim and Wolfington stabbed the victim at least sixteen times with a six-inch “butterfly” knife.  Wolfington stopped stabbing the victim when one partygoer began screaming for help out the hotel window.  Wolfington and Silva fled then the scene.   The victim suffered stab wounds to his face, chest and arms.  Wolfington and Silva were found a short time later hiding in heavy brush near some railroad tracks.

  Also, according to the D.A.’s office, the prosecution introduced evidence of Wolfington’s and Silva’s gang history and membership.  Wolfington is a member of the “Broderick Boys” criminal street gang and also shares membership with Silva in a newer gang called the “Northern Ryders.” During the murder, witnesses testified that Wolfington told the victim that he was a Broderick Boy.  Gang expert testimony argued that when a gang member either asks or describes where he is from, that this is effectively a challenge, in gang parlance.  An expert for the prosecution also testified that violent crimes such as murders elevate the level of fear of a gang, creating a benefit by discouraging witnesses from coming forward to report crimes.  As the prosecution explained, the victim’s refusal to leave the room was an act of disrespect that would diminish the reputation of the gang if the disrespect was not answered with violence.

  District Attorney Reisig praised local police in a press statement.

  “The West Sacramento Police Department and the prosecution team worked hard in convicting a dangerous criminal who took a man’s life,” said Reisig. 

  A court trial regarding Wolfington’s past convictions is scheduled for July 1 before Judge Stephen L. Mock, who presided over the trial. Wolfington will be sentenced after the conclusion of the court trial.  He faces life in prison.

  Wolfington was at the center of a local court case decided in 2007.

  The Yolo County District Attorney’s office crafted an anti-gang injunction in West Sacramento, targeting the Broderick Boys. The D.A.’s office asserted that the gang was an “unincorporated association” with about 350 members. When serving the gang with judicial notice, the notice was delivered only to Wolfington – with the assumption that this would be adequate legal “service” to the entire gang.

  The ACLU and others challenged the process, and a judge agreed that service was inadequate. The original injunction was tossed out. The D.A.’s office and local police have since crafted and instituted a new version of the gang injunction, which provides a curfew and other restrictions on “validated” gang members in much of the city’s north.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Driver in gang killing denied parole


  Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig reports that on Tuesday, parole commissioners denied parole to 32-year-old convicted murderer Ramiro Acevedo, Jr..  The hearing took place at the California State Prison in Soledad, California where Acevedo is serving a 15-to-life sentence in prison. 

  According to the District Attorney’s office, Acevedo was a member of West Sacramento’s “Broderick Boys” gang who participated in a 1999 killing. Said a press release from the D.A.:

   On August 26th, 1999, Acevedo and fellow Broderick Boy Manuel Trujillo went to the home of 18-year-old Julio Robledo to retaliate for a shooting where Trujillo was allegedly targeted. Acevedo sat in the car while Trujillo went up to the house with a shotgun and fatally shot Robledo in the chest. Others were seriously injured in the shooting.

  Acevedo received the 15-to-life sentence in a deal with prosecutors to testify against Trujillo, who was convicted by a jury of first degree murder as well as two counts of attempted murder. The parole commission praised recent efforts Acevedo has made in prison to focus his life in more positive directions, but were swayed by the serious circumstances of the case as well as Acevedo’s inadequate parole plans.   

  Supervising Deputy District Attorney Garrett Hamilton represented the District Attorney’s Office at the hearing.  Victim Service’s Program Manager Laura Valdes attended the hearing with the mother of the victim Julio Robledo.  Valdes said it was an honor and humbling to assist and support Robledo’s mother at the hearing.  “This was extremely difficult for her,” said Valdes, according to the D.A.’s office.  “She told me in Spanish that being at the hearing was fulfilling and she felt her words had an impact on the decision made by the commissioners.”

  District Attorney Jeff Reisig applauded the success of the Parole Lifer Unit and praised the decision of the commissioners.  “The commissioners’ decision was thoughtful and measured,” Reisig stated in a press release.  “Also, we cannot ignore the dedicated efforts of Mr. Hamilton, who made the case on behalf of this office, and Ms. Valdes, who helped the victim through this heartwrenching experience.”

  Acevedo will not be eligible for parole again until 2016.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013