Category Archives: News

‘West Sac-crab-mento Day’

NEWS-LEDGER, JAN 11, 2012: Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (right) declared this Saturday as ‘West Sac-Crab-Mento Day’ in honor of a fundraising crab feed planned by the Mighty Rotary Club of West Sacramento. Pictured with the mayor (left to right) are Mark Engstrom, event co-chair and President-elect of the West Sacramento Rotary Club; Cindy Love, Executive Director, Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation; and “Crabby, the World’s Crabbiest Crab.” The event (6 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner) takes place at the Our Lady of Grace hall, 1990 Linden Road, on Jan. 14. Funds will benefit the Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation and West Sacramento Rotary Foundation. Advance tickets online at or call (916) 927-1592. The event includes dinner, a raffle, an outdoor cigar bar and music and dancing with “Neckbone.” $60. (Photo by Dan Harris, City of West Sacramento)

New comedy on local stage

SEATED IN FRONT: Melissa Dahlberg, Ashley Lucas. STANDING BEHIND: Gweneth Knaff, Keith Letl, Jen Smuda-Cotter, Alan Smuda, Kathleen Poe (courtesy photo)


NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 11, 2012 —

“Blithe Spirit” hits the stage at the community center on Friday, courtesy of the West Sacramento Community Theater Company.

The play by Noel Coward explores what happens when a séance really does connect with a deceased spirit – resulting in a “darkly funny” comedy featuring a competition between a live woman and a dead one.

The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Jan. 29 at 1075 West Capitol Avenue. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors.

For information, call 799-9230 or visit

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Coach Bustamante is charged


FIRST UPDATE: 11:20 a.m. Jan. 12

The Yolo D.A. recently filed criminal charges against former RCHS teacher and varsity football coach Arturo Bustamante, who was on paid leave for several months after a report he “inappropriately touched” a female student at the school.

RCHS Teacher/Coach Arturo Bustamante

According to the Yolo County District Attorney’s office, Bustamante is accused of several felony and misdemeanor counts of “lewd and lascivious acts” and “child molestation” involving four students, age about 15-16, in 2010-2011.

The D.A.’s office has requested a warrant, and if successful, arrangements could be made for Bustamante to turn himself in voluntarily for arrest.

“His range of sentence if convicted is probation with up to one year in County jail to 4 years 4 months in prison,” said Jonathan Raven, Chief Deputy District Attorney, in an emailed statement.

The Washington Unified School District reports that Bustamante is now on “compulsory leave of absence pending the outcome of the matter.”

The News-Ledger will follow up with more details as they become available.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Board to reconsider charter school

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 11, 2012 —

When the school board of the Washington Unified School District meets on Thursday, Jan. 12, it will consider whether to renew the charter for the West Sacramento Early College Prep School.

The California Charter Schools Association has singled it out as one of four charter schools in the Sacramento area that ought to be closed due to poor student performance.

The board will also discuss a proposal to design and build a “marquee” sign marking the entrance to River City High School on Raider Lane near Jefferson Boulevard and Higgins Road. The campus currently sports a digital billboard at a nearby street corner, but doesn’t have a sign at the school entrance.

  In other WUSD news, the office of the superintendent has asked members of the public to cooperate with a new survey designed to find out “if the voters would support an increase in property taxes” for “school improvements and programs.”

A survey company will randomly sample voters and ask “whether they would support a bond issue or parcel tax,” said a statement from Superintendent Dayton Gilleland.

“If you receive a call from the survey company, please take a few minutes and answer their questions,” he said in the press release. “As the district makes its plans, we want to know what voters would be willing to support.”

The board meets at 6 p.m. on Thursday at city hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Redevelopment agency appears finished


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento’s redevelopment agency – one of the most frequently used tools in the city’s toolbox for promoting growth – will probably close up shop this year.

The California Supreme Court ruled last week that the state is within its rights to abolish local redevelopment agencies. Although the court ruled that a second part of the state’s plan – forcing the agencies to make optional “pay to play” payments for the right to continue to exist – was not legal, the ruling does not appear enough to keep the agencies in business.


Mayor Christopher Cabaldon told the News-Ledger this week that this city has been preparing for just this kind of decision – by trying to protect the local agency’s assets from “fire sale,” and by looking for new tools West Sacramento might use to fill the gap left behind by redevelopment.

“We have the good fortune related to other cities that we were already moving in this direction (when the court decision came out),” said Cabaldon. “99 percent of the other redevelopment agencies in the state are just now grappling with this, and saying ‘what now?’”

Governor Brown signed law shutting down redevelopment agencies as part of an effort to balance the state budget. Part of the law requires local agencies to sell off any property they own and distribute the proceeds to local government districts. That’s been scary for West Sacramento, said Cabaldon, because the local redevelopment agency owned almost 300 properties. Some of those are just small pieces of land, he said, but they might be earmarked for use, for example, in a future road project.

  The city has been trying to do the best it can to protect its interests with these properties, he said. It has sold an “option to buy” 200 acres of land near Stone Lock to the Port of West Sacramento (which the city controls). That’s an attempt to keep the land from being sold at “fire sale.”

And it has tried to protect other pieces of real estate by transferring them or putting restrictions on their use.
“That way, even if the land is disposed of through a fire sale, it still has rules and covenants saying ‘this property has to be used for a certain public use.’”

Still, a speculator might pick up one of these properties when it’s sold, he said, and could be able to drive a hard bargain if the city needs to buy it back for a road project or similar public use.

Cabaldon appointed a commission – led by Councilman Chris Ledesma – to look for ways to promote development in the future, when redevelopment law is not available. The port may come in handy, he said.

“The port district has several powers and authorities that the redevelopment agencies have,” said Cabaldon. It can issue revenue bonds and assemble property parcels, he said, and “the mission of the port is fairly broad in terms of economic development – it’s not just about maritime commerce.”

The port can’t, though, fill the main hole left by redevelopment law – the ability to use expected future property taxes as collateral for big, up-front development work that makes way for growth.

“It can’t solve the basic issues of tax increment financing,” said the mayor.

State legislators have vowed to create new ways to let cities and counties pursue growth – but Cabaldon said isn’t optimistic that they’ll come up with anything as useful as a redevelopment agency.

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, by mail..

  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

‘Tot lot,’ other projects funded


Last month, the First 5 Yolo organization awarded $40,000 in mini-grants to organizations supporting children 0 to 5 in local communities.

DON SAYLOR, Yolo County Board of Supervisors member (District 2) and chairman of First 5 Yolo (photo from County of Yolo)

“We received 26 requests for more than $111,775 in funding,” said Yolo County Supervisor and First 5 Yolo Chair, Don Saylor in a First 5 Yolo press release.  “Each proposal demonstrated a serious need in our communities.  Since we couldn’t fund everything, we prioritized the proposals based on the greatest positive long-term impact for Yolo county children and families.”

First 5 Yolo awarded funds to12 projects for a total of $40,000.  Each organization received full or partial funding of their request up to $5,000 per project.

The largest amount of money, $17,610, will be used to finance programs meant to  help prepare young children to be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.  Successful proposals include programs by Sutter Davis Pediatrics Reach out and Read Program, Yolo County Library Celebration Dia de los Ninos/Libros, Woodland Library Books for Babies, First Steps Infant Program Carolina Curriculum Training, and the Northern California Children’s Therapy Center Communication/Collaboration Project.

Five organizations were granted a total of $12,740 to improve the social and emotional health for young children, including the Yolo County Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center for a conference to increase foundational knowledge of child abuse, early child development and interviewing the very young.  In addition, the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center was funded for a program on protecting and raising children; the Yolo Family Service Agency’s Partnership for Early Access was funded; EMQ Families First received funds for staff training on the effects of drug exposure on children; and the Yolo Wayfarer Center was funded to increase staff capacity for providing skilled interventions to help reduce the distress children experience when their families are facing homelessness.

 Programs funded to improve the physical health of young children include a preschool hearing screening program by the Hearing Loss Association, Woodland Chapter; and the City of West Sacramento Parks and Community Services for a Tot-lot Playground in Westfield Village.   These programs received a total of $9,650.

For more information about the First 5 Yolo’s mini-grants, contact Julie Gallelo, executive director at 530-669-2475 or go to

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Courts evacuated after bomb threat


All Yolo County court facilities  in Woodland were evacuated after a bomb threat received at the Superior Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. today.

West Sacramento police and CHP officers helped the sheriff’s department and Woodland police look for a bomb. None was found, and the courts were re-opened at 10:30 a.m.

Investigators have “several credible leads” as to the suspect, said a court press release.

A court spokesperson said the last time the courts received a bomb threat was in 2005, and that suspect was arrested and charged for the crime.

As for today:

“Court operations were delayed, but judges and court staff are working hard to ensure that there will be only minimal disruption,” reports the office of Court Executive Officer James B. Perry.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012