Category Archives: Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Police & crime in Broderick & Bridgeway

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

9/10/2014 —

Trouble in Broderick
  (Open letter to Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and the West Sacramento City Council)
I have been a resident of Broderick since before 1968 moving here with my parents and brother after my Father retired from the USAF.  I am a graduate of Washington High School.
I subsequently bought a home in the Broderick area in 1983 where being a single parent I wanted my daughter to have a house to grow up in rather than an apartment.
I love my little house but the Broderick area has rapidly gone downhill.  I would consider moving to another area but I am a Senior and on a fixed income and it would be difficult for me to leave my home.
I realize that some income levels may be lower in the Broderick area.  But there are people such as myself that have worked for many years to support their families and loved ones.  I worked at a large telecommunications company for forty years.
There are people like myself and others who take pride in their homes.  Why should we be penalized for those that don’t.
Why don’t you and the council members take a ride over to Beardsley and see the house that has trash all the way from the back to the front.  You could take a ride down almost any street here and see at least one house in this type of condition.
Why should I have to call Code Enforcement?  Don’t they see this?  What about the Fire Department?  The house on Beardsley is definitely a fire hazard.
There are issues going on here that would never be tolerated in South-port or South of the Barge. When we incorporated I hoped we would become one city.  But that isn’t the case.  We’re still considered Broderick.  Were are our improvements?
Perhaps we should take a hint from the Oak Park Triangle and work on areas other than South-port and South of the Barge.
I have written before this but received no response.  I would hope I would receive one now.
JANET WALKER
West Sacramento

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9/17/14

The police & Southport
I have been a Bridgeway Island resident since 2001.
I have noticed over the years that West Sac Police Department officers patrol Southport Parkway frequently to catch speeders. This occurs, from my experience, during daylight/commute hours such that those who may be caught speeding  are working adults or students commuting to and from daily responsibilities. The safety of the residents doesn’t appear to be at risk during these hours.
There are those that believe the officers patrol during periods where residents who can afford to pay the fines for the distributed tickets are traveling on this stretch of roadway. Still others state that the police department has to make money in some fashion so this is the easiest and fastest method in which to accomplish this.
My issue is this: officers would be better served, as would the residents of both Bridgeway Island and Bridgeway Lakes, if they were patrolling these areas after-hours. This is when the street racing, the “peeling-out,” tagging with graffiti and accidents where vehicles have crossed the center divide on Southport Parkway ripping out the established trees has occurred over the years.
Many nights, as I lay in bed, I can hear cars screeching around the neighborhood. I would like to be able to report them to the Police Department, however, such activities are hard to pin point as the sounds travel making it difficult to identify from where they may be coming.
Just recently, there was graffiti on the retaining walls of a Bridgeway Island community. One wonders if this would have occurred had the officers been patrolling during the late night hours. I realize there are other areas in West Sacramento in the late night hours which require almost constant patrol. There is no question that there should be focus in these areas.
I don’t agree with the mindset that the police department is only patrolling these areas to make money, but I do take issue with the timing of some of the patrols. As a longtime resident of the Bridgeway Island community, I would hope the West Sacramento Police Department would, in the best interest of the residents, review such practices and determine how best to improve the safety of these residents.
S. SHEETS
West Sacramento

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: water meters are a bad idea, West Capitol flop houses & more

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 3, 2014 —

No water metering
  (RE: News-Ledger editorial “The meters should be running,” Aug. 27)

 

Water meters, on the surface, sound like a great idea. Bill the people for the water they use. However, there are some huge problems with water meters, the main one being the finances for the city.
A few years ago San Jose asked people to reduce their water usage due to a previous drought.  The people did and reduced their water usage by over 20 percent. However since the bills were paid by the amount of water used, the water district had revenues that were also 20 percent lower than before.  The math was simple less water used means less revenue.  So the water district raised the rates by over 20 percent to cover “their” shortfall.  This of course incensed the people who saved water and now were being charged just as much for using a lot less water.  And of course when they went back to their normal water usage the water district received much more revenue, which they didn’t need.
I like our system, we reduced water usage by nearly 20 percent yet the revenues to the city did not change.  When the drought is over, we can go back to normal watering and it will not cost us extra.  I believe the people can do what is right without getting gouged by meters.  I believe enough people in West Sacramento are mature enough to know that using less water now is important and we have stepped up.  So no to water meters!
KARL MACHSCHEFES
West Sacramento

Flop houses
I want to know what the city plans to do about the ongoing problem of these “Flop House” motels on West Capitol Avenue? Especially the West Wood. The folks “living” in these flop houses are not travelers looking for a night’s rest. They are not even there at night most of the time. And if they are, they are dealing drugs out the bathroom windows.  Or yelling and screaming at each other in the streets. These people all ride bikes (after all we are now a bike friendly city) towing a handmade bike trailer of some kind. Or walk around pulling a commercial tub or pushing a stroller full of yappy little matted-hair flea-bitten dogs. They roam the streets at night looking for anything and everything they can sell at the recycle place. I see them out on the corners stripping copper from wiring and leaving the “junk” laying there.
At least once a week someone will get “put out” of the flop house and  camp out on the street corner on Poplar & Merkley. Last week there were five suit cases dumped on the corner of Poplar & Merkley on Monday. By Saturday there was one lonely beaten down empty suit case laying on the corner. While out watering my lawn I saw 3 different people and one couple stop, flip it over and check it out to see if it was worth picking up. No one did.
And lets talk about Sunday nights in that area of the city. Monday is garbage collection day in that part of town. Well here they all come from parts far and wide with their bike towed carts or pushing/pulling grocery carts or commercial bins just waiting until dark to rifle through all the recycle/trash bins. It’s like a big party on Sunday nights. And heaven help anyone that gets in their way. The all congregate about sundown on the corner of Poplar and Merkley to make their plans on who covers what streets. They come and go to empty their carts of their finds into their rooms and the parking lots in front of their rooms, all night long.
I have lived in that area for almost 21 years and it has gotten progessively worse in the last two years. If I thought I could get a decent price for my house, I’d sell it and get out of West Sac. But who will buy with that going on? I used to be proud to live in “old downtown” West Sacramento. But all the city money seems to be being spent south of the barge canal.  Or around Raley Field. Something needs to be done. The police drive through at least once a week. But those people somehow know when the police are coming and disappear! It has got to stop!
ANITA HARRINGTON
West Sacramento

Seawater for fires
We have fire districts in the area who’ve lost thousands of gallons of water to vandals and thieves, and water districts throughout the state whose infrastructure is so dilapidated, that one broken main wastes millions of gallons of “the lifeblood of California.”
Salt water intrusion into our estuaries in the Delta is an environmental concern that is a serious threat to the healthy sustainability of both fish and game, etc. Salt water on most terrestrial plants will, in a great enough quantity, kill them.
Yet I foresee an unforeseen light at the end of this dismal tunnel; pump, pipe and/or transport by railroad tank car, salt water to urban fire districts for firefighting. Yes, you may lose your lawn, but there may be enough water left over to save your home.

J. BESHARIAN
West Sacramento

  Send your ‘letter to the editor’ for the News-Ledger newspaper to steve@news-ledger.com.  Please include your real name, address & phone number (we’ll only publish your name & city, not your address or phone).

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

EDITORIAL: West Sacramento’s water meters should be running

NEWS-LEDGER EDITORIAL — AUG 27, 2014 —

In this time of drought, most West Sacramento residents have water meters that are going unused.

It’s like this:

Homes built since 1992 have come with water meters attached. Older homes didn’t. The City of West Sacramento is chipping away at this deficit by installing water meters neighborhood by neighborhood, until some point several years from now when every home has a water meter.

It’s too expensive, officials believe, to finish this retrofit job all at once.

So as it stands (and you can see recent issues of the News-Ledger for more information) about two-thirds of West Sacramento’s homes now have water meters. In theory, these 8,400 residential customers could be billed according to how much water they use. Instead of paying a flat rate, no matter how much they use their taps, they could be billed “volumetrically.”

But even though 8,400 West Sacramento’s homes have meters, meters are only being used to bill about 11 percent of those homes. The rest are still paying a flat rate.  This is because metered billing is still voluntary in this city. Even if you have a meter installed, you will keep paying a flat water rate unless you opt into metered billing. You have to call and ask the city to switch.

If you don’t make that call, you’ll pay the same flat rate for your water service regardless of whether you are a water hero or a water hog.

With metered billing, the city can set a base rate for modest users of water and charge them a little less. It could then charge heavy water users extra, encouraging them to scale back. Billing by meters, quite simply, will result in water conservation. When people have to pay for what they use, they use less.

Why don’t West Sacramento officials work harder to transition everyone with a water meter into the metered billing system?

Because they want to keep things simple. They don’t want some water customers billed on a flat rate because they don’t have meters yet, while others are forced into a metered rate. So the city plan is to wait several years until everyone has a water meter, and then switch everybody at once.

West Sacramento has made a choice between a simple plan and a plan that maximizing water savings. Water saving took second place. Since there’s no guarantee when this drought will come to an end, that’s not a very wise or very progressive local policy.

A better option would be to keep installing meters, and to give every metered home a grace period before it’s switched to metered billing. That would be in keeping with the spirit of State Water Code Section 527.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Letters to the editor: change the ‘Redskins’ name; fund early childhood education

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER —

June 18, 2014

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento's River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento’s River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

Change the ‘Redskins’!

During the NBA Finals, viewers saw a message sponsored in part by the Yocha Dehe Wintun tribe of Yolo County.  The commercial highlights a racial slur that has persisted as the name of a team mascot for over seventy years:  “Redskins.”  For many years, Native Americans, including the National Congress of American Indians,  have asked the Washington  Redskins to change the name of their mascot.  The name “Redskins” has its historical origins in a deplorable history of genocide against Native Americans, including massacres at “Wounded Knee,” “Eagle Lake,” and “the Trail of Tears.”  To many Native Americans, “Redskins” is an offensive racial slur in the same manner that the “n” word is offensive to African Americans or the “w” word is offensive to Latinos.

Recently on YouTube, I listened with great admiration to courageous statements from Yocha Dehe Wintun tribal leaders Marshal McKay and James Kinter calling for an end to seventy years of racial slurs by the Washington Redskins. It is appalling that in the wake of the Clippers scandal such racial slurs are not universally condemned.

I see many similarities in the actions of Washington team owner Daniel Snyder and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers.  I am particularly disturbed that Daniel Snyder defends rather that apologizes for the slurs.  Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder should put an end to a seventy year old racial slur that has persisted far too long and change the team mascot.

NFL owners should grant Tribal chairman Marshal McKay and Tribal Secretary James Kinter an opportunity to speak to them and make their case for changing the name.  If the NBA can force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers over a racial slur, surely the NFL can require a team owner to cease marketing a racial slur.  The NBA permitted Kevin Johnson to address them concerning retention of the Kings.  How much more important is it for the NFL to allow tribal leaders to speak to them concerning the eradication of a vestige of racism?

NORMA ALCALA
President River City Democratic Club
West Sacramento

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June 11, 2014

This is a summary of a letter sent by First 5 Yolo to members of the California State Legislature:

 

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children's Alliance (courtesy photo)

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance (courtesy photo)

Fund the children

After years of program cuts to child care and preschool programs, including the elimination of over $1 billion in funding and 110,000 child care slots in California, this year brings an exciting opportunity for reinvestment in early education.  The Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Senate and Assembly budget committees recently adopted budget priorities for funding child care and early education.

First 5 Yolo thanks the legislature for making children and families a priority again in California and urges moving forward with a timely budget to the Governor that includes 1) increasing payments to private child care providers serving low-income children, 2) increasing child care subsidy slots, preschool w/wrap around care and part-day preschool slots, 3) increasing funding for on-going and one-time only quality improvement activities such as professional development for child care providers, 4) eliminating state preschool family fees and, 5) adjusting existing programs to provide and strengthen early learning and care opportunities for all low-income children

A 2010 study by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman demonstrated that every dollar invested in high quality early education generates seven dollars in returns.

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke stated “Economically speaking, early childhood programs are a good investment, with inflation-adjusted annual rates of return on the funds dedicated to these programs estimated to reach 10 percent or higher,” and noted by Ross Thompson, distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCD in a recent article “The two distressing realities of the achievement gap are that when children enter school, the gap is already there,” he continued. “The other reality is that school experience doesn’t narrow the achievement gap, it widens it. So to close the achievement gap, to begin narrowing those differences in language ability, mathematical skill, other cognitive abilities, you’ve got to look earlier.”

Child care and early education are critical issues for families in Yolo County, but the cost is frequently too high for First 5 Yolo to make a significant impact.  Therefore, we urge your support to appropriate newly available funds in California to assist in bridging the achievement gap and providing equity in education for the youngest of California children.

DON SAYLOR, Chair
First 5 Yolo
DONITA STROMGREN, Vice-Chair
First 5 Yolo

  Editor’s note: “First 5 Yolo” is funded through the state by tobacco taxes. The organization supports programs such as early childhood education (hence, “first five years”) that benefit young children.

  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-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014