Category Archives: Politics

Largest long-term care union nationwide opened headquarters in West Sac

Dozens of elected officials joined hundreds of caregivers for the elderly and disabled who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2015 as they celebrated the opening of their new West Sacramento headquarters on Wednesday, May 11. SEIU Local 2015 is the largest union of long term care workers in the nation with representational responsibility for over 325,000 long term care workers – nursing home and home care workers – throughout California, 20,000 in Sacramento County alone.
The Sacramento office, located at 681 W. Capitol Ave, Suite 100, will serve as the home base for efforts to advocate for improvements to California’s long term care services, economic justice for all Californians in low-wage jobs, among other policy priority issues impacting care workers. With a dozen worker leaders and organizers, the new headquarters also gives the nation’s largest union of long-term care workers a significant footprint in the Sacramento region as represented workers begin contract bargaining with local counties in the coming months.
Some current legislative priorities for Local 2015 include:
-Caregivers Count Bill (AB 2079): Bill which would increase direct care staffing levels at skilled nursing facilities to improve the quality of care for seniors, the infirm, and the disabled.
-Secure Choice Board Retirement Bill (SB 1234): Bill which would require employers to afford California workers a retirement benefit.
-Under the “Dignity Can’t Wait” slogan, Local 2015 will continue to work closely with SEIU State -Council to ensure the 7 percent restoration of hours cut to the In-Home Supportive Services program.

Causeway Celebration Centennial to be held on Saturday, May 14

By Dean Haakenson of “Be Brave Bold Robot”

Image licensed to Zazzle Inc. All unauthorized use is prohibited. 752253d2-a0e8-42b2-a2d8-a94b688c426e

Image licensed to Zazzle Inc. All unauthorized use is prohibited. 752253d2-a0e8-42b2-a2d8-a94b688c426e

In 1916, the Sacramento region had a party to celebrate the then recently completed, long and luxurious Yolo Causeway Bridge. Even at just two lanes wide, it was cause for celebration that a pathway now existed to allow unimpeded automobile (and, I’d imagine, the occasional horse) transportation over the Yolo Bypass floodplain. I will refrain from admonishing any perpetuated car culture less worthy of celebration, but use this sentence to encourage eschewing of the car for fun walks and productive bicycle commuting whenever possible. The causeway, widened over the years and rebuilt to what we use today in 1962, is taken for granted, but the poster they made for the event remains striking: A pleasing deep blue field behind a fantastical illustration of a floating woman and old timey cars on the causeway, blending outward into some flowery filigree. I recently discovered it and it brought me to inspiration: I’d endeavor to stage an event on the centennial of the dates reflected on the 1916 poster, “May 11-14”. May 14, 2016 is a Saturday – perfect. Permission granted to have the show at the old wood infested, historical-feeling Fox and Goose Public House – Mastery. Permission granted by the California State Library to use the poster image – DISCO. Well… BORING PRE-SWING 1916 MUSIC… not quite the same ring as “DISCO”, I suppose… Where was I?

Yes, History. Historical date, Historical poster, Historical building… Historical Fundraiser? YES! DO YOU KNOW that the Sacramento County Historical Society gets most all of their operational funds from viewers like you and me? Historical Society grants are few and far between, so they rely on funds raised, and make and sell those fun paperback history books with sepia photos on the covers, written by people like William Burg. Bill Burg to his friends, he’s written several of those historical society commissioned history books, and some more in depth books of his own, about Sacramento, and the number of commuter trains and the population density that have both shrunken since.
Bill Burg will M.C. this show on May 14 and the funds will go to the Sacramento County Historical Society. Bill is very informative and entertaining when he holds forth historical lecture the likes of which he will in between bands on May 14.

We’ll start the night with an old timey (Historical?) three piece string band, “Jimbo, Johnnie and Junior”. The Stummies next will delight with poppy rock crispness. My band Be Brave Bold Robot will storytell you some folk rock genius? (question mark inserted to simulate humility). The Dirty Feet will reunite to hold forth (good phrase, no?) “Prog-rock” with a very original flavor. And 50-Watt Heavy, renowned local “straight rock”, “rough n’ ready” Rock Band that everybody loves. Lyrically Historical, Historically Informative, Communally Edifying. Please come out.

If you go:
What: Causeway Celebration Centennial
Why: To celebrate history and to raise funds for the Sacramento County Historical Society
Where: Fox and Goose (1001 R St., Sacramento)
When: Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m.
Cost is $10

March Drought Spotlight Honoree – Diane in Southport

By the city of West Sacramento

upcloseWhile running through the neighborhoods of West Sacramento, Diane loved how much color and variety she saw in other people’s front yards. These landscapes seemed like inviting places to relax. Her lawn, however, was just a place to walk by. On a winter day in the second year of the drought, she and her spouse decided to replace their grass and dead tree with a real sitting area, full of colorful plants that would provide variety all year round. Not only is their new front yard beautiful, it requires very little water. In fact, their water usage has been cut by more than half.

Diane used Next Door to inform the city about her drought tolerant yard. If you would like to nominate your yard, or someone else’s, email ryanb@cityofwestsacramento.org or call 617-5025. You can also use Next Door to make a nomination, as well as stay informed about neighborhood events. Visit nextdoor.com to get started.

To learn how you can make the change with your landscape, visit these sites:
Save Our Water – Landscaping 101
Be Water Smart – Top Ways to Save
EcoLandscape California – Design Plans for The New California Landscape
Beyond the Drought – Smart Irrigation Scheduler

West Sacramento City Council Newsletter

(Courtesy of the city of West Sacramento)

CITY MANAGER’S OFFICE

Yolo Leaders Forum
The city is hosting the next Yolo Leaders Forum on April 27, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Galleria. LAFCo staff is working on developing the topic “Families and Poverty” and is beginning to talk to subject matter experts and line up potential speakers.

Farmers Market Planning
Representatives from Parks and Recreation, Police, Fire, Community Relations, Community Development, Public Works and the West Sacramento Chamber met Thursday to plan for the Farmers Market season. The market will operate on Thursdays starting May 19, through August 25, on West Capitol Avenue in front of City Hall. Four Dig-In Dinners are scheduled, along with musical acts and other special events.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Revision Brewing CUP
The Planning Division received a Conditional Use Permit application from Revision Brewing to operate a brewery and taproom at 1000 Riverside Parkway. The brewery would be 22,374 square feet and would include a 3,100-square-foot taproom. The applicant indicated they plan to produce 1,200 barrels of beer in the first year and increase to 10,000 barrels a year within 5 years of opening. Staff anticipates the item going before Planning Commission at the April 21, meeting. Unfortunately, Revision Brewing was unable to secure a site in time for the City to submit a grant application to HCD on their behalf. They are moving forward with private financing.

Liberty Specific Plan
Liberty has resubmitted their Specific Plan version #3 for a 1,503 unit project. The last submittal of the proposed Specific Plan was in March 2015.

FIRE

Youth Fire Academy – CPAT
The WSFD Youth Fire Academy recently participated in the Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT) at the Fire Consortium Training Center in Sacramento. The FCTC provided proctors, orientation, and a practice CPAT for each cadet. This concluded the mock hiring process for the cadets and will be followed by the upcoming Tower Week to complete their training.

River Rescue
On the evening of March 14, at approximately 10:50 p.m. the West Sacramento Fire Department, in conjunction with Sacramento City Fire Department, responded to a reported male adult yelling for help from the Sacramento River. On arrival in the area, witnesses reported the male had been in the water for approximately ten minutes. Fire crews from both sides of the river began their search from the Tower Bridge downstream. West Sacramento’s Fire Boat 41 was launched from Miller Park where they began an upstream search. Sacramento Metro Fire’s helicopter joined the search and at one point located the victim downstream but quickly lost him due to debris and high water flows. All fire department units were redirected further downstream. Boat 41 responded back down stream where they were waived down by fisherman in a boat on the river who reported hearing the male yelling for help and directed Boat 41 to the area. Boat 41’s crew used search lights to find the male floating on his back with his face just above the water. The male was pulled into the boat and immediately transported to Miller Park for medical aid and transport to the hospital.

PARKS and RECREATION
Statewide Quality Rating Improvement System Consortium Meeting
On March 17, Early Learning Services Staff attended the Statewide Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) Consortium Meeting to learn more about the IMPACT grant we will implement next year, and find out how all counties in the state are planning to transition from current funding to the next iteration of QRIS dollars. Staff learned a lot and was able to network with other counties to see how they will leverage local funding to improve quality of childcare and preschool.

Community Center Turns Five (Learning Ladder is Four)
The children from Learning Ladder helped celebrate the big 5 for the Community Center by singing a medley of Happy Birthday songs. They practiced hard all week, and used their voices, and air guitars to convey the enthusiasm and excitement of the day. While the Community Center opened its doors five years ago, Learning Ladder turns 4 years old on April 4. On that first day, there were just three children enrolled. Now with a yearly waiting list of close to 100, it’s definitely a success.

Adult Softball is Back for the Spring
Adult Softball is back for the spring at Bryte Park as of March 18. The men’s league takes place on Mondays, while co-ed leagues will run on Thursdays and Fridays. All games are played on Softball fields #3 and #4. Follow the season on Instagram at @WestSacSports.

Adult Co-ed Soccer Began Play Sunday
The co-ed soccer season began spring league play March 20, at Bryte Park. The adult co-ed soccer league runs two seasons annually. Each team is guaranteed eight games with qualifying teams completing in the playoffs.

Club West Fantasy Baseball Tournament
Seventy A.S.E.S. After School Program middle school students from four different campuses participated in the Club West Fantasy Baseball Tournament on March 16, at Westmore Oaks Elementary School. Fantasy Baseball is a statistic based math enrichment program based on Major League Baseball player stats. Students have been playing Fantasy Baseball all school year long in preparation for the tournament. A team from Westmore Oaks A.S.E.S was the tournament champion.

Art Guild Exhibit at Gallery 1075
The West Sacramento Art Guild is displaying a collection of the varied artists within the local Guild. They held an opening reception on March 3, to celebrate their variety of exciting art mediums. The exhibit will be on display the entire month of March so please come by to see their talent.

POLICE

Police Services Coordinator
Welcome, Taylor Nelson. Taylor is filling a unique new position as a Police Services Coordinator. She has been a local resident for many years and comes to us with a strong background in community relations. The city is excited that she will be coordinating various types of community meetings, events and spearheading efforts to continue to build a better connection with our community.

Intervention
On March 17, officers were dispatched to a suicidal female on the “I” Street Bridge. We found the woman standing on-top of the bridge in tears and several bystanders were trying to talk her down. Officer Thruelsen, a seasoned veteran officer quickly arrived and he along with bystanders convinced the young woman to come off of the bridge. Our Mental Health Clinician quickly responded and was able to facilitate immediate mental health assistance. We captured a photo of the bridge, next is Officer Thruelsen buying a sandwich for the young woman and Thruelsen briefing the clinician. This is a job well done by members of our community who worked together with police and avoided a tragedy.

Employees Pass Commercial Driver’s Training Test
Last year we were able to send a few of our new employees through a Commercial Driver’s Training hosted by Caltrans concluding with them easily passing the rigorous testing process with the DMV and obtaining their commercial driver’s license. This year we were unable to make our schedules mesh with Caltrans to facilitate the need of new staff. Instead, Luke Forbis and Joe Scali, two of the drivers that received their license last year stepped up and trained our new employees Sean Green and John Keith. Both drivers had no problem passing the difficult tests required by the DMV and are now licensed to operate our commercial vehicles. Congratulations to all four.

WaterWise Workshop
The Environmental Services Division is hosting a WaterWise Workshop on March 28, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Community Center. This class will cover two major solutions to water waste: fixing toilet leaks and setting irrigation controllers. These topics were chosen because they often appear difficult for residents. We will show them how easy it is to solve these common issues. So far, 14 residents have registered. Residents may sign up through email or phone by contacting Ryan Burnett, Water Conservation Coordinator: ryanb@cityofwestsacramento.org or 916-617-5025.

UPCOMING EVENTS
March 23 – SRCSD/SASD Board Meeting (700 H St) – 9:30 a.m.
March 23 – Economic Development & Housing (Chambers) – 6 p.m.
March 24 – LAFCo Meeting (Woodland) – 9 a.m.
March 24 – WUSD Board Meeting (Chambers) – 6 p.m.
March 28 – Special Arts, Culture & Historic Preservation Commission Mtg. (Chambers) – 6 p.m.
April 2 – Summerfield Park Grand Re-Opening – 10 a.m.
April 4 – City/School 2×2 Meeting (Rm 238) – 5:30 p.m.
April 5 – Parks, Recreation & Intergenerational Services (Chambers) – 6 p.m.
April 6 – Port Commission – (Chambers) – 5:15 p.m.
April 6 – City Council Meeting (Chambers) – 7 p.m.
April 7 – Planning Commission (Chambers) – 6 p.m.
April 8 – Fire Apparatus Dedication Ceremony (Station 45) – 10:00 a.m.
April 11 – Environment & Utilities Commission (Chambers) – 6:00 p.m.
April 11 – YCTD Board Meeting (Woodland) – 7:00 p.m.
April 13 – Yolo/Solano AQMD – 9 a.m.
April 13 – SRCSD/SASD Board Meeting (700 H St.) – 9:30 a.m.
April 14 – WSAFCA Meeting – 11 a.m.
April 14 – Successor Agency Oversight Board (Chambers) – 3 p.m.
April 14 – WUSD Board Meeting (Chambers) – 6 p.m.
April 18 – Yolo Habitat Conservancy Board Meeting (625 Court St) – 5:30 p.m.
April 20 – UP4WS Executive Board (Rm 104) – 8:00 a.m.
April 20 – City Council Meeting (Chambers) – 7 p.m.
April 21 – Planning Commission (Chambers) – 6 p.m.
April 27 – SRCSD/SASD Board Meeting (700 H St.) – 9:30 a.m.
April 27 – City/County 2×2 Meeting (Rm 311) – noon
April 27 – Yolo Leaders Meeting (Galleria) – 4 p.m.
April 28 – LAFCo Meeting (Woodland) – 9 a.m.
April 28 – WUSD Board Meeting (Chambers) – 6 p.m.

Floodplain experiment points to water policy solutions to support both salmon recovery and agriculture

UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, the California Department of Water Resources and non-profit organization California Trout have launched an expanded experiment to better understand how the Sacramento River system can support healthy salmon populations.
For the first time this year, the agricultural floodplain habitat experiment will compare food web productivity and fish growth in three different kinds of river habitat. For the course of the experiment, a group of juvenile Chinook salmon will be held in underwater pens on flooded rice fields, as in years past; a second group will be held in pens floating in an agricultural canal; and a third group will be held in floating pens nearby in the Sacramento River. The experiment began on February 19 and the fish will be released after approximately four weeks.
Born in the gravels of mountain streams, Central Valley salmon migrate to the ocean where they grow for 1-3 years before returning to rivers to spawn. Juvenile fish that are larger and healthier when they enter the ocean have better odds of returning as adults.
“Floodplain habitats are essentially a bug buffet for small fish,” said Jacob Katz, PhD, Central California Director for California Trout. “Our previous results have shown that the food-rich floodplains appear to act as an important pit stop for juvenile fish, where they can fuel up on their downstream journey to the sea.”
Unfortunately for hungry salmon, more than 95 percent of natural floodplain wetlands have been eliminated by the development of the Central Valley for farms and houses. In previous years, this experiment has shown that off-season agricultural fields can provide critical floodplain habitat for endangered fish.
“Fish have little opportunity to reap the benefits of floodplains because they are nearly all cut off from river channels,” said Louise Conrad, PhD, of the California Department of Water Resources. “The Yolo Bypass is one of the last remaining active floodplain areas in the Central Valley. Enhancing the opportunity for salmon to access and use its floodplain areas could make a huge difference for salmon while also helping to recharge groundwater and improve flood safety.”
For four consecutive winters, experiments conducted on rice fields at the Knaggs Ranch property on the Yolo Bypass documented the fastest growth of juvenile Chinook salmon ever recorded in the Central Valley. These results suggest that through better planning and engineering, farm fields that produce agricultural crops in summer could also produce food and habitat for fish and wildlife during winter when crops are not grown.
“At this point, we feel confident that giving native fish access to the food-rich environment of the floodplain will play a critical role in recovering imperiled salmon,” said Carson Jeffres, field and lab director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. “Now we are interested in how food made on the floodplain can benefit the entire river and Delta.”
The experiment suggests that floodplains on farmland can also be thought of as “surrogate wetlands” that can be managed to mimic the Sacramento River system’s natural annual flooding cycle, which native fish species evolved to depend upon. Agricultural run-off water is used to flood the fields for the duration of the experiment. This recycled water fuels the floodplain food web before being flushed back into the Delta ecosystem through agricultural canals, adding to the food supply for all fish living in the system. No new water is used to conduct the experiment.
This natural process of slowing down and spreading out shallow water across the floodplain creates the conditions that lead to an abundant food web. Sunlight falling on water makes algae, algae feeds bugs, and bugs feed native fish and birds. In contrast, very little food to support aquatic life is produced when rivers are narrowly confined between levees.
“California’s water supply for both people and fish will be more secure when our water policy works with natural processes, instead of against them,” noted Dr. Katz. “This work leverages ecology as technology and points us toward efficient and cost effective real-world water solutions that support both fish and farms.”
Members of the media are invited to visit the experiment site at Knaggs Ranch on the Yolo Bypass near Sacramento between now and approximately March 15th, when the fish will be released to continue their journey to the ocean. The site is also open for tours on Wednesday afternoons throughout the course of the experiment. To make arrangements for a media tour, contact Nina Erlich-Williams at nina@publicgoodpr.com or by phone 510-336-9566 or 415-577-1153.

Did You Know Dogs Must Be Licensed in the City of West Sacramento?

Yep. It’s the law, falling under Yolo County Ordinance 6-1.406.
The reason is two-fold. First, licensing increases the likelihood that your pet will be reunited with you if he or she becomes lost. Second, licensing your dog also helps prevent against rabies outbreaks by requiring all dogs to be vaccinated for rabies.

It’s easy to get a new license or renew an existing one. Call Yolo County Animal Control at 916-375-6492 with questions.

Also please remember to keep your dog on a leash. West Sacramento’s leash law (Municipal Code Section 6.16.020, Dogs on leashes) states, “No owner shall permit his or her dog to be in any residential, commercial or industrial area, other than on private property where the dog is maintained by or on behalf of its owner, unless the dog is restrained by a leash not exceeding eight feet in length. The only exceptions are Police K-9s, dogs assisting those engaged in hunting with a license, and dog training or exhibitions conducted with the permission of the property owner.

Further, dog owners are required by law to clean up after their pets (Municipal Code Section 6.16.220).

Please be a responsible dog owner!  

Source: cityilights.org, the city of West Sacramento’s online news source

The city council unanimously approved outside contractor, NeighborWorks Homeownership Center, to provide loans for first-time homebuyers

At its Feb. 17 meeting, the council agreed to authorize the city manager to execute a 12-month contract with the consultant for an amount not to exceed $58,284 for administration of homebuyer assistance programs; and authorize the city manager, or his designee, to extend the contract for up to two additional 12-month terms.
In his report to the council, Raul Huerta, Sr. Program Manager for the city of West Sacramento, wrote that housing staff has historically administered these housing assistance programs, with the First Time Home Buyer Program only being administered by a consultant from 2009 through 2011. The FTHB Program has been one of the most popular city homeownership programs and has provided more than 60 low-income buyers the opportunity to own their first home.
However, because of the housing market collapse that began in 2007, demand for homebuyer assistance loans had been non-existent, according to Huerta’s report. With the resurgence of the housing market and continuing low interest rates, staff began to see an increased demand for homebuyer assistance loans. In response to the increased demand, housing staff applied for and received a $500,000 home grant award for homebuyer assistance in 2014. As a result of staffing changes and existing workload demands, staff has determined that administration of the FTHB program and possibly some components of other homeownership programs would be most effectively managed by a consultant. This approach would ensure efficient and timely processing of applications as well as timely expenditure of the 2014 home grant funds.
Criticizing the proposal, though ultimately voting in favor of the item, council member Bill Kristoff questioned why it didn’t pass through the city’s Economic Development Advisory Commission. “I think EDAC really deserves to hear this. One of the questions I have is –It looks like we have half-a-million-dollar-home-grant award, or we’re going to shoot for that — How many homes can be purchased with $500,000 for first-time homebuyers?”
In response, Huerta said noted the city has already been awarded the funding and that they are anticipating assistance for 10 to 12 homebuyers, depending on the amount of funding each homebuyer receives. “Unfortunately, because of the timing trying to get the contract, it didn’t jive with the current calendar for EDAC; so, we weren’t able to take the contract to EDAC,” he said.
Huerta said there is a waiting list of close to 80 people who are trying to apply for the first time home-buyer program. “We did open applications late last year and we’ll put some on hold until we process. We have a couple of (potential home-owners) that are going through the process and have several on queue to get their applications processed,” he said.
Pressing on, Kristoff reiterated with a limited amount of money from the home grant, it’s imperative that EDAC is involved. “This is a first-time homebuyer program. We are only really talking about eight residences possibly, and I don’t know of too many homes out there that are sitting at $25,000; $30,000; $40,000; $50,000. I don’t know of too many of those that wouldn’t require cash infusion to get that home up to par. So it’s important for EDAC to look at these kinds of things so they can flush out and we get the biggest bang for our buck, and now we’re contracting with some outside company, NeighborWorks, and we’re going to pay them 50 grand. I assume this is coming out of the homebuyers assistance program and so that is even less money… I bring this up because I really don’t want to see this kind of thing happen again.”
The city administers a number of homeownership programs including the First Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, which provides low-interest loans for low-income buyers; an Inclusionary Housing Program, providing units affordable to low- and moderate-income persons; and a Shared Equity Housing Program for low-income buyers. By way of these programs, the city promotes homeownership among a wide range of income levels to retain the vitality of older neighborhoods and to make homeownership an affordable option for the workforce.