Category Archives: Politics
Council Member Bill Kristoff Retires After Thirty Years of Service
By Jan Dalske for the News Ledger
Bill Kristoff will officially retire on November 16th when he attends his last city council meeting. His friends, family and colleagues came together recently at the West Sacramento City Hall Galleria for a retirement party. Bill has served on the city council for thirty years. Bill proudly states that “for every decision that West Sacramento made since the city was incorporated in 1987, he was a part of it”. He is the only original member of the West Sacramento City Council who is still serving.
The voters in West Sacramento first elected Bill Kristoff on Jan. 1, 1987, when they elected the first West Sacramento City Council: Mike McGowan, Fidel Martinez, Bill Kristoff, Ray E. Jones and Thelma Rogers. During Bill’s tenure he served as City Mayor in 1990, 1996, and 2001. He was elected by the WSCC in 2010 to serve a one year term as Mayor Pro Tem. Bill Kristoff was most recently re-elected to a four-year term on the West Sacramento City Council in November 2012.
He represents WS on the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency Joint Powers Authority, the River City Regional Stadium Financing Authority, the Local Agency Formation Commission, and the Regional Water Authority. He also serves as an alternate representative on the Sacramento County Regional Sanitation District Board and the Water Resources Association.
Bill feels that the city of West Sacramento is a small city that has encouraged big growth opportunities. The city is made up of residential, industrial and business components. He is most proud of helping pass Measure B, which encouraged industrial and business growth. He always tried to respect the city’s residents, listened to their concerns, and then followed up with actions.
When you ask Mr. Kristoff’s what his top priority was while he served on the city council, he will tell you that it was supporting the efforts to maintain the security of the levees that surround the City of West Sacramento. “Flood protection is better than we’ve ever had,” states Mr. Kristoff. “But levee standards change.” He acknowledges that levee protection requires continued attention. He also focused on the quality of the City’s infrastructure, which lead to improving roads and sidewalks.
While Bill served on the city council, West Sacramento added improvements to the Bryte Bend Water Treatment Plant, and the Harbor Boulevard interchange was widened. Other projects that the city council worked on include the Daniel C. Palamidessi Bridge, River Walk Park, Club West Teen Center, Raley Field and the River Cats team.
When the city charter concept of government was discussed, Bill agreed that West Sacramento did not need a charter. West Sacramento could see no benefits to leaving its general law designation. “West Sacramento has been blessed with great people with knowledge and outside the box thinking” is the way Bill sees it.
With the expansion of the 64,000-square-foot city hall, and the nearby community center, all of which are located on West Capitol Avenue, new retail and restaurant businesses were encouraged to open. Retail businesses were encouraged to locate in West Sacramento. The Nugget, Target and IKEA all encourage the residents of Southport to shop locally. West Capitol Avenue has been established as a pedestrian-friendly segment of West Sacramento’s growing downtown area.
During the years that Bill Kristoff served as a city council member many redevelopment projects were accomplished. The West Sacramento Redevelopment Agency improved the quality of life for West Sacramento residents by eliminating blight, renovating the housing stock available, creating new high quality housing opportunities, upgrading West Sacramento’s infrastructure and promoting the city as a prestigious office and business address.
Some of the more notable achievements that were completed during Bill’s time on the council include the Margaret McDowell Senior Housing complex, the Riverwalk Park, Agape Mobile Home Park infrastructure improvements, West Capitol Avenue streetscape, The West Sacramento Community Center, which is located next to the Sacramento Transit Center, Los Rios Community College campus, and the Yolo County Library. Metro Place at Washington Place, which features a variety of housing choices, and was completed in 2003.
Mr. Kristoff earned a Bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State University. This accomplishment followed two years of service in the U.S. Army. He is a lifelong resident of West Sacramento. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for thirty eight years before he retired as a Postal Manager in 2002. He is married to Brenda, and they have two grown daughters, Nicole and Jaclyn.
Councilmember Beverly Sandeen summed it up this way: “Bill is a true statesman. He leaves a great legacy, particularly with his focus on getting our flood protection and other key city infrastructure projects on place. He helped launch the West Sacramento Foundation to help the nonprofit organizations and school programs have an impact on youth. He has been a wonderful colleague on council.”
While Bill Kristoff will be remembered for being fiscally responsible, and helping the city complete several milestones, which include IKEA, and flood protection initiatives, among his other contributions. Bill still has his dreams for his city. He would like to see a hospital located along the river. Residents could receive emergency care faster, and the hospital would offer good paying jobs to locals. Another dream includes the establishment of a botanical garden at the port.
The residents of the City of West Sacramento are grateful for the 30 years of dedicated service that Bill Kristoff has given them and wishes him a happy retirement. But something tells me that Bill will still be involved, even if he is just watching from the sidelines. Maybe the newly elected city council members will help Bill accomplish his dreams.
Ribbon cutting to celebrate new roadway: the Village Parkway North
Roadway to improve traffic flow from Southport to the Tower Bridge Gateway
The City of West Sacramento has completed the Village Parkway North connecting to South River Road (and the Mike McGowan Bridge) south to Village Parkway at Stonegate Drive. In celebration, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, city manager Martin Tuttle and other supporters held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14. The 0.4 mile roadway is the next step in completing the connection envisioned by the City’s General Plan to provide a convenient north-south traffic alternative to congested Jefferson Boulevard. This new roadway includes extra wide separated bike lanes, street lights, sidewalks, two roundabouts, bus stop turnouts, plus landscaping and shade trees.
The Village Parkway North Extension provides a key connection between Southport neighborhoods and the growing Bridge District, which includes Raley Field and The Barn. The extension will also provide a link to Tower Bridge Gateway, with its east-west access across the city to the Tower Bridge. Village Parkway North also connects to the new six-mile Village Parkway South, which was opened in June as part of the City’s Southport Levee Improvement Project.
Courtesy of the City of West Sacramento
Mediation Battle Continues
By Michele Townsend
The negotiation battle between West Sacramento’s Teachers and Washington Unified School District (WUSD) continues after yet another bargaining meeting has come and gone, and still no settlement has been made. Public schools are funded by the government through federal, state, and local taxes, and most are part of a larger school system. Elected school board members and education officials implement and oversee strict rules and procedures that public schools must follow. These rules and procedures not only include what needs to be done, but also how things will be done, and by whom. Salary negotiations are no exception. The negotiation/mediation process occurs in steps of give and take (you hope!), until a settlement is made. Each step in the process has strict guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed to take place and the deadline in which that step must be completed by. The current negotiations began in May 2015. They begin when both parties (WUSD and Washington Teacher’s Association , or WTA) bargaining teams sit at the table together to understand each parties’ interests. When satisfaction between the two parties cannot be reached, a third party, or Mediator, is assigned to the negotiations. The impartial mediator listens to both sides and tries to come up with a satisfactory compromise. If no resolution is obtained by the mediator the mediator then brings in a Fact Finder. A Fact Finder is now in charge of the official panel. Once a Fact Finder is assigned, the parties do not sit together to negotiate. The Fact Finder meets with a mediator representing each team. to gather all information from both sides. The fact finding meeting was held on Thursday, August 25th. The mediator reportedly spent a considerable amount of time with both parties. All were optimistic, but again no settlement was reached. When a settlement is still not reached through mediation, the next step is “Fact finding”. A fact finder is appointed and agreed upon by both parties as a neutral person to listen and mediate between parties. Both parties have a mediator that works with the appointed fact finder. This is the step that the bargaining process is currently at.
On August 30th, 2016 the fact finding meeting was held. After 11 grueling hours the fact finding was unsuccessful. Don Stauffer, President of WTA, posted on WTA’s Facebook page “Technically, we are still in bargaining, and can continue to meet with the District. Currently, however, there are no further bargaining sessions scheduled”. Since the negotiations are still legally under fact finder control, all parties are “very harshly instructed” not to speak about ANY details regarding the negotiations. The one thing that all parties agree on, is that they are frustrated and exhausted. It seems they all felt “it was very close, but just couldn’t quite get there”. Both the WTA and the WUSD are providing as much information as possible to the public, and both have a lot of information on their websites.
As we saw at the multiple school board meetings where there were so many people in attendance that the room could barely fit everyone, as well as the protest held last Monday at River City High School by students and parents, this is not just any old dispute. We’re talking about our teachers. These are the people that not only provide our children’s academic instruction, but help our kids grow emotionally and socially as well. Many of them commute for miles, knowing that they could make more money somewhere else, but staying here because they love our kids, our town, and our district. They love our diversity, and enjoy seeing our children thrive. Many of them have been here through all of the growth and changes that have occurred in the last decade. They have gone through the training of new curriculum, and then again when additional new curriculum was adopted. Some of them were even our teachers, and now they are teaching our children. It is for these reasons, and so many more, that this topic has our community up in arms. We ALL support our teachers. This does, in fact, include the district and the board members.
In addition to the 150 students and adults that attended the protest that was held in front of RCHS, there are a number of parents that feel they can’t just sit around and wait. They want to make sure that the school board and the administration know how strongly they feel about the support for their teachers. As reported last week in the West Sacramento News Ledger, a group of parents held a meeting outside of school to plan a district wide “sit out” for Sept. 6th. the idea now, is to get the administrations attention about how strongly the community feels about taking care of the teachers that take care of us! What WUSD would like to explain is that the administration is not involved any decisions at this point, as the official panel has full control now. In addition, WUSD hears and knows the concern of teachers every day, and their “attention” will have no baring on the outcome. The school district and yes, the teachers, cannot stress enough that though they appreciate the passion and conviction, they feel that a sit out is the wrong way to show support. Parent Daisy Po’oi has created a Facebook page at Parentssupport#WTA. She is posting information about the negotiations, discussions, and has posted a draft letter of support that can be sent to the Board of Education. She said “The page will evolve and include more as the situation progresses and the community comes together”. There has been some negative feedback as well. Many parents are concerned that this topic is taking up class time and that it is not appropriate conversation for school. It is, in fact, talked about at schools, but that is because school is the common ground. But rest assured, it is not likely to be the staff that brought it up, nor are they allowing it to be disruptive. In fact, Education Code prohibits it. Both the teachers, and the children that I spoke to assured me that this is not, in fact, a classroom topic. The older kids who understand what is going on want to show their support and opinion. So far, they have all done it respectfully and appropriately. As for the younger kids, they may not understand the topic, but they may have heard people mention that we need to stick up for their teachers. Chances are, they are just trying to do that, and it doesn’t matter why.
It’s not just the parents that want to know what’s going on, however. School board member Coby Pizzotti has stated that he not only welcomes, but encourages, all community members, students and parents that want to show support, or speak to him regarding this topic, to please contact him. He would like to hear what everyone has to say between now and September 26.. Mr Pizzotti has stated that he can be reached by email; firstname.lastname@example.org, cell phone, West Sacramento community discussion board, community forum, private message on Facebook, or by letter. He also stressed that he will do his VERY BEST to answer every correspondence that he receives as quickly as possible. He really does want the community’s input so that he can present it to the board prior to the release of the fact finding report on September 26 by the neutral member of the fact finding panel.
For more information and clarification regarding the negotiations visit WTA’s facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wtateachers/?fref=ts or WUSD’s website at http://www.wusd.k12.ca.us/Departments/Communication http://www.wusd.k12.ca.us/Departments/Communication—Community-Outreach/Negotiations-Updates/index.html. You may also call WUSD Human Recourses Dept. at (916)375-7600, ext. 1046.
Students and parents protest for raising teachers’ wages and settling on a contract
By Monica Stark
There has been a tumultuous start to the beginning of this school year in West Sacramento. With gossip of teachers striking and high school students texting messages to their peers that they support their teachers and therefore they all should skip school, the atmosphere, suffice to say is one of uneasiness.
Everyone wants things to settle between the Washington Unified School district and the teachers’ union, the Washington Teachers Association, before they get worse.
No one seems to want a strike, but things are dire in West Sac. According to teachers, this is the second year with no contract.
In response to various questions, Giorgos Kazanis, spokesman for the Washington Unified School District said the district “will continue to keep our community apprised of changes and updates involving our contract negations process. If members of the community would like to seek additional information, they can visit our WUSD Negotiations Updates webpage or call our Human Resources Department at (916) 375-7600, ext. 1046.”
Teachers and the district go into fact-finding this week with a neutral party meaning all the facts regarding the teachers’ situation should be brought to the table from both sides.
Meanwhile, about 200 students held a protest at River City Monday before first period in front of the school, a preview of what’s to come Tuesday, Sept. 6, as parents and students are planning a massive sick-in. Parents will call their child’s school and say the reasons for the absence is “sick: settle teacher contracts now.”
A junior at RCHS, Pierre Clay, gave a shout out to his favorite teachers: Mr. Malec, (Marlaina) Schroeder, Ms. Majia-Hays, Ms. Wiley (rest in peace), and all the teachers at Southport. He said he was out Monday supporting the teachers in protest because he doesn’t like that they get paid less than most others throughout the state. He’s afraid of having “garbage substitutes” that would replace the teachers if there was a strike.
Similarly Oscar Flores, also a junior, said just wearing green isn’t going to do anything, but having lots of kids miss school will have an impact. He spoke about one of his teachers who lives out of the area but chooses to teach in West Sacramento for its diversity even though she could make $14,000 more a year elsewhere. He is protesting in support of her (and other teachers).
Mariah Alves, a senior and a dancer, fears dance will be taking away, because extracurriculars aren’t being funded. She plans on missing school on Sept. 6 because “nothing will happen (change) if I go to school.”
The WTA does not support the sick-in, WTA board member and Bridgeway Island teacher Douglas Knepp told the News-Ledger.
The settlement decision after the fact-finding can take up to four weeks and so having the “sick-in” next week is meant to influence the outcome and prevent a strike.
Parents are rallying for the teachers. Many parents grew up in the area and have enjoyed watching their children have the same teachers as they did. And it’s those long-term teachers parents are afraid of losing.
Mom Daisy Po’oi said “what this means is that not only have they not been compensated fairly, they have been required to work more hours under the same pay and the increase that was promised to them last year was never met. These are long time teachers who have been around over eight years and chose our district, not the ones they pass by every day on their way to work.”
Po’oi held an hour-long meeting at Round Table Pizza on Jefferson Boulevard with parents on Sunday night to help explain the teachers’ situation and to organize parents in rallying together to have their kids miss school on Sept. 6. To them, this action could have a huge impact, as attendance equals dollars to public school districts. They rather have a bunch of kids miss one day and positively influence negotiations to prevent a strike, which could mean many more days of no school. Parents mentioned there just aren’t enough substitute teachers at the district if there was a strike to cover the situation. According to teachers, over the last two years, the District’s revenue has increased 20 percent. WTA’s last salary proposal is seven percent. “Given this, our salary proposal is reasonable, and WUSD can afford it – especially since we’re still so far behind neighboring districts,” Don Stauffer told the board of trustees at the Aug. 25 meeting.
In speaking at the school board meeting during public comment, Stauffer gave the following overview: “Over the last two years, the District’s revenue has increased 20 percent. WTA’s last salary proposal is seven percent. Given this, our salary proposal is reasonable, and WUSD can afford it – especially since we’re still so far behind neighboring districts.”
Stauffer broke down a recent WUSD bargaining update. He quoted the district: “Stating from the outset, we (the district) have presented our best possible offers choosing not to engage in the all too traditional form of back and forth negotiating, prolonging the process and leaving both sides in a state of uneasiness.” But to the union, negotiation is the process of presenting proposals back and forth between parties, eventually coming to an agreement. “There is no traditional vs. other types negotiations. Back and forth is negotiations. What this statement says is that the District never intended to bargain in good faith,” Stauffer said.
The next statement Stauffer criticized – prolonging the process and leaving both sides in a state of uneasiness – he said after 10 months after bargaining started with no end in sight, “I’ll leave you to judge whether that prolonged the process or not. Also, the last part of this sentence on ‘uneasiness’, the fact that you (The School Board) feel the need to have a police presence any time there’s a public meeting, tells me that perhaps you’re feeling a state of uneasiness. I don’t know what alternative reality the person or persons who wrote this update lives in, but clearly, the District’s bargaining strategy has been an abject failure.
“In any case, even though the update was unsigned, it was posted on the District website with District letterhead. Since you are the Trustees of the District, that means you own the update, it’s yours.
“The Superintendent has been here now for a little over a year. In what started with positive communication and hope has turned into anger and mistrust. And, we’ve had a 15 percent staff turnover in this year. If that’s the District’s goal, then you succeeded admirably. Regardless of what happens from this point on, it’s going to be hard to regain that trust. Again, you are the Trustees and you own it.
“There are many good things going on in our District: We have great kids. Everyone who teaches here knows that we have great staff (though missing a number of really good veteran teachers who decided to leave). There’s dual immersion, Farm to Fork, MESA, robotics, and on and on. I would hate to see that all go to waste.”
Timeline of the negotiation process:
Negotiations: Start date – Oct. 27, 2015
Mediation: Start date – May 20, 2016
Fact finding: May 20 – Aug. 30, 2016
Mother of alleged gang member discusses son’s charges and her involvement with Broderick is Not a Gang
Editor’s Note: The following was provided by West Sacramento mother Sonia Rodriguez when asked to provide details about her son in a way to humanize the neighborhood youth who, in addition to serious crimes, has been labeled as a gang member, even though she said he was never affiliated with a gang. Some of it has been edited to fit the newspaper.
Name: Elijah Rodriguez
Age: 21 (now) 17 at time of arrest
On May 5, 2012, Elijah Rodriguez was arrested at school around Franklyn Way and Glide Avenue for attempted murder. The charges were dropped to assault with a deadly weapon. He took a deal for 12 years with two strikes.
He was charged with:
CT1 PC 245 (a) (1) assault with a deadly weapon (3 years), CT1A PC 186.22 (b) gang enhancement (5yrs)
CT2 PC 245(a) (1) assault with a deadly weapon (1 year) CT2B PC 12022.7 (a) inflicts great bodily injury (3 years)
Statement from Sonia Rodriguez
I completely understand what my son did was wrong and believe he deserved to go to prison. What he was charged with is a very serious matter that we don’t take lightly. However, I have a problem with a couple things.
The first being the amount of time Elijah got. He took a deal for 12 years. He was threatened with 25 years to life if we went to trial granted there were no deaths in this case. Because of the “safe zone” if this crime would have happened one block over, my son wouldn’t have gotten gang enhancements which added five years to his prison term. I take issue with the 12-year sentence because in 2008 my 17-year-old daughter was hit and killed by a hit and run drunk driver and the offender only got a 9-year sentence and served less than three years for killing my daughter and injuring my daughter’s friend. It just doesn’t seem balanced.
The second thing I have a problem with is my son receiving the gang enhancements and being labeled a gang member. I take issue with the way (the officer) used determined my son was a gang member. The officer has never had contact with my son before this. In court the officer said my son did this to move up in rank with the ‘Broderick Boys’. My son was a dumb kid that did something stupid. This had no rhyme or reason. He wasn’t doing this to be promoted in a gang he was never a part of to begin with. Just because the officer says it, doesn’t make it true. My son is an aspiring rapper and has hundreds of notebooks with raps he wrote. The officer used those as evidence of ‘criminal activity’. The raps were not about rainbows and sunshine, that’s for sure but none on the raps were about gangs or being in gangs. They were stupid raps my son made up, he was a teenage boy. My son is not and was not a gang member. My son was never served with the gang injunction before this. My son has never admitted to being in a gang.
Did my son know kids that said they were in a gang? Of course, these are kids he has gone to school with since preschool through high school. But that is not a crime nor does it make you a gang member. West Sacramento is a very small community. Not every boy in Broderick is a gang member. In prison, my son is not affiliated with a gang. He is considered an ‘other’ meaning he is not in a gang.
However, his paperwork says he is a Norteño gang member and that has caused him problems with other inmates and guards. He has to explain how Yolo County labeled him a gang member but he is not. If he was a former gang member he would be considered a ‘drop out’. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but in prison apparently it is a big deal. It affects how other inmates treat you. My son is okay right now but he is a young impressionable boy with 10 years left in prison. He will have spent a large majority of growing up years around hardened criminals. I can’t say how he will be when he gets out of prison and is a man of 31 years of age. This will affect my son for the rest of his life. Not only while he is in prison but when he gets out and tries to move on with his life.
While in prison he has gotten no write ups and is taking college courses. The last we heard from our son was three weeks ago. He was transferred to a prison in Arizona from The California Correctional Center in Susanville, California. He called us and said they told him he was being transferred again to a prison in Mississippi. We have no further information on his whereabouts. He has been in prison for the past two years. He has 10 more years to serve.
Since joining Broderick is a Community, Not a Gang I have heard story after story about how these kids are being charged as adults, labeled as gang members, and threatened with 25 years to life and offered a deal of 12 years regardless of the crime. It just doesn’t seem right. How can every boy in Broderick be a gang member? Yolo County has the highest direct filing in the state. How can the DAs justify this? If our boys were not criminal gang members before prison, what do they think they will come home as?
Broderick is a community, not a gang: New nonprofit stems from racial profiling of neighborhood boys
By Monica Stark
Editor’s Note: This is the first part in a series about the Broderick Boys and neighborhood efforts to bring attention to racial profiling and what community members call unjust sentences. One of the stories in the series will focus on the police perspective.
On Saturday, April 23, West Sacramentans came together at the West Sacramento Police Department to rally against the gang injunction which members of a newly formed nonprofit, Broderick is Not a Gang, say has caused four juveniles to be detained in custody for more than a year.
In June 2015, four youths — Angelo Yabes, 14, Joseph Gomez, 15, Xavier Vincent Perez, 16, and Xavier Westford, 17 — were detained and accused of three separate robberies of pizza delivery drivers despite statements from all the drivers indicating they could not identify who assaulted them. District attorney attempts to charge them as adults and under gang enhancements failed causing all charges to be dropped, only to be picked up against under a “995” (which states the Judge made an error). Yet, Double Jeopardy prohibits a person from being charged twice for a crime. In another attempt to prosecute, on April 7, the DA announced and filed grand jury indictment charges against the four youths as adults.
Their mothers are taking a stand to stop the gang injunction with Broderick is a Community, Not a Gang. This is for the four sons, they say, are being victimized and incarcerated by the gang injunction. The nonprofit will hire legal counsel to overturn the gang injunction in West Sacramento.
The injunction puts several restrictions upon those it affects, including a curfew, making it illegal to associate or assemble with other alleged members, trespassing and drinking anywhere in public view.
Activists say the people of Broderick are a close-knit bunch and that they’ve known each other for years, were raised next door to each other and many have helped raise their children together as well.
Residents of the area say the community has been torn apart by the injunction. “Friends and family members can no longer go to family barbecues or attend each other’s children’s birthday parties,” said a community activist. “They can’t go to the movies together; they can’t attend night school because classes get out after the curfew. This injunction harms the quality of life of our community.”
In a letter to the editor of the Woodland Daily Democrat, Becky Olvera of Woodland, back in 2010 wrote that prior to West Sacramento building James Marshall High School in the early 1950s, students from east Yolo were bused to and attended Woodland High School for years; as were students from Knights Landing, and perhaps also from the town of Yolo. “Those students congregated on campus in their respective city groups. The Woodland students identified and referred to the out of town boys by where they lived. Thus they imposed the identification names, such as the Knights Landing Boys, the Bryte Boys, the West Sac Boys, the Broderick Boys, and the Yolo Boys. Later the Yolo Boys’ name was changed to The Yolo Cats,” Olvera wrote.
She wrote about the beginning of the West Sacramento Gang Injunction Trial. “In 2008 Judge Kathleen White imposed the preliminary injunction, and now the District Attorney’s office is seeking a permanent injunction for a certain area called the ‘safety zone’ in West Sacramento, which I assume incorporates only the streets that once were the streets of the city of Broderick before it became part of West Sacramento. As an interested citizen I sat in on the proceedings the first week when the civil trial began last month. The District Attorney’s office, to put it in the simplest term, intends to prove that a triangle exists. Namely, that the Broderick Boys, Nortenos, and street gangs mean one and the same thing, and that they are intertwined and prevalent in the ‘safety zone’ area.”
Back in 2007, for the same newspaper, the author of today’s News-Ledger article wrote about Billy Wolfinton who went by the name “Bouncer.” Rather than serving all 350 alleged members of the gang, the district attorney served just him. Reisig said that Wolfington, a self-proclaimed Broderick Boy, was seen talking to other gang members at the time the gang injunction was served. “It would be an absolute certainty that he told other gang members,” Reisig said back then. The DA said that Wolfington had a tattoo on his chest that says ” Broderick “, was wearing Broderick ‘s gang color – red – and has been arrested many times in relation with the Broderick Boys for possession of drugs and guns.
But Wolfington didn’t show up in court. And because he didn’t come to court to accept his injunction, Justice Thomas Warriner placed it on the entire neighborhood.
The injunction’s three-square-mile radius which previously included Doss Way, Brookfield, Franklyn Boulevard and Morrison Creek has been extended out to Interstate 80, activists say. Under the provisions of the order, violating any of the activities listed on the junction becomes a crime. For instance, if an employee of a gang member litters or is present on the premises of an uninhabited or abandoned apartment or building, that person is in violation.
Under the West Sacramento Police Department’s list of criteria for gang membership, any two of eleven criteria must be met to be considered a gang member. But the criteria are broad, including items such as: “Individual wears gang clothing/colors” and “Individual displays gang graffiti on personal belongings,” without specifying which colors, clothing or graffiti are considered gang-related.
The organizers of the April event also included members of the National Latino Information and Resource Center, the ANSWER Coalition, the Labor Council For Latin American Advancement, ALF-CIO, the Brown Berets de SacraAztlan, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the West Sacramento Committee To Boycott Driscoll.
Being an election year, the group has continued to take action with a voter registration drive that will impact the Nov. 8 elections. One of the group’s founders, Maria Grijalva, stated she will run for city council. “This November a new wave of West Sacramento residents will be raising their voice with their vote and will end the gang injunction.”
“The reason we formed the nonprofit is that four boys were accused of a pizza delivery robbery. And now they have a $2.5 million bail. Even though there was no violence, they are being threatened with life sentences. Their mothers are the ones who are being directly impacted… A public defender told us that it’s common knowledge that Yolo County uses direct filing to put away Latinos for life and to get rid of them in Yolo County,” Maria said.
Mother Sonia Rodriguez, whose son Elijah is profiled in this issue of the News-Ledger, said she got involved with the nonprofit as soon as she heard about it. “It is too late for my son but I believe this is an issue that will not go away. I speak for the group telling my sons story whenever I am asked, I attend the weekly meetings, I send out donation requests to help fund our efforts, I try and help out whenever and with whatever I can.”
Rodriguez would like the nonprofit to educate the community about the dangers involved in having the gang injunction in West Sacramento/Broderick Area, to remove it, to stop the direct filing on future offenders, and to have an investigation on gang officers as to their evidence gathering. “(The officer’s) word should not be law on our kids; it is too high of a price for our kids to pay for one man to determine. I don’t believe every teenaged boy that gets into trouble is a gang member. I am scared for future generations if this is not done. I don’t believe that having pride in your neighborhood makes you a gang member.”
Further, she said she would like to help change the way the police department interacts with Broderick youth. “I would like to help provide the youth of West Sacramento and Broderick a place they can go to get off the streets, to see a free youth center or free sports center opened in our neighborhood, (not only Southport) so that at-risk, low income kids have easy access to it. I would like to see these kids given a chance in life to succeed. I know it is a lot but you have to dream big. The ultimate goal is to make the Broderick community a better place to live and raise your children.”
Water regulations are recommendations, not mandates
The Stage Three Water Shortage for the City of West Sacramento was lifted on June 1. This change in water regulation has been shared through social media channels and will be in the June utility bill.
It is recommended that watering return to three days a week. This is a recommendation, not a mandate, explained Ryan Burnett, City of West Sacramento Water Conservation Coordinator. “Our hope is to offer more watering while still encouraging water conservation,” he wrote in response to an inquiry from the Ledger after readers questioned this year’s watering schedule. Burnett provided the following recommended watering schedule, as well as current water waste prohibitions:
Recommended watering schedule:
Addresses ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
Addresses ending in 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
Water waste prohibitions:
1. Allowing irrigation to run-off to streets and gutters
2. Using a hose not fitted with an automatic shut-off nozzle to wash a vehicle
3. Irrigation of landscape during rainfall
4. Running an irrigation system that applies water to an impervious surface
5. Running an irrigation system that is in disrepair