Category Archives: Politics

Showing Options and Building Confidence

By Michele Townsend

linda lunaA community meeting was held and hosted by Washington Unified School District for the families of Holy Cross Academy to introduce them to our school district. Many of the students that attend HCA are the second or third generation in their families that have attended that school. WUSD wanted to reassure the families that if their children transfer to Washington Unified, at HCA’s closing this spring, their children will not be forfeiting the quality of their education. “Our school district is nothing like it was 15 years ago,” said Superintendent Linda Luna.

Many years ago our school district was very poor. The buildings needed updating, not a single one of our schools tested at grade proficient, and our curriculum in all grades needed a complete updated overhaul. WUSD, every level of the entire staff, and all of the students and families have completely changed that.

Superintendent Luna explained the structure of our district, followed by an introduction of the Board of Education members in attendance, assistant superintendents, other administrators and principals from several elementary schools. She explained their positions, and the duties they perform. In addition she explained how we have evolved to our current district structure. As our district has grown and changed, there has been a need of altering existing positions and developing new ones. The teachers have all learned the new curriculum first, so that they can effectively teach it. New schools have been built, old schools have been renovated, and technology has been brought current. We now have award winning schools and students. We have students being recruited and being awarded scholarships from major universities nationwide, and we have a 95 percent graduation rate! We are definately NOT the district we used to be.

In preperation of school enrollment, many parents look at our schools state test scores and become concerned. However, if you look at a school’s state test scores, it does not project an accurate picture of their eduaction quality. Here’s why… Testing is done at a certain time, and ALL students must be tested. There are many sub groups that the children are grouped in to, however they do not include, and do not make adjustments for things like how long the student has been in the country, what kind of education were they getting prior to coming here, what language do they speak, is the test given in their language and in a structure that they understand, etc? As you can imagine, the accuracy of those numbers representing our quality of education quickly becomes faulty. So WUSD would like those interested in enrolling in our district to look what we have to offer, and the outstanding things that are occuring with our students and schools. Washington Unified has amazing programs and technology at every level for almost every demographic of student. Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Services, Amber Lee said “We try to know every student by name and by need, and if there is a need that we cannot help you with, we do our very best to rectify that!” The beauty of the programs that WUSD has addopted, is that they arent just “a class”, they are life changing, career building programs that are set up to transition from primary to secondary to college to career.

River City High School is now an amazing place. If you have never taken a tour of it, you really should! (They offer them every year shortly before the new school year begins – however you can arrange it if you need to at any time) The departments and special programs range from robotics, to forensics, to engineering, to culinary, to farming to the fine arts and so many more. We have career and community building opportunities and more students attending college than ever in the history of school in West Sacramento.

One mother of an HCA student expressed her concern of bullying. Amber Lee in combination with Westfield Elementary Principal Roxanna Villasenor explained that in addition to the no tollerance rule, they go beyond that by teaching and incorporating anti-bullying techniques on a daily basis.

They bring in the Reach One Alliance, with Kevin Bracy throughout the year. (He is amazing!) Principal Villasenor also told about a monthly get together for coffee between parents and principal that is informal and casual where they discuss any topic, creating a family type of community within the school.. Another father/grandfather of HCA students asked about prayer, and religeon practices at school.

Much to most people’s surprise there is a Bible club at River City, as well as a group of Muslim students that pray together. One thing that was consistant throughout every administrator, principal, board member or teacher who attended the meeting was that there is an open door policy throughout the district. All families are encouraged to call, come in or log onto the district website with any questions, concerns, or needs!

Swearing In For Mayor, Council Members

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Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, along with Council Members Beverly “Babs” Sandeen and Quirina Orozco were sworn into office at a City Hall ceremony last night.

Cabaldon and Sandeen were re-elected to office. Orozco beat a strong field to replace recently retired Council Member Bill Kristoff. It was the Mayor’s 10th time taking the oath!

Also at the meeting, West Sacramento resident and Olympic athlete Kim Conley was presented with a proclamation recognizing her achievements as a world class runner and a role model for the West Sacramento community.

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