Category Archives: Politics

Thousands of children in California’s Foster Care System require temporary out-of-home care

By Jan Dalske

There are estimated to be over 65,000 children in our state, and over 3,000 in the Sacramento area, who require temporary out-of-home care due to parental neglect, abuse, or exploitation. The largest percentages are African American and Latino children. Some may stay in foster care for just weeks, but, many of them will remain there for years. The children are of all ages and have a variety of needs, most importantly they need a stable home. They can no longer remain with their birth parents.
Foster parents provide a supportive and stable family for children who cannot live with their birth parents until family problems are resolved. In most cases, foster parents work with social services staff to reunite the child with birth parents. Foster parents often provide care to many different children. You must be certified to become a foster parent. Adults from the age of 18 to retirement age are welcome, as long as their health, energy, and desire are appropriate.
A license is required to operate a foster home. The process requires a licensing worker to visit your home and meet with you and other family members. Minimum personal, safety and space requirements are required by law. Foster parents work with social services staff to determine the type of child best suited for their home. There may be health issues. Some families may have preference for a boy, and some prefer girls. Foster parents receive a monthly payment to feed, clothe, and meet the material needs of the children placed in their care. Medical and dental coverage is provided through the Medi-Cal program. Foster parents who work outside the home must make appropriate child care arrangements.
The preferred placement of children who require out-of-home care is with relatives. If securing a home with relatives is not a possibility, foster parents and other caretakers can provide a supportive and stable environment for children who cannot live with their birth parents until family problems are resolved. In most cases, the foster parents and care providers work with social services staff to reunite the child with birth parents. Foster parents often provide care to many different children.
Children who require out-of-home care generally come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The juvenile dependency process involves a series of hearings and case reviews which may result in foster care placement, including placement with relatives. County placing agencies have indicated a particular need for foster homes that will provide homes for adolescents, for homes that have enough room to permit siblings to stay together, and for homes that may be used on an emergency shelter basis.
In some cases, children may require more intensive structured care. These children may be placed in licensed community care facilities that may have from six beds to more, or, in a much larger institution. These group homes offer individualized treatment. To become a group home provider, contact your local county welfare office.
In addition to children placed in foster family homes and group homes, foster family agencies provide another placement resource. Agencies are licensed to provide certified family homes for children who require more services than are provided in foster family homes, yet these homes are less structured than group homes.
Paradise Oaks Youth Services (POYS), a local Foster Family agency has been providing foster care services since 1993. They continue to certify foster families who are committed to providing safe and caring homes for foster children. All prospective foster parents interested in becoming certified with POYS must go through a screening and certification process. They will receive training, and be supported and monitored to ensure compliance with accreditation and Community Care Licensing standards.
If you are interested in learning more about their program, they can be reached at 916-550-2841.

West Sac heroes earn their capes: Senator Dr. Richard Pan’s “Unsung Heroes” celebrated with awards at the State Capitol

By Michele Townsend

20170926_110440Twelve recipients (two of them from West Sacramento!) were awarded their hero capes and senatorial certificates in a small gathering on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the State Capitol.
Senator Dr Richard Pan, with the assistance of Senator Kevin McCarty, called up each person that has received the Unsung Hero Award for each of the last 12 months. Pan explained why he chose each person and some of the wonderful things that they do for their communities. The heroes then stepped up for photos, handshakes, a beautiful gold embossed certificate… and their red, satin, hero cape…. complete with the “Unsung Hero” logo on it!
Pan explained that “it all started in 2015 when those four college students stopped a terrorist from shooting up a train in France. We got to talking about them being heroes, and how many people in our own community that, on an on-going basis, that really do so much to help our community and bring us closer together.” He wanted to highlight their stories and inspire other people to follow in their footsteps. He said, “The Unsung Hero Program is to shine the spotlight on those wonderful people that do so many great things for their neighborhoods and communities… often without any recognition.” He went on to say, “Through your work, your hobby, your passion… you are making a profound impact. These are the people, along with the people supporting these people, that make Sacramento such an amazing place!”
McCarty reiterated this train of thought when he said, “It is true that we often recognize heroes on the sports fields, heroes in life, and box office…and they do call us honorable…but ordinary people doing extraordinary things… throughout history… those are the ones who have made the biggest difference!”
Among the 12 recipients are two shining West Sacramento residents. Jose (Joe or Jojo) Ramirez, a local youth umpire and referee who is known through sports by several generations throughout the Sacramento area. He is encouraging to kids, and keeping the games fun!
Additionally, Leah Nelson, now 11 years old, was chosen as an Unsung Hero for starting “BecuzIcare” bracelets. These bracelets are handed out for a simple reason: to brighten someone’s day. She simply hands one to someone who looks like they could use some cheering up, and asks that when you see someone who might needs a boost of happiness to please pass it on to them, and ask them to do the same.
Leah told the News-Ledger, “I feel excited that I’m making a difference and that I’m impacting the community.” Leah also has a GoFundMe account on Facebook at HYPERLINK “http://www.gofundme.com/becuzIcare11″www.gofundme.com/becuzIcare11 if you would like to help her continue to spread kindness.
The remaining Unsung Heroes recognized included: Kay Temple Kirk –Program Manager for Gender Health Center, Chariss Fong – Teacher at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Carol McNerney – volunteer at Hart Senior Center, Ron Marshall – Volunteer for Sacramento Veteran’s Resources, Shonna McDaniels – Founder of Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum, Dino Alleger – Children’s Bike Programs including safety, repair and events, Teresa Kahl – volunteer docent, ambassador and horticulture assistant for the Sacramento Zoo, Yannina Casillas – advocate with Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jesse Archer – Youth Program Coordinator at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, and Dr. Vernon Walton – retired pediatrician.
Ramirez summed it up nicely when he said, in part, “I was honored to be among so many great recipients… especially Leah because she is such a young great community legend!”
Congratulations heroes!!
Thank you for being the change that you wish to see in the world.

West Sacramento’s first mayor to discuss city’s formation at public library event

The history of the birth of the official incorporated city of West Sacramento will be recalled and revealed by its first mayor, Mike McGowan, at a special community event on Sunday, Sept. 17. It is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Community Room of the Turner Library at 1212 Merkley Ave. in West Sacramento and is open to the public, free of charge.
Referring to West Sacramento’s early days as a new city, McGowan remembers himself and other newly-elected officials, who wondered, once they had a brand new city, “What they were going to do with it?” He will discuss the responsibility for developing it, and promises to “tell where all the bodies are buried.”
In addition to the talk, the afternoon begins with music from a small combo, featuring McGowan on percussion, and Cindy Tuttle on vocals, as part of the group. Tuttle was the first female mayor of West Sacramento. Refreshments will be served during the program.
The event is the fourth in a special speakers’ series, sponsored by the Friends of Yolo County Archives. The series celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Yolo County Archives, which operates an office and preservation facility in Woodland. The office houses historic records, photos, newspaper accounts, and other archival memorabilia of all kinds. It is open to the public by appointment on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. the archives facility is located at 226 Buckeye St. in Woodland. The office can be reached by phone at 530-666-8010 and by email at archives@yolocounty.org.
Yolo County Archives maintains a website at YoloArchives.com. An additional website for the Friends organization is: friendsoftheyolocountyarchives.org or friendsYCA.org.

Broadway Bridge on the horizon but where will it land in West Sac?

bridge
By Monica Stark

Back in May, a big piece of local news was that Shell Oil Products was selling its West Sacramento refinery to the Port of West Sacramento. At a Broadway Bridge open house at Arthur Benjamin Health Professions High School on Thursday, July 27, city officials revealed that area is currently being thought of as a preferred crossing of the Broadway Bridge, connecting South River Road and 15th Street to the Broadway corridor.

For about the next two years, the cities of West Sacramento and Sacramento are studying the environmental impacts of that location, as well as three other possible drop-offs (or alignments) into West Sacramento from Broadway. (See sidebar for more information.) In short, the alignments consider 15th Street in two spots and South River Road in three spots.

Hailing the Shell deal, City of Sacramento supervising engineer for the department of public works, Jesse Gothan stated: “To (West Sacramento’s) credit, they have that deal with Shell. That’s impressive to get that.”

The Shell refinery, according to press materials last spring, is a “strategic parcel which is located at the crux of future traffic and bike/pedestrian infrastructure including: Broadway Bridge, River Walk trail extension, Modifications to 15th Street between Jefferson Boulevard and South River Road, including relocation of the railroad tracks leading to the Port of West Sacramento.”

The demolition and clean-up of the six-acre Shell facility, which has been in operation since the 1940s, according to city of West Sacramento official press releases, sends “another strong signal to the real estate development community that the transition of the Pioneer Bluff district from legacy industrial operations to future riverfront mixed-use development continues to move forward.” The agreement provides a framework for Shell to phase out operations and to clean up all contamination on the property under the supervision of the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The Shell refinery aside, what about the others? Would those refineries be able to relocate? Those kinds of questions are currently being considered when weighing the options.

Engineers and scientists would do right by following science, not public opinion or politics, says Gothan.

Some of the feasibility issues other than the real estate of the refineries, surround habitat, whether there are tree impacts, impacts on the river way that are unique to one but not the other, if it’s in a flood zone, if there’s ground water contamination, impacts to mariners from the U.S. Coast Guard, where there are different utility lines that cross the river at one location versus another, and how West Sacramento can work around those existing utilities. The list goes on, and while the multiple sites are being considered for West Sacramento, Broadway is the only location on the Sacramento side. Long ago, Land Park residents as well as CalTrans vehemently opposed a crossing at Sutterville Road. Currently, the Land Park Community Association supports the Broadway Bridge and improvements on the street near Tower Theatre.

With the worst-case scenario of 2036 being the estimated time frame for the Broadway Bridge completion, if funding was at the fingertips of our local governmental agencies, the cities could get that $180 million bridge done between eight to 11 years.

Answering the questions — What are the potential cost increases for each of them? What are the schedule impacts for each of them? What are the environmental constraints impacts? — the two cities are embarking on a cost-benefit analysis of the alignments, explained Gothan.

“We’re going to carry forward a few of the alignments to the full environmental analysis and that will probably take about 18 months to complete. So, upon getting the environmental approvals, then the team will be looking at securing future design funds.”

Cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento have been planning a water front for quite a while. In 2003 a riverfront master plan was adopted for improvements on both waterfronts. In 2011, the cities adopted the Sacramento River Crossings study which looked at crossings at seven different locations. In 2014, the cities launched the I Street Bridge replacement project, which is the new bridge which connects Railyard Boulevard to C Street, and takes all the auto traffic off of I Street and puts it on this new bridge. Also that year, West Sacramento got funds to do a feasibility study for Broadway Bridge. It looked at several different alignments and some of the pros and cons. In 2015, West Sacramento got a $1.5 million Teichert grant to do the environmental reviews. The grant has a 50 percent match, so each city is contributing $750,000, of local transportation dollars to the overall budget of this phase.

The Broadway Bridge will be movable to allow boat passage and will carry cars, bikes, pedestrian traffic and accommodate future transit options, including a future streetcar alignment within the bridge itself. The project also includes installation of a bridge interconnect fiber optic line to allow the new bridge, and I Street and Tower Bridges to be operated by one system.

There have been some concerns for neighbors in Land Park regarding traffic impacting streets south of Broadway. Likened to the Freeport Boulevard Road Diet, which was officially completed last November, Gothan said Broadway improvements will make the area more bike and pedestrian friendly and that the city will be launching that project in September. “In the feasibility study, traffic doesn’t really cut through Land Park. It’s really the destinations of the central business district,” he said.

The new bridge will be defined as “neighborhood friendly” per the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.


Broadway Bridge alignments

The following options are being considered as drop-offs into West Sacramento from the Broadway Bridge. The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento are in environmental review for each of these options.

Alignment A
On the West side of the river, Alignment A connects directly to Jefferson Boulevard via 15th Street. The primary constraints, or factors, for this alignment are to avoid the Shell tank farm and to maintain the existing 15th Street alignment at the 5th Street intersection. To accomplish this, on the east side alignment A must start angling away from Broadway several hundred feet east of the railroad tracks. This serves to maintain adequate skew across the river. However, by doing so, it creates a significant skew at the railroad tracks and impacts the existing Chevron facilities on both sides of the tracks.

Alignment B
This alignment also connects directly to Jefferson Boulevard via 15th Street, but the 5th/15th Street intersection is reconfigured, which is consistent with the City of West Sacramento’s circulation plans for Pioneer Bluff. Alignment B also avoids direct impacts to the Shell tank farm. By realigning 15th Street, the alignment is able to avoid impacting the Chevron facilities on the east side of the river. The skew across the railroad tracks is similar to that of Alignment A.

Alignment C1/C2
Alignment C connects directly to 5th Street several hundred feet south of the 15th Street intersection. At approximately 2,000 feet long, this alignment is the shortest and most direct. The specific connection point at 5th Street will be required to meet the City of West Sacramento’s intersection spacing standards. By doing so, alignment C impacts the Shell tank farm. The alignment has two variations (C1 and C2). C2 aimed to optimize the bridge skew across the river and to minimize impacts to Phillips 66 facilities. An active Kinder Morgan petroleum line runs in the vicinity of Broadway and under the Sacramento River, which conflicts with alignment C2. Alignment C1 avoids the Kinder Morgan line, but also impacts Phillips 66 and creates a greater skew across both the river and railroad tracks.

Alignment D
Based on preliminary input and analysis, alignment D aims to balance the transportation benefits and impacts resulting from a new cross-river connection with the right of way constraints, and the real estate potential, for Pioneer Bluff, Stone Lock, and Southport. At the time of writing this technical memorandum, only informal coordination has been initiated with the USCG regarding alignment D. Based on the USCG preliminary feedback, the movable navigation span for alignment D would need to be wider than the 170 feet proposed for alignments A, B, and C to enable tug and barge traffic to negotiate the river bend immediately downstream. To confirm the navigation channel required, the cities will need to submit a formal request to the USCG. This request will also subsequently be submitted to the waterway users for a 30-day comment and response period. The project team has prepared preliminary cost estimates for alignment D to inform stakeholders and
decision-makers of the potential cost implications of the longer overall alignment and wider movable
span. A cost comparison table is included in the executive summary, and detailed assumptions are
included in the Cost Estimate Technical Memorandum. Alignment D impacts property owned by Ramos and Buckeye Terminals on the west side. On the east side, the alignment directly impacts Phillips 66 tanks south of Broadway and encroaches into Miller Park, requiring a significant configuration of the existing access to both the park and marina.