The Rise of Urban Farms

The Rise of Urban Farms

Volunteer Day at Lake Washington Farm By Bia Riaz The City of West Sacramento, an urban center situated in the midst of Yolo County’s rich rural farm traditions and home to More »

West Sacramentan to be featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery

West Sacramentan to be featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery

You spend your life trying to perfect your technique, But you only make an impact when you find your own language. That’s when you start communicating your art… John Nichols will be More »

City Partners With West Capitol Ave. Businesses To Curb Alcohol Abuse

City Partners With West Capitol Ave. Businesses To Curb Alcohol Abuse

The City of West Sacramento has launched a campaign encouraging local businesses to refuse alcohol sales to inebriated customers. The program, T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More), is a partnership between West Sacramento More »


Roy Sianez, running for school board:


  Editor’s note: This interview with school board candidate Roy Siañez comes from the Oct. 10 edition of the News-Ledger, West Sacramento’s weekly community newspaper. We hope these interviews help you make up your mind about the upcoming Nov. 6 ballot.

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Roy Siañez is a new resident of West Sacramento – his family closed escrow on a local house in February. But he wants to start serving this community. That’s why he is running for one of three seats available on the local school board on Nov. 6.

“I’m a parent,” he told the News-Ledger recently. “I understand the importance of a quality education for students and also the importance of parental involvement. I’m new to West Sacramento, but I’m not new to serving my community. . . I’m eager to bring that community activism to West Sacramento.”

ROY SIANEZ: wants to contribute to West Sacramento

Siañez, 39, is currently a policy director for Democrat Norma Torres in the State Assembly. He’s worked for other politicos on issues that span health, public safety, education, housing and other topics.

“As a legislative director, I advise her on every single issue,” he said.

Siañez does not have any kids in local schools – one daughter has graduated, and a second goes to school in another city.

He’s been active in a number of regional and state causes over the years, beginning with his own student college days.

“I was a member of the Latino Complete Count Committee, working to ensure the Latino community was counted appropriately for the 2010 census,” Siañez said. He’s also a former board member of the Oak Park Business Association. Another favorite cause is the Youth Leadership Project.

“I’ve served on that organization for nine years,” he told the News-Ledger. “Every year, we bring 120 high school students from across the state to this area in the summer. They stay in the Sacramento State University dorms for a week, at no cost to them. We pay for all their housing, registration and transportation.

Siañez believes in the value of education. He grew up in Modesto, raised by a single mother who worked in a factory.

“She spent most of her time working, so she wasn’t able to help me with school,” he reports.   “I kind of strayed in school.”

He dropped out of school, then – on the advice of a friend – enrolled in a junior college without even knowing that it was customary to transfer after a couple of years to finish a college degree.

Financial aid and fee waivers made it possible for him to go to college:

“That started my journey into higher education,” Siañez said. “I transferred to Sacramento State years later. At the junior college level, that’s where I started developing as a person and educationally. That’s where I became involved in advocacy.”

  The activism started in Latino clubs and with a run for student senate.

Then came an internship in the legislature and an ensuing career at the Capitol. He has landed near West Sacramento’s Bridgeway Lakes area.

How does he think the current school board is doing?

“I know there are several board members who have served long terms,” Siañez answered. “Longevity and continuity are generally good things.”

Test scores seem to be on the right path, he added.

“Whenever we have an increase in test scores, that’s a good thing. It means you’re doing something right. But if one school increased by ten points, and another only by five points, I want to know about that.”

What sort of financial shape is Washington Unified in?

“My understanding is that the Yolo County Office of Education has certified the school district’s budget, which is a positive thing,” said Siañez. “I would hope that could be the case for future years to come.”


“It’s a scary thought about what would happen if the governor’s initiative (Proposition 30) to increase revenue doesn’t pass. I definitely think we need to increase revenue given the economic climate.”

One of the reasons Siañez believes he would make a good school board member is his own Latino experience.

“41 percent of the students in the school district are Latino,” he said. “It begs the question – if you look at the school board, and look at the students, does the school board really reflect the students?”

Siañez believes that sports and extracurricular activities are crucial for some students.

“Frosh football was great for me, because it kept me out of trouble,” he recalls. “After the season ended, my idle time became a problem. . . (After dropping out), my motivation for trying to return to high school was to play football.”

He supports “any and all programs that can help our neediest students with some of the voids they bring, to attend school.”

How does Siañez feel about charter schools?

“Not all charter schools are equal, he replied. “You have to look at whether there’s a need, and if there is a need, explain it. If there’s a public school that’s been failing, consider it. It’s a case by case basis.”

What is it in his experience that would make Siañez a good board member?

“My public policy experience, my experience as a parent, and my experience as a product of the public educational system,” he answered.

“West Sacramento is my new home,” concluded Siañez. I’m involved, and I plan to be here a long time. I’m eager to get involved and make a difference – I don’t want to wait.”
Siañez, along with several other challengers and two incumbents, is seeking one of three seats on the school board this fall.

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Convicted of sex with 15-year old


A Yolo County jury last month convicted a 32-year old man for having sex with a 15-year old West Sacramento girl.

According to the office of District Attorney Jeff Reisig, Ronald Vikash Chand of Sacramento lied to the girl about his age and pursued her on Facebook and by text messages.

“On multiple occasions, he picked her up at her high school and engaged in sexual intercourse with her in his car and at a West Sacramento hotel,” said the D.A.’s office.

  Deputy D.A. Sara Brate prosecuted the case.

“The defendant manipulated the victim in order to get her to participate in sexual acts with him,” she said in a press release. “This verdict ensures he will not be able to victimize another teenage girl.”
Chand was scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Timothy Fall on Monday (the result was not immediately available). He faced up to four years in state prison.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Got some questions about business?


The City of West Sacramento is sponsoring free business consulting classes and one-on-one business counseling. Low-income residents and business owners can get help with business planning, marketing and navigating business loans. Call 617-4545. Spanish-speakers, call 492-2008 ext. 213; Russian speakers may call 492-2591 ext 220.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Firefighters get some tear gas

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 24, 2012 —

The West Sacramento Fire Department reports an unusual incident Oct. 11 during a brush fire near County Road 126 and Old River Road just north of city limits.

West Sacramento and Elkhorn fire crews responded to a one-acre brush fire at about 3:43 p.m. The fire grew, and more firefighters were called to help.

“Midway through the extinguishment,” reports a WSFD spokesperson, “a smoke cloud originating from the CHP Academy drifted over the scene. It appeared that the CHP Academy was performing an exercise near the high-speed track and expelled some type of tear gas.”

“The smoke cloud quickly passed and all personnel recovered from the event.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Suspicious man reported by kids


A pair of students from Southport Elementary School report that a suspicious man in a pickup truck may have been staring at them as they walked home from a school bus stop on Linden Road.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, within a few blocks of Linden Road and Violet Drive.

“Two kids got off the bus on Linden Road, near their house,” Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department told the News-Ledger. “They saw a guy in a dark gray pickup truck. They described him as in his 50s with sideburns. He may have been staring at them. They got creeped out by him and thought he was following them. They took a detour, and went down what they described as an alley, and never saw him again.”

“The man didn’t speak to the kids,” he said.

  Sockman said it isn’t clear whether the man was up to any mischief, but the kids “did the right thing” by being vigilant and careful.

“I wouldn’t want them to do anything else,” he said. “But it could just be a guy sitting in a truck. There was enough information that we took a police report and put it out to every single patrol car.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Meet Walt Bowman, WUSD candidate


  Editor’s Note: each local election cycle, the News-Ledger invites all candidates for West Sacramento local office to meet us for a published interview. Those interviews are seen first by News-Ledger subscribers. We’re pleased to offer our Oct. 3 interview with Walt Bowman below. He’s running for one of three available seats on the Washington Unified School District school board.

By Steve Marschke, News-Ledger Editor

Walt Bowman is a 71-year old retired truck driver who lives with his wife in the West Capitol Avenue area of West Sacramento. This November, for the second time, he will be trying to earn a spot on the Washington Unified School District Board of Trustees.

What’s driving him?

“I want to get one person off the board,” he mentioned. “I’m not going to name any names. I want to put new faces on the board. I’d like to see three new faces this time around – whether it’s me or not doesn’t matter.”

WALT BOWMAN: retired truck driver wants to change up West Sacramento's school board (News-Ledger photo)

Bowman is one of a handful of challengers joining incumbents David Westin and Mary Leland in pursuing three available seats on the school board. His own two kids are grown, but he became angry when the board made moves to close the charter school that two of his  granddaughters were attending. That school, the West Sacramento Early College Prep Charter School, has been deemed to be underperforming.

“They wanted to close that school,” Bowman told the News-Ledger last week. That started me getting mad, and my daughter said, ‘instead of getting mad, why don’t you run?’”

“I like charter schools,” he added. “I’m for it. If I’m on the board, every time it comes up, I’m going to vote for it. They’re an alternative education – some kids don’t fit in well at the regular schools, for one reason or another.”

Bowman has another grandchild at Stonegate Elementary. He has lived in New Mexico and in the Bay Area, and he spent a year at Chabot College in Hayward before his career in long-haul and local trucking.

How does he think the current board is doing – aside from the charter school issue?

“Overall, they might be doing OK,” Bowman allowed.

How about the district’s finances in this era of state-budget cuts?

“I feel they have the money,” said Bowman. “Like everybody else, they say ‘oh, we don’t have the money.’ But if they don’t have the money, how are they paying the teachers?”

  Student test scores have gone up in the past two years. Is that important?

“These people on the board now make a big deal of that,” he answered. “But they’re not in there taking that test. They’re not in the classrooms teaching. Yet they’re saying, ‘we got the test scores up.’ No, they didn’t.”

What does Bowman think of the quality of WUSD’s schools?

“They’re probably doing okay,” he answered, “but the schools on this side of the town (in the north) are kind of overlooked. I don’t think they give the schools on this side of town a fair shake.”

What big challenges does he see in the district?

“They say it’s money, but another thing is that there’s a high drop-out rate at the high school,” answered Bowman. “That’s going to be a big problem to fix. We should hire high-end mental health counselors and bring them in here. We can sit them down and get inside these kids’ heads and figure out what’s going on. They’re going to say it’s going to cost the district money. But, well. . . .”

Does Bowman have other ideas for improving the district?

“Probably some of these kids need a lot of help. Like counselors, or some kind of aides to help these kids.”

“If politicians would keep their noses out of it, and let the schools teach, the students would be better off.”

West Sacramento voters elect their school board (and their city council) “at large,” meaning there is one group of candidates voted on by people from every neighborhood. Bowman would like to see future school board voting done by districts, to help the northern part of town get more consistent representation.

“If we go by district, everyone will have a fair chance,” he explained. “You’re going to have a mix of people from Bryte, Broderick, (the central business district) and so on. You’d get a cross-section of people on there. Things would get done.”

What will Bowman do if elected?

“If I get in there, I will try to get the buses back,” he responded. The district – reacting to budget cuts – has cut a lot of its school bus service recently.

Bowman said he will not be spending a lot on his campaign, because “I don’t like to go out and ask for money.”

“I’m not backed by anybody (on the board or city council) and I don’t belong to this group or that group. But I’m going to give it a shot.”

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Open your home to a child: info


Every year, over a hundred children in Yolo County need foster homes to shelter them from abuse or neglect.

Learn more about what it takes to be a foster parent. Attend a free session from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at the local library, 1212 Merkley Avenue. For information, contact Cherie Schroeder of the Foster & Kinship Care Education program, at (530) 574-1964 or email There’s also a lot of info at

Copyright News-Ledger 2012