Tag Archives: board

City officials, school board members prepare to take on challengers

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — Aug. 6, 2014 —

The regular filing period for those interested in running for mayor, city council or school board in West Sacramento’s November ballot ends on Friday, Aug. 8.

(The deadline will be extended for challengers by five days in any race in which an incumbent fails to file to run again.)

So far, here’s how the field is shaping up.

There are two available seats on the board of trustees of the Washington Unified School District.

Incumbent Sarah-Kirby Gonzalez (an incumbent/teacher/parent from Southport) has filed to run for another four-year term. Fellow incumbent Adam Menke has told the News-Ledger he plans to do the same.

Challengers thus far include Jeff Reyes (school counselor/educator from Prosser Street), Bernadette R. Austin (parent/community developer from Hearst Street) and Norma Alcala (occupation unlisted, but known to the News-Ledger as a business owner and Democratic activist, residing on Woodhaven Lane).

They are vying for two available seats, each with a four-year term.

Meanwhile, no one has yet filed to run for mayor or city council.

Incumbent mayor Christopher Cabaldon has “pulled papers”  (taken out his candidacy paperwork) from city hall in advance of seeking another two-year term.  Newcomer Narinderpal Singh Hundal has done the same.

For the city council race, both incumbents — Mark Johannessen and Chris Ledesma — have taken out their candidacy papers.

So have potential challengers Jeff Lyon, Nancy Tran and Robb White.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac voters will face $49.8 million school bond in November

Local school district doesn’t plan to build any news schools, but does hope to pay for some repairs and upgrades at West Sacramento campuses

— NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 2, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters will be asked to approve a $49.8 million school bond on the November 4 general election ballot.

If the bond measure earns the required 55 percent voter approval, it will help fund the local school district’s laundry list of needed capital improvements –possible items such as fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems.

A motion to place the bond on the November ballot passed 4-0 at last Thursday’s meeting of the Washington Unified School District board of trustees. The action needed all four “yes” votes to take effect – and board member Alicia Cruz overcame her initial reluctance to support a 2014 bond and eventually provided the needed fourth vote.

Board member Adam Menke was absent from the meeting. Cruz joined fellow trustees Katie Villegas, Mary Leland and Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez in supporting the bond.

MARY LELAND: ‘community will support this bond’ (News-Ledger file photo)

MARY LELAND:
‘community will support this bond’
(News-Ledger file photo)

Board member Mary Leland was the first of the group to speak up after hearing a staff presentation on the proposed school bond. She noted that the bond would pay for campus safety measures and “ADA,” or “Americans with Disabilities Act,” compliance.

“I’ve been very anxious to see this on the agenda,” commented Leland at the meeting. “The community is willing to support this bond, and safety is very highly rated on their list. . . In addition, we’re not going to be able to provide career and college readiness if our facilities aren’t up to date.”

“I admit I as on the fence, going back and forth wondering if this was the right time,” added board colleague Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez.

SARAH KIRBY- GONZALEZ:  ‘let the voters’ decide’ (News-Ledger file photo)

SARAH KIRBY-
GONZALEZ:
‘let the voters’ decide’
(News-Ledger file photo)

She called for a “carefully thought-out” bond expenditure plan and warned that “it’s important to realize the bond will not fix everything.” The bond money would pay for about a quarter of the district’s capital improvements costs, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

Trustee Katie Villegas, who as a private citizen headed up a previous WUSD school bond measure, recalled that running a bond campaign is “a ton of work.” That bond paid for the new River City High School campus.

“I literally ran that high school bond day to day from my garage,” she said. “We’re at a time now where we need to make some investments, particularly in the north area, in our aging schools.”

Alicia Cruz, chairing the meeting, initially dissented.

“I don’t feel this is the right time for a bond,” she said, earning a bout of polite persuasion from her colleagues on the board.

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond (News-Ledger file photo)

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond
(News-Ledger file photo)

Her colleagues seemed to agree that waiting for the higher turnout of a 2016 presidential election might give the bond a better chance to pass.

“But can our district wait that  much time?” asked Villegas.  At one point, Villegas added:

“This isn’t for building a new high school or anything. This is basic stuff. Have you been to Bryte (Elementary School) lately? It’s horrible.”

Kirby-Gonzalez spoke for the majority when she suggested the board simply vote to put the bond on the November ballot, and then see what West Sacramento voters have to say about it.

“I would argue that we just put it out there,” she said. “We put it out there and let them make a choice.”

Cruz detailed one of her objections, which was to the lengthy list of possible projects that bond money could be spent on.

“What scares me is the list of items the bond will cover,” said Cruz. “I think it’s voluminous. I don’t think it’s specific.”

KATIE VILLEGAS:  campaign will be  ‘a ton of work’ (News-Ledger file photo)

KATIE VILLEGAS:
campaign will be
‘a ton of work’
(News-Ledger file photo)

But despite having “that feeling in your gut that says this is not the thing,” concluded Cruz, she eventually agreed to provide the needed fourth vote.

Why?

“Because I am part of a team and I know the district needs this,” she told her colleagues.

The per-household cost of the bond has been estimated downward. The bond resolution capped the cost at $60 per year for every $100,000 in property value, but the board was advised last week that the actual cost would be about $39 annually for every $100,000 in property value. A $300,000 home, therefore, would be taxed around $117 per year over the life of the bond repayment.

The school district conducted a public survey in February to gauge public support for a 2014 bond.

“Although the results were positive, it was clear that a bond campaign would be needed to ensure the public was aware of the need for facility funding that exceeded both (WUSD’s) and the State’s capacity,” noted a district staff report.

The community has a mixed record of supporting school bond measures.

In other business, the school board was briefed on the school district’s budget. The big picture view of the budget is that WUSD is recovering from several years of deficit spending as the State of California’s finances improve. The local district is, to some degree, repairing and rebuilding programs.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac school board ponders a bond

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — JUNE 26, 2014 —

West Sacramento’s school district tonight will discuss putting a $49.8 million bond on the November 4 ballot, where it would need 55 percent of the vote to succeed.

The money would be used to help fund a lengthy list of repairs and upgrades to facilities in the Washington Unified School District, including fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems. The projects are in the district’s “Capitol Improvement Program.”

Property owners would repay the bonds, with assessments not to exceed $60 per $100,000 of assessed value annually, says the proposed bond resolution. Thus, a homeowner whose house is valued at $300,000 on the tax roll would pay up to $180 per year for bond repayment.

The district sponsored a survey in February which they believe shows a bond measure in November could be successful, provided a campaign educates the public about “the need for facility funding that exceeded both the District and the State’s capacity,” according to a district staff report.

The proposed bond will be part of the school board meeting that begins tonight (Thursday, June 26) at 6 p.m. at city hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

More in next week’s News-Ledger newspaper.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Post-election results, & comments from the local candidates

NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 11, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The ballots are in, and there are no significant changes in local results since the News-Ledger posted early vote counts on its website on election night, June 3.

Oscar Villegas successfully fended off a challenge from fellow Democrat Norma Alcala and will keep his seat on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

West Sacramento City Councilman Mark Johannessen did not make the runoff in the race for the District 7 seat in the California Assembly.

The election did not feature any West Sacramento city council or school board races.

Some key local results:

Villegas defeated Alcala 61.5 percent to 38.5 percent in the local supervisor’s race. Villegas earned 2,670 votes and Alcala had 1,668. Turnout in the district is listed as 23.1 percent.

OSCAR VILLEGAS: Just earned a full term as Yolo County supervisor following a recent interim appointment by Governor Jerry Brown (News-Ledger photo)

OSCAR VILLEGAS:
Just earned a full term as Yolo County supervisor following a recent interim appointment by Governor Jerry Brown
(News-Ledger photo)

Villegas told the News-Ledger he took the win as an affirmation by the voters.

“I think they want to see the work I’ve been doing carried on at the county level,” he commented. “They know I understand the needs of the community. They understand that I recognize the need for social services, health services, mental health systems, and the criminal justice system.”

Villegas works part-time for the state board of state and community corrections. He was challenged in the race by Norma Alcala, a local business owner.

Alcala provided an emailed statement after the election in which she thanked supporters for their help.

NORMA ALCALA: Argued that Clarksburg and West Sac deserved a ‘full time’ supervisor, and county board needed a woman’s voice (News-Ledger photo)

NORMA ALCALA:
Argued that Clarksburg and West Sac deserved a ‘full time’ supervisor, and county board needed a woman’s voice
(News-Ledger photo)

“Running for supervisor provided me with a tremendous opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in the district,” she also said, in part. “I wish Mr. Villegas the best, and I ask him to know that many fine people have placed their trust in him.”

Alcala carried precincts four and five in West Sacramento – much of the area just north of  the barge canal – but Villegas carried the rest of the city’s votes. The supervisor’s district does not include a slice of northwestern West Sacramento, and does include Clarksburg.

In District 2, including Winters and part of Davis, Don Saylor ran unopposed. Matt Rexroad ran unopposed in District 3 (Woodland).

JUDGE OF THE YOLO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, DEPT. 3:
Janene Beronio defeated three competitors, earning 12,380 votes (or 53.5%). Beronio is currently a commissioner for the court. Second place in the race was John P. Brennan, with 17.1 percent of the vote, followed by Larenda Delaini of West Sacramento with 15.1 percent and Fredrick Cohen with 14.3 percent.

YOLO COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
Jesse Ortiz edged out Sam Neustadt 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent (11,548 votes to 10,833). Ortiz carried the votes in every West Sacramento precinct.

COUNTY CLERK/RECORDER/ASSESSOR
Incumbent clerk/recorder Freddie Oakley, who oversees the elections department as part of her duties, defeated challenger David Schwenger 67.1 percent to 32.9 percent (15,381 to 7,540).

OTHER YOLO COUNTY RACES:
District Attorney Jeff Reisig, Public Guardian/Administrator Cass Sylvia and Sheriff Ed Prieto all ran unopposed.

MARK JOHANNESSEN (News-Ledger file photo)

MARK JOHANNESSEN (News-Ledger file photo)

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 7:
West Sacramento’s Mark Johannessen (currently on the local city council) came in fourth among a field of five. Democrats Kevin McCarty and Steve Cohn finished on top and will proceed to a November 4 runoff. They’re both members of the Sacramento  City Council.

McCarty placed first with 34.7 percent of the vote (13,187 votes), followed by Cohn at 28.7 percent, Republican Ralph Merletti at 15.2 percent, Democrat Johannessen at 12.4 percent (4,733 votes) and Republican Oliver Ponce with 8.9 percent.

Johannessen told the News-Ledger that campaigning for Assembly was an “interesting” experience.

“I was able to reach out to a lot of areas in the (Assembly) district that were very similar to West Sacramento,” he commented.

But he said it was tough to make headway in a campaign with low voter turnout and “no burning issues,” and he waged an uphill battle for name recognition against the winners — fellow Democratic city councilmen over in Sacramento.

“In West Sacramento, we’re viewed very well as a community,” he said. “But the council doesn’t really have personalities (perceived) very separate from the council. We kind of act as a unit. In Sacramento, you have council districts.  People tend to know the name.”

“People tended to vote the names they knew, even if they didn’t know about the person.”

Johannessen’s seat on the local council comes up for election again this November — and he intends to run for another term, he told the News-Ledger.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 6
Democrat Doris Matsui, the incumbent, came in ahead of Republican challenger Joseph McCray, Sr., with 73.2% of the votes (43,312 votes) in this primary. McCray earned 15,876 votes for 26.8 percent. Both will move on to the general election in November.

GOVERNOR’S RACE
Democratic Governor  Edmond G. “Jerry” Brown earned 54.3 percent of the vote in the open primary, and will face second-place finisher Republican Neel Kashkari (19.4 percent) in the November primary. If Brown is reelected, he will be the first California governor to earn four terms.

For detailed results in state contests, go to http://vote.sos.ca.gov.  For a breakdown on Yolo County races, visit www.yoloelections.org.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014