Tag Archives: ca

Mike McGowan looks back: Part II

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 10, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

  EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week, the City of West Sacramento opened a bridge named after Mike McGowan, the city’s first mayor and later its longtime representative on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.
  Earlier in 2014, the News-Ledger had a lengthy chat with McGowan about his own window into the city’s history. We brought you the first part of that interview last week (you can find it here). We continue below, taking up roughly from the moment that local voters approved cityhood and McGowan became mayor of the first West Sacramento City Council in 1987.  

When you ask Mike McGowan what it was like to be part of the city council that took control over the fate of four newly conjoined neighborhoods in 1987, he can answer with a simile:

“It was like fixing a car while you’re driving it,” he has said in the past.

“So much was coming at us at the same time, it was like drinking out of a fire hose,” he explained much more recently. Either way, you get the picture.

MIKE McGOWAN got a ride in the ceremonial procession on Dec. 5 at the opening of the West Sacramento bridge named in his honor. Visible in front of him is his wife, Sue.   (News-Ledger photo)

MIKE McGOWAN got a ride in the ceremonial procession on Dec. 5 at the opening of the West Sacramento bridge named in his honor. Visible in front of him is his wife, Sue.
(News-Ledger photo)

You have to understand that West Sacramento was different then – the population was in the mid 20-thousands, or about half of what it is now. There was old West Sacramento and the less reputable Bryte and Broderick neighborhoods to the north, and the barely-developed Southport area, and a troubled downtown strolled by prostitutes and grifters.

This section of East Yolo had an inferiority complex. It did not compare itself well to, say, Davis or Sacramento. And local voters wanted change.

The new council members included McGowan – the top vote-getter and first mayor, along with Fidel Martinez, Ray Jones, Bill Kristoff (who is still on the council) and Thelma Rogers. The five met unofficially a number of times before they took their seats at city hall, which was then located on Stone Boulevard. They brought on a temporary city manager to serve as their C.E.O. – a college professor who had once worked for Governor Reagan’s administration.

“We hired him, and gave him this pamphlet we got from the League of California Cities on how to start a new city,” recalled McGowan. “And it quickly dawned on me that what he did was read one chapter ahead, then he would come into our meeting and said ‘Okay, now it’s time to hire our lawyer. . .’”

One of the city’s first challenges was deciding on a police force. Unhappiness with crime and law enforcement (provided before incorporation by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department) was one of the reasons citizens approved cityhood in the 1986 vote.

“That was the platform – law enforcement, cleaning up West Capitol, and schools were important as well, and (providing more) shopping. Those were the issues,” said McGowan.

The new council had the option of creating a local police department or paying Yolo County to provide patrols by deputies. The county was obligated to provide interim service for six months either way.

McGowan said the new city leaders went to see Sheriff Rod Graham about a Yolo County contract.

“He said, ‘You’re going to have to do a long-term contract with me and you’re not going to tell me who I deploy over there.’ We literally walked out of that meeting and said, ‘Well, we’ve got to put our own police department together in six months. We did. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. . . There were some bumps along the way, but it turned out fine.”

In came the next city manager, Gene Roh, a former County official whom McGowan respected but with whom there were some “personality clashes.”

“When we hired him,” said McGowan, “he said ‘I’ve only got two conditions. One is that we agree on the (salary) number, and also I get to hire my number two.”

Roh chose as his “number two” another county employee – Carol Richardson. Richardson still remains as the assistant city manager, (although city managers have changed several times in the past 27 years or so.)

“Carol is another one of those people, in my opinion, who I would call an unsung hero,” said McGowan. “So much of what we put together at the professional level has come through her.”

One of the first big tasks for the new city was to come up with a “general plan” – a state-mandated document that includes land use zoning and other big, long-term policy choices.

The general plan contained broad outlines that have mostly endured and in some cases been fleshed out by succeeding “specific plans” and in some cases, actual development.

The early council developed this plan, “grandfathering” into it some existing plans for a major Southport industrial park near the port (championed by local developer Frank Ramos and his partners) and plans for what was then the Lighthouse Project (with a proposed marina) in the north. Lighthouse later morphed into “The Rivers” gated subdivision, and plans for the marina were dropped.

The industrial zoning for Southport became controversial and bred an opposing ballot initiative in 1990. The city council majority – including McGowan – took a strong stand against the initiative. The ballot challenge barely failed, and the Southport Industrial Park kept its zoning.

Does McGowan have any regrets on the general plan?

“The general plan was good,” he said. “Looking back, I’m not very good at looking at specific things because that’s not the way I approach the work to begin with. The work is the work. It’s about how we work together to get stuff done. It’s also more about building the team – I won’t dare say ‘leadership’ – and figuring out how to put the pieces together to accomplish the goal.”

Did the developers have too much influence over McGowan and the early city council?

“I don’t think so,” answered McGowan. “I think it’s a subtle distinction to make. I think we agreed with what they wanted to do. I don’t think we were doing it because it’s what they wanted to do.”

“Take (Frank) Ramos, for instance,” McGowan continued. “And I think we were fundamentally in support of Lighthouse, the other big project. . . We were a little naïve, there’s no question about that, I’m not going to over-defend it. Could we have been more knowledgeable about what to ask for, or looked at things more carefully? Of course.”

At the same time, said McGowan, this city was fighting its reputation as a dumping ground. Sacramento’s then-mayor, the late Joe Serna, famously vowed to keep state offices from moving to this side of the river, for example.

“This is the same environment where Mayor Serna is saying that we’re only good for truck stops and warehouses and he’ll put the kibosh on any state governing facilities coming over here,” recalled McGowan.

So West Sacramento fought for progress, and “the attitude was that we’re not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Did West Sacramento focus too much on developing industry at a cost to homes and other commerce?

“Well, only because that was the project that was in front of us, and it was so controversial – Ramos’s piece,” answered McGowan. “But we were even then looking at the riverfront and (removing its) tank farms, even though we didn’t know how to deal with that.”

Businessman Bill Ramos, for example, tried at one point to change his petroleum facility along South River Road to a commercial complex with a marina, McGowan recalls. While McGowan supported it, the early effort didn’t work.

Part of that riverfront and its oil tank farms along South River Road now seem to be finally at the beginning of a transition to higher, urban-style uses. The bridge named in McGowan’s honor last week has just connected that road to Southport, with related infrastructure changes on the drawing board. Together, they may help bring to fruition the dream of changing riverfront oil tank farms into riverfront restaurants, shops and condos.

Other proposed projects came and went. Frank Ramos tried to bring an auto mall to the area where Ikea now stands (McGowan favored the proposal because of the sales tax revenues it would bring). Later, when McGowan had moved on to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, Ramos championed building a tribal Indian casino at the same spot. The casino idea gained a lot of traction and drew a lot of controversy – arguments included jobs and economic growth, versus sin and social costs.

“I was vehemently against it,” said McGowan. “It was one of the few times in my 20 years on the board of supervisors where I came over (to the council) and said ‘This is a stupid thing and you shouldn’t do it.’”

McGowan credits City Councilman Oscar Villegas and other allies for doing the work that eventually defeating that proposal.

Later, the same developers succeeded with a far more popular project – the shopping center that includes Ikea, Walmart and surrounding retail stores.

One of the big changes that West Sacramento has experienced since 1987 is an invisible one – a change to its psyche.

“Being in West Sac is a blessing and a curse,” said McGowan. “Part of it is having an inferiority complex and the other part of it is having a chip on your shoulder. A part of you says, ‘Hey, I had to fight my way back across the bridge when I was in high school coming back from a teen dance, and I’ll fight you again.’ It’s the baseball-bat-in-the-trunk syndrome, and that was very much a part of who we were when we started out.”

Did this inferiority complex cause city officials to lower their standards or give away too much when dealing with developers?

“I think that’s partly true, but like any other generalization, it’s not completely true,” answered McGowan. “I’ll give you a case in point. When we incorporated, there was a developer and he owned a property just about where Nugget is, and he wanted to develop it. I was mayor. He came in and said ‘I want to develop this and that,’ and it was zero-lot-line cookie-cutter homes. Thousands of them.”

McGowan recalls telling him “that’s not what we want here.” The developer asked, “Well, what do you want?”

“Estates, million dollar places,” said McGowan. “He laughed and said ‘The market here won’t support that.’ I said, “Well, we’ll just wait for the market.’ He sold and left town.”

Was there an inflection point – a time when West Sacramento seemed to shed its inferiority complex and become a proud little can-do community?

McGowan points to the evening of May 15, 2000 – opening day for the River Cats minor league baseball team at Raley Field.

“The River Cats were the game-changer,” he said. “Opening night was the proudest moment I had since I got sworn in on the first council. . . All of a sudden, other than having nice communities, and Pheasant Club, and Whitey’s and their peach shakes, and the new homes being built, all of the sudden, there was a really gosh-darn good reason to live in West Sacramento.”

“People were sitting there (at the game), and they’d look at the panoramic view. . . and literally, people would say, ‘Honey, this is really nice over here. Why don’t we think about this? We were going to move to Roseville, but why don’t we look at these homes they’re advertising?’ It was amazing.”

Raley Field got built after West Sacramento essentially had to arm-wrestle with Sacramento for it. Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna, McGowan believes, was behind a lawsuit that tried to block construction.

But building it, McGowan said, “has done more for us than virtually anything else.”

The early council decided to grow and develop the city’s way out of its problems, said McGowan. There was a possible downside to that:

“I had a concern that along the way – because I grew up with such a strong sense of community – we’d lose that. We’d become, you know, Natomas. But in fact – and I don’t understand this part – I think it’s only enhanced this sense. People who move to West Sac don’t have an inferiority complex. They think it’s great and they love the community atmosphere.”

The city has always been a city of different neighborhoods and of people who live “across the tracks” from each other In McGowan’s eyes, has the City of West Sacramento come together from the communities of Bryte, Broderick, “old” West Sacramento and Southport?

“Probably not,” he allowed. “It used to be the freeway and West Capitol Avenue that were basically the dividing line. I would say (the line) is shifting further south, and it’s now around the deep water channel. It continues to be the big challenge for the community, how to integrate. People try. The farmer’s market is a great example.”

But in general:
“West Sac has been fortunate or blessed, lucky or smart, whatever it is, that there’s been an agreement between elected officials, the professionals who run the nuts and bolts, and the community. There’s more concurrence about the direction of the community than there is disagreement.”
  Next week: problems at the port, and more.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Police Log’: West Sac crime calls

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 17, 2014 —

  News items below are collected from police dispatchers’ notes and arrest reports. The information in them has often not been verified beyond the initial reports.

  To receive the ‘Police Log’ in the News-Ledger newspaper every week, become a subscriber! See the special offer at bottom.

Nov. 30, 5:50 p.m.
A police officer noted seeing a Glide Avenue man “wearing motorcycle cuts associated” with a biker gang, while the man (name withheld by police) was getting gas at a West Capitol Station. The “cuts” identified the man as a prospect with a club. This sighting was in March.
Then on Nov. 30, an officer saw the man wearing a hat with the gang’s name on it. He said he lived in West Sacramento but belonged to the “Sin City” branch of the gang. The information was recorded by police.

Dec. 5, 7 p.m.
A Sacramento woman lost her wallet at a store on the 800-block of Harbor Blvd., and “later she discovered that unknown subjects are now using her info to make purchases.”

Dec. 10, 8 a.m.
A woman reported her wallet had been stolen from a car parked on Merced Way during the night. The wallet contained ID, credit cards and a $50 gift card.

Dec. 10, 10 a.m.
A man reported a briefcase stolen from a car he parked at a Rogue River Court address.
In the case were paperwork and the man’s notary stamp and book.

Dec. 10, 10:08 a.m.
Police were dispatched to a disturbance on the 800-block of Delta Lane. The victim, who worked at a vehicle repair shop there, reported he had been assaulted by a customer who “wanted to know if he had removed parts from his truck.”
The victim had told the man to speak with the business owner, but the suspect than became angry. Before the victim could phone police, the customer “grabbed him around the neck, choking him with his hands, and forced him to the ground.” The angry man had a knife as well.
The employee got up and grabbed a nearby board to “scare away” the customer. The suspect also plicked up a board before going back to his truck in the parking lot. The suspect went to jail. The victim was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment.

Dec. 10, 4:55 p.m.
On Coronado Street:
A woman reported that “she accidentally gave her SSN over to an unknown company not associated with her bank.”

Dec. 10, 7:10 p.m.
A 50-year old West Capitol Avenue man was cited for trying to shoplift a bottle of wine from a Riverpoint Court store. A glass drug pipe was found on his person.

Dec. 11, 12:38 p.m.
A woman called police from an 8th Street home to say there was a man on the property harassing her and her mother. The man was “in the backyard yelling, and the (caller) was hiding in a shed waiting for police to arrive.”
The man went to jail for public intoxication.

Dec. 12, 7:46 a.m.
A woman living on the 1400-block of West Capitol reported that a man had kicked in her door, breaking the chain latch. Police contacted the suspect nearby, and arrested the parolee.
The victim wished to press charges for vandalism.

Dec. 12, 2:20 p.m.
A Maryland Avenue resident reported that an unidentified male and female had stolen a package of the porch. The package contained a $25 sweatshirt, in medium, delivered by an online retailer.

Dec. 12, 2:14 p.m.
A police officer records that a 23-year old woman was involved in a hit-and-run accident at 19th and Jefferson, but fled the scene in her car.
Then, she “was involved in an other hit and run, with a residence.”
She fled the car-versus-house crash on foot, and a different officer found her on 15th Street. There was a misdemeanor warrant out for the arrest of the Waterman Square Road resident, and she went to jail.

Dec. 12, 8 p.m.
An officer contacted a Taber Street man riding a bike near Joan and Kegle for a vehicle code violation. The 30-year old was found to be in possession of Vicodin and a methamphetamine pipe. He was cited and given a notice to appear in court.

Dec. 13, 12:06 a.m.
An officer stopped a car for a vehicle code violation at Kegle and Fremont. A warrant check showed that a 17-year old male passenger was wanted on a felony juvenile warrant out of Sacramento. He was booked into Sacramento’s juvenile hall.

Dec. 13, 12:40 a.m.
A woman reported that her locked car was burglarized while she was in a Harbor Boulevard diner. The thief made off with a backpack containing schoolbooks and paperwork, for a loss of about $400. The incident was captured on surveillance video.

Dec. 13, 2 a.m.
A woman reported her car was burglarized while on the 2400-block of West Capitol. Gone were a backpack, laptop and cell phone, worth around $1380.

Dec. 13, 5:41 a.m.
Police responded to a 13th Street disturbance, and an officer contacted a 36-year old man at the scene. When asked if he had any weapons, the man admitted he had a knife. The officer removed the knife from one of the man’s pockets, and did a pat-down search:
“In his lower left jacket pocket,” reported the officer, “I felt a large baggie of a crystal-like substance.” The man was placed under arrest for suspected possession of methamphetamine.
There was a second baggie inside the first, and the second one contained a “brown crystal.”
In the man’s wallet was found a “pay/owe sheet” – a simple accounting ledger that the officer believed was “consistent with selling narcotics.”
The drugs seized from the Circle Street suspect included 61.5 grams of methamphetamine and 8.8 grams of heroin.

Dec. 13, 12 p.m.
A garage on the 1800-block of Merkley was found burglarized. Someone made off with about $500 worth of property, including a car battery charger, other tools and a house key.

Dec. 13, 12 p.m.
A 21-year old theft victim on Sands Court told police that someone had broken a window and stolen an X-box video game system and other items worth a total of about $370.

Dec. 13, 3:19 p.m.
A Rancho Cordova man reported that someone broke into his storage unit on Evergreen Avenue. Thieves took about $6,000 worth of property, including a washer, dryer, refrigerator, a couple of dining tables, clothes, bikes and a crib.

Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m.
A woman reported someone took her $550 bike from outside a motel on West Capitol.

Dec. 13, 10 p.m.
A police officer ran a license check on a red Chevy Malibu at the intersection of Harbor and Beacon boulevards. Dispatchers told the officer the car was stolen. The officer called for backup and pulled the car over on US 50 east of 15th Street.
The 25-year old man behind the wheel was then arrested and read his Miranda rights.
He told an officer that “a female he ‘hooked up’ with allowed him to borrow the car,” which “belonged to the unknown female’s baby dad.”
He couldn’t come up with the woman’s name.
The suspect had a previous conviction on a stolen vehicle charge, and he was jailed.

Dec. 14, 2:50 p.m.
During an incident “100 yards west of Jefferson”:
“An aggressive dog charged officers at a transient camp and it was shot.”

Dec. 14, 7 p.m.
A Madrone Avenue woman reported that known suspects assaulted in her apartment and took $300 worth of items, including two mobile phones and some food.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Changes coming to ‘senior shuttle’ in West Sacramento

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 10, 2014 —

By Al Zagofsky

West Sac’s Senior Shuttle passengers are anticipating changes to the service, with the changes scheduled for review and approval at the Dec. 17 West Sacramento Council meeting.

Senior Shuttle rider Evelyn Vannoy is helped onto the United Christian Center paratransit van by driver Jonathan Bosco. The Center does not plan to renew its contract to continue the service. (Photo by Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger)

Senior Shuttle rider Evelyn Vannoy is helped onto the United Christian Center paratransit van by driver Jonathan Bosco. The Center does not plan to renew its contract to continue the service. (Photo by Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger)

Currently, West Sac and the United Christian Center partner to provide door-to-door shuttle service for seniors and disabled to the Recreation Center on Wednesdays for  knitting and crocheting, and on Thursdays for Bingo; for two monthly shopping trips, and to the ‘Commission on Agin’g meetings. The round trip fare’s normal price of $3.00 costs qualified riders $1.50, with the additional $1.50 subsidized by the city of West Sacramento.

West Sac’s contract with the United Christian Center is ending, with the Center indicating that they do not plan to renew; and further, plan to withdraw from their transit operations.

On Dec. 3, members of the existing ridership attended a meeting at the Recreation Center sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department.

At the meeting, Erik Reitz, Associate Transportation Planner for Yolo County Transportation District said that existing riders of the current Senior Shuttle can use the existing Yolo Bus scheduled and Special Paratransit Service in the city of West Sacramento.

It has been proposed that the fares for qualified riders remain the same when they do this, with the City of West Sacramento continuing to contribute $1.50 for the paratransit service.

The city council will take up the matter on its Dec. 17 agenda.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Hanging out in a cemetery can be fun

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 10, 2014 —

I have a strange little confession to make. When I need to get away from everything and everyone for a few days, I often jump in my little truck and head down into Southern California, often ending up somewhere out in the desert, although usually near wonderfully civilized places like Palm Springs. And on the way, especially while I am in and around the Los Angeles area, I have been known to stop off at some of the more famous cemeteries down there that are the final resting places for many of the television and movie stars of my youth. Anyway, I happened to mention this to a friend of mine the other day and I could see by the expression on his face that he was a little worried about me.

“Maybe you have just reached that age where death is becoming a little more real to you,” he suggested.

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

“No, I have always liked cemeteries, even when I was young, especially historic ones. And the one we have right over the bridge in Sacramento is a great place to hang out. All kinds of interesting people are buried there, including a bunch of California governors, Civil War veterans, quite a few of the famous Crocker family, and even Alexander Hamilton’s son, who died in one of those cholera epidemics that used to be really common in this area back in the 1840s and 1850s. And if you go down to Southern California there are a bunch of Forest Lawn cemeteries that are the final resting place of lots of famous people like Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel, Ricky Nelson, Steve Allen, Charles Laughton, Michael Jackson, and the list goes on and on. Oh, and another really interesting cemetery down there is Los Angeles Cemetery. That’s where Marilyn Monroe is buried. Did you know that the bid on e-Bay for the empty crypt just above hers has now reached $4.6 million dollars?”
“Really?” said my friend, not knowing how to change the subject. “Well, I guess since most of the old movie stars lived and worked in the Los Angeles area, it’s only natural that they died and were buried there, too.”
“One of the most interesting cemeteries I ever visited was a place called Desert Memorial Park,” I continued, “which is down around Palm Springs. I stopped by there once to check out William Powell’s grave – you know, the guy who starred in all of those great old `Thin Man’ movies – and guess who I stumbled across in the process?”
“Who?” asked my friend very reluctantly.
“Frank Sinatra – Old Blue Eyes himself! And I was surprised by what an unpretentious gravesite he had, just a flat marker on the ground with his name, the dates of his birth and death, and an old song lyric of his — `The best is yet to come’ – chiseled into the stone. And did you know that he was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pack of Camel cigarettes?”
“No, I didn’t know that.”
“But the one grave I’ve always wanted to visit was Charlie Chaplin’s, and you know what happened to him, don’t you?”
“No, what?”
“Well, Charlie died on Christmas Day in 1977 at the age of 88, and his family buried him in a really nice cemetery in Switzerland, not far from where he had lived for many years after America wouldn’t let  him back into the country because of his politics. But a couple of months later his body was dug up and stolen from the graveyard and the thieves wanted $600,000 from his grieving wife before they would give it back.”
“Really?” asked my friend, suddenly interested in our conversation for the first time. “So what did his wife do?”
“Well, she told them that she wouldn’t pay the ransom, because Charlie would have considered the whole thing ridiculous and even humorous, so the thieves then threatened the lives of some of their eight children, all of whom Charlie had fathered after his 54th birthday, which was his age when they got married.”
“But the family did get poor Charlie’s body back, didn’t they?” asked my friend with interest.
“Yes, but only after a five or six week investigation by the local police who finally found out that a couple of out-of-work auto mechanics from Bulgaria of all places had dug up Charlie and re-buried him in an old cornfield about a mile from his home. So the authorities arrested the thieves and went out and got Charlie back and returned him to his original resting place. But this time they buried him in a very heavy cement grave to prevent any future theft attempts.”

“Wow, that’s quite a story,” said my friend. “And I guess that’s probably at the heart of why you like to visit graveyards, isn’t it? You know, the fact that every life has its own story, and you can stand there and think about the great life that someone you really admired has lived.”
“Well,” I admitted, “I usually just like to stand there and whisper to myself something like, `Even though you got to be rich and famous and I didn’t, you are gone, and I’m still here’!”

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac celebrates tree-lighting

(Courtesy of Meaghan Pierelli, West Sac. Chamber of Commerce)

(Courtesy of Meaghan Pierelli, West Sac. Chamber of Commerce)

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 10, 2014

Among the entertainers at Friday evening’s Holiday Tree Lighting party were members of River City High School’s Advanced Vocal Ensemble, shown here at the railings above the crowd.
Hundreds of citizens gathered to meet ceremony and watch the lights go on at the tree outside city hall, 1110 West Capitol Ave.
Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac woman is champion for California’s senior citizens

CHARLOTTE DORSEY By Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger

By Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 3, 2014 —

By Al Zagofsky
News-Ledger Correspondent

For three days in October, 120 members of the California Senior Legislature met in the State Capitol building to propose legislation regarding senior citizens at both state and federal levels. Charlotte Dorsey of West Sacramento attended as an Assembly Member representing Yolo County.

“I think the California Senior Legislature is extremely important,” Dorsey said. “I heard a quote the other day, It was by a radio personality, he said, ‘Discrimination against seniors is the only remaining acceptable discrimination.’ I believe that is true.”

“Until you become of that age, you do not realize how differently seniors are treated many times,” she continued, “and how the existing services are not necessarily geared for seniors.”

“There are a lot of ways this happens. From the way that people communicate with seniors to the kinds of laws that are put in place that may or may not include support for seniors.”

“Everything from putting in sidewalks and making sure that the handicap ramps are kept in working order—so that when people go from a sidewalk to a street, there isn’t a pothole in the bottom of a ramp.”

The California Senior Legislature was established by state law to help preserve and enhance the quality of life for older Californians and their families, and is primarily funded by the Code 402 checkoff on the California State Income Tax form.

Forty Senior Senators and eighty Senior Assembly members are selected in elections in 33 planning service areas as established by the federal Older Americans Act of 1965. Area 4/Yolo County, is represented by Senior Senators: Gloria Plasencia – Foresthill, and Lola Young – Sacramento; and Senior Assembly Members: Seth Brunner – Davis, Charlotte Dorsey – West Sacramento, Pam Epley – Arcata, and Lynne Farrell – Lincoln.

Dorsey first became acquainted with the CSL early last year through her involvement with the Area 4 Agency on Aging Advisory Council. She and fellow Assembly Member Seth Brunner were appointed to represent Yolo County currently on the Council. The Council elected Dorsey as a CSL Senior Assembly Member.

“The California Senior Legislature was proposed in 1979, and its first session was convened in 1981,” Dorsey explained. “You have to be over 60, and be elected by your peers.”

“There are limited voices for seniors in the state and in the country,” she noted. “There are not many like the CSL—and it’s all volunteers.”

“Without the CSL, there would be fewer voices for seniors,” Dorsey concluded. “They would be forgotten.”

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Storm info: where to get sandbags, how to prevent local flooding


From the City of West Sacramento

The City of West Sacramento is taking steps in advance of the heavy storm expected to strike the area, beginning Dec. 10. Incidents of flooding caused by fallen leaves and clogged drains are anticipated. The City will respond to emergencies as quickly as possible. The Fire, Police and Public Works departments request the public’s assistance, as follows:

  • Before the storm arrives, keep drain inlets clear by placing leaves and debris in the green waste containers. If full, use plastic bags to bag excess leaves. Do not sweep leaves into the street.
  • The City has dedicated two street sweepers to picking up fallen leaves.
  • Public Works has crews ready to assist for overnight duty.
  • Sandbags are available at the City of West Sacramento Corporation Yard, 1951 South River Rd., weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Residents are allowed up to 10 bags per address. Sand is also available at the Corporation Yard, but residents need to fill their own bags.
  • A limited number of sandbags are available after 4 p.m. on a first come, first served basis.
  • Residents are recommended to use plastic or visqueen sheeting as a water barrier with sandbags used to hold the sheeting in place.
  • Sandbags and sand will also be in supply at Fire Station 42, 3585 Jefferson Blvd.
  • For additional questions about sandbags, local flooding and clogged storm drains, call Public Works, (916) 617-4850.

City staff thank the public for its cooperation. As the City checks storm emergencies, residents are urged to stay safe and drive safely. Be prepared for street signs advising caution. The City will continue responding to storm issues as quickly as possible.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014