Tag Archives: ca

Teen Center hosts party, gives presents

A young visitor to the holiday party at the Collings Teen Center on Merkley Avenue December 13 concentrates hard as she decorates a Christmas cookie. (courtesy of John Yang)

A young visitor to the holiday party at the Collings Teen Center on Merkley Avenue December 13 concentrates hard as she decorates a Christmas cookie. (courtesy of John Yang)

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 24, 2014 —

Courtesy of Collings Teen Center

Seventy employees from Agrium and Clark Pacific (two West Sacramento companies) and the Collings Teen Center at 1541 Merkley Avenue hosted a Christmas meal for 130 local kids and their parents on Dec. 13 at the center.

Visitors received a turkey dinner, games, activities and a visit from Santa. There were also giveaways: four families each received a TV, one got a laptop and one lucky girl got a bike.

“The families that got TVs were ecstatic!” reported Rosa Clements, the director of the teen center. “One was a family with seven girls. The mom was yelling and cheering on the phone. Another had three girls, and the mom started to cry, saying she’s never won anything in her life.”

Teen Center Director Rosa Clements (right) with a member of the event committee, Annette Seeber, take a pause during the event  (courtesy of John Yang)

Teen Center Director Rosa Clements (right) with a member of the event committee, Annette Seeber, take a pause during the event
(courtesy of John Yang)

Donations from the community included 250 jackets to give away, 40 pairs of socks, 80 pairs of gloves and 150 hats, amont other items.

The teen center’s year-round mission is “to be a safe place where young people are always welcome after school, a place where activities are blended with tutoring, community service, educational seminars, trips outside the area, and job training,” reported a spokesperson.

GIFT STOCKINGS were ready and waiting for local kids to show up at a sponsored holiday party at the Collings Teen Center.  (courtesy of John Yang)

GIFT STOCKINGS were ready and waiting for local kids to show up at a sponsored holiday party at the Collings Teen Center.
(courtesy of John Yang)

The facility offers a free meal each afternoon to any young person coming in.

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West Sacramento church offers free Christmas lunch to locals in need

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The West Sacramento Baptist Church is offering a free Christmas luncheon to anyone who needs it. The luncheon (turkey, ham, and all the trimmings) will be served from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, at 2124 Michigan Blvd. The church can be reached at its message phone, 371-2111.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Holiday trash pickup schedule

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Both Christmas (Dec. 25) and New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) will result in changes to West Sacramento’s garbage and recycling pickup day. Both weeks, regular Thursday service will move to Friday and regular Friday service moves to Saturday.
City hall and the community center will close Dec. 24 through Jan. 4.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

McGowan takes one last look back at his public service, Part III

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 17, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

  EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final piece in our three-part interview with Mike McGowan, who was West Sacramento’s first mayor and later its longtime county supervisor.
  We talked with McGowan in March, and that chat covered his view of a lot of the city’s history and his own experiences. We hope you enjoyed the series.

 You can find the other parts of the series here:

  Mike McGowan Looks Back, Part I and Mike McGowan Looks Back, Part II

_________

MIKE McGOWAN -- an elder statesman of West Sacramento and the region, believes he may have been a little pushy in his early years

MIKE McGOWAN — an elder statesman of West Sacramento and the region, believes he may have been a little pushy in his early years (News-Ledger photo)

There were some contentions battles in West Sacramento in the late ‘80s, soon after the city incorporated. Councilwoman Thelma Rogers left, and was replaced by Greg Potnick – who occasionally became the “1” in some 4-1 votes.

On the winning side of those votes were Mike McGowan, Fidel Martinez, Ray Jones and Bill Kristoff (who is still a councilman).

Later, Wes Beers joined the council as a frequent ally of Potnick, and there were some 3-2 votes on major planning issues. One of the splits centered around the city’s new master plan, which called for major industrial development in Southport near the port. The council majority supported that vision.

McGowan acknowledges those divisions, but they don’t loom large in his mind:

“I got along with Greg (Potnick),” he said. “My biggest challenge with Greg was getting to know him. He was a very closed kind of guy. I don’t remember how big of a deal that stuff was. I’m sure it was at the time.”

Partly, those divisions occurred because of the need to make some kind of progress and get the city off the ground, he said.

“It was important for us to create momentum, to create synergy,” he said. “Then, we were going from a dead stop (and) that’s just impossible to do without offending or hurting or ruffling a lot of feathers and making a lot of people mad at you. Making enemies.”

“We’ll fix it later,” he said was the attitude. “Let’s just get this car running.”

On the other hand, he allows, part of it was the fault of a young and callow Mike McGowan.

“My sin then was the arrogance of youth, because I wasn’t going to pay much attention to (those who disagree). If I thought you were going to be in my way, I’d either walk around you or walk over you. I didn’t really care. I’ve learned since then.”

McGowan then succeeded Clark Cameron as the “District 1” member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, representing Clarksburg and most of West Sacramento, in 1993. He won a four-person ballot, against chief rival Ray Hensley, “who’s now a friend.”

A year later, still early in that term, he made a bid for the State Senate against Republican K. Maurice Johannessen (father of current local councilman Mark Johannessen). McGowan, a Democrat, lost. He recalls that this was in the year of Newt Gingrich’s conservative “Contract for America,” and the senate district was more rural and conservative than he had realized.

That left him with a dose of “humility” and the remaining years of his term at the Yolo board of supervisors.

“I said, you know, I want to see what kind of supervisor I could really be,” he remembers. “I started to take it really seriously and work at it and enjoy it – and I enjoyed it till I left.”

There were a couple of things he had to learn when he went from West Sacramento’s city council to the board of supervisors. One of them was the “culture shock” of going from a place where the city had tried to “develop its way out of a problem” to a place where development and its monies were shunned. The city saw tax dollars from new development as a solution and the county didn’t.

“I went over there and I didn’t get all this ‘land preservation’ stuff,” McGowan commented. “These guys (in the county government) are broke, and they need to do some development and make some money. That’s what you do in West Sacramento, right? ‘We’re going to develop our way out of this problem.’”

But Yolo wanted to keep its farmland as farmland, and wanted to preserve its open space between cities. County policy was to steer development into the cities. This was a costly policy for the county coffers.

As McGowan remembers this mindset:

“We’re not going to do urbanized development in the unincorporated area. We’re going to great lengths to protect the unincorporated land for agriculture and/or open space. Ag land is our number one commandment. . . We will drive urban growth and development back into the cities – we will take a vow of poverty, so to speak.”

But McGowan said he saw the light of this approach and became an “ardent proponent.”

Meanwhile, county officials were still smarting over the fact that West Sacramento had incorporated and taken a chip out of the county’s revenue stream.

“We’d stolen all their money,” McGowan summed up.

Relations weren’t good and the city and county were squabbling over various small issues. McGowan believes that the relationship, though, is again trusting and healthy.

Another difference between the city’s government and the county’s is that local council members are all elected “at large,” while county supervisors are elected from separate  geographical districts. In the city, McGowan believes, councilman have historically been able to keep the “whole city’s” interests at heart. But with districts, there was the potential for selfishness.

Was it a win-lose proposition between various districts in county governance?

“It’s a combination,” he answered. “It all depends on how you play the game. . . I guess I learned that if you muscle it to get a 3-2 vote, you’re likely to be on the wrong end of another 3-2 vote down the road. So you really play it for the long haul. It’s a give and take.”

So the Yolo board – like the current city council – is now a collegial place to get things done, McGowan believes.

And then there’s Clarksburg – the little town to West Sacramento’s south. It’s part of the same supervisor’s district that includes the bulk of West Sacramento.

When he became a county supervisor, McGowan said he learned that Clarksburg residents had a strange view of their bigger neighbor to the north. Especially since there were developers trying to convince West Sacramento to allow a massive project to go in between the two jurisdictions.

“When I ran for supervisor for the first time, I went to a coffee klatsch down in Clarksburg,” he recalls. “They knew more about what’s going on in West Sacramento than most of the people in West Sacramento did at their own coffee klatsches. They’re not  obsessed, but they’re very interested.”

“It took me a while to figure out that they had this paranoia they had about West Sac taking over. And I said, ‘I don’t think you understand. (West Sac) is going to have a hard enough time putting in more growth in Southport, period. They’re not interested in that project south of the city.’”

The project withered, and the distrust has ebbed, said McGowan.

“Clarksburg is like the little village in the Scottish glen, or something. What do you call it? ‘Brigadoon’. . . It took me a long time to develop their support.”

Working on the board of supervisors led to a leadership stint at the California State Association of Counties, and that led to working with the Governor Jerry Brown on projects such as prison realignment.

A year ago, McGowan – looking ahead to his retirement – stepped down from the county board of supervisors to take a governor’s appointment to a special post at the DMV. He did so believing that his hometown is being well-run, and his old supervisor’s seat is in good hands with Oscar Villegas.

He jokes about the lifestyle change – for the first time since before law school, he now has a boss at work. And his commute has doubled (!) from 1.5 miles to three miles.

He expects to put in another year or two at his post, working on things like implementation of the policy of driver’s licenses for undocumented residents.

But at as Mike McGowan approaches age 67 later this month, he feels like a lucky guy:

“I got to be the first mayor of my hometown. I got to be the guy that helped launch all this stuff. Then I got to work as a supervisor and I got to work with the governor and do all those things.”

What does he like about his hometown?

“I still see West Sacramento, for the most part, as being this incredibly good place to raise your family. It’s the schools, it’s the churches, it’s the swim team. That’s what’s happening here.”

  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