Tag Archives: california

Yolo County program can help local businesses pay for new jobs

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 17, 2014 —

From Beth Gabor
County of Yolo

Yolo County is linking up with employers to provide new job opportunities through the county’s Subsidized Employment Program.  This program, administered through the Yolo County Department of Employment & Social Services, incentivizes local employers by cutting employment costs when hiring Yolo County residents, while at the same time, assisting eligible low-income job seekers otherwise unable to find employment.

The Subsidized Employment Program reimburses participating employers eligible employee wages and unemployment insurance costs for up to a year.  This reimbursement is made possible through the CalWORKs Employment Services Program.

Jobs made available through the Subsidized Employment Program are not meant to displace current employees.  These jobs may be, but are not limited to, entry-level positions.

Since the inception of the program, nearly 15 employers have qualified for the Subsidized Employment Program and are working directly with the Yolo County Department of Employment & Social Services to train, hire and, as a result, help get eligible low-income residents back into the working “mainstream” of the community.

“One of Yolo County’s strategic goals is to champion job creation and economic opportunities,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Don Saylor in a press release for the program.  “The Subsidized Employment Program not only assists with employment opportunities – a challenge still for many – it also helps our local businesses expand their capacity and bolsters our local economy.”

For more information on the Subsidized Employment Program, call (916) 375-6252 or (530) 661-4311.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac Art Guild preps for art show & sale today near Nugget

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 17, 2014 —

Six members of the West Sacramento Art Guild took multiple awards at the Yolo County Fair over the summer, reports JoJo Gillies of the guild.

Among them:

Agnes Nilsen took a first-place award in cross-stitch, a third as “best overall” and a pair of second-place ribbons.

‘Polly at large,’ an acrylic painting of a macaw done by JoJo Gillies of the West Sacramento Art Guild, took a first-place award at the 2014 Yolo County Fair. The guild will have an art show and sale on Dec. 20 next to Round Table Pizza in Southport.

‘Polly at large,’ an acrylic painting of a macaw done by JoJo Gillies of the West Sacramento Art Guild, took a first-place award at the 2014 Yolo County Fair.
The guild will have an art show and sale on Dec. 20 next to Round Table Pizza in Southport.

Linda Bowron won for embroidery (with third in “best overall”) and took a second-place in embroidery.

Carol Hawkins took a first-place and two second-place awards in collage.

Vona Giese took place for a knitted baby set and second for a watercolor work featuring a fire truck.

Jerry Renno took first and “best of show” for a metal sculpture work, and a second-place in the same category.

JoJo Gillies took first place awards with a combined acrylic/collage painting and for an oil painting, as well as three “second place” awards in acrylic and two “third place” honors for acrylic painting.

Gillies and Renno also collaborated on three winners, after Renno fabricated art from steel plow discs and Gillies painting them. The results earned two first-place awards and a second-place, plus extra ribbons for first and third in “best of show.”

The art guild plans an art sale on Dec. 20 outside Round Table Pizza in the Southport Town Center. The public is invited.

For more information on the local art guild, call Agnes Nilsen at 374-1810. To inquire about purchasing metal sculptures, call 371-3165.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014