Tag Archives: california

Villegas believes he’s right for the Yolo board of supervisors

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 28, 2014 —

  Last week, the News-Ledger brought you an interview with Norma Alcala, who is running for the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. This week, we offer this chat with Oscar Villegas, who hopes to keep that seat.
  This race is part of the June 3 ballot.

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

“This job is not one you can just sort of stumble into,” Oscar Villegas told the News-Ledger on Saturday. “You really need to understand the issues, the personalities, the different government components and the complexity of the issues. My ability to ‘not complicate the simple issues’ and to ‘not simplify the complex issues’ is important.”

OSCAR VILLEGAS (News-Ledger photo)

OSCAR VILLEGAS
(News-Ledger photo)

Villegas, took a seat on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors this year to represent Clarksburg and most of West Sacramento in “District 1.” It was a governor’s appointment, made to fill a vacancy made when Michael McGowan moved on to other things.

Villegas feels he’s made a good start on the board, and deserves to be re-elected on Tuesday’s ballot.
Challenger Normal Alcala, a fellow Democrat, has criticized Villegas for “double dipping” as both a paid full-time county supervisor and full-time employee of the state. But Villegas told the News-Ledger he is no longer a full-time state worker.

“What I’m doing right now is working part-time for the state, and full-time for the county,” he commented. “I don’t see myself increasing my time with the state.”

“I also have two full-time staff in my (board of supervisors) office.”

Villegas has always lived in West Sacramento. He grew up in the Bryte neighborhood in the city’s northwest, attending local schools and then Christian Brothers High School. He earned a degree in criminal justice from Sacramento State.

He said he has volunteered his time coaching Little League and soccer, working with Meals on Wheels and being civically involved. Twenty-two years ago, he married Katie Villegas, who is now a member of the local school board and the executive of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance. They have two kids and live in Southport, “a mile south of the Pheasant Club.”

“I have always been active,” said Oscar Villegas. “My first date with Katie was actually walking precincts for (Yolo Sheriff) Bob Martinez. I said, ‘What are you doing Saturday,’ and she said, ‘nothing.’ I said, ‘Great, I’m walking precincts – why don’t you join me?’”

During college in the 1980s, Villegas said he was doing school projects on the issue of whether what was then “East Yolo” should become a city. He looked at the government studies and reports, concluding it should.
It did, actually. The neighborhoods of “East Yolo” became West Sacramento in 1987.

Villegas eventually served on the city’s planning commission (he was appointed first by Wes Beers and then by current mayor Christopher Cabaldon), and then served as a city councilman for 13 years.

“We’ve worked very well together,” he said of Cabaldon. Villegas has not, though, endorsed council colleague Mark Johannessen in Johannessen’s current run for state assembly.

Villegas now works as a field representative for the state board of state and community corrections, working with local governments helping to train corrections personnel.

That job meshes a bit with one of Yolo County’s big current issues, called “realignment.” That’s a move by the State of California to move some state prisoners into local jails, and let some prisoners out of jail under supervised programs. It’s meant to combat state prison overcrowding. Villegas said Yolo County is doing an effective job so far trying to manage this process and prevent some of these released prisoners from re-offending.

“Our communities cannot afford to find out that the policies the county has instituted have not worked, and we have this perpetual recidivism, and it’s unsafe,” he commented.

To that end, Yolo needs to study which classes of prisoners need to be targeted for services and support to prevent them from committing new crimes.

“Now, you have the sheriff, the D.A., the public defender, the probation department and the cities all working together to figure out how you are going to manage this population if more people are going to be let out into our communities rather than in jail. . . What are the best chances to provide those programs so they don’t recidivate and cause new crimes?”

Villegas said he is opposed to the governor’s “tunnel” proposal for the water system. But does he have a favored alternative?

“Storage is a big (alternative), and there is no question there is a need statewide for water, and for a better way to manage our water,” he answered. “I don’t know if there is any one option right now that is going to serve everyone’s needs.”

Yolo County’s government is now recovering from drastic budget cuts during the recession. That trimmed county services.  He’s cautiously optimistic things are now on the mend.

“One of the things it’s easy to forget is that one of the county’s core responsibilities is being that safety net for when people are struggling for whatever reason,” said Villegas. “Whether you’re in need of mental health services, or substance abuse help or job search services – there’s a range of things that happen in the course of your life.”

“I know, because my family had to use it when my father was laid off from the railroad,” he said. “It was a struggle for my parents. I remember specifically having to use food stamps to purchase our meals at the end of the day. I want to make sure that. . . people know we’re here and (help) as easy to access as possible.”

Villegas said he supports the county’s policy goals of preserving agricultural land and trying to avoid development on the acres that separate Yolo’s individual cities.

“That’s the culture and philosophy of the board, but it’s tough,” he said. “It’s not easy to do that. But I agree, that’s certainly the right policy and I certainly subscribe to that.”

So far in his shortened first term, Villegas feels he has brought a “pragmatic” approach to the Yolo board of supervisors and that he’s “been embraced” by his new colleagues. He feels that it has helped that he already had a rapport with various leaders in the region.

  “To be able to pick up the phone and talk to a supervisor in Sacramento or a supervisor in Solano County, or the mayor of a city here in the region is how you get things done,” said Villegas. “I feel very confident I can pick up the phone and have that conversation.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Tour de West Sac’ will be a casual bike ride around the town

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MAY 30, 2014 —

West Sacramento City Council member Chris Ledesma is inviting locals to join him for a very casual bicycle ride around some of the city’s landmarks and neighborhoods on Saturday morning, May 31.

CHRIS LEDESMA is leading a casual bike tour tomorrow, sharing info about West Sacramento projects and plans.  (News-Ledger file photo)

CHRIS LEDESMA is leading a casual bike tour tomorrow, sharing info about West Sacramento projects and plans.
(News-Ledger file photo)

He anticipates that the”Tour de West Sac”  informal ride will cover about 8-10 miles at a modest pace, and there will be several spots to stop and talk and to purchase refreshments. Ledesma hopes to use the ride to make sure some of his fellow citizens are better-acquainted with the city’s Clarksburg Branch Line Trail, the  Pioneer Bluffs next to the barge canal, the “Michael McGowan Bridge” now under construction on South River Road, the new projects in the Bridge District and the city’s “urban farm” in Broderick, among other things.  He will share knowledge of these areas along the way.

There is no charge to participate. Just show up about 10:30 a.m. in the Nugget Market parking lot (2000 Town Center Plaza in Southport). The ride departs at 11 and Ledesma anticipates it will finish around 2.  Bring your bike and some cash for lunch, and wear appropriate safety gear.

 

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West Sac woman celebrates 105 years

May McReyonlds (right) celebrates her 105th birthday with friends at Vince's Ristorante in West Sacramento.

May McReyonlds (right) celebrates her 105th birthday with friends at Vince’s Ristorante in West Sacramento.

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 28, 2014 —

MAY McREYNOLDS (pictured above at right) celebrated her 105th birthday earlier this month with a party at Vince’s Italian Restaurant. Among the attendees were Phyllis Iwasaki (above left) and John Spurgin (center).

Spurgin helps look after McReynolds since her own son, a veteran of Vietnam, died.

McReynolds lives in an assisted living facility and enjoys going with Spurgin to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1672 for dinners. She’s an avid reader of novels — especially Western-themed stories.

  (Photo & information courtesy of Bill Spurgin)

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sacramento Farmers Market returns

The popular West Sacramento Farmers Market (shown here from its inaugural day in 2011) is back this week. Visit the market Thursdays, 4:30 p.m. to dusk, on the street in front of city hall at 1110 West Capitol Avenue. (News-Ledger photo)

The popular West Sacramento Farmers Market (shown here from its inaugural day in 2011) is back this week. Visit the market Thursdays, 4:30 p.m. to dusk, on the street in front of city hall at 1110 West Capitol Avenue. (News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The West Sacramento Farmers Market reopens on Thursday evenings beginning May 29.

The market’s ‘Dig In’ dinners – a three-course, sit-down dinner served in the street, return with a 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. meal May 29 at the market location, 1110 West Capitol Avenue (in front of city hall). Only 120 tickets available for each dinner.

The guest chef on May 29 is Michael Thiemann, owner and chef at “Mother,” known for its “old-school, low country” cuisine.

Visit www.westsacramentochamber.com/events or contact Meaghan Pierelli, 371-7042.

The market is open 4:30-8 p.m. on Thursdays through summer, beginning May 29.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac police fire shots at fleeing suspect

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MAY 26, 2014 —

A West Sacramento Police Officer fired shots at a suspect he believed was trying to ram the officer’s motorcycle during a carjacking and a police chase this morning. The suspect wasn’t hit by the gunfire, but was arrested.

A carjacking victim went to the hospital for treatment.

The events started to unfold at 11:33 am. at 3065 West Capitol Avenue — the site of a shopping center and parking lot, at the corner of Harbor Boulevard — when someone reported a shooting. Police received a report that an armed man was running in the area, said Lieutenant Nathan Steele  of the W.S.P.D.

Then, police received reports that the suspect was armed with a screwdriver — and was being chased by witnesses who believed he had been trying to break into a vehicle at the site.

“The suspect assaulted a citizen and carjacked his vehicle as officers were arriving at the scene,” said a statement from Steele. “Officers attempted to stop the suspect in the stolen vehicle, at which time the suspect led officers on a high-speed pursuit.”

“On several occasions during the pursuit, the suspect attempted to strike West Sacramento police officers’ patrol cars with his vehicle. The suspect then attempted to strike a West Sacramento police officer on a motorcycle. The motor officer, fearing for his safety, fired at the suspect and his vehicle. No parties were struck or injured.”

The suspect then crashed the vehicle and fled on foot, before being caught without further incident, reported Steele.  The chase concluded on Evergreen Avenue, he told the News-Ledger.

The man was identified as 37-year old Thomas Brewer of Sacramento. He faces “numerous” felony charges,” said Steele.

The motorcycle officer who fired the shots was placed on routine paid leave while the incident is investigated by the police department and Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Eric Palmer, (916) 617-4935.

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West Sac readies for new, outdoor venue on riverfront — for farmers market, concerts, beer garden

THE BARN will include an overhead crossing of Garden Street, near the Tower Bridge and Raley Field, as well as indoor facilities.   (City of West Sacramento/artist’s rendering)

THE BARN will include an overhead crossing of Garden Street, near the Tower Bridge and Raley Field, as well as indoor facilities.
(City of West Sacramento/artist’s rendering)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 21, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The West Sacramento City Council last week to approve spending about $2.6 million in “capital improvement project” funds toward a project designed to attract visitors to the city’s developing riverfront.

The contribution will help build a $5.6 million outdoor venue called “The Barn,” in conjunction with developer Mark Friedman and his Smart Growth Investors II, LLC. It’s to be built across Garden Street next to the Riverwalk trail along the Sacramento River.

The project is meant to “evoke the agricultural heritage of West Sacramento,” according to a city staff report. It includes a kitchen and meeting space and will also be operated as a beer garden when sufficient foot traffic is expected. It may also host farmers markets, concerts and other events. The facility will be operated by a vendor.

A city plan for its “Bridge District” authorizes up to $19.7 million in “backbone” improvements to Riverwalk, as well as another $46 million that could be spent on shade structures, piers, gardens, art and “distributed recreational elements.”

The city revenue is “derived from Bridge District development,” City Manager Martin Tuttle told the News-Ledger yesterday. It’s not “general fund” money earmarked for uses such as police or fire protection.

The partners plan to have “The Barn” open this October. They’ve booked “The Launch,” a three-day concert last year held in Sacramento, as an opening event.

The land is privately-owned, and the deal approved by the council includes a lease and lease-back arrangement for 30 years.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon abstained from last week’s vote. He told the News-Ledger yesterday that while he had no legal “conflict of interest” to prevent him from voting, he is planning to move to a nearby development in the Bridge District.

“I thought it was better to abstain,” he said.

The other council members present – Mark Johannessen, Chris Ledesma and Bill Kristoff – authorized city staff to finalize and sign the deal for public participation.

 

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Spaghetti dinner to help family of Westmore Oaks school teacher

AMY MILLS has taught English and led drama productions in Washington Unified School District. She died Mother’s Day in hospice care, and friends are raising money to help her husband and two children with medical expenses from cancer treatment.   (Courtesy photo)

AMY MILLS has taught English and led drama productions in Washington Unified School District. She died Mother’s Day in hospice care, and friends are raising money to help her husband and two children with medical expenses from cancer treatment.
(Courtesy photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 14, 2014 —

Help the family of Westmore Oaks Elementary School teacher Amy Mills by showing up for some spaghetti, a silent auction and raffle on May 31.

Mills, 33, lost her fight with cancer on Sunday — Mother’s Day. She leaves behind a husband as well as children age eight and two.

According to Westmore Oaks secretary Holly Erickson, Mills was a teacher in West Sacramento’s school district since 2010. She taught English and ran the drama club, helping to put on productions of “Annie” and “Horton Hears a Who” on the Yolo High School gymnasium stage.

Her family has incurred large expenses from her medical treatment, which has included flights back and forth between West Sacramento and “Cancer Treatment Centers of America.”

Supporters are offering the spaghetti fundraiser beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at the Moose Lodge, 3240 Jefferson Blvd. in Southport.

$10 in advance or $12 at the door; $5 for kids; children under three are no charge. Please bring a dessert to share.

To buy tickets, contact Erickson at spiritjunkie22@yahoo.com or (916) 842-8932.

Erickson said that donations to the family can also be made by check to Mills’s mother, Teresa Redwine, care of Holly Erickson, 1704 Lakewood Dr., West Sacramento CA 95691.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014