Tag Archives: city council

West Sacramento gets new vice mayor, or ‘mayor pro tem’

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (right) is sworn in for another two-year term at the helm of the City of West Sacramento. (Photo & info from AL ZAGOFSKY/copyright News-Ledger 2014)

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (right) is sworn in for another two-year term at the helm of the City of West Sacramento. (Photo & info from AL ZAGOFSKY/copyright News-Ledger 2014)

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 24, 2014 —

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon was sworn in for another two-year term last Wednesday by Kryss Rankin, City Clerk. Cabaldon easily won re-election during the November local ballot.

Also reelected last month were city council members Mark Johannessen and Chris Ledesma, who each earned another four-year term from local voters.

Johannessen finished up a stint as ‘mayor pro tem’ last week. The council selected Chris Ledesma (whose face can be seen above, just left of Cabaldon) as ‘mayor pro tem’ for the coming year. It’s essentially a vice mayor’s post.

In West Sacramento, the mayor’s position is a two-year, separately-elected position. The other four members of the council receive four-year terms. Every two years, two of those seats go up for reelection.

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?

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  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

Final vote tallies in West Sac:

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 12, 2014 —

In West Sacramento, Tuesday was a great night for incumbents.

As voters cast their ballots in the November 4 general election, it seemed they were trying to show they were happy with the current direction of the local school district and city government.

In the mayor’s race, current mayor Christopher Cabaldon took 83.8 percent of the vote, or 5,976 ballots. His challenger, Narinderpal Singh Hundal, was left with 1,156 votes (16.2 percent).

West Sacramento voters were asked to pick two people for the city council, and they picked the two incumbents:

Mark Johannessen led the voting in that race with a vote percent of 42.1 percent (5,030 ballots cast), followed by Christopher Ledesma, with 36.6 percent (36.6 percent).

Challengers Nancy Heth-Tran (11.8 percent, or 1,410 votes) and Jeff Lyon (9.5 percent, 1,137 votes) fared less well.

Since voters were allowed to cast two votes in the race, their “ballot percentage” could be higher. For example, Johannessen’s name was on two-thirds of the ballots (66.7 percent).

West Sacramento voters were likewise asked to fill two seats on the board of trustees for the Washington Unified School District. Only one incumbent, Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, was defending a seat.

She was returned to the board at the head of the three-person pack, with a vote percentage of 42.9 percent (4,445 votes). Joining her on the board will be challenger Norma Alcala (37.1 percent, 3,844 votes).

Fellow challenger Joshua Alves earned 2,084 votes, or 20.1 percent.

Local voters approved a $49.8 million school bond, “Measure V,” by a strong majority. The bond is meant to raise money to fix and upgrade local campuses.

Measure V needed 55 percent of the vote to pass. It earned 4,758 votes, for 66.6 percent. A total of 2,391 voters said “no.” The win stretched across all precincts.

The Yolo County Elections Department reports a turnout of 7,509 voters in West Sacramento – 32.9 percent of the city’s 22,800 registered voters.

  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

West Sac elections: a good night for the incumbents

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — TUESDAY, NOV 4, 2014 —

As early returns came in from today’s voting, West Sacramento voters appeared to be happy with the local status quo.  The early and unofficial tally so far:

MAYOR OF WEST SACRAMENTO

Christopher Cabaldon (incumbent): 3,431 votes or 84.7%

Narinderpal Hundal: 621 votes, or 15.3%

 

CITY COUNCIL OF WEST SACRAMENTO (voters choose two)

Mark Johannessen (incumbent): 2,956 votes, or 69.1% of the ballot

Chris Ledesma (incumbent): 2,492 votes, or 58.3% of the ballot

Nancy Heth-Tran: 791 votes, or 18.5% of the ballot

Jeff Lyon: 680 votes, or 15.9% of the ballot

 

WASHINGTON UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD (voters choose two)

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez (incumbent): 2,576 votes, or 60.2% of the ballot

Norma Alcala: 2,266 votes, or 53% of the ballot

Joshua R. Alves: 1,133 votes, or 26.5% of the ballot

 

MEASURE V — $49.8 MILLION SCHOOL BOND (needs 55%)

Yes: 2,776 votes, or 67.7%

No: 1,327 votes, or 32.3%

 

The News-Ledger will provide a final report in next Wednesday’s edition.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014