Tag Archives: city

EDITORIAL: same problem, different answer

EDITORIAL from the News-Ledger — JAN 9, 2013 —

In March, West Sacramento residents will vote in a special election to fill a vacant seat on the local school board.

The vacancy was already filled once – last fall, when remaining school board members accepted applications and chose West Sacramento’s Liz Bagdazian to fill the seat. But a number of citizens criticized the way this happened. The citizens, backed by Mayor Cabaldon, gathered the needed signatures to nullify this appointment and send the matter to the voters.

One of the main criticisms leveled at the school district was that it kept secret the list of candidates for the open seat, making their names public only at the final selection meeting. The News-Ledger requested the names ahead of the meeting, but the request was denied.

Let’s compare this to how Sacramento City Unified School District handled a similar school board vacancy in the fall:

According to the Sac City district website, applications for their school board vacancy were accepted until November 14. The next day, the board met to review the applications in open session, with “all applications. . . available at the Board meeting for public inspection.”

Next, each applicant was then invited to make a presentation at the board’s December 6 meeting, and time was set aside on Dec. 20 for final presentations, questions from board members, and a final vote by the school board.

In other words, Sac City invited the public to get to know the candidates and offer questions and comments about them. That could have happened here.

  Now, WUSD’s top officials are professionals with good intentions and they do a good job on many things. There was no villainy in WUSD’s selection process.

The News-Ledger’s main concerns after the West Sacramento appointment were that WUSD officials seemed to view “transparency” as a secondary goal, aiming (not always successfully) just to meet their bare legal obligations. And they did not seem to understand the state’s public record laws, which say that school district records are almost always “public” records and the district is obligated to help the public get the records it wants.

When, as a governmental entity, you try too hard to keep the public at arm’s length, sometimes it will backfire on you.

It would be better if the good people running WUSD were to consciously adopt a new policy of maximum transparency. They should educate their staff about public requests for information, release school board meeting agendas earlier than the minimum legal deadline whenever possible, and so forth. If the district’s law firm doesn’t understand “public records,” WUSD should get a new law firm.

There should be a “transparency” culture, where the public comes first.  The reward will be more trust and goodwill.

And fewer special elections.

  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-Ledge 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 2013

Learn a foreign language, online

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER —

From Beth Gabor
County of Yolo

The Yolo County Library is pleased to announce that starting in 2013, it will offer free for all library patrons, Pronunciator, the online language-learning system.  With 60 of the world’s most popular languages, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in 50 languages, Pronunciator is focused on quickly building conversational skills through a suite of interactive online drills, scored quizzes and downloadable audio lessons and phrasebooks.

   Pronunciator offers five possible levels of instruction for each language, covering vocabulary, verbs, simple sentences and conversation.  One level, specifically for tourists and business travelers, teaches 1,500 essential phrases covering everyday situations.  Each course also has up to 350 hours of audio lessons, which patrons can download to a portable device, or burn to CD.  Appropriate for children as well as adults, Pronunciator is designed to meet the language-learning needs of the entire community.

“We are delighted to be adding Pronunciator to the premium resources we offer our patrons,” said Yolo County Librarian Patty Wong in a press release.  “There are many reasons a person learns a language – for work, travel, school or simply personal enrichment – and Pronunciator has something for everyone.”

The Pronunciator online language-learning system was donated by Robert Savage in memory of Davis resident James Steichel, and will be available January 2013 through June 2014.

Residents are encouraged to stop by any branch of the Yolo County Library for an introduction to Pronunciator, or to access the program online at www.yolocountylibrary.org.  For more information, contact Joan Tuss (530) 757-5588 or joan.tuss@yolocounty.org.

West Sacramento’s library branch is at 1212 Merkley Avenue.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Fun science for kids, at library

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Kids in grades K-6 are invited to an interactive, fun science program at 2 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 19, at the library, 1212 Merkley Avenue.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Drop off your documents & e-waste to help RCHS music program

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER —

Support the River City High School music department by bringing your old electronic items and your old documents to an e-waste and shredding fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 12) in the music building parking lot, west side of campus. Bring your old phones, hard drives, monitors, etc. You may also bring documents to be shredded — $5 for a tall kitchen bag full, or $10 per 11” X 18” box. Shredding is done at the time of drop-off. Drive-through, and someone will take your items from your car.

  For information, call 375-7800 or email amarvelli@wusd.k12.ca.us.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Bits & pieces from around Yolo County:

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 2, 2013 —

Some of the goings-on around Yolo County in recent weeks:

  The Yolo County Children’s Alliance announced it had received a $45,000 grant from United Way Capitol Region.
The money is intended to fund participation in the United Way STAR Readers project for 80 local kids in kindergarten through third grade. The program will be run by the Childrens Alliance at Westfield Village Elementary School. It’s intended to help kids learn to read.

_______________

Blue Shield of California Foundation gave $35,000 to the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center (SADVC) in Yolo County. The money is intended to help the center “provide services and assist survivors of domestic violence in Yolo County,” said a press release from the SADVC.

_______________

The Delta Elementary Charter School in Clarksburg purchased a new 82-passenger bus to transport students from the region – including West Sacramento.
The school traded its old bus for a new one arranged by a program of the Yolo Solano Air Management District, as part of an air quality improvement program. The new bus is scheduled to start service this month.
_______________

The animal services division of the Yolo County Sheriff’s office in Woodland received a face-lift in late October, thanks to outside help.
Brooks Painting of Davis and a $10,000 grant from “National Make a Difference Day” paid for the sprucing up. Volunteers helped paint the cinderblock building and its “puppy park.”
_______________

About 450 people attended the “Art Farm” hosted by YoloArts in November, with buyers picking up at least 55 fine-art paintings and sculptures. The event in Woodland’s Gallery 625 (the county administration building at 625 Court Street) raised an estimated $15,000 for distribution to the “Art and Ag Project” and partners Yolo Land Trust and Yolo Farm to Fork.
It’s an annual event.

  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-Ledge 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 2013

Johannessen looking at homeless issue

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 2, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Councilman Mark Johannessen plans to lobby the West Sacramento city council next month to include a “homeless” policy among the city’s priorities for 2013.

Johannessen has been chairman of an informal group of “stakeholders” discussing the issue of homelessness in the city.

 

City Council Member Mark Johannessen (News-Ledger photo)

“We’ve had people from the Veterans Administration in the group, homeowners and property owners, business stakeholders, a police rep and a city rep in the group over the last year and a half,” he told the News-Ledger. “It’s basically an email list anybody can join.”

The committee has been trying to decide what, exactly, it wants out of a city policy on homelessness.

“What’s happened over the last year is that we’ve created an inventory of homeless resources, and also a wish list of all the stakeholders,” said Johannessen. “Does (the policy)  mean cleaning up neighborhoods, or does it mean feeding the homeless?”

There is no cold weather shelter in West Sacramento right now. There is a motel room voucher program funded through a grant obtained by the Broderick Christian Center – but last winter, there wasn’t even that.

“I think a shelter is an attribute people want to see,” he said. “Broderick Christian Center is doing a day shelter, but there is no night shelter in West Sacramento. There are no beds except for the (motel) voucher program. I definitely think a shelter is a discussion we need to have.”

  Johannessen said the last count put the number of homeless in city limits around 138 – and they are homeless for varying reasons. Most are men.

“There are chronic homeless – those are the people likely to have some mental health issue or drug or alcohol issue. Then you have people who lose their jobs or their homes, and they’re sleeping in their cars, but they’re capable of getting a job and getting back on their feet.  Some people won’t tell you why they’re homeless, but there are obviously some issues with them. It could be they haven’t been to the dentist and don’t have any teeth – how are you going to get a job without any teeth?”

Johannessen said a big part of the new policy could be just creating a central clearinghouse for homeless services.

“In my view, one of the biggest problems right now is that we have all kinds of people doing all kinds of things – such as Helena Helmold (East Yolo Information Center for Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse) doing alcohol and drug issues. She may or may not be in touch with Broderick Christian Center which may or may not be in touch with St. Vincent De Paul. One of the things that may come from this (committee) is some centralized process, so if you have a homeless issue, there’s one place to go.”

Meanwhile, the City of West Sacramento is looking for a consultant to help draft a homeless policy.

West Sacramento worked with other Yolo County governments in 2008 on a ten-year plan on homelessness – but funding was cut, reports Louise Collis of the City of West Sacramento.

“What we’re trying to do is find a way at least in West Sacramento for us to move forward (on limited means),” said Collis.

This city’s homeless problem may be different in some ways from the problem faced in western Yolo County.

“We’re right across the river from Sacramento, and that’s a different situation form Esparto or Woodland or someplace rural,” said Collis.

The West Sacramento City Council will hold its annual strategic plan meeting – and possibly listen to a pitch from Johannessen about homelessness – in early 2013.

  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-Ledge 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 2013

Foodies: special Sacto dining discounts

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The 8th annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week will return for ten days starting on January 9th.

Downtown Sacramento’s top restaurants will offer special three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for $30 a person. Among the many participating restaurants so far this year are the 4th Street Grille, Biba, Blackbird Kitchen& Bar, Blue Prynt, The Broiler Steakhouse, Capitol Garage, Chops Steaks & Seafood Bar, Dawson’s at the Hyatt, Esquire Grill, Fat City, The Firehouse Restaurant, Frank Fat’s, Grange, Mayahuel, The Melting Pot, Paragrary’s Midtown, The Porch, Spataro, Ten22 and Tuli Bistro.

For more information on Dine Downtown and all the participating restaurants, visit www.downtownsac.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013