Tag Archives: city

EDITORIAL: Neighborhood decisions



“Participatory Budgeting”:

It’s an experiment that’s been tried out, so far, in Brazil, New York City and  Chicago. It just started in Vallejo. And it would be good for West Sacramento, too.

“PB” could work for both the local city government and the school district. Through participatory budgeting, community members would be invited to suggest how to spend a small part of the city or school budget – perhaps using it for small, hyper-local projects that benefit their local neighborhoods. These smaller budget amounts might not go far if spread across the city, but they could have definite local impact if they’re used to fix something or to build something small on a neighborhood-specific basis.

“PB” starts with neighborhood brainstorming sessions. In each local session, citizens choose their favorite ideas, and volunteers then turn them into proposals.

[adrotate group=”7″]   The city council and school board then choose which proposals to fund. In West Sacramento, the city and WUSD might, for example, earmark specific lumps of money for use in each of a half-dozen neighborhood areas.

For practial reasons, we’re just talking about a small part of the whole budget for the city and the schools. The city council and school board would, of course, continue to make the big decisions about the vast majority of their respective budgets. Direct community input would just be invited for a limited “discretionary” part of the expenditures.

How might a grassroots effort choose to spend the money in West Sacramento?

When the PB community meetings began in New York City, one group was persuaded to support the humble goal of renovating the bathrooms in a local public school – bathrooms in which there was currently no room to put doors on the toilet stalls. Also on the table were discussions about security cameras in public places, new stop signs, parks projects and youth programs.

It was a great opportunity to fix some “little” problems. Websites and neighborhood assemblies fueled the idea-fest – not everyone had to go to a community meeting to submit an idea.

Aside from focusing money on small-but-important projects, the process has another attractive benefit: it’s a great way to get people involved with their local government.

Let people help make decisions on something small and hyper-local, and you may encourage them to stay in touch with their city and school district leaders.

After all, an involved community is a healthy community.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Ice rink opens in downtown Sacto

[adrotate group=”10″] FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER —

The annual downtown holiday ice rink has opened at 7th and K streets in Sacramento.

It’s been a tradition for 21 years and last year saw a 20% increase in attendance, report its sponsors. This year, ice rink visitors can look forward to Monday Date Nights, Tuesday Family Skate Nights, and special discounts courtesy of the Sacramento Downtown Plaza on Wednesdays.

The ice rink will be open daily to the public from November 2nd to January 21, 2013. Admission is $8. Skate rentals are $2.

For more information, call 442-8575.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

West Sac emergency volunteers respond to simulated earthquake disaster

CERT members celebrate their training mission (courtesy of WSFD)

[adrotate group=”9″] FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 7, 2012 —

West Sacramento’s CERTs (Certified Emergency Response Technicians) joined other teams in the region to participate in a disaster-response exercise on Oct. 13. The 500 volunteers practiced responding to a simulated earthquake emergency at a shopping mall. CERT members are trained by the local fire department in skills such as first aid and light search and rescue. They are meant to augment firefighters and other first-responders in the event of a disaster or crisis.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Cache Creek: a wilderness nearby


By Sara D. Husby-Good
Executive Director of Tuleyome

Did you know that the Cache Creek River and the Cache Creek Natural Area is right in your own back yard?  Just a quick 50 mile hop, skip, and a jump in the car and you could soon find yourself immersed in an area rich in natural wonder and excellent outdoor recreation.

Bald Eagle at Cache Creek (Photo by Andrew Fulks)

The Cache Creek Natural Area is made up of over 70,000 acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management 4,700 acres of State and County public land.  Of the 70,000 acres of secluded, hilly expanse of oak woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral, on BLM public lands, 27,245 acres was put into permanent protection as Wilderness in 2006 under Congressman Mike Thompson’s Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act.

The Cache Creek Natural Area is also home to one of the largest wintering habitats for bald eagles.  From mid-October  till mid-April you can discover the bald eagles soaring above, feeding on catfish and carp from the Cache Creek River, or nesting in trees high above your heads.  And if you keep an eye out on hillsides, near brushy cover you might be able to see Tule elk and blacktail deer.  You may also be able to spot a river otter under the Highway 20 Bridge if you have a bit of patience.

The Cache Creek River flows year round through this magnificent natural area and is a tributary to the Sacramento River.  In 2005, led by local group Tuleyome, AB 1328 was introduced by then Assembly member Lois Wolk to designate a portion of Cache Creek as a California Wild and Scenic River.

But the Cache Creek River also has a history with hydrology.  The Cache Creek Dam on the Main Fork of Cache Creek, about five miles downstream from Clear Lake, was built to increase Clear Lake’s capacity and to regulate outflow for downstream users of Cache Creek water.  While the Indian Valley Dam on the North Fork of Cache Creek forms Indian Valley Reservoir. The dam’s primary purpose is water storage for irrigation, but a 3.3 MW hydroelectric plant was built to take advantage of the falling water.  When water is released from the dams during the summertime, the Cache Creek River is an ideal spot for kayaking, canoeing, or rafting down the river.

[adrotate group=”7″]   But everything I just told you are facts.  What about the story behind the Cache Creek Natural Area and the Cache Creek River?

Did you know that the Cache Creek River was named by the Hudson Bay Company, trappers who caught furs along the Sacramento River and other tributaries?  The original name given by the Hudson Bay Company was Rivière la Cache.  Or did you know that gravel mining has taken place up and down Cache Creek and innovative projects like the Jan T. Lowrey Cache Creek Nature Preserve emerged out of struggles over whether and how much to mine out of the river?

Want to learn more about how local history and ecology intersect?  Then I suggest attending one of the Restore/Restory project presentations on Nov 8 or 9.  Restore/Restory explores the different social, cultural, and environmental histories of the Cache Creek Nature Preserve through the voices of a wide range of Yolo County residents. The project involved over 200 Yolo County people in a collaborative effort to chronicle our diverse and changing demographics, traditions and relationships with the land. Collectively, they a wide array of media art work that you can explore at restorerestory.org. Restore/Restory is a project of the UC Davis Art of Regional Change in collaboration with the Cache Creek Conservancy.  For more information on upcoming presentations please go to http://artofregionalchange.ucdavis.edu/?page_id=1070) .

A stretch of the Cache Creek wilderness (photo by Jim Rose, Tuleyome)

But also take the opportunity to get out and create your own stories and adventures in the Cache Creek Natural Area with your friends and family.  Year round the region offers adventures suited for everyone.  The Cache Creek Region offers hiking, fishing, hunting, equestrian usage, birding, and a great opportunity to see rare wildflowers.  For more information on outdoor hiking and paddle guides please check out Tuleyome Trails at www.Tuleyome.org.

  “Tuleyome Tales” news features are produced by Tuleyome , a regional conservation organization based in Woodland.  Sara Husby-Good is the Executive Director.  You can learn more at www.tuleyome.org

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Thanksgiving lunch for seniors


Seniors are invited to a Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 11 a.m. to about 3 p.m. at the community center (1075 West Capitol Avenue.). $8, catered by Rayna’s Gourmet Catering.

The turkey lunch will be followed by pumpkin pie and live music. Call 617-4620 for information.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

New courthouse: price cut, bonds ready

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 7, 2012 —


Construction of the new Yolo Superior Courthouse in Woodland received a green light late October when the State Treasurer completed sale of $133.8 million in lease-revenue construction bonds. The bonds will be repaid over a 25-year period through court user fees and penalties and without the use of any State General Fund monies.

ARTIST’S RENDERING OF THE PLANNED NEW COURTHOUSE. The design is intended to evoke the classical lines of the current Yolo County courthouse on Court Street in Woodland.

“Over the past two years, many people from the Yolo Court, State agencies, Woodland City Council and staff, and private businesses have devoted extraordinary efforts and time to help us reach the point where, barring unforeseen circumstances, construction of a new courthouse for the Yolo Superior Court will begin in the Spring of 2013.  All judges on the Yolo Superior Court are sincerely grateful to those who contributed to this collaborative process” stated Presiding Judge Steve Basha in a press release.

[adrotate group=”7″]   The project now proceeds to subcontractor bidding, which will be conducted by Hensel Phelps Construction Co., the project’s construction manager.  Hensel Phelps will issue prequalification guidelines and conduct outreach workshops with the Department of General Services for local subcontractors, to ensure that all qualified subcontractors have the opportunity to participate in the bidding.  That process is anticipated to begin in the coming months and notice will be publically announced at that time.

The project is scheduled to start construction in early 2013, with completion scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.  A ceremonial groundbreaking will be scheduled soon.
The Yolo Courthouse project survived several rounds of cost-cutting to keep the project alive.  The project team, consisting of members from the Yolo Superior Court, the State Administrative Office of the Courts, the project architects, and the construction manager, proposed changes that not only met but exceeded the cost-reduction mandates set earlier in the year by the Judicial Council.  In all, the construction budget was reduced by more than $9 million. The team worked to create a well-constructed building while using the latest in cost-savings materials and techniques.

“Even with the cost reductions we achieved, this will be a state-of-the-art building that will meet safety, security, and access requirements as well as being a building that will have the stature and distinguishing characteristics of a courthouse” said Presiding Judge Basha.  The new courthouse will be a five-story, 14-courtroom structure located in downtown Woodland between Fifth and Sixth Streets at 1000 Main Street. It will consolidate seven unsafe and overcrowded court facilities under one roof, improving access to justice for all Yolo County residents.

Designed by architects Fentress Architects and Dreyfuss and Blackford of Sacramento, the new Courthouse design features a four-column portico entryway reminiscent of the elegant lines of the old historic Courthouse. The design incorporates many sustainability features and includes numerous energy-saving features that will make the new Courthouse more economical to operate over time.

More information about the new courthouse is available at www.courts.ca.gov/facilities-yolo.htm

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Drive-thru food drop-off today at Whitey’s


Whitey’s Jolly Kone is hosting a “Drive Thru Canned Food Drive” benefiting Yolo County Children’s Alliance, Out of the Box Ministries, and the Christmas Basket Project.

[adrotate group=”9″]   Bring your donations to Whitey’s Jolly Kone at 1300 Jefferson Blvd on Sunday, November 11, anytime between 10am – 3pm.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012