Tag Archives: county

Villegas keeps seat; Johannessen falls short in bid for Assembly

City Council Member Mark Johannessen will not be in the November runoff election for State Assembly (News-Ledger photo)

City Council Member Mark Johannessen will not be in the November runoff election for State Assembly
(News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — JUNE 4, 2014 —

Election results are still unofficial, but there have been no major changes in local results since the first votes were counted last night. Oscar Villegas successfully fended off a challenge from fellow Democrat Norma Alcala and will keep his seat on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

West Sacramento City Councilman Mark Johannessen did not make the runoff in the race for the District 7 seat in the California Assembly.

The election did not feature any West Sacramento city council or school board races.

Some key local results:

NORMA ALCALA believed the Yolo Board of Supervisors needed the perspective of a woman and Latina, but fell short on yesterday's ballot  (News-Ledger photo)

NORMA ALCALA believed the Yolo Board of Supervisors needed the perspective of a woman and Latina, but fell short on yesterday’s ballot
(News-Ledger photo)

YOLO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, DISTRICT 1 (Clarksburg and most of West Sacramento):

Villegas defeated Alcala 61.5 percent to 38.5 percent. Villegas earned 2,670 votes and Alcala had 1,668. Turnout in the district is listed as 23.1 percent.

In District 2, including Winters and part of Davis, Don Saylor ran unopposed. Matt Rexroad ran unopposed in District 3 (Woodland).

JUDGE OF THE YOLO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, DEPT. 3:

Janene Beronio defeated three competitors, earning 12,380 votes (or 53.5%). Beronio is currently a commissioner for the court. Second place in the race was John P. Brennan, with 17.1 percent of the vote, followed by Larenda Delaini of West Sacramento with 15.1 percent and Fredrick Cohen with 14.3 percent.

YOLO COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

Jesse Ortiz edged out Sam Neustadt 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent (11,548 votes to 10,833).

COUNTY CLERK/RECORDER/ASSESSOR

Incumbent clerk/recorder Freddie Oakley, who oversees the elections department as part of her duties, defeated challenger David Schwenger 67.1 percent to 32.9 percent (15,381 to 7,540).

OTHER YOLO COUNTY RACES:

District Attorney Jeff Reisig, Public Guardian/Administrator Cass Sylvia and Sheriff Ed Prieto all ran unopposed.

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 7:

West Sacramento’s Mark Johannessen (currently on the local city council) came in fourth among a field of five. Democrats Kevin McCarty and Steve Cohn finished on top and will proceed to a November 4 runoff.

McCarty placed first with 34.6 percent of the vote (11,804 votes), followed by Cohn at 28.4 percent, Republican Ralph Merletti at 15.2 percent, Democrat Johannessen at 12.9 percent and Republican Oliver Ponce with 8.8 percent.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 6:

 

Democrat Doris Matsui, the incumbent, came in ahead of Republican challenger Joseph McCray, Sr., with 73.4% of the votes (38,349 votes) in this primary. McCray earned 13,914 votes for 26.6 percent. Both will move on to the general election in November.

GOVERNOR’S RACE

Democratic Governor  Edmond G. “Jerry” Brown earned 54.5 percent of the vote in the open primary, and will face second-place finisher Republican Neel Kashkari (19.0 percent) in the November primary. If Brown is reelected, he will be the first California governor to earn four terms.

 

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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

New: if you can’t find a book at library, have them ‘zip it’ to you from Amazon

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — April 9, 2014 —

“Zip Books” arrives tomorrow (April 10).

Starting April 10, a cardholder unable to find a particular print book in the Yolo County library system can make a “Zip Book” request, and the library will attempt to buy a copy at Amazon and have it shipped straight to the cardholder’s address. When finished with the book, the customer can just return it to the service desk at the library for special processing. The new book may then become part of the library’s collection.

The service is made possible by a grant from the California State Library, and is available to cardholders with less than $10 in overdue fines. Start your book search at www.yolocounty.org.

 

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Don’t be too quick to click: several Internet-related scams are making local rounds

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 12, 2014 —

The office of Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig wants the public to be aware of a couple of scams currently making the rounds.

In one ripoff, consumers receive a computer-generated phone call telling them they have won $100 off of their AT&T phone bill. The phone call instructs them to log onto the website www.iliveatt.com, which looks legitimate but is only a “convincing fake,” reports Dave Edwards of the D.A.’s office.

The site tries to steal personal information to use for fraud.

Also reported locally is an email message that purports to be a “foreclosure notice.”

The email sounds official, and tells you that you are being foreclosed and evicted from your home. You are asked to respond immediately by clicking on a link.

The message “is designed to scare you into responding quickly, while you are upset and not thinking clearly,” reports Derek Soriano of the D.A.’s office. “Cybercriminals are trying to get you to open attachments which may contain computer viruses, or provide them with a credit card number. You can be sure this is a scam designed to steal your money and possibly your identity. If you receive an unexpected or unsolicited email like this and you are not sure if it is legitimate, you should contact your bank and/or realtor to ask them about it before you respond.”

Edwards offered these tips:

— Beware if a message offers something that seems too good to be true.

— Watch out if the message threatens negative action, such as canceling your account, if you fail to act immediately.

— Be suspicious if a message asks you to click on a link to update or submit your information.

— Don’t respond to or open attachments, or click on links, in unsolicited emails.

  EDITOR’S NOTE: At the News-Ledger office, we have seen the “foreclosure notice” email scam mentioned above by the D.A.’s office. We have also received a fake “Notice to Appear in Court,” claiming to notify the recipient that he or she is due in court, and attempting to get the recipient to click on a link for more details. Clicking on the link would no doubt lead to trouble.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

 

West Sac man dies in Yolo County jail

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE – March 20, 2014 –

A West Sacramento man died in jail custody yesterday, apparently of suicide.

Captain Larry Cecchetini of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department said 33-year old inmate Nitesh Raj Singh had been in custody at the Woodland facility since March 6 on domestic violence charges. Singh was found in distress at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“Singh was housed in a single cell at the time of the incident,” reported Cecchetini. “The inmate was observed by correctional staff only 25 minutes earlier and he appeared well and was not displaying any signs of distress.”

Later, he said, “a correctional officer was conducting routine cell checks when he found an inmate apparently trying to commit suicide. The officer called for assistance and entered the cell, where he observed the inmate with a sheet wrapped around his neck and the other end tied to a light fixture in the cell. Correctional and medical staff at the jail immediately began CPR and called for fire department and ambulance to respond. The inmate was transported to Woodland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead later in the afternoon.”

The sheriff’s department and its coroner’s office are investigating.

Singh’s next of kin were notified of the death last night, said Cecchetini.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center’ in Yolo County changes its name

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 19, 2014 —

The “Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center” in Yolo County has changed its name to “Empower Yolo,” a spokesperson reports.

“This change is intended to more effectively encompass our philosophy of service, comprehensive programs and geographical reach of services offered by our agency – with an emphasis on the less-recognized, unincorporated areas of Yolo County,” said Diana Stantz, director of community relations. “While the name of the agency has changed, our philosophy and services have not.”

Empower Yolo is a nonprofit dedicated to the intervention, prevention, and elimination of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking and child abuse in Yolo County, she added.

For more information on Empower Yolo, visit  www.empoweryolo.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Cockfighting conviction in northern Yolo

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 26, 2014 —

A Dunnigan man was sentenced to 20 days in county jail and three years probation for operating a cockfighting operation on his property. That sentence was passed down last week for 63-year old Lorenzo Pena Ponce, who was found guilty by a jury last month for permitting cockfighting on his premises, owning game birds with intent to fight, and possession of gaffs – the knives or blades attached to the legs of fighting roosters.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s office said the charges resulted from a sheriff’s department visit to the northern Yolo County property in February of 2013. Responding deputies found what they estimated to be 70 people enjoying the “blood sport.”

“After dozens of participants ran away, deputies located a barn containing a fighting pit where roosters continued to fight,” reports the D.A.’s office. “The Sheriff’s Animal Control Division arrived shortly afterwards to assist. Many of the roosters found on scene were dead or had to be euthanized due to the inhumane treatment. Deputies also found gambling paraphernalia, gaffs, and vitamin B  shots. . . There were nearly 90 roosters being raised on the premises for cockfighting.”

Ponce was also convicted of cockfighting crimes on his property after a 2005 incident.

The District Attorney’s Office is demanding $106,235 from Ponce for costs to the County for impoundment, care, and euthanasia of the birds taken from his property.  Ponce contested that amount at sentencing, and a restitution hearing is scheduled before Judge Maguire on April 11.

In a press statement, District Attorney Reisig denounced the “sport” of cockfighting:

“Along with inhumane treatment of the birds, cockfighting often involves illegal wagering of thousands of dollars, firearms and other weapons,” said Reisig.  “Cockfighting is not a sport.  It’s a crime.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2014