Tag Archives: david

Shouldn’t have saved my college papers

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 15, 2013 —

COLUMN BY DARYL FISHER —

The other night my youngest son was helping me clean out an extra bedroom where I store lots of old stuff when he came across a box with the word “College” scribbled on the outside of it.

“What’s this?” he asked me as he opened the box and began thumbing through the discolored papers inside it.

“I think it’s just a bunch of old homework assignments I did way back when I was in college,” I answered.

“Boy, Dad, I only see one `A’ in here. The rest are mostly ‘C’s.”

“I was never much of a student,” I admitted. “Which paper did I get the `A’ on?”

“It looks like it was a report or something on one of Thoreau’s books. Were you into Thoreau when you were young?”

“Everyone was into Thoreau back in the late ‘60s when I was going to college. We all wanted to move to Walden Pond and build ourselves a cabin and live the simple life.”

“Why?”

“Who knows? It was a long time ago. If I remember right, we were going to change the world.”

“Well, since it looks like it was your only `A’ paper, do you want me to read some of it to you? It’s not very long.”

“Sure.”

“Henry David Thoreau’s Walden contains  one important insight after another,” began my son,  “and what immediately draws the reader’s attention is the fact that the man responsible for those insights was considered an undistinguished loafer by those who thought they knew him best, a man who died a failure by contemporary standards of success.  So maybe Walden’s first important insight is that important insights are often hiding out in places where one would least expect to find them.

“Thoreau, a sometimes teacher, pencil maker, surveyor and handyman, explains with clarity and simplicity that there is much more to life than the mind-dulling repetition of factory life.  So the second important insight I find in Walden is that any life directed towards money and endless toil is a life directed towards death.

“The third important insight I can think of comes from Thoreau’s belief that one can resist the debilitating effects of the industrial revolution by reducing his or her needs to the barest essentials of life, and by establishing an intimate, spiritual relationship with nature.  One needs only to consider turning back the clock to a more simple, agrarian way of living.  Thoreau tells us that our only real needs are clothing, food, shelter, and fuel.

“Number four comes from the way Thoreau looked at work.  He considered all work honorable and worked hard at those tasks he gave himself, but he also believed that we all need to reduce the time necessary to support ourselves.  I think he would have agreed with the way Camus once put it: `It is normal to give part of your life so as not to lose it entirely.  Six or eight hours a day so as not to die of hunger. And then everything is profit to those who know how to profit from it.’

“Fifth, in Chapter One, Thoreau reminds us that a major hindrance to personal growth and happiness is `The blind acceptance of traditional, conventional ways of living as handed down by previous generations.  Too many individuals unquestioningly accept what their parents and grandparents believed to be the meaning of life.’  What a great insight that is — that each new generation needs to reinvent the world all over again.

“Sixth, that we can know God through nature, and that `each man, through the potential power of his intellect, has the ability to become god-like.’
“Seventh, that we often allow life to be `frittered away by detail.’ In Chapter Two, the narrator cries out, `Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!  I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.’

“Eighth, that `Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.’  In other words, good books can set us free.  He also warns that we shouldn’t waste our time reading worthless, repetitive gossip and that shabby literature can create only shabby minds.  Like the old Pete Seeger song says, we should try to avoid filling our heads with `garbage, garbage, garbage.’

“Ninth, in Chapter Four, I liked the way the narrator thinks of railroads and trains as the enemy and says, `I will not have my eyes put out and my ears spoiled by its smoke and steam and hissing.’  The American Indian, who looked upon life and the earth much as Thoreau did, also understood early on that locomotives were bringing death to their world.

“Tenth, in Chapter Five, Thoreau hints that `in the gentle, benevolent, revitalizing company of nature, loneliness is an irrelevant concern.’  Since we’re all born and die alone, locked inside our own heads, that is an interesting and hopeful insight indeed.

“Eleventh, that `wherever a man goes, men will pursue him and paw him with their dirty institutions.’

“Twelfth, that we are all capable of surviving our own `spiritual winters.’

“And finally, that `If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.’

“Jeez, Dad,” said my son with a smile after he had finished reading and returned my ancient book report back into the box where he found it, “even way back in your college days you were pretty much full of s___, weren’t you?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Ballots counted, Westin loses seat

BREAKING NEWS — NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — Nov 19, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke

News-Ledger Editor

The Yolo County Elections Department has made it through the final 3,000-or-so West Sacramento ballots cast in the November 6 election. The count left local results little changed from the early totals released last week.

As elections officials began counting these absentee and provisional ballots, school board member David Westin was 88 votes short of the winners’ circle last week. The additional ballots didn’t help him.

“The final count has David Westin 108 votes back,” said Tom Stanionis, chief of staff of the elections department.

[adrotate group=”7″] The new count leaves the winners in the Washington Unified School District race unchanged. Challenger Katie Villegas is at the top of the chart with 7,658 votes (24.7%), challenger Alicia Cruz has 6,086 votes (19.6%) and incumbent Mary Leland holds onto the third slot with 5,671 votes (18.3%).

Falling short were Westin (5,563 votes, or 18.0%), Coby Pizotti (2,413 votes, 7.8%), Roy Sianez (1,844 votes, 6.0%) and Walt R. Bowman (1,739 votes, 5.6%).

In the fight for two seats on the West Sacramento City Council, William “Bill” Kristoff ended up with 10,114 votes (45.4%) and Oscar Villegas took the second spot with 9,987 votes (44.8%).

City council challenger Oleg Maskaev fell short, with 2,168 votes, or 9.7%.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon was unopposed, drawing 12,766 votes.

Total turnout was 15,719 (67.8%) of 23,168 registered voters, reports the elections office. These results, while complete, are unofficial.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

City’s incumbents reelected, but West Sac school board race too close to call

[adrotate group=”7″] FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 14, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters spoke last week on several local issues.

A week later, what we know almost for certain is that city council incumbents Bill Kristoff and Oscar Villegas fended off professional boxer Oleg Maskaev to retain their seats on the council, and Christopher Cabaldon will get another term as mayor. He ran unopposed.

It’s also pretty clear that challenger Katie Villegas, executive director of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance, will get a seat on the local school board.

But with absentee ballots and provisional ballots that made up about a quarter of the local vote still to be tallied, it’s less obvious which other two candidates will win a school board term.

Second place candidate Alicia Cruz has 4,915 votes so far, followed by incumbent Mary Leland at 4,598 and incumbent Dave Westin with 4,510. With 3,000 ballots yet to be fully processed, that cluster – particularly the 88-vote spread between Leland and Westin – doesn’t look overly secure. There’s only room for two of those three candidates to join Villegas as winners in the Washington Unified School District race.

“Between provisional ballots and absentee ballots that were dropped off at the polling places, I would estimate a little over 3,000 remain to be counted (in the West Sacramento race),” said spokesperson Tom Stanionis of the Yolo Elections Department. “That’s about 25 percent of the votes cast.”

What are “provisional” ballots?

“When somebody shows up at a polling place and they aren’t on the list, or they are on the list but they were mailed an absentee ballot which they can’t find or produce, we go through and research each one to see if that person can vote. Typically, they’re voting in the wrong place.”

The elections department is allowed up to 28 days to finish its vote count, but Stanionis said staff at the Woodland office would like to finish earlier – perhaps ahead of Thanksgiving next week.

KATIE VILLEGAS: Top vote-getter in the race for three seats on the school board (News-Ledger photo)

Villegas – top candidate in the school district race – told the News-Ledger she is “super excited” about her apparent top finish. She’s over a thousand votes ahead of second-place Cruz. Why does she think she succeeded?

“I worked seven days a week for about 10 weeks on this campaign,” she said. “I hit about 3,000 homes walking precincts. I think (the win came from) everything combined – the hard work, the message, and the work I’ve already done in the community,” she said.

Does she have a plan for “day one” when she’s seated on the board next month?

“I think I still have a lot of meetings before day one,” Villegas answered. “There’s a school board conference, meeting with the  (district) cabinet, touring schools. I think I’ll be getting up to speed pretty quickly.”

Westin, at least for the moment, appears to be losing his seat on the school board. But swing of about 90 votes could change that.

“With 3,000 votes not being counted, and the race so close, it’s too early to tell,” he commented to the News-Ledger.

Westin is perhaps the board’s best-known member in recent years, serving as president of the board during a period of dramatic student test gains.

Westin thinks some campaigning against him by an independent group is responsible for his current fourth-place in the standings.

DAVID WESTIN: former board president is now in fourth place, but hopes final ballots will lift him into the winner's circle (photo from WUSD website)

“We ran a clean, honest, positive campaign,” said Westin. “They ran a closing-in-on $50,000 special interest, developer-funded attack campaign specifically designed to go after me on false, misleading and inaccurate information. . . if they hadn’t run that, this would have been a blow-out result.”

Westin was referring to mailers by the “Keep West Sacramento Moving Forward” organization claiming the school district is a “mess,” and that claimed only eight high school juniors out of 500 here “are considered ‘college ready.’”

Their mailers urged a “no” vote on Westin. One mailer featured Mayor Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor suggesting “yes” votes on competitors Villegas, Leland and Cruz.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Unofficial West Sac ballot results:

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2012 –

UPDATED Nov. 13.

With about 3,000 “provisional ballots” (representing about 25% of the vote in this race) still being sorted at the Yolo County Elections Office as of Nov. 13, the results are still early & unofficial. But here is how the local races in West Sacramento are shaping up. One change from the first reporting here: school board incumbent Dave Westin has dropped out of the top three, and challenger Alicia Cruz has stepped into one of the three winner’s spots in that race.

As of now, 100% of the precincts have reported,, but the results are still unofficial. Election officials have 28 days from the election day to finish counting, and are trying to finish sooner — perhaps by Thanksgiving.

 

MAYOR

Christopher Cabaldon (unopposed)          10,287 votes, or 100%

 

CITY COUNCIL (top two)

WILLIAM ‘BILL’ KRISTOFF (Inc.)            8,262 votes, or 45.7%

OSCAR E. VILLEGAS (Inc.)                          8,035 votes, or 44.5%

OLEG MASKAEV                                                         1,768 votes, or 14.0%

 

WASHINGTON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Board of Trustees (top 3)

KATIE VILLEGAS                                                  6,619 votes, or 48.7%

ALICIA CRUZ                                                          4,915 votes, or 19.6%

MARY M. LELAND  (Inc.)                                  4,598 votes, or 18.3%

DAVE WESTIN  (Inc.)                                                 4,510 votes, or 18.0%

COBY PIZOTTI                                                              1,930 votes, or 7.7%

WALT R. BOWMAN                                                     1,496 votes, or 6.0%

ROY SIANEZ                                                                  1,469 votes, or 5.9%

 

MEASURE G, Revenue Uses Advisory Vote

YES: 10,269 votes, or 87.4%

NO:  1,483 votes, or 12.6%

 

West Sacramento voter turnout: 6,264 of 23,168 Registered Voters (27.0%)

 

Copyright News-Ledger 2012