Tag Archives: election

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.

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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

Mayor Cabaldon: West Sac is achieving a lot for a city of its size

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 29, 2014 — EDITOR’S NOTE: Continuing with the News-Ledger’s tradition, we’ve invited every candidate running for local office on the upcoming ballot to sit down for an interview that we can share with our readers. That series of interviews for the November, 2014, election finishes up with the following feature interview with Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. Enjoy. — By Steve Marschke News-Ledger Editor

MAYOR CHRISTOPHER CABALDON: "thrilled' to have agricultural research company move to West Sac (News-Ledger file photo)

MAYOR CHRISTOPHER CABALDON: “thrilled’ to have agricultural research company move to West Sac (News-Ledger file photo)

It’s easy to get Mayor Christopher Cabaldon talking about the exciting projects going on in West Sacramento – the recent award from a U.S. mayors’ conference for making preschool widely available, the development of the Bridge District and Washington neighborhood, the coming replacement of the I Street Bridge, the city’s growing presence as a site for the food industry, and so on. But he says these highly visible successes can create a perception in the community that it should be really, really easy, to do the small things. Like put a certain restaurant at a certain intersection. “People say, ‘Why don’t you put X over at the corner of Y and Z?’” he remarked to the News-Ledger in a recent interview. “I don’t have that power.” “The mayor’s job is mostly in enabling,” Cabaldon continued, “and it’s mostly enabling through context-setting. I can make it more likely that a restaurant will locate at that location by doing the following 700 things. Those 700 things include making sure it’s the right zoning – that’s the easy part. I need to make sure there are enough people around it so they can get to it by biking or walking, and there’s adequate parking or it’s served by the bus, and that the sewer connection fee is lower for  a restaurant than for a use that we might not want to have. But if you do all that and it ends up a McDonalds and not an Argentinian restaurant, well, you don’t have the right to make that decision.” But the city is on a winning streak, Cabaldon said. Are he and the council members on the same page here in 2014? “I think we’re in the same book,” the mayor responded. “We want to take the city in generally the same direction, but within that we are on many different pages. I think it’s quite effective because you don’t want a council where all five people have the same opinion every time.” Cabaldon is seeking another two-year term as mayor.  He’s running against challenger Narinderpal Hundal. Cabaldon has served as West Sacramento’s mayor ever since voters decided in 2004 that they would make the job a separately-elected position, apart from city council elections. And he was mayor for several one-year terms before that, when the position was chosen from among the council members. A native of Los Angeles, Cabaldon earned a degree in environmental economics from UC Berkeley and came to Sacramento to work on public policy at the legislature. He found a home here on Meadow Road in 1993. He’s 48 and single currently living near Raley Field in “Ironworks.” Now, Cabaldon’s day job is running a firm that works for “systems-level change” in the state’s education system. “The main project I have at the firm is I am the head of Linked Learning Alliance,” said Cabaldon. “It brings together a bunch of teachers and superintendents and business folks and college folks and civil rights activists (to) improve college readiness for students in California.” Just a year after becoming a West Sacramento resident, Cabaldon ran for city council in his new hometown. “It was a great campaign,” he recalls, “and I fortunately lost. Because the voters said ‘Whoa, we like you, you’ve got a lot of energy, you have some great ideas, but you don’t know the first thing about this place.’ And they were exactly right.” Cabaldon worked on a couple of local county commissions before trying again in 1996. This time he won a place on the city council. He has since morphed into arguably the most prominent city official in West Sacramento history. If Cabaldon gets another term, there are some things he hopes to keep working on – the massive local flood protection project, various development plans, the regional streetcar project and so on. But he sees a couple of new possibilities starting to form as well. One of those is to capitalize on the national visibility West Sacramento earned when it received an award for making preschool “universally” available. The award came from the nation’s conference of mayors. Cabaldon will visit the White House to accept congratulations on the award, and he said various organizations have been paying attention. This presents an opportunity to expand some aspect of childhood education with some new partners, he believes. “It would be terrible to waste that and not go radically up to the next level,” Cabaldon commented. “I think we’ll definitely do more in terms of infants and toddlers, not just four-year olds.” And other new education initiatives may also be possible as well. Also on the radar is an idea for what to do with an iconic old bridge after it’s soon replaced by a new span: “One other project I’d like to take on is the upper deck of the I Street Bridge – to create some kind of linear park or ‘high line’ park,” proposed Cabaldon. Judging by the success of similar bridge-top parks like one in Louisville, he said, such a feature could become a top regional attraction. But in the meantime Cabaldon and other city officials have the small city’s $500 million flood protection to manage, in partnership with the feds and state government. And a burgeoning redevelopment about to encourage along South River Road as new bridges are phased in at the “Pioneer Bluff District.” And other local projects that remain in the works. “If absolutely nothing else happens, we’ve got enough on our plates,” said Cabaldon.   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

Kirby-Gonzalez believes experience as teacher helps her on school board

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 22, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez has been on the school board in West Sacramento for less than 18 months, following a victory in a special election held to fill a vacancy. She’d like four more years.

SARAH  KIRBY-GONZALEZ News-Ledger photo

SARAH
KIRBY-GONZALEZ
News-Ledger photo

“We have done some very good things,” Kirby-Gonzalez reports. “Just in that short amount of time, I think one of the biggest things the board has done is (create) the visual and performing arts plan, and that’s now rolled out to our fourth- and fifth-grade classes as well as all the way up to high school. I’d like to see it expanded even beyond that.”

Visual and Performing Arts, or “VAPA,” is one of the district’s top priorities at present. Also on that list are facilities improvements, technology and “recruiting, retaining and sustaining personnel.”

Kirby-Gonzalez said that she is in agreement with that roster of strategic goals, and she enjoys serving on an effective Washington Unified School District school board.

She’s a teacher in the Folsom-Cordova district (where she was a “teacher of the year” in 2011) and her husband works as a police officer outside West Sacramento. They have two kids – not yet of school age – who will go to public school in this city, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

The couple has lived in the Bridgeway Lakes area for about half a dozen years. Kirby-Gonzalez says she grew up in Carmichael and Auburn, going to a Catholic elementary school.

“I went to Placer High School, Sierra College and then Sac State for my master’s credential, she said. I’ve been teaching for 11 years.”

Kirby-Gonzalez, 34, believes that her experience as a teacher helps her as a board member. She notes that in the years before she became a trustee, WUSD had been focused tightly on one thing, and that was achieving high marks in student test scores. As a teacher, she thinks that was short-sighted and the current policy is a better one.

“Standardized test scores had been very, very prominent with the last board – that’s what they focused on,” she commented. “For folks that really understand education and read the research, they know that’s been a disservice for kids, especially our low-income kids. Standardized tests have not helped us in the way we’ve needed.”

Preparing kids for standardized tests often meant stressing rote memorization and neglecting the teaching of writing (since it was only tested at two grade levels), said Kirby-Gonzalez. But now these tests are just one part of a more “holistic” approach. Parental involvement at schools, graduation rates, and dropout are some of the other measures now used on local schools.

In West Sacramento, it’s been the southern-most schools – like Bridgeway – that have led the district in test score results. Does that mean they’re better schools?

“No,” she answered, explaining that test scores are mostly a reflection of “the socioeconomic area” and not of the quality of schools.

Nevertheless, northern schools need more help:

“They definitely have more facility needs because their schools are older,” said Kirby-Gonzalez. “The teachers do a nice job making the rooms look pretty, but you pull off a poster and the wall is falling apart and bad things are happening”

Despite that, she said, some of the north-city schools are doing great things – such as Elkhorn’s partnership with UC Davis that brings teaching help into local classrooms.

What, exactly, does a school board member do besides end meetings on Thursday nights?

“I think one of the biggest things is listening to the community and being visible to the community,” answered Kirby-Gonzalez. “Also, studying policy so that kids are getting the best environment in the classrooms. And also evaluating the superintendent.”

She noted that before she became a board member, WUSD had just been through a recession and had to make serious budget cuts.

“Some of it has come back, but of course we’d like more,” she said. “Now, there’s busing again at the high school. One of the issues was that kids who stayed late at school for sports didn’t have a bus, and now there’s a bus.”

Fixing up school facilities remains a major need.

“We already have our capital improvement plan which identifies over $200 million in needs,” she commented. “That’s a big piece of the puzzle. . . We need expansion – some of our places are overflowing, like Bridgeway (Elementary School). And even the high school is going to need another wing. In terms of new programs, I’d like to see more professional development for teachers.”

Kirby-Gonzalez and her board colleagues have created Measure V, a $49.8 million bond, on the November 4 ballot to try to take a bite out of some of those facilities projects.

The district is doing a good job implementing the new “Common Core” standards, said Kirby-Gonzalez. And she likes the new standards.

“There are people who worry about it being a federal takeover and there are people who worry that it’s too open-ended for kids, but I think on the whole it’s much better than the ’97 standards,” said the candidate.  She added that writing is much more important in the new standards.

Kirby-Gonzalez will try to defend her seat on the November 4 ballot. Also running for two available seats are challengers Norma Alcala and Joshua Alves. You can find more information about her at www.Sarah4Schools.com or on Facebook.

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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