Tag Archives: election

Johannessen to run for state assembly

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — JUNE 13, 2013 —

West Sacramento City Councilman Mark Johannessen made it official today: he will run next year for the California Assembly seat now held by fell0w Democrat Roger Dickinson. Dickinson plans to run for the State Senate seat now held by Darrell Steinberg, who will step down due to term limits.

“I am proud of what has been accomplished since my election to the West Sacramento City Council in 2006. By bringing together businesses and the community, we have created a culture of governmental efficiency that is widely respected throughout the region. Together, we have promoted economic growth, improved local schools, reduced crime, and focused on senior health and transportation issues,” said Johannessen in an emailed statement.

MARK JOHANNESSEN (News-Ledger file photo)

MARK JOHANNESSEN (News-Ledger file photo)

“Even though my campaign for Assembly is just beginning,” he added, “I have already received the support of state and local leaders including (state board of education member)Betty Yee, (Yolo) County Supervisors Mike McGowan, Jim Provenza, and Don Saylor, West Sacramento City Councilmember Bill Kristoff, as well as business leaders like Mark Friedman and Jeff Savage and the support of many labor organizations and neighborhood leaders. ”

Johannessen’s current city council term ends in 2014.

He is the son of former state senator K. Maurice Johannessen.

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School board election recap: comments from Castillo, Kirby-Gonzalez & mayor

SARAH KIRBY-GONZALEZ: Voters’ top choice to fill empty school board seat (News-Ledger photo)

SARAH
KIRBY-GONZALEZ:
Voters’ top choice to fill empty school board seat
(News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 13, 2013 —

Teachers unions and school reform groups choose sides with their checkbooks in record-setting race —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters last week elected a teacher to the school board —  after a record-setting campaign battle between the two top candidates.

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, a Southport resident who teaches in the Folsom-Cordova school district, was picked to fill the remaining 18 months or so of a school board term in the local Washington Unified School District. She received 2,794 votes, or 51.2 percent of the ballots cast in the all-mail election on March 5.

Following her was Francisco Castillo, a public affairs executive with the school reform group StudentsFirst.He pulled in 1,425 votes, or 26.1 percent of the vote.

Rounding out the field were Linh Nguyen, with 782 votes (14.3%), Katherine Gales with 258 votes (4.7%) and Nicholas Scott Turney, with 202 votes (3.7%).

[adrotate group=”9″] 5,520 ballots were cast, or 23.9 percent of local registered voters.

The race – even though it was for only a partial school board term – appeared to set some spending records. Castillo approached $60,000 in campaign contributions as the election neared, with notable contributions from charter school advocates and entities connected to StudentsFirst, a school reform group.

At the same time, Kirby-Gonzalez was approaching half that amount – with strong support from area teachers’ unions.

The campaign contribution numbers may go up further as campaigns finish reporting them after the election.

FRANCISCO CASTILLO Leading fundraiser in election, with a second-place finish (News-Ledger photo) (News-Ledger photo)

FRANCISCO CASTILLO
Leading fundraiser in election, with a second-place finish
(News-Ledger photo)
(News-Ledger photo)

“I think it’s time for us to rally around the candidate who won,” Castillo told the News-Ledger after the ballots were counted. “It’s time to congratulate Sarah, who ran a great campaign.”

“I’m going to continue to stay involved,” he added. “I want to start some kind of parent advocate network in West Sacramento. I want to talk to the business community and see if they will get more involved in education in West Sacramento. We don’t need to be a school board member to implement some of these ideas.”

Kirby-Gonzalez, the winner, will be sworn at Thursday’s board meeting by her father, Auburn city councilman Dr. Bill Kirby, who will visit for the occasion.

What will she try to accomplish from Day One?

“Right away, it’s just about working well with everybody, establishing relationships in town and on the board,” said Kirby-Gonzalez. “My first goal is to make connections.”

As far as policy:

“My biggest focus is always on curriculum, first and foremost,” she said.

The News-Ledger asked Castillo whether the public made its choice based on a perception of him as a “school reform” candidate and her as a “teachers’ union” candidate.

“I think voters made a choice, but this wasn’t about reform voices versus teachers’ unions,” Castillo answered.

“I think he’s right,” Kirby-Gonzalez said after being told of Castillo’s comment. “I talked to hundreds and hundreds of voters. None of them brought up StudentsFirst. We didn’t talk about the opponents, we just talked about us. They wanted to know why I was running.”

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon supported Castillo – as did various city council members, school board members and Yolo County Supervisor Michael McGowan. He agreed that the “teachers versus reformers” characterization didn’t fly among local voters, although similar school board election battles were occurring all over the country.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (News-Ledger file photo)

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon
(News-Ledger file photo)

“I think that (perception) was largely in the minds of mostly-outside pundits,” Cabaldon commented. “Within this community, it was a local election, with the candidates describing their qualifications and not attacking each other. We had a crop of good candidates step forward to run.”

Was Cabaldon shocked by the amount of money in this WUSD campaign?

“Yes and no,” he answered. “As mayor of our city, yes. To say it’s impressive is a vast understatement for a school board race in our community.”

But he said similar battles are now being raged around the country.

Though Castillo lost, Cabaldon said he had confidence in Kirby-Gonzalez.

“Sarah is a very good candidate and she will be a good board member,” he said.

This special election resulted from a citizen’s petition which the mayor had supported, while others decried the election’s cost. Citizens unhappy about how the school board had initially filled the vacant seat called for the election.

Cabaldon said he is pleased at the outcome, despite the fact that the candidate he supported didn’t win.

“The key was that the voters got to make the decision, and the community and district are all better off for having this discussion about the issues in our district,” said Cabaldon.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Kirby-Gonzalez wins board seat

SARAH  KIRBY-GONZALEZ: She's a teacher in another district, Southport resident, parent and the newest member of West Sacramento's school board (News-Ledger photo)

SARAH
KIRBY-GONZALEZ:
She’s a teacher in another district, Southport resident, a parent and the newest member of West Sacramento’s school board (News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — FEB 5, 2013

West Sacramento voters today used an all-mail election to fill the last year and a half of a vacant four-year seat on the local school board.

The Yolo County Elections Office has released the preliminary results of that vote, and the apparent winner is Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, a teacher in the Folsom-Cordova school district. The early count credits her with 2,573 votes, or 50.7 percent of the vote.

She is followed by Francisco Castillo, an official with the StudentsFirst reform organization, who has 1,315 votes (25.9%). The pair campaigned heavily and with tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations. Kirby-Gonzalez drew support form teachers’ unions, and Castillo from StudentsFirst and charter school advocates.

Finishing up the field:

Linh Nguyen, 738 votes (14.5%)

Katherine Gales, 252 votes (5.0%)

and Nicholas Turney, 200 votes (3.9%)

Kirby-Gonzales will fill the last year and a half of the four-year school board term vacated by Sandra Vargas on the Washington Unified School District board of trustees.

More in the next edition of the News-Ledger.

  UPDATE, MARCH 6, 2013: The Yolo County Elections Department has updated the results and made them “final and official.” Sarah Kirby Gonzalez was credited with a victory over second-place Francisco Castillo by 51.2% to 26.1%.

  Voter turnout in West Sacramento was 5,520 out of 23,141 registered voters, or 23.9%.

  For the full vote tally, visit the Yolo County Elections Department page here.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

EDITORIAL: choices for school board

FRANCISCO CASTILLO: works for StudentsFirst (News-Ledger Photo)

FRANCISCO CASTILLO: works for StudentsFirst (News-Ledger Photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 27, 2013 —

NEWS-LEDGER EDITORIAL:

West Sacramento voters this week will take a look at a slate of five contenders, and choose one to fill a vacancy on the local school board.

There are some people in the community who wish to vilify one candidate or another. The current love/hate litmus test is the question of which candidate has the backing of the city’s activist mayor, Christopher Cabaldon. But you know what? These five are all good people, and any one of them would do at least a decent job on the school board.

It has been hard, however,  to find a way to judge their individual potential as school district trustees using their respective records in public service. Instead, we have to look mostly at their professional resumes and at their public remarks to try to determine how well each understands a board member’s role and how effective he or she would be on the “board of directors” of the local school district. The school board member’s job is, above all, as a manager: chief duties include hiring and managing a superintendent, making budget choices and creating an effective corporate structure, as well as setting strategic policy.

LINH NGUYEN: Background in Silicon Valley & Business (News-Ledger photo)

LINH NGUYEN: Background in Silicon Valley & Business (News-Ledger photo)

From the current group of five candidates emerge the three most interesting choices:

Francisco Castillo, an executive with a school reform organization who advocates education choices for parents;

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, who teaches in an outside district and speaks the language of school curriculum; and

Linh Nguyen, who brings a unique analytic approach to problem-solving, possibly learned during his experiences in business and science.

Any of these three would be a good bet on the board.

The teacher Kirby-Gonzalez, however, is the candidate who has shown the best grasp of public school issues and the closest understanding of what, exactly, a school board member really does.

SARAH KIRBY--GONZALEZ: Teaches in Folsom-Cordova District (News-Ledger photo)

SARAH KIRBY–GONZALEZ: Teaches in Folsom-Cordova District (News-Ledger photo)

It would be interesting to see what Nguyen or Castillo would do on the board (and we may well see one of them elected next week). But Kirby-Gonzalez has thus far shown the best set of qualifications for the job. From the evidence at hand, she’s the top choice.

____________________

You can see the News-Ledger’s interviews of each candidate at the links below. These interviews are made possible by the News-Ledger’s subscribers and its advertisers:

Francisco Castillo

Katherine Gales

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez

Linh Nguyen

          Nicholas Turney

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  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