Tag Archives: mark johannessen

West Sacramento gets new vice mayor, or ‘mayor pro tem’

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (right) is sworn in for another two-year term at the helm of the City of West Sacramento. (Photo & info from AL ZAGOFSKY/copyright News-Ledger 2014)

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (right) is sworn in for another two-year term at the helm of the City of West Sacramento. (Photo & info from AL ZAGOFSKY/copyright News-Ledger 2014)

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 24, 2014 —

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon was sworn in for another two-year term last Wednesday by Kryss Rankin, City Clerk. Cabaldon easily won re-election during the November local ballot.

Also reelected last month were city council members Mark Johannessen and Chris Ledesma, who each earned another four-year term from local voters.

Johannessen finished up a stint as ‘mayor pro tem’ last week. The council selected Chris Ledesma (whose face can be seen above, just left of Cabaldon) as ‘mayor pro tem’ for the coming year. It’s essentially a vice mayor’s post.

In West Sacramento, the mayor’s position is a two-year, separately-elected position. The other four members of the council receive four-year terms. Every two years, two of those seats go up for reelection.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Johannessen: excited about streetcar, striving to be accessible

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 29, 2014 —   EDITOR’S NOTE: During every West Sacramento election campaign, the News-Ledger invites every candidate to sit down for an in-depth talk on the issues.  This interview completes our series on November city council candidates. We’ve already brought you a look at Chris Ledesma and Jeff Lyon. Candidate Nancy Heth-Tran declined to be interviewed.

MARK JOHANNESSEN: seeking another term on West Sacramento's City Council. (News-Ledger file photo)

MARK JOHANNESSEN: seeking another term on West Sacramento’s City Council.
(News-Ledger file photo)

By Steve Marschke News-Ledger Editor Mark Johannessen is happy with the way things are going in West Sacramento, and he’s asking voters for another four years on the city council. “We’ve got a lot of unfinished business,” he told the News-Ledger this week. “We have the streetcar project we need to keep focused on, we have the transition of the Pioneer Bluffs we need to keep working on. The Washington neighborhood is going to be coming in fast, particularly with the streetcar coming in. . . and we’re going to have to continue to work with the port.” On the topic of the Port of West Sacramento, he added, it has been a good move leasing the whole troubled operation to SSA Marine: “We were bleeding before they came in, and now we’re in the black.” Johannessen, a family law lawyer, settled in West Sacramento in 2000 after what he calls a “nomadic” international career. He grew up in San Pedro and Redding, earning a college degree from Chico State and an MBA in taxation at Golden Gate University. He then worked for Price Waterhouse in accounting and went to law school. Price Waterhouse sent him from Newport Beach to Amsterdam. Then Johannessen sought out something even more foreign than Amsterdam: “I sent a resume to every law firm in Japan,” he recalls. “I got a job with a Japanese law firm and moved to Tokyo. . . Amsterdam is foreign, but it’s really kind of European. Japan is really foreign – you get off the plane and can’t read a thing.” But he discovered that “after six years or so out of the country, you kind of lose your base.” So he moved back to Sacramento and opened a general law practice – “whatever came through the door.” He transitioned into family law in 1993. Shopping for a new home in the region, he found West Sacramento in 2000. Johannessen now lives in the Gateway subdivision in Southport. “My wife is a forensic pathologist and my daughter is a UC San Diego student,” he said. “I wasn’t originally planning on running for anything at that point,” Johannessen remarked. “After a couple of years, I became involved with the Chamber of Commerce as a board member and also helped start the Neighbors Fair, a cultural fair that we did for eight or so years, and helped start the West Sacramento Community Theater, and just generally doing community benefit work in West Sacramento.” “Then I decided that if you want a seat at the decision-making table, you’ve got to run.” Johannessen, age 58,  lost his first bid for city council, in 2004, but won in 2006 and was re-elected four years later. Among the things he’s excited about is the Sacramento-West Sacramento streetcar project, which is slated to start in the next few years with a spur across the Tower Bridge to West Capitol Avenue. “I think the streetcar is going to be huge,” he commented. “One of the things I would like to see is wireless streetcar technology. We’re going to have a fuel cell public fueling station on South River Road. If we could get hydrogen-powered fuel cell streetcars that don’t need overhead wires, we could potentially get them as far as this Nugget shopping center,” Johannessen commented, gesturing around the parking lot near the site of this Southport interview. “Once you have that, you have a basic park-and-ride situation. If you want to go to (the new Sacramento arena), or you want to go to midtown, or you want to get to the airport when they have light rail out there, you come to this parking lot and park here.” Johannessen is also enthusiastic about the “Code for America” project coming to West Sacramento and the region, with the goal of providing programmers to help create new city government efficiencies through data and software. The councilman is himself handy with digital media. One example of a project that Code for America could tackle: “When you ship with UPS, you go on the UPS website and it shows exactly where the package is, and when it checked in and when it checked out. What if you did something like that with building permits, so you know exactly where that document is and have links to the appropriate documents?” Johannessen said he is supportive of the city’s major development plans so far – such as the master plans for Southport, the Bridge District and the Washington neighborhood. He does have some quibbles, but is hopeful that any planning glitches get fixed as time goes by. For example, Southport has been designed as a community of several distinct “villages”: “One of the things about the village concept is you have to make sure you put the shopping centers in the village centers, and that hasn’t happened.” But it probably will for future villages, he said. And Johannessen has been leading a “stakeholders” group tackling the issue of the homeless population in West Sacramento (see the related article in today’s News-Ledger). The group has come up with a strategic plan. “It’s pretty modest,” said Johannessen. “It’s not about ending homelessness, it’s about reducing the impact of the homeless on neighbors and helping some folks that are homeless. . . We’re doing a 120-day trial period to locate housing for 71 (homeless) folks in West Sacramento. We’re looking at different spots to do this with supportive services and. . . get them straightened out and then provide more permanent housing for them. It’s only 120 days, it’s a pilot program.” The housing project won’t make the city a “magnet” for the homeless, he believes. “The list is already closed for housing,” said Johannessen. “Anybody who comes into West Sacramento is pretty much subject to zero tolerance – move on. We don’t want to be a magnet.” In this council race, Johannessen faces fellow incumbent Chris Ledesma and challenger Jeff Lyon. Voters are asked to pick two on Tuesday. Johannessen has endorsed Mayor Cabaldon and said that he supports Ledesma, although the two are competitors in the race and he has given no endorsement. Johannessen believes he knows what it takes to serve on the council. “You’ve got to be engaged in the community,” he said. “People view you as the valve between them and the city. You have to be accessible and you have to answer your calls.”   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

City officials, school board members prepare to take on challengers

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — Aug. 6, 2014 —

The regular filing period for those interested in running for mayor, city council or school board in West Sacramento’s November ballot ends on Friday, Aug. 8.

(The deadline will be extended for challengers by five days in any race in which an incumbent fails to file to run again.)

So far, here’s how the field is shaping up.

There are two available seats on the board of trustees of the Washington Unified School District.

Incumbent Sarah-Kirby Gonzalez (an incumbent/teacher/parent from Southport) has filed to run for another four-year term. Fellow incumbent Adam Menke has told the News-Ledger he plans to do the same.

Challengers thus far include Jeff Reyes (school counselor/educator from Prosser Street), Bernadette R. Austin (parent/community developer from Hearst Street) and Norma Alcala (occupation unlisted, but known to the News-Ledger as a business owner and Democratic activist, residing on Woodhaven Lane).

They are vying for two available seats, each with a four-year term.

Meanwhile, no one has yet filed to run for mayor or city council.

Incumbent mayor Christopher Cabaldon has “pulled papers”  (taken out his candidacy paperwork) from city hall in advance of seeking another two-year term.  Newcomer Narinderpal Singh Hundal has done the same.

For the city council race, both incumbents — Mark Johannessen and Chris Ledesma — have taken out their candidacy papers.

So have potential challengers Jeff Lyon, Nancy Tran and Robb White.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Post-election results, & comments from the local candidates

NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 11, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The ballots are in, and there are no significant changes in local results since the News-Ledger posted early vote counts on its website on election night, June 3.

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:

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

OSCAR VILLEGAS: Just earned a full term as Yolo County supervisor following a recent interim appointment by Governor Jerry Brown (News-Ledger photo)

OSCAR VILLEGAS:
Just earned a full term as Yolo County supervisor following a recent interim appointment by Governor Jerry Brown
(News-Ledger photo)

Villegas told the News-Ledger he took the win as an affirmation by the voters.

“I think they want to see the work I’ve been doing carried on at the county level,” he commented. “They know I understand the needs of the community. They understand that I recognize the need for social services, health services, mental health systems, and the criminal justice system.”

Villegas works part-time for the state board of state and community corrections. He was challenged in the race by Norma Alcala, a local business owner.

Alcala provided an emailed statement after the election in which she thanked supporters for their help.

NORMA ALCALA: Argued that Clarksburg and West Sac deserved a ‘full time’ supervisor, and county board needed a woman’s voice (News-Ledger photo)

NORMA ALCALA:
Argued that Clarksburg and West Sac deserved a ‘full time’ supervisor, and county board needed a woman’s voice
(News-Ledger photo)

“Running for supervisor provided me with a tremendous opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in the district,” she also said, in part. “I wish Mr. Villegas the best, and I ask him to know that many fine people have placed their trust in him.”

Alcala carried precincts four and five in West Sacramento – much of the area just north of  the barge canal – but Villegas carried the rest of the city’s votes. The supervisor’s district does not include a slice of northwestern West Sacramento, and does include Clarksburg.

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). Ortiz carried the votes in every West Sacramento precinct.

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.

MARK JOHANNESSEN (News-Ledger file photo)

MARK JOHANNESSEN (News-Ledger file photo)

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. They’re both members of the Sacramento  City Council.

McCarty placed first with 34.7 percent of the vote (13,187 votes), followed by Cohn at 28.7 percent, Republican Ralph Merletti at 15.2 percent, Democrat Johannessen at 12.4 percent (4,733 votes) and Republican Oliver Ponce with 8.9 percent.

Johannessen told the News-Ledger that campaigning for Assembly was an “interesting” experience.

“I was able to reach out to a lot of areas in the (Assembly) district that were very similar to West Sacramento,” he commented.

But he said it was tough to make headway in a campaign with low voter turnout and “no burning issues,” and he waged an uphill battle for name recognition against the winners — fellow Democratic city councilmen over in Sacramento.

“In West Sacramento, we’re viewed very well as a community,” he said. “But the council doesn’t really have personalities (perceived) very separate from the council. We kind of act as a unit. In Sacramento, you have council districts.  People tend to know the name.”

“People tended to vote the names they knew, even if they didn’t know about the person.”

Johannessen’s seat on the local council comes up for election again this November — and he intends to run for another term, he told the News-Ledger.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 6
Democrat Doris Matsui, the incumbent, came in ahead of Republican challenger Joseph McCray, Sr., with 73.2% of the votes (43,312 votes) in this primary. McCray earned 15,876 votes for 26.8 percent. Both will move on to the general election in November.

GOVERNOR’S RACE
Democratic Governor  Edmond G. “Jerry” Brown earned 54.3 percent of the vote in the open primary, and will face second-place finisher Republican Neel Kashkari (19.4 percent) in the November primary. If Brown is reelected, he will be the first California governor to earn four terms.

For detailed results in state contests, go to http://vote.sos.ca.gov.  For a breakdown on Yolo County races, visit www.yoloelections.org.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014