Tag Archives: new

Yolo County program can help local businesses pay for new jobs

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 17, 2014 —

From Beth Gabor
County of Yolo

Yolo County is linking up with employers to provide new job opportunities through the county’s Subsidized Employment Program.  This program, administered through the Yolo County Department of Employment & Social Services, incentivizes local employers by cutting employment costs when hiring Yolo County residents, while at the same time, assisting eligible low-income job seekers otherwise unable to find employment.

The Subsidized Employment Program reimburses participating employers eligible employee wages and unemployment insurance costs for up to a year.  This reimbursement is made possible through the CalWORKs Employment Services Program.

Jobs made available through the Subsidized Employment Program are not meant to displace current employees.  These jobs may be, but are not limited to, entry-level positions.

Since the inception of the program, nearly 15 employers have qualified for the Subsidized Employment Program and are working directly with the Yolo County Department of Employment & Social Services to train, hire and, as a result, help get eligible low-income residents back into the working “mainstream” of the community.

“One of Yolo County’s strategic goals is to champion job creation and economic opportunities,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Don Saylor in a press release for the program.  “The Subsidized Employment Program not only assists with employment opportunities – a challenge still for many – it also helps our local businesses expand their capacity and bolsters our local economy.”

For more information on the Subsidized Employment Program, call (916) 375-6252 or (530) 661-4311.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Mike McGowan: the man whose name is on West Sac’s newest bridge

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 3, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

  EDITOR’S NOTE: Friday (Dec. 5), West Sacramento officials will cut the ribbon on a new bridge across the barge canal. The bridge is a few hundred yards west of the existing bridge that takes Jefferson Boulevard over the same canal. It will provide a new connection between Southport and the freeway and other points north.
  In another year or so, the new bridge will fully connect South River Road north of the canal to Village Parkway in the south.

  The bridge’s name?

  It will be called the “Mike McGowan Bridge,” in honor of the city’s first mayor.

   Earlier this year, the News-Ledger sat down with McGowan for a wide-ranging chat about his experiences and service in this city. With the planned opening of the Mike McGowan Bridge this week, perhaps this is a good time to bring that interview to you.

  We’ll present it in multiple parts starting here this week.

__________

It was midget car racing that brought Mike McGowan to West Sacramento in the early 1950s.

mcgowan michael 2014 by news-ledger  “We moved here when I was probably about five,” recalled McGowan, talking from a chair in Southport’s Eagle Café. “We came here from the Bay Area. My father was essentially a concessionaire. His business model was to sell beer, soda, hot dogs, popcorn and whatnot at different race tracks around the state.”

At the time, West Sacramento was home to a popular track on West Capitol Avenue called the “Capital Speedway.” The roar of the engines was a familiar sound in the air on Saturday nights. The speedway attracted McGowan senior.

“He liked the town, and moved us up here. It was quarter-mile dirt tracks,” said McGowan, 66. “This was right after the war, and dirt track racing was becoming more and more popular. At that time, the cars were called ‘midgets.’ They were little open-cockpit cars, mini-roadster cars. After the war, we started seeing what we called jalopies, which were modified street cars. The guys would take all the glass out, put roll bars around them, hop up the engine and cut out the wheel wells. It was the ultimate entry-level racing, very amateur.”

When the track’s owner contemplated shutting it down, the elder McGowan took over as its promoter to keep it going (and kept it going into the 1970s).

“That’s where I grew up,” recalls Mike McGowan. “That’s how I grew up – selling popcorn, cleaning the bathrooms, doing anything and everything that had to be done. It was a family business and everybody worked in some capacity.”

The track provided family entertainment, he said, although “the families could be a little rough.”

“Especially the jalopy types – but they were all good, hardworking people. It was a wonderful place for a kid. In those days, we could hire a 12 year old, give them a basketful of peanuts, and they could work all night and make a dollar-fifty. For me, it was also the place where I could watch this incredible array of mankind. I learned a lot. . . There were a lot of interesting characters on the racetrack!”

McGowan spent most of his elementary school years at Westmore Oaks Elementary School, then Westacres School, following that up at James Marshall High. He met his future wife, Sue, there. He graduated in 1966 and went to Sacramento City College.

But:

“I flunked out because I was in a band and having way too much fun,” he remembers. (He still plays drums in a popular local band).

That was during the Vietnam War, and there was a draft going on. McGowan rated high on the draft list.

“I was classified 1A, and I didn’t want to be drafted, so I joined the Marine Corps,” he chuckled. “That was a 19-year old’s logic.”

But he said the decision to join up was really a little more complicated than that. At college, McGowan had met some returned veterans and had been impressed.

“None of them had been in a war zone, but they had these great stories about being in Germany, or wherever they had been stationed. . . I believed at the time that this (war) was going to be my generation’s story. And I didn’t want to be 50 years old, sitting around when guys are telling their story, and I didn’t have one.”

“There was anti-war sentiment, there were protests, there were people going to Canada” to avoid the draft,” he added. “But West Sacramento in 1966-67 was a very patriotic, blue-collar, middle class town. VFW (the patriotic Veterans of Foreign Wars organization) loomed large in our world.”

“Most of our fathers had been in the war – not that they were rah-rah for us to go,” he continued. “My friend’s father, who had been in the Pacific in World War II, was basically telling me ‘don’t go, you don’t want to go to war.’ But at 19, I was invincible.”

McGowan was sent into the Marines and “lucked out,” he said. He was assigned to artillery, and was a section chief for a 105 millimeter Howitzer gun for 13 months, mostly in 1968.

He came home from Vietnam in one piece and turned Sue Barber into Sue McGowan. Then:

“I went to work for PG&E as a field clerk,” McGowan recalled. “I’m proud to say I was the world’s worst field clerk. It was a terrible job. I was sitting there one day, talking to a co-worker, and all he did every day was talk about retirement. I was 21 years old, working, trying to start my family. I had this epiphany, that I did not want to be sitting here at 38 (like that coworker) counting the years to retirement. I decided, ‘I’m getting out now.’”

He went back to school on the GI bill, graduating from Sacramento State and then from McGeorge School of Law.

“I wasn’t a master student, but I got through,” said McGowan. “I opened my own office January 1, 1977, just about where the massage parlor is over by West Sacramento Land Company (near Merkley and Jefferson). I wound up doing almost extensively indigent defense. I was a private attorney but I was doing public defender work, both in Yolo and Sacramento. I was doing lots and lots of trials, which I truly enjoyed.”

McGowan kept a hand in his practice through his later years on the West Sacramento City Council, and into his the first years of his service on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. He had a partner only briefly, but shared an office at various times with Clark Cameron and with Doris Shockley (who later became a Yolo judge).

Meanwhile, what’s now the City of West Sacramento was really just a group of neighborhoods in what was called “East Yolo,” governed by the county supervisors in Woodland. It was a troubled area, and dissatisfaction was brewing. There were a couple of failed attempts at shaping part of the area into a new city.

McGowan was still in college in 1976 when one of those efforts sprouted and dried up.

“I had virtually no role,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I went to some hearings with (the late activist) Grace Ohlson. I wound up writing a paper about the incorporation.”

Then, in 1986, a new incorporation effort sprang up. This one was championed by a variety of people, including enthusiastic citizens. Developers and other businesspeople provided most of the campaign funds.

“The motivation primarily was that we were sending a lot of tax money over there (to Yolo County), and we weren’t liking what we were getting back,” remembered McGowan. “Also, we don’t need those folks from Davis and Woodland telling us how to live our lives.”

The community also was unhappy with crime and the services provided by the county sheriff’s department, and it was fed up with the “sin city” character of its decaying main street, West Capitol Avenue. That was a place were prostitutes were commonplace and respectable people didn’t linger.

“There was a growing dissatisfaction with the sheriff’s department and the way they were treating us,” said McGowan. “Rod Graham was the sheriff at that particular time and he didn’t have anything good to say about us.”

Also, McGowan said, “there’s no question that development – the monied interests that are here – wanted to have greater influence over the governing body and would rather have a group of local policy makers than have to go to Woodland and Davis to get their stuff approved. . . This successful incorporation was, as you know, significantly backed by development money and the business community – (Frank) Ramos, (Tom) Raley. Those folks over here, for a variety of reasons that were not all self-serving. But certainly there was a feeling that hey, we want to have our own team here to work with.”

McGowan gives credit to people like County Supervisor Clark Cameron (an “unsung hero” of the effort) and Jake Misfedt (who actually “wasn’t a fan of incorporation”) for paving the way for the separate communities of Bryte, Broderick, “old” West Sacramento and Southport to become one city. They laid groundwork including arranging a county incorporation study and consolidating the various communities’ water and fire services.

Cameron also helped create a “redevelopment agency” in what later became West Sacramento, drawing out a large mapped-out area which would help keep in more of its property tax money local to pay to fight blight. The city kept that agency until recently, and although some aspects of it were controversial, the redevelopment agency helped to fund many of the city’s bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

“There was an evolution, then there was a revolution,” said McGowan.

At the same time voters were asked to vote up or down on incorporation in November of 1986, they were asked to choose from a slate of candidates who would serve as the first five people on the city council.

“It was a beauty contest – a popularity contest,” he remarked with a chuckle.

McGowan was on that list, and he drew the most votes. Does that mean he won the beauty contest?

“Go figure that one out!,” he answered.

Today’s elections in West Sacramento are fairly sophisticated, with money raised and spent and most of the campaigning done with mailers and other impersonal communication. Then, it was different.

“I wasn’t politically involved when I ran for city council,” said McGowan. “I was sitting there watching everybody else sign up for this thing. I was thinking, ‘I know this guy, I know that guy, I can do a better job than they can.’ And I thought it would be fun. I’d do one term and get out.”

As for some of the other candidates:

“Ben Davis was the only candidate who ran opposed to incorporation, but he wasn’t able to articulate that in a very effective way,” McGowan remembers. “And then Mike Zimmerman, a barber, was in it, Fred Pierini was in it, Bob Mahalisin was in it – it was 21 people It was the best campaign I’ve ever been in. We were making it up, no one knew what they were doing.”

“We’d go to candidates’ nights,” he recalled. “There were about 12 or 13 of us who were serious, and we’d go to the candidates forums and then we’d all go to dinner afterwards, and say ‘yeah, I got you on that one!’ and ‘yeah, you didn’t know the answer to that question, but I did!’ And then on election night, instead of going to our own little camps, we all went to the El Rancho (a hotel near the current city hall) and watched the results come in together. It was entirely different atmosphere.”

Turnout was high, and incorporation passed with an approval rating that was “off the charts.”. The new council was scheduled to take office and take charge of a city just a half-year later – in January, 1987. Questions about everything from land uses to policing would fall on their laps. The other council members-elect agreed that McGowan, top vote-getter in that election, would be the first mayor.

“Being the first mayor, to this day, is the most fun I ever had,” said McGowan. “It was fantastic.”

  Next week: Finding some police, fighting zoning wars. 

The new bridge is sited off to the right in this modified City map. It will cross the barge canal from South River Road from the north. Eventually, it will connect with Village Parkway. Construction may start on that extension sometime after mid-summer of next year.

The new bridge is sited off to the right in this modified City map. It will cross the barge canal from South River Road from the north.
Eventually, it will connect with Village Parkway. Construction may start on that extension sometime after mid-summer of next year.

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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

Consider new West Sac news, radio & internet nonprofit in your giving plans

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Preserve the legacy.

Make sure West Sacramento is served by a first-class local newspaper and
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The new organization will use print media, radio and the internet to serve this community into the future. It will start from the traditions of pioneering West Sacramento journalist Julius Feher, the late founder of the News-Ledger.

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As the tax year ends, and as you consider your estate plans, please think about making a tax-deductible gift for the future of West Sacramento journalism. Your gift may help create a vigorous new news hub for your city as well as support the teaching of journalism skills in local schools and college classrooms.

You can help ensure that the tradition started by Julius Feher and the News-Ledger over 50 years ago continues -- better than ever, through a community-run multi-media nonprofit. Copyright News-Ledger 2014

You can help ensure that the tradition started by Julius Feher and the News-Ledger over 50 years ago continues — better than ever, through a community-run multi-media nonprofit.
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JULIUS FEHER, the late founder of the News-Ledger, was respected for his sense of fairness in journalism and for his commitment to his hometown, West Sacramento  (Copyright News-Ledger 2014)

JULIUS FEHER, the late founder of the News-Ledger, was respected for his sense of fairness in journalism and for his commitment to his hometown, West Sacramento
(Copyright News-Ledger 2014)

Talk to your tax adviser and contact us about how to help our West Sacramento media and journalism project. Your gift may be publicized; let us know if you’d prefer not.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

New bridge to Southport set to open on December 5

The new bridge is sited off to the right in this modified City map. It will cross the barge canal from South River Road from the north. Eventually, it will connect with Village Parkway. Construction may start on that extension sometime after mid-summer of next year.

The new bridge is sited off to the right in this modified City map. It will cross the barge canal from South River Road from the north.
Eventually, it will connect with Village Parkway. Construction may start on that extension sometime after mid-summer of next year.

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 12, 2014 —

West Sacramento officials have set the date for a ribbon-cutting of the new Mike McGowan Bridge:

December 5, at 10 a.m.

The bridge will add an alternative connection across the barge canal, particularly for Southport residents used to using the Stone Lock Bridge on Jefferson Boulevard.

Initially, the bridge will connect South River Road from near the freeway to the Marina Greens Drive area in Southport. A later project will build a direct connection to Village Parkway.

Construction crews working under contractor C.C. Myers, Inc., were at work on the surface of the Mike McGowan Bridge last Tuesday. (News-Ledger photo)
Construction crews working under contractor C.C. Myers, Inc., were at work on the surface of the Mike McGowan Bridge last Tuesday. (News-Ledger photo)

The bridge is 615 feet long and about 80 feet wide. It will have room for a 12-foot lane each direction, bike lanes, a median, and separated walkways (with room for another striped lane later. It will feature half-circle pedestrian overlooks and a gold steel hand-railing.

It’s named after former mayor Mike McGowan.

  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