Tag Archives: press

West Sac: odd/even watering days and other new rules approved

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

As California’s drought continues, the state has tightened up its rules required the City of West Sacramento to follow.

On Wednesday (Aug. 6), West Sacramento declared a “water shortage emergency, stage two.” Local residents and business owners are still being asked to cut their water use by 20 percent from last year, and a number of “voluntary” conservation measures are now becoming “mandatory.”

But staff and several city council members said at last week’s council meeting that they hope they’re not creating a culture of informing on neighbors, and a climate of punishment. They’d rather see neighbors helping each other fix faulty sprinkler systems than informing on each other.

“We will only issue penalties after the third or subsequent violation,” said Paulina Benner, the city’s environmental services manager, at the meeting. “The first two notices will simply be notices informing people of a violation.”
(Some information for this article was taken from video of that meeting.)

The city will do “outreach” informing people of the new rules – using the city “iLights” newsletter,” a printed newsletter, information in residents’ utility bills, social media and press releases,” said Benner.

She said the city government itself is trying to “lead by example.”

“We’re implementing some additional conservation measures such as drastic cutbacks in landscape irrigation and closure of our ‘splash park’ (at the city recreation center pool in Southport), and we’re reducing our street sweeping frequency,” said Benner.

She said those measures are saving over five million gallons per month, or enough to serve about 670 residents.

At Wednesday’s meeting, city officials noted that they have posted signs on street medians and other public-owned property where green grass is being allowed to go brown, explaining that the City of West Sacramento is deliberately reducing its watering.

MARK JOHANNESSEN, City Council Member   (News-Ledger file photo)

MARK JOHANNESSEN, City Council Member
(News-Ledger file photo)

Councilman Mark Johannessen acknowledged this, but added, “I know staff is making sure we at least keep the trees alive.”

Johannessen also suggested using water bills to give residents more information about their water use and about how to conserve it:

“We don’t have water meters throughout the city and there’s really no way to tell who’s using what unless you’ve got a water meter in,” said Johannessen. But he suggested letting metered homes know what they’re using and what they’re being asked to save, and telling them “here’s how you do it – you put a brick in your toilet, and those things.”

The city now has a tip line for messages about water wasters. It’s at (916) 617-4545.

Councilwoman Beverly Sandeen said she hoped the community would come together to save water:

“My hope is that when this gets announced tomorrow and subsequent days, people come together,” said Sandeen. Instead of having the first thing they do be to go to their phones to report their neighbors, they’ll actually knock on the (neighbor’s) door and say ‘Do you need help? I know how to change the timer (on your sprinkler system).’”

The new rules are:
— Using potable (drinkable) water for washing sidewalks and driveways is prohibited.
— Using potable water for washing streets and parking lots is prohibited.
— Using potable water to wash down buildings or to cool building roofs is prohibited.
— Watering of lawns or landscaping between noon and 6:00 p.m. is prohibited.
— Outdoor watering limited to an odd/even schedule. Customers with street addresses that end in an odd number may only irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Customers with street addresses that end in an even number may only irrigate on Wednesday, Fridays, and Sundays. No irrigation is permitted on Mondays.
— Washing a motor vehicle using a hose without a shut-off nozzle is prohibited.
— Using drinkable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature is prohibited unless the water is part of a recirculating system.
— Using drinking water to water outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures is prohibited.

The suggestions become “law” on September 5, reports the city clerk.

Tip line: (916) 617-4545 (leave a message with information about water being wasted)

For more information, go to cityofwestsacramento.org/water.

  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

Final candidates for mayor, city council and West Sac school board:

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 —

News-Ledger Staff

The filing period for local candidates is over. Your local ballot in November will look something like this:

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who has held his post since 2004, will run for another two-year term. But he will draw a challenger: Narinder Hundal, has also filed papers to run for mayor in West Sacramento. The News-Ledger wasn’t immediately able to reach him for comment. Hundal is listed on the ballot as a “business owner.”

City Council incumbents Chris Ledesma and Mark Johannessen are officially running again (Johannessen just completed an unsuccessful bid for State Assembly).

Competing with them for a pair of four-year seats are Jeff Lyon and Nancy Heth-Tran.

Both were among the dozens of applicants for a vacant city council seat earlier this year. Heth-Tran lists her occupation as “energy specialist”; her application for the council vacancy earlier this year listed her employer as the California Energy Commission, and provided a residential address near Raley Field.

Lyon identified himself as a “retired government chief” who lives on 4th Street. He is a former state employee.

There are two vacant seats on the local school board, each for a four-year term.

Board member Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, an “incumbent/teacher/parent” who lives in Southport, has filed to run again.

So did challengers Norma Alcala (who identified herself as an activist and business owner during a previous interview with the News-Ledger) and Joshua R. Alves, a “parent/education volunteer.” Both candidates live in homes on Woodhaven Lane in the north-city.

Adam Menke, a fellow board member of the Washington Unified School District, did not file to run again. That means the deadline for challengers to file was extended to August 13. (EDITOR’S NOTE: no new challengers took advantage of that extended deadline.)

Also on the West Sacramento ballot will be Measure V, a $49.8 million school bond measure meant to renovate, repair and upgrade local school facilities. School officials said this measure would cost property owners about $39 per year for every $100,000 of property value. Owners of a home assessed at $300,000, for example, would pay $117 in new taxes annually.

The measure needs 55 percent voter approval to pass.

  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

That ‘little urban farm’ is now selling fresh

 

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 —

Remember that little urban farm you read about that just sprang up at the corner of 5th and C streets in West Sacramento? You can now buy their Broderick-born produce direct at the Thursday afternoon farmers market in West Sacramento (item below). And you can also buy produce right at the farm site, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. EBT purchases can’t be accepted yet, but will be soon. The farm is sponsored by the Center for Land-Based Learning.

You can read more in our original article about the innovative farm here.

  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

Authorities will call you in a crisis such as a flood; you can register cell phones & other devices

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUGUST 13, 2014 —

The City of West Sacramento and the Yolo County Office of Emergency Services are joining with other agencies in  Yolo, Sacramento and Placer counties in a “mass notification system to alert residents about emergency events and other important community news, the agencies say. The system is meant to enable officials to get information out quickly “when there is a threat to the health and safety of residents.”

The notification database already includes all of the listed and unlisted landline telephone numbers in Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties serviced by AT&T and Verizon.

To ensure residents receive emergency notices in a timely manner, both at work and home, residents are encouraged to log onto the system and provide other contact options such as home phone numbers not serviced by AT&T or Verizon, cellular and work phone numbers, and email, TTY device and instant messaging information.  All information will be kept strictly confidential, the agencies promise.

Contact information for work and home in all three counties can be added to the database through any of the following web pages:

•    Yolo-Alert.org
•    Placer-Alert.org
•    Sacramento-Alert.org
•    YoloCounty.org (link at the bottom of the homepage).

Alerts and notifications that residents might receive through this system include time-sensitive messages about flooding, levee failures, severe weather, disaster events, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings and neighborhoods in specific geographic locations.

This new emergency notifications system by Everbridge was made possible through a grant from the California Office of Emergency Services and is supported by the State.

  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

A ‘Night Out’ on the town

‘McGruff the Crime Dog’ is joined by humans (from left) Robin Courtright, Sydney and Lauren Ormand. They met at the “Night Out” block party hosted by Courtright on Redding Road in Southport on Tuesday, Aug. 5. (photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

‘McGruff the Crime Dog’ is joined by humans (from left) Robin Courtright, Sydney and Lauren Ormand. They met at the “Night Out” block party hosted by Courtright on Redding Road in Southport on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
(photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 — WITH ADDITIONAL PHOTOS —

Just about two dozen block parties sprang up in different parts of West Sacramento on the evening of Tuesday, August 5. They were part of the “National Night Out” tradition in which local police departments join with residents in a move to band together against crime.

Residents are encouraged to leave their porch lights on, lock their doors, and go out and meet their neighbors in these block parties. This year’s “featured” site, with extra numbers of special guests, was at Redding Road.

The Redding Road block party crowd gives a wave. Click to enlarge to fit your screen. (photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

The Redding Road block party crowd gives a wave.
(photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

Police & residents at the Redding Road block party. Click to enlarge. (photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

Police & residents at the Redding Road block party.
(photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

A group of girls enjoyed the 'bounce house' at a 'Night Out" block party at Las Casitas on Lighthouse Drive (courtesy of Charlotte Dorsey)

A group of girls enjoyed the ‘bounce house’ at a ‘Night Out” block party at Las Casitas on Lighthouse Drive (courtesy of Charlotte Dorsey)

  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

West Sac is saving water, but is way behind on water meter use

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 6, 2014 —

CITY OFFICIAL ACKNOWLEDGES THAT WEST SACRAMENTO IS OUT OF COMPLIANCE WITH STATE MANDATE ON WATER METERS

By Steve Marschke, News-Ledger Editor

As California struggles to deal with a drought, West Sacramento has shown good progress toward meeting the governor’s goal of cutting water use by 20 percent.

But the city is out of compliance with state regulations requiring the use of metered rates to bill its residential customers for water, the News-Ledger has learned. Most local homes are still being billed at a flat rate, regardless of whether they use a little water or a lot.  In most cases, in fact, they’re billed at a flat rate even if they have a meter in place.

That’s in contradiction to the California Water Code.

As in other Central Valley jurisdictions, older homes here were not built with meters installed. There is no way to measure the water being used at one of these residences until a meter is added as a retrofit. West Sacramento is still adding meters to many of its pre-1992 homes, working from neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, this spring contractors installed water meters in front of about 600 homes near Park Boulevard.

The city’s public works director, Denix Anbiah, spoke to the News-Ledger by phone and email this week about the issue.

DENIX ANBIAH, West Sacramento Public Works Director (courtesy photo)

“There are 12,615 residential customers,” he wrote. “We have already installed about 8,400 meters.”

But just because a meter is installed doesn’t mean it’s used for water billing. Right now, residential customers with meters in West Sacramento stay on “flat-rate” billing until they contact the city (617-4575) and ask to go to metered service. Until they do, they continue to pay a fixed service amount regardless of how much water they use. (Local businesses are handled differently; they’re already all billed “volumetrically,” according to how much water their meters show they use.)

So out of 8,400 metered homes and 12,615 total homes in the city, only 910 are currently on “volumetric” billing, said Anbiah. The rest – almost 93 percent of the city’s residences – are  still on the old “flat” rates. They’re neither financially rewarded for saving water nor penalized for using a whole bunch of it.

Even where residential water meters are installed, only about 11 percent of them are actually being used as a basis for a water bill.

Does this matter?

Peter Brostom, Water Use Efficiency Project Manager for the State of California, believes it does.

“The state thinks it’s important for customers to be given a financial incentive to save water, which volumetric pricing provides,” he said. “It’s been shown to be an effective tool in reducing water use – up to 20 percent in some localities.”

Metered water rates are also required by the State Water Code.

West Sacramento’s public works director said he believes the city falls under Section 526 of that code. That section required West Sacramento to be selling water at metered rates to all of  its residential customers by March 1 of last year.

Anbiah acknowledged that the city is out of compliance with this directive, but said the city will be fully metered – and fully using those meters – by 2018. He added that this noncompliance shouldn’t cause major problems for West Sacramento as long as it fixes the problem as it plans to.

“If we are not in compliance, the consequence is that we don’t get a preferred rate the next time we negotiate a (Central Valley Project) water contract, which will go into effect in 2020,” said Anbiah. “We are scheduled to be in compliance by 2018.”

INSTALLED WATER METER (Courtesy of City of West Sacramento)

INSTALLED WATER METER
(Courtesy of City of West Sacramento)

The state’s Brostrom said there could be other consequences for West Sacramento if it stays out of compliance with metering requirements.

“They won’t be eligible for grants and loans (from the state) because they have to self-certify that they are meeting the metering regulations of this code section,” he said. But he added that the State of California doesn’t have an active method to enforce metering or to levy penalties on the city for failing to use meters. “A third party could challenge the city in court on their noncompliance with the law,” he said.

Even without water meters in use for most West Sacramentans, though, a voluntary local conservation drive has started to pay off in the city.   Governor Jerry Brown asked Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. West Sacramento is almost on that mark.

“We are going to the city council this Wednesday and we are going to report 19.4 percent savings,” said Anbiah of the local public works department. That number compares water usage during several recent months with use during the same period here last year.

That conservation rate stands well against savings reported elsewhere in the Sacramento area. The Sacramento Regional Water Authority says “residents in the Sacramento region have reduced their water use by 18 percent from January through June compared to the same timeframe in 2013.” (Their comparison may include a slightly different group of months from West Sacramento’s analysis.)

But as the drought continues and some parts of the state fail to save much water, California is now mandating that some “voluntary” conservation measures become “mandatory.” West Sacramento officials plan a campaign by social media, the city website, digital message boards on the streets, and other means to get the conservation message out.

“State regulations prohibit certain actions – for example, it is illegal to wash your sidewalk or driveways with potable (drinking) water,” said Anbiah. “If somebody is washing a vehicle without a shut-off nozzle at the end of the hose, that is illegal. If somebody is over-irrigating a landscape and if the water is going into the drainage system a significant amount of time, that is illegal.”

Watch for more news on odd day/even day lawn watering rules and other water use restrictions to come out in the near future. (Editor’s note: the West Sacramento City Council approved new mandatory water restrictions on August 6; the News-Ledger will report on those shortly.)

Do you have a neighbor who is still flooding the storm drains with runoff from a sprinkler system?

You can report water wasters by calling the city’s new dedicated message line at (916) 617-4545. According to a city staff report, they’ll be checking these messages twice a day and following up with landowners when necessary.
_____

  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

Yolo Fair boasts some West Sac talent

ALINCIA VELA (right) and members of her Vela family band will be on stage next week at the Yolo County Fair. She won the amateur ‘Yolo Idol’ contest at the fair four years ago.  There’s still time to sign up for this year’s ‘Yolo Idol’ singing contest. (Courtesy photo/Suckseeding Photography)

ALINCIA VELA (right) and members of her Vela family band will be on stage next week at the Yolo County Fair. She won the amateur ‘Yolo Idol’ contest at the fair four years ago. There’s still time to sign up for this year’s ‘Yolo Idol’ singing contest.
(Courtesy photo/Suckseeding Photography)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 6, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

As Yolo’s free-admission county fair gets set to kick off next Wednesday, Marty DeAnda invites West Sacramentans to partake of its free entertainment – and maybe become part of the show.

DeAnda, born-and-raised in West Sacramento, is the Woodland fair’s entertainment director for the second year in a row. That means he is the guy in charge of booking the professional acts as well as running the “Yolo Idol” talent contest.

Opening night (August 13) will feature “The Legendary Mike McGowan and the Mighty Delta Roadmasters.” McGowan is a retired West Sacramento mayor and county supervisor.

Drummer Mike McGowan (right) and vocalist Cindy Tuttle (center) are part of the ‘Legendary Mike McGowan and the Mighty Delta Roadmasters.’ They’re also both former West Sac mayors. (courtesy photo)

Drummer Mike McGowan (right) and vocalist Cindy Tuttle (center) are part of the ‘Legendary Mike McGowan and the Mighty Delta Roadmasters.’ They’re also both former West Sac mayors. (courtesy photo)

Another West Sac-oriented band is “Alincia and the Banda Velas.”

“Alincia actually won the Yolo Idol contest four years ago,” said DeAnda. “She’s an amazing singer.” Alincia and her Vela family band will play on Friday, Aug. 15.

And there’s plenty of outside talent planning to show up.

“Our talent is at even a higher level than last year,” DeAnda reports. “Cold Blood is a great band – it was the sister band of Tower of Power. Lydia Pense is the heir apparent to Janis Joplin.”

That band will hit the stage on Saturday, August 16.  It’s free to listen to Cold Blood at the fair, DeAnda notes, although “usually Cold Blood is a $30 ticket” when you catch them elsewhere.

And on Thursday, August 14, the will feature “Walking Spanish,” led by 25-year old Alex Nelson – brother of Sacramento sensation Jackie Greene. That’s also the night for Yolo Idol – an “American Idol”-style talent contest to which you are invited to try your finely-honed karaoke skills.

There’s still room for a few more entries into Yolo Idol, DeAnda said.

“I think we’re at 14 or 15 acts, and we’re only going to take 20,” he said. “There are cash prizes, and we’re also planning on giving the winner a highlighted spot on ‘Good Day Sacramento.’ It’s a great place to showcase your talent – the event usually draws 600 to a thousand spectators.”

Interested in bringing your voice (and your stage presence and your appearance) to Yolo Idol to be scored competitively? Contact DeAnda at marty@digmusic.com.

For more information about all the entertainment and other attractions at the Yolo County Fair this year, visit www.YoloFair.net. The fair runs Aug. 13-17 at 1250 E. Gum Avenue in Woodland. Entry and most entertainment is free; rides, food and some events require a ticket purchase.

You may also call (530) 402-2222 for information.

  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