Tag Archives: washington

West Sac looks to public art to help unify Sac/West Sac streetcar line

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 14, 2014 —

The West Sacramento City Council voted last month to work with regional partners to apply for a public arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) . The “Our Town” grant of up to $200,000 would focus on bringing art pieces to the city’s Washington neighborhood and the future streetcar route connecting Sacramento and West Sacramento.

Also involved in the art planning project are the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the City of Sacramento and Crocker Arts Museum.

“The ‘Our Town’ proposal envisions art installations as a place-making feature of the planned streetcar route and way-finding for bicyclists and pedestrians moving between West Sacramento’s waterfront neighborhoods and civic center and Sacramento’s railyards, capitol and museums,” said a staff report. “The cities would also use the funds to select one artist that will create two pieces which will engage, interact or connect with each other to be installed in each side of the river respectively. Another installation will be analyzed within the Washington District depending on the final grant award amount and budget.”

The plan being proposed to the NEA calls first for a consultant to work with the public and create a “curatorial vision” for the Washington district and streetcar area. No actual art pieces have yet been picked.

The city has already received a $400,000 grant for art from the state parks department, for art at the corner of Riverwalk and Tower Bridge Gateway, with a $200,000 local match.  These funds will be used as the “local match” needed for the proposed NEA grant.

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Letters to the editor: change the ‘Redskins’ name; fund early childhood education

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER —

June 18, 2014

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento's River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento’s River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

Change the ‘Redskins’!

During the NBA Finals, viewers saw a message sponsored in part by the Yocha Dehe Wintun tribe of Yolo County.  The commercial highlights a racial slur that has persisted as the name of a team mascot for over seventy years:  “Redskins.”  For many years, Native Americans, including the National Congress of American Indians,  have asked the Washington  Redskins to change the name of their mascot.  The name “Redskins” has its historical origins in a deplorable history of genocide against Native Americans, including massacres at “Wounded Knee,” “Eagle Lake,” and “the Trail of Tears.”  To many Native Americans, “Redskins” is an offensive racial slur in the same manner that the “n” word is offensive to African Americans or the “w” word is offensive to Latinos.

Recently on YouTube, I listened with great admiration to courageous statements from Yocha Dehe Wintun tribal leaders Marshal McKay and James Kinter calling for an end to seventy years of racial slurs by the Washington Redskins. It is appalling that in the wake of the Clippers scandal such racial slurs are not universally condemned.

I see many similarities in the actions of Washington team owner Daniel Snyder and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers.  I am particularly disturbed that Daniel Snyder defends rather that apologizes for the slurs.  Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder should put an end to a seventy year old racial slur that has persisted far too long and change the team mascot.

NFL owners should grant Tribal chairman Marshal McKay and Tribal Secretary James Kinter an opportunity to speak to them and make their case for changing the name.  If the NBA can force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers over a racial slur, surely the NFL can require a team owner to cease marketing a racial slur.  The NBA permitted Kevin Johnson to address them concerning retention of the Kings.  How much more important is it for the NFL to allow tribal leaders to speak to them concerning the eradication of a vestige of racism?

NORMA ALCALA
President River City Democratic Club
West Sacramento

____________________

June 11, 2014

This is a summary of a letter sent by First 5 Yolo to members of the California State Legislature:

 

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children's Alliance (courtesy photo)

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance (courtesy photo)

Fund the children

After years of program cuts to child care and preschool programs, including the elimination of over $1 billion in funding and 110,000 child care slots in California, this year brings an exciting opportunity for reinvestment in early education.  The Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Senate and Assembly budget committees recently adopted budget priorities for funding child care and early education.

First 5 Yolo thanks the legislature for making children and families a priority again in California and urges moving forward with a timely budget to the Governor that includes 1) increasing payments to private child care providers serving low-income children, 2) increasing child care subsidy slots, preschool w/wrap around care and part-day preschool slots, 3) increasing funding for on-going and one-time only quality improvement activities such as professional development for child care providers, 4) eliminating state preschool family fees and, 5) adjusting existing programs to provide and strengthen early learning and care opportunities for all low-income children

A 2010 study by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman demonstrated that every dollar invested in high quality early education generates seven dollars in returns.

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke stated “Economically speaking, early childhood programs are a good investment, with inflation-adjusted annual rates of return on the funds dedicated to these programs estimated to reach 10 percent or higher,” and noted by Ross Thompson, distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCD in a recent article “The two distressing realities of the achievement gap are that when children enter school, the gap is already there,” he continued. “The other reality is that school experience doesn’t narrow the achievement gap, it widens it. So to close the achievement gap, to begin narrowing those differences in language ability, mathematical skill, other cognitive abilities, you’ve got to look earlier.”

Child care and early education are critical issues for families in Yolo County, but the cost is frequently too high for First 5 Yolo to make a significant impact.  Therefore, we urge your support to appropriate newly available funds in California to assist in bridging the achievement gap and providing equity in education for the youngest of California children.

DON SAYLOR, Chair
First 5 Yolo
DONITA STROMGREN, Vice-Chair
First 5 Yolo

  Editor’s note: “First 5 Yolo” is funded through the state by tobacco taxes. The organization supports programs such as early childhood education (hence, “first five years”) that benefit young children.

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Corn as high as an elephant’s eye? Unusual land use crops up in urban West Sac neighborhood

SARA BERNAL has plans for an unused city lot that used to have bad soil. She’s part of a project involving the City of West Sacramento and a Yolo County nonprofit that promotes agricultural education.   (News-Ledger photo)

SARA BERNAL has plans for an unused city lot that used to have bad soil. She’s part of a project involving the City of West Sacramento and a Yolo County nonprofit that promotes agricultural education.
(News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 7, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

There is sudden new activity on that old, city-owned vacant lot at the corner of 5th and C streets in West Sacramento’s old “Washington” neighborhood. New soil has been dropped off, and a tractor is leveling it out. People are bustling about onsite.

The lot is surrounded by elements of urban West Sacramento old and new:

Just west lies the popular new Broderick Roadhouse pub. A couple blocks east is the venerable old I Street Bridge. Across the street is a liquor store. Passersby include commuters, students, the residents of nearby homes, and various denizens of the city’s streets.

So what are they building on this two-thirds-acre piece of urban infill? Will it be new townhouses or apartments, like those going up elsewhere on the West Sac riverfront? A mixed-use building? A restaurant?

The answer is probably not your first guess. What they’re building is a farm.

Sara Bernal was on site yesterday, supervising the spreading of a new layer of topsoil. She will be the first farmer at the temporary “urban farm” at 427 C Street.

“My goal is to have the irrigation system built by next week,” said Bernal. “I hope to start planting in two weeks.”

What crops are going in?

“Lots of heirloom tomatoes, baby green mixes, cucumbers, melons, summer squash, onions, carrots and radishes, eggplants and peppers,” she started to list.

Bernal has small-farm experience, including producing for “subscribers” and for farmers markets. She hopes to sell her veggies at farmers markets – including West Sacramento’s – and at restaurants – including nearby “Broderick.”

“In 30 days, we will have baby lettuce and small radishes,” said Bernal.

This “urban farm” project is the first partnership between the city and the Center for Land-Based Learning, headquartered in Winters. The city hopes to make available various vacant sites for use as temporary, rotating small farms. The Center for Land-Based Learning, which supports training for farmers, has leased this city lot for $1 per year for five years.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon says the neighborhood and the city get several different things out of the relationship.

“First, it’s the rejuvenation of a public-owned parcel that’s been almost thrown away for a full generation,” he told the News-Ledger. “(Vacant lots) continue to be safety issues. We want to have activity there.”

Then, there’s the opportunity to help train new farmers and get them a start in their profession. West Sacramento officials are seeking to make the city a “food hub,” central to food production and processing.

“For most of recorded history, you became a farmer because you grew up on a farm,” he said. “Today, there’s a whole new crop of young people who want to be a farmer, but their parents don’t own a farm. They don’t have the land to begin farming. So reason number two for this is to incubate farmers.”

“Third is that we want to create new options for local neighbors and kids, so they’re connected to farms and can buy more healthy food. (The fourth reason is) we really want to create a pipeline for local restaurants to locally-source specialty produce. You saw that with Dan Gannon’s farm in Southport, and the Eatery.”

The Eatery was a well-regarded Southport restaurant that often served local produce such as Gannon’s. The restaurant recently closed for financial reasons.

“One key feature is that this will be a temporary use,” said Cabaldon of the C Street farm. “Five years from now, it could be a mixed-use building with people living upstairs and a restaurant or book store down below. When that happens, we and others have plenty of other vacant properties in the city.”

Mary Kimball is executive director of the Center for Land-Based Learning, which is leasing the vacant lot and has hired Bernal as the farm manager. She said this project is made possible primarily by Wells Fargo, with help from Community Business Bank and other sponsors. Soil on the lot was so poor that they trucked in 600 cubic yards of (slightly aromatic) composted topsoil.

“It’s kind of surprising how much even a half acre can produce,” said Kimball. “Two of our graduates are going to help (Bernal.) It’s all going to be vegetable produce – it will be for really different markets, like restaurants. ‘Broderick’ restaurant has put in an order for what to grow.”

The produce will also be sold at farmers’ markets and farmstands, and possibly through a “CSA” program (“community supported agriculture,” in which consumers sign up to receive a portion of the produce).

The urban farm fits with her organization’s mission.

“We have a beginning farmer training program called the California Farm Academy,” said Kimball. “Each year, we graduate about 20 farmers into the community.”

Sara Bernal hopes sales from the C Street farm help cover her own salary as farm manager for the plot.

Is she worried about people vandalizing the little farm, or walking off with the “fruits” of her labor?

“Oh yeah, definitely,” answered Bernal. “Unfortunately, we can’t afford to fence it off. We’re hoping people will see how much work we put in, and leave it alone. I’m sure it will happen, though.”

City officials are holding a groundbreaking for the urban farm at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 9,  at 427 C Street.

And in case you’re wondering, the West Sacramento Farmers Market is scheduled to open for the season on May 29; look for information on the Thursday-afternoon market on Facebook here.

 

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Days are numbered for I Street Bridge

The historic I Street Bridge serves train traffic on the lower level and autos and pedestrians above. It's at the end of its lifespan, and is slated to be replaced by a new bridge slightly to the north, connecting West Sacramento's "Washington" area to the Sacramento Railyards region. (News-Ledger photo)

The historic I Street Bridge serves train traffic on the lower level and autos and pedestrians above. It’s at the end of its lifespan, and is slated to be replaced by a new bridge slightly to the north, connecting West Sacramento’s “Washington” area to the Sacramento Railyards region. (News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 12, 2014 —

Plans to replace the 103-year old I Street Bridge continue to march forward.

West Sacramento’s city council voted March 5  to approve an agreement with Sacramento to move forward with preliminary engineering on a new bridge to be sited just a little to the north of the skinny old “swing” bridge.

The existing bridge lands at I Street in Sacramento and on C Street in West Sacramento With a single lane in each direction, the steel bridge often feels to motorists like it’s dangerously narrow. More than once, cars and trucks have scraped as they passed in opposite directions over the Sacramento River.

The planned new bridge site is planned to better synchronize with Sacramento’s “Railyards” project and West Sacramento’s plans for its “Washington” area. It would be a movable span with more lanes for traffic, bikes and pedestrians, and possibly a streetcar.

Sacramento and West Sacramento have agreed to contribute $350,000 each towards a preliminary engineering and environmental review. The cities have selected Mark Thomas and Company as consultant.

The cities expect federal sources to pick up most of the eventual costs of the new bridge. Earlier estimates pegged that cost at around $86 million.

“The current schedule, depending upon funding availability through Caltrans, forecasts the construction of the bridge to occur in 2019-2020,” said a recent West Sacramento city staff report.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014