Tag Archives: West Sacramento

Accused West Sac cop pleads ‘not guilty’

SERGIO ALVAREZ, accused West Sacramento Police Officer (booking photo, Yolo County Jail)

SERGIO ALVAREZ, accused West Sacramento Police Officer (booking photo, Yolo County Jail)


A former West Sacramento police officer pleaded “not guilty” Thursday to 35 counts of kidnapping and sexual offenses he allegedly committed while on patrol.

Sergio Alvarez, a 37-year old resident of the city, entered the plea in Yolo County Superior Court.

He was charged with rape and other offenses. Police spokesmen say that over a period of about a year, Alvarez assaulted a number of women he contacted while driving a patrol car on the “graveyard” shift in the West Capitol Avenue area.

The plea was made on Alvarez’s behalf by attorney Gabriel Quinnan.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

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)

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


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%).

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)

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

Gas line error: ‘little danger,’ says FD


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A mistake by a PG&E work crew led to overpressurization of a business customer’s gas line in January.

The utility company filed a mandatory “non-compliance report” about the incident with the California Public Utilities Commission, but local fire officials told the News-Ledger the event didn’t appear to pose a serious danger to the public.

The event occurred on Jan. 15 at a distribution business on the 1300-block of Jefferson Boulevard, when a PG&E crew responded to the report of a gas smell and a leak.

“During the leak repair, an employee inadvertently shut in the relief valve” on the customer’s line, “allowing pressure to build up in the service pipe,” said the PG&E report. “Approximately 250 feet of 1-inch and ½-inch plastic service was overpressurized for approximately one minute, until the crew corrected the error and opened the valve to allow pressure relief.”

The line was rated for a maximum operating pressure of 60 psig (pounds per square inch gauge. An attached gauge maxed out at its 150 psig reading, “however, the pressure in the service may have reached as high as 650 psig, which was the operating pressure in the upstream transmission line,” said PG&E.

  After relieving the pressure, the crew took the equipment out of service for replacement. In the meantime, they provided portable compressed natural gas to the customer.

Fire Marshal Brian Johnson noted that the involved lines were fairly small, and the mishap occurred outdoors.

“It was a small distribution line,” he told the News-Ledger. “Less than one inch. With natural gas, it’s half as light as air, so it will go up into the atmosphere. It’s when it gets up in a building – a room or something – that’s when it gets dangerous.”

Fire Chief Al Terrell agreed, comparing it to a fatal gas line explosion in the Bay Area in 2010.

“From my point of view, it wasn’t as big an event as it may have seemed,” said Terrell. “Everything was well taken care of by the first responders, (city) public works and PG&E. It was nowhere near what happened in San Bruno.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

‘Police Log’ for West Sacramento


  News items below are collected from police dispatchers’ notes and arrest reports. The information in them has often not been verified beyond the initial reports. This feature is printed virtually every week in the News-Ledger newspaper, and we occasionally make it available online here. To see it every week, look to the bottom for a special subscription offer.

March 8, 5:35 p.m.
A woman returned to her car parked on the 1200-block of Harbor Boulevard to find a passenger-side window broken. Gone from inside were a cello, a clarinet, and a “1937 wooden bassoon,” all worth about $3300.

March 7, 6:20 a.m.
A witness reported there was a man “stumbling along Fernwood, walking into yards (and he) appeared to be weaving.”

March 7, 7:17 a.m.
A businessperson at a hotel on the 800-block of West Capitol reported someone came into the office while staff was in the other room, and stole from the change drawer.

March 7, 7:17 a.m.
A flat-screen TV was removed from a motel room on the 1900-block of West Capitol. The motel had information on a suspect.

March 7, 9:15 a.m.
Someone stole a “fish finder” device worth about $300 from a boat parked on a trailer on Merced Way.

March 7, 9:49 a.m.
A resident of Aleutian Island Street “just arrived home to find the house ransacked.” Gone were a laptop, jewelry and other items.

March 7, 11:21 a.m.
A Seaport Blvd. business reported catching an employee trying to steal food items the night before.

March 7, 12:32 p.m.
A man in Southport reported his “ex-girlfriend posed as him on Facebook in an attempt to gain information about him from friends and family.”

March 7, 1:29 p.m.
At a barber shop on Sacramento Avenue: two 20-something men “just got haircuts and ran out without paying.” They were now in a car in the parking lot.

March 7, 1:44 p.m.
A Roma Court address was reported to have been burglarized about one hour earlier. Missing were two laptop computers, video games, jewelry, an electric guitar and other items valued at over $10,000.

March 7, 2:34 p.m.
A Manzanita Way church reported someone had left graffiti there a week earlier.

March 7, 4:24 p.m.
A woman reported she had left a purse on a counter at the library on Merkley Avenue, then returned to find it gone, along with the wallet, ID and credit cards it contained.

March 7, 5:27 p.m.
A house was reported burglarized on Diane Drive.

March 7, 10:05 p.m.
A Town Center Plaza store reported that a known shoplifter “dumped merchandise while attempting to leave through the fire door.” The man left in a waiting van. The store said it had an open case against the fellow already.

March 8, 11:17 a.m.
A woman asked to speak to an officer in the police lobby, reporting she “knows who has been setting fires” in the area of Jefferson Blvd. and South River Road.

March 8, 1:34 p.m.
A caller from Walnut Street said a female had “attempted to cut (the caller’s) brother with a hacksaw.”

March 8, 2:40 p.m.
A Solano Street home was found burglarized. The back door had been pried open, and jewelry and other items were taken.

March 8, 4:33 p.m.
A car parked at a Harbor Boulevard restaurant was found burglarized. Missing were a laptop and other electronics.

March 8, 5:11 p.m.
A clinic on Industrial Boulevard reported that a patient was threatening to harm himself and said he “had no reason to live.”

March 8, 10:30 p.m.
A woman called from Sacramento Avenue to report that a male suspect just punched her boyfriend in the face and made off with her bicycle from in front of a market.

March 8, 11:16 p.m.
A caller from Jefferson in Southport reported “hearing what sounds like an alarm or some kind of beeping in the area,” adding that “when an officer gets in the area he’ll be able to hear it.”

March 9, 3:10 a.m.
A woman at a motel on Halyard Drive called police about “a male who is peeking in from her balcony.”

March 9, 4:29 p.m.
A Riverpoint Court store said a female suspect just stole some shoes and shirts, and fled in a car.

March 9, 12:36 p.m.
A citizen on Walnut Street reported hearing a man threaten to shoot a neighbor, and reported seeing him with gun in his hand.

March 9, 12:48 p.m.
A Yolo Street woman said she was “tired of neighbors putting trash on her sidewalk and lawn.” She asked for an officer to contact her. She couldn’t remember her phone number.

March 9, 3:48 p.m.
A witness said four homeless people were camping near the railroad tracks at the entrance to the barge canal.

March 9, 7:27 p.m.
A citizen provided a tip, saying that a large party with a bonfire was being planned that night for public property in the “Honda Hills” area at Jefferson and South River Road.

March 9, 9:41 p.m.
A caller from in front of a Poplar Avenue liquor store reported that “some kids” had just stolen the caller’s bike.

March 9, 10:07 p.m.
A house on Cummins Way was found burglarized, with the “POE” (point of entry) at the rear patio door. Two shotguns (unloaded) were stolen.

March 9, 10:07 p.m.
A Coyote Road resident returned home to find the “house is completely trashed.” Missing were two laptops, jewelry and possibly more items.

March 9, 10:11 p.m.
A resident of Union Square Road reported two suspicious males had just come to the door, wearing dark clothing and hoodies. The resident “thinks they are going door to door seeing who is home, (and) is not sure of their intentions, but feels they are up to no good.”

March 10, 1:08 a.m.
A Meadowlark Circle resident reported there was a loud party going on in the complex behind the home, and someone had just tossed a vodka bottle over the fence, where it shattered.

March 10, 5:19 a.m.
A Sacramento Avenue resident reported an incident that occurred 45-60 minutes earlier: “a group of subjects pulled up to the residence and threw full cans of beer at the windows, trying to shatter them.”

March10, 9:15 a.m.
A vehicle was found damaged on Canvasback Way. It looked like someone had tried to siphon fuel from it.

March 10, 10:36 a.m.
From Douglas Street: “a neighbor saw a juvenile walk over and throw a pump through the window of this house.”

March 10, 11:23 a.m.
Someone stole clothes and tools from a Glide Avenue home. Shortly afterward, the residence reported that a dog had also been stolen from a shed. There was a suspect.

March 10, 12:45 p.m.
There was an “ill possum” in the front yard of a home on the 4300-block of South River Road.

March 10, 12:54 p.m.
Two males about 18 years old were reported to be “racing around the residential streets” near Marshall Road and Golden Gate Drive, in a white convertible Mazda Miata.

March 10, 2:52 p.m.
A caller reported that a van had been parked in a handicapped spot at Raley Field for about an hour, with a dog inside. “The windows were a little down but the dog appeared to be in distress.”

March 10, 4:57 p.m.
A resident of Sandypoint Court reported discovering that the home’s air conditioning unit, valued at about $4,000, had been stolen.

March 10, 5:20 p.m.
A Deerwood Street resident called dispatchers with questions about “Yolo County’s rules for growing marijuana.”

March 10, 5:44 p.m.
A caller from an auto shop on F Street reported that shop, and the one next to it, were filled with smoke from an unknown source.

March 10, 6:32 p.m.
Tahoe Court: “vehicle into house, driver appears injured.”

March 10, 6:43 p.m.
A resident of California Street reported that two dogs from the same address, with a history of aggression, were loose. One was a German shepherd and the other a “medium-sized” dog. They were “both barking at citizens and chasing others on bicycles.”

March 10, 12:29 a.m.
An officer reported seeing a car “recklessly exit the freeway, squealing tires.”
“I tried to follow (the) vehicle and it drove at a high rate of speed through a residential area” before stopping at a 13th Street house,” he wrote. “Suspect looked at me and fled.”
The officer detained the man, a 33-year old who lived at the home. The suspect appeared drunk but refused a field sobriety test. He was arrested.

March 11, 1:34 a.m.
An officer pulled over a car near Sunset Avenue and Lisbon Street for a headlight violation. The 47-year old driver “gave a false name and finally provided officers with his real name and stated he had a warrant.”
The man was confirmed to have an arrest warrant, and went to jail.

March 11, 1 a.m.
Residents of a Glide Avenue mobilehome reported there was a man trying to break in. Police contacted a drunk 29-year old transient outside the unit. There was a broken side-view mirror from the victims’ car on the ground next to him. The victims reported that the guy had kicked and damaged their door, then opened a window and reached in and pulled the drapes down. When police sirens drew close, the man stepped away from the trailer.
The suspect was on parole, and went to jail.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013