Last week, news 10 reported that a 14 year old Sacramento boy was forced to urinate inside of the classroom into a Gatorade bottle. The parents were demanding that the teacher be fired. Today they are reporting that the student has been suspended and the teacher was transferred to a different school.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I just received a phone survey asking a bunch of questions about my thoughts on the Andy Stevens case. Andy Stevens was the CHP officer who was shot and killed in Yolo County on November 17, 2005. Most questions were actually related to the main suspect Brendt Volarvich. They basically were trying to find out if Volarvich would receive a fair trial. They asked if I believed the death penalty was appropriate if he was convicted. They also asked different questions about what I had heard in the news media regarding the case such as, was Volarvich hired to kill someone else, did I think he did it, about his girlfriend and other details that were made known through the media.
They also asked what media outlets I utilize and whether I use print, radio or television.
I take it that the defense team is trying to show some cause to get this trial moved to a different venue. Probably because The D.A.'s office is seeking the death penalty. They might think that moving it to a larger county would give them a better chance of a more lenient DA??
Has anyone else received this survey? Any thoughts on it?
Friday, April 27, 2007
See what you have, post it if you find something cool.
Posted by The Realist at 2:01 PM
I drove by the site for Costco and saw the big white tents and the crowds of people that were there for the official ground break ceremony. They actually look like they have already been working hard on moving dirt around. I heard the store will open in November of this year. I only takes about 130 days from the day they start building.
Posted by The Realist at 1:17 PM
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Posted by The Realist at 1:17 PM
Here are a few of our favorite places to eat. They actually are not too bad. I did notice the dates that they were inspected. One had not been inspected for 4 years and another had not been inspected for 3 years?? These are the last two reports for each business.
I actually feel pretty good about these reports. I eat at Pacos all of the time so I was hoping it would turn out good.
Are there any restaurants any of you would like to see a report on? Post them in the comments and I will get the reports up for you.
Posted by The Realist at 8:37 AM
Monday, April 23, 2007
I had previously posted a story on the CHP traffic incident report and the California Sex Offender Database, commonly known as Megan's Law that were pretty popular links. So I decided to add a direct link on my right sidebar for your easy viewing.
So make sure you know where the Sex Offenders are and also keep up on current traffic problems.
Posted by The Realist at 10:52 PM
The California Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento tossed out the gang injunction in West Sacramento today. The court ruled that the Yolo County District Attorney's office did not give the banned gang members enough notice to legally oppose the injunction.
The ruling stated that the Yolo County District Attorney's office only notified one gang member and assumed he would notify the other gang members.
I will get an interview tomorrow from Jeff Reisig and find out his take on the ruling.
News 10 covered the story and you can read it here.
You can read the official court ruling here.
Posted by The Realist at 9:42 PM
Is it just me or does it seem like tons of people run red lights. It is crazy, every time I am driving somewhere I see someone blowing through a stop light. Just this morning I was pulling out of Farmer's Central onto 102 with a green light and a car came blowing through the intersection north on 102. It was not like they just missed it, I was already half way through the intersection. We both had to swerve to avoid a collision.
Has anyone else noticed an increase in this problem?
Posted by The Realist at 6:00 PM
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I have to attend a wedding later today, so I decided I would at least look half way respectable and went to get a hair cut. My favorite place to go is Main Event Barbers. They have a very cool set up inside that is all sports related. They have a comfortable atmosphere with couches and chairs to relax in while you wait. I went to high school with most of these guys and they all played one sport or another while in school. They have a bunch of Woodland High memorabilia as well as numerous pro teams that cover the walls in this unique shop.
You can see Steve Brown cutting a patrons hair in this picture.
One of the real cool things is the numerous TV's located all over the shop that has ESPN playing and they always have the good games on.
No other place in town has an awesome arcade like this. These are the games I grew up on like Pac Man and Space Invaders. The best thing of all, you get to play the games for free! That's right, no quarters needed. My kids love that and quite frankly I do too!
There is no other place in this area where you can go get a hair cut, watch some games and play some cool video games at the same time.
On top of everything else, they are highly skilled at cutting hair. I have never been anywhere else and had a hair cut as good as Main Event. They even bust out the straight edge to clean the neck line. It has the old school feel inside kind of like the old show Cheers. Everyone does know your name in this place. Go check it out the next time you need a hair cut and say hi to Marco Romero or Steve Brown. You will not be disappointed.
Posted by The Realist at 10:04 AM
Today at 1:00 p.m. at Lee Junior High, the Woodland/Davis Adult Baseball league will hold tryouts in hopes of recruiting some more players. This year they are dropping the minimum age to 25 years old. They will also have an informal hitting practice on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the same location.
This league is a lot of fun. I have played for the last several years and encourage you to sign up if you feel like swinging the bat again. If you would like more information feel free to email me here.
Posted by The Realist at 8:45 AM
I think we are close to getting the school lunch experiment underway. I have a few more details to iron out but we should get started late next week. I think we will have to narrow down the field to two, which will probably be Josh Fernandez and myself. They were balking a little at the number of people I had wanted to participate.
Channel 3 news has also picked up the story. I talked to their producer and they would like to cover our experiment as well. I will keep you guys posted as we get ready to eat cafeteria food for a month. Yummy!
Posted by The Realist at 8:23 AM
Friday, April 20, 2007
Sanchovilla is the blogger that I have linked on the right side of my page under Public Defender Investigator. He has some pretty funny posts. Right now he has a challenge to find Jeffery Carney's myspace page. He is a pretty good investigator. I think I already have the challenge wrapped up though....
Here is his web page
Posted by The Realist at 9:25 PM
Every parent should check out this web page. It has everything to do with what your children watch on TV.
We exist because media and entertainment profoundly impact the social, emotional, and physical development of our nation's children. As a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, we provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume.
Posted by The Realist at 9:37 AM
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Gun control will no doubt be a huge issue in coming months and years. I hear rumbles that this shooting at VA Tech could have all been avoided if we had stricter gun laws. Maybe we need background checks on people who buy ammunition. I do not buy that.
I think this guy in VA would have found himself a gun one way or the other. But there are a ton of statistics available for each side of the debate. Usually I like numbers and statistics, but in this case it is all spin. You can find any statistic to support any view. It is a little crazy, just Google gun control and you will see what I mean.
Here is where I stand on the issue. A background check and a waiting period is fine. Waiting for ammo might be stretching it a little. Keeping the guns away from legitimate people is crazy.
The bad guys and crazy people will always be able to get guns somehow. I hope that more good guys have guns around to stop situations if they arise. For example, in Utah a while back a gunman started shooting people inside of a mall. Thankfully there was an off duty cop who was carrying his weapon and killed the gunman. If he was not there who knows how many people would be dead.
So if you are a good person and want a gun for protection, then you should be able to get one. I think concealed weapon permits should be a little easier to get as well. If someones life was in danger near me, I would like to be able to help.
Anyways, let me know where you stand, any ideas for better standards or anything you would like to say about this topic.
Posted by The Realist at 11:16 PM
Posted by The Realist at 3:41 PM
What an opportunity of a lifetime for our city. Woodland is a huge "AG" town and what would be better than a horse track venue for our resident's. The amount of tax revenue this type of a venue could produce would trump any other project that we could possibly think of. It would have a huge impact on supporting Ag related businesses, hotels, gas stations and restaurants in the near area. It would also create a bunch of jobs.
Jim Smith wrote and editorial on this very subject and I could not agree more with him. You can read it here.
I cannot think of a more important point in time for Woodland. This could fund all of those things we need and want, flood control, fair firefighter compensation and countless others.
But before I spend all of our tax revenue to fast, we need to urge our city and county leaders to pave the way. They all have to be on board to make an operation this big work properly.
What do you guys think??
Posted by The Realist at 1:56 PM
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The Broderick boys seem to be still active in West Sacramento. I have a couple of problems with this story.
Here is the article on News 10.
1. People who were interviewed said it is common to get rocks thrown at them and to be shot at.
How is it that common? Can't they have a few extra patrols in the hot spots?
2. If you see a gang of thugs on the tracks, why would you stop?
I am sure it is in their rules, but I would lobby for an acceleration clause.
I know the District Attorney has been working very hard on gang problems since he took office and I applaud him for that. We have no room for barbaric actions like these in our society.
Posted by The Realist at 9:37 PM
Sorry my posts have been a little short and sporadic. I have been very sick for the last week.
I talked to Linda Hennigan with the wave and she informed me that they are working on web casts of the council meetings and other popular segments. They will be aired from the wave web page, but will not be live streaming video. That is fine, at least more people can check it out the following day from their computer. She said it will be available very soon.
Posted by The Realist at 9:30 PM
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
I am not trying to sound like a Democrat, but the subject of alternative energy and fuel is a good one. It will take large companies like the ones in this story, to step up and get things rolling. This is interesting and sounds like it will be ready soon.
You can read the story here.
Posted by The Realist at 5:48 PM
Sunday, April 15, 2007
When will the City of Woodland get the council meetings online? Can it be that hard or cost a ton of money? I would guess a majority of people have Dish service for their television and do not get the wave channel. It would be nice to view it on the Internet and to go back and watch previous meetings when needed as well.
The city of Chico has been doing this since 2005. You can view their web page here. How is it that we are 2 years behind Chico? Someone needs to bring this up at a council meeting and have a time line set to get it done.
Posted by The Realist at 9:21 PM
I have to give credit where credit is due. Neal Peart and Martie Dote, who were on the subcommittee, did a great job on this development. If you compare this development to any others around, it really stands out.
For one, not a single house is the same. I was in Sacramento the other day and drove by an old development where my friend had bought a house around 13 years ago. I remember thinking how nice it was. Now, it is a ran down area and every house looks the same. You can drive around Springlake, at least in the KB home section, and be hard pressed to find the same exact house. Giving a unique look to every house will help the resale value and gives a custom feel to track homes.
The other things are the small details. The street lights look great and save energy at the same time. When you drive down these neighborhoods you do not see garages like every other place. They are either hidden in the back or are set back from the front of the house. There are greenbelts through out the whole area. They will connect to Woodland Community College and to Pioneer High School as well.
I know when dealing with the builders it is hard to stick to your guns and get what you want out of the deal. Developers are not bad in any way, we would still be living in huts if they were not around. What we have to do, is get what we want and how we want it.
Neal and Martie did just that. Good job!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Scientists are working hard to find alternatives to corn in order to produce ethanol. The high demand for corn has been putting the squeeze on other industries due to the rising prices.
You can read the full story here.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Here is a company that has been producing energy products for NASA and the government and has now made a commercial application for residential use. Their product produces twice as much energy as Solar Panels and costs about half as much. The high tech future is coming our way and we should be exploring these opportunities.
Here is the web page.
Art Pimentel will propose a resolution on public power for Woodland during Tuesday's meeting.
Somehow PG&E has already had the information leaked to them and is utilizing a call center to phone Woodland residents and then directly connect them with city hall. The phone Bank System they are using is out of KS:
Blue Valley Tele-Marketing Inc.
155 Pony Express Hwy
Home, KS 66438
Fax : 785-799-3504
Caller ID: 785-799-3500
You can call them and have your name taken off of their list. If you google them you will find a ton of complaints about the hours they make calls and calling people on the do not call list.
Anyways, this should be an explosive meeting on Tuesday, which will further the debate of having a Public Utility serve Woodland. This should also serve as a way to explore more solar options for our City. There will no doubt be numerous people from each side of the debate sharing their feelings on this issue.
This has nothing to do with bringing SMUD back on the table. It just says we should be vigilant and keep exploring other alternatives. A monopoly in my opinion is not the best alternative. The control is out of our hands. PG&E may in fact be our best solution to power, but it will hurt nothing to investigate it.
The resolution is very simple and straight forward. I agree with it and say that we should continue to investigate cheaper and cleaner alternatives. Below is the resolution.
OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND CITY COUNCIL’S
CONTINUING SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC POWER
HEREAS, the residents, business and property owners that comprise Woodland’s fabric seek economical and reliable electrical power to ensure their continued livelihood; and
HEREAS, public power consistently has proven it can provide electrical service at more competitive rates and generally at more responsive levels, and
HEREAS, the Yolo County voters within the proposed SMUD annexation area, in fact, voted in favor of Measure H, the measure that asked should the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) annex into its service territory the Cities of West Sacramento, Davis and Woodland and the contiguous unincorporated area of Yolo County for the purpose of providing electric service; and
HEREAS, the defeat of the SMUD annexation initiative in Sacramento only represented a the loss of one alternative to public power; and
HEREAS, there remains an interest in the region, including areas outside of the SMUD annexation area, to keep on exploring public power alternatives.
OW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Woodland supports the continued assessment of power alternatives that would lead to less expensive, more reliable and more earth-friendly electric power for the citizens, businesses and property owners of Woodland and throughout the Yolo County region.
Dated this Seventeenth Day of April, 2007
Posted by The Realist at 1:33 PM
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Has anyone noticed an increase in air traffic over Woodland in the last couple of years?? I seems like since Natomas has been built out, the air traffic patterns have moved over Woodland.
If this is true then it brings up a bunch of questions. Is Yolo county prepared for an airline disaster if one were to happen? Have we been compensated to pay for any kind of emergency training?
Does anyone know where we can find out if this is correct?
Posted by The Realist at 12:31 PM
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Here is a story about a few bloggers pushing for a code of conduct. I think I already follow these rules and think that overall, people have been pretty good about their comments. Only a few exceptions.
Here is the story.
Here is the best quote from the story:
"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it."
Posted by The Realist at 11:37 PM
I had an interesting phone conversation today with a lady from India. I was calling Quickbooks to register my product and quickly picked up on the accent. My business partners are from India so I wanted to find out if she was from the same area.
So I asked her a few questions. She said she was from southern India, nowhere near Punjab, and that they all work the midnight shift because it is daytime in America. She said she earns 20,000 rupee's per month. That is equal to $444.33 in American currency. As we talked some more and she said her rent was 10,000 rupee's a month for a 3 bedroom place. That is 222.00 a month, half of what she brings home.
She went on to help me register my product and was very happy about it. She actually tried her best to serve my business needs. Anyways, I had a great time talking with her and was able to educate myself on an industry and a nation that is on an economic rise.
Posted by The Realist at 11:17 PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Thousands of state and local government workers and retirees will pay more for long-term care policies as California's largest health insurance provider struggles to contain costs.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System has notified 173,000 policyholders that the cost of an average long-term care policy will go up by about a third beginning this summer.
The move comes after trustees of the $4 billion nonprofit agreed last year to raise rates to offset a projected $600 million deficit in the coming decades.
Read the full story here.
Posted by The Realist at 9:13 PM
Check out these directions given on Google. I typed in driving directions from NY to Paris. Look what line 23 says. Crazy!
Someone must be screwing around. That has to be the long way...
I could not get Woodland to HI to work. But here is Woodland to France...
Posted by The Realist at 2:47 PM
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Unscramble the following words. They are all businesses in Woodland. Once you have them, email me at Jeff@woodlandjournal.com. The first correct email wins $25!!
1. (2 Words) NLCENGIJD
2. (2 Words) UTHRIERTWFRUIN
3. (3 Words) VEBTIYCAIKRNR
4. (3 Words) ETNMETSSSAFRIIENT
5. (2 Words) EGTAUGKRETNM
Make sure you include your name on your email so I know who wins!
Karl Krist of Inside Woodland, wins the game. Candi Smith was a very close second with 4 correct answers.
#1 CJ Lending
#2 Wirth Furniture
#3 River City Bank
#4 Main Street Fitness
#5 Nugget Market
Thanks to everyone who played, I hope you had fun. When we get the game going in the newsletter, I am going to try to have over $100 to give away.
Good Job Karl!!!
Posted by The Realist at 8:18 PM
Tonight at 9:00 p.m., make sure you are logged on to Woodland Journal so you can play Scramble For Cash. I will scramble 5 Woodland business names and the first person to unscramble and email me the answers will win $25.
If you would like to sponsor a much larger game that will be on my newsletter only please email me for details.
If you have not signed up for my newsletter, make sure you do so you can play for some big money.
Posted by The Realist at 3:53 PM
Posted by The Realist at 9:44 AM
You can read the full story here that KOVR 13 has posted on their web page.
This story kills me. Let me give you a little helpful advise for future flat tires.
If a guy with tattoos on his forehead and Adam's apple stops to help you change a flat tire, call the police. If you do decide to let him change your flat tire, do not enter his car to "hang out". Last do not let him drive you into a secluded orchard. I do not know about this story. There must be more to it.
Here is a picture of the suspect.
Posted by The Realist at 8:13 AM
Monday, April 09, 2007
Dino Gay made a post about Dead Cat Alley on Inside Woodland that you can view here. He helped draft a proclamation on the historical value of the alley which is also included on his post. They have listed numerous interesting facts about the alley that I was unaware of. It is actually nice to have this written documentation.
That makes sense to me. A full story in the Sacramento Bee also covered the proclamation and discussed the full details of the City Council's decision.
"The proclamation would send a clear signal to developers, planners and property owners that Dead Cat Alley is a known asset worthy of investment," Gay told the council Tuesday.
In a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the council decided to hold off on the proclamation and support a $20,000 historic resources survey of the alley instead. Flory, Davies and Marble voted in favor of the survey.
Jeff Monroe and Art Pimentel voted against the survey as they wanted to push the proclamation through. They said the proclamation is "nonbinding" and that the $20,000 from city redevelopment funds would be better spent on alley improvements, such as repaving. "There has to come a time when we cannot compromise Woodland's history for development," Pimentel said.
What does not make sense to me, is taking a harmless proclamation which is designed to help and encourage development and turn it into a $20,000 bill for the residents of Woodland. I completely agree that instead of another study we should use the money for something better. I read the proclamation and nowhere did it sound to me like it would harm anything. It actually sounded more like a ceremonial paper than anything else.
Even Dino Gay is against the City spending money on a study. It is not what he intended. We need some kind of attraction downtown. What we do not need is another consultant making money from our tax dollars.
Posted by The Realist at 10:34 PM
I am going to start an email newsletter which will include articles that will not be on the blog. I will also have some games and some prizes to hand out as well. The sign up button is on the right side of the blog. You do not have to give me your name or any other info besides an email. However I will not share your names so feel free to write it down when asked.
The feed blitz subscription on the lower right is a subscription to the blog. Every time I post something it will email you the article.
So make sure you sign up!!
Posted by The Realist at 4:24 PM
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Here is the catch 22.
If they pay sales tax the federal government can then use that against them for violating the federal laws. If they do not pay the taxes then they are committing a state violation. This would bring the local District Attorney's and Law Enforcement back into the situation.
I think this will eventually lead to proposition 215 being overturned in the higher courts.
Posted by The Realist at 4:25 PM
On one of the comments on a previous post, FEZ asked a pretty good question that merits some further research.
Here was his comment:
Can anyone tell me just how many calls are answered per day by each station? I would like to see a breakdown. Then I would like to see how many calls are just medical aid, vehicle accidents. What is the number of calls per station for actual fire related calls? Someone must have that information.
These stats would be interesting. Can they be compared with other cities? I do not know if they even have any available?? But hey, someone is thinking outside of the box and has asked to see some more numbers.
Posted by The Realist at 11:33 AM
Friday, April 06, 2007
According to his email, all I have to do is wire him $5000 to set up a bank account and he will transfer 120 million dollars into it.
Does anyone else get tired of this crap in your email. Well here is a story of one fraudster who got arrested for these Nigerian scams.
We have a do not call list in America to keep the annoying phone solicitors from calling, why can't we have a do not email list?
Posted by The Realist at 2:22 PM
Democrat but I think it is important to stress that we represent every citizen of Woodland when we are acting as council members. I believe the non-partisanship requirement of this job is important.
2. Are you running for city council in the next election?
Probably but I think it is very early to be asking these questions right now. The election is still well over a year away. Ask me again during the holiday season.
3. What was your best accomplishment in your previous term as a city councilman?
Keep in mind; the only way to accomplish anything is to build a consensus amongst the other council members. You need at least three votes to do anything. Having said that it is the little things that are the most important to me. Helping a citizen with a problem or an issue of importance to them. I believe that once you are elected to office you become a servant for the people. I originally got into politics because I thought the city and some elected officials were not listening to the community’s very valid concerns. I have been fighting to make city hall more user friendly ever since.
The best visible accomplishments during my term would be improvements to the downtown such as the monuments at the entrance to downtown, the Weisman Building, new benches and new garbage cans downtown, Costco coming to Woodland, creating more than ten new police officers and firefighter positions, building a modern police station, building the new fire station on Court Street, building Jeff Roddy Park, and of course the new Community Center just to name a few.
4. What was your worst experience as a council member?
It was having to inform someone once that his wife had been killed in a traffic accident. It still breaks my heart to think about it.
5. What sets you apart from Pimentel and Flory?
We are all very different in our approach to government but I think some differences are more obvious then others. I worked in the fields for Half Moon Fruit & Produce in Yolo and before that for my grandfather on our family cattle ranch. I am a military veteran. I spent four years in the service and two of those years were overseas which is why I volunteer my time whenever possible to veterans groups in the community.
I have also been a police officer for more than 21 years. I am a Lieutenant at the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department which gives me an in depth knowledge of public safety issues in our area. Most people do not know that our fire and police departments utilize the city’s entire property tax and sales tax revenues, almost 70% of our budget. Public safety is what cities do and without good public safety there is no quality of life in our community.
I also have management experience and hold a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary’s College. I believe my management experience helps when the city is faced with issues concerning the Americans with Disability Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor and Standards Act, or other personnel issues that invariable come to the council.
6. Do you want to be Mayor?
Being a member of the city council is all that is important to me. I will say that Dave Flory has been the best Mayor I have had the opportunity to serve with. Dave always allows the community to speak and every council member is allowed to participate in the discussion, which I believe are the two most important ingredients to being a good mayor.
Whomever the community selects to be mayor in the next election I hope it is someone that will listen well to the community and work hard to find common ground among our citizens. I dislike when elected officials tear our community apart to promote their own agenda. I believe good politicians should be consensus builders and bottom line servants for the people.
I would like to ask a few questions about your true intentions for running?
a. Will you leave council midterm and run for Sheriff?
No, I think the idea of me running for Sheriff comes mostly from the community.
By the way, I think our current Sheriff does a great job and I will continue to be a strong supporter of his.
b. Are you running just to have Mayor or councilman as a title?
I think that is kind of an odd question. I am running because I believe that I make a difference to a lot of people in this community. Official titles mean very little to me. However, I accept the fact that titles are important to some people people. Maybe I could make a motion to change the title to “Do Gooder at Large”
Honestly, the only titles that really mean anything to me are husband and father. Those are two titles I proudly wear every day of my life. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and beautiful children.
c. Are there any other future political positions that you would consider?
I might consider running for Supervisor some day. However, if I won that seat I would have to resign from the Sheriff’s Department so that is not really an option right now. I really enjoy getting up every morning and going to work for the Sheriff’s Department. I do not know how many people can honestly say they love their job but I really do enjoy going to work every morning.
7. What do you see as the future economic outlook for Woodland?
I believe that Woodland’s economic future is very bright. There are a lot of good things happening right now and even better things on the horizon but as a council I think we need to work harder to develop some of our economic opportunities.
In the downtown we are looking at a new courthouse, a new downtown theatre, the Opera House is going to be renovated, the Lofts Project will bring townhouses to our downtown and several older buildings are being renovated for office space.
We will be bringing a new fire department on line soon, the Community Center will be building out and our new sports park will be adding soccer and softball fields.
The single biggest issue however is solving our flood plain issue. Half of our residents and our entire commercial district lie in the flood plain. If we can solve that problem it would be a renaissance for Woodland.
8. How do you plan to deal with the current budget problems that the city faces?
To tell you the truth, I think talk of budget problems is a little overblown. Every year that I have been on the council we have been painted a picture budget crisis.
The beginning of the budget process has always been made to look bleak but then we pull it out. If we run into a problem we will bridge the gap with our reserve. We have gone to great pains to build up a reserve in this city so that blips in our budget can be smoothed over without hardship to the community.
I do think there is a lot that Woodland can do to bring more revenue into our city. We need to get more aggressive with some very obvious economic opportunities within our sphere of influence.
10 & 11. What can you do to help our schools? (combined a similar question)
I am the only council member with school age children so the school system is very important to me. However, it saddens me to be talking about another possible bond measure for Pioneer High School so soon. As a taxpayer I have tried to get the school and the city to cooperate in the interest of saving taxpayer dollars.
I tried to place the City Sports Park between Woodland Community College and Pioneer High School because I anticipated that Pioneer High School would not have the funding to finish the school in its entirety. The Community College was willing to donate the land for the sports park, the city has more than $30 million in development fees and sales tax revenue to build the park, and all three jurisdictions would have shared in the maintenance and upkeep. It only required that we share the facility. Unfortunately, three of my fellow council members were not willing to place the park there so here we are looking at another bond, which is going to cost the taxpayers.
I would reluctantly support a new bond because we have to take care of our children’s educational needs. They are the future. It is just a little frustrating at times because we as a city could have solved this problem by simply sharing the sports park.
12. Do you know of any big decisions coming up that will impact Woodland?
The biggest decision we are facing right now is the hiring of a new city manager. Any city council is only as good as the staff we surround ourselves with. We have to be able to depend on the information we get from staff and on their special expertise.
We are also starting an update of our Master Plan. The master plan will guide our community for the next ten years. It is vital that we get the community’s participation in updating this document and that the community supports the end product.
13. What are you looking for in a new City Manager?
After listening to the community and my fellow council members that is an easy question to answer… obviously someone who walks on water.
All kidding aside, we have set some lofty goals but I would settle for someone who is willing to listen to our community, get involved, has sound financial skills and has great communication skills.
14. What are your feelings about the fire fighters?
We are still negotiating and so I cannot talk about specifics but I will say
I support them in their efforts for equity. I understand the physical and mental strain associated with public safety positions. It is a job that very few people are capable of doing or willing to do. It is also a job where very few people make it to retirement without becoming disabled on the job. It is a dangerous profession and it takes a toll on your health.
If I could have one wish granted it would be that people get the chance to walk a day in a firefighters shoes. I do not think people can fully comprehend what it means to be a firefighter or police officers unless you’ve been there. Every experience, every traumatic incident, every accident or death is something you carry inside you for the rest of your life. A lot of public safety people kiss their family members goodbye in the morning knowing they might not ever see them again. I know of no other profession except the military where that is just considered part of the job.
I have seen our firefighters in action in many situations but one incident really touched my family in a personal way. February 14, 2001, my wife and I went to dinner for Valentines Day and left our children with one of their grandmothers. My one-year-old daughter Jenevieve had a childhood seizure and stopped breathing. Our fire department was on scene within three minutes. My daughter is alive today because of their experience, professionalism and attention to duty. How do you put on a price on such service?
These are very important people when you need them. In Woodland, we are blessed to have the best men and women serving our community. Unfortunately, what that means is that other communities are looking to Woodland to fill their employment vacancies. If we do not find a way to better value these employees we will start losing that quality to other communities. They have stayed here thus far out of loyalty but loyalty is a two-way street.
I believe our community wants and deserves the best service possible from our firefighters. The true quality of a city is set by the tenor of its public safety people. There is no quality of life unless we feel safe and protected in our homes and in public places.
Our fire fighters are simply asking for parity with other fire departments in Yolo County. I see it as a genuine effort on their part to maintain quality within their ranks. I for one think their profession deserves at least that much respect and I will continue to be a strong supporter of their efforts.
15. How much money do you anticipate raising for the upcoming election?
It depends on who runs for office. I do not like asking people for money but asking for money is the reality of political office.
If Dave, Art and I run unopposed for office, which is not unheard of, then I would probably raise very little, maybe a couple of thousand dollars for some brochures to hand out. It just would not be necessary to raise any significant amounts.
However, in my last two elections the candidate field was crowded and I anticipate it will probably be crowded again so I will probably have to raise between $15,000 - $20,000 to be competitive.
Keep in mind though; it is still very early to even be considering such issues.
I think we have a good council where every viewpoint and idea is allowed to be expressed openly. People have been telling me lately they notice how much friendlier the council is to the community and just as important to each other. I really like the idea of being called the “friendly council.” I think our two newest members Bill and Skip are partly responsible for that change.
I personally hope everyone feels they can approach us anytime either individually or at city hall and express themselves. Government can be frustrating and slow but when the community gets involved it works. I think we have that mindset now and we are showing a willingness to listen and change when necessary.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak to the community.
Posted by The Realist at 12:23 PM
Thursday, April 05, 2007
I heard that the Health Department is going to make all of the inspections available online in June. That will be great!
As far as Long John Silver goes, this report is worse than the last if that seems possible. Unless you do not mind them storing a rodent trap with the utensils. You know when there is 5 pages to report it could not have gone very well. I think I am going to stick to school cafeterias.
I do have one question. The first report I listed was from 04 and this one was from 07. Were they ever inspected between now and then? I will email the Health Department and try to find out.
Posted by The Realist at 4:49 PM
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Apparently the Firefighters have unanimously rejected the offer that was on the table from the City. The offer was around 17.5% raise over the next 3 years. The big issue is lifetime benefits for every new firefighter that comes on board.
Man, I am not sure if that will help. The city just does not have any money left. Anything more will require deep cuts in other programs. So here is where it all lands. Would the city vote on a fire assessment district in Woodland? The last time they put it on the ballot it got shot down soundly. I am not sure if they put on much of a campaign last time, so would that make a difference? I do not know...
So here is my question: Would you support a Fire Assessment District to raise taxes so we can give the firefighters 32% more pay, lifetime benefits, new fire station in Springlake and some new equipment?
Would it make a difference if the entire City Council supported it?
Thank goodness the Fire Department can not strike, but the regular city services employees can and might. That could get ugly.
Give me your thoughts.
Update: The City should have a press release ready later today or in the morning with the exact information on the proposal and where it all goes from here. I would love to see a forum with the Firefighters and the City: It would be great for the public. Everything has two sides, we should hear them both before we make up our minds. I would also like to get a press release from the firefighters, or a link to one on their web page.
Posted by The Realist at 11:19 PM
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Right now, one of the biggest complaints by parents is how unhealthy the school lunches are. This is not a small number of "complainers", but a large number of parents and PTA's. One parent heard their child trades her healthy brown bag lunch for cafeteria food. I have 2 children in elementary school and they eat this food every day, so this did get me thinking...
At a key communicators meeting last year, Zan Wimberly, Director of Food Services for WJUSD, said if they make the food to healthy and not somewhat tasty, the kids will not eat it. It was also a point that they were within the federal guidelines. That is not an exact quote, but was the point of her discussion. Numerous attendees were angry about that.
I decided to look at the menu to see what the fuss was all about.
Here is the lunch menu.
Besides the 27th and the 19th, it really does not look too bad. Tuna on a bun and pretzel rods just do not excite me for some reason. But overall it actually looks better than the lunch I eat every day. For those of you who do not know me, my lunch usually includes Ranch Kitchen or Pacos.
So I do not know, I really just do not see much of a health issue here. But, I am probably the wrong guy to ask about health issues.
What do you guys think?
Update: Josh from the Daily Democrat has agreed to try my experiment. I am going to try it as well and I think we need one more person just to give a fair comparison. I have a feeling I will lose weight unless I have several servings. I will have to coordinate it with the food services department for the details. Anyways, if you would like to join in this experiment email me at Jeff@woodlandjournal.com. If anyone has a good scale please also email me so we can have an official weigh in.
This should be great!
Posted by The Realist at 11:28 PM
Yahoo finance has a great article today about five common ways people actually waste money but think they are saving it.
Here are the 5 items they cover in the article. The first one is for my Dad.
1. Buying gas at the least expensive gas station.
2. Going to different stores to get sale items.
3. Buying the cheapest instead of the best value.
4. Purchasing items on sale.
5. Buying in bulk.
Read the article here!
Posted by The Realist at 9:10 AM
Monday, April 02, 2007
Karl at insidewoodland.com had a good post a while back about how to fix Main Street. I had also posted a similar story on soapbox but it appears the site is down and I can not link to it.
Anyways, I really like Karl's idea but have a few suggestions for it. Here is his story.
Read his post first before you continue so you can follow along.
My idea to tweak it a little, is to make Court St. and Lincoln St one way traffic from 5th to Walnut. This would also soften the problem of major congestion at Court and Main Street during the day. Make Court Street one way to the West and Lincoln one way to the East. I would suggest making all of the cross streets go through, which include College, 1st, 3rd and 4th. That way you would easily be able to turn around if you missed your target.
With the large courthouse parking structure that is being planned and several downtown multi level commercial/residential buildings, it would attract a high volume of foot traffic. It would actually be a destination rather than a place to avoid.
Outside entertainment and vendors and maybe even a farmers market on the weekends would be a great venue. Businesses would want to be located downtown and they would start showing up along with customers ready to spend some money.
There are several issues with this I know. Do not fall off of your chair, this is just a discussion, but sometimes making a change is worth it.
One issue is that Main Street is a Highway and would have to be rerouted. Setting up one way traffic logistics would have to be worked on. One way traffic allows for more flow, that's why all of the large cities have have streets that way.
This idea at least deserves a good look. What other ideas or concerns do you have with this idea? Karl, pipe in and let me know what you think of my ideas....
Posted by The Realist at 2:09 PM
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Over at http://www.insidewoodland.com/, Karl has everyone blogging for tacos. For every post that someone makes in the month of April they can earn taco bucks. Whoever has the most points at the end of the month wins $50 at El Patio, thanks to a donation from Matt Rexroad. You can check out the taco post here.
So go log in and make a good post about anything that you want that has to do with Woodland. I was just on his web page and saw some fun new posts including one on the River Train.
Posted by The Realist at 5:22 PM