Friday, August 31, 2007

Everyone's an expert on education

Over the past few days the Daily Democrat has published editorials and Letters to the Editor about our schools. I'd like to address them all at some point, but let's first look at the two letters about Woodland High School's policies. Rachel Nakatani criticizes the limitations of student planners, the five-minute passing period and the crowded lunchtime. Her letter can be accessed by clicking the title of this story. Ada Woodard of Woodland agreed with Ms. Nakatani's assessment in another letter to the Editor. Doesn't it seem like everyone's an expert on education? Let's see what's wrong with the picture that Ms. Nakatani paints...

1) Ms. Nakatani doesn't like student planners because her child can't leave class more than 58 times during the year to go to the bathroom, visit the nurse, visit the counselor, visit the library or get a drink. I can tell you as an educator that teachers provide passes to see the nurse, for going to the library or to see the counselor (or counselors send for students with their own passes). This leaves the planner to accommodate 58 trips to the bathroom or for a drink of water. That's more than enough "hall passes" for bathroom and water needs.

2) She claims the five minute passing period is not enough time to go to the locker, use the restroom, get a drink of water, and walk to class. She further claims the bathrooms are "flooded with people trying to save a spot on their limited-space hall pass." This is called learning time management. High school students should be able to save trips to the locker by taking the appropriate amount of books. Many high schools nowadays don't even use, or don't even have lockers. I realize that young ladies need to use the restrooms more than male students, but I question the validity that the WHS bathrooms are "flooded with people." Here's some insight: The passing period is not a social period. Students need to do their business and pick up the pace to get to class. To be fair, at some point Number Two will reach critical mass (or another downstairs occurrence will beckon attention) during passing time, but teachers are fully aware of the need to accommodate such emergencies.

3) Ms. Nakatani doesn't like the internal boundaries of the school at lunchtime, especially the inaccessibility of certain classrooms to get help or for AP lab use. Hmmm... who is supposed to supervise the students in classrooms or labs at lunch? She is suggesting (and assuming) that teachers give up their contracted lunch time and space because her AP child is too inconvenienced. Of course, the two-week waiting period for an off-campus permit is also too long for her child. Suggestion: Teach your child consideration and patience.

4) She also claims that the limited lunch boundaries and long lines prohibit students from purchasing food and drink at vending machines and the food court. Suggestion: Pack your kid a lunch... or better yet, your child can make his/her own lunch to learn nutrition and economy. (Lunch from vending machines? Wow.)

5) Ms. Nakatani contends that the new lunch boundaries were made because gangs once claimed that territory. Now she suggests the gangs moved to another location but their old locations are still sealed off. Although I don't doubt that gang-wannabes gathered in another spot, I do doubt the direct correlation she makes. She is basically insinuating that administrators are not aware of student congregations and are allowing an unsafe environment. When I went to WHS, the athletes had their area, the brainiacs had theirs, the FFAers had theirs, the Latinos had theirs, the thespians had theirs, etc., etc. Welcome to California public schools... kids congregate with their own kind in certain areas. This hasn't changed in 30 years.

In a nutshell - I agree that there are probably logistical challenges at WHS, but the conditions that Ms. Nakatani describe are nothing more than exaggerations to disguise her coddling. Your kid is in high school now - it's time to learn grown-up things.

Storm drain rates approved...

...or not?

While checking my emails a bit ago, I noticed that Ana G. from the city had faithfully forwarded council's agenda for next week. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon the following item already in place:

18. Adopt Resolution on Storm Drainage Fee Ballot to Certify Results and Approve Rate Structure; Introduce and Read by Title Ordinance to Amend the Structure (20 minutes)

I have emailed a councilman to see what that agenda item really means (is it just a placeholder or did the proposal actually pass?), but before I heard back I couldn't resist the opportunity to share my discovery.

Anyone out there have the scoop?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ferns Park Design Day Sept. 5

A Design Day celebration is one of the first steps the community will take to rebuild playground structures destroyed by arson at John Ferns Park (Southwood and Ashley). The whimsical, wooden playground was originally constructed by volunteers in five days in 1998 based on the designs of Woodland's elementary school children.

Children again have had the opportunity to present their dreams to professional playground designers Leathers & Associates. These ideas will be unveiled at the Design Day meeting at the Woodland Community and Senior Center on Sept. 5 at 7 pm. The draft design will be available for public viewing and comment. Participants may also sign-up for various volunteer assignments. Project Play Re-Build Tee shirts will be available for sale to help with the fundraising.

According to a Daily Democrat editorial, Project Play volunteer Victoria Lambert acknowledged the Woodland Professional Firefighters Assn. for coming to our rescue, yet again." The association has helped recruit volunteers for the build. The construction dates are set for Nov. 1 through 4.

Project Play Re-Build Design Day
September 5 at 7 pm
Woodland Community and Senior Center (not at Ferns Park)

If have an idea for the new design and can't attend the Design Day, you can email Lori Grose at

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tales of obtaining public records

CPRA Advocate is a blogger who posts to "Tales of obtaining public records, a chronicle of getting the government to allow open access" ( He/she recently wrote about the Yolo County District Attorney, stating, "Well I think I found a government office that understands Public Records. Jeff W. Reisig is Yolo County's District Attorney. His office has a page providing Guidelines for Access to Public Records." Click the title of this story to link to the blog. The blog has been added to "Links of Local Interest" at right.

Perhaps we can start journaling our own Yolo County tales - anybody out there willing to share good or bad experiences in obtaining public records?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Storm drain floodgates wide open on your dime

First, the city (financed by you) spent considerable time concocting a Storm Drain Enterprise Fund rate structure based on false economy.

Second, the city is spending your money to campaign for the Storm Drain Enterprise Fund election. Just this morning I received an automated call from the mayor urging me to vote for the rate increase.

Now, your Woodland Joint Unified School District "trustees" are endorsing the rate increase, giving their approval to an immediate increase in annual fees from $3,800 to $35,300, then to $74,300 by 2013. You can access the Daily Democrat article by clicking on the title of this story.

It's obvious the school district administration and trustees do not understand the proposal since they are using figures that are not part of the critical $2.5M payback - specifically the amount of $9.2M in system maintenance backlog. This could be due to the confusing propaganda that's been publicized from the onset, and the most recent city campaign letter authored by Bill Marble who also uses the $20M figure of total capital improvement backlogs.

The proposal is confusing. This should be a warning to all property owners. Why would property owners vote to tax themselves when the rates don't make sense? Pay attention to the smoke-screen tactics used in the city campaign and the Friends of the Drain. I received the second mailer this week that again does not mention the $2.5M payback. All parties endorsing the rate increase are now using the $9.2M and $20M figures as justification to increase the storm system rates. Bill Marble is essentially asking property owners to subsidize all city capital improvements through the Storm Drain Enterprise Fund. Sure a separate storm drain account would lessen the burden of other general fund expenses, but he's using an apples and oranges argument.

Why don't the rates make sense? Just ask the city. You will not get an answer on what constitutes the $2.5M payback. I asked specifically for the exact "loan" amounts made for storm drain repairs and the exact source of those loans. The city could not provide the information, except that the funds were either from the general fund or "other funds." In either case, the city said that the funds have no specific, formal "due to/due froms." In a nutshell, the city cannot quantify or justify the $2.5M and have admitted there are no legal agreements for any loan payback.

Also, in all the propaganda you will not find exactly how state regulations will affect the storm drain budget. The city claims they need more money to meet regulations, but they never say how much. (They will try to scare you with the $20K per day figure for penalties, but the city was permitted in 2005.) How can the city set rates if they can't account for expenses?

If you are a property owner and havn't voted on this issue, I encourage you to do your own research on the proposed rate increase. Ask yourself - what, exactly, are the new rates covering?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yolo County 101, a nine-week course

Yolo County 101 is a nine-week seminar course for individuals interested in gaining a better understanding of our county government – its services and processes. Discussion topics include:

• Yolo County government history and structure
• Budget and fiscal issues
• Public safety
• Agriculture history, land mitigation and use
• County general plan
• Court system
• Social services
• Public health services
• Tribal relations; and
• Water and flood management.

Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad created the seminar series. "Even though I have been in office for more than seven months, I learn stuff about the county every week. Part of the challenge we have in county government is communicating what we do and how we do it. Yolo County 101 is my attempt to have people learn more about county government," said Rexroad at His Web site is listed under "Links of Local Interest" at right.

Rexroad has asked department managers and other leaders to talk about the various facets of Yolo County government. Supervisor Mike McGowan of West Sacramento; Don Meyer, head of probation; and Dr. Bette Hinton, public health officer, have volunteered to teach sections.

All classes are free and open to individuals 15 years and older. Registration continues to September 10, 2007. Class size limited to 30 registrants. Registration forms are also available by contacting the Third District Office via email:; Phone: (530) 666-8230; or in person at 625 Court Street, Room 204, Woodland. Registration may be submitted by mail or email or click on the title of this story to visit the online registration page.

Course Location: Woodland Community College – Room 101
Days: Wednesdays
Dates: September 12th through November 14th
Time: 5:30 pm to 6:45 pm

Course is not available for credit, however, completion certificates will be awarded to those who attend all nine classes. $1 daily parking permit can be acquired at the Woodland Community College Administration office. Any person attending all nine classes of the course will be refunded parking permit fees. Submittal of nine permits necessary for refund.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Samantha Ashburn benefit dinner

A benefit dinner for Sami will be held this Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Woodland Elks Lodge (500 Bush St.).

No host cocktails served 5 to 7
Dinner and entertainment to follow
Tickets are $25 per person
To purchase tickest call Shari Pike at 668-4766 or 681-5628
If there are tickets left, they will be sold at door

12 year-old Samantha Ashburn has Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. She will be undergoing approximately 40 weeks of intensive cancer treatment and knee replacement surgery instead of starting Lee Middle School this year.

Sami is a silly, beautiful, energetic girl with a good sense of humor. She has two older brothers and a baby sister. Sami enjoys fast-pitch softball, volleyball and boxing. She loves pink, pigs, her dog Chico and coloring. Her favorite song is "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergi and she would most like to meet Pete from "Fall Out Boy."

Sami and her family need your help and support. She will be in and out of the hospital for several day stays at a time. Some of the activities that are being planned to help her and her family include blood drives, a quilt raffle, a car wash at Walmart (they will match funds), donations for "locks of love," donation jars to distribute at local businesses, selling drinks at the Stroll Through History and providing meals for the family. If you would like to help with any of these events or have other ideas, please contact Nina Pugh at (530) 867-4652.

If you would like to mail a donation, a benevolent account administered by Sami's mom, Tina has been set up at River City Bank, 199 Main Street, Woodland, CA 95695. Checks should be marked to the attention of Samantha Ashburn.

You may also visit Sami's Web pages at by clicking the title of this story.

Monday, August 20, 2007

YCCWGA to host Fall Tour in Esparto

If you didn't get enough county at the County Fair, then you might want to attend the Yolo County Cattlemen and Wool Growers Association Fall Tour on Thursday, August 23 at the Esparto Fire Hall in Esparto.

The Fall Tour is an evening of informational presentations and BBQ steak dinner. A representative from the California Cattlemen's Association will talk about current legislation affecting the cattle industry and a County Agricultural Department representative will be there to answer questions.

Program starts at 5:00
Bar opens at 6:30
BBQ Steak Dinner with all the trimmings served at 7:00
Price is $20

If you are interested, email so they can get a headcount.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Local baseball history at Fair

Larry Martinez of Woodland is once again sharing his incredible Yolo County baseball collection at the Fair this year. Included in the display is an 1871 map showing the location of Woodland's first documented organized baseball game (Bynum's Field) and other locations where games were played in the past. The display involved many hours of researching newspaper articles and property records. There are also old Babe Ruth league distance markers from Clark Field, lots of photos (including Dustin Pedroia and Tony Torcato), articles, memorabilia, and trophies (including the 13 year-old Babe Ruth and Roy Hobbs Word Series awards).

I encourage everyone to go to the Old Appliance building at the Yolo County Fair (southeast corner, same location as last year) to see this great booth. Larry has spent an extraodinary amount of time building his collection - there's enough history to write a book! He has some volunteer support, too, including Jack Slaven, Gil Garcia, Bob Buchignani, Joe Felix, Pee Wee Medina, Jerry Dyer, Ray Gutierrez, Vince Olvera, Doug Souza and Oscar Pacheco (many years of baseball experience!). If you have any old baseball photos, articles or other stuff, let Larry know so he can possibly include copies in his exhibit next year.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Storm Drain waters are muddy


As a bonafide property owner in the City of Drains, having been assigned my official parcel number, I received my OFFICIAL CITY OF WOODLAND MAIL-IN BALLOT yesterday via the United States Postal Service, a federal agency. The ballot came with a campaign flyer urging me to VOTE YES on the proposed fee increases. My Storm Drain Fee Ballot is due in the City Clerk's Office by 5:00 pm on August 28, 2007, although I believe city council is still in recess at that time.

The city mailing came a few days after I received a another campaign flyer at the doorstep of my official parcel. The first flyer was more mysterious than the city flyer as nobody claimed its delivery. The message was to VOTE NO on the Storm Drain Fee Increases. I'll bring up some of the points made by the mystery group later.

On June 18 The Realist first posted a story about the proposed rate increase (click the Label below). He stated that he was waiting to take a tour of the entire system before forming an opinion. Because I'm stepping in for a year at The Woodland Journal, the public relations firm hired by the city contacted me to take a tour. After choosing a time from a few options, my selected tour was cancelled by the city. Oh well (no pun intended), I just decided to take the virtual tour on the city's Web site. Afterall, if done properly, the Web site should provide me with all the information I need to VOTE YES on their campaign to raise rates - AKA taxes.

There are photos and many documents to review on the city Web site:
• Storm Drain Advisory Committee Report from April 24, 2007
• Council Communication from May 1, 2007
• Press Release Dated May 2, 2007
• Daily Democrat Article of Council Meeting
• TESTIMONY OF THE CITIZEN'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE (from Michael Berta and Dudley Holman)
• RATE INCREASE NOTIFICATION MATERIALS (Cover Letter, Description of Proposed Drainage Rate Increase)

I looked at the photos. I read the information. My vote... will depend on how effective my lobbying is with the joint owner of my parcel (AKA my wife). As much as I acknowledge that the 48¢ per month rate established in 1994 is now inadequate, and as much as I appreciate the Public Works Dept., and as much as I think the Citizen's Advisory Committee was important, I will try to convince my wife to VOTE NO.

My decision comes down to two major points and many less significant, but swaying, concerns. The two main issues I have are: 1) The increased rates will help "repay" $2.5 million in "loans" from other budget areas, and 2) The increased rates will help pay for State Storm Water Permit regulations that were not fully explained, nor quantified.

"Borrowing" from other city departments is a misconception. City budgets are adjusted as needed. When the needs of one General Fund area outweigh the needs of another, you reallocate the money... you don't "borrow" from yourself. If money was taken from one budget to pay for storm drain needs, than that is a sacrifice - not a "loan." I cannot vote for a $2.5M "loan payment" in the guise of future storm drain needs.

As far as the future goes – how storm drain operations will change because of regulations – I'd really like to know how it will work. Unfortunately, the city has failed to illustrate how these regulations will increase the costs of the system. The propoganda states that "in 2005 the City received its first State Storm Water Permit with over 45 specific regulatory requirements." Okay, so the list looks very much like regular maintanence items and the city, evidently, was issued the permit. It seems to me that the state is merely requiring cities to document things they are already doing. If this is not the case, than the city did not effectively communicate the real impact of state regulations. Along these lines, the city is also trying a scare tactic to justify the budget increase... if the Storm Water Enterprise fund is not passed, "the City can be fined $27,500 or more per day by the State for not abiding by the federal Storm Water Permit requirements." Wait a second... didn't the city receive a permit in 2005?

The other minor issues I have that have swayed my conclusion are:
• Prop 218 is used as the scapegoat for the inadequate storm drain budget (Didn't the PBID proponents also use Prop 218 to justify the weighted property owner ballot?)
• The mystery VOTE NO flyer claims the city's math is wrong (Because of the "loan" figure, the unquantified costs of regulations and the numbers provided by the mystery flyer, I would have to agree)
• The mystery VOTE NO flyer also claims the school district and churches will be unfairly assessed (I can see the logic of this point)
• City Council contradicted the Citizen's Advisory Committee's recommendation of starting a rate increase at $3.50/month (politically, why would you do that?)
• A committee member mixed "Sewer" needs with "Storm Drain" needs in his public message (these operations are legally separate which is why there is a Storm Drain Enterprise)
• The proganda sent with the ballot shows a photo of "Roadway crumbled into a sinkhole trapping this street sweeper at Cleveland and Bartlett" (Considering recent bridge collapses, the street sweeper with one wheel in a 6" hole is pretty lame)
• There is a fine line between "public information" and "campaigning" - which the city cannot do (Considering the city hired a public affairs consulant and there is a lack of information from individuals or groups against the proposal, I think the city is treading dangerous water)
• New developments should cover the cost of installation and maintenance of new storm drains
• Overall, the information provided by the city is inadequate and lacks the information I need to vote for an additional tax (Plus, the city uses confusing acronyms like ENR CCI instead of using laymen's terms to explain the need for higher rates)

Had the city not included the $2.5M pay back, or if they could explain exactly how state regulations will create higher costs, or if city council listened to the advisory committee's recommendation, or if the information provided by the city was less propaganda-like and more balanced (like state ballots that include "For" and "Against" arguments), I would probably by inclined to VOTE YES.

In summary, I did way too much research to give the nod to such a proposal. Good luck to all of you who have yet to dive into the muddy waters of the Storm Drain issue. If you discover something to change my mind, please enlighten me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Magna Entertainment, come on Downs! (The price could be right)

According to yesterday's press release by Magna Entertainment Corp., the company "will cease racing operations at our Austrian racetrack Magna Racino at the end of its 2007 meet, have relinquished our racing license for Michigan Downs and have terminated our racetrack development project in Dixon, California." There was some speculation that Magna would continue to pursue the project even after Dixon voters rejected it.

In May, The Woodland Journal published a blog on City Identifiers (just after the Dixon vote) and the idea of locating a racetrack near Woodland came up. Woodland has a history of horse racing, in fact the former Race Track Road is called Kentucky Avenue (which is just south of Churchill Downs Avenue and Santa Anita Road). A racetrack could help finance, and be an integral part of, a new fairgrounds. It would bring a lot of tourism dollars to town (meaning sales tax revenue without more residents). We already have many horse facilities surrounding Woodland. The UC Davis Veterinary School and Hospital is nearby.

Let's get on the fast track and do some serious recruiting.

I emailed Blake Tohana of Magna Entertainment about the possibility of moving the Dixon Downs project here. He did not reply. But what I did find out from poking around town was that some city leaders had several discussions with Magna even before the Dixon vote. Magna had actually come out and toured Woodland - specifically these sites: Rd. 25a at SR 113, I-5 at West St. and the city-owned 900 acres behind Costco. For the acreage near Costco, Magna would have to fix up the Rd. 103 overpass. There would be an insignificant impact on city traffic at that site.

Considering our location (I-5, 113, Sac Airport, UC Davis, etc.), I think it would be a win-win project if Magna Entertainment were to locate a racetrack near Woodland. The City of Davis opposed the Dixon Downs project. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pedroia heats up in game of numbers

This has been a good couple of weeks in baseball. Barry Bonds just hit his 756th home run to become the all-time leader in the Major Leagues. It took him 22 seasons to overtake Hank Aaron's career mark of 755 (who finished after 23 seasons). Aaron achieved his record in 12,364 at-bats, breaking Babe Ruth's record of 714 done in 8,399 times at the plate. (Ruth also pitched in 163 games and had a career earned run average of 2.28.)

Tom Glavine, in his 21st season, won his 300th game - the 23rd player to to so. And Alex Rodriguez, in his 14th season, hit his 500th Home Run – the 22nd player to do so.

Over the last 10 games Woodland native Dustin Pedroia is hitting .359, improving his season average to .322. He is in the top ten of American League hitters (8th as of 8/8/07). He has made only three errors so far this season at second base, with a fielding average of .993. Dustin has played a grand total of 126 games in his short career. In his first full Major League season with the Boston Red Sox, he is one of the leading contenders for Rookie of the Year. It will be interesting to see how the Baseball Writers decide to spin the numbers after the season.

As always, you can click on "Pedroia Watch" under "Links of Local Interest" to keep track of Dustin. You can also click on the title of this post to access the American League batting leaders.

Shawn Adams remembered in Woodland

Shawn sat at a table farthest from my desk. That's not unusual for savvy seniors to distance themselves from oppressive high school authority. Afterall, they have one foot out the door just waiting to make their mark in the world. Some really don't have any plans, they just know they are ready to be independent. Some, like Shawn, know exactly what they want to do – he wanted to join the Army. He was the quiet one of that group of '04 grads in my art class at Vanden High School, so I didn't bug him when he chose to kick back instead of creating colors and designs. Knowing of his career plans, I remember telling him to be careful out there. That's not much advice, I guess that was just my "man-to-man" way of saying that I was worried about him.

Sgt. Shawn G. Adams died July 22 when a roadside bomb was detonated near his vehicle outside Owaset, Iraq. At the time of his death, the 21-year-old U.S. Army Airborne Ranger and squad leader, was assigned to Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, (Airborne) 25th Infantry Division., based in Fort Richardson, Alaska. Shawn was 19 years old when he went to Range School, he was the only 19-year-old in his class and he became a sergeant in only 2 1/2 years. On Saturday, Shawn became the first soldier killed in action to be buried at the Sacramento Valley National Veterans Cemetery in Vacaville.

I learned of Shawn's death yesterday when I was reading the Daily Democrat. I then searched for more stories about Shawn that you can access by clicking the title of this story. I'm not sure how many times Shawn visited Woodland, or if he realized he knew someone here – but certainly, Shawn's commitment and sacrifice to his country are felt here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Woodland Opera House plans expansion

In 2002 the Woodland Opera House Board of Trustees undertook a year-long self-study and developed a five-year plan for growth. The major elements of that plan were the addition of an education and youth theatre component to WOH programming and facilities to support it.

According to Executive Director Jeff Kean, "The rapid growth and success of WOH youth programs, classes, and performances has made the additional facilities essential. Woodland is currently underserved in arts programming and the schools are not in a position to provide beyond the very basics, if at all. The Performing Arts Center for Youth will allow us to add youth performances, additional classes in theatre, dance, and voice, and be available for meeting and reception space. The plan also includes adding additional restrooms and bringing our facility up to current ADA compliance. Events at the Opera House would expand from 30 to 48 weekends per year bringing additional customers downtown and benefiting stores and restaurants."

The WOH Performing Arts Center for Youth Fact Sheet

• Located at the corner of Main and 2nd Streets (at Intermission Garden)
• Main Theatre will be 2496 sq. ft. and house WOH Youth Theatre productions
• Classroom/Meeting spaces will be 1856 sq. ft. for theatre and dance curriculum
• Offices will be 720 sq. ft. for much needed additional space
• A small box office will be located on Main St. for better downtown accessibility
• WOH events will increase from 31 weekends to 48 weekends per year

Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. There will be one Saturday matinee at 2:00pm on September 1.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What the hell is going on at Ferns Park?

Recently a portion of a community-built play structure was burned at John Ferns Park (Southwood and Ashley).

Now... according to a Daily Democrat article: 53-year-old Woodland resident Mohammad Akram was walking through the park pushing a vending cart Tuesday evening when he was struck on the head from behind. He was transported to Woodland Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a contusion to his head and a laceration to his left ear.

"Akram reported falling to the ground and then seeing one black male adult and one white male adult, who took his wallet and $40 in cash," stated Sgt. Jason T. Brooks of the Woodland Police Dept. The paper also reported that a nearby witness to the accident reported seeing three suspects attack the victim.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Backpacks for Kids this Saturday

The "Backpacks for Kids, Family Fun Day" will take place this Saturday, Aug. 4 (10 to 2) at Pioneer Park in Woodland (1925 Brannigan Ave.). There will be music, games, contests, and food for the benefit of the Wayfarer Center and Yolo County Foster Care Children.

Donate a backpack and get a chance to win prizes!

According to, the following local leaders have agreed to be dunk tank targets:

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig
Woodland City Councilman Art Pimentel
Woodland City Councilman Jeff Monroe
Woodland Police Chief Carey Sullivan

And... "The Wolf" country radio station will be there! The event is sponsored by the City of Woodland and Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad.

Mark Deven: City Manager starts overhaul today

Welcome to Woodland, Mark Deven! After last night's council meeting, and the events leading up to it, it is clear the city needs some up-front leadership. If Deven did happen to see the meeting, I hope he didn't call in sick this morning.

What I like about Deven's experience is his seven-year stint in Anaheim, the magic kingdom of tourism. With the new-found spirit of downtown business owners who battled the unfair PBID proposal, I think we have a recipe for a downtown renaissance. This will be in stark contrast to the cocktail of corruption and ineptitude of the previous city government.

After the initial schmoozings and meetings with councilmen and department heads, I think Deven needs to:

1) Clean house
2) Wean the city from developers (Read into this: City gets milked by developers)
3) Establish a positive and streamlined communication process with businesses and nonprofits
4) Revise the Downtown Strategic Plan (it will be five years in 2008 since its adoption)

In salutation, a little SoCal comfort message: "And in the name of the Lollipop Guild... We wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land."