Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Body found at 666 Dead Cat Alley!


It was around 1940. Jack Din was a young boy strolling down "The Alley" behind the old Leithold Drug Store and Diggs Rooming House. He was walking from his family home and business on the corner of First Street and Dead Cat Alley - Tai Lee Laundry. Maybe he was on an errand for the laundry. Maybe he was just out-and-about in the neighborhood. Maybe... he was in for the fright of his young life.

666 Dead Cat Alley. Next door to the Opera House where the ghost of William Porter had already laid claim. (Porter was the volunteer firefighter who died in the 1892 fire when he was struck in the head by falling bricks.) Folks nowadays call the sinister location Ludy's Main Street Barbecue's back patio, site of juicy pork ribs, icy cold beer and yes... a mischievous ghost.

So on that fateful day, little Jack was simply minding his own business when he saw it. The body. There, laying beneath the upstairs windows of the boarding house (falsely rumored to be a bordello) was a lifeless man. Blood, seeping from the neck that was severed by broken glass, left an imprint of death in the memory of the innocent lad.

Jack Din is now the favorite speaker during the Dead Cat Alley tour in the annual Stroll Through History. He was born in 1929 at the Tai Lee Laundry ­ one of four siblings born at that site. There was a total of eight children born to Chinese immigrants Hew Din and Lock Shee. From 1925 to 1947, the Din family operated Tai Lee Laundry. About the alley, Jack Din said, "We just called it The Alley. We didn't know it was called Dead Cat Alley."

The spirit of the suicide victim, who apparently jumped from his upstairs room, makes his own presence known these days. The staff at Ludy's report moved utensils, clanging pots and bumps in the night. Owner Paul Ludovina is reluctant to talk about his haunted restaurant, unsure of the tale's appeal to customers. One thing IS certain - however - between the food and the entertainment, the ghost and his next-door buddy are living the high life at 666 Dead Cat Alley.

By the way, on February 8, 1873, a Yolo Democrat report mentioned Dead Cat Alley by name, evidence that the alley was so-called prior to that date. Happy Halloween!

JOIN THE DOWNTOWN TRICK-OR-TREATERS TODAY FROM 3 TO 5. Click the title of this story to get info on this Downtown Woodland event.

Turkeys needed for Wayfarer Thanksgiving

Woodlanders have been called to action by Supervisor Matt Rexroad to meet the challenge of getting turkeys for the Yolo Wayfarer Center. The goal is to provide 350 Thanksgiving birds for Yolo County families by November 19. Matt has already enlisted the help of Doug Paul Davis (aka David Greenwald, The People's Vanguard of Davis), Dotty Huber, Al Eby of Blue Wing Gallery, Matt Hillis of Woodland Montessori, and USA Tires.

Matt and his crew have already raised $1,400 and are looking for more donations to arrive in a number of ways. For example, the Woodland Food4Less has offered 100 turkeys at the discounted price of .98 per pound. You can help by either dropping off a turkey to the Yolo Wayfarer Center in Woodland or sending a check made out to the Yolo Wayfarer Center. Mail it or deliver it to 711 College Street, Woodland CA 95695.

The Yolo Wayfarer Center's mission is to feed, clothe and shelter those in need by providing programs that meet the emergency, transitional and spiritual needs of people in crisis. Their goal is to empower individuals and families to make the necessary lifestyle changes that enable them to exchange homelessness for a full and productive life. To learn more about the center, click the title of this story.

You may also visit rexroad.com to keep tabs on his Turkey Alert.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Council retreat postponed, city hosts meet-the-manager


According to a previous comment posted by Councilman Jeff Monroe, "The November 3 retreat is being rescheduled. There are some significant changes to our budget that need to be ironed out before the retreat. I will let you know when the new date is going to be."

Before the council gathers in the retreat format, there is a need to develop more complete expenditure and revenue estimates for the city budget. Also, there is a conflict with the Ferns Park community build. Staff will discuss possible dates for the retreat with council in the near future.

Items to be discussed at the retreat include the General Plan, the Downtown Strategic Plan, storm drain funding and staff reorganization. Woodland Journal bloggers want council to look at economic development, promoting bike use and safety and graffiti abatement.

On another note, community members are invited to a Meet and Greet for Woodland’s new city manager, Mark Deven, on Thursday, November 8, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Woodland Community and Senior Center (2001 East Street). Deven comes to Woodland from Concord where he served as the Parks and Recreation Director before becoming Assistant City Manager. Deven will share his plans for Woodland’s future and hold a Q&A session. The reception and forum is open and free.

The Meet and Greet is sponsored by the Woodland City Council, Chamber of Commerce, Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad, and Woodlanders for Responsible Government. For more information, please call Dotty at (530) 666-8230.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

DUSTIN AND RED SOX WIN WORLD SERIES!

Woodlander Dustin Pedroia's dream season concluded tonight as a member of the 2007 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies in four games with a 4 to 3 victory at Coors Field. Dustin had an outstanding rookie season and was a valuable contributor in the batter's box and on the field throughout the post-season. He is one of the leading contenders for the American League Rookie of the Year. Dustin has already been awarded the MLB Players Choice Award for Outstanding Rookie.

Woodland City Council has already agreed to draft a proclamation for Dustin in recognition of all his achievements this year. The date to present it, as well as other celebrations, have yet to be determined.

If all the awards weren't enough... with the World Series win, Dustin may pocket an extra $300,000 (or so) above his regular paycheck. Exact amounts for players' shares will soon be announced, but last year a full share for the Champion St. Louis Cardinals was a record $362,173, surpassing the previous high of $324,532 per full share for the 2005 Champion Chicago White Sox. The pool of money, from which shares are derived, come from a percentage of gate receipts from the post-season divided among 12 post-season clubs.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

DUSTIN DOES IT AGAIN! ROOKIES ROCK WITH ONE-TWO PUNCH!

Woodlander Dustin Pedroia once again captured the national spotlight going 3 for 5 with a double, a run and two RBI in World Series play tonight. In a shift of the Red Sox line-up, fellow rookie Jacoby Ellsbury batted first and did a bit better, going 4 for 5 with three doubles, two runs and two RBI. Dustin was moved to the number two spot since regular Kevin Youkilis was held back because of the absence of the DH at the NL ballpark. Both rookies combined for a 7 for 10, four double performance. They lifted the Bostonians to a 10 to 5 victory over the Colorado Rockies at the mile-high Coors Field.

Ellsbury lead off the Red Sox' third-inning with his first double, then hit his second later in the inning. By doing so, he matched a World Series record and was the first rookie to accomplish the feat. Dustin's double was similar to his own heroics in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians as he knocked in two runs in the eighth inning to provide a much-needed cushion against the dangerous bats of the Rockies.

The Red Sox lead the series three games to none. Boston will try to finish off the Rockies tomorrow. No team has ever come back from such a deficit to win the World Series. Of the 22 teams that have led 3 to 0, all have gone on to win. 19 teams have done it with a sweep. Click the title of this blog to link to a redsox.com story about the two rookie sensations.

Why bloggers remain anonymous

When I first started making comments here at The Woodland Journal, I was amazed at the number of anonymous comments. After letting loose with one of my sarcastic responses to "Anon. Whomever," the blogger indicated that I was rude and assumed they had no expertise in the topic at hand. I suggested that he/she should at least put a "handle" on their comments so the rest of us can differentiate them from the rest of the pack - and we can learn, even though their name might be made-up, that the comments have some personality or substance.

Now that I'm filling in for the Realist, I've learned some more about the unknown bloggers. There are anonymous commenters who prefer to remain that way because they want to protect their families or they want to protect their jobs. I guess being vulnerable to the public is the chance that some us take when we use our real names. As an example... many readers know who myself or JM are - and we can live with that since there's not much either of us have to hide and we stand by our opinions (sometimes changing them as debates continue). We both realize that known and unknown bloggers can be nasty, but we choose to attach at least part of our names to our comments.

Recently, one blogger decided to threaten me with going public with a frivolous "he said-she said" issue. It stemmed from me deleting a comment that I know was erroneous and libelous. The mistake I made was putting in a little extra dig after the deleted comment, which made the blogger upset. In retrospect, I can see how that would seem like "it's my ball and I'm only going to let you play if I win."

But... that's not the point of this story. The point is, I can see why bloggers choose to remain anonymous as true identities are certainly susceptible to threats, rumors or retaliation. In accepting that reality, readers just need to know how to discern opinions and comments made by anonymous bloggers. I do wish, however, that anonymous participants at least take a blogger name to make it easier to identify a trail of comments.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The autumn of Bloom's blooms


Don Bloom of Woodland has been very generous with his extravagant flower garden over the past several years. His southside neighbors have been especially blessed to witness the continual parade of blossoms. Alas, autumn has fallen on Mr. Bloom's blooms as he will return to the more traditional Woodland landscape of a manicured lawn punctuated with smaller flower beds.

According to a close friend of Don's, the time just seemed right to end the displays. The friend has been encouraging him to pick up the paint brush, instead, and resume his artistry in that medium. The perpetual garden of delights, that showcased flower arrangements of the American Flag and names of his neighbors spelled out, rivaled Mark Reiff's gas station house as a tourist stop. Busloads of people were seen taking photos of the unique front yard that wraps around the corner of Marshall and McKinley.

Don is well-known for his long career as a sports writer for the Sacramento Bee. He is well-liked and respected among his many long-time Woodland friends. Photo above by George Streng.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

DUSTIN WINS AWARD! SOX PITCHERS OUTDUEL ROCKIES!

Dustin Pedroia of Woodland has earned the respect of his peers. Today he was named the American League's Outstanding Rookie for 2007 by the Major League Baseball Players Association's "Players Choice Award." Click the title of this story to learn more about that honor.

Hours after that announcement, Dustin took the field with his Boston teammates in the second game of the World Series. The Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies in a good old-fashioned pitcher's duel. Dustin was able to muster up a walk and a single in a game where baserunners were scarce. The Red Sox had only six hits and the Rockies were held to just five behind the strong pitching of Curt Schilling, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon. The Red Sox won 2 to 1.

Okajima was named FoxSports Player of the Game for his 2 1/3 innings with no hits and four strikeouts. The Japanese rookie relieved Schilling with two on and one out in the sixth to get his team out of a jam. He pitched a scoreless seventh and retired the first two batters in the eighth before Papelbon came into the game.

The Red Sox take a two games to none lead into Colorado on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DUSTIN HOMERS AGAIN! MAKES WORLD SERIES HISTORY IN SOX ROMP!

Dustin Pedroia of Woodland hit the second pitch he saw over the Green Monster for his second home run in two consecutive post-season games. The Red Sox rookie second baseman and leadoff hitter knocked a Jeff Francis fastball for the first homer of the 2007 World Series. Before tonight, only one player in 102 previous World Series had led off Game One with a home run - Don Buford of the Baltimore Orioles, who hit a solo shot off the Mets' Tom Seaver in 1969. Dustin also became the first rookie in history to lead off a World Series with a homer and became the 18th player in history to lead off a World Series game with a home run.

In the 13 to 1 victory over the Colorado Rockies, Boston set records of their own - for runs and victory margin in an opener - and finished with 17 hits, becoming the first club to hit eight doubles in a Series game since 1925. Dustin finished with his homer, a walk, two RBI and an outstanding catch of a one-hopper that he turned into a double-play. Click the title of this story to read more.

What will the Daily Democrat look like in 2020?

This blog is based on an unsolicited idea from a Woodland Journal reader. Click the title of this story to access the original essay by Dave Morgan, "What Will The Metro Newspaper Look Like In 2020?" that was posted August 30 on OnlineSpin.

Will folks in Woodland wake up each morning to the sound of printed newspapers hitting their doorstep? According to Morgan, the metro newspaper as we know it will not exist in large markets, and will probably not exist in the same way in many smaller markets as well. He does believe, however, that there will be many other local news, information and advertising media products available to consumers.

Here are more of Morgan's thoughts:

1) All media will be digital. We will have virtually no paper-based media products in 2020. We won’t have paper because it is a very expensive and wasteful way to deliver news and information.

2) Consumer attention will continue to fragment. Our news and information products won’t be large, comprehensive and “averaged” for mass consumption as they are today in a newspaper. Consumers will get best-of-breed information services from many different providers.

3) There will be many, many different digital media devices. Many of these devices will be portable and all will be networked. Most devices will permit users to communicate and create, not just consume.

4) Media brands will matter, but old brands will matter less. Consider how fast Yahoo and Google were able to build well-known, trusted brands.

5) News and information applications and services will be more important than underlying data and news. Discovering, editing, synthesizing, analyzing news and information and advertising is what will attract and retain consumers. Sending someone to a city council meeting for three hours to file a four-paragraph recitation of events will be worthless in 2020. Consumers and competition will demand much, much more, and in fact will be able to virtually attend such a meeting themselves.

6) Competition will be fierce, particularly in large metro markers. In a world where digital distribution is low to start and cheap to expand, the barriers to entry that have benefited newspapers for many decades won’t exist in 2020. The competition in the local news, information and advertising business will be fierce.

7) There will be lots of winners. Consumers will be the big winners. They will get more, better, more diverse and much more accurate news, information and advertising than they receive today. Advertisers will also win. They will pay much less to reach their target consumers, with more relevant messages and offers than they can provide through today’s analog media channels.

8) Newspaper companies are very likely not to be winners. The characteristics of the companies that will win in 2020 are very different than the characteristics of newspaper companies today.

Commentary: I remember in the early 80s when I designed ads for the Pennysaver, the art director reported to us one morning that all printed tabloids and newspapers will be obsolete by the turn of the century. We know that didn't happen, but it's still fun to predict the future. What do you think will happen with our beloved local paper?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sacramento garbage, water on tap tonight


Tonight's council agenda includes:

1) Receive Update on Yolo County Landfill Management and Disposal Fee. This boils down to the county wanting extra garbage coming from outside Yolo - most likely from Sacramento.

2) Receive Report and Provide Input on Water Issues – Davis/Woodland Water Supply Project and Water Meter Implementation Project. This has to do with the City of Woodland, the City of Davis and UCDavis tapping into the Sacramento River for our drinking water. The cost to our community for this project could be as high as $139 million and could potentially raise our water rates about $50 – all without a general vote.

"People should get involved now before it is too late. We need to know what people think before the train leaves the station," said Councilman Jeff Monroe.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Graffiti abatement: Code enforcement in Sacramento





KXTV News10 recently broadcast a story about a collaborative project aimed to catch taggers. The City of Sacramento's Code Enforcement Division is leading the program by developing a video surveillance system to be used in undercover vehicles. The special cameras can track the movements of taggers or those who are dumping illegally.

The cameras can be monitored and run remotely using a laptop computer, and even citizens groups with the Web address and right code could log on to help monitor areas at high risk of tagging or illegal dumping. The systems can even send out email alerts that something may be happening, but taggers won't know when they're being watched.

The project is planned as a collaboration among code enforcers, the Sacramento Police Department and local citizens' groups. The City hopes to have the vehicles on the streets in the next few months. You can click the title of this blog to learn more about the City of Sacramento's Code Enforcement Division.

Commentary: What I like about this anti-graffiti program is the collaboration between the agencies and citizens' groups. As the Downtown Strategic Plan is revised, the City of Woodland can be as inclusive to help solve the problems around Main Street in the most cost-effective and efficient ways.

DUSTIN HOMERS! LEADS SOX TO PENNANT!

Woodlander Dustin Pedroia crushed a seventh inning home run over the Green Monster tonight. The two RBI blast propelled the Boston Red Sox to a 5 to 2 lead over the visiting Cleveland Indians. Dustin later hit an eighth inning bases-loaded double to raise his ALCS batting average to .345. He was named FoxSports Player of the Game for his clutch hitting and his 3 for 5, five RBI performance.

The game was very close until Dustin hit his homer - and his double was the icing on the cake in the 11 to 2 win. With the pennant-clinching game, Boston will now host the National League champion Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

Friday, October 19, 2007

TOTER ETIQUETTE... and other street-side news


People: Curb your toters! Sidewalks are for walking, curbs are for your carts. Please examine the simple diagram pasted on your blue-lidded recycling container. I'm sure Waste Management collectors will appreciate the proper placement of containers as much as pedestrians who are trying to use the sidewalks.

On another note, the new Green Waste services will start January 1, 2008. The council-approved waste collection program includes the use of green waste containers and continues street collection of green waste during designated times throughout the year. The approval of this program follows fives years of program evaluation and an extensive public involvement process including the formation of a Citizen Advisory Committee. The program will be implemented for 18 months and then reevaluated to define future program needs. Highlights of the program include:

Leaf Season Collection Services (October 15 through January 15): Weekly container and street collection services; weekly street sweeping. Grass clippings would go into containers year round (not placed in the street during leaf season).

Non-Leaf Season Collection Services (January 16 through October 14): Weekly container and street sweeping services plus once a month collection of green waste placed in piles in the street during designated collection period.

Click the title of this story to access the city's Web page about the new green waste services. What are your thoughts on this issue? Will the new system undermine the motto of "City of Trees" and encourage people to cut down, or not plant, trees because of the extra burden on prunings removal?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Woodlander from the Land Down Under... have you seen Dinky the Singing Dingo?








I thought of one of our bloggers, "Woodlander in the Land Down Under," as I watched "Australia with Huell Howser" on KVIE last weekend. I was simply relaxing, minding my own business... until the Dinky segment came on. I busted up laughing.

Huell was travelling across the the Northern Territory when he pulled up to a place called Jim's Place. Apparently, he was about 90 kms south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway. From outside, it didn’t look much different from any other outback roadhouse. But as he approached, a strange sound got louder and louder. Amidst the plunking of piano keys was a voice wailing in a melodious answer to the chords. Upon entering the establishment, there appeared - Dinky the Singing Dingo.

Click the title of this story to access a clip I found on YouTube. On Huell's program, Dinky was actually "playing" the piano himself. This video shows a little bit of Dinky's piano skills, but his operatic voice is the main feature.

So... "Woodlander in the Land Down Under," please tell us you've actually seen Dinky live and in concert! Here's some info on Dinky's venue:

Jim's Place, South Stuart Hwy, Alice Springs, NT
Phone: (08) 8956 0808
Email: dinkydog@bigpond.com.au

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Public welcome at Nov. 3 council retreat, general plan and downtown on agenda





At tonight's regular meeting, Woodland City Council will officially set the date for this year's all-day retreat. It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Senior and Community Center. The public is invited to attend the retreat designed to give the new city manager and his staff direction in 2008.

Previous retreats have been sparsely attended, according to Councilman Jeff Monroe. He would like to turn that around so the community can participate in policy-making. This is an opportunity for Woodlanders to remind council and staff to stay on top of issues like graffiti, closing Camp Packer Creek, the new toters and public outreach. "Spread the word," said Monroe.

Among the most important issues facing the city next year will be the General Plan Update. At the retreat, City Manager Mark Deven will present an overview of that process. With the new Urban Limit Line enacted, the General Plan will need to accommodate and govern growth and development in the southeast part of town. You can access the General Plan by clicking on the title of this blog. You have just a couple of weeks to brush up.

Deven also wants to make the Downtown Specific Plan a priority because of the big projects planned for downtown.

Commentary: I would definitely like to see the Downtown Specific Plan revised. I believe the document is filled with justifications built around preconceived ideas. For example, the proposed theater complex "idea" at Third and Main has already snow-balled into one developer's gold mine. Instead, redevelopment should favor a State Theater renovation with an adjacent cineplex. Another high-volume retailer can be located at the Third and Main site in conjunction with the parking structure that will accommodate the new court buildings. I bet the public will be surprised at how far along the multiplex "concept" is.

Closing Fourth Street between Main and Court is also a bad idea - Main Street already suffers from a tunnel effect. The use of cross streets and alleys should be encouraged to make the downtown more pedestrian-friendly. The design guidelines outlined in the Specific Plan are not conducive to creative redevelopment. Historically, there were no color restrictions and it's ridiculous to have a store change their corporate colors to match these "guidelines."

Those are some of my concerns... what issues would you like addressed at the retreat?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Deven: Reorganization of senior positions


This just in from the City's eNewsletter:

"City Manager Mark Deven announced a reorganization of Department Head positions this week. The changes are intended to help offset the recent retirement of Public Works Director Gary Wegener and early 2007 retirement of former Assistant City Manager Phil Marler. The reorganization will also consolidate leadership in the critical development services/economic development areas and reallocate work in order to achieve savings by not filling the Assistant City Manager vacancy with a new executive manager. The reorganization will generate a substantial fiscal savings to the city and is summarized below:

• Reassign the engineering positions that support development services currently under Public Works and are located in the Community Development offices to the Community Development Department.

• Appoint Community Development Director Barry Munowitch as Assistant City Manager (ACM) with responsibility for all development services functions and the challenge to focus additional leadership and support to economic development and development services.

• Appoint City Clerk Sue Vannucci as Director of Administrative Services/City Clerk with responsibility for several projects/programs assigned to former ACM Phil Marler, including risk management, franchise management, budget development for the City Manager’s Office, and oversight of Human Resources and the City Clerk’s Office.

• Approve a new position that will function as a Deputy City Clerk and will be responsible for the preparation of official documents, records management and related duties under the direction of Sue Vannucci.

The consolidation of most development services functions under one department directed by the Assistant City Manager will align key development services under one management structure and improve the working relationship between planning, engineering, building, redevelopment and economic development. The title of “Assistant City Manager” is intended to express the high priority of this program to the City and the community. The new Assistant City Manager will be expected to focus significant effort on economic development and development services.

The creation of the Director of Administrative Services will consolidate many of the responsibilities handled by former ACM Phil Marler. This consolidation will provide significant support within the City Manager’s Office and allow City Manager Mark Deven to attend to the broader organizational and community challenges that require his attention. The anticipated savings of the reorganization is approximately $100,000 per year."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chief to council: I want Big Brother at intersections


During this Tuesday's meeting, city council will receive a report and recommendation from the Chief of Police that they approve more study of automated enforcement devices and authorize staff to issue an RFP to seek vendors to provide such a system. Nowadays, vendors charge a flat rate rather than receive commission on citations.

The white paper submitted to council states: "Department statistics indicate certain intersections that may be suitable for an automated enforcement device. The intersections are Pioneer and E. Main Street, and Pioneer and Gibson. Over two years, we have had 42 and 32 reported collisions at these intersections, respectively. During the same time, we have issued 15 and 18 citations for red light violations at these intersections. These intersections have the highest issue rate of any in the city which would suggest red light violations are a factor in many of these collisions."

The chief claims there would be no fiscal impact to study the feasibility of using automated enforcement devices - I'm assuming he means any cost outside of staff time.

Let's look at some other numbers from the Executive Summary of that report: In the U.S., fines based on photos or videos captured automatically when a vehicle enters an intersection after the signal turns red ranges from $50 to $271. Cameras used in the systems cost up to $60,000, installation adds another $25,000 and monthly operating costs are about $5,000.

Let's say we get two systems, one for each of the two problematic Pioneer intersections. That would be $85,000 plus $60,000 a year in monthly costs for each... or $170,000 and $120,000 to operate the first year... or $290,000. There would need to be almost 1,000 fines of $271 issued (and paid) to cover all costs (except for staff time in court). Again, there was an annual average of 16.5 red light citations issued at the two intersections.

Granted, an important consideration is the annual average of 37 accidents at those intersections - but how many were actually due to running red lights? One intersection is near Pioneer High School which probably means some accidents were due to driver inexperience, others might be from rear-end collisions due to people simply not paying attention (probably talking on cell phones).

The return on investment is too speculative - more than a 6,000% increase in the current citation rate would be needed to pay for the systems. I say spend the money on another officer or storm drain repairs.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Costco to open mid-February at Gateway

Driving by the Gateway Shopping Center site today, at I-5 and Rd. 102, I noticed some vertical movement with the construction. Earlier this week the city's Community Development Department responded quickly to my inquiry about Costco. The grocery warehouse store is slated to open its doors around February 15.

The Gateway Shopping Center site was originally planned as the Gateway Automall, but the allure of higher sales tax revenue from large retailers convinced the city council to re-assign the land to 100% retail to attract more big box stores. Woodland City Council caved in to developer Paul Petrovich's demand for lower development fees (used by the city to build infrastructure). The fee was cut from $23/sq.ft. to $12/sq.ft after Petrovich claimed that he couldn't continue the project at that price, which would have meant that Costco would likely not build in Woodland.

As a member, I know that Costco occassionally displays an automobile near the hot dog stand... so maybe we'll have our automall afterall.

A new Target store and garden center is scheduled to open in March, according to Petrovich's Web site (that can be accessed by clicking on the title of this blog). Target also sells a few automotive parts... there we go. Petrovich claims that Michael's, Old Navy, Shoe Pavilion, In-N-Out Burger and Chili's will be among the tenants at the site previously known as Gateway Automall.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pros and cons of medical marijuana

According to the online MCCDirectory, Woodlanders can find a caregiver downtown - but would have to travel to North Highlands for the closest compassionate physician. The Medical Cannabis Caregivers Directory is a public service listing of physicians and caregivers who provide services under California’s Medical Marijuana Program. Caregiver listings include collectives, cooperatives and dispensaries that provide medical cannabis to patients who have a current written recommendation from a licensed California physician.

California Senate Bill 420 implies legal protection to the state's medicinal marijuana dispensaries, stating, "Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients ... who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions."

According to our Constitution - however - there is a supremacy clause which says that in case of conflict, federal law precedes state law. Per federal law, there is no such thing as medical marijuana - marijuana is a drug that the U.S. Congress has classified as a Schedule One substance.

12 of 50 U.S. states have approved the medical use of marijuana for qualified patients. Given the intense debate and the potential impact on sick and dying people, the creators of MedicalMarijuanaProCon.org have done a great job in outlining both sides of the issue. This from their site:

"Proponents for the legal use of medical marijuana argue that marijuana has 'accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.,' and that it would easily meet the FDA criteria over "whether a new product's benefits to users will outweigh its risks." Marijuana, they say, is a safe and effective treatment for dozens of conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, migraines, glaucoma, and epilepsy. Proponents say that thousands of yearly deaths from legal prescription drugs could be prevented if medical marijuana were legal."

"Opponents of medical marijuana argue that marijuana has not been FDA-approved because it is too dangerous to use, and that various FDA-approved drugs make the use of marijuana unnecessary. Marijuana, they claim, is addictive, leads to harder drug use, injures the lungs, harms the immune system, damages the brain, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and sends the wrong message to kids. They say that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization, and that people who claim medical use are actually using it for recreational pleasure."

You can access comprehensive arguments for both sides by clicking the title of this story. So... what do Woodlanders think?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Two WJUSD trustee seats up for grabs

There are four candidates running for two vacancies representing Area 3 on the Woodland school board. They are Michael Blackwood (Spanish/English Teacher), Carol Souza Cole (Incumbent), Evis Morales (City Management Analyst), and Rosario Ruiz-Dark (Chief Financial Officer).

There is no election to fill the expired term of Area 1 Trustee Warren J. Berg. He was the only one to file for candidacy in that area, so he will resume his duties in December. In Woodland (and Winters), Governing Board Members qualify by Trustee Area but are elected at large. Candidates must be a registered voter residing within the trustee area of the district boundaries.

Any person who is 18 years of age or older, a citizen of the state, a resident of the school district, a registered voter, and who is not disqualified by the Constitution or laws of the state from holding a civil office, is eligible to be elected or appointed as a member of a governing board of a school district.

The Board is charged with the responsibility for the general control and direction of education in the District based on state and federal constitutions and laws, and State Board of Education rules and regulations.

Of the four candidates for Area 3, only Carol Souza Cole submitted a candidate statement for the Yolo County Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet. The cost for any candidate printing a statement in Area 3 is $385.81 in English and $467.06 in Spanish.

The election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2007.

Current Trustees are:
Carol Souza Cole (Area 3, term expires 12/07), email csouzacole@wjusd.org
Frank Glover (Area 3, 12/09), fglover@wjusd.org
Warren Berg (Area 1, 12/07 uncontested), wberg@wjusd.org
Elaine Lytle (Area 1, 12/09, elytle@wjusd.org
Jesse Ortiz (Area 3, 12/07), jortiz@wjusd.org
Bill Beerman (Area 2, 12/09), bbeermann@wjusd.org
Rogelio Villagrana (Area 3, 12/09), rvillagrana@wjusd.org

There was no election information on the school district Web site. Click on the title of this post to access the WJUSD Bylaws of the Board that include Powers and Duties. You may access the Yolo County Elections site by clicking the link at right.

Who are you endorsing and why? What are the most important issues facing the candidates? How do you rate the current school board?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Enterprise announces future Lotto numbers


So... you want to become a millionaire? Last week the Davis Enterprise published the winning Lotto numbers for October 19, 2007, which is fast coming upon us. Bust out that dollar bill and head down to your local lottery ticket dispensary. This tidbit was provided by a Woodland Journal contributor.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: City mulls ban on street vendors

Last Tuesday our city council discussed a proposed ordinance that would keep street vendors out of city parks, at least while private functions are happening. This according to a Daily Democrat report by Lizeth Cazares.

Street vendors are currently allowed to enter public parks to solicit business, even during a private event. As it was presented to council, the ordinance would prohibit vendors from entering the park, but they would be allowed to continue selling from the sidewalk. It would also give law enforcement officials legal basis to fine or prohibit vendors from harassing park-goers.

Apparently, there have been several complaints about vendors disturbing private events. According to the article, Park Director Dan Gentry said street vendors are a problem - many vendors approach residents who have rented out a park for a private party.

The ordinance would also prohibit street vendors from entering special event locations, like the Fourth of July celebrations, and trying to sell their products without permission. Gentry said, "It's not fair to those vendors that paid to sell their product at the event."

Councilmen Jeff Monroe, Art Pimentel and Skip Davies said there shouldn't be a restriction on vendors when a park isn't being rented.

The council seemed to agree that there should be limitations on when street vendors can enter the park and regulations against outside vendors from selling during special events. The city staff has been asked to change the proposed ordinance to reflect those limitations and regulations.

What do you think? Are street vendors a problem in public parks?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Is the City of Trees ready for NEVs?





Imagine our town full of “green” golf carts cruising around to destinations such as Nugget Market, the Senior Center and Woodland High School. Of course, teens would learn the rules of the road by using “Student Driver” carts like the one from Avalon, CA, shown here. It was, indeed, at the island village on Santa Catalina that my interest in Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) was renewed. The concept of drivers of all ages operating Low-Speed Vehicles can work. I’ve seen it.

In communities like Avalon and Peachtree, GA, that’s just the way it is. According to Patrik Jonsson in an article special to The Christian Science Monitor, “Peachtree is actually on the cusp of a quietly growing trend on the outskirts of America's cities – the rise of electric carts as a major mode of transportation. To enthusiasts here, the town is weaning families from the internal combustion engine and pioneering a quiet, nonpolluting way to travel.”

Golf cart communities are no longer limited to retirement villages such as Sun City, AZ. In California, the DMV recognizes NEVs as Low-Speed Vehicles. The upside to this class of cars is the low purchase price and the nonexistent registration cost. In Woodland, for example, a low-speed vehicle is exempt from registration. The only obligation is to display one of those “E” plates (for “exempt”), which is free.

In Peachtree, golf carts are a teen status symbol. The point being: If young drivers can understand the importance of downsizing vehicles and reducing fossil fuel consumption – and make it cool at the same time – can the City of Woodland tout it’s “green” side and become a community of alternative autos?

I realize that the “unofficial” vehicle of Woodland comes in the form of a big and white SUV or truck, but could city officials lead the way and encourage the use of colorful and compact NEVs? Promoting lighter vehicles (including bicycles) would certainly help reduce road wear-and-tear (since we all have infrastructure concerns). Could this also be a safer way for kids to learn how to use the roads? Is this a better way to navigate the narrow streets in the older part of town? Is this a way to put Woodland on the map as an environment-friendly community?

What do you think? Is "Woodland, NEV Town” a good concept? Can it be done? If so, what should city leaders do to promote it?

Click the title of the post to learn more about NEVs. Below is information from dmv.ca.gov:

Low-Speed Vehicles: Defined - 21250. For the purposes of this article, a low-speed vehicle means a vehicle as defined in Section 385.5. A "low-speed vehicle" is also known as a "neighborhood electric vehicle."

Low-Speed Vehicle Registration Exemption - 4023. A low-speed vehicle operated pursuant to Section 21115 or 21115.1 is exempt from registration.

Golf Carts - 4019. A golf cart operated pursuant to Section 21115 is exempt from registration.

Registration of Exempt Vehicles - 4001. All vehicles exempt from the payment of registration fees shall be registered as otherwise required by this code by the person having custody thereof, and he shall display upon the vehicle a license plate bearing distinguishing marks or symbols, which shall be furnished by the department free of charge.