Friday, February 29, 2008

Epilogue looms for Next Chapter Bookstore

The Next Chapter Bookstore & Coffeehouse at 622 Main Street, Woodland, will be closing their business after 21 years. According to a downtown official, the store will be announcing a "going out of business sale" as early as Sunday morning. Over the past several years the company has been struggling to keep its doors open with strategies such as selling book store memberships.

Here is a timeline of their operation from the Next Chapter's Web site:

A proud independent bookstore: Our bookstore is 5,000 square feet of handpicked books and gifts, located in the fine old historic R. B. Cranston building (built in 1914) in the heart of downtown Woodland. This is a very special independent bookstore where people have been finding the best in reading and service since 1987.

• We started as Mansion Book Merchants at 132 E Street, Davis (March 1987 to June 1992)
• Then we changed our name to The Next Chapter and moved to 225 G Street Davis (June 1992 to February 1998)
• Then we made the big move to 1059 Court Street, Woodland (February 1998 to October 2003)
• And then there was the move to 622 Main Street, Woodland (October 2003 to this very day)

March 14, 2007 marked 20 years of bookselling for us, that's 1987-2007.

HAPPY LEAP DAY!

Leap Year can signify many things... including the presidential election in the USA, the Summer Olympics, or the opportunity to link to a funny youtube clip.

Click on the title of this story to access an alleged, but funny, Leapfrog World Record.

Anyone care to post other leaping records?

Born on this day? Happy birthday! You might want to check out The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies.

Woodland should have some sort of Leap Year Festival.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Giants and A's start Cactus League today, Dustin and Red Sox start Grapefruit schedule tomorrow

The San Francisco Giants kicked off their Cactus League schedule today hosting the Chicago Cubs at Scottsdale Stadium. New Giant outfielder Aaron Rowand made his debut in black and orange. I predict the Giants will win at least 85 games this year, improving their 2007 record by at least 14 games. Their defense (excellent starting pitching and fast outfield) will dominate opponents in 50 of those wins. Their offense will determine 30 of those victories (most by small ball and stolen bases, few by slugging) and at least five of their wins will be due to good 'ol Lady Luck.

Also today, the Oakland Athletics hosted the Milwaukee Brewers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for their first Cactus League game. I think Billy Beane's "Moneyball" magic will continue to fade this season and don't expect them to do any better than last year's 76-86 record. I predict at least 75 wins but no more than 80.

Woodland native Dustin Pedroia, 2007 American League Rookie of the Year, and the Boston Red Sox begin Grapefruit League play tomorrow. The Word Series Champions will travel across town in Fort Meyers, Florida, to play the Minnesota Twins at Hammon Stadium. The Red Sox also play their Grapefruit League home games in Fort Meyers at City of Palms Park. I predict Dustin's team will win 100 games this season and will repeat as the World Champs. Boston's extended 40-man roster features only three players who were not with the team last year. That kind of stability is rare today, but it is also a measurement of how solid the roster is. The Yankees will slide and will not even make the play-offs as a Wild Card contender... but I think that every year about the Yankees, who I loathe as much as the Dodgers.

Woodland Journal users add excitement, and usually common sense

Over the past two months, The Woodland Journal readership has grown tremendously. I suppose it was the school board issue and word of mouth. New and continuing users may not have noticed the recent addition to the standing items on the right of this blog... The Journal's Rules of Order. This is not to imply I'm doing anything different here, I just thought it was a good idea to set some ground rules. Overall, I believe most most users of this blog show common sense when adding comments to the stories. All the comments certainly add excitement and interest.

Please know that I realize I do miss comments that others would deem "deletable," and some of you may feel I'm inconsistent in applying the rules. In any case, just consider the following as guidelines I try to follow. They are based on common sense, and like I said... most users here show that with your comments (you know who you are and I appreciate you).

The Journal's Rules of Order

The Woodland Journal is a place for discussion on the issues affecting our community. In order to keep debates informative and accessible for all, we reserve the right to reject any messages that:

1. Are obscene or abusive
2. Are racist, sexist or homophobic
3. Are personal attacks on other users of this blog
4. Break the law, or encourage others to do so
5. Are defamatory or in breach of copyright
6. Are clearly advertising something for profit
7. Impersonate someone else
8. Are irrelevant to the topic or repeatedly posted
9. Are simply unwanted by editors for any reason

If any user of this Web site is dissatisfied with its content or rules, the only recourse is to discontinue visitation.

Note: If you click on the title of this story, you will go to a "Your Views" page on the English version of aljazeera.net. Occasionally I go there just to keep tabs on an international view of the U.S.A. This is also where I got the idea to post the Journal's Rules of Order.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Anna Del Castillo "pulls papers" to run for city council

Anna Del Castillo, community advocate, has taken out candidacy papers to run for Woodland City Council according to rexroad.com. So far, Del Castillo is one of six potential candidates who are vying for three available seats this June.

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2008:

Jeff W. Monroe: Term according to yolocounty.org 3/2004-3/2008
Art Pimentel: 3/2004-3/2008
David M. Flory: 3/2004-3/2008

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2010:

William L. Marble: Term 6/2006-6/2010
Marlin H. Davies: 6/2006-6/2010

Martie Dote takes out candidacy papers for city council

Martie Dote, Planning Commissioner and former City Council member, has "pulled papers" to run for Woodland City Council according to rexroad.com. Dotie will contend for one of three available seats this June.

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2008:

Jeff W. Monroe: Term according to yolocounty.org 3/2004-3/2008
Art Pimentel: 3/2004-3/2008
David M. Flory: 3/2004-3/2008

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2010:

William L. Marble: Term 6/2006-6/2010
Marlin H. Davies: 6/2006-6/2010

Davis Enterprise has their own version of "Yolo County's Best"

Back in the summer I harpooned the Daily Democrat's "Best of Yolo County" unscientific poll since it was obviously a marketing scheme for their loyal and unwavering advertisers. Some Woodland Journal readers actually promised to leave since they couldn't stand the negativism derived by my Worst of Yolo County ballot. This time, so I don't offend anyone - by the way, thanks for coming back to the Journal you disappointed readers - I'll simply list the Davis Enterprise 2008 Readers' Choice Ballot categories.

The Enterprise's annual Readers' Choice edition will publish in March. You can click the title of this story to access their online ballot. Here are their categories with some of my dumb comments:

1. Best customer service: Anyone for Daily Democrat?
2. Best bank: Piggy
3. Best car dealer: You can write in Petrovich
4. Best grocery store: Where's Costco?
5. Best place for a bargain: You would think Dollar Store, but no (it's not Scottish)
6. Best place to buy a gift: Hooray, Gifted Penguin is there!
7. Best bike shop: We ain't got no stinkin' bikes in Woodland.
8. Best clothing store: Goodwill for experienced Hawai'ian shirts
9. Best book store: Next Chapter could take the Oscar
10. Best tire store: Vote for Dustin!
11. Best car repair: One of many awards I will never get
12. Best place to get pampered: Outside of home? My wife rocks!
13. Best jewelry store:DJ's Jewelry made the list!
4. Best art gallery: There are two in Woodland, but not on this list
15. Best independent retailer: Gifted Penguin for the sweep!
6. Best place to buy for kids: Hey! Where's Style Your Child?
17. Best garden supply: Youngmark Nursery made the list
18. Best health club: Gotta love the Curves
19. Best place to take an out-of-towner: This is BS... no Dead Cat Alley
20. Best nail salon: You have to write this in. Wait 'til your nails dry
21. Best furniture store: Vote for two... Nakamura's and Wirth's Furniture
22. Best golf course: Mountain Valley was shunned
23. Doctor: Suess
24. Dentist: I won't do it.
25. Optometrist: Hmmm, let me see.
26. Best veterinary clinic: This contest is goin' to the dogs.
27. Best hair salon: I say give it to Sinor for enduring the building dept.
28. Best barber in a supporting role: Floyd
29. Best insurance agency: Blue Shield
30. Best real estate agent; Whoever fixed the Blue Shield deal
31. Most dedicated volunteer: I heard this is the way to get elected
32. Best sandwich place: My kitchen
33. Best burger: Anything but school cafeteria burgers
34. Best steak: I have some ideas for best meat
35. Best sushi: Yes, we do have sushi in Woodland
36. Best Chinese food: Which Nugget Market?
37. Best Thai food: Go Pad Thai
38. Best Italian food:Casa de Sapore - is it really Italian?
39. Best Mexican food: Only two from Woodland, that's weird
40. Best coffee: Woodland's Puroast is not on the list.
41. Best breakfast: What, no Don's Diner? No Chicago Cafe?
42. Best dessert: Sahara (oh wait, time for dictionary.com)
43. Best pizza: Evergreen
44. Best ice cream: Woodland's Marble Slab (remember Davis' is gone)
45. Best vegetarian food; No clue
46. Best salad: No care
47. Best splurge restaurant: No money
48. Best outdoor dining: Ludy's made the list!
49. Best music store: Any place with bongos
50. Best category not mentioned here: Best blog who gives out whatever award you want! Yes, that's right folks... if you're tired of local papers handing out awards for their advertisers based on subscriber's opinions, just email dino@woodlandjournal.com and I'll fix you up with a Woodie!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Letter to editor provides timeline and process for school board recall

The following is a Letter to the Editor of the Daily Democrat from Woodland resident Dudley Holman. As another source of reference, you may click the title of this story to access a state document detailing the process that was provided by an anonymous blogger.

Letter to the Editor:

UPDATE ON THE WOODLAND SCHOOL BOARD RECALL

For those of you who are impatient about the RECALL of four School Board Trustees... have no fear, plans are underway. A RECALL cannot LEGALLY begin until 90 days after the Nov. '07 election was certified. Accordingly, March 6 is our "starting date" per the County Elections Office. The required paperwork is being prepared for delivery on March 6.

Once the technicalities are deemed to be in order, we have 120 days (4 months) to gather signatures (20% of the registered voters in the school district... 5,300 VALID signatures needed), we will aim for 7,500 minimum, an easy target, given 120 days to complete the task and the level of community dissatisfaction the BLUE SHIELD ISSUE has generated.

Volunteers will be needed to gather signatures (local markets, post offices, neighborhoods, clubs, Elks, Senior Center, meetings, community groups, churches, etc.). There have been many offers to help, with more coming as people learn of the arrogance, lack of business sense, and total indifference to community outrage displayed by FOUR of the SEVEN Board Members. To date, they have been unwilling to correct their mistake... approving the BLUE SHIELD BUILDING PURCHASE CONTRACT.

A subsequent, but separate, task will be to identify replacement candidates to fill the vacancies created by this RECALL. Be thinking about this!

STAY TUNED FOR DEVELOPMENTS!

Dudley Holman

Flory tells Democrat he will not run for City Council

Dave Flory, a Woodland City Councilman for 20 years, has told the Daily Democrat that he will not seek another term in the upcoming June election.

The Woodland Journal learned about this announcement on Friday - but twice last week Flory told the Journal he would be running again - so we held off publishing his candidacy, or his "un-candidacy." In his communication with the Journal, he did leave the door open to change his mind, citing that he could get more accomplished off the council.

Well... what a difference a day makes! I look forward to working with Dave on many of the downtown issues.

Bloggers vs. Journalists: I'll take bloggers, THANK YOU

Today at davisenterprise.com, you'll find an article written by journalist Claire St. John called "Bloggers comment on local news, but don't call 'em journalists." You can click the title of the this story to access it. You'll possibly have to register with their site to read it, but when you get to the subscription part, just click that you are a subscriber. That will get you through for free.

The article is a pretty good overview of the local blog scene, and it even mentions The Woodland Journal. The young journalist sent me some interview questions that I answered. It took me about an hour, which I was happy to donate. She ended up using only one sentence from my responses... which is perfectly fine (since I completely understand the need for editing), but a simple THANK YOU would have been nice.

Here's part of the introduction from St. John's article:

Newspapers and television stations feature most of their content and more on the Internet where they get thousands of visits per day from people looking for news.

But newspapers are supposed to be impartial, and sometimes readers want opinion, blow-by-blow detail and a discussion with other readers.

Enter blogs, a word made by smashing together Web log which, like a journal, can be a document of endless banality or an interesting take on the politics and pop culture of the day.

In Yolo County, where politics are a subject of daily discussion among a relatively small but definitely passionate group, several blogs have sprung up to act as watchdogs of local politics, commenters on national and state races, and forums for readers who like the instant gratification of responding to a post and reading other responses almost simultaneously.

So... not to let content go to waste, here are portions of my "lost" and unappreciated responses:

Enterprise: How did your family react to the founding of the Woodland Journal?

Me: I didn't "found" the WJ. I'm filling in for someone who will return in April [or so]. My family doesn't read it, but they probably think I spend too much time on it.

Ent: Does the Woodland Journal count as a blog?

Me: Yes.

Ent: Or is it more of an online magazine?

Me: Yes. It's a blogazine.

Ent: What made you start [writing for] the Journal?

Me: I was asked by the previous blogmaster, The Realist, who had to leave for personal reasons. I had contributed to some of his stories as a commenter and he liked my angles on the topics.

Ent: Who is your readership?

Me: I would say many are disappointed readers of the Daily Democrat and all speak English.

Ent: How closely do you follow local politics and why?

Me: It depends what you consider politics. I'm probably one of the few people who believe government and politics are not supposed to mix (although I do understand that politics influence government decisions). I try to follow accountability issues, like spending too much money on an oversized building for school offices. Running for an office, like city council, is what I consider politics. Once someone is elected, it should be down to the business of government. A recent topic on the blog merely announced a candidate. That simple announcement, with no platform information, generated over a hundred comments... a record at WJ.

Ent: Is writing the Journal rewarding for you? How?

Me: I enjoy putting my twist and perspective on stories. And I enjoy doing some research on topics, but I don't consider myself an investigative reporter. I do spend more time than I should on the blog simply because I do like the writing and I do feel it's important to be able to back up what I say with facts. It's an interesting style, the blogazine. since it mixes opinion with facts and research. Sometimes I include my opinion in an article and sometimes I don't. I think that flexibility and creativity make it rewarding for me.

Ent: What kind of response have you received?

Me: The response has been both negative and positive resulting in growth. WJ has averaged 268 visits per day and almost 600 page views per day. The highest visitation happened the other day, 372, with the most page views at 792. [I updated the figures] Some people think I'm stupid, some people tolerate my sarcasm and some people think I'm doing a service for the community. Some bloggers don't like that I delete certain comments and some only try to criticize my opinions rather than address the topic. I've said numerous times to bloggers that they shouldn't read the blog if they don't like what I say or how I manage it. Some bloggers have said they are fed up and they will never read it again. Right!

Ent: Do you have a schedule? As in, do you try to post once per day?

Me: When I took over in July, I said I would only have time to post one story every couple of days. Now I try to post at least one story per day. There's been a dramatic rise in visits since I've done this. I check the blog at various times during the day. In April [or so], with the return of The Realist, I'll go back to posting one story every two to three days.

Ent: How many writers do you have? Are they part of production or do they just submit things when it occurs to them?

Me: I write most of the stories, but there is also a Global Correspondent who contributes from Australia. She's a gem! There are two others who regularly email me ideas, leads and links and they help with some production (like posting items). I have some other contacts who email me tips and other information. Recently, I've had two people email me Letters to the Editor of the Daily Democrat. I've posted one as a story and will do the same with the other. I would like to have more contributors and I'm constantly plugging for more participation.

End note:

If you would like to participate and contribute, email dino@woodlandjournal.com. Please include your complete contact information. Some have emailed me information/rumors, but I won't publish without a real name. Your identity and information are confidential.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Moving targets not limited to Woodland building department

As the City of Woodland tries to become more "customer-friendly" under the direction of new city manager Mark Deven, here's a little story that may seem all too familiar to small business owners trying to open shops here in town. I don't know if it's reassuring, frustrating or funny (in an odd, coincidental way), but the following report shows that even the Peoples Republic of Davis can impose unreasonable obstacles for merchants.

The article was written by Ken Widmann of the Sacramento News & Review and here are some excerpts:

What, no showers?

In January 2001, [David] Robert... decided to open a Marble Slab Creamery. He leased a vacant storefront in south Davis and paid an architect who specialized in converting such things to draw up the plans.

According to Robert, city-planning officials rejected the architect’s blueprints because they provided for only the one bathroom. Two were needed, Robert was told, one per gender.

Robert asked if unique male and female restrooms were really necessary for what was essentially an ice-cream stand. Yes, the planner replied, for three reasons: You are a food establishment, you have tables in your restaurant and you have male and female employees. So Robert, a cheerful and amiable sort, shrugged and set to work ripping out the existing bathroom and constructing two new ones at a cost of $15,000 each, including fixtures.

Marble Slab and its two glorious restrooms celebrated a grand opening in late May. One morning a few weeks later, Quiznos opened next door.

“I walked into Quiznos,” says Robert, still incredulous seven years later. “And they’ve got full food—hot food, cold food, sandwiches, seating booths, the whole nine yards. And one bathroom!”

Livid, he drove straight to the city planner’s office and demanded an explanation. “Well, the planner’s a little busy right now; he doesn’t have time to go over it with you, but he says to tell you that ‘the rules have changed.” [Said the receptionist]

The rules have changed? “OK,” said Robert, with the steely resolve of the righteous. “I’m going to work. When I come back later this afternoon, I want you to show me evidence of exactly where and when the rules changed.”

Hours later, Robert returned from work still wearing his military uniform.

“I’m here because I had to put in two freaking bathrooms, and Quiznos only put in one,” said Robert.

The planner began pulling books and technical manuals off the shelves, stacking them high around the table at which Robert was sitting and quoting obscure plumbing codes. None of it had to do with tables or food or male and female employees. Says Robert, “He was just trying to get me lost in this labyrinth of rules and regulations, which I didn’t buy one bit. It was a smoke screen.”

Perhaps realizing it wasn’t working, the guy stopped.

“Well—what would you have done with the space anyway?”

“Storage,” said Robert. “But I don’t care about the space so much as the $30,000 you cost me.”

The planner chewed on this last remark. “Well,” he said. “I can’t officially tell you do to this, but if I were you, I would just make one of the bathrooms unisex and use the other as a storage closet.”

End notes:

In the words of Craig Ferguson, "Remind you of anyone?" The Davis Marble Slab is now out of business. To access the complete article written by Ken Widmann, click the title of this story.

Sunday breakfast still to be served by Boy Scouts

Boy Scouts of America Troop 464 will still be serving pancakes tomorrow despite the postponement of the Almond Festival.

"We can't get reservations for the Eagles Hall for the next weekend," said Woodland Journal blogger "assistant scoutmaster cal."

Why not make the Almond Festival a two-weekend event and celebrate with some pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, coffee and orange juice? Here are the details from Troop 464's Web site (click the story title to access:

BSA Troop 464 - Pancake JAM-boree Fundraiser

F.O.E. Eagles Hall 37650 SR 16, Woodland CA

24 February 2008 7am-12 noon

This is a "Rain or Shine" event and the Troop looks forward to Serving You & Your Family

$4.00 Standard Breakfast - Kids 5 and under eat for free!

$6.00 all you can eat pancakes (after standard breakfast)

Pancakes, Sausage, Scrambled Eggs, Coffee & Orange Juice

(Eagles Hall is about 1/2 mile west of Browns Corner at County Road 98 and Hwy 16 - Look for the signs)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Almond Festival postponed

"Capay Valley Almond Festival Postponed one week," this according to a Daily Democrat article created this morning.

Excerpts from the article (accessible by clicking the title of this story):

"Due to a major winter storm predicted for this weekend, organizers of the Capay Valley Almond Festival have postponed the event, moving it to Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2."

"[Elizabeth] Campbell said organizers have decided to reorganize the festival so that entertainment will occur on Saturday and tours of local farms and other sites will take place on Sunday."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

politiclast.com dishes out local polls

From McLovin, the author of politiclast.com:

politiclast.com is a simple daily dish collection of my observations on politics and my well… life. In the simplest of explanations, I wanted a venue to vent my thoughts regarding politics both nationally and within my hometown of Woodland, California.

I hope this is a destination my friends, and others can catch up on what is relevant in politics, both locally and nationally. This blog will pull no punches, and will grind every ax in the tool shed.

From his story called "Politiclast Polling:"

I have begun a bit of an experiment.

With the recent successes and failures of national and regional election polling, I decided to conduct a tracking poll for the upcoming Woodland political races. Currently, I am focusing on two issues or races: the Woodland City Council and the possible recall of the four members of the Woodland Joint Unified School Board.

I have always had a bit of an interest in statistics, so this will be a bit of a labor of love. I am intrigued to see if during the course of this election season, whether this poll gives us any indication of the outcomes of these races. As the weeks go on, I will provide a tracking poll graph to see how campaigning and events influence the polling.

I started out with 217 total probable voters. If you look the sample size (217) compared to the population of Woodland (about 56,000), its pretty sizable. I thank my team here at politiclast.com for assistance in making all of the phone calls.

So here are the results for the Week of February 11:

City Council Race
Art Pimentel - 20%
Jeff Monroe - 31%
Dave Flory - 26%
Frank Sieferman Jr. - 18%
Undecided - 5%

Approval of Blue Shield Building Purchase
Approve of Purchase - 5%
Disapprove of Purchase - 77%
Undecided - 4%
Not Aware Of Purchase - 16%

Should Board Members Be Recalled
Yes, Should Be Recalled - 82%
No Recall Necessary - 7%
Undecided - 2%
Not Enough Information - 9%

This is not a scientific poll, and should be viewed for entertainment purposes only.

Methodology: Polliticlast is interviewing 217 Woodland adult residents. The results reported here are based on combined data from Feb. 11-15, 2008. For results based on these samples, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

About the sample:

In response to the sample size, McLovin commented here on this blog that, "Actually 217 is a huge sampling for a 55,000 population. Here are the sampling sizes for national polls:

Gallup - 1,199
Rasmussen Poll - 1,600
Survey USA - 773
AP-Ipsos - 1,029

Click the title of this story to access politiclast.com, and for future reference look under "Links for Woodlanders in touch."

Bobby Harris plans to run for City Council

Bobby Harris, a community activist and former council candidate, has told the Woodland Journal he intends to run again for a seat on the Woodland City Council. Harris will vie for one of three available seats this June.

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2008:

Jeff W. Monroe: Term according to yolocounty.org 3/2004-3/2008
Art Pimentel: 3/2004-3/2008
David M. Flory: 3/2004-3/2008

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2010:

William L. Marble: Term 6/2006-6/2010
Marlin H. Davies: 6/2006-6/2010

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SELPA funds to stream into Blue Shield building

Yolo County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)

From ycoe.org: "The goal of the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) is to deliver high quality special education programs and services to special needs students in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. The Yolo County SELPA serves the following districts: Davis Joint Unified, Esparto Unified, Washington Unified, Winters Joint Unified, Woodland Joint Unified, and the Yolo County Office of Education. As the SELPA's Administrative Unit, the Yolo County Office of Education receives funds and is responsible for seeing that every eligible child receives appropriate services. In addition to administrative support, the SELPA helps districts comply with legal requirements concerning students with disabilities, and provides professional development activities to foster better relationships between schools and the families of special needs students. 3,000 special education students and their families receive services from the Yolo County SELPA."

Got that? Okay, now read this:

Carol Souza Cole, WJUSD Board of Trustees President, in the Jan. 16 WJUSD Key Communicators meeting minutes: "We will be financing the purchase [of the Blue Shield building] at a low interest rate through Certificates of Participation, which is a financial term indicating a lease form of borrowing. We will be leasing sites as collateral to borrow money. This is not an unusual practice. We have projected a new income stream from SELPA that will fund the payments. This new stream of revenue is independent from state funds and will not take away from our students."

Refer to story below.

WJUSD Key Communicators hear Blue Shield reasoning before Dog and Pony


Just eight days before the school board and superintendent gave their Jan. 24 public presentation to rationalize the Blue Shield building, they used a Key Communicators meeting to practice their talking points. According to the superintendent, the important role of the group is to maintain good communications within the district. You may access the Jan. 16 Key Communicators meeting overview by clicking the title of this story.

Here are excerpts from those minutes:

WELCOME: Dr. Cottingim opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. She then introduced Carol Souza Cole, WJUSD Board of Trustees President, who attended the meeting in order to discuss the purchase of a building for the Central Office.

CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING THE PURCHASE OF CENTRAL OFFICE BUILDING: Dr. Cottingim then explained that she would like to address rumors and misinformation that have been circulating in the community regarding the purchase of a new Central Office building.

1) An online blog incorrectly claimed that Dr. Cottingim had used District money to fund a 2-3 week trip to India. Dr. Cottingim did attend a Global Educational Symposium in India. However, the District did not pay for any portion of her trip expenses. She paid for the trip herself and she was partially reimbursed by a foundation outside of the District. Also, contrary to claims in the online blog, the trip was only 10 days and included 4 days of travel time.

# # #

Here are the blog comments to which she is referring (not part of the minutes):

FEZ: "Oh by the way my understanding is that the Supe went to India for 3 weeks on our dime is that true?"

Anon: "...she did take a trip to both India and London as part of a "global education colloquium" (see pg. 3 of the minutes for the 11/15/07 Board meeting on the district website). It had to have been OK'd by the Board, but I don't see in any published minutes where it was approved."

Dino: "WJUSD MINUTES, BOARD MEETING, NOVEMBER 15, 2007: Dr. Cottingim thanked the Board for providing her with the opportunity to attend the recent global educational colloquium in London and India and stated that the experience caused her to take a different look at education on a global scale and that is was overwhelming to stop and think about what our students are going to be facing on a global scale." [Exact minutes taken from wjusd.org]

# # #

Resume excerpts from the Key Communicators meeting:

2) Dr. Cottingim also clarified that she does not have a vote on Board actions. Specifically, she did not vote for the purchase of a new building for the Central Office. She can only make recommendations to the Board. In addition, despite rumors, Dr. Cottingim is not making any money from the purchase.

3) Trustee Carol Souza Cole, WJUSD Board of Trustees President, discussed her decision making process that led her to vote for the purchase of a building for the Central Office. The concern with wasting money on rent in the current Central Office building was brought up several times in the Budget Advisory Committee meetings.

Approximately 18 months ago, the District started looking at properties for the Central Office. This search started with an evaluation of the school site properties we already have and the consequences of closing a school to accommodate the Central Office. These school site properties did not adequately meet the space needs of the Central Office. Other properties in the area were then assessed. The property that best fit our needs was the... former Blue Shield building.

The Board action to approve the purchase of this building was made at the Board meeting on Dec. 13. The purchasing process had been discussed in closed session in order to negotiate a price—not to keep information from the public. Government code does not allow closed session discussions to be discussed outside of closed session, unless the Board takes action to make the information public.

We will be financing the purchase at a low interest rate through Certificates of Participation, which is a financial term indicating a lease form of borrowing. We will be leasing sites as collateral to borrow money. This is not an unusual practice. We have projected a new income stream from SELPA that will fund the payments. This new stream of revenue is independent from state funds and will not take away from our students. We want the District and community to be confident that we are not setting up the budget for failure. Also, we are purchasing the building for 5.6 million dollars and borrowing 10 million in order to cover renovations and improvements to the building, and also have a reserve of funds in the case that we are under funded and need to pool from this pot.

If we stayed in the current Central Office, our payments could potentially increase approximately up to the amount that we would be paying to purchase the property... although the owner of this building has publicly stated that he would work with us. In addition, the current Central Office has environmental hazards that cannot be eliminated. Currently, a charcoal filtration system mitigates the chemical in order to make it safe for people, but this is not a permanent solution. Therefore, this building is not a feasible option based on these factors.

4) Trustee Rosario Ruiz-Dark, WJUSD Board of Trustees Clerk... discussed her decision to vote for the purchase of the property... She discussed her clear understanding of finances, and that it was a better investment to purchase a building rather than wasting money on rent. Therefore, she voted for the purchase of the building.

5) There is a misconception that Central Office staff will be getting new furniture in the new building. That is not the case. There is a budget for furniture for budgeting purposes, but space plans need to be completed in order to assess our furniture needs and make economical choices. We will not pay for what we can not afford.

6) Dr. Cottingim emphasized the role of the Key Communicators Group in informing the community and she encouraged the group to approach issues with a neutral perspective and to ask for accurate information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

redsox.com: Pedroia early to spring camp, unfazed by award

Some tidbits from the Boston Red Sox Web site...

Ellsbury, Drew arrive: Jacoby Ellsbury arrived in Fort Myers, Fla., in the middle of the night before making his way over on little sleep Monday morning to greet teammates in the clubhouse at the Red Sox's Minor League complex. The center fielder dropped off some personal belongings before leaving for the day to get his rest. J.D Drew came in later Monday, and both will join Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia as early arrivals to camp. Position players aren't due to report until Wednesday, with physicals set for Thursday and the first full-squad workout scheduled for Friday.

Practice, practice: Lowrie, a shortstop prospect, and Pedroia spent about 30 minutes on Field No. 5 taking grounders from infield coach Luis Alicea and working on the pivot at second base for double plays. Alicea was seen instructing Lowrie on proper fielding and throwing technique.

Award won't change Pedroia's attitude: The proverbial chip that an undersized player carries on his shoulder for inspiration clearly doesn't go away one American League Rookie of the Year trophy later, or even after a heroic postseason.

Does Pedroia have anything to prove after fueling the Red Sox in such emphatic fashion a year ago?

"I don't really care what people think -- I don't really have to prove anything to anybody," said Pedroia. "I just have to prove stuff to my teammates. I don't [care] what anybody says about me. I'm going to go out there and be who I am and if you don't like it, watch somebody else. That's all I care about."

And that Rookie of the Year Award? Sure, it meant something special to Pedroia at the time. But listen to the man speak, and it's clear he's not seeking pats on the back for past accomplishments.

"I don't think about that, man," Pedroia said. "That's just something that sportswriters voted on. I don't think I was the best rookie. I didn't really think about it. The only thing I knew is I got an opportunity to play in the World Series and we won. That's what our goal was all year. The whole Rookie of the Year thing, I'm not really concerned about it.

Click the title of this story to access the complete "Award" article written by Ian Browne of mlb.com.

Pimentel intends to enter race for City Council

Art Pimentel, Woodland City Councilman, has told the Woodland Journal that he will seek re-election to the Woodland City Council this June. Pimentel will run for one of three available seats this year.

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2008:

Jeff W. Monroe: Term according to yolocounty.org 3/2004-3/2008
Art Pimentel: 3/2004-3/2008
David M. Flory: 3/2004-3/2008

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2010:

William L. Marble: Term 6/2006-6/2010
Marlin H. Davies: 6/2006-6/2010

Monday, February 18, 2008

Be the second Woodland team to curl in Vacaville


FAST FACTS
WCC Class: Introduction to Curling
Friday, February 22, 8 to 10 pm
Vacaville Ice Sports Center, 551 Davis Street, Vacaville
No Reservation - Arrive 5 minutes early
Wear loose fitting clothing and clean sneakers, all other equipments provided
Cost: Only $10

Perhaps you've seen curling on TV during the Winter Olympics. You know, the sport in which players slide on ice and throw a 42-pound granite stone from one end of the ice to the other. This is your chance to learn the sport from experienced curlers.

Wine Country Curling Club is offering a Learn-to-Curl clinic for first-time curlers on Friday, February 22, 8 to 10 pm, at Vacaville Ice Sports Arena. Curling instructions will cover fundamentals of delivery, sweeping, rules of the game and safety on ice. The clinic will be run by USCA certified instructors, and will include a short video followed by ice instructions and shortened game.

Clinics cost $10. No reservation required. Interested individuals should bring warm, loose-fitting clothes and clean sneakers or rubber-soled shoes. All other equipments will be provided free.

The Vacaville Ice Sports arena features five permanently painted curling rinks and recently hosted the first-ever California curling tournament, The Crush Bonspiel, featuring teams from US and Canada including US National Men's Team.

The ice rink is located at 551 Davis Street, Vacaville. Telephone (707) 374-3920.

For further info email winecountrycurling@ gmail.com or click the title of this story to visit winecountrycurling.org

Woodlanders are invited to come as a group and learn the sport that's "sweeping" the nation. Join Team Keystone Woodland in the WCC and try to best their rookie record. Team Woodland finished strong after an initial learning period, winning all three matches in 2008. They had the fourth-best record, but ended in a tie for 6th Place.

Final WCC Winter League Standings (Team: Wins, Losses, Ties)

Hazard: 7, 3, 0
Holt: 7, 3, 0
Peck: 6, 4, 0
Markowski: 6, 4, 0
Halpenny: 5, 5, 0
Keystone Woodland: 3, 6, 1
Kuhl: 3, 6, 1
Rooney: 2, 8, 0

Take a tour of the former Blue Shield building








A previously distributed lease flyer for the 40,000 sq. ft. building at 435 Sixth Street, Woodland, is now available by clicking the title of this story. The office space, commonly known as the former Blue Shield building, was the work place for over 300 insurance company employees.

Here's the pitch from the flyer:

"OPPORTUNITY FOR TENANT: Existing, immediately available, adaptable office space for use as a back office, call center, corporate office, data processing or administrative center, or a special use property such as a church or athletic club. Suites as small as 4,430 SF and as large as 40,000 SF. Access to nearby amenities and services, the majority of which are just a few blocks away from the building. Open floor plan, along with numerous meeting, training rooms, and private offices that line the exterior walls. Landlord will provide a tenant improvement allowance to help meet Tenant’s requirements for build-out. 4/1000 sf parking ratio."

"FOR LEASE: $1.60 PSF, FSG. 435 6th Street offers an opportunity to lease a 4,430 SF to 40,000 SF offi ce building in Woodland. The property is located close to the corner of Main Street and East Street and offers access to I-5 and Highway 113 (connector to I-80). The property has been well-maintained and has good curb appeal."

Woodland Journal readers can recall that in an April 26 closed session, the WJUSD trustees were informed that the Blue Shield building was in escrow. Never-the-less, on May 23, the superintendent directed a Letter of Intent and negotiations to purchase the building. On June 28, also in a closed session, the trustees learned of the Blue Shield building costs, then met on August 9 in another closed session to take a tour of Blue Shield building.

Other dates of importance include:

• Sept. 27 - Closed session, BOT updated on Blue Shield negotiations
• Oct. 6 - Supt. emails BOT indicating purchase agreement near completion
• Oct. 8 - GFSI conducts financing workshop with BOT
• Oct. 16 - Architects begin space begin space planning for Blue Shield building
• Oct. 17 - Supt. signs final draft of purchase agreement
• Oct. 25 - Closed session, BOT updated on financing and appraisal

Finally, during a November 20 closed session, the trustees were given a presentation on other location options and the appraisal of the Blue Shield building. On December 13, also in a closed session, trustees discussed the purchase agreement and financing options, then - in a brief open session - approved purchase agreement in 4-3 vote.

A look at the linked flyer reveals: 1) An overview of the property, 2) Existing a potential floor plans, 3) Site plan with parking, and 4) Aerial photo of the neighborhood and photos of the Main Entrance, Outdoor Break Area, Reception Area, Large Training Room, Conference Room and the Break/Lunch Area (seen above).

After reviewing the flyer (and what the trustees may have seen on their August 9 tour), one might wonder why space planning was authorized. It seems like it has everything a school district office might need... and then some.

Letter to editor urges viewing of school board meeting video, claims closed sessions left public out of Blue Shield purchase

The following is a Letter to the Editor of the Daily Democrat from Woodland resident Dudley Holman. As another source of reference, you may click the title of this story to access the Board Action Summary of the Jan. 24 school board meeting. To date, there have been no complete minutes posted at wjusd.org for the last two board meetings (Jan. 24 and Feb. 14).

Letter to the Editor:

VIDEOTAPES OF 1-24-08 SCHOOL BOARD MEETING (Re Blue Shield Bldg. purchase) available in Woodland City Library.

The Daily Democrat article of Sat, 1-26-08 which reported on the Jan. 24, 2008 School Board meeting was short on the facts. The opening paragraph of the story stated, "Questions and rumors... about... the purchase of the Blue Shield Building, its unseen appraisal and... high cost were put to rest..."

NONSENSE!

A number of VCR copies of the videotape of that meeting have been placed in the Woodland City Library and are available to be checked out for viewing by those having a video player at home.

This tape records, verbatum, all portions of the 1-24-08 meeting pertaining to the Blue Shield Bldg. purchase, closed meetings, discussions, all of which give the public insight into the process followed in reaching a 4 to 3 SCHOOL BOARD decision on the project.

It is a long video, but astonishing in the revelations about the process, the "closed meeting" discussions, arbitrary decisions on matters that were IN NO LEGAL WAY entitled to discussion in closed (secret) meetings. A discussion whether or not to consider property in the industrial area, is a "policy" matter, of general community interest, with public input needed, certainly permitted, even required... UNDER THE LAW. The direction to staff, in closed meetings, totally denied the public its rightful oportunity of participate in that decision.

Watch this video carefully, make up your own mind whether the public's interest was well and properly served by keeping the public "in the dark" about what was planned regarding the Blue Shield Building purchase... an obligation, a debt of 40 years, which will burden THREE GENERATIONS of the Woodland Distict... parents and taxpayers of today... their children... and their children's children.

Please, view this video, completely and carefully. Decide for yourself whether FOUR TRUSTEES acted in the best interests of the taxpayers, parents, and students of this school District. Was the Daily Democrat accurate in reporting that "Questions... were... PUT TO REST?"

To date. there have been many "Public Comment" speakers at recent School Board meetngs objecting to the approval by FOUR BOARD MEMBERS. NONE, NOT EVEN ONE SPEAKER, HAS SUPPORTED THE APPROVAL BY THESE FOUR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS. Do the four Trustees (who approved the Contract) have the support of the residents in the Woodland School District? Clearly, THEY DO NOT!

Do YOU consider this a prudent and timely purchase for the District? Are YOU content to let the decision stand? Call your District Trustees... let them know your position. There is yet time to cancel this ill-advised and costly contract.

DUDLEY HOLMAN

Sunday, February 17, 2008

February report on Woodland stink

So... this morning, I'm ready to tee off for the third hole at Mountain Valley Golf Course - that's the little three-par course just east of Woodland's Spring Lake development. It's just after 8 am, a little breeze is blowing across the tee box from the north. As I ready my 7-Iron for the drive, I notice the sweet aroma of dirty diaper and compost wafting into my face. I'm left-handed so I merely need to lift my head to notice the flag on the second hole flapping right at me.

I look beyond the pin. There on the horizon, precisely aligned with the flag and the wind direction, I see the Chamber's Business of the Year emitting a telltale white cloud - the Woodland Biomass plant.

As you've undoubtedly guessed, this is my monthly installment of What's That Mystery Odor? It might be just me, but I think we're getting close to solving the puzzle. Maybe we need to hire a consultant to fit the last pieces together. Any ideas?

(By the way, that smell caused a disastrous slice and subsequent three putt. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Amgen bike tour to cruise by Woodland on Tuesday


Stage 2 of the AMGEN Tour of California will bring bicycle riders skirting past Woodland sometime after noon on Tuesday. The estimated finish time in Sacramento is 2:13-2:54 pm.

Maybe next year tour organizers can arrange for the cyclists to come through downtown Woodland - as they do through downtown Davis, where the Herbalife Sprint Line stirs much excitement. This might be possible if the Amgen people see a receptive audience along Road 102 or on East Main Street.

From the Amgen Tour Web site:

A scenic start through several Sonoma County wineries will quickly turn into one of the most significant climbs of the race as the peloton heads east en route to Sacramento. Twelve miles from the start, Trinity Road's vertical climbs and treacherous decent into the wineries of Napa Valley will make it one of the most difficult climbs of the entire race. Continuing east past Lake Berryessa, the peloton will head through Davis, recently named the best cycling town in the U.S. by Bicycle Magazine.

With a quick turn to the north [up County Road 102 to Woodland to East Main Street/Old River Road, then east] the route will follow the Sacramento River to the well-known Tower Bridge and on to the Capitol Mall. The stage concludes with three circuits through downtown, finishing on the front step of California's Capitol Building, a perfect viewing location.

Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento
Day: Tuesday, Feb 19
Start: Santa Rosa
Finish: Sacramento
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Miles: 115.8
KM: 186
End ETA: 2:13-2:54 PM

The AMGEN Tour of California will bring the drama and excitement of a professional bicycle stage race to the California coast. The world's top professional teams will compete over an eight-day, 650-mile race on a route that includes the California redwoods, wine country and the Pacific Coast.

Founded in 2005, Breakaway from Cancer continues to raise awareness and funds to support valuable services and programs, provided free of charge, that help people living with cancer. The initiative was created by Amgen as a complementary component to the company's sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California. This year, the initiative continues to support the important programs and tools offered by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and The Wellness Community.

The tour begins tomorrow in Palo Alto. Here are the fist two legs that precede the Woodland ride-by:

Prologue: Palo Alto - Stanford University
Day: Sunday, Feb 17
Start & Finish: Palo Alto - Stanford Univ.
Start Time: 1:00 PM
Miles: 2.1
KM: 3.4
End ETA: 3:30 PM

Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa
Day: Monday, Feb 18
Start: Sausalito
Finish: Santa Rosa
Start Time: 11:00 AM
Miles: 96.8
KM: 156
End ETA: 2:43-3:20 PM

Friday, February 15, 2008

Monroe to run for Woodland City Council again

Jeff Monroe, Woodland City Councilman, has told Woodland Journal readers that he will seek re-election to the Woodland City Council this June. Monroe will run for one of three available seats this year.

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2008:

Jeff W. Monroe: Term according to yolocounty.org 3/2004-3/2008
Art Pimentel: 3/2004-3/2008
David M. Flory: 3/2004-3/2008

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2010:

William L. Marble: Term 6/2006-6/2010
Marlin H. Davies: 6/2006-6/2010

RFD-TV shooting footage about Best Ranch event today

Organizers of this summer's "BEST SHOW ON TRACKS" event have announced that RFD-TV crews will be in the area videotaping for a cable-cast segment. The channel is produced by Northstar Studios, in Nashville, Tennessee. The corporate and national sales office is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland will host the event on June 20-22 at the Dan Best Ranch, located just outside Woodland. The three-day "Best Show on Tracks" will include all makes and models of farm machinery dating back more than 100 years. It also will serve as the 2008 national convention and show for the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners’ Club (ACMOC), and will feature Best, Holt and Caterpillar tractors that were built and used in California.

“The Best Family is honored to host this event at their family farm,” said Event Manager Lonny Wunder. There is a historical connection to the Best family: the assets of the C. L. Best Tractor Co. were combined with the assets of the Holt Manufacturing Company in 1925 to form the Caterpillar Tractor Co. that continues today. C.L. Best was Chairman of the Board of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. from 1925 until 1951. He was the grandfather of the event’s host, Dan Best, Jr.

“More than 150 acres of the Best Ranch are set aside for this event, showcasing antique farm equipment from throughout the world – including machines, horses, mules, gas and steam engines from Australia, England, Norway, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa,” Wunder said.

From the RFD-TV Web site (Click the title of this story to access):

Rural Free Delivery - The Roots of RFD-TV

Younger folks and city slickers sometimes act puzzled when they hear the name “RFD-TV.” They don’t know what the letters stand for. They don’t know their history, that’s all. But rural folks do. RFD – Rural Free Delivery – by the U.S. Postal Service is one of the most important developments in American rural history. It’s even commemorated by a special stamp, issued in 1996 upon the centennial of RFD postal service and presented at the convention of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association in Charleston,

RFD-TV, LLC

Launched in December of 2000, RFD-TV is the nation's first 24-hour television network dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America and agriculture. The channel is produced and uplinked via satellite to all 50 states from Northstar Studios, in Nashville, Tennessee. The channel is proudly distributed nationwide and carried by DISH Network, DIRECTV, Mediacom, Charter, NRTC, Bresnan and NCTC cable systems, with new cable systems adding the channel most everyday. The corporate and national sales office is based in Omaha, Nebraska. Due to popular demand, the company started publishing its bi-monthly RFD-TV The Magazine in July of 2003 to support its program schedule.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

School days DownUnder


By Woodlander in the Land DownUnder
Global Correspondent

Now into the second week of the school year and I think I have some breathing space. Wait, no I don’t I have to run and pick up my daughter who is going through a ridiculous one month phase in period for her Kindergarten class.

Now when I say Kindergarten that means that she will start year one in two years time. Here the system is Kindergarten – must be age four by June 30 the year you start school, then move on to Pre-Primary followed by Year 1 etc. And this is the terminology for Western Australia. Other states call Kindergarten by different names. Queensland’s system uses the following: Pre-Prep, Prep and then Year 1, etc. In a country with so few states (6 plus 2 territories) you would think that it would be easier to get everyone to use the same names and the same starting ages.

Yes, the new school year just started here. We operate on a year round system that runs ten weeks in – two weeks holiday – ten weeks in – two weeks holiday – ten weeks in – two weeks holiday – ten weeks in – summer break.. which is about seven weeks-long depending on the end date of school.

Having grown up in Woodland at a time when you went to school from September to June and only in my last few years did we start very late August, the year round system is quite different and I like it a lot. We do start school in the middle of summer (February would be your August heat) which means some hot days, but the kids don’t seem to mind too much. They are tired at the end of the day, which as a parent, is a good thing…it means I can get them to bed even while the sun is still shining at 7:30/8 pm without argument and they go straight to sleep.

The school day is from 8:45 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday.

One of the biggest differences I can see between public schools in Woodland vs. Perth is the money I spend on school supplies and other fees. I spent $192.85 on supplies and a further $125 on voluntary school fees (convert that to US dollars the total is $290). Though the fees are voluntary, the school really relies on all families to pay them so that they can meet budget necessities. There are more fees for uniforms (the uniform includes a hat and the school has a “no hat no play” rule so you have to have one), if you want to be in the choir or band, swimming lessons (which are a must as there are part of the curriculum), and any excursion that the children take – the parents must pay the way.

By the way, I agree school uniforms are the best option for schools.

For my daughter in Year 2, I had to supply the following items:

Library book bag – you have to have a bag in order to check out a book
Specific calculator
1 pack of 12 wind up crayons
3 booklets that have 20 clear plastic sleeves for displaying school work
4 cardboard folders
1 plastic folder
4 erasers
1 tub of PVA glue
8 glue sticks
1 permanent marker
2 packs of 8 colored markers
1 pack of rainbow colored modeling clay
1 pen
1 pencil case –specific size
10 pencils
2 pencils sharpeners
1 pack of 12 colored pencils
1 clear ruler
1 pair of scissors
4 blank 48 page booklets (large size)
1 desktop dictionary (about 50 pages)
1 Math workbook

For my daughter starting Kindergarten the list was:

1 pack of 12 wind up crayons
1 booklet with clear sleeves for displaying school work
2 tubs of PVA glue
1 glue stick
1 permanent marker
1 12 pack of colored markers
1 pen

At a parent meeting for the Kindergarten, we were told that there were more supplies that were needed but they couldn’t directly ask for them as the items would be shared and it was policy that you can’t ask for parents to supply shared things. So, they needed more stuff. I am nice, so I went out and got them soap pump dispensers and refills, Kleenex, straws - doilies - and paper plates for art. This totaled about $50 so convert that and it’s another $45.

Now this list may not look like much, but I certainly don’t remember my parents supplying all this when I was in school and from the research I did before I wrote this, most of Woodland’s parents don’t supply these types of things either. I am happy enough to supply the necessary items, but I really don’t think I should have to. I think the philosophy is that if the parents take care of the majority of the supplies, then the school budget can be stretched further. This is on top of normal things you need for school – a backpack, lunchbox, drink bottle and shoes.

Our school has students from Kindergarten through Year 7. We have just under 400 students with about 280 families. It’s a great community and the Parents and Citizens group (think PTA) works very hard to support the school through financial contributions, volunteering in classrooms and enhancing the facilities be it gardening or having new playground equipment installed.

We have a teacher shortage in the state and really throughout the country, but our school is lucky enough to have enough staff this year. We have a principal and two deputy principals that don’t have in class teaching time which is almost unheard of right now with the shortage.

I have been following the story about the District office, the supervisors and the superintendent in Woodland and I can understand that it’s a touchy subject. I just thought that I would give you some small ideas of what other places go through to have their kids in school.

Here, our kids get new computer equipment if the P&C is able to get a grant or has the coffers to pay for them. Here, the students have to wait for new furnishings or play equipment because there is never enough money in the school budget to pay for such things. Here, students go to schools that are over 75 years old (ours is 82 this year) and some really show their age. Most of the things the parents want to see either on campus or within the classrooms the parents have worked hard to get them. We just had a new library built (government paid, of course) and it did NOT come with air conditioning. Imagine a room where all students spend time every day that has no A/C and it’s over 100 degrees outside for 3 or 4 days in a row. The P&C worked extra hard and we just had the A/C installed for over $11,000 converted that’s $9,900.

Like I said, this is just a small glimpse into the life of a school somewhere else so that you can see that your problems are either: 1) Felt by others in a similar way, 2) In your opinion, rather huge in comparison, or 3) Just not worth worrying about as there has to be a place were things are worse.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Woodland Reads 2008 begins tomorrow

From the Next Chapter - WOODLAND READS 2008 runs from February 14 through 17:

This year's Woodland Reads program has, as its focus, the book MABEL MCKAY: Weaving the Dream by Greg Sarris.

Woodlanders in League for Literacy (WILL) inaugurated the program in 2002 with The Circuit by Francisco Jiminez and have followed up with a highly successful list of author-related events featuring: Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and Devil in the Details by Jennifer Traig. The idea is to have as many people as possible read the author¹s work before his arrival so that our whole community is on the same page with that author when he arrives.

Greg Sarris (Chair in Native American Studies at Sonoma State University, author and screenwriter) will visit both local high schools and Woodland Community College, speak at a luncheon at the college, speak at Yolo County Museum, and read and sign his books at The Next Chapter. After two days of events with the author, this year's program continues with weaving exhibits and demonstrations at the Yolo County Historical Museum in Woodland, out at the Cache Creek Nature Preserve, and over in Winters, at the Winters Participation Gallery.

This gives members of the community several chances to meet the author and to earn about native basket weaving... it's both entertaining and educational.

FEB 14 Thursday - (with the author)
10 am - Classroom Talk at Pioneer High School
12 pm - Author Luncheon & Talk at Woodland Community College, 2300 East Gibson Road in the Community Room, tickets are $20 (available now at The Next Chapter)
2 pm - Classroom Talk at Pioneer High School
4 pm - Classroom Talk at Woodland Community College
7 pm - Author Reading & Book Signing at the Next Chapter Bookstore, 622 Main Street

FEB 15 Friday (with the author)
8 am - Classroom Talk at Woodland High School
10 am - Classroom Talk at Woodland High School
2 pm - Museum Talk at Yolo County Historical Museum (Gibson House) 512 Gibson Road

FEB 16 Saturday
9 am to 2 pm - Native Basket Weaving Demonstrationat the Cache Creek Nature Preserve, 34199 County Road 20
5 to 8 pm - Native Basket Weaving Demonstration at the Winters Participation Gallery, 18 Main Street, Winters, for class information on Four Native American Basketry Techniques by Kathy Wallace, call (530)-795-2009

FEB 17 Sunday
2 pm - Native Basket Exhibition Reception & Openingat Yolo County Historical Museum (Gibson House) 512 Gibson Road

The Book (available at the Next Chapter) - MABEL MCKAY: WEAVING THE DREAM

A world-renowned Pomo basket weaver and medicine woman, Mabel McKay expressed her genius through her celebrated baskets, her Dreams, her cures, and the stories with which she kept her culture alive. She spent her life teaching others how the spirit speaks through the Dream, how the spirit heals, and how the spirit demands to be heard.

Greg Sarris weaves together stories from Mabel McKay¹s life with an account of how he tried, and she resisted, telling her story straight‹the white people¹s way. Sarris, an Indian of mixed-blood heritage, finds his own story in his search for Mabel McKay¹s. Beautifully narrated, Weaving the Dream initiates the reader into Pomo culture and demonstrates how a woman who worked most of her life in a cannery could become a great healer and an artist whose baskets were collected by the Smithsonian. Hearing Mabel McKay¹s life story, we see that distinctions between material and spiritual and between mundane and magical disappear. What remains is a timeless way of healing, of making art, and of being in the world.

The Author: GREG SARRIS was born in 1952 in Santa Rosa, California. Part American Indian, Filipino, and Jewish, Greg Sarris was adopted at birth and raised in both Indian and white families. He attended local schools through Santa Rosa Junior College, and received a B.A. in 1978 from UCLA. He worked in Hollywood as a model and actor before going to graduate school. He earned a Ph.D. in modern thought and literature at Stanford University in 1988. Also, he was a professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; and a full professor at UCLA for ten years. Greg Sarris is presently a college professor, author, screenwriter, and the Endowed Chair in Native American Studies at Sonoma State University.

Greg Sarris writings: Watermelon Nights (1998), Grand Avenue (1994, this collection also became a Robert Redford-produced HBO teleplay), The Sound of Rattles and Clappers: a Collection of New California Indian Writing (1994), Keeping Slug Woman Alive: A Holistic Approach to American Indian Texts (1993), Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream (1994), and Approaches to Teaching the Works of Louise Erdrich (2004)

WOODLAND READS 2008 is brought to you by Woodlanders in League for Literacy with help from the Rumsey Tribe and Cache Creek Casino Resort, Friends of the Woodland Library, NVB Bank, Yolo County Historical Museum, Woodland Community College, Cache Creek Nature Preserve, Woodland Joint Unified School District and The Next Chapter.

Questions, call The Next Chapter at (530) 668-4620, or stop by the bookstore at 622 Main Street.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Seiferman, Jr. to vie for Woodland City Council seat

Frank Seiferman, Jr., former Yolo County Supervisor, has told a Woodland Journal reporter that he is putting his name in the hat for Woodland City Council. Seiferman will run for one of three available seats this year.

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end this year:

Jeff W. Monroe: Term according to yolocounty.org 3/2004-3/2008
Art Pimentel: 3/2004-3/2008
David M. Flory: 3/2004-3/2008

Woodland City Councilmen whose terms will end in 2010:

William L. Marble: Term 6/2006-6/2010
Marlin H. Davies: 6/2006-6/2010

There is no information about the upcoming election on the Yolo County or City of Woodland Web sites.

Monday, February 11, 2008

WOH News: Need Baby Grand, Invalid wraps up, classes

Here's the latest from the Woodland Opera House. Click the title of this story to access their Web site.

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The Woodland Opera House is looking for a working Baby Grand Piano for the show Brigadoon. If you would like to loan yours out please email Cathy at operahouse@afes.com or call us at 530-666-9617. We will hire a professional moving company to do all the work.

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This is the last weekend of the hilarious comedy The Imaginary Invalid Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2 at the theatre at 340 2nd Street. Directed by and starring Rodger McDonald the show has a Comedic Francaise flair with the actors interacting with the audience in a very Cirque De Soleil atmosphere. Main floor tickets are $15-adults, $13-sen./stu., $8-17 and under and balcony tickets are $10-adults and $5-17 and under.

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Tix on sale now for Sarah Plain and Tall. Set in the early 1900s, this play by Joseph Robinette from the Newberry Award winning novel by Patricia MacLachlan brings to life the charming, heartwarming story of a Kansas farmer, Jacob Witting, (Dan Beard) a widower with two children, Anna (Amanda Young) and Caleb (Abby Miles). When Jacob places an ad in the newspapers seeking a wife he receives a reply from Sarah Wheaton (Helen Dahlberg) from Maine. Sarah will visit the family for a month to see how things work out: “I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall.” Narrated by the adult Anna (Rebecca Baland) the story follows the tumultuous month when Sarah and the Wittings came to know each other. The joys and challenges of everyday life are depicted in this tender and touching tale. The production plays Fridays at 7:30, Saturday February 23 and Saturday March 8 at 7:30, Saturday March 1 and Saturday March 8 at 2:00 and Sundays at 2:00.

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Balcony seats only left for THE EDLOS "A CAPELLA BROADWAY", February 16-7:30pm The EDLOS: A Cappella Broadway is a revue comprised entirely of original arrangements by The EDLOS. It presents a full evening of the best-known and best-loved hit songs from Broadway' s finest productions, all delivered with the unique brand of costumery and humor that has come to define every EDLOS performance.

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On sale NOW The Washboard Wizards March 1-7:30pm The Washboard Wizards present musical comedy floated on a sudzy foundation of clean rhythm and hot vocals. Call it hillbilly jazz vintage washboard fun with an upbeat twist of today. With over 25 years of performance, the Wizards usually keep the crowd under control but they are happiest when seeing the audience grinning.

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Classes available for sign up;

RISING STARS! Performance Workshops
This performer’s workshop is an opportunity for budding actors to develop characterization and acting skills. No auditions. The workshop will end with performances on the Woodland Opera House stage. Prerequisite: Acting classes or performance workshop.
Ages 8-16.
Mon. and Thurs.
4:30-6:00
Spring Workshop March 5-April 20,
Tuition is $180 per session
Call for information about our Home-School Rising Stars Program (For Home-school groups of 8-10 students. By appt.)

YOUTH SUMMER THEATRE CAMP-Show Biz Kidz!
Registration has already started and only a limited number of openings left. No auditions. An introduction to musical theatre performance. Students will spend 4 weeks studying musical theatre technique and will be given an equal opportunity to shine on stage in a musical revue to be performed at the Opera House August 1-3.
Ages 8-10: 9:00-12:00
Ages 11-18: 12:30-3:30
Mon. - Fri. July 7-Aug. 1
Tuition is $250.

NEW: Scene Study
Teen/Adult
Mar. 1- April 12 Saturdays
10:30am to Noon
Cost: $90
This advanced scene study class that will focus on creating fully dimensional characters while keeping true to the context and style of the scene. We will explore techniques in character study and self-direction as well as methods for breaking down scenes.

NEW: Concepts of Shakespeare
Teen/Adult
Mar. 5 - April 9 Weds.
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Cost $90
This class focuses on performance of Shakespeare through a better understanding; performance techniques, exploration and understanding of the language, structure and form, Sonnets, and hidden stage directions.

Private Voice Lessons
Learn the proper techniques of singing with instructor Ray Fisher. Lessons are Saturdays by appointment.
Ages 13- Adult
Cost: $120 for four ½ hour lessons per month

Sunday, February 10, 2008

County supervisors consider 90-acre rezone for Clark Pacific


On Tuesday, February 12, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors will review a proposed reuse by Clark Pacific of a portion of the Spreckels industrial site, located north of Woodland on County Road 18C.

STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION (click the title of this story to access the staff report)

A. ACCEPT staff presentation, and receive public comments regarding the proposed action.

B. DIRECT staff to work with the applicant and current property owners regarding the requested General Plan Amendment and associated approvals for consideration by the Board of Supervisors.

ALSO IN THE STAFF REPORT:

As with the conditional use permit application previously submitted, this General Plan Amendment and Rezoning is only for the 90-acre portion of the previously disturbed area of the former (Spreckels) sugar beet processing facility to allow the applicant to manufacture pre-cast concrete and natural stone products. The county’s Economic Development Manager supports the placement of a large industrial user at this location to help serve as an anchor for this property and to attract other business enterprises to assist the county in its effort to create a future master planned agricultural/industrial complex. Therefore, it is recommended that the Board of Supervisors direct staff to work with the applicant and current property owner to process the following:

• General Plan Amendment to change the designation of the 90-acre portion of the former (Spreckels) site from Agriculture to Industrial;

• Rezone from the existing General Agricultural Zone (A-1) to Heavy Industrial Zone (M-2) (or such other substantially similar designations as county staff and the applicant agree are appropriate during the review process);

• Use Permit, including Conditions of Approval;

• Development Agreement to include negotiated community benefits associated with the proposed project; and

• The appropriate environmental document regarding the project impacts.

Item 7.03 (1:30 pm) documents:
Recommended Action 7.03
Support Document 7.03A
Support Document 7.03B

Opponents to the rezone claim that the Clark Pacific application is "a foot in the door" for more industrial development on the entire 246-acre parcel that includes the former sugar beet processing facility. On July 17, 2007, the Board of Supervisors directed that 160 acres of the Spreckels sugar beet processing facility site be considered for potential redevelopment with general industrial uses within the county’s general plan.

Opponents also claim that a heavy industrial use will produce more environmental hazards than the 45.8-acre sugar facility (and the adjacent 54.3-acre lime field) and that the industrial use will elevate land prices above what agricultural businesses can afford.

American Independent Party founded on George Wallace ideals

"In 1967, Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama was on the move to run for President on a new party ticket. Second only to Alabama, California was the most important state in the Union in the eyes of the Wallace campaign. Wallace supporters greeted with enthusiasm the formation of the American Independent Party." This from the History Page of the American Independent Party Web site.

"The American Independent Party believes that government must be conducted in the full light of public scrutiny. Secrecy is the tool of dictatorship, not of government of, by and for the people. We pledge our full support of all necessary legislation to assure full disclosure to the people of the activities of their government." This from the Platform Page of the American Independent Party Web site, thanks to a story found at rexroad.com. Click the title of this story to access the AIP platform.

AIP is the California affiliate of the Constitution Party (constitutionparty.com).

Their Preamble: "The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States. This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here. The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries." The Constitution Party is an ultraconservative party with a bible-based platform.

Also from rexroad.com, there was a link to this article published by the Daily Democrat on Feb. 6:

Voting as an 'independent' has risks and rewards
By JIM SMITH/Editor
http://www.dailydemocrat.com/ourtown/ci_8185317

"Having voted weeks ago on the American Independent Party ballot it may be more than a bit arrogant of me to begin making predictions on who would be the winner of the Tuesday 'Super Tuesday' primary."

"Hey, don't blame me for being a member of the AIP, I got tired of all the phone calls and campaign mailers coming to the house from the nations' two major political parties. At first it also seemed pretty cool to buck the trend of being either a Democrat or Republican. That way I could maintain professional objectivity while still being invited to political fundraisers without having to pay."

Some AIP growth has been attributed to the confusion of registering as an independent voter - having no official political party affiliation.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Want to be a Costco member? Visit the tent!

As the finishing touches are applied to Costco... and the pre-cast concrete walls of Target are fastened... and the stuccoed gateway feature awaits its press-on bricks... you don't have to wait to become a certified wholesale grocery buyer.

Indeed, I've noticed that Costco has an enrollment tent set up at California Lube and Car Wash at the corner of Wintun and Road 102. (Or is it called Gateway Boulevard now?)

Now that the weather is looking more like spring (thanks to our local groudhog not seeing his shadow last Saturday), it's a good opportunity to complete a face-to-face membership application - rather than enrolling at costco.com.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Day Tripper: 29 miles to Bodies Revealed in Sacramento


Did You Know?

• Each square inch of human skin consists of twenty feet of blood vessels.
• All the blood vessels in the body joined end to end would stretch 62,000 miles or two and a half times around the earth.

These are facts from my favorite display room of the Bodies Revealed exhibition - the Circulatory System. I finally took the half-hour journey to Sacramento with my son to see Bodies Revealed after seeing the ads on YoloBus for the past month. If you're into anatomy and science, this is the place to go. If you're the least bit squeamish, don't go. It took us about an hour to explore the exhibition.

From the Web site:

"Both captivating and edifying, Bodies Revealed in Sacramento, CA unveils the many complex systems, organs and tissues that drive every aspect of our daily lives and unite us all as Humans. Featuring over 200 specimens consisting of whole-bodies and individual organs that have been meticulously dissected and preserved through an innovative process, Bodies Revealed will enlighten, empower, fascinate and inspire."

"This educational and scholarly exhibition is made possible by the unique method to preserve the bodies; often referred to as polymer impregnation or plastination, a process that replaces the body’s water and fat with reactive plastics. The process leaves even the finest, most delicate tissue structures virtually intact, down to the microscopic level, making the process invaluable for medical study."

Bodies Revealed runs through March 16, 2008. The exhibition opens at 10 am and closes at 10 pm seven days a week.

General Admission Prices

Adult: $24.00
Adult w/Audio: $30.00
Child (12 and Under): $17.00
Child (12 and Under) w/Audio: $23.00
Senior (65+): $22.00
Senior (65+) w/Audio: $28.00

Group discounts for 15+ people available. Groups must have a reservation. To book, visit http://www.ticketsforgroups.com or call 800.840.1157, fax 413.525.7772

Bodies Revealed - Sacramento
2040 Alta Arden Expressway
Sacramento CA 95825
Phone Number: 888-263-4379

More fun facts from the exhibition:

• An average human scalp has 100,000 hairs.
• A sneeze can exceed the speed of 100 mph.
• An average human drinks about 16,000 gallons of water in a lifetime.
• It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown.
• Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adulthood we have only 206 in our bodies.
• By the time you turn 70, your heart will have beat some two-and-a-half billion times
• Every square inch of the human body has an average of 32 million bacteria on it.
• Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour - about 1.5 pounds a year.
• The total surface area of the alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs) is the size of a tennis court.
• The lungs are the only organ in the body that can float on water.
• The heart circulates the body's blood supply about 1,000 times each day.
• The heart pumps the equivalent of 5,000 to 6,000 quarts of blood each day.

Click the title of this story to access the Bodies Revealed Web site.

When "common practice" and California EdCode collide


During the last WJUSD board meeting on Jan. 24, it was revealed that no formal voting ever occurred in all the closed sessions about purchasing the Blue Shield building - yet on October 17, the superintendent signed the final draft of the purchase agreement. Keep in mind that on May 23, the superintendent directed a Letter of Intent to negotiate for the purchase of the building. It wasn't until December 13 that the board approved the purchase in a 4 to 3 vote after a brief presentation of location options.

That Jan. 24 board meeting also revealed that the real estate consultant used eminent domain language to negotiate for a higher final price than the appraisal price of the building. This action contradicted previous board direction to not pursue an eminent domain process.

Both of these practices were characterized as "common" for board meetings and for property negotatiations by the superintendent and the consultant.

Now that the matter is in their hands, the Yolo County Grand Jury needs to determine how "common practice" jives with something called the California Education Code.

An article written by Eileen M. Diepenbrock may spark legal deliberations about unofficial board actions leading to the premature purchase offer for the Blue Shield building. It's also possible that the Void Contract Rule that she describes may also apply to the inclusion of unauthorized eminent domain language used in the purchase agreement process. Diepenbrock is a principal in the Diepenbrock-Harrison law firm of Sacramento.

Diepenbrock wrote, "When a school district contract is modified by its superintendent without any evidence of approval by a duly passed motion of the board, that contract modification is void and unenforceable against the district. The Education Code prescribes the only mode by which the power to contract can be exercised. That mode is the measure of the power. A contract and/or contract modification made otherwise than as so prescribed is not binding or obligatory upon the school district."

To read her article, click the title of this story. Statutes and court decisions that support her opinion are reviewed in the article.

RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF EDUCATION CODE:

35163. Every official action taken by the governing board of every school district shall be affirmed by a formal vote of the members of the board, and the governing board of every school district shall keep minutes of its meetings, and shall maintain a journal of its proceedings in which shall be recorded every official act taken.

39656. Wherever in this code the power to contract is invested in the governing board of the school district or any member thereof, such power may by a majority vote of the board be delegated to its district superintendent, or to such persons as he may designate, or if there be no district superintendent then to such other officer of employee of the district as the board may designate. Such delegation of power may be limited as to time, money or subject matter or may be a blanket authorization in advance of its exercise, all as the governing board may direct; provided, however, that no contract made pursuant to such delegation and authorization shall be valid or constitute an enforceable obligation against the district unless and until the same shall have been approved or ratified by the governing board, said approval or ratification to be evidenced by a motion of said board duly passed and adopted. In the event of malfeasance in office the school district official invested by the governing board with such power of contract shall be personally liable to the school district employing him for any and all moneys of the district paid out as a result of such malfeasance.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS:

Diepenbock wrote, "Section 39656 is a verbatim re-enactment of Section 15961, which was enforced in Santa Monica Unified School District v. Persh, 5 CA.3rd 945, 85 Cal. Rptr. 463 (1970). In that case, the trial court held a contract to buy real property could not be enforced in the absence of its ratification or approval by the district's board, as required by Ed. Code, sections 1002.5 and 15961. The court pointed out that persons dealing with a school district are chargeable with notice of the limitations on its power to contract, and though the property owner undeniably suffered hardship, the doctrine of estoppel was not available to him, since the principle does not apply to a municipal agency failing to comply with a statute measuring its power."

Out with the old, in with the funny and cool

There's just no sign of life at the Woodlanders 4 Responsible Government Web site... so it has been removed from The Woodland Journal's "Links for Woodlanders in touch" at right.

I have added two other links, both belonging to one "Floating J. Foam."

floating foam is a local blog site that provides humorous insight to life in Woodland. Click the title of this story to go there.

wifilms.com is the site for Woodland Independent Films, a collective of musicians, artists, writers and professional filmmakers. Their mission is to explore the community within Yolo County and present movies that are connected in some way to the culture of the town (or totally not).

Easy registration for city eNewsletter and agendas


To receive the City of Woodland's electronic newsletter and/or council agendas via email, click the title of this story to access the quick-and-easy online forms.

The City of Woodland eNewsletter is part of the city's effort to keep residents informed of the latest issues and happenings. Each month city departments provide brief informational items for your perusal. Woodland City Council agenda announcements are also available by completing an identical four-field form. To complete the subscription forms you simply enter: First Name, Last Name, Business and Email Address... then push the submit buttons. Easy.

You can always opt-out of any subscription by clicking on the links at the bottom of each message you receive. Currently, there are no email subscription services available for council minutes or Planning Commission agendas and minutes.

Modesto passes city hall accountability measure

Modesto voters on Tuesday approved major changes to the way City Hall does business. They passed two government reform measures, one of them setting Modesto on course to adopt district elections for City Council races in 2009. Measure N was passed with more than 71 percent of the vote late Tuesday.

Voters also approved Measure M, a package of revisions to Modesto's charter that collectively gives the council more authority over the city's management. It passed with 78 percent of the vote.

Adam Ashton of the Modesto Bee reported on the election results. Click on the title of this story to access the entire article. Here are some more excerpts from his report:

"We're really pleased the voters saw Measure M as accountability, and we're grateful for this," Mayor Jim Ridenour said. "Future councils have the tools to ensure accountability in government."

Measure M expands the council's power by:

• Mandating the mayor's early involvement in writing the city's budget, a process that happens now only when the city manager allows it.
• Demanding that the council write goals for each city department, and holding executives accountable through annual reviews.
• Requiring the council to hire a city auditor answerable exclusively to elected officials.
• The measure also opens the door to council pay raises.

The Charter Review Committee spent more than a year studying government and looking for ways to make City Hall more transparent before offering up the proposals that became Measures M and N.

"It's exciting because it's validating," Lucas said. "But it's most important for the citizens because they're finally going to have accountability."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Does $5,000 in-lieu parking fee meet CA Mitigation Fee Act?


66000.5. This chapter, Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 66010), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 66012), Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 66016), and Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 66020) shall be known and may be cited as the Mitigation Fee Act.

66001. (a) In any action establishing, increasing, or imposing a fee as a condition of approval of a development project by a local agency, the local agency shall do all of the following:
(1) Identify the purpose of the fee.
(2) Identify the use to which the fee is to be put. If the use is financing public facilities, the facilities shall be identified. That identification may, but need not, be made by reference to a capital improvement plan as specified in Section 65403 or 66002, may be made in applicable general or specific plan requirements, or may be made in other public documents that identify the public facilities for which the fee is charged.
(3) Determine how there is a reasonable relationship between the fee's use and the type of development project on which the fee is imposed.
(4) Determine how there is a reasonable relationship between the need for the public facility and the type of development project on which the fee is imposed.
(b) In any action imposing a fee as a condition of approval of a development project by a local agency, the local agency shall determine how there is a reasonable relationship between the amount of the fee and the cost of the public facility or portion of the public facility attributable to the development on which the fee is imposed.

What is the cost of the parking structure for which these fees will be collected? Click the title of this story for the entire state law.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Council agenda: Dog Park done, Dog Fest March 8


Tonight, Feb. 5, Woodland City Council is expected to ratify the completion of Phase 2 of the Community and Senior Center, a.k.a. The Dog Park.

The two-acre Dog Park is the first of its kind in Woodland. It includes a separately fenced turf-area for small dogs and large dogs, with picnic tables, walkways, benches, drinking fountains for dogs and their owners, and an informational kiosk. It is situated just to the south of the new Community/Senior Center.

The Dog Park is partially funded with 2000 Park Bond Act Per Capita allocation and included a budget of $402,833. The final construction cost for the Dog Park is $374,250.37, funded by Proposition 40, Measure E, and the MPFP. This project was completed within the approved budget.

The grand opening of the Dog Park will be on March 8, 2008, to coincide with the Community/Senior Center one year anniversary celebration.

Another downtown fee considered by council: $5,000 in-lieu of parking is "fair share" amount


During tomorrow's Woodland City Council meeting (Feb. 5, 2008), Item I-9 will be presented as a Public Hearing.

I-9: Adopt Initial Study and Negative Declaration; Introduce Ordinance to Add Section 25-23-15 to the Municipal Code for the Purpose of Downtown Parking; Adopt Resolution to Approve Parking-in-Lieu Fee (5 minutes)

SUBJECT: Ordinance Adding Downtown Parking Standards, Establishing Parking District Boundaries and In-Lieu of Parking Fee

Report in Brief (click the title of this story to access the staff report)

The proposed Ordinance will add Section 25.23.15 to the Municipal Code regarding Downtown Parking Standards and will establish the boundaries of the Downtown Parking District for the purposes of allowing an in-lieu of parking fee.

Staff recommends that the City Council:

1. Adopt the Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the proposed parking ordinance.
2. Introduce Ordinance _______ to add Section 25.23.15 to the Woodland Municipal Code for the purpose of downtown parking.
3. Approve Resolution _______ establishing Parking District boundaries and an in-lieu of parking fee.

Background

The purpose for the proposed Ordinance is to continue the actions necessary to facilitate implementation of the City’s Downtown Parking Management Plan and General Plan goals and policies with regard to Downtown Parking. A first step in implementing an overall comprehensive parking strategy is the adoption of necessary Zoning Code revisions.

As discussed in the Planning Commission report dated November 1, 2007, typical suburban parking standards do not adequately address downtown conditions. Parking standards should be one component in the mix that helps to encourage smart growth principals and economic development by providing reasonable and effective standards that are clearly defined and easily understood and which meet the needs of the businesses, customers and development community. The intent is to proactively prepare for future parking needs. This will require revising standards, collecting fees toward future parking supply, and the implementation of innovative parking management policies.

Discussion

New Parking Standards

The City of Woodland’s parking standards are recommended to be modified to reflect the existing and anticipated pedestrian orientation of the downtown, to retain the historical feel of the downtown core, and to avoid imposing suburban standards that would result in large paved areas on Main Street and within the City center. The following are the intended purposes for a revised parking program in the Downtown:

• Maintain and enhance a pedestrian oriented environment in the Downtown.
• Promote and encourage economic investment in the Downtown area.
• Promote re-use and renovation of historic buildings in the Downtown while encouraging new investment and construction.
• Enhance the vitality of the Downtown by encouraging an appropriate mix of future development and land uses.
• Encourage mixed-use development supporting residential and office uses on the upper floors, and ground floor offices, retail and restaurants.

The modifications include changes to residential and commercial related standards and incorporate special provisions to allow shared parking in limited cases, off-site parking also in limited situations, and in lieu-of-parking fees.

A significant feature of the ordinance is that existing buildings in the downtown will not be required to provide new parking, unless there is an addition or expansion or the addition of residential uses where there were none previously. New development will be required to provide parking. Provisions are included to allow shared parking, off-site parking, or in-lieu-of parking fees.

In-Lieu Fee

In-lieu fees provide an alternative for developers who wish to construct new projects or do major renovations to existing buildings where it is either not feasible or undesirable to construct on-site parking. In fact, the Downtown Specific plan prohibits the development of surface parking on Main Street. The purpose of the fee is to recover some of the capital cost of constructing new parking facilities.

In-lieu fees would be deposited in a special fund and used by the City to develop or assist in developing parking structures. Fees generally go to construct parking facilities at locations that support the parking needs of the area while not compromising safety and ambiance of the downtown area. The Downtown Specific Plan includes possible locations for future parking structures.

It is recommended that the In-lieu fee for downtown projects should be set at a rate that does not recover the full cost for structured parking downtown, but provides a “fair share” contribution toward the future development of such parking facilities. In a typical suburban situation new development would be required to pay the full cost for the construction of new parking. In this case, paying a partial fee is ultimately more cost effective and functions as an incentive toward encouraging development in the downtown. The balance of the cost for providing structured parking will likely be paid through a combination of Redevelopment funds, Major Projects Financing Plan fee, City/County/State Superior Court partnership contributions, and possibly through future assessment district and long term user fees.

The City conducted a land evaluation study of the downtown last year and more recently obtained cost estimates from area cities and determined that the estimated cost per structured parking space is $20,000 to $25,000 per space. At this time it is suggested that the City set an in-lieu of parking fee at $5,000. However, should development and economic factors change, the City Council will have the ability to reevaluate and raise or lower fees. It is proposed that the City’s Code be amended to provide for in-lieu fees and state that from time to time the City Council shall establish by Resolution the value of off-street parking facilities and fee amount on a per parking stall basis.

Fiscal Impact

Funds from the General Fund have been utilized for Community Development salaries and the completion of the Initial Study. Limited Redevelopment funds were utilized on a land cost summary analysis. It is hoped that this ordinance will facilitate downtown redevelopment, increased investment, and enhanced City revenues through a rejuvenated commercial core.

Public Contact

Noticing has taken the following forms:
• Posting of the City Council agenda.
• Quarter page ad in the Daily Democrat published on January 16, 2008 with a second publishing on January 23, 2008.
• A quarter page ad was published prior to the Planning Commission meeting, held on January 3, 2008.
• The Woodland Chamber of Commerce was notified of the City Council meeting and a copy of this report provided to them.

In addition to the above notification efforts, the concept of proposed parking standard changes and an in-lieu fee was brought forward to the City Council in March of 2007. At that time the Council expressed general support of the proposed changes. Staff brought the proposed parking amendments before the Planning Commission for a first review on November 7, 2007. At that time, the Commission expressed general support and directed staff to work with the Chamber and stakeholders in the Downtown. Staff met with the Chamber Government Affairs group, on November 20, 2007 and the Chamber Board on December 13, 2007.

The Chamber Government Affairs representatives expressed support, but indicated that they would feel more comfortable if a broader group of board members and downtown business representatives had a chance to discuss the matter. They indicated that the proposed changes were consistent with ideas and proposals previously discussed as part of the Downtown Parking Management Plan. On December 13, 2007, staff gave a presentation on the proposed parking ordinance at the full Woodland Chamber Board.

The Board has 18 members and all received copies of the November 7, 2007 Planning Commission staff report. The Chamber placed a notice of meeting in the newspaper and sent a notice to 600 members that the parking ordinance discussion was on the agenda for that meeting.

Staff has received no comments expressing concern from the Chamber and the Woodland Chamber of Commerce has in the past supported policies and implementation of the Downtown Specific Plan.

Commission Recommendation

The proposed Ordinance and Resolution were heard as a public hearing on January 3, 2008 by the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission recommended 6-0 that the City Council approve the proposed changes.

During review the Planning Commission discussed the in-lieu fees. A question was asked regarding the in-lieu fees and why they should be considered. Discussion ensued wherein it was stated that the intent is to have a density of activity in the downtown with parking located to the periphery, off Main Street. The use of in-lieu fees provides that needed alternative when a project is not able to meet the full extent of its on-site parking. The downtown standards are intended to facilitate a pedestrian environment in which a “park once” strategy is encouraged, that multiple visits may be accomplished with one parking stop.

Environmental Review

No significant environmental effects were identified. A Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration was published 21 days prior to the meeting date and a copy posted in the County Clerk’s office, January 16, 2008. Recommendation for Action

Staff recommends that the City Council:

1. Adopt the Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the proposed parking ordinance.
2. Introduce Ordinance _______ to add Section 25.23.15 to the Woodland Municipal Code for the purpose of downtown parking.
3. Approve Resolution _______ establishing Parking District boundaries and an in-lieu of parking fee.

COMMENTARY: I like the goal city government has with the downtown... to make it pedestrian friendly. However, despite the claim above, the flat fee proposal will not retain the historical feel of downtown core, does nothing to avoid imposing suburban standards on Main Street, will do little to enhance a pedestrian oriented environment, will not promote economic investments, will not promote renovation of historic buildings, willl not encourage a mix of development and land uses, and will not encourage mixed-use development supporting residential and office uses.

From where did this $5,000 figure derive? Is it really fair? Here are some concerns I have about the flat $5,000 in-lieu fee:

• A flat fee doesn't proportionally reflect all the variable costs in different redevelopment or improvement projects
• The Central Business District does not require properties to provide parking right now, so this is an added tax
• The threat of imposing suburban standards on Main Street and the CBD has no merit
• New residential development projects need to pay for their own parking needs
• What constitutes a "major" renovation? A $5,000 flat fee will not encourage the many small "major" improvements needed in the downtown
• The estimated revenue is not specified... so is this more of a band-aid approach that will actually discourage property improvements?
• The fee has nothing to do with the historical qualities of downtown
• Downtowners were not included in the public process, the Chamber's Government Affairs committee does not represent downtown merchants or property owners.

Once again, this is a case whereby the city makes up an arbitrary number and then tries to justify it with irrelevent information. Ultimately, of what amount is $5,000 a "fair-share?"