Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In-lieu parking fee beneficial to developers, not downtown

In a letter to the editor of the Daily Democrat (click title to access), downtowner John Perry pokes another hole in the new ordinance. Here's the letter:

On April 2, the City Council approved a new "in lieu" parking fee ordinance for the benefit of developers. I spoke before the council in opposition of the proposed new ordinance. The new ordinance was of particular interest to me because the proposed City Center Lofts project is adjacent to my existing business and this project will benefit greatly from the new "in lieu parking fee" ordinance.

The city planning staff states that developers must meet at least one of a list of findings to be able to pay in lieu fees rather than construct new parking. According to planning staff, the findings include projects located where the creation of new parking is unfeasable due to physical constraints at the location or unnecessary due to proposed use. As a business person, who is located in the downtown area, these findings make sense.

The last finding that a developer may need to meet, is that parking is unnecessary because existing parking in the area is sufficient, would be detrimental to the pedestrian nature of the area or would be undesirable because encouraging people to walk would benefit the area. Since the City Center Lofts project is entitled to pay an in lieu fee, and does not meet the first two findings, it falls under this last finding.

When I expanded my building in the 1980s, I was limited to 1,000 square feet because of inadequate parking. The City Center Lofts project is adding approximately 30,000 square feet of commercial space, with no onsite commercial parking being provided. When I met with the city planning staff, I was told that there was adequate parking within a three block radius. I fail to understand how making people walk up to a three block radius from their desired location, benefits anyone other than the developer that is not required to install onsite parking.

The fee that was discussed at the council meeting is less than 1/5th the cost of constructing on site parking. I can understand why the developer chooses the in lieu fee over constructing on site parking.

Mayor Flory stated, in The Daily Democrat's April 3, story on parking that the ordinance would encourage developers to invest in Woodland's downtown. If the in lieu fee is utilized to accommodate a developer, in the down area, because of physical constraints or unnecessary due to proposed use, I would agree it would be good for the community. If the reason for the in lieu fee is because there is adequate parking within a three block radius, than the benefit to the community is non existent. This ordinance will be devastating to existing businesses that already have a shortage of parking in the downtown area. My business already has a shortage of parking within a reasonable distance. I don't consider a three block radius reasonable. In planning text books or big city areas, three blocks may be considered reasonable, but not in downtown Woodland.

From the council's unanimous vote supporting the ordinance, it is apparent that my position was not very convincing to the council. I must assume that my position on the new parking ordinance, based on doing business in downtown Woodland for over 34 years, was overshadowed by the desire to encourage developers to invest in the downtown.

The new parking ordinance may encourage developers to invest in the downtown, but it will also encourage businesses that need convenient parking, such as my business, to move from the downtown area. The City Council should avoid taking actions that encourage developers at the determent of existing businesses. The new in lieu parking fee ordinance will encourage developers but at the same time will be detrimental to existing businesses. My business will survive, because I have the option to move from the downtown area, which I am currently in the process of investigating. In my opinion, the in lieu parking ordinance will be a disaster for the downtown area but the capitalistic system does allow ill conceived projects to proceed and fail.

JOHN PERRY, Woodland

Dustin among tops in American League

Dustin Pedroia of Woodland has had a great April as the second baseman for the world champion Boston Red Sox. He is tenth in batting average hitting .313, second in hits with 35 and second in doubles with 11.

Last night Dustin made a great diving stop in the top of the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays. The grab and assist off the bat of Vernon Wells helped preserve a scoreless tie, subsequently broken in the bottom of the ninth by Kevin Youkilis' game-winning single. View the video clip of Dustin's dive by clicking the title of this story.

Boston (16-12) is in second place by percentage points to the Baltimore Orioles (15-11).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Democrat reports on district staff air quality concerns

In a report entitled "A general air of uncertainty" compiled by Lizeth Cazares, the Daily Democrat has finally published a story about district office air quality from the staff perspective. You can click the title of this story to access the complete article.

Here are a few tasty tidbits from the report:

Tidbit Number One:

As the district received complaints and reviewed information by health and environmental agencies, officials decided to take action.

District administrators moved the entire group of employees out of 628 and 626 Cottonwood St. last month. The officies are located immediatley north of the school district office, which itself is a former hardware store, once known as PV Ranch.

Tidbit Number Two:

Jeff Pinnow, a hazardous materials specialist for the Yolo County Environmental Health Department, said the Schutze report was limited and that the levels of PCE could be higher or lower.

Whether the building is safe or not, Pinnow isn't sure.

"Based on four samples, I wouldn't say one way or another," he said.

Pinnow said the standards Schutze used to measure the safety of the building's PCE levels - The Regional Water Quality Control Board standards known as Environmental Screening Levels - are looked upon as recommendations rather than problem indicators.

These ESLs are significantly lower than the recommended EPA levels.

Tidbit Number Three

District Superintendent Jacki Cottingim said the planned move is all about the health of the district's employees.

"People can say what they want, but the fact is that this has been an environmental problem that goes back to 1992," she said.

It wasn't just the Schutze report that caused the district to move its employees, Cottingim said. The district also brought in an occupational doctor to talk to the staff, and when they asked him how safe the building was, the doctor seemed to dodge the answer, Cottingim said.

"A staff member directly asked him, 'Would you work here?' He said, 'No I wouldn't,' and that was good enough for us," she said.

For related Woodland Journal stories and commentary, visit the following:

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2008
District finds Bay Area firms to dispute air quality report

District's landlord responds to material breach allegations

MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2008
Attorney fees, Schutze report: $90,129.01 billed to school district

WEA chimes in on district staff relocation

LWV Woodland to hold three election fora


The Woodland League of Women Voters is planning three forums for the upcoming local elections:

Thursday, May 8, 2008, for the Woodland City Council candidates. The forum will be held in the Woodland City Hall Council Chambers, 300 First Street, Woodland beginning at 7:0p.m.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, for the 5Th District Supervisor and Superior Court Judge (Department 2) candidates. The forum will be held at the Woodland Community & Senior Center, East Street, Woodland, beginning at 7:00p.m.

Thursday, May 15, 2008, for 8Th Assembly District candidates. The forum will be held at the Woodland Community & Senior Center, East Street, Woodland, beginning at 7:00p.m.

All forums will follow a structured format and will provide time for candidates to answer written questions from the audience.

If you have questions, please contact Pat Butler, or 530-383-3143.


In the running for three council seats are:

Martie Dote
Bobby Harris
Fred Lopez
Jeff Monroe
Art Pimentel
Frank Sieferman, Jr.


Serving the people of Woodland and surrounding rural area

"Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport"

The League of Women Voters encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not support or oppose any political party or any candidate. It does, however take action on selected government issues in the public interest. Whatever the issue, the League believes that efficient and economical government requires:

• clear assignment of responsibilities
• competent personnel
• adequate financing
• coordination among levels of government
• effective enforcement
• well defined channels for citizen input

Monday, April 28, 2008

Woodland record label offers free vinyl playing machines

From the Web site of Gearhead Records, a cool Woodland business:

Gearhead Records has teamed with Crosley Radio to promote our obsession with vinyl! We want to help make some lucky music fans' day by giving away 2 FREE TURNTABLES. Crosley Radio has been making incredible affordable vintage-style turntables for decades. I've been using their turntables for years, and can't recommend them enough! They're stylish, portable, and functional all in one great retro package!

So here's the deal: Between March 28 and April 30 2008, just place an order through the Gearhead Records Webstore for $25 or more (NOT INCLUDING SHIPPING) or come in person to and shop in our retail boutique, and be entered automatically for a chance to win one of 2 Crosley Turntables! The more times you order, the more your chances of winning increase! And we'll ship it to you for free!!!!

Its that easy, spend $25 or more online or in our retail location, get entered into the contest automatically! The more times your order online or shop instore, the better your chances are to win! Make sure you include your full name, address, telephone number and email address. We'll contact the 2 winners at the end of the contest.

Good Luck and lots of vinyl love,

from your pals at Gearhead Records and Crosley Radio

Retail Store

Gearhead Records opened its retail store, Gearhead Records and Stuff on January 23rd 2007. Located at 39 5th Street, Suite C in Woodland CA 95695. The shop carries a mixture of music and merchandise not only from the Gearhead Records and Apparel brand, but also from Kandystripes Pinstriping, The Choppers Car Club, Swivel Industries, MC5, Plastic Idol Records, Rip Off Records, Steel Cage Records and much much more! Its where Kustom Kulture meets Rock Roll Swagger!

Hours are Tuesday thru Saturday, 12 Noon to 7 PM. Call 530-662-8277 for more information or directions.

Company History

Gearhead Records exploded out of the gate with its first release in April 2000 and has since released some of the best punk n roll around. Growing out of Gearhead Magazine, the world's first punk rock/hot rod magazine, the label has mirrored the editorial content of quality, diversity and style. There's something here for almost everybody, from Detroit-style rock n' roll to new wave power-pop, from melodic punk to instrumentals' all killer & no filler!

Owner Michelle Haunold has over 25 years of music industry experience. She has done everything from being Music Director and DJ at a college radio station (KBVR in Corvallis, OR), to being a writer, from working in record stores to handling sales and distribution, to booking shows. Up until July 2006 the label was co-owned by Michelle and Gearhead Magazine owner Mike LaVella, who met while both were writing for Maximum Rockn'roll Magazine in the early 90's. In June 2006 they decided to split the company in two in order to focus on parts of the business they each were passionate.

Gearhead has expanded to include a full line of apparel,and accessories. The never-ending quest for the most kick-ass rock and punk around continues on a daily basis. Having had success with The Hives, The Hellacopters, New Bomb Turks, The Wildhearts and more recently, The Rock n Roll Soldiers, Gitogito Hustler and Riverboat Gamblers, Gearhead Records is THEE tastemaker rock and punk label.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Storm Water Management Program review

The City of Woodland holds a Municipal Storm Water Permit (issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board) which requires the City to implement a Storm Water Management Program. The City’s Storm Water Management Program was reviewed and approved by the Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2004. The Program identifies best management practices (BMPs) that must be implemented during the five year permit period for six categories: Public Education and Outreach, Public Involvement and Participation, Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination, Construction Site Runoff Control, Post Construction Runoff Control, and Municipal Operations. As part of the permit compliance process, the City is seeks public input on the program.

The program may be viewed here: Storm Water Management Program

Please submit comments by April 30, 2008 to:

Mark Severeid
Acting Environmental Resource Analyst
City of Woodland Public Works Department
300 First Street
Woodland, CA 95695

Click the title of this story to access a diagram of the storm system water flow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

School board agenda: Try to satisfy one of Berg's requests, table another... again

Agenda for the WJUSD Regular Board/Study Session Meeting
Thursday, April 24, 2008

Note the following two items (in bold) that are on tonight's agenda (click story title).

H. INFORMATION 1-S. Review Costs Associated With Purchase/Lease Of New Central Office (Written)

Trustee Warren Berg requested this information more than a month ago, during the March 13 board meeting.

It will be interesting to see what information is provided tonight. After my California Public Records Act requests for the same documents on April 2 and 3, the attorney for the district emailed me back on April 14 for an extension to April 28.

L. TRUSTEE COMMENTS/REQUESTS FOR FUTURE BOARD ITEMS 5. Why Are Minutes Not Kept In Closed Session? – to be discussed at Special Board Retreat/Study Session – date to be determined

This question was also posed more than a month ago, during the same March 13 board meeting. The question was ignored during the March 27 meeting and again during the April 3 meeting.

Now, the board has to wait for an undetermined date at a special meeting?

Just answer the man's question for crying out loud! What is sad is that The Woodland Journal has already provided the information (at no cost to the district) in a story posted on April 3. There is no reason why minutes cannot be kept during closed sessions. Click here for California Government Code Section 54950-54962. I emailed Berg the link to the information.

What is NOT on tonight's agenda: The lease-purchase agreement for the Blue Shield building. That item was also not on the March 27 agenda since trustee Elaine Lytle, one of the four proponents of the building purchase, was due to be absent. The lease-purchase agreement will be discussed during a special board meeting on Tuesday, April 29 - perhaps the same special meeting that Berg's closed-session question will be answered.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Woodland gasoline prices among lowest in area

As oil reached $119.90 a barrel on Tuesday - when the U.S. dollar touched an all-time low of $1.6018 to the euro - Woodlanders are undoubtedly concerned about how far a buck will go when buying gas.

Well... according to, our east side stations are the lowest around. At the time of this writing, the Woodland Costco (3.69) and the Arco on Rd. 102 (3.71) top the Sacramento area list along with the Folsom Costco (3.71) and an EZ Stop in Rancho Cordova (3.72).

Click the title of this story to see a comparative chart of Woodland gas stations.

The Web site is looking for members to report prices. The following is from

Urgent! Gas Prices Are Out of Control
Gas prices are expected to reach record highs in the next few months is a volunteer organization where consumers work together to fight high gas prices. The website works by having consumers, like you, report local gas prices so that everyone can avoid high priced gas and save money at the pump. is a grass-roots community effort to lower gas prices. In a typical city, gas prices vary by about 30-50 cents per gallon in the US (10-15c/L in Canada). If everyone buys gas at the lower priced stations, it puts pressure on the higher priced stations to lower their gas prices since their sales will decrease. In effect, it makes gas stations more competitive.

All gas prices on are reported to the website by ordinary people. By combining the efforts of 700,000 national members (and growing), it makes it easier to find the cheapest gas prices. Much of the time, you can save 15 cents per gallon (7c/L in Canada) without having to drive for 20 miles.

We Need Your Help!

Supes honor Campbells, et al

From yesterday's Yolo County Board of Supervisors meeting:

Resolution Declaring Scottish American Days, April 26-27, 2008, in Yolo County

WHEREAS, the Caledonian Club of Sacramento, which is celebrating its 132nd anniversary, has again returned to Yolo County to celebrate the Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Gathering- "The Friendly Games", one of the largest Scottish festivals in Northern California on April 26th and 27th, 2008, at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland; and

WHEREAS, "The Friendly Games" includes all things Scottish, such as, "ceilidghs", piping and drumming competitions, the glen of clans, highland dancing, athletic competition, Scottish animals, historical reenactments, and authentic Scottish foods and ales; and

WHEREAS, the Caledonian Club of Sacramento was organized in 1876 to preserve the Scottish culture and heritage by bringing together people of Scottish descent, to practice and preserve Scottish traditions, and to educate the public about Scottish traditions and heritage; and

WHEREAS, the Caledonian Club of Sacramento hosts many annual events, including the Sacramento Tartan Ball in November, National Tartan Day on April 6th, and the Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Gathering in Woodland during the last weekend of April; and

WHEREAS, the Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Gathering helps to remind everyone that the link between Scotland and America, both historic and contemporary, runs deep and strong, and heralds the contributions generations of Scots-Americans have made to the character and prosperity of the United States, the State of California, and to the County of Yolo.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Yolo County Board of Supervisors does hereby give full recognition and congratulations to the Caledonian Club of Sacramento for its commitment to bring people of Scottish heritage and those interest in things Scottish together for appreciation and celebration of cultural diversity in Yolo County; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Yolo County Board of Supervisors declares Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th, 2008 as Scottish American Days in Yolo County.

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 22nd day of April, 2008 by the following vote:

AYES: McGowan, Thomson, Rexroad Yamada, Chamberlain.

# # #

Scottish Games & Festival (click the title of this story to access more info)
Yolo County Fairgrounds
Woodland, CA
April 26th and 27th
Doors open at 9 a.m. April 26th

Saturday Night Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-lee)
Dinner and entertainment start at 5:30 p.m. in the Crown & Thistle Pub and White Heather Stage area
Performing will be Molly's Revenge, Men of Worth, Wicked Tinkers and Camodie

Along with the Campbells, there are 69 other clans registered for this year's event. Visit the Glen of Clans area to discover your heritage! Rumor has it that Woodland City Councilman Jeff Monroe will be attending the Games despite a recovering shoulder - i.e. without caber, with kilt.

To give you an idea of the size of the event, here is the list of lead staff for the festival:

Games Manager: Marlene Myers
Games Secretary: Sandy Wesh
Treasurer: Susan Wilson
Advance Tickets: Pat Thomson
Marketing: Pat Thomson
Volunteer Coordinator: Rita Kennedy
Website: Roger Peeples

Operations Manager: Jerry Long
Accommodations: Susan Wilson
Castle Gate: George Moorhead
Comm / First Aid: Pres Thomson
Golf Cart Control: Jerry Long
Hospitality: Donna Kantner
Logistics: Jerry Long
Parking: Neal Peart
Photographer: Bob Rice
Program Sales: Kay Bell for Daughters of Scotia
RV Parking: Greg Brahms
Security: John Daley
Sound Systems: Berhl McLendon
Ticket Sales - Gate: Chris & Nona Boyd

Athletics: Mike Qutermous
Drum Major: Angie Roddan
Highland Dance: Kyla Groeschel
Piping & Drumming: Andrew Bodemeijer & Jerry Whealan

Animals: Randy Russell
Beverage Sales: Bruce Bailey, Harlan Kenyon
Bonnie Knees: Bill Wilson
Callie Tent: Marcelle Bowden
Ceilidh: David Daley
Ceremonies: Don MacRae
Clans: Roger Peeples
Contribution Lane: Vacant
Country Dance: Lauren Davis-Todd
Concert / Entertainers: Dave Mercer, Bobbie McKie
Fiddlers/Harps: Janet Kurnick
Genealogy: Helen Lucas
Haggis Hurling: Kate Harper
Information: Pat Thomson
Kiddie Cabers: Ken Lawson
Kirkin: Rev. Stanley Anderson
Lads & Lassies: Trish Reiff
Lectures: Don MacRae & Marye Wanlass
Product Sales: Alan & Jean Himmah
Sheep Dog Demo: Randy Russell
Small Venues: Clyde and Marsha Scott
Vendors - Merchants: Diane Boykin
Vendors - Food: Susanne Black
Walk Thru History: Mary Hustler
Whisky Tasting: George & Nancy Morrow

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yolo County Supervisors to recognize Earth Day

From today's Yolo County Board of Supervisors meeting:

Resolution No. 08-53


WHEREAS, on this thirty-eighth anniversary of Earth Day, Yolo County is taking this opportunity to appreciate our natural heritage, increase ecological awareness and environmental sustainability, and take active steps to reduce our carbon footprint; and

WHEREAS, the County of Yolo is fortunate to have such waterways as the, Sacramento River Delta and Cache Creek Watershed, and a commitment to the preservation of agriculture and open space with almost 95% (550,407 acres) of landscape designated for agricultural use, - all of which require our vigilant protection; and

WHEREAS, these lands, waters, air and other natural resources should be protected and preserved at all costs, and the goal of environmental sustainability is the legacy we wish to leave for those who follow us; and

WHEREAS, the County of Yolo has been proactive in promoting energy conservation, sustainable practices, and protection of our natural resources through the recent adoption of a new Green Procurement Policy; and

WHEREAS, our County is taking the lead in actively fighting global climate change; although the challenge is global in nature, Yolo County is making efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and serve as a model on what we can do now locally, to protect the earth; and

WHEREAS, the County of Yolo is proud that we will be joining others throughout our country and the world to observe this day and participate in events that promote respect for our planet, and we can take pride in the fact that our County is acting to improve our environment, not only on Earth Day, but everyday.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, does hereby proclaim April 22, 2008, as “Earth Day” in Yolo County, California.

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 22 day of April 2008, by the following vote: AYES: McGowan, Thomson, Rexroad, Yamada, Chamberlain.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Downtown group emerges with support from city, survey results in

A yet unnamed downtown action group has emerged to promote the historic downtown area. The group has met twice to discuss marketing opportunities, identity and goals. Anita Long, owner of The House Dresser, initiated the meetings that have taken place at the The Savory Cafe and the Fat Cat Cafe. Long and two other representatives of the group have also met with Woodland City Councilmen Dave Flory and Skip Davies and city manager Mark Deven.

The city leaders expressed support for the group, urging the development of a mission statement, budget and long-term goals. Support may come in a variety of ways, such as the city simply providing chairs for the downtown Christmas festivities. Deven was surprised to find out that only Long and a few others have organized holiday events without city involvement.

On a related note, the Downtowner Surveys have been collected and the results have been forwarded to survey participants, Deven and all councilmen. Surveys were hand-delivered throughout the historic downtown area to businesses and residents and were also made available to The Woodland Journal readers. All related comments from this blog were compiled and sent with survey results. The survey was also emailed to two representatives of the local chamber of commerce for distribution amongst their membership.

Here are some of the survey results:

56% agreed (and 12% disagreed) that a Government Center designation for Court Street (from Fourth to College) will help define land use and traffic flow.

Most respondents (87%) agreed that parking structures built for development projects should be paid for by the developers and include additional parking for the downtown.

Twice as many respondents agreed that there should be diagonal parking on Main Street. (56% to 26%)

Main Street should not be one-way. (66% to 19%)

Most respondents (81%) agree that the Downtown Specific Plan should outline ways to promote the use of sides streets and alleys

Most respondents with an opinion on the matter agreed that Fourth Street should remain open between Main and Court. (47% to 9%)

Most respondents with an opinion on the matter agreed that the Downtown Specific Plan for a theater complex on the 800 Block does not consider the potential for better planning in the downtown (37% to 9%) - AND - the Downtown Specific Plan should encourage the renovation of the State Theatre (66% to 9%).

Private businesses know best how to promote themselves. Businesses have the right to use their own brands and colors at their location exteriors - 56% agreed and 12% disagreed.

Three times as many respondents agree that there should be no fees for A-Frame signs and fewer restrictions on their use. (66% to 22%)

It is clear that respondents like the overhanging signs (like the one's on Corner Drug and Timothy¹s Bakery), 87% agreed and nobody disagreed.

Likewise, there should be more banners and decorations in the downtown (78% to 9%), the black post street lighting should extend to East Street (62% to 6%), and more trees should be planted in the downtown (82% to 9%).

By an overwhelming margin, respondents agree that there should be up-to-date directories and signs downtown that help shoppers, 91% agreed and nobody disagreed.

For the complete results of the survey and compiled comments, please download the survey by clicking here and return to Marco Brando at 145 First Street, Woodland CA 95695.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rules announced for the Woodland Community, Senior & Dog Center

This month's City of Woodland eNewsletter announced the posted rules for the Dog Park that is now open. The fenced area was closed immediately after the inaugural ceremony to finish the adjacent parking area.

Here are the rules in a nutshell:

• Use poop bags and put them in the waste container
• You must have control over your dog
• Don't groom your dog at the park
• Dogs must be licensed
• Spayed and neutered dogs recommended, dogs in heat are not allowed
• Dogs and owners must not have smokes or alcohol
• No kids under five, kids five to twelve must have an adult (leashes optional)
• You assume all risks
• If rules aren't followed, you will be asked to leave by another dog owner

Click the title of this story to access the complete rules.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

2008 Heritage Home Awards Announced

The City of Woodland’s Historical Preservation Commission is pleased to announce this years 2008 Heritage Home Award recipients. The Heritage Home award is a public recognition of a remarkable family home and commemorates that home’s contribution to the aesthetically and historically significant residential architecture of Woodland. The award is honorary and recognizes the home as a special community resource and recognizes those homes that have been well maintained or restored.

Each year the Historical Preservation Commission considers nominations and selects up to five (5) recipients. However, this year the Commission has chosen four (4). The awards are presented by the Commission to the owners of the selected Heritage Home nominees. The award consists of a Certificate of Recognition and an attractive 7” x 10” oval bronze plaque
from the Erie Landmark Company listing the year of construction of the home. Accepting the award does not place restrictions on the home.

The four homes selected to receive the award this year are:

• 241 Cross Street, Date of Construction 1914
• 33 Third Street, Date of Construction 1879
• 152 First Street, Date of Construction 1910
• 319 Oak Avenue, Date of Construction, 1892

The Heritage Home Awards will be presented by the Historical Preservation Commission on May 14, 2008 at 6:00 PM in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 300 First Street.

If you would like more information, please contact Jimmy Stillman, Associate Planner at

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where was the Republican forum?

On Sunday, wrote this: Candidate Forums - "This week we have a couple forums for city council candidates. I think this is a great way to learn more about the candidates and what they are made of."

I knew of one, which I reported, presented by the Latino Community Council.

The other, I had no idea, and there's no mention of it on their Web site (click the title of this story to access Apparently the Republican Party forum was announced at on the day of the event, but went unannounced to at least one city council candidate, Bobby Harris. "It appears that Fred Lopez, Art Pimentel, and Martie Dote were the only ones to show up. Jeff Monroe was not able to make the City Council meeting or the forum due to a family emergency. Frank Sieferman was a no show and Bobby Harris did not attend. I think it is great the the Republican Club put this on and invited everyone."

Here is Bobby Harris' comment on

For your information, I received no invitation or notice of this Republican Party sponsored event. I believe that lapse was likely intentional, and I certainly would have attended if I was aware of it. So why do you think this oversight occurred?

I did attend the Latino Community Council's event last evening, where only I, Art and Martie showed up (though Jeff was excused by a family emergency).

Art said he was "offended" by my statements that he and Martie weren't visionary or creative enough to adequately resolve Woodland's need for affordable home ownership and affordable housing in general.

I pointed out that city dependence on housing developers in the Southeast Area Plan to provide some reasonable amount of affordable home ownership -- totally failed, resulting in zero (0) affordable housing. City staff refers to the "checkered history" of the city in these matters.

And Martie's talking about how we "couldn't afford" to build senior oriented, affordable housing. It looked bad. They both really helped me prove my point.

Art will likely saturate this city with some version of political rhetoric with all of the thousands of dollars in his campaign coffers, not necessarily a good sign for Woodland.

Without vigorous citizen involvement, based on sufficient information / education, Woodland's future will often be decided by those special interests with the most resources and the most to gain personally and financially from any given decision.

Art's splendid war chest, for such a local election, says a lot about such circumstances. You may make fun of Art, Matt, but I imagine you wield a lot of influence over him - just your nature in this situation.

My commitment is to open the process to greater citizen participation, especially from the folks in our community who can't afford to each pony-uip a hundred dollars to make $10.000.

Candidate Dote posts ballot statement on Web site

The following is from Marti Dote's Web site:

Ballot Statement

Name: Marti Dote
Age: 62
Occupation: Business woman

I have lived in Woodland nearly half my life, and enjoy living here because of the people. I have served on the Opera House Board, the Chamber of Commerce Board, and the Planning Commission, and have wide experience in city matters. I am running for City Council because I want to:

• Provide more senior and youth services
• Practice smart, controlled growth
• Work closer with the schools
• Bring in better jobs
• Enhance redevelopment opportunities
• Help move towards being a “green” city

My vision for our unique city is a place where families can have housing, job and recreational opportunities to meet their needs. That vision can be realized if we build a stronger local economy, and keep our city on track financially.

I respectfully ask for your support on June 3rd, and thank all who vote for me. A vote for me is a vote for experience and commitment. (Click the title of this story to access her Web site.)

Camp Packer Creek drinking water is safe

Camp Packer Creek visitors can be assured that the drinking water is safe... provided, of course, there ARE visitors. This information comes from today's report from the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Click the title of this story to access the report. The results of the report are based on data extracted two days ago, on April 15, 2008.

The City of Woodland leases or rents the camp from the US Forest Service. Although requested many times last year, the Woodland Journal was never provided the terms of the lease.

From a previous Woodland Journal story, it was estimated that since 2000 about $394,896 had been spent on Camp Packer Creek for about 144 kids. That’s about $2,742 per child who camped for one week each. And that didn’t include the $20 processing fee that was collected from underprivileged children. That report was from July of last year.

The Realist first brought up the Camp Packer Creek issue last June. That story generated some interesting revelations, like the Woodland City Council had previously voted to close the camp.

According to a staff report from last November, city crews took a couple of trips up there to check on it and secure it for the winter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to read Parks and Recreation minutes

The Parks & Recreation Commission meeting minutes of February 25, 2008, were submitted to the Woodland City Council last night as a "Communication - Committee Report" item. No action was necessary... the minutes were prepared by director Dan Gentry and are informational only. Or are they?

Let's have a look-see at some of the cryptic messages in the document. Caution: You may need your Johnny Quest decoder ring for this. To view the entire minutes, click the title of this story and they will magically appear.

"PUBLIC COMMENT - Art Williams, member of the Community Tennis Association commented on the tennis courts at Woodside Park that host other activities. He is looking forward to have more access to courts once the Dog Park opens."

POSSIBLE TRANSLATIONS - 1) Once the Woodside Dog Park opens, Art can play tennis, 2) Once the Community Center Dog Park opens, staff will have time to improve access at the Woodside tennis courts, or 3) Dogs will keep other activities away while Art plays tennis.

"CONSENT CALENDAR - Commissioner Van Muyden had questions regarding bleachers for basketball court. Dan Rice made some clarifications."

POSSIBLE TRANSLATIONS - 1) There is a basketball court and it may, or may not, have bleachers, 2) Dan Rice knows more about the bleachers than Dr. Van Muyden, or 3) There is a basketball court and it needs to be whitened by professional bleachers.

"CONSENT CALENDAR - Request from the commission to have clarification on the consent calendar for a better understanding. Clarification made to the commission regarding the contractor who went bankrupt before completing Ferns Park."

POSSIBLE TRANSLATIONS - 1) The consent calendar could not be understood, but someone went bankrupt, 2) A contractor went bankrupt so something was, or was not, done at Ferns Park, or 3) Clarification means a better understanding.

"CONSENT CALENDAR - Question posed by Commissioner McKay regarding the closure of Dubach Park that Dan Rice addressed and clarified for the commission."

POSSIBLE TRANSLATIONS - 1) Once again, Dan Rice knows more than a commissioner, 2) A model, who only goes by the name of Question, was standing near a commissioner and said good-bye to Dubach Park, or 3) Something's going on out there!

"NEW BUSINESS - Action Items: Discuss disposition of the Roller Hockey Rink at Ferns Park (Item 9). Commissioner McKay covered discussion in Commissioner Murphy’s absence. Alternate uses: 1. Move Skate Park from Crawford and replace with tennis courts. 2. Create Fustal court for soccer players to use. Rob Sanders commented on the lighting and Commissioner Dennie suggested looking over during Park tour. Chairperson Peterson motioned to have discussion at a later meeting."

POSSIBLE TRANSLATIONS - 1) Art might be able to play tennis at Ferns AND Crawford Parks, 2) Art might be able to still play Roller Hockey at Ferns, but play tennis at Crawford, or 3) Ferns or Crawford? We're confused so let's talk about it later!

"OLD BUSINESS – Informational items: List of Measure E Rehabilitation Projects. Commissioner Van Muyden concerned with Water Play at Everman. Commission requests a revision of the table that includes a column for status of projects as well as a column for notes. Commissioner Crawford has questions of ADA requirements. Kent Perkes clarifies it will be addressed after irrigation projects are complete."

POSSIBLE TRANSLATIONS - 1) There is a list, 2) There is a concern, or 3) There will eventually be clarity.

WHAT'S MISSING? A report on Camp Packer Creek, of course. For that you need to go back to the Parks & Recreation Commission November 26, 2007 Meeting: Item 11 - "Camp Packer Creek has been closed for winter. Although we did not program the camp this season for campers, the maintenance staff did take a couple of trips up to camp to be sure that it was still in good condition. It is now formally closed for the winter season and prepared for heavy snows."

Hopefully this report has been informational.

Red Sox roll, Dustin hitting .311

Dustin Pedroia and the Boston Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians with last inning heroics last night. The win, capped by a pinch-hit home run by team captain Jason Veritek, boosted the Sox into sole possession of first place after the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Dustin collected three hits in the 5 to 3 victory, adding his fourth double of the season and raising his batting average to .311. Click the title of this story to access an MLB article on the game, and as always, you can click the Original Pedroia Watch under "Links for Woodlanders in touch."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ramblings on an autumn evening

By Candi Smith
Woodlander in the Land DownUnder
Global Correspondent

It’s Tuesday 15 April 2008 and autumn is setting in. The days are growing shorter and the warmer days of summer are memories of weeks ago. The first school term break has started, so the kids are running rampant everywhere and I have to pull the cobwebs out of my brain to remember how to keep them busy for two weeks.

I noticed the baker made pumpkin bread, which means stew, casserole and thick soup recipe cards will be dusted off again. I have never had to figure out what to do with the pumpkin overload that my mother deals with every year. Here, I just buy a small butternut pumpkin whenever I want to make pumpkin soup. Yes, Butternut pumpkin is what you would call Butternut squash. I have no idea why the two names for the same vegetable, but then I can’t explain several things about Australia.

Pumpkin soup is almost as good as pumpkin pie, so long as you have the right recipe – for either the soup or the pie.

Australia will mark ANZAC Day on 25 April. Similar to Memorial Day in the USA, Australia pays tribute to all the men and women who have served to protect their country. The tradition comes from the ANZACs who fought in WWI at Gallipoli. ANZAC = Australian New Zealand Army Corps. It’s a day of remembrance and thanksgiving all in one. My husband’s family had members fight in both WWI and WWII (father and son actually). Both Charles (enlisted at the age of 40) and Archibald (enlisted at the age of 37) came home safe, so the family was very lucky.

As we slowly move towards winter here, my family is looking at a change of scenery. Soon we will move to Queensland... across the country from our happy home on the Indian Ocean. I will be closer to the USA and see the ocean that I am much more familiar with, the Pacific, one again. Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia, and we are very excited to have a change. I will have to adjust to the accent change as well.

Autumn is here. It’s time to reflect on this last year as I watch the beautiful color array of every sunset. It’s time to bring out the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg and make the house smell like grandma’s house... the smell of something baking. Yearnings to go to Apple Hill and show off its beauty to my girls have to be quelled with brewing up my own apple cider… mmm, even more cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The longing to smell a pine grove reminds me how much I miss living in California.

Autumn is here and I have this deep sense inside me that says I should be doing the spring cleaning. Go figure.

Staff primes council: In-lieu fee for parking Xanadu

These are words you use when selling sand to a Bedouin or snow to an Inuit:

• Enhance vitality
• Promote renovation
• Facilitate redevelopment
• Encourage investment


• Staff has received no comments expressing concern from the Chamber

I guess tonight's the night. Staff will seal the deal on their Ruritania Condo Collection, their Shekels for Shangri-La, their... ahem... In-Lieu Parking Fund. Indeed, the staff report for the proposed parking ordinance paints a "pedestrian-oriented environment" with "extensive background information and detail" promising "enhanced City revenues through a rejuvenated commercial core."

Missing from the staff report... again (strike three)... was any mention of the California Mitigation Fee Act. It states that 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.

I envision the process to look like this:

1) A merchant-developer comes to town with a plan to improve downtown.
2) Among the many undefined processes and moving targets, the city will require an additional $5,000 tax.
3) The merchant will ask, "Why must I pay this fee?"
4) The city will say, "Because the chamber did not object to it!"
5) The merchant will clarify, "No... I mean, for what will it be used?
6) The city will say, "For the parking structure, of course."
7) The merchant will ask, "Where is it?"
8) "Nowhere!"
9) "Will it ever be built?"
10) "Maybe!"
11) "When?"
12) "I don't know!
13) "What will you name it?"
14) "Xanadu!"
15) "Well, that sounds reasonable," the merchant will say. "I will gladly pay you $5,000!

And tonight it will be so decreed.

The staff report - a poetic work matched only by Samuel Taylor Coleridge himself - can be accessed by clicking the title of this story. For the dramatic recitation of the report, you're cordially invited to the Woodland City Council meeting at 6 O'Clock this evening in "The Chambers" at 300 First Street.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Council to consider Yolo County Cultural, History and Art Center site at Fifth and Oak

During tomorrow night's meeting, Woodland City Council will consider the staff recommendation to approve, in concept, the use of the Fifth Street/Oak Avenue site for the proposed Yolo County Cultural, History and Art Center and encourage the Yolo County Historical Society and the Yolo County Arts Council to pursue outside funding.

According to the staff report, city and county staff have been meeting periodically with the project sponsors, the Yolo County Historical Society and Yolo County Arts Council, in order to develop alternatives for locating a site to accommodate the Center. Staff indicates that a commitment from city and county officials is necessary because the project sponsors are facing a deadline to submit a conceptual plan and grant application for additional funds. Since the proposed use conflicts with the Downtown Specific Plan, staff believes the City Council should review this request and provide direction regarding the proposed use of the Fifth Street/Oak Avenue site. The subject property is owned by Yolo County, approximately 30,700 square feet in size, and located within the Gateway Revitalization Area of the Downtown Specific Plan (District E2).

Background (from the staff report - click the title of this story to access)

City and County staff have been meeting with representatives of the Steering Committee in order to identify alternatives for accommodating the Center. These alternatives have ranged from a 30,000 square foot facility located on a six acre site within a neighborhood or semi-rural site to a 15,000 square foot facility located within a downtown site. The latter alternative was determined to be more feasible because of the County-owned parcel described above. In addition, the County Board of Supervisors declared their intention to make the Fifth Street/Oak Avenue site available to the Historical Society as part of a local match.

City staff’s initial evaluation of the proposed use of the site was not supportive. This position was based on the inconsistency of the proposed use with the Gateway Revitalization Area of the Downtown Specific Plan. However, there are no other site alternatives available to the project sponsors and the group is facing a deadline to submit a conceptual plan and grant application that may generate a significant amount of funds for the future development of the proposed Center. The City Council and staff have been asked to reconsider this issue in view of the looming deadline, availability of the parcel and the fact that the proposed use would have a positive impact on the community.


Although the proposed Yolo County Cultural, History and Art Center is inconsistent with the Chapter 7 Gateway Revitalization Area discussion contained within the Downtown Specific Plan it is considered a “public and quasi public building use” under the “Institutional and Government” section of the Land Use Matrix of the Plan. Since this use is a permitted use for District E, if the project were to be successful in getting the necessary funding and move forward, the Plan would have to be revised to eliminate these inconsistencies. Also, since previous City Council/Redevelopment Agency Board action has taken place to approve a MOU regarding to possible development of the Railroad property within the Gateway Revitalization Area, the need to revise the Specific Plan already exists.

Since it would be advisable to take a more comprehensive review and assessment of the Gateway Revitalization Area and if the timing was appropriate, the possible revision to the Downtown Specific Plan for the Railroad property and the Cultural, History, and Art Center could be incorporated into the overall update of the Plan. Otherwise, individual Specific Plan amendments will be more difficult to individually asses and process.

Fiscal Impact

There is no identified fiscal impact to the City at this time. If the site were to be eventually developed with the Yolo County Cultural, History and Art Center, there would be a slight reduction in possible future proposed property taxes that are based on the current Specific Plan Gateway Revitalization Area designation. This potential property tax reduction would result in a loss of potential tax increment funding to the Redevelopment Agency.

The regular joint session Woodland City Council/Redevelopment Agency Board meeting begins at 6 pm on Tuesday, April 15, at the City Hall Council Chambers (300 First Street). This item is scheduled for 6:37 pm.

Blues in the Schools continue at Pioneer High School

Blues in Yolo County Schools, presented by the Yolo County Arts Council, is an outreach program of the Sacramento Blues Society. Blues in the Schools assemblies are presented in school music departments, with a lecture on the roots of American Blues music followed by a concert and “jam session,” providing the students an opportunity to play alongside jazz musicians.

The goal of the project is to bring live music performances to young students and teach the history of a distinctly American style of music. This cross-generational communication between professional musicians and young people provides valuable understanding and respect for the music and artists of the past and present, and helps to inspire and increase young people’s awareness of their musical heritage. A lecture and concert were recently held at Douglas Middle School in Woodland.

The program is sponsored by the City of West Sacramento Mini Grant, Target Distribution Center, Woodland, and Yolo County Arts Council member support. The general public is invited to attend. Visitors to any school site are required to call ahead and check in with the school administration and comply fully with the sites procedures for visitors or guests.

Pioneer High School
1400 Pioneer Avenue, Woodland
(530) 406-1148
Lecture: April 17, 11:30 am
Concert: May 1, 11:45
Bobby Rogers, music teacher

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Victoria Reich leaves legacy for the visual arts in Woodland

Victoria Reich was a hero who quietly, but effectively, promoted the visual arts in Woodland. More importantly, she raised four beautiful children with her husband Russ - the oldest son Carlos, the girls Alex and Teddy, and the youngest son Rusty. It was for them she battled cancer for eight years.

Vicki was a cofounder and the first president of the Woodland Art Center. If you stroll around town and notice the mural next to the Opera House, the historic markers and ceramic cats in Dead Cat Alley, or the artwork on the walls of Dingle School - you would see the fruits of her labor dating back to 2002. That was the year she became one of the first board members of the nonprofit art center. At that time, the center conducted classes in the family frame shop Art Effects - and although the center has never really settled into a permanent home, it has provided over $100,000 for the Dingle School art program through grants from the Buck Foundation.

Before the Woodland Art Center became a nonprofit organization - housed in the Odd Fellows Building with Vicki's frame shop - classes were held in the East Street Court location where she and Russ started their family. Vicki, with her son Carlos, previously had a gift shop in a live/work studio right next to Russ' photography studio. A romance blossomed and they combined their interests into the Art Effects frame shop and art gallery. Soon daughters Alex and Teddy were born. It was during Vicki's pregnancy with Rusty that she learned she had breast cancer.

Vicki donated her time to the Woodland Art Center as long as she could, but it became clear she needed to commit her time to the family. She was the greatest advocate for the center - friendly, diplomatic and flexible. She was always willing to do whatever it took to maximize the precious hours of volunteers and the limited revenue of the center. One might consider her a pillar of the community, but she was so soft-spoken and never drew attention to herself. I think of her more as the spirit that could fill the space between the columns of a mighty palace - her consistent smile and positive attitude could surely support a cathedral.

Vicki will still be with us, although her last breath was taken on April 6 at age 49. My wife was fortunate to visit with her briefly two days before as preparations were underway for hospice care. We were saddened by the news, but we reflected on her great courage and strength. It was her faith in God and deep devotion to her family that kept her going through adversity.

The community will have an opportunity to celebrate her life at 7 pm on Friday, April 18, at the Woodland Bible Church. Vicki will rest in peace at Mary's Chapel in Yolo.

A celebration for Paris

Paris Ridley often made his fourth period teacher chuckle - of course, the teacher couldn't always show it because his antics would sometimes disrupt class. Paris had his routine in the art class, he would try very hard to contain himself during a short "how-to" presentation, then he would circle the class as everyone began to work on their projects. He would say hello to his buddies - pointing out all their flaws in their projects as a sign of affection - and then give his report on who had their cell phone out.

That teacher was me. And that was, indeed, very funny when he tattled on others - especially since it would be no surprise when he would have to follow my pointed finger out the door for a little time out from class. He took his mild punishments quietly and would come back to class and get to work (well... most of the time).

Paris, a typical high school senior, was really looking forward to graduation. On Saturday, April 5, he emailed some photos of himself to his auntie who lives in Connecticut. This was unusual, she told us yesterday, Paris had never sent her pictures before. Perhaps he just wanted to share his excitement and anticipation of the upcoming June celebration with his extended family. Perhaps it was for another reason.

Paris died later that night as a passenger in an automobile accident at the Arena Boulevard exit from I-5 in Natomas.

His celebration came earlier than expected as his family, friends, teachers and congregation members assembled yesterday at the New Testament Baptist Church in North Highlands. The full house was truly a celebration of Paris' life - he touched many of us and we will miss him.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Letter claims assessor has no problem billing, but stalls on changing assessments

Here is a letter to the editor published in today's Daily Democrat:

# # #

I am very disappointed with Joel Butler, Yolo County assessor. His department had no problem getting my property tax bill to me this year. Yet now when I file an Application for Changed Assessment because my property has depreciated and my tax burden should be reduced by more than $2,000, I get nothing but stalling and excuses. When I called yesterday to check the status, I was told, "We're shorthanded and overwhelmed with too many changed assessments. We might send out postcards sometime in May to tell people we can't keep up."

I'm sure I'm not the only one that is tired of getting the same old, same old. "It's our government, you shouldn't expect anything better." I was a government worker for a while. I flew jets for our government for 23 years - Vietnam, Granada, Desert Storm. I never thought about telling the troops on the ground, "I'm overwhelmed right now. I'll try and send you a postcard." (Kind of a stretch, I know. I volunteered, he was elected.)

The military always told us, "Don't complain unless you have a solution." I propose Joel write me a personal check for the $2,000. When he wants his money back, he can take 30 seconds, make a few keystrokes and press "enter" with the assessment software. That's how long it took me.

I'm not some coward using the newspaper to speak my peace. I tried to phone, write, fax and e-mail. I'm just a fed up tax (over) payer. Joel - answer the phone, I will.

I wonder if all the Assessor's Office employees are also waiting for their assessments change?


# # #

The following are Important Dates for Property Owners and other information from the County Assessor's Web pages:

January 1- Lien date, the date property taxes become a lien on the property. Filing begins on various exemptions.
February 1- Second installment of secured roll property taxes due (delinquent if not paid by 5:00 p.m. on April 10).
February 15- Final deadline for filing timely claims for Homeowner's, Veterans' and Blind or Disabled Veteran's exemptions.
February 15- Final deadline for filing timely claims for Welfare, Church, Religious, Museum and Cemetery exemptions.
April 1- Due date for filing Business Property Statements, Apartment House Personal Property Statements, Mining and Quarrying Production Reports, etc. This due date is set by the Assessor and may vary.
April 10- Date second installment of taxes for property on the secured roll becomes delinquent if not paid by 5:00 p.m.
May 15- Beginning of period for filing claims for Property Tax Assistance for Senior Citizens and Blind/Disabled Persons. Filing period ends August 31.
May 15- Beginning of period for filing claims for Property Tax Postponement for Senior citizens. Filing period ends December 10.
July 1- Start of the County's fiscal year.
July 2- Beginning of period during which the County Board of Equalization accepts applications for appealing property values on regular assessment roll. Period ends November 30.
July 31- Tax bills for assessments on the unsecured roll mailed. (Delinquent if not paid by 5:00 p.m. August 31.)
August 31- Date taxes on property on the unsecured roll become delinquent if not paid by 5:00 p.m.
October 31- Final date to pay taxes for property on the unsecured roll to avoid additional penalties.
November 1- Deadline for Tax Collector to mail bills for property on the secured roll.
November 1- First installment of secured roll property taxes due (delinquent if not paid by 5:00 p.m. on December 10).
December 10- Deadline for filing "late file" Homeowner's exemption and to notify Assessor of ineligibility for Homeowner's exemption without penalty.
December 10- Date first installment of taxes for property on the secured roll becomes delinquent if not paid by 5:00 p.m.

Market Valuations (Prop 8 Values): Sometimes the market value of a property on January 1 falls below the factored base year value established when the property changed ownership or was newly constructed. The Assessor is obligated to review these properties and enroll the lesser of the factored base year value or market value. In the case of establishing a new market value from one January 1 to the next, properties may increase by more than the standard 2 % maximum. However, increases will always be limited to no more than the factored base year value.

Latino Community Council presents city council debate

The public is invited to the City Council Debate presented by the Latino Community Council. Community members will have the opportunity to ask questions of each of the candidates. In the running for three council seats are:

Martie Dote
Bobby Harris
Fred Lopez
Jeff Monroe
Art Pimentel
Frank Sieferman, Jr.

Wednesday, April 16
6:00 p.m.
Woodland Public Library (in the Leake Room)
Corner of First and Court

For more information call (530) 669-7792

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Attacked mother responds to Woodland Journal bloggers

The following is a comment left yesterday under The Woodland Journal story called "Ferns Park: Teens spit on toddler, attack mother, arrested." Since many readers may not be checking back on that story, I thought I'd post this:

# # #

Hello everyone, this is Veronica Mendieta.

I really appreciate everyone and all of their support, but I really feel like everyone, the media, the police, feel that I AM THE VICTIM... I'M NOT. My baby is. That day we had such a good day, we brought bubbles and ice cream when we went to the park... I love seeing those smiles on his face, much like the one he had that day.

I know that after they jumped me it really seems as though I got the worst of it all... But I didn't. River did... My wounds healed. I AM FINE. My son... doesn't want to go to the park anymore, and NOTHING saddens my heart worst then that, especially since he always used to ask to go to the park... he loved it so much.

I know that a lot of you would like to see these kids be put away. But I don't. What will this solve? NOTHING. I only wish that they seek out some mental help, because to me'.. it really does take someone who is very sick to hawk lougies on a baby and laugh about it. These are learned behaviors, maybe not so much from their parents... maybe from relatives, friends, school... who knows... but I know that they can be unlearned.

I wish these children the best. I hope that they get the help they need... because after all... they ARE ONLY CHILDREN.

Thank you so much everyone, again.

# # #

Note: You can access the original story by clicking the title of this one.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Plainfield Elementary School is a California Distinguished School

Principal Armando Olvera must have been excited to receive a call from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell earlier this week. According to today's news release from the California Department of Schools, O'Connell called school principals to personally convey the good news that their school was selected as a 2008 California Distinguished School.

Olvera is the principal of Plainfield Elementary School, the only Yolo County elementary school to receive the honor this year. All told, there are 343 exemplary California public elementary schools from 189 districts in 39 counties that have been selected as 2008 California Distinguished Schools.

This year, the selection criteria for the Distinguished School program were more stringent than ever. Schools wrote a substantive narrative application and then were subject to an extensive site validation. This year, 300 (87.4 percent) of the award-winning schools serve populations high in minority student representation and 182 (53.1 percent) of them are educating students who are learning English.

"I was honored to be able to join in the excitement as these dedicated educators learned their schools earned this coveted title," he said. "From their stories, it became clear that they share a school-wide vision of excellence where every student can succeed and achieve at the very highest levels of performance."

The California School Recognition Program is now in its 23rd year. Elementary and secondary schools are recognized during alternate years.

For the current year, 839 elementary schools submitted applications and were identified for eligibility on the basis of their Academic Performance Index and Adequate Yearly Progress results. All applicants underwent a rigorous selection process conducted by the California Department of Education, with the help of many local educators from across the state, and in partnership with the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association.

Click the title of this story to see all the California Distinguished Elementary Schools.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

WEA chimes in on district staff relocation

According to the Woodland Joint Unified School District minutes of the March 27, 2008, board of trustees meeting, the WEA showed support for the relocation of several employees. Here is the agenda item:

"PUBLIC COMMENT - Ms. Karen Taylor, representing the Woodland Education Association, spoke in favor of the proposed relocation of Pupil Services division. Several members of the Association are assigned to that department and they have grave concerns for their health and safety. The Association is working with legal counsel through CTA regarding this issue."

There is no mention of the association contacting the Yolo County Health Department or CalOSHA.

BACKGROUND - A Demand Letter from Philip J. Henderson of Miller, Brown, Dannis Attorneys of San Francisco, representing the Woodland Joint Unified School District, was sent to the districts landlords on March 17. Henderson demanded that Cottonwood Investors "take immediate and decisive action to ensure the health and safety of District employees." The letter listed several actions to be taken within five days of the receipt of the certified mail.

Henderson wanted all air and heating maintenance records and air test reports in addition to immediate servicing of the ventilation system and a follow-up air test. He also wanted a complete health risk assessment within 14 days. At the core of the issue is Building 628, the office space on the site of a former dry-cleaning business. Provided as part of the letter was an environmental survey conducted by Schutze & Associates of Oakland.

On March 21, Scharff, Brady & Vinding representing Cottonwood Investors, Inc. sent a response letter refuting claims that the building is unsafe. They claimed that the Schutze report of PCE levels of 2.7 ug/m3 in Unit 628 is not surprising. The letter states, "Tetrachloroethene (“PCE”) is found in virtually all residential and workplace environments. In fact, a joint study conducted by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) found that the mean 24-average residential air PCE concentrations in California range between 2.27 to 6.72 ug/m3. Thus, the 2.7 ug/m3 in Building 628 is within the normal expected range. Furthermore, this normal concentration of PCE occurred without the presence of carbon filters on the ventilation system."

The landlord's attorneys also clarified that the district is responsible for the air and heating maintenance and the air testing, and therefore are in possession of the reports they seek.

Art center seeks Tales of Dead Cat Alley

The Woodland Art Center is looking for interviewees who would like to share their personal stories of Dead Cat Alley and the old downtown. A compiled oral history will be presented as two 30-minute video programs produced with the help of WAVE. The Yolo County Historical Society has also contributed with a Mini Grant. The center will be adding the interviews with news accounts and old photographs... so that information is requested as well.

Here's a little tidbit for alley enthusiasts - from the May 6, 1913, Daily Democrat:

# # #

A concatenation more euphemistic - Citizen disagrees with the immortal bard, who asks, what's in a name?

When Supervisor Stitt attended the rather lively meeting of the board of trustees here Monday evening, he learned for the first time, and much to his dissatisfaction, that the alley in the rear of the opera house has been called "Dead Cat" alley ever since the city of Woodland has been incorporated and placed on the map.

Now, the chairman of the board of supervisors is a man who looks seriously at both sides of things, and after deep consideration last evening, he came to the conclusion that Dead Cat alley is an unfit name and a disgrace to this thriving city of ours.

Supervisor Stitt never did boast of being a linguist, nor have other members of the board. Colonel W.E. Osborn happened to be in the supervisors' chambers this morning, however, when the discussion of a proper name for Dead Cat alley came up before the board.

Supervisor Stitt thought that something in the way of a Spanish name would all just the proper class. Supervisor Russell agreed. Scott, Edson and Leinberger were silent.

Colonel Osborn seized the crucial moment. "I think the 'Calle de los Gatos Muertos' would be a suitable name," suggested the colonel.

"Is it Spanish?" shouted Stitt.

"Sure it is," snapped the colonel, in return.

"All right; that suits me, just so it's Spanish," returned Stitt, not knowing the meaning of the phrase suggested.

"I move we accept the new name," suggested Supervisor Russell.

"I second that motion," enjoined Stitt.

And so it was ordered that Dead Cat alley henceforth will be termed "Calle de los Gatos Muertos."

Later the dinners were "on" Supervisor Stitt when he learned that "Calle de los Gatos Muertos" translated into English, means nothing more and nothing else but Dead Cat alley.

# # #

Anyone with tales from the past and interested in being videotaped can email

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Minutes reveal Rite Aid planning: Not considered redevelopment, no design review by commission, Petrovich threat overturns safety concern

The following Planning Commission minutes of October 4 and November 1, 2007, were presented to Woodland City Council on November 27, 2007. They were prepared by Barry Munowitch, Assistant City Manager.

7. Rite Aid Tentative Parcel Map No. 4929: Request for approval to reassembly five (5) properties (APN: 005-644-04, 05, 08, 10 & Union Pacific railroad land) and re-divide into two (2) parcels on Main, Sixth and Court Streets in the Central Business District.

APPLICANT/OWNER: Petrovich Development Company
STAFF CONTACT: Paul L. Hanson, AICP, Senior Planner
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Conditional Approval

DISCUSSION [excerpts - click the title of this story for the entire minutes]:
• Commissioner Wurzel: Would like explanation as to where access to site is from Court Street, Sixth Street, and Main Street.
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: As currently conditioned, the map includes a raised median from the south leg of Sixth Street, across Sixth Street and up to approximately mid location. Heading eastbound on Main Street there is a left turn into the driveway; heading westbound on Main Street there is a right turn into the driveway or a right turn on Sixth Street and then a right turn into the driveway on Sixth Street; heading eastbound on Court Street turn right on Sixth Street and left into driveway or right into driveway access on Court Street; the proposed driveway easement on Court Street will allow through driveway on Main Street. The map’s intention is for a left turn only from eastbound Main Street.
• Commissioner Dote: The left turn pocket is so close to East Street and Main Street, is there any potential conflict foreseen?
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: The left turn pocket is continuous – serves the left turn into Rite Aid and also the left turn onto East Street.; we don’t see as an accident potential or safety hazard, but there may be more congestion.
• Commissioner Dote: Did service station that was on site previously have any problems with traffic?
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: Rite-Aid will have fewer driveways than the service station had, no knowledge of accidents or complaints of traffic when service station was in use.
• Commissioner Wurzel: At present, only one through lane of traffic westbound on Main Street. Will it stay that way?
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: The intersection between East Street and Sixth Street will be widened to two (2) lanes.
• Commissioner Wurzel: With two (2) through lanes does it become a safety issue?
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: With two (2) through lanes, given you will have a driveway for ingressing, it is better than having one (1) lane because otherwise you will have people slowing down and causing back up and congestion at the railroad tracks.
• Commissioner Dote: Is this a Redevelopment Project?
• Paul Hanson, Senior Planner: No, it is not.

• None.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS [excerpts - click the title of this story for the entire minutes]:
• Commissioner Gonzalez: Have concerns with traffic; sees the Main Street entrance as problem; will there be a signal light at Sixth Street and Main Street?
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: Within this project there will be no traffic signals included on Sixth Street and Main Street. Within the Downtown Specific Plan long term projection there will be a signal at Fifth Street and Main Street. There is also a mid-block cul-de-sac on the south leg of Sixth Street between Main Street and Lincoln Avenue. When the Downtown Specific Plan is updated traffic recirculation in the area may also be explored.
• Commissioner Dote: Share some of the same concerns regard traffic issue, but feel Bruce has explained adequately. Will project come before Commission for Design Review? Have no problem with action tonight.
• Commissioner Barzo: Will the project come back to the Planning Commission for Design Review?
• Robert MacNicholl, Planning Manager: The project will not come before Commission for Design Review. Design Review has been performed at staff level. The project before the Commission for consideration of a Tentative Parcel Map.
• Commissioner Wurzel: Biggest congestion area is Main Street and East Street; I therefore cannot support the left turn lane; would rather see median extended and make it a right in/right out only. Will applicant have signage on Court Street for Rite-Aid?
• Paul Petrovich, Applicant: There will be directional signage off of Court Street. If left turn is cut off on Main Street this project dies; this is a retail site, has to have access from Main Street; there were two (2) driveways to begin with; the left turn from Main Street is a requirement from Rite Aid.
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: This is an urban environment, drivers expect different conditions than say freeway driving; there are similar driveway configurations at other locations in the City.
• Commissioner Dote: Would like clarification – did applicant say project dies if no left turn lane for eastbound traffic on Main Street?
• Robert MacNicholl, Planning Manager: According to applicant based upon the criteria Rite Aid uses, the project requires a left turn access from Main Street.
• Paul Petrovich, Applicant: That is correct, and let me add that the development agreement for the Woodland Gateway Project required an investment in the Downtown, which this project is, so if this project is denied then that obligation goes away.
• Commissioner Gonzalez: Did I hear correctly that there will be no design review on this project?
• Robert MacNicholl, Planning Manager: No, that is not correct; the design review will be done at staff level as provided for in the Downtown Specific Plan.
• Commissioner Barzo: Is landscape plan and design review coming back to the Planning Commission?
• Commissioner Gonzalez: If we are just voting on map tonight, what other phases of this project will come before the Planning Commission?
• Robert MacNicholl, Planning Manager: This map is the extent of review at the Planning Commission level. The rest will be at staff level, as provided for in the Downtown Specific Plan.
• Commissioner Dote: Are there design guidelines for the Downtown Specific Plan?
• Robert MacNicholl, Planning Manager: Yes.
• Paul Hanson, Senior Planner: The Downtown Specific Plan was updated in 2003, at which time we strengthened the design standards.

It was moved by Commissioner Spesert; and seconded by Commissioner Barzo that the Planning Commission approve the Rite Aid Tentative Map #4929 dated 7/11/07, based on the identified findings of fact and subject to the identified conditions of approval...
AYES: Sanders, Spesert, Barzo
NOES: Wurzel, Dote, Murray, Gonzalez
Motion is denied.

FURTHER DISCUSSION [excerpts - click the title of this story for the entire minutes]:
• Commissioner Wurzel: Making a left turn across the future two (2) lanes on Main Street is an issue.
• Paul Petrovich, Applicant: Approve map with access requested with the condition that if Public Works determines this becomes a traffic problem they have a right to close the left turn lane.
• Bruce Pollard, Senior Civil Engineer: After project is complete the Traffic Engineer can extend the median at anytime, should it become unsafe.
• Commissioner Sanders: With that condition on the map would that be satisfactory?
• Commissioner Wurzel: That would be fine with the stipulation
• Commissioner Dote: I would be ok with the condition on the map.
• Commissioner Murray: I would also be ok with the condition on the map.
• Commissioner Gonzalez: I am offended as a Commissioner that the staff does not give full the history of project. Commissioners need to know if the project is denied that it fails completely; I don’t want the project to go away.
• Commissioner Dote: Impact on downtown development agreement should have been outlined in staff report also, if this is a keystone project to that development agreement.

• Commissioner Wurzel: I propose a new motion with an added condition to the map that in the event that Traffic Engineer finds an unsafe condition does exist; he has the ability to extend the median restricting left turn traffic from eastbound Main Street into parcel #1. The motion also incorporates all other conditions and findings as recommended by staff.
• Commissioner Sanders: Called for a motion to reconsider the earlier denial
o AYES Sanders, Barzo, Wurzel, Dote, Murray, Gonzalez, Spesert

It was moved by Commissioner Wurzel, seconded by Commissioner Spesert and unanimously carried that the Planning Commission Approve the Rite Aid Tentative Parcel Map #4939 dated 7/11/07, based on the identified findings of fact and subject to the identified conditions of approval, as amended...

Changes welcome at Yolo County Visitors Bureau

The changing of the guard at the Yolo County Visitors Bureau was such stunning news, the Daily Democrat published two articles about it last week:

"Yolo visitor's bureau exec stepping aside," April 3.

"Changes ahead for county visitors bureau," April 4.

I thought I'd better jump on the bandwagon, but of course as the "alternative source of information and commentary" plugged by this blog. One shop owner tipped me about the articles and complained that the Woodland brochure produced by the bureau was from 2006 and the Davis brochure was updated this year. The Winters brochure was produced last year. There are no brochures for West Sacramento or the Capay Area.

If you check out under Places to Eat, you would be welcomed by "The City of Woodland has a wide array of dining options available. Wonderful seafood, Mexican food, Italian food, American food and many others to satisfy any craving!" Here are the eleven restaurants listed:

The Savory Cafe
Kenny's Bar & Grill
Ono Teriyaki
Tazzina Bistro
Steve's Pizza
Maritime Seafood & Grill
Paco's Authentic Mexican Restaurant
Satiety Winery & Cafe
Ludy's Main Street BBQ & Catering
Osaka Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Morrison's Upstairs

Click the title of this story to access the Yolo County Visitors Bureau Web site. I must say, the site is better than, but c'mon... a wide array of dining options? There are 35 listings under Davis and eight for Winters. There are five listings for the Capay Area (under "Yolo County") - all for the casino. Again, there are no listings for West Sacramento.

Missing from the Woodland "semi-locally owned" restaurant list are:

Alvarez Carmen
Azteca Mexican Food
Bamboo Garden Restaurant
Brown's Corner Bar & Grill
Casa de Sapore
China Smorgi
Corkwood Restaurant
Country Waffles
Delicias Taqueria
Dons Diner
El Jalisciense Restaurant
El Patio
El Portal Cafe
El Rey Restaurant Mexican & Seafood
El Sombrero Foods
Fat Cat Cafe
Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant
Golden Dragon Restaurant
Hunan Villa Restaurant
Iguana's Mexican Grill
Jody's Restaurant
Joselillos Mexican Restaurant
Judys Grinder
King's Buffet
LA Fiesta
LA Finca de Rivera
LA Fogata Restaurant
Las Islitas Ostioneria
Las Milpas Taqueria Restaurant
Los Gallos Taqueria
Mandarin Wok Restaurant
Orient Connection Chinese Restaurant
Pad Thai Restaurant
Picassos Pizza
Plainfield Station
Pupeseria LA Chicana
Ranch Kitchen
Rice Noodle House
Rico's Pizza
Sizzling Hot Mongolian BBQ
Spring Garden
Super Burrito & Tacqueria
Taqueria Guadalajara
Taqueria San Juan Y Centra Botanero
Vince's Mexican Restaurant

The list above is derived from a quick trip to The Super Pages. The most glaring omission is that of the Chicago Cafe, Woodland's longest running restaurant. The owners claim it has been in continuous operation since 1904. It is the last vestige of the Old China Town that was concentrated between College and Elm in Dead Cat Alley.

And if there's one category Woodland can tout, it would be Mexican restaurants. There is only one Mexican restaurant listed in the bureau's "A" list.

And that's just a critique of "Places to Eat."

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Bye-bye roundabout

If you recall, The Woodland Journal posted a story on the East Gum/Bourn roundabout last month, which prompted this heads-up from city engineer Jair Camacho:

"After reviewing and studying the existing interim roundabout located at the E. Gum Ave and Bourn Dr. intersection, the City will be removing the interim roundabout and replacing it with a four way stop controlled intersection. This intersection modification should be completed in the next 1-2 months. The City had planned to construct a permanent roundabout, but due to funding constraints the City will not be able to fund this improvement at this time. The City does not intend for this intersection modification to be a policy decision regarding the use of roundabouts; it is a decision based on the funding constraints of the road development fund at this time.

If you have any question please contact me at (530) 406-5712 or at"

Apparently, now is the time of its demise. The city will be converting the roundabout into a four way stop between Monday and Friday of next week (4/7 to 4/11). This may cause some traffic delays or detours between 8 am and 4 pm during that time.

Friday, April 04, 2008

11:39 PM - I DID THIS!

Remember when you were a kid, and it was critical that you called "dibs" or "not it" first? I suppose the same holds true, in a way, when posting on the Blogosphere nowadays. Case in point, the following is a headline posted at on Friday, April 4:

5 PM Zielesch guilty of murder

Article Created: 04/03/2008 01:15:01 PM PDT

And how do you make sure you're the first in line when posting a breaking story? You start by writing it the day before, of course. (Check out the bragging time of 5 pm on April 4 and the "Article Created" date and time of April 3, 1:15:01 pm.)

There was a similar headline posted on Thursday after the Volarvich verdict was reached. (It's gone now.) I guess the posting time is now the most important part of an announcement. Odd.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Chutes and Ladders: Council lets one developer slide on fees, adopts a sliding scale for parking fees

In two consecutive moves during Tuesday night's stratagem, Woodland City Council was able to trump the City Manager's ground rules for consistency and clarity.

Before City Manager Mark Deven and Assistant City Manager Barry Munowitch played their hand with the new "Business Friendly" policies, an almost unanimous council approved a fee cut for a developer and a sliding scale fee for a make-believe future parking structure.

Council first approved the Gibson-Ogden housing project. The development contains 90 single-family homes on about 14 acres. According to a Daily Democrat article, a lone councilman - Art Pimentel - said he was against the approval because of the reduced development fees charged by the city. The headline for the article mischaracterized Pimentel's objection, stating "Pimentel wants higher fees." Pimentel wants the standard fees applied.

Pimentel was quoted in the Democrat: "I will not be supporting this project and the main reason is the fees that we are charging for this project. We're reducing every fee by half and I don't feel that's appropriate. We're shortchanging Woodland by not charging the appropriate amount of fees."

Also in the article, councilman Skip Davies responded, "We're charging the fees that are appropriate for that project and that's 2001 fees. If that were a school site, we would be receiving no fees. We're assisting the school district and their needs to transfer that property and get a school where they need it. We're getting a tax base of about $75,000 without those homes we wouldn't be receiving either. That'll even out."

As part an agreement between the city, Woodland Joint Unified School District and the developers, the school district will receive entitlements in exchange for property in the Spring Lake Specific Plan area.

As a bonus, the city gets a "future bike-pedestrian overpass landing." Unknown is who will fund and build the future overpass and the landing on the other side of Gibson.

Do not pass Go... do not not collect $200.

In the second move, all council members agreed to adopt a resolution establishing parking district boundaries and in-lieu of parking fee. From the elusive staff report, the revisions to the Downtown Parking Ordinance are summarized as follows:

• Amending retail/commercial parking from a 1/400 ratio to a 1/300 ratio
• Amending residential parking standard for 2-bedroom units from 1.5 to 1.75 spaces per unit
Evaluating a sliding scale for in-lieu of parking fee. Staff continues to recommend a minimum $5,000 fee. There has in fact, been concern expressed that this amount is too low. However, the fee will provide seed money for a future parking structure and will function as an economic development incentive for downtown investment.
• Staff has included an additional finding to the in-lieu of parking ordinance Section 25.23.15 E.3.f to state the following: “Public assembly uses may not exempt more than fifty percent (50%) of the required parking for that use utilizing an in-lieu of parking fee”

Missing from the staff report was any mention of the California Mitigation Fee Act. It states that 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.

In another Daily Democrat article, councilman Dave Flory reportedly said the ordinance offers options that would encourage developers to invest in the downtown while the city starts a fund for future public parking improvements. He was quoted in a phone interview the day after the meeting: "Nothing's ever perfect, but the council thought that this was our best shot at the moment to go ahead and make these changes. It's a start. It's not the best idea in the world, but we can't penalize new developers in our downtown. We have to encourage it, and yet we need to have ways to get new cash flow."

These two new sliding fee issues come at a time when city staff is implementing an arbitrary rule-set for public art. There are at least two development projects (Woodland Healthcare and Comfort Suites Hotel) subject to individualized public art standards while the five year-old draft ordinance sits in limbo. See The Woodland Journal story on that.

Not only is searching for online staff reports, council and commission minutes and planning documents like stumbling through a labyrinth, but developers must feel like they're playing Chutes and Ladders with all the moving targets and sliding scales.

End result: Mouse Trap.

Click the title of this story to access the most recent city council minutes.