Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yolo County's new web page

Ok, so this is a little bit of old news. But I have to say it; I really like the new county web page. It has a ton of information on there. OES actually has some stuff on there and you can see all of the BOS's mug shots.

But one thing caught my eye. You can report a bunch of things online. You can report an animal bite, health hazards, code violations and food poisoning.

You can also report potholes. Check out their complaint area by clicking here.

I am going to try it out. I am reporting one in Matt Rexroad's district, Road 102 from Main St to Beamer St. The whole north bound lane is a bigpot hole. Then I am going to report one in Chamberlain's district. Out on Road 27 near Plainfield school. There are three potholes a small car could disappear in. I wonder how many bus tires have had to be replaced because of those three holes?

Anyways, I encourage you to check out other items on their web page as well. http://www.yolocounty.org/

Good job Yolo County!

Comment moderation

As many of you may have noticed, we have turned on comment moderation. We will turn this feature off periodically when we have time to keep our eye on the comments. You can still be anonymous and leave somewhat stupid comments and we will still let 99% go through. We still have no idea who you are and you are not required to sign in. The comments just get held up until we click to publish them. So keep the comments coming.

Now if you have kids in sports or something else, send us a story. We would love to publish it here or on the Woodland Record. If you have video clips you would like to have shown, we will take those as well.

Send an email to stories@woodlandrecord.com.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Report illness online

Here is a press release from Yolo County that is kind of interesting.

Reporting Food and Waterborne Illness Just Got Easier

Woodland, CA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 76 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness, often referred to as food poisoning, every year. Numbers are estimated, since a great majority of these cases are mild and cause symptoms for only a day or two. People are less likely to report symptoms when they start to feel better. In order to get a more accurate picture of foodborne illness, in the United States , and to help people report a possible case of foodborne illness, a new national web-based service has been developed.

The link to this service is available on the website for the Yolo County Health Department at http://www.yolohealth.org/. “Once someone submits a form, it is emailed to us for review, investigation, follow-up, or other appropriate action” states Bruce Sarazin , Director of the Yolo County Environmental Health Division. “This website provides anyone with a computer and internet connection an easy way to report illness, since they can submit a report at any time, on any day of the week.”

The service achieves faster distribution of the reported information to and within the divisions of the health department. “We want to encourage the public to use this service because it allows us to respond to affected individuals faster, and provide follow up and other services quicker,” states Dr. Bette Hinton , Yolo County Health Department Director-Health Officer. “It also benefits the health department and the community by helping us identify potential outbreaks sooner.”

The link connects to a national foodborne illness information collection system operated by the University of Michigan through grants from the federal government.

For more information about the web-based reporting system, please visit the Yolo County Health Department website, http://www.yolohealth.org/ or call the Yolo County Health Department Environmental Health Division at (530) 666-8646.

Bobby Harris starts a blog

Bobby Harris has started a blog called Yolo Sun. He was a City Council candidate in the last city election. Harris opens up his blog with a story about Downtown. You can check his blog out by clicking here!

Blue Wing Gallery opening highlights beefed-up First Friday event

From the Woodland Record:

The Blue Wing Gallery, located in the Downtown of Historic Woodland, is presenting Rural America, their August show featuring three artists - Sheri Greves-Neilson, Doug Souza and Kathy Sarman. The opening for Rural America is August 1 in conjunction with the Downtown's First Friday event.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wreckers swim well in Rio Linda meet

From the Woodland Record:

The Woodland Wreckers took part in the first half of a championship swim meet in Rio Linda. The Rio Linda Nugget Swim Meet features seven teams from the Sacramento area. The Wreckers, in their second season gave a strong performance on Saturday during this two day event.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Downtown First Fridays expands for August 1 showings, shopping and eating

From the Woodland Record:

Last year in the Downtown of Historic Woodland, three art galleries began holding their show openings on the first Friday of each month. The Blue Wing Gallery, Studio Artists Gallery and Gallery 625 started what is now blossoming into a complete downtown experience.

Beginning Friday, August 1, many stores along Main Street and in the historic downtown area will remain open after 5 pm. The new and improved event called Downtown First Fridays will feature art exhibitions, shopping, an open mic, massages, wine tasting and, of course, food.

Aeromodelers take flight this weekend, city says no more after February

Summary from the Woodland Record:

The Woodland-Davis Aeromodelers 14th annual "Wings of Victory" event - a salute to the planes and pilots who flew in combat during World War II - is already underway.

The event continues Saturday from 8:30 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 9:30 am to 3 pm. The show takes place at the Mavis Henson Field, 20179 CR-102, southeast of Woodland. The public is invited and attendance is free - food and drinks are available at the snack bar.

This is the last time the "Wings of Victory" will fly over Mavis Henson Field near Woodland. The City of Woodland has informed the aeromodelers that they will not continue the lease past February, 2009. The group is planning one last official event - an open house in November - after 14 years of using the facility.

City officials in Woodland have said that development pressures have forced them to find a new use for the former landfill site. They say development and increased traffic have moved closer to the model plane airfield and the size and speed of the aircraft flown there could be a hazard.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Woodland Record reappears as a community Web site

Many folks around here remember the Woodland Record. Now - under completely different and unrelated ownership - the Record has reappeared as a community Web site. The beginning of this online news source also marks a transition period for The Woodland Journal and its readers. More about that at the end of these excerpts from "Introducing... the Woodland Record - again:"

# # #

This version of the Woodland Record is intended to provide our community another source of local information and news. The Woodland Record will be an ongoing tribute to the independent local newspapers of our past - to those companies who saw a need for better communication and actually did something about it.

It's easier to disseminate information these days - with the internet and all its tools - so we're not going to pretend we have the gumption of those who on March 3, 1879, registered the Woodland Record with the Post Office. Nor will we claim we know the business like the Woodland Record publishers of 1938.

Over time, we at the current Woodland Record will try to unravel the past and feature articles published by our predecessors. We hope that will be fun and educational for our readers.

Our focus, however, is to present information or perspectives that complement or balance your other news sources. We believe the more sources of local news, the better for our community. Not only will we work to provide accurate information, we will work to support local nonprofit organizations and community groups. In doing this, we invite all public-benefit groups to participate in this venture.

# # #

The Woodland Record is produced by me and Jeff McCallum with support from Photogenics photographer George Streng. Most Woodland Journal readers realize that Jeff started this blog in March, 2007. For personal reasons, he handed the blog over to me in July - a year ago. At the time we hadn't even met - we only knew each other by our blogging. Over the course of the year, however, it became apparent we shared a vision. That vision has become the Woodland Record.

If you visit woodlandrecord.com right now, you will see a bare-bones beginning of an online news service. It definitely needs to fill out and there are still some template issues we're tinkering with. But we had to start sometime... and that sometime - now - will have some affect on this blog.

Along with the help of our correspondents and "informants" - myself and "The Realist" (Jeff, who recently rejoined this blog) will continue to gather information and post stories just like we've been doing here at The Woodland Journal. The difference will be that we will post our full-length articles at the Woodland Record.

We will continue to post discussion topics here but readers will notice shorter stories, mostly blurbs with links to the Record and other Web sites. The Woodland Journal will continue to accommodate the sometimes controversial and spicy commentary of local issues. The Woodland Record will operate as a news service providing a balance, or alternative, to other local news providers.

There will be limited opportunity for comments at the Record (except for traditional Letters to the Editor). There will be no editorials and no endorsements for political campaigns. Our philosophy is that the Woodland Record is the community's new voice, not necessarily ours. We think that many news reports are biased enough - each reporter has their own slant to a story - so we won't add additional editorials or endorsements on top of how we present information. Although some may disagree with the way we present that information, it is our intent to provide as many facts as we can gather at any particular time.

On the lighter side, the Woodland Record is designed for the public's benefit. We simply want to get the word out. We invite all community groups, organizations, associations, clubs, leagues and teams to participate in this start-up news service. The Woodland Record will grow and transform according to the community.

For now, please be patient on both ends of this transition period - remember, they're both free!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grand Jury Final Report examined: Installment Five

It seems there is a "major league" precedent to the findings of the Yolo County Grand Jury that the Woodland school district violated the Brown Act.

Summary of Shapiro v. San Diego City Council (2002):

The complaint of Melvin Shapiro alleged that the San Diego City Council, between December 1998 and October 1999, carried out a number of closed session meetings dealing with negotiations for real estate acquisitions pursuant to the redevelopment plan, and that such meetings were inadequately noticed and exceeded the scope of the notice given.

The City Council posted agendas for 16 closed sessions from January through October, 1999 that contained the following single item agenda description: "In the matter of authorizing the City Manager to negotiate with designated representatives from the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Unified Port District regarding real property interests in the East Village area of downtown San Diego, and at Qualcomm Stadium in the City of San Diego."

Shapiro argued that those agenda notices (among others) were inadequate descriptions under the Brown Act, because they did not adequately designate specific parcels of property and specific transactions. The complaint further alleges that the closed session meetings included substantive discussions that greatly exceeded the scope of the agenda items noticed, because they
were not directly related to a purchase, sale, lease, or exchange of specific real property by or for the City.

The matter went to trial and subsequently the court concluded that the City Council had violated both the letter and the spirit of the Brown Act. The trial court observed that the Brown Act was enacted to ensure that in doing the people's business, government should deliberate in public. Judgment from the trial court found the following:

1. The City Council of the City of San Diego's practice of posting agendas for closed sessions on the ballpark project, which contain a single item agenda description and which do not identify the separate items of business to be discussed in the closed session - and its continuing contention that such practice complies with the Brown Act - violates its duty under the Act.

2. The City Council's practice of posting agendas for closed sessions without the names of the negotiators - and its continuing contention that such practice complies with the Brown Act - violates its duty under the Act.

3. The City Council's practice of failing to identify in an open and public session (before each closed session) its negotiators, the real property under negotiation and the persons with whom its negotiators may negotiate for each item of business - and its continuing contention that such practice complies with the Brown Act - violates its duties under the Act.

4. The City Council's practice of discussing the topics in closed sessions that are not instructions to its negotiators regarding price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange or lease of specific real property by or for the City of San Diego - and its continuing contention that such practice complies with the Brown Act - violates its duty to limit such discussions under the Brown Act.

5. The City Council's discussion of many topics in closed sessions is outside the scope of and so violates its duty under the Brown Act to limit topics to instructions to its negotiators regarding the price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange or lease of specific real property by or for the City of San Diego. Examples are listed in the link provided.

Trustee Bill Beerman's response to the recall notice:

"The proponents have listed their grounds for this recall. There are no charges of criminal behavior or criminal misconduct, no laws were broken. What they amount to is a smoke screen to cover their real issue. That issue is the acquisition of the new building for the District offices. The Board looked at several different options, and had numerous reports regarding different properties over the last 18 months."

[Note: This response preceded the release of the Grand Jury Final Report]

From the Grand Jury Final Report:

[Page 10] The District’s Board meeting agendas and minutes as published on the District’s website disclose the following:

• In 15 months, between January 2007 and April 2008, 31 closed session meetings were held; eight were reported as having to do with relocation of the District’s central office and/or the Blue Shield building purchase.

• Of those eight closed session meetings, only three (September 27, 2007, January 24, 2008, and March 10, 2008) gave the address of or otherwise adequately identified the Blue Shield property as required by the Brown Act.

• The purchase of the Blue Shield building was discussed during public sessions only three times. There was no public announcement or discussion of plans to relocate the District’s central office until December 13, 2007 (nearly 12 months after planning and negotiating for the acquisition of the Blue Shield property had begun).

[Page 15] Findings: Brown Act

F2. Closed Session meeting agendas did not contain required information, in violation of the Brown Act.

F3. Action was taken during closed session meetings of the District’s Board of Trustees in violation of the Brown Act.

F4. The District did not report in a public session on the plan to purchase the Blue Shield building until at least 12 months after planning and negotiations had begun. The purchase of the Blue Shield building was discussed in public sessions only three times.

Have you checked out the new Target?

The new Target located in the Gateway Shopping Center is now open for business. The modern store was built to conform to the design standards of the center which pulls together elements from 1880s architecture.

If you haven't been out there yet, here's a treasure hunt for you: Find Woodlands largest collection of super-sized 1880s-style dodge balls (some of you might recognize them as four-square ball). Beware... they are concrete replicas so don't kick them. We'll post a clue later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lincoln Avenue, College Street to get overlay treatment

From the City of Woodland:

WHEN: Monday July 21 through approximately November 18
WHERE: Lincoln Avenue and select side streets from Lincoln to Main Street – Click here to see map

This project includes pavement overlay work on Lincoln Ave from Sixth St to California St, and on College St from Main St to Lincoln Ave. Surface seals will also be applied on Lincoln Ave from California St to County Rd 98, and between Lincoln Ave and Main St on Sixth St, Fifth St, Fourth St, Third St, Second St, First St, Elm St, Walnut St, Cleveland St, McKinley Ave, and Grand Ave (see map).

In addition to the road work, a significant amount of water and sewer utility repair and replacement will also be performed on Lincoln Ave between Sixth St and California St. New lines for water services will be installed; including meters and meter boxes. All sewer services will be reinstalled with new lines from the mains up to and including the cleanout boxes. Properties with multiple houses/quarters will have additional water service installed for each separate unit requiring service. Properties that share water service with another property will have separate services installed for each property. Property owners/residents affected by these circumstances will receive further coordination and contact including letters with additional details.

Visit the City of Woodland Web site for detailed map and schedule that will be updated regularly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

For all the "G" rated readers out there

I was cruising around the Parks department web page and ran across this. I thought this was actually a very good idea. Maybe I do not hang out in the right crowds, but I had never heard of this program. I am sure we will get zero comments on this post, but figured we were due for a "G" rated post. It is even free if you volunteer.

Woodland Toy Library

We invite you to become a member of the Woodland Toy Library! Located in downtown Woodland next to Freeman Park, the Library is a non-profit, membership organization open to all Yolo County families, as well as family daycare providers and day care centers. Run as a community service, the Library is staffed and governed entirely by member-volunteers and is sponsored by the City of Woodland's Parks & Recreation Department.

When you borrow toys from the Woodland Toy Library, you will reduce clutter in your home, save money, and meet other Woodland families. It's also a great way for your child to 'test run' a toy before you make a big purchase. Come by and take a look for yourself, and bring your kids too! Infants, preschoolers, and grade-schoolers will find items on our shelves that are interesting, challenging and, of course, lots of FUN!

How it works: Membership is $15/yr or FREE for volunteers. Once you join, you may check out up to three items for a three-week period. Once you return them, you can check out three more. It's that simple! Of course, modest fines are charged for late, lost or damaged toys.

Over 600 Toys! Train sets ~ Dollhouses ~ Educational CD-Roms ~ Ride-on toys ~ Dress up clothes ~ Dinosaurs and animal figures ~ Puppet theatres ~ Fisher-Price ~ Blocks and building toys ~ Wooden puzzles ~ Board games ~ Large play trucks ~ Potato Sacks ~ Play kitchens and cookware ~ Little Tykes ~ Parachutes ~ Ring and beanbag toss ~ Much, Much More!
Become a Volunteer: Since we are a community co-op, our members either pay annual dues or volunteer for a 90 minute shift each month. Volunteers work the front desk, check toys in and out, and help with inventory once a year. The more volunteers we have, the more hours we can be open. Naturally, your kids are always welcome at the Library when you are working your shift.For More Information, Contact:

Carol Barnett (669-7139) or Gloria Contreras (661-3296) Become a Member Today!
Location: 1017 Main St. (across from Freeman Park, behind the United Way bldg.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Once again, it's a 4 to 3 vote amongst school trustees

The four WJUSD trustees subject to a potential recall have done it again. In predictable fashion, Carol Souza Cole, Bill Beerman, Rosario Ruiz-Dark and Elaine Lytle voted this evening to approve an agreement to waive potential conflicts between the district and legal counsel and between the district and the former superintendent. Voting against the waiver were Warren Berg, Frank Glover and Rogelio Villagrana. The legal implications of the vote were not disclosed.

The 4-3 vote has been a regular and contentious split in all affairs regarding the purchase and subsequent lease-to-purchase arrangement of the new district offices. The split became glaring on December 13, 2007, when the newly-appointed trustee Ruiz-Dark joined the ranks of Cole, Beerman and Lytle and voted for an ill-conceived purchase plan.

Since then, the 4-3 combination has outlasted public outcries about the December meeting, an unimpressive public presentation in January, a failed purchase agreement, a Grand Jury investigation, a superintendent's release of misleading contamination reports, public scrutiny over an even more expensive purchase agreement, a scathing Grand Jury report and now anticipated lawsuits.

Also discussed in closed session during tonight's special meeting were two items dealing with the anticipated litigation. Trustees gave direction to legal counsel about: 1) Significant exposure to litigation based on findings and recommendations in Yolo County Grand Jury Report issued June 30, 2008, and 2) Significant exposure to litigation based on threat of litigation from Cottonwood Investors in a July 15, 2008 correspondence. It is not known what direction the district's legal counsel received.

Granzella's is open again

Granzella's has opened their doors this morning at 6 a.m. after being closed due to a fire. This may not be in Woodland, but many Woodlanders have enjoyed that place on many occasions. I stopped there many times on my way to go camping or on the way back from a motorcycle ride.

I can't wait to get back up there. Click on the picture for a link to their web page.

Jill's coach is going to Beijing

"Olympian Jill Camarena [of Woodland] and her family have been overwhelmed by the response to their request for financial aid for her shot put coach Craig Carter. Because of the generous donations from the community, the Camarenas received enough funds to pay for Carter to travel to Beijing, China, to coach Jill the final week of preparation and during the Olympic Games."

This according Gary Traynham of the Daily Democrat. You can access his article called "Jill gets a big lift" by clicking the title of this story.

Along with the great news, an interesting bit of history came to light in Gary's article. Woodlander Jack Yerman qualified for the Olympic Games in 1960 after running the 400 meter race in 46.3 seconds at Stanford Stadium in the Trials.

After he qualified, a local fundraiser made it possible for his mother, Irene, to travel to Rome to watch her son win a gold medal. Jack did not qualify to run in the 400 finals, but he ran on the 1,600 meter relay team. According to Gary, they won a gold medal in a world-record time of 3:02.2.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jordy leaves the lucky ones who knew her

Jordan Leigh Buse. Daughter. Granddaughter. Sister. Niece. Cousin. Friend. Coworker. Student. Jordy.

Jordy was a Christmas baby, born in Woodland on December 20, 1988. On Wednesday, July 16, 2008, she left all the fortunate people she chose to include in her life. We can't imagine the loss suffered by those who gave her life. Pat Bottimore. Rich Buse. And their parents.

Jordy lived to be 19 years old. During that short time she made many friends, she made many people laugh, she touched young and old alike.

In a way, we're all lucky to make an appearance on earth - we've beaten the odds given to us by the universe. Millions of us are lucky to live in the United States. Thousands of us are lucky to live in Woodland. Hundreds of us are lucky to have known Jordy. She was able to give her family 19 full years. Much less than what she wanted to give. Much less than what we all wanted and expected.

Jordy was a care-free young woman, full of spirit and fun. She enjoyed her family, her friends, her music, her sports. She was a life-long resident of Woodland, graduating from Pioneer High School in June 2007. It was at PHS where I came to know her. Although I've known Jordy's family for a long time - Grandma Ruth worked with my dad for years; I went to high school with Pat, her mom, and her uncle Dave - it wasn't until her junior year in high school that I was lucky enough to spend time with her.

She was a talented art student. She was also very quiet - very respectful of the academic setting. Despite her calm demeanor in class, however, I soon discovered her dry wit. She was quiet, but she was definitely funny. She was quick beyond her years, in fact, I thought I had found a prodigy - a clever, destined-to-be-famous designer - but I'm sure her family and friends already knew what I had just discovered. "Jordy, Jordy, Jordy," I used to say when she pushed the envelope with her projects and then justified her work with a quip. I appreciated her creativity.

I was very happy to see Jordy again a few weeks ago. She was becoming good friends with my son, so she was at the house for a visit. It truly was a delight to see her. We are among the lucky ones.

Jordy had plans to attend Chico State and intended to move north this fall and enroll in Butte Community College. She had recently attended Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz and was working at the University Retirement Center in Davis.

Jordy is survived by her parents, Pat and Kevin Bottimore, Rich Buse and his fiancee Tamara Parker; stepsister, Kristen Ginger and family; stepbrother, Ryan Bottimore and family. She is also survived by her grandparents, Ruth Tucker, Tony and Nina Tucker, Phyllis Bottimore; aunt, Jennie Sandoval; uncles, Dave and Mike Buse, David, Ed and Chris Tucker and their families; along with numerous cousins and an extended family of which there are many. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Esther and Bill Buse and Buzz Bottimore.

A viewing is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., Monday, July 21, 2008, at McNary's Funeral Chapel, 458 College St., Woodland. Friends and family are invited to bring a small keepsake, memento or letter to place in a memory box for Jordy. Services will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, July 22, 2008, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 301 Walnut St., Woodland. A reception will follow.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"In compliance with Brown Act regulations, this agenda was legally posted on Friday, July 18, 2008 at 2:00 PM at 630 Cottonwood Street, Woodland CA"

Monday, July 21, 2008
5:30 pm
Special Board Meeting

A. Call to order in open session - 5:30 pm

B. Approval of board agenda - action

C. Public comment for item(s) on Special Board Meeting agenda

D. Closed session
1. Conference with legal counsel - anticipated litigation:
Subdivision (b) of Gov't Code Section 54956.9* - two cases:
• Significant exposure to litigation based on findings and recommendations in Yolo County Grand Jury Report issued June 30, 2008
• Significant exposure to litigation based on threat of litigation from Cottonwood Investors in [sic] July 15, 2008 correspondence

E. Reconvene in open session
1. Announcement of any action taken in closed session (if applicable)

F. Board action
1-S Approve an agreement to waive potential conflicts between the district and legal counsel and/or between the district and the former superintendent

G. Adjournment

# # #

* CA Government Code 54956.

A special meeting may be called at any time by the presiding officer of the legislative body of a local agency, or by a majority of the members of the legislative body, by delivering written notice to each member of the legislative body and to each local newspaper of general circulation and radio or television station requesting notice in writing. The notice shall be delivered personally or by any other means and shall be received at least 24 hours before the time of the meeting as specified in the notice. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted or discussed. No other business shall be considered at these meetings by the legislative body. The written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who at or prior to the time the meeting convenes files with the clerk or secretary of the legislative body a written waiver of notice. The waiver may be given by telegram. The written notice may also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.

The call and notice shall be posted at least 24 hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.

# # #

We thought we'd help the school district get this notice out in the public and make it freely accessible. Fortunately, a WJ correspondent took the bull by the horns and went over to the district office door to snap a photo of the agenda. No... the agenda is not posted on the district Web site.

Let's see... some district staff might have seen the notice on their way out of work on Friday. Another dozen people might have seen it on their way to the liquor store or to wash their clothes.

Never fear, the Daily Democrat still has time to "borrow" these images (like they "borrowed" our scanned version of the Grand Jury report) and post them by 5:30 pm today - the deadline according to the Brown Act. Click the title of this story to access an enlarged, easier to read, photo of the agenda.

Backpacks for Kids is one week away!

The second annual Backpacks for Kids is an event that provides underprivileged children in Yolo County a backpack and school supplies. Next Saturday, there will be food, music, games, prizes, and elected officials in a dunk tank. It is a family event sponsored by Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad and the Yolo County Historical Museum - the Gibson House.

Organizers are still in need of donations, including shade tents. According to rexroad.com, "We don't need the huge ones. Just the small or medium size. If you have one you are willing to let us use for a couple days we will come pick it up and bring it back to you."

Second Annual Backpacks for Kids
Saturday, July 26, 11 am to 3 pm
Gibson House grounds
512 Gibson Road

For more information, contact Dotty at 530-666-8230 or dotty.huber@yolocounty.org

Friday, July 18, 2008

Carmella Franco named interim superintendent

Carmella Franco has been named the Woodland Joint Unified School District's interim superintendent. Franco has about 36 years of experience in public education - she served as a private music teacher, as a principal for two schools, and was the director of the Lennox School District personnel department. For the past twelve years, Franco served as superintendent for Whittier City School District, according to a WJUSD press release.

According to the district's press release, Franco will begin her position on July 28, just three days prior to her official last day at Whittier City School District. Click here to view "Farewell event honors Franco" by Tracy Garcia, writer for the Whittier Daily News.

The following is a summary of the press release issued by the district (click the title of this story to access):

The WJUSD Board of Trustees, at a special board meeting on July 17 appointed Carmella Franco, former superintendent of Whittier City School District, as Interim Superintendent. Franco will assume her role with WJUSD as of July 28.

Franco, who is bilingual in Spanish, recently retired after serving as superintendent for Whittier City School District for twelve years. Before moving to Whittier, Franco taught and began her administrative career in Rowland Unified School District, served in two principalships in Bassett Unified School District and oversaw the Lennox School District personnel department.

Franco did her undergraduate work at California State University, Los Angeles, where she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Music. She earned her Masters Degree in Elementary Education from CSU Los Angeles and her doctorate of education from the University of La Verne.

About the Whittier City School District:

Whittier City School District is a K-8 District with ten elementary and two middle (6-8) schools, with approximately 6,750 students. Class Size Reduction has been completed in all Kindergarten, first, second, and third grade classrooms. The district is on the cutting edge of technology with all the classrooms wired for the Internet. The District is also the recipient of numerous grants. The community supported the passage of bond elections in November 1996 and March 2000.

The number one priority in the District is the improvement of student achievement. Resources have been allocated in the areas of professional development, interventions for underachieving students, and other site improvements. English Language Learners participate in one of two District programs: the mainstream or the structured English immersion program. Our District is one of seven local districts that join together in a Special Education Cooperative (SELPA) serving Whittier area special needs students. Ten of the District’s schools have new Wonder of Reading Libraries, funded by a private grant, school site funding, and District financial support.

The Board, as well as the community, supports the arts. Each middle school has a band room designed and purchased by the District.

Martie looks weird in this photo

It's been 18 days since Martie Dote officially joined the Woodland City Council and Mayor Dave Flory stepped down. Today, this photo was plucked from the city's Web page about city council. At least the mug shots and biographical blurbs of the council were changed... that only include Martie's name and email link at the bottom - without her photo and bio.

If one were to play "mix and match," pairing the available mug shots on the page with the group shot here, one might conclude that Martie looks a little weird.

To view the minutes of the July 1, 2008, meeting during which Martie took office, just click here. Oh wait, the minutes only go up to October 16, 2007.

Anyway... during the July 1 meeting Skip Davies, Woodland's new mayor, sent a message to the council and staff that he wants the city to be proactive. Click here for a Daily Democrat article about Skip's directives. Someone better take note.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sacramento judge will rule on disqualification of Yolo judges

A Sacramento judge will decide whether the judges on the Yolo Superior Court should be disqualified from hearing the case of Marco Antonio Topete who is accused of killing a Yolo sheriff's deputy Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz. This according to a SacBee.com article entitled "Outside judge to weigh disqualifying Yolo judges" written by Hudson Sangree.

California Chief Justice Ronald George signed an order to appoint Judge David De Alba to decide a motion brought by the Yolo County Public Defender's Office in the case. A hearing before De Alba is scheduled for August 8.

Topete's June 18 arraignment was held in a court building that remained locked to the public, unbeknownst to Commissioner Janene Beronio.

Deputy Public Defender Dean Johansson later argued that Yolo judges had colluded to let their bailiffs attend the arraignment.

Presiding Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg then ruled on July 3 that he would not remove himself from the case. At that time Rosenberg continued to blame the Yolo County Sheriff's department for the courtroom error.

Click the title of this story to access the SacBee report.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

State may choose Dunnigan over Woodland for re-entry facility

Back in March, The Woodland Journal posted a story entitled "Woodland to host 150-bed re-entry prison" that was based on a SacBee.com report. At that time Undersheriff Tom Lopez confirmed that Yolo County had agreed to host a 150-bed re-entry facility for prisoners in the final months of their sentences at its jail campus on Gibson Road in Woodland. Lopez also said that the county was prepared to start breaking ground almost immediately on both the re-entry prison and a 148-bed expansion on the jail. Click the title of this story to access the WJ post.

Under the re-entry plan, inmates in the final few months of their term would be shuttled to mini-prisons in or near their hometowns. AB 900 calls for shifting a total of 16,000 prisoners to the re-entry facilities, most of which will house 500 offenders.

There were 38 comments generated by that post. They ranged from concerns about property values and home sales, to concerns about a lack of communication from county and city officials, to concerns about community safety, to concerns about bureaucratic hoop-jumping.

It became clear that the county's motivation for agreeing to - or applying for - the re-entry facility was for funding an expansion to its existing jail. The expansion will accommodate 148 more beds as a "mini prison."

A representative from the county explained that the county had to show good faith in wanting to have the possibility of locating the mini-prison in Woodland in order to get the money needed for the county jail expansion.

The spokesman said, "The county has merely agreed to consider a re-entry facility, which is long way off from actually building one. Basically it's filling out forms, saying 'yes we'll consider this.' In the end, will the board pull the trigger on this? That I don't know."

It appeared at the time that it was unlikely that a mini-prison would actually be built in Woodland so it was prudent for county officials to go through the application exercise for $30 million. This meant that the already-planned jail expansion would only cost the county $15 million.

Also at the time, a Dunnigan location of the re-entry facility didn't even appear on the radar. Now, there is not only a blip on the screen, there is a huge target on the backs of county supervisors. Our rural neighbors to the north are not pleased, but the county appears equipped to handle the complaints.

Today's Daily Democrat includes an article called "Corrections staff try to sell 'reentry' prison," by Luke Gianni. Here are some excerpts:

The battle over a state prison reentry facility in Yolo County continued at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Representatives from the State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation brought out a public relations arsenal ranging from environmental specialist to criminal reform experts to explain for the first directly to the public how a prison reentry facility will benefit the county.

Also on hand were about 40 residents from the Dunnigan and Zamora areas - the county's [sic] favored spot to place the proposed facility - to express their opposition to the site and frustration over why it took the county so long to come forward with the details.

"This is just good public policy," said Kathy Prizmich, corrections spokeswoman at Tuesday's meeting. "We see it as a return on investment."

The investment, Prizmich said, is the reentry facility. The return will be significant reduction in recidivism rates among parolees in Yolo County.
The proposed reentry facility will house state prison inmates coming back to Yolo County in the last year to 18 months of their sentence.

While there, Prizmich said inmates will receive counseling and job training skills. In addition, they will receive treatment scientifically tailored to their predicament.

It's not the validity of the program that's in question, said Zamora resident Mary Jo Hoes at the board meeting, it's the area the county plans on placing it, which she said could not support such a facility.

"There has been no outreach to us at all," Hoes said. "In addition to that, we really want to now what the benefits to our community are."

"If you can get $30 million from the state to build this prison, more power to you," [said Wilma] Gullath. "But don't sell us out to do it."

Also today, County Supervisor Matt Rexroad posted this on his blog:

Last Night in Zamora

The Zamora Community Hall had a packed house last night regarding the re-entry facility.

I did not count but I would bet we had 200 or more people. Two people came up to me afterwards saying they supported it but the rest of the room was against the idea os having a facility there.

The points on water and transportation are valid ones. Those will have to be considered as we go through this process.

The one point that kills me is that people say this effort has been clouded in secrecy or that the Board had SECRET MEETINGS. That is nonsense.

The same people that make the accusation that it is a done deal then are outraged when we don't have answers to their questions about some detail that will be worked out later.

I realize that the people in the area near the intersection of I-5/I-505 might not like the answers but the county has and will continue to be open and up front about the process.

Recall Committee: Meeting to be held for petition signing and coordination

Below is a press release from the Recall Committee. The committee is organizing the recall of four WJUSD trustees.

# # #

Please join us in a meeting on Thursday night when you can come to sign petitions or sign up for petition signing times and locations. Come by and get involved in the recall effort. The meeting will be held at St. John's Meeting Hall on Cleveland Street at 6:00 pm.

We will have a table setup for signatures as well as setting up schedules for the signature gathering at various locations. We will have petitions for people to take and fill with registered voters signatures.

All signatures on the petitions are confidential and will not be released so you can feel comfortable in signing.

See you Thursday!

Please feel free to email wjusdrecall@yahoo.com for additional information.

# # #

Note: The committee indicates the email address above is working, although response times might be delayed because of work schedules. No Web site was provided with the release.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dustin to bat ninth in tonight's All Star game

The MLB All Star Game, featuring Dustin Pedroia of Woodland, will be broadcast live on FOX at 5 pm tonight (Tuesday, July 15). Please note that previous game announcements on this blog included the Eastern Time start of 8 pm. Terry Francona, the manager of the Boston Red Sox and American League All-Star team, announced his starting line-up for the 2008 All-Star Game:

1: Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Mariners
2: Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
3: Josh Hamilton, CF, Rangers
4: Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
5: Manny Ramirez, LF, Red Sox
6: Milton Bradley, DH, Rangers
7: Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox
8: Joe Mauer, C, Twins
9: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox

The starting American League pitcher is Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians. Click the title of this story to see the National League line-up.

For a cool visual display of the American League starters and Dustin, click here and then click on "Rosters" in the upper right-hand corner under Headlines.

Commentary: Dustin should be batting second. His average is .314, sixth in the league. He is second in the league with 124 hits. The scheduled second batter is the smirky, banjo-hitting, Derek Jeter. He's batting .284 with 100 hits. Yankees suck.

We can help Jill at the Olympics

The following are excerpts from "Jill seeks our help," a 7/13/08 article written by longtime Daily Democrat sports editor Gary Traynham:

For Jill Camarena, the euphoria from making the U.S. Olympic Team is boundless.

The four-year wait was worth every minute when she was assured of third place in the women's shot put last week at the U.S. Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Now she has her sights set on the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and her competition on Saturday, Aug. 16.

Before then, however, she has one more wish: To have her coach, Craig Carter, at her side against the world's elite.

Many countries subsidize their athletes and coaches completely while others like the U.S. make no provisions for individual coaches, only the USA Team coaches.

"All the athletes will have their coaches there," Camarena says, "even the experienced throwers. They all want their coaches there."

"Basically, they don't care about personal coaches, and they're not going to help us," Carter says. "They want us to make athletes great but don't reward us."

Jill believes having her coach there is essential to an optimum performance, and she and her family are looking for help to make that happen.

The Camarenas have started a fund-raising drive to cover the expenses of her coach so Carter can attend the Games.

Anyone wishing to donate may send a check to:

Jill's Olympic Dream
209 Redwood Drive
Woodland CA 95695

Click the title of this story to access the entire Traynham article.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Join Team Sammie!

The following information was retrieved from rexroad.com:

Join Team Sammie, a family fundraiser in support of Sammie Hartsfield and her family.

Our Sammie is a beautiful 10 year old Woodland native who has been battling Osteosarcoma (a rare bone cancer) for close to 2 years and has recently suffered a relapse of this vicious cancer. She has been through countless months of chemo, surgeries, blood transfusions, X-rays and other treatments that no child should have to endure. Health insurance does NOT cover many of the incurred expenses during this difficult time.

TEAM SAMMIE has been created to show support for the Hartsfield Family during this life changing event. Our goal is to reduce the stress of medical bills, transportation expenses and help grant any dreams that Sammie may have.

On Saturday, July 19th at the Woodland County Fair Fashion Mall a Family Fun-Raiser will be held from 11am to 3pm.

We will have music, food, raffle prizes, t-shirts and fun for all. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to Sammie and her family. Will YOU as a business, as a member of a group/organization, or a loving family possibly help TEAM SAMMIE with any of the following?

Donations of Event Supplies Needed:
• Food, Ice, Drinks, bounce house, dunk tank, face painting materials, music services and much more.
• Cash donation towards Event Day Expenses
• Raffle Prizes for Drawing
• Monetary donation directly to Sammie Hartsfield’s Bank Account (Please make checks payable to ‘Sammie’s Ride for Life’ account held at FNB)

Thank you in advance for your generosity and for joining TEAM SAMMIE!

To help contact: teamsammie@yahoo.com

For more information on Sammie’s fight click the title of this story.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Arizona talking about Dustin as All Star game nears

Dustin Pedroia of Woodland will be the starting second baseman for the American League in the MLB All Star Game to be broadcast live on FOX at 8 pm tomorrow (Tuesday, July 15).

Aside from Dustin's Northern California and New England fan base, his Arizona followers have not lost sight of his All Star status. Yesterday, the The Arizona Republic published an article called "Pedroia becoming toast of Boston" by Doug Haller.

You can click the title of this story to access the Telegram.com article, but here are some excerpts:

Dustin Pedroia - the sixth Arizona State product to start the All-Star Game (Can you name the other five?) - will take residence at Yankee Stadium as one of the game's hotter hitters.

Pedroia's attitude and hustle have won over Boston fans, who typically give players about a week to prove themselves. In a Boston Herald online poll, 32 percent of 1,464 readers selected Pedroia as the team's first-half MVP. At 33 percent, J.D. Drew, having his best season, was the only player above him.

"Dustin's the blue-collar type player that people from Boston kind of agree with," said Mike Spadea, manager of Who's on First?, a sports bar across the street from Fenway Park. "He just goes out there and does his thing. He's not the biggest guy, not the fastest guy; he just gets the job done. Right now, I don't know if he's the most beloved player on the team, but he's getting there."

# # #

Here are the five other ASU All Star starters: Sal Bando, Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday, Barry Bonds and Paul Lo Duca.

Grand Jury Final Report examined: Installment Four

During the 15 months of eight closed session board meetings held to discuss the acquisition of the Blue Shield building - only three of which were legitimate according to Brown Act criteria – the Woodland Joint Unified School District also engaged the following consultants:

• Fairfield-based Premier Commercial, Inc. provided both real estate consulting services and real estate brokerage services

• San Francisco-based Brereton Architects, provided space needs assessment and design services for tenant improvements at the Blue Shield property, and

• San Francisco-based Miller, Brown and Dannis, attorneys who provided counseling on the acquisition of the Blue Shield property and the alleged health issues at the district’s Cottonwood offices

In addition to the Grand Jury findings that the district overpaid Premier Commercial and that there was a conflict of interest created in hiring a consultant AND a broker from Premier Commercial (Findings 13 and 14), the Grand Jury also discovered that the district has no policy regarding purchase order addenda sums in excess of the maximum amount of the original purchase order approved by the Board of Trustees.

What does this mean? It means the former superintendent, Jacki Cottingim, was paying unapproved amounts to consultants. Cottingim also allowed consultants to perform services beyond contract dates.

From the Grand Jury Final Report, page 13, under "D: Inadequate Monitoring of Consultant Contracts and duplicate Services."

• The District is required to obtain Board approval for purchase orders exceeding $15,000. The District has no policy in place preventing incremental contract expenditures by the Superintendent in excess of the total contract amount approved by the Board. In the case of the District’s real estate consultant contract, only $100,000 was authorized in advance by the Board. An additional approximate sum of $50,000 was paid without Board approval on the basis that no single incremental payment exceeded $15,000.

• The District’s real estate consultant had no contract with the District from October 2006 to August 23, 2007. During this time the real estate consultant continued to perform services on behalf of the District.

Grand Jury Final Report examined: Installment Three continued

There were several emails and comments relating to the recent post called "Grand Jury Final Report examined: Installment Three." The post had to do with the false reports on safety at the Woodland Joint Unified School District's Cottonwood Premises (offices). That post also contained information on how the district misled the public concerning the Cottonwood Center and plans for obtaining the Blue Shield building at 425 Sixth Street.

Woodland Journal readers were interested in the permissible levels of perchloroethylene (PCE) in the ground water and ambient air within the district’s office. The simplest explanation of allowable PCE levels I've found was contained in the Scharff, Brady & Vinding response letter to the district's attorneys refuting claims that the building is unsafe. Scharff, et al, claimed that the Schutze report of PCE levels of 2.7 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) 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."

Scharff, et al. was contracted by the owners of the building - Cottonwood Investors, Inc.

To clarify, here is more information contained on page 13 in the Grand Jury Final Report:

The Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment sets the following standards for evaluating health risk due to PCE exposure in the work place, based upon exposure to levels of PCE 8 hours/day, 5 days/week, over 30 years:

1) Immediate Health Effect Level (acute, as in a dry cleaner operation): more than 200,000 micrograms per cubic meter of PCE: variety of symptoms possible;

2) Chronic Reference Exposure Level: 35 micrograms per cubic meter of PCE: possible kidney or liver damage;

3) California Human Health Screening Level: 0.693 micrograms per cubic meter of PCE: 1 in a million risk level for cancer.

The most recent sampling of the District’s Cottonwood Premises indicated PCE levels were satisfactory. Those State and County
regulatory authorities knowledgeable of the situation and consulted by the Grand Jury confirmed no special or immediate health hazard to workers or visitors exists at the Cottonwood Premises due to PCE contamination.

Click the title of this story to access the report.

In summary:

2.7 ug/m3 was measured by the district's consultants
200,000.0 ug/m3 pose an immediate health risk
35.0 ug/m3 is the Chronic Reference Exposure Level causing possible kidney or liver damage

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New England talking about Dustin as All Star game nears

Dustin Pedroia of Woodland is the starting second baseman for the American League All Star team. He represents the World Champion Boston Red Sox and will be playing in the 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. It will be broadcast live on FOX at 8 pm on Tuesday, July 15.

As the All Star game nears, Dustin and the other Red Sox All Stars are getting some press around New England. Yesterday, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette published an article named "Dustin is tops since Doerr, Pedroia fills 2B vacuum." You can click the title of this story to access the Telegram.com article, but here are some excerpts:

Boston’s longevity lists are full of Hall of Fame names — or All-Stars, MVPs and the like.

Except for second base, where Hall of Famer and perennial All-Star Bobby Doerr heads the roster of most games played in a Boston uniform. After that, things get pretty thin: Mark Bellhorn. Jeff Frye. Mike Benjamin. Scott Fletcher.

In Dustin Pedroia, the Sox seem finally to have found a long-term solution to what had become an almost annual problem. Who knows exactly how good Pedroia can be? Projecting him as a Hall of Fame player like Doerr seems to be a reach. However, there is a real possibility that Pedroia is going to evolve into Boston’s best second baseman since Doerr.

He heads into the Baltimore series riding a 17-game hitting streak. During the streak, Pedroia is batting .474 with 20 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple and 3 home runs. He has struck out only six times in 76 at-bats. In his last 31 games, Pedroia has struck out just those six times in 130 at-bats. For the month of July, when Boston hitters have been terrible with the bases loaded, Pedroia is 2 for 2 with five RBIs; the rest of the Sox are 1 for 10 with one RBI.

Franchise players like Doerr come along only every so often, which is what makes them franchise players. Pedroia may not wind up being the 21st century Bobby Doerr, but he is on his way to being the best second baseman the Sox have seen since then.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wiseman Company wants more from city in quest for a third downtown theater site

Many Woodlanders remember the Diamond Lumber Company on the corner of East and Main. It was sad to see that go out of business, but the City of Woodland stepped in and purchased the property to house its Parks and Recreation Department.

Then, a series of events occurred... the concept of a community center was born, in which the P&R Dept. would be located, then the city virtually GAVE AWAY the East and Main property to the Wiseman Company, who then built the office building we now see at the corner. Then, the city paid rent to the Wiseman Co. so that the P&R Dept. could stay there until the community center was built.

Now, according to a recent Daily Democrat article, the Wiseman Co. wants even more from the city. They want the city to finance and build a parking structure for a proposed theater complex across from their office building. Click here for the story.

Back in January of this year, The Woodland Journal posted a short story about a city council agenda item relating to the sale of a city yard to Wisman Associates. Click here for the story. The transaction was previously discussed in another closed session. The property is 445 Fifth St., Assessor’s Parcel #006-121-04-1.

According to the Brown Act (54956.8) a local agency may hold a closed session with its negotiator prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by or for the local agency to grant authority to its negotiator regarding the pice and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease. Prior to the closed session, the local agency shall hold an open and public session in which it identifies its negotiators - check; and the real property which the negotiations may concern - check.

What was not discussed in open session was the reason for the property negotiation. Sure, the city negotiated for price in closed session... but the public was left out of the purposes or intent of the property sale.

In February, The Woodland Journal began posting about the city's downtown parking fee.

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

Click here for "New parking standards precede Downtown Specific Plan, include in-lieu fee."

Click here for Staff primes council: In-lieu fee for parking Xanadu.

On April 30, The Woodland Journal posted a letter to the editor of the Daily Democrat written by John Perry. Click here for that.

For this particular post, those stories boil down to this: The city has imposed a $5,000 mitigation fee for an unknown parking structure.

Now consider the recent Daily Democrat story (mentioned above) called "Multiplex in Woodland. Sound farfetched? Not to the Wiseman Co., which could build a 12-theater facility on Main Street." It was written by Crystal Lee. Here are some excerpts:

The Wiseman Company is prepared to build a modern multiplex theater and retail center in Woodland's downtown district if the city agrees to provide the parking, according representatives for the development firm.

Representatives from the firm have been in informal discussions with city officials about opening the theater at a location adjacent to the Woodland Corporate Center, better known as the Wiseman Building, near the southwest of the intersection at Main and Sixth streets. The lot is currently being used by the Hoblit Dodge dealership for vehicle storage and is owned by Bob Gillette.

The Wiseman Company's investment in the project would be about $12 million. Cinema West, a theater operator with 13 locations in Northern California, has agreed to manage the theater, [partner Scot] Hunter said. However, the city's commitment is essential to moving the project forward because of the need for sufficient parking.

Additionally, the city is waiting for firm plans on the county's [sic] pending courthouse project for new facilities, likely to be located in Woodland, according to City Manager Mark Deven. If the courthouse is built in the downtown area, it would present an opportunity for a shared parking structure that could be used by professionals during the day and downtown recreational visitors in the evening.

The article does mention another downtown multiplex project proposed by Paul Petrovich as part of the state's courthouse plans and the joint city/county/state parking structure. Petrovich's theaters would be on Main Street between Third and Fourth.

The article does not mention that the Woodland Downtown Specific Plan includes theaters at two different locations - the multiplex at the Third and Fourth location and a renovation of the State Theatre.

Nor does the article mention that most respondents to survey conducted in April 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%). Woodland Journal comments following the release of the survey results include building a multiplex next to, and including, a renovated State Theatre.

Also, the article does not mention the closed session meetings about the adjacent property at 445 Fifth Street owned by the city.

Click here for the Daily Democrat article. Click the title of the story to access the Wiseman Company Web site.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The economy is getting bad

It is getting rough for folks like Xavier Tafoya. He finally had to break down and buy his new hands free set for his phone.

It works great but the main problem is he still has two payments to make on it.

Xavier said, "It works well but it makes my head have a stabbing pain".

Well. keep working hard Xavier and maybe you will be able to afford a colored band next year.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Recall Committee: Look for petitions at your local store

The following message was sent to the Woodland Journal from the WJUSD Trustee Recall Committee:

# # #

For the many of you who are new to the recall effort, welcome. To the community members [who have shown continuous support and] who are interested in seeing a change, we are very close.

The following is information sent to our local media:

The Recall Committee received approval to distribute the petition forms from the Elections Department which initiates the process to collect signatures. There will be a separate petition for each of the four Woodland Joint Unified School District Trustees being recalled – Carol Souza Cole, Bill Beermann, Rosario Ruiz-Dark, and Elaine Lytle. Look for a petition table at your local Woodland store that will have plenty of good information and signature forms available.

The 2007/2008 Yolo County Grand Jury Report has stimulated plenty of new interest from people who have not previously been informed. The full report is available at http://www.yolocounty.org/Index.aspx?page=780. This report only contains a portion of the reasons for the initiation of the recall effort. [Click the title of this story to access.]

With the Community in an uproar, the signature process will not take long. Anyone interested in being involved can email wjusdrecall@yahoo.com and we can add you to the list.

In addition to the Grand Jury findings, the trustees also:

• Did not communicate accurate information to the public if at all.
• Committed the District to a long-term financial obligation with incomplete and inaccurate information
• Failed to consider alternative office locations prior to making a decision
• Approved a 30-year finance package based on an eight-year space plan
• Reported and took legal action on safety issues regarding its current location without looking at the final report
• Failed to show regard for public input when making decisions
• Have not demonstrated fiscal responsibility, especially during state budget cuts
• Approved a purchase agreement with eminent domain language that was NOT approved by the board
• Rejected gifts offered to the district, refusing to use resources from the community

Please feel free to email wjusdrecall@yahoo.com for additional information.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

One Hellavabus

Sometimes when you drive around town you see things that just make you wonder. I think kids have been looking for this as long as I can remember. I just happened to see it with my own two eyes this evening. It is right here in Woodland.

Somehow, someone made a short bus look cool.

Four trustees respond to notice of recall

Notice of Intent to Recall

As an elected official you:

• Have FAILED to show regard for public input when making decisions.
• Have NOT demonstrated prudent oversight of the district business.
• Did NOT thoroughly research and question topics before motioning or casting vote.
• Have NOT demonstrated fiscal responsibility especially during state budget cuts.
• Approved a purchase agreement with eminent domain language that was NOT approved to be included.
• Approved a long term lease agreement that DOES NOT benefit the district.
• REFUSED to properly consider other properties for the District Office.
• FAILED to provide proper supervision of an employee of the district.
• By actions, have NOT demonstrated independent decision making and clearly look to Superintendent for approval and / or guidance before taking actions.
• Approved legal action in writing without reading the full report.
• Rejected gifts offered to the district, not using resources from the community.
• Have NOT shown ability for independent thoughts in your decision making.

In consideration of all the above actions, you have failed to properly represent the voting public of the WJUSD as a Trustee.

Response from Carol Souza Cole

I am passionate about Woodland Schools. As my teenaged children, have moved from elementary to high school in Woodland public schools, I have worked countless hours in the classroom and on-site trying to help make our schools better. Just last November, this community re-elected me to the school board - I was thankful for the vote of confidence.

Now, thousands of dollars and hours that could be spent improving our local schools are going to be wasted on a negative political campaign. Our Children deserve better. Woodland is a great place to live, run a business, and raise a family.

As a school board member I will continue to work hard to provide your children and our community with the best educational opportunities possible. I am deeply saddened about this recall and the harm it can do to our community and to Woodland's schools.

It is clear that this recall is NOT about, or for, our children - no mention of children, students or schools even appears in the proponents' statement. If you would like to discuss this matter please call me at 666-2070. Don’t let politics get in the way of educating our children.

Bill Beermann

The proponents have listed their grounds for this recall. There are no charges of criminal behavior or criminal misconduct, no laws were broken. What they amount to is a smoke screen to cover their real issue. That issue is the acquisition of the new building for the District offices.

The Board looked at several different options, and had numerous reports regarding different properties over the last 18 months. The Board voted in open session on a subject they disagree with, it’s a difference of opinion. The proponents say I have no regard for public opinion and that I haven’t shown independent thoughts when making decisions. We have a professional, capable staff; I evaluate their reports, listen to public input and cast my vote accordingly.

What the proponents have failed to report is that this recall may cost the District upwards of $95,000 or more depending on the process. If there is a group of people unhappy with the board I believe they should wait until re-election time. The money saved can be spent on our children throughout the District.

Rosario Ruiz-Dark

I was elected to represent the community and fully understand the trust bestowed upon me. Before I vote, information is presented, I am given an opportunity to ask questions before and during the meetings so as to fully understand the matter at hand.

I trust staff’s recommendations and know that they would not put the district in jeopardy. I am open-minded and I keep my ear to the ground in anticipation of public comment and criticism regarding any issues that may come before the Board. I cast a vote to purchase a building rather than to continue to rent.

I am not aware of any other reason why this recall is being requested other than the people listed on the notice did not personally get what they wanted. My vote was for the betterment of the school district and not for any personal gain. I do not believe that I have voted inappropriately. However, I do believe the plan to own is more fiscally sound than to continue to rent.

Elaine Lytle

As an elected official to the Woodland Joint Unified School District, I take my responsibility to the children and families of our district very seriously. I am one of a seven member board. The trustees attend the same meetings that are district related and receive the same information and documentation to support the agenda and informational items for those meetings.

A very important part of our meetings is the public participation which is encouraged and supported.

I strongly support the diversity and difference of opinions that may arise during these discussions, as well as those of the individual board members. Do we, as a board, as always agree? The answer is no, Do we have to make some hard decisions that may not be supported by all, including some of the public? The answer is yes. As I reviewed the grounds for the recall, the only conclusion that I could see for this recall was the disagreement over the Blue Shield building.

I am truly sorry for those that would use this avenue at the financial cost to our children instead of the election process in place.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Laugenour Land Lab

Woodland Friends,

The Agriculture and FFA programs of Woodland and Pioneer High Schools are dedicating the Laugenour Land Lab at the former Laugenour Elementary School site north of Woodland. You are invited.

Event: Dedication and Opening of the Laugenour Land Lab and its new

Barn Date: Thursday, July 10Time: 5:30 to 8:00 PM

Why: For the future of Agriculture Education in the Woodland area

Where: 39839 Co. Rd. 17A (see attached map)

How: Celebration with hamburgers and the fixings for $5

A map to the site
A release about the facility and dedication
Two photos of the new barn Photo #1 Photo #2

Please consider supporting the new ag education facility which will provide opportunities for Woodland kids for years to come.

Thank you,

Wayne Ginsburg

Grand Jury Final Report examined: Installment Three

Two of the claims against the Woodland Joint Unified School District listed in the 2007/08 Yolo County Grand Jury Final Report were:

• The district falsely reported on safety of its Cottonwood Premises (offices), and
• The district mislead the public concerning the Cottonwood Center and plans for obtaining the Blue Shield building at 425 Sixth Street.

Excerpts from the Grand Jury Final Report under "Safety issues – public relations or public Health?:"

• The second reason given for moving from the Cottonwood Premises was that the Cottonwood property is unsafe due to the existence of perchloroethylene (PCE) in the ground water and ambient air within the District’s central office. The existence of PCE in the groundwater at the Cottonwood facility has been public knowledge since 1992.

• Since 2001, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) has overseen and monitored the Cottonwood Center owner’s PCE remediation activities. To the effective date of this report, the RWQCB and the Environmental Health Division of the Yolo County Health Department have received no health complaints concerning the Cottonwood Center since April 2001.

• Since this time, the District neither received nor filed any health complaints as of the effective date of this report.

Of course, that last claim by the Grand Jury doesn’t include the district’s use of their public relations instrument known as the Daily Democrat. Just yesterday, the local paper published “District employees respond to report, One firmly believes Cottonwood building made her, others sick,“ By Lizeth Cazares. The Democrat previously reported on the sick employees when former Superintendent Jacki Cottingim ordered an evacuation of the Cottonwood offices.

More from the Grand Jury Final Report:

• Despite the lack of any evidence of material health risk due to PCE contamination, following the March 10, 2008 special closed session meeting of the Board, the District evacuated and closed off a portion of the Cottonwood Premises and posted signs on the doors to those spaces advising persons not to enter due to possible contamination. The District also began moving some central office employees to temporary premises elsewhere.

Again, the Grand Jury never received any documentation from the district, or their attorneys, that linked employee symptoms with PCE exposure. There were no filed complaints by the employees – although it is clear they spoke of symptoms – and no filed complaints by the district with public health officials. There were no employee notes about the situation handed over to the Grand Jury.

Here are some excerpts from yesterday’s Daily Democrat article (click the title of this story):

Shortly after the [Grand Jury] report labeled the district's concern over the Pupil Services Department as "public relations" for the new central office, pupil services employees Savanna Bales and Gricelda Cardenas publicly refuted the statements during the Woodland school board special meeting Wednesday.

"My desk was in the back in an area jokingly called 'Sneezy Corner,'" Bales said. "When the air quality report came out, it stopped being a joke. We started intentionally comparing notes about constant colds, frequent sneezing, increased headaches."

"(Superintendent Jacki Cottingim) explained to us that the levels of PERC detected were considered 'safe' by OSHA standards but as 'exceeding the indoor air environment screening levels as set by the Regional Water Quality Control Board,' and that because she couldn't conceive of working under conditions that might be hazardous, she couldn't ask us to and they wanted to move us," she said.

Once again, according to the Grand Jury, “the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) has overseen and monitored the Cottonwood Center owner’s PCE remediation activities… the RWQCB and the Environmental Health Division of the Yolo County Health Department have received no health complaints concerning the Cottonwood Center since April 2001.”

On March 21, Scharff, Brady & Vinding representing Cottonwood Investors, Inc. sent a response letter to the district's attorneys refuting claims that the building is unsafe. Scharff, et al, claimed that the Schutze report of PCE levels of 2.7 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) 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."

According to the OSHA Web site, PCE primarily enters the body from inhalation of the vapors, potentially resulting in the following health hazards for people working in the dry cleaning industry:

• Dizziness, drowsiness, and loss of coordination;
• Mild loss of memory, visual perception, and reaction time after several years of exposure; or
• Redness and blistering of the skin after prolonged dermal contact.

The district did NOT provide any physician's diagnoses of the employees' sneezing and cold symptoms to the Grand Jury. The district DID spend $90,129.01 on attorney fees and the Schutze report after publicly acknowledging that the Cottonwood building was safe during a board meeting presentation on January 24. The district DID spend $59,621.40 (plus insurance) to move into a temporary location.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Dustin Pedroia of Woodland, 2007 American League Rookie of the Year, has been named to this year's AL All Star team. The Boston Red Sox second baseman was named as a starter in the 79th Midsummer Classic.

American League All Star Roster

Starting Position, Player, Team, B/T
C, Joe Mauer, MIN, L/R
1B, Kevin Youkilis, BOS, R/R
2B, Dustin Pedroia, BOS, L/L
SS, Derek Jeter, NYY, R/R
3B, Alex Rodriguez, NYY, R/R
OF, Josh Hamilton, TEX, L/L
OF, Manny Ramirez, BOS, R/R
OF, Ichiro Suzuki, SEA, L/R
DH, David Ortiz, BOS, L/L

Pitchers, Team, B/T
Justin Duchscherer, OAK, R/R
Roy Halladay, TOR, R/R
Scott Kazmir, TB, L/L
Cliff Lee, CLE , L/L
Joe Nathan, MIN, R/R
Jonathan Papelbon, BOS, R/R
Mariano Rivera, NYY, R/R
Francisco Rodriguez, LAA, R/R
Ervin Santana, LAA, R/R
Joe Saunders, LAA, L/L
George Sherrill, BAL, L/L
Joakim Soria, KC, R/R

Reserve Positions, Player, Team, B/T
C, Dioner Navarro, TB, S/R
C, Jason Varitek, BOS, S/R
1B, Justin Morneau, MIN, L/R
2B, Ian Kinsler, TEX, R/R
SS, Michael Young, TEX, S/R
3B, Joe Crede, CWS, R/R
3B, Carlos Guillen, DET, S/R
OF, J.D. Drew, BOS, L/R
OF, Carlos Quentin, CWS, R/R
OF, Grady Sizemore, CLE, L/L
DH, Milton Bradley, TEX, S/R

The 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium will be broadcast live on FOX at 8 pm on Tuesday, July 15. Tim Lincecum was the only San Francisco Giant selected thus far to the National League All Star team. To check out both All Star Rosters, click the title of this story.


Jill Camarena of Woodland has made the U.S.A. Olympic Team.

From the S.F. Chronicle:

Former Stanford thrower Jill Camarena completed the U.S. squad for Beijing when she popped a throw of 59-5 1/2 on the first round that stood for third. She was also third at the '04 trials but did not have the Olympic "A" qualifying standard and did not get to make the trip to Athens. She has it this time.

"After '04, I had to decide if I wanted to continue," said Camarena, who graduated from Stanford in '04. "I really wanted to be a part of this Olympic team. I love the sport. Just to compete with people like Kristin and Michelle, it's a wonderful environment."

Click the title of this story to access "Women with Bay Area ties take top three spots in shot put" by John Crumpacker, Chronicle Staff Writer.

Women's Shot Put Final Results

1. Michelle Carter, 18.85m/61-10.25f
Put 1: 18.37m, Put 2: 18.85m, Put 3: 17.45m, Put 4: 17.72m, Put 5: 18.16m, Put 6: 18.49m

2, Kristin Heaston, 18.34m/60-02.00f
17.86m, 16.97m, 17.68m, 18.34m, 18.32m, 17.56m

3. Jillian Camarena, 18.12m/59-05.50f
18.12m, FOUL, FOUL, FOUL, 17.64m, 18.01m

From the U.S.A. Track and Field Web site:

U.S. high school record holder Michelle Carter made her first Olympic Team as an elite athlete, winning the women's shot put with a personal-best and U.S.-leading mark of 18.85m/61-10.25. In becoming an Olympian, she follows in the footsteps of her father, 1984 Olympic shot put silver medalist and boys' high school record holder Michael Carter.

Three-time national outdoor champion and 2004 Olympian Kristin Heaston finished second in Saturday's competition with 18.34m/60-2.0, and three-time USA indoor champion Jillian Camarena was third with 18.12m/59-05.5 as seven women exceeded 58 feet.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Rosenberg again uses bench to scold deputies

According to yesterday's Daily Democrat, Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg refused to remove himself in the Tony Diaz murder case Friday. Rosenberg made the ruling in response to the defendant's motion to disqualify the entire Yolo judiciary from hearing the case. The judge made it clear that the defendant's request was not a change in venue motion.

Rosenberg said the defense failed to meet the legal standard for judicial disqualification - whether a reasonable person armed with the facts would entertain doubts the judge was impartial.

The defendant, Marco Topete, has been charged with first degree murder after shooting Diaz on June 15 in near Dunnigan. Topete's defense attorney, Dean Johansson, said there was no judge in the county fit to hear the case because they had all colluded with Sheriff's deputies in the lockout of Topete's arraignment hearing on June 18.

Impartiality and collusion aside, Rosenberg seized his platform to again place all the blame of the unlocked doors on Sheriff's deputies. Click the title of this story to access the Rosenberg's Verified Answer to Motion for Disqualification for Cause - it is posted on the Yolo Court's Web site.

Also on the Yolo Court's Web site is Rosenberg's charge as presiding judge: "The Presiding Judge, with the assistance of the Court Executive Officer, is responsible for leading the court, establishing policies, allocating resources in a manner that promotes access to justice for all members of the public, increasing efficiency in court operations and enhancing service to the public."

In his office's investigation into the matter of the June 18 lockout, Rosenberg admitted that Commissioner Janene Beronio was unaware of the locked doors in her courtroom. She was also unaware that family members of the defendant were not in the courtroom. The defense attorneys waited until the end of the hearing to inform Beronio that some family members were not in the courtroom - which was already full according to the investigation.

In Rosenberg's answer to the motion, he repeated his accusations that "failures by the Sheriff's Office are not acceptable to the Court." He also cited three local newspapers (Davis Enterprise, Daily Democrat and Sacramento Bee) as "explaining what actually occurred on the day of the incident." The papers merely published his own press release.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Yankee Doodle dandies: American stage set for two Woodlanders on Fourth of July

Woodlanders Jill Camarena and Dustin Pedroia are at the tops of their respective games this Fourth of July. Jill has qualified for the US Olympic Trials final round in the Women's Shot Put competition and Dustin has taken his slight lead in the American League All Star balloting into the final tabulations this weekend.

Jill competes in the final round tomorrow (July 5) at 1:50 pm. The US Olympic Trials for Track and Field are taking place in Eugene, Oregon.

Women's US Olympic Trials preliminary shot put results:

Flight 1 Preliminaries (a put of 17.50 meters automatically qualifies)
1. Michelle Carter, 18.33m
2. Elizabeth Wanless, 17.55m
3. Abigail Ruston, 17.21m

Flight 2 Preliminaries
1. Jillian Camarena, 17.87m
2. Kristin Heaston, 17.64m
3. Gail Lee, 17.33m

Preliminaries (results of both flights combined)
1. Michelle Carter, 18.33m
2. Jillian Camarena, 17.87m
3. Kristin Heaston, 17.64m

According to MLB.com, Dustin takes his lead in votes for second basemen into the All Star Selection Show scheduled for Sunday, July 6 (TBS, 2 pm ET).

Mark Newman of MLB.com wrote, "Let's say Pedroia survived Kinsler's rush on the fan ballot and was No. 1 on the Player Ballot, with Kinsler No. 2 on that one. Kinsler would automatically be a reserve, because if the same player finishes first at a position in each, the second-place finisher on the Player Ballot is in." Ian Kinsler plays second base for the Texas Rangers. He leads the AL in hits (114) over Dustin (110), who is second in that category.

So far this season, Dustin is 11th in batting average (.309), tied for fifth in doubles (25), and fourth in runs (58).