Thursday, July 30, 2009

Police looking for second suspect in Triple Nickel shooting

From City of Woodland, Police, WPD case number 09-4271U:

Detectives are continuing their investigation into the July 26th shooting death of 17 year old, Michael Martinez and are actively searching for the suspect, Marcelino Michel Jr. Marcelino currently has a warrant for his arrest as well as a detainer from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Detectives are also looking for Rachelle Annamarie Pease and are asking for the public’s help in locating her as well. Detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for Pease due her involvement in this homicide. Both suspects are now each wanted on $1,000,000 warrants for murder.

Marcelino is described as a Hispanic male adult, 5' 7" and 175 lbs. with black hair, brown eyes and the tattoo of “Cut Throat” across the front of his neck.

Pease is described as 5' 5" and 150 lbs., blue eyes and blond hair, although she is known to change hair color.

Michel was last seen leaving the Crossroads Village Apartments at 555 Matmor Road [known as Triple Nickel on the streets] on July 26, 2009 at approximately 12:36 am.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Marcelino Michel or Rachelle Pease or encouraged to contact either the Woodland Police Department 661-7800.

Photo of murder suspects Marcelino Michel Jr. and Rachelle Annamarie Pease. The photo is labeled 'kIsSeS tO Da hAtErZ.'

New Woodland Courthouse and Downtown Garage projects by the numbers (continued)

Of concern... the previous Journal posting listed "14 to 16" as the numbers of courtrooms "the New Woodland Courthouse project will include depending on the source." Here is some clarification based on communication this week:

# # #

From: "Woodland Record"
To: "Carrizosa, Philip"
Subject: RE: Woodland courthouse
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 13:28:18 -0700

On 12/31/08 Kelly Quinn[*] indicated to me that the New Woodland Courthouse project includes 14 courtrooms.
On 11/4/08 Kelly indicated the total project budget is $172,400,000.
Are these numbers still accurate? I've been hearing that the courthouse project now includes 16 courtrooms. That number is also mentioned in the three options listed in the project feasibility report.

# # #

From: "Carrizosa, Philip"
To: ""
Subject: RE: Woodland courthouse
Date: Wed 07/29/09 03:54 PM

To answer your questions: We plan to have 14 courtrooms. The total estimated cost for the Woodland courthouse project is $172.9 million.

Philip R. Carrizosa
Office of Communications
Judicial Council of California - Administrative Office of the Courts

# # #

[*] Kelly Quinn is a Senior Manager of Planning Office of Court Construction and Management
Judicial Council of California - Administrative Office of the Courts

Cities of oaks unite! Roll your own tax revenue.

From the article "Oakland, California, passes landmark marijuana tax:"

80% of voters choose to impose tax on Oakland's medical marijuana facilities
Oakland, California, becomes first U.S. city to impose such a tax
Cannabis club leader says he supported effort; he'll owe about $350,000 next year
People opposed to medical marijuana facilities say tax sends wrong message

From the article "Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California:"

Oaksterdam University specializes in how to grow, market and consume marijuana
Founder Richard Lee is organizing a petition drive for marijuana legalization
Lee and others say legalizing marijuana could generate significant tax revenue
Opponents say revenue claims are misleading, encourage drug abuse

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Who/What is popular

It is interesting to see what and who is important to people. On Facebook you can join groups that interest you and they happen to publish the membership numbers. I looked up a few and thought it might interest some people. From the biggest member base to the smallest:

1. Hate Cancer - 1,323,777
2. I was doing homework and ended up on Facebook - 909,151
3. Michael Jackson RIP - 423,419
4. Addicted to Twilight - 306,509
5. 1 million strong to overturn prop 8 - 190,130
6. American's for Sarah Palin - 51,796
7. Adam Lambert - 40,136
8. World of Warcraft - 34,497
9. Matt Rexroad for Supervisor - 1,046
10. Jesse Jackson - 245

Monday, July 27, 2009

Michel not found at Lincoln Manor, blue car towed

Click here for the CBS13 coverage.

SADVC to hold annual yard sale

From the SADVC:

Donations for yard sale needed now!

If you have clothes (men’s, women’s and children’s), shoes, furniture, appliances, gift baskets, tools, camping or work-out gear, the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center invites you to donate them for the 2nd Annual Mega Yard Sale! Items must be in good working condition (televisions that are not cable-compatible cannot be accepted). All donated items support victims at the shelter.

Proceeds from yard sale items support free therapy, legal and shelter services for adult and child victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

For more details, check out the Woodland Record.

100 years ago today: THE FILINGS ON PUTAH CREEK

From the public domain – Woodland Daily Democrat, July 27, 1909:

Partial Confirmation as to the Capitalists Interested

A Promoter Who does not Say whom He Represents Gives a Hint of His Plans

About two weeks ago the filing of the applications of four rival claimants for the appropriation of the water of Putah creek was exploited in the columns of the Democrat, and later the rumor that one of these claimants represented a syndicate which includes James D. Phelan and Rudolph Sprekels, was given publicity. It was also stated that Mr. Phelan had been negotiating for rights of way and that he had extended his auto excursion into Lake county.

Reports of recents [sic] operations in that county have a strong tendency to confirm the opinion that Messrs. Phelan and Spreckels are contemplating some big deal that involves the utilization of the surplus water of Putah creek for irrigation purposes in Solano and Yolo counties and for the generation of electricity.

A.M. Fairchild a promoter who is not making public whom he represents is working in the vicinity of Middletown. He has intimated that he is back of a scheme to transform Coyote valley into a reservoir. Putah creek is the outlet of this valley.

His plan seems to include the construction of a big dam just below the Phelan ranch at a point where the creek rushes through a narrow place known as "Hell's Half Acre." This, it is said, would back the water up over an area of 3,000 acres to a depth of 300 feet. which aside from the development of electric power would greatly increase the irrigation facilities of Yolo and Solano counties.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Murder in Woodland, suspect on the run

From the City of Woodland, Police Department:

Detectives from the Woodland Police Department are searching for murder suspect Marcelino Moises Michel Jr., who is described as a 28 year-old, 5' 7" and 175 lb. Hispanic male, with brown eyes, black hair and possibly a goatee. Michel was last seen leaving the Crossroads Village Apartments at 555 Matmor Road on July 26, 2009 at approximately 12:36 am. Michel is believed to be driving a blue in color Cadillac sedan, (no further vehicle information available) and is wanted for the shooting death of the 17 year-old male victim.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

Click here to view the CBS13 report of the shooting that took place at "Triple Nickle," the gangster nickname for the Crossroads Village Apartments at 555 Matmor Road.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Born to run: A puppy's journey [in Knights Landing]


In a exclusive series, follow a litter of English Setter puppies on their journey to become prized hunting dogs at a renowned kennel in Knights Landing.

View the video series.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Around town

Just some of the funny things I see when out delivering newspapers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Acronyms and anachronism in street planning

From an opinion piece at the Yolo Sun called "Woodland’s evolution impeded by anachronism; new Street Master Plan indicates options exist:"

Like many other towns within California’s Central Valley, a state highway served as a primary element of Woodland’s historical character and development. Some of these cities continue to host a major highway running through their core downtowns.

Woodland is no longer one of them — but anachronistic inertia and misplaced nostalgia attached to such a thoroughfare have so far stymied basic evolution of its core downtown beyond that obsolete planning paradigm.

Read more at the Yolo Sun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Free "Garage Sale" ads at

You can post free classified and garage sale ads on Here is a recent garage sale post:

Garage Sales
Estate Sale: Xmas in July Estate sale; really nice stuff! Also: Christmas in July: years of collectibles, gifts and wonderful holiday decorations! It's not too soon to start thinking about the holidays!Saturday July 25th, 7am - 1 pm. 204 San Luis, at the so. end of McKinley St.

Yolo County artists awarded at California State Fair

Susan Bovey won a State Fair Award of Merit for this digital print called "Eureka Dunes, Death Valley."

See another image and read the story at

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Woodland Courthouse and Downtown Garage projects by the numbers

Excerpts from the Woodland Record:

0 $ – Amount the State of California plans to spend on a parking garage for the New Woodland Courthouse.

0 – Existing parking spaces provided by the state for the Yolo County Superior Courts.

2.55 – Acres promised to the state by Yolo County for the New Woodland Courthouse according to a 2006 resolution. The property is the city block bordered by Court, Third, North and Fourth Streets that currently houses the holding jail, the public defender’s office and the law library.

4 – Stories planned for the New Woodland Courthouse, with a basement and penthouse in addition to that.

14 to 16 – Courtrooms the New Woodland Courthouse project will include depending on the source. According to the 2007 Project Feasibility Report and interviews with state officials, the recommended Option One specifies 14 courtrooms. Option Two includes 16 courtrooms, 14 finished and two unfinished.

72 – Years the State Theatre has been in business in the downtown.

88 – State employees the City of Woodland claims will be attracted by building a downtown garage according a grant proposal that was not awarded. Please note the following entry.

219 – Expected state employees after the New Woodland Courthouse is built, regardless of a parking garage.

172,940,000 $ – Amount the state has budgeted to build the New Woodland Courthouse.

458,892,500 $ – Total amount of state funds budgeted for other courthouse parking structures in California.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Funky Skunk Railroad

Funky Skunk Railroad, will make a whistle stop in Woodland, bringing with it the tropic sounds of the Caribbean to the plaza behind Steve’s Place Pizza on Saturday, July 25th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. The band performs original material and covers in a variety of genres including reggae, ska and alternative.

Funky Skunk Railroad is comprised of Owen Sandy, guitar and vocals, Nelson Perez, drums and Wyatt Jimenez on bass.

For more information call: 530-936-4465. The concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

Another casualty

Another business closes its doors during a poor economy. The Q Shack served up some good BBQ, but was seemingly the wrong time and location to do it.

I ate there on several occasions, although I did not go until sometime after it opened. I always thought it was going to be some sort of generic fast food BBQ, but was surprised with what I got. It was actually more like a backyard slow cook or smoker style of BBQ. It was very tasty.

At any rate, it is always sad to see another business go down. I will try to contact the owner to see what, if any, other plans he has. I found a couple of online reviews, click here to view.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Open homes announced for 21st Stroll, act now for discount tickets

From the Stroll Through History committee:

The 21st Annual Stroll through History celebrates the unique diversity of Woodland’s architectural heritage. This legacy evolved from a small rural agricultural center to an urban city. This year’s tour will open the doors to seven beautiful and unique Woodland homes representing 150 hundred years of changes in local residential styles of architecture.

The Open Home Tours are the centerpiece program for the 21st Annual Stroll Through History scheduled for Saturday, September 12. The tour hours run from 11 am until 5 pm. These beautiful private residences architectural styles vary from: A Victorian-style Gibson Mansion built in 1873, an elegant home designed in the Renaissance Revival style constructed in 1912, and a Mission Revival style home built in 1926.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

DA does Facebook and Twitter



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Artistic Differences presents the musical "Hair" as part of its Summer of Rock. It plays for one night only (tonight, July 16 at 7 pm) at Harlow's Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J Street, Sacramento. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door ($2 handling charge for credit card orders).

Woodland's own Sara Shelley of the Corner Drug Store is the Webmistress for the organization.

Located in the heart of midtown Sacramento, Artistic Differences is a semi-professional theatre company dedicated to bringing underproduced musicals to the stage. Utilizing some of the top performers and designers in the region, we strive to present shows to our audiences that are challenging, exciting and thought-provoking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reduced hours at the DESS start August 1

From Yolo County, Public Information:

Due to state and local funding shortfalls, and general cost increases, the Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services (DESS) has experienced a significant reduction in its workforce.

As a result, DESS will be reducing public office hours. Effective August 1, DESS will be open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm., in the locations listed below:

25 N Cottonwood Street, Woodland, CA 95695

500-A Jefferson Boulevard, Suite 100, West Sacramento, CA 95605

Wanted: Yolo Reads outreach volunteers

From Yolo County, Public Information:

The Yolo County Library adult literacy program, Yolo Reads, is looking for volunteers to help with community outreach and event planning, August through October. One in six Yolo County residents cannot read and write sufficiently to carry out day-to-day activities at work and home. In an effort to address this issue, the Yolo County Library has developed Yolo Reads, a literacy program which provides free and confidential instruction to English-speaking adult learners.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Supes postpone decision to buy county's ugliest building for $9.7 million

During today's meeting, Yolo County supervisors put a hold on the following recommendation by county staff:

• Approve the purchase of the Bauer Building from David S. Taylor Interests, Inc. for $9,760,508 for leased real property located at 127 North Cottonwood, Woodland with a transaction date of 14 August 2009 using securitized tobacco funds.
• Authorize County Counsel and General Services to process the appropriate documents to finalize the transaction.

Click here to see the staff report for Item 4.09.

Supervisors Helen Thomson and Matt Rexroad support the recommendation.


By area, what is the smallest County in CA. This is not population, this is by the area! Give me your guess for the top three smallest counties in order, one being the smallest.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dustin will miss All Star game

Excerpts from "Pedroia bows out of All-Star Game by By John Barone,

Red Sox star cites need to tend to family health issue

Reigning American League MVP Dustin Pedroia will not participate in the 2009 All-Star Game on Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Pedroia, who edged out Ian Kinsler of the Rangers in the fan vote for the starting slot at second base in a tight race, withdrew from the event due to a family situation.

Pedroia's wife, Kelli, who is due to deliver the couple's first child -- a boy -- in late August, was taken to an area hospital on Monday after going into labor earlier than expected. She will remain hospitalized for the foreseeable future.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reader beware: Yolo Sun article funnels city's parking propaganda

Ordinarily, the Woodland Journal would simply post excerpts and a link to Yolo Sun articles. This story however, called "Parking Plays Pivotal Role for Courthouse Site – Multi-Level Garage Structure Appears Inevitable, Uncertain Cinema Scenario Affects Parking Study" contains too many factual errors to let go without scrutiny.

The following statements from the article are not true:

Yolo Sun reported: "The pivotal reason that WRDA must now become involved is that apparently, the state doesn’t specifically recognize potential contingencies for parking garages within its process of project and budgetary purview — only surface parking.”

Fact: See page five of the Trial Court Capital-Outlay Plan that is contained in the Judicial Branch AB 1473 Five-Year Infrastructure Plan Fiscal Year 2009-2010. The state clearly specifies a budget total of $458,892,500 for courthouse parking structures. The state made an error in its initial planning for the New Woodland Courthouse and did not include any money for a parking structure here.

Yolo Sun reported: "If this parking was installed within conventional, surface lots: five acres — two full city blocks within Woodland’s downtown area — adjacent to the new courthouse facilities would become engulfed in asphalt." And – "The logic is: (a) the new courthouse must be located in downtown Woodland, (b) Woodland will avoid losing the courthouse or winning an asphalt sea for its downtown area..."

Fact: The state has never proposed five acres of continuous asphalt to cover the downtown. Surface parking can be achieved by using existing parking spaces. Downtown Woodland has 2,251 (see below).

Yolo Sun reported: "Reimbursement thus seems especially likely — because the proposed parking garage will cost only about $7 million ($20,000 per space in a 350 space garage)." And "Even factoring in the land cost (uncertain at this time), it seems there is ample funding available for this project – from state and federal sources – inclining matters toward substantial WRDA reimbursement."

Fact: There are no contracts or agreements with any local, state or federal agency to reimburse the city for building a parking garage. There are no concrete plans for a garage and therefore no estimates. The 350 space garage is short of what the state has said they need for parking (420 to 430 spaces, down from 668 that the city staff was originally trying to sell council).

Yolo Sun reported: “In this case,” relates Shallit, “the courts project will bring $160 million dollars to Woodland. It will stimulate job creation, new business development and re-energize downtown."

Fact: The courts are already here. They are already bringing dollars to Woodland with the existing 1,226 downtown spaces provided by the city, 220 spaces provided by the county and a total parking inventory of 2,251 within Elm, North, Fourth and Lincoln.

Yolo Sun reported: “The amount [of money] the state has set aside for (surface) parking acquisition is about $8 million, which they can use to reimburse us for acquisition and construction,” Shallit continues."

Fact: That is just simply false. According to two state sources the $8 million is the total the state has budgeted for total land acquisition of the courthouse project. About $2.8 million is allocated for surface parking. The state WILL NOT mix these funds with construction of a garage.

This is just a portion of the erroneous information that has been siphoned from the city through the Yolo Sun. The Woodland Journal encourages other reports and other views on community issues... if the reports and views are based on facts. In this case, Yolo Sun is clearly a conduit for unchecked propaganda. Reader beware.

Backpacks for Kids "Family Fun Day" is TODAY!

Please join friends and neighbors at the third annual Backpacks for Kids “Family Fun Day” event – TODAY!

Each year Yolo County Backpacks for Kids has an annual event of family fun—music, games, contests, and great food. All the proceeds from the event go to provide Yolo County children with the necessary school supplies that they need for the upcoming school year.

If you would like to donate a new backpack and/or supplies, donations barrels will be available at the event entrance. However, school supplies and backpacks will NOT be distributed to children at the event. All supplies are distributed to schools and children in need during the month of August. Contact us for more information.

Donations to Yolo County Backpacks for Kids are reserved for Yolo County children. What is donated in Yolo County stays in Yolo County!

Yolo County Backpacks for Kids provides new backpacks and school supplies to children and schools in need throughout Yolo County. Through the generosity of Yolo County residents, businesses, and leaders, over 1,500 children, who would not otherwise have the resources to buy school supplies, have received the necessary supplies to start the school year properly equipped and prepared to learn.

Backpacks for Kids "Family Fun Day"

TODAY – July 11
11 am to 2 pm
Yolo County Historical
Museum Park Grounds
(Gibson House)

Friday, July 10, 2009

County gets 60 days before Conaway Ranch sale

From the Woodland Record:

Despite headlines elsewhere, The Conaway Preservation Group is not advertising the sale of its Conaway Ranch until Yolo County has an opportunity to acquire the property in whole or in part. A settlement agreement penned between CPG and the county in September, 2006, prohibits the partnership to offer the ranch for sale until the county has exercised its exclusive right to negotiate with CPG.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Significant cases from the YCGTF monthly stat sheets

From the Woodland Record:

Snapshot: April 2009 – Since mid-January, 2009, the Yolo County Gang Task Force has been compiling monthly Statistic Detail sheets for the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department. The following is a snapshot of April stats:
• 22 felonies
• 2 misdemeanor cites
• 3 school contacts
Cache Creek High
Esparto High School
EHS presentation
• 55 F/Is [field interviews]
1 Peckerwood
2 Crips
1 Folks – Latin gang NY
3 Norteño
8 Sureño
40 unknown (at this time)
• 1 Interview at county jail
• 6 subpoenas, 2 attempted
• 4 probation contacts
• 13 parole contacts
• 2 interviews, 3 follow ups

NORTEÑO. From the March 2009 issue of Statistic Details: Officer One and Officer Two encountered Suspect One, who is a validated Norteño “VBN” (Vario Bosque Norteño) on felony probation. He was found to be in violation of a gang clause in his probation terms. While trying to contact the subject, he fled and was pursued by Officer One and Two. After a lengthy pursuit, he was apprehended without further incident.

SUREÑO. From the February 2009 issue of Statistic Details: Suspect Four was contacted at the corner of Lincoln and College in Woodland. Suspect Four was found to be on active parole out of Solano County and a validated Sureño. After contacting his parole agent it was revealed that a condition of his parole is that he not be in the City of Woodland. He was arrested for violation of parole.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Gangsters: Over 900 in Woodland

Excerts from the Woodland Record:

90% of Yolo County gang population is Norteño and Sureño

WesSac has 116 validated Broderick Boys/Norteños

THE NUMBERS CAN’T BE IGNORED: Sergeant Dale Johnson of the Yolo County Gang Task Force estimated that in the City of Woodland there are over 700 validated gang members and about 200 affiliated gang members. In the City of West Sacramento there are about 200 validated gang members and about 150 affiliated gang members. He said Yolo County “and the cities of Davis and Winters have a total of less than 100 validated gang members and approximately 100 affiliated gang members.”

“The City of West Sacramento does have 116 validated Broderick Boys. This is a set of the Norteños.”

Read more at the Woodland Record.

Pfc. Justin A. Casillas honored by governor

From the Office of the Governor:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, on July 6, issued the following statement regarding the death of Pfc. Justin A. Casillas of Dunnigan:

“California lost a great soldier in Private First Class Justin A. Casillas. He was a dedicated soldier who served his country with honor and bravery. Maria and I are deeply saddened to learn of Justin’s passing. We send our condolences to his family, friends and fellow soldiers as they mourn this terrible loss.”

Casillas, 19, died July 4 at Combat Outpost Zerok, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked the outpost using small arms and indirect fires. Casillas was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

In honor of Pfc. Casillas, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Letter from city manager urges our voice against state's seizure of $1 million plus

Dear Woodland Community Members:

As many of you are aware, the City of Woodland completed perhaps the most challenging budget approval process in the city’s history. Due to the impacts of the recessionary economy and other factors, our city government needed to reduce the general fund by nearly $7 million. Despite these reductions, the city will look at every way to maximize the remaining resources in order to provide services, maintain our local streets and roads and support capital projects that create jobs and economic opportunity.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

See how you can work with WAVE to "Help Save Woodland."
(Clicking the link will download a 541 kb PDF)

Justin Aaron Casillas killed in Afghanistan

From, Anchorage, AK.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Excerpts from "Red Sox sending six to St. Louis" by Ian Browne of

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and left fielder Jason Bay were both voted in as starters by the fans, and ace Josh Beckett and closer Jonathan Papelbon were voted in by the players. First baseman Kevin Youkilis was another selection by [AL manager Joe] Maddon.

Pedroia, coming off his Most Valuable Player season of 2008, is a sparkplug for the Red Sox.

Pedroia is hitting .290 with 59 runs, 93 hits, 24 doubles and a .393 on-base percentage. He has also played Gold Glove-caliber defense while stealing 14 bases.

Read the entire article at


From the Woodland Record:

JACK J. POTTER, 89, former Yolo County Superintendent of Schools died July 3, 2009. His career in education spanned more than three decades, and even in retirement he continued to teach others, and himself, in topics ranging from local history to global politics.

Born in Vancouver, Washington, to Pearl and James Potter, on December 26, 1919, the family moved to California in 1923. Sixteen years later, like so many men in his age bracket he found himself he the middle of the second global conflict of the century. His World War II experience with the Army Air Corp took him to Algiers, Corsica, Belgium, Italy and England. It was in England where he met the future Mary Potter, his wife for sixty years.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Have a safe and sane celebration! Click here to download the PDF flyer to support Woodland Little League.

Mural "approved" for downtown, process brings out best and worst

Click on the picture to download a larger photo.

1. Maceo Montoya, the artist.
2. The mural, based on the appropriate sketch above
3. Silvina's Basket, the business that accepted the concept
4. Property owner of 816 Main Street
5. Sponsor, CDPH
6. First Amendment of our Constitution

1. City of Woodland – 1880s attitude toward works of art (has stalled Art in Public Places ordinance since 2002). Staff said at the Planning Commission meeting that the criteria is broad and only time will tell if the mural becomes "historic" - one criterion of a weak guideline. What a stupid interpretation of the policy.
2. Planning Commission – has no business "approving" private artwork. Two commissioners said the mural pointed out an "eye-sore" on the building and wanted the mural all the way up the building (which would surround the "eye-sore," making it part of the mural).
3. Peanut gallery – The groups and individuals who think they can dictate the content of a private work of art ("the mural needs to show diversity," "the tractor should not be modern," "a third-grader could have done it")

I don't know which category to place this blog. One person came up to me and criticized the Woodland Journal (although this person called it the "online paper" thinking it's The person was wondering why there were so many supporters of the mural at the Planning Commission meeting and was told that this blog had many negative comments about it. Apparently, the artist was upset at the unfair comments. That's not good, but the notion that Web sites ( and brought out supporters of his project is a very good thing. At the time of this post, the original story at generated 86 comments - in support of, and against, the mural.

End note: The city has a tendency to provide lip service at random. The city claims the mural fits its vision of creating a more pedestrian-friendly downtown. As much as I would like to see many different works of art in the downtown (that in itself would create representation of diversity), public and private art is really a small part of creating a pedestrian-friendly environment. Is artwork important for a vibrant downtown? Yes. But creating a pedestrian-friendly downtown requires PROACTIVE solutions to traffic, parking, architecture, landscaping and circulation (urban planning). Things like hiring consultants and holding repetitive meetings only delay obvious solutions to creating such an environment. To use this mural as an indication of the city's "vision" to create a pedestrian-friendly environment is another reason why I put the city as "number one" in the worst category.

Friday, July 03, 2009

WPFA questions insurance billing: Citizen's should express discontent

From the Woodland Record – Letter to the Editor:

As of July 1st the City of Woodland implemented a cost recovery program which requires the members of the Woodland Professional Firefighters (WPFA) to file claims on your behalf to your respected insurance agencies thru Fire Recovery USA, a third party billing company. Bills will be submitted to your insurance agency for responses to vehicle accidents, structure fires, hazardous-material releases, bomb threat stand-bys, pipeline ruptures (i.e., gas, sewer, septic, water) and arson investigations.

Although some Fire Departments across our state and nation have implemented similar programs, very few have taken such an aggressive stance as our city council has to bill insurance companies of residents and non-residents alike.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

Community leader Jack Potter has passed away

Jack J. Potter, former Yolo County Superintendent of Schools and local historian, died today, July 3, 2009. He was born on December 26, 1919. An obituary will be posted at on Sunday.

Another view on Measure E expenditures

Looks like we got more for the money here... but still $114,000.00.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

One perspective of Measure E expenditures


HWDBA July meeting features downtown parking


On Thursday, July 9, the Historic Woodland Downtown Business Association will host Cynthia Shallit at their monthly business meeting. Cynthia is the redevelopment manager for the City of Woodland and will be discussing, informing and answering questions regarding downtown parking plans, needs and ideas.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 pm at Ludy’s Main Street BBQ on the back patio, 667 Main Street.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Abrahams incident raises city's insurance bill

Excerpts from the Yolo Sun story entitled "Death of Ricardo Abrahams Causes Massive Rise in Woodland’s Liability Insurance Premium"

Woodland’s annual municipal-liability, insurance premium rose from $418,000 to $640,000 for the upcoming fiscal year — a $222,000 increase — due a single incident involving 44 year-old Ricardo Abrahams, whose welfare was allegedly of concern to four Woodland police officers involved in his death.

This basic proportion of premium increase for the city will remain in effect for three years — adding a total of about $666,000 in red ink — to Woodland’s several years of budget deficits.

Two years ago, Woodland’s annual liability-insurance premium was only about $300,000.

Jeff Tonks, CEO of YCPARMIA, describes that — “there’s an element of experience” — within the formula for determining premium amounts within the various jurisdictions participating in this self-insurance system. “Too adverse a [litigation] history, has an adverse affect on [that member’s] premium.”

Tonks expressed that the incident involving the death of Abrahams was the factor responsible for the huge jump in Woodland’s liability premium.

Inquiry to the City Manager regarding budgetary savings created by the difference between projected and actual expenses for liability and workers compensation insurance — roughly $216,000 — resulted in Mark Deven’s (regularly) timely response:

“Any savings realized due to premiums being lower than originally estimated could be used to offset the [anticipated] deficit in the benefits internal service fund — which receives its funding based on a flat-rate allocation to departments per employee. We were concerned that [this] would be under-budgeted,” because of the number of voluntary early retirements provoked in an effort to navigate the city’s budget.

Read more at the Yolo Sun.

"Illustrious" county counsel appointed interim administrator

From Yolo County, Public Information:

Yesterday, June 30, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors announced the appointment of Robyn Truitt Drivon as Interim County Administrator. She will be filling this position upon the retirement of County Administrator Sharon Jensen later this summer. Ms. Drivon will also continue serving as County Counsel, a position she has held since 2006.

“We have asked our illustrious County Counsel, Robyn Drivon, to assist us in this time of transition as Interim County Administrator,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Mike McGowan.

Read more at the Woodland Record.

WFD to bill insurance companies through third party

From City of Woodland, Fire Department

The Woodland Fire Department will begin billing insurance companies for a variety of emergency responses effective today, July 1. Responses to motor vehicle accidents, hazardous materials releases, bomb threat stand-bys, pipeline ruptures (i.e., gas, sewer, septic, water), arson investigations and structure fires will be billed to the responsible party’s (i.e., driver, property owner) insurance company.

Read more at the Woodland Record.