Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 28 uPrint edition of the Woodland Record/The Mail of Woodland

Click here to access your printable PDF edition of the March 28, 2011, Woodland Record/The Mail of Woodland.

2011 Festival de la Familia celebrates 20 years, honors Woodland family

¡Sacramento Calienté! – Fresh, Fun, and for the Family

From the Woodland Record:

Festival de la Familia (Festival of the Family) will reach a significant anniversary milestone in 2011 – its 20th consecutive year. This celebration comes with an important change and some exciting additions. First, the change – to avoid conflict with the Easter weekend, the date has been moved up from the last weekend in April to Sunday, April 3. With this earlier date, Festival de la Familia will be one of the area’s first outdoor events of the year, a perfect opportunity for families to enjoy the Sacramento springtime. The additions to the event will showcase the family centered focus of Festival, and will underscore Festival’s commitment to providing a safe, affordable, educational, and fun family experience.

20 Years, 20 Families: Festival will recognize 20 of the families whose support and involvement have been instrumental in the event’s legacy and longevity. One family to be honored is the Berrera family of Woodland (see the message after the story).

Read the rest at WoodlandRecord.com.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Woodland author releases "A Change of State" on Kindle

From the Woodland Record.

Woodlander Tia Elliott Sharp’s two-part novel, “A Change of State,” is as much a five-generational family saga as it is a compelling and dramatic history of how our country emerged, and the grit of those individuals who dug out a life for future generations. In Book One, the story begins with Maude and Clem Roberts in 1850 – the reader is immediately drawn into the story of our country’s westward movement, and one woman’s instincts to survive, no matter what the cost. Maude is determined to make a new life, whether husband Clem accompanies her or not. Heeding the cry of manifest destiny, they soon join the stalwart souls willing to leave everything behind and make a new life... in a new frontier. In Book Two, four generations later, the fruit of Maude’s labors are revealed. In this mesmerizing saga, Sharp reminds us that our country was built on the courage and dreams of those who came long before us.

"A Change of State" is now available on Kindle.

By Tia Elliot Sharp

Excerpt from Book Two, Chapter 12

Ellie looks up at him through puffy, sad eyes and tells him, “Go to hell, Bruce. You and I are both users and you know it. You will never change, and I was stupid to think I had.” She slowly straightens her legs from a squatting position while sliding her back up the door. She does not meet Bruce’s gaze before she grabs the edge of the door and closes it quietly behind her.

Continued at WoodlandRecord.com.

About Cache Creek Dam in Lake County

Woodland City Councilman Bill Marble was at Cache Creek Dam last week and took a photograph of water moving at 20,000 cfs. "A flood event at 60,000 cfs will be something to concern us all," he said.

From the Lake County website:

Due to its size, Clear Lake responds slowly to storm events and rises to flood stage only after prolonged, high intensity storms. When this happens, Clear Lake's natural outlet, Cache Creek, is too small to allow floodwater to leave the lake as fast as it enters. Contrary to popular belief, the Cache Creek Dam does not cause Clear Lake to flood. The dam can release water much faster than Cache Creek can flow. It is the narrow, shallow Cache Creek channel that slows the release of water from Clear Lake during a flood. The limited flow in Cache Creek causes Clear Lake to rise rapidly during heavy, prolonged rainstorms and does not lower lake levels very fast after the rains have stopped.

Read more about the Cache Creek Dam at Co.Lake.ca.us.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lots of "assumptions" (formerly known as budget items) to be reconsidered in next city budget – note that RDA funds support six city staff

Excerpts from the summary of the staff report for the March 29 city council meeting:

General Fund: Revenue estimates for the General Fund based on the assumptions described herein are $36,866,392. Expenditure estimates based on the assumptions and departmental requests are $38,024,251 which would result in an imbalance of $1,157,859 without implementing additional cost reduction measures. The primary reason for the imbalance is the inclusion of $700,000 in unanticipated cost increases for pensions, health insurance, emergency communications and cemetery maintenance. Budget review meetings conducted by the City Manager’s budget review team and each department has identified reduction strategies primarily associated with vacant positions and organizational restructuring that will reduce expenditures to the point of achieving a balanced budget.

Redevelopment Funds: As expressed previously herein, detailed discussion of redevelopment is impacted by the State budget and the Governor’s proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies. The April 5 Council/Redevelopment Board agenda will include discussion of the RDA bond. Further discussion of RDA operating funds should be delayed until alternatives proposed by the League and California Redevelopment Association are considered. However, if the State proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies is implemented, up to six staff could face layoffs since the funding to support the positions would not be available and the General Fund cannot be a source for the backfill at the present time.

Click here to read the entire staff report (be patient while the page loads).

Question: With $6 million in the pot, and only the Casa del Sol project to show for it, what have the six city staff (RDA) positions been doing for the RDA?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

City ignores Brown Act by refusing to say why it wants 22-acre parcel adjacent to Gateway Center

This diagram is part of an attachment included in the staff recommendation to deny the New Woodland Partners appeal to annex land next to the Gateway Center along Interstate 5. Note that all properties surrounding the 22-acre site are owned by Paul Petrovich. The city owns land that touches the southeast corner of the parcel labeled APN 027-300-31 in the diagram, but is referred to as APN 027 852 005 in city agendas.

From the Woodland Record:

The City of Woodland wants to buy a 22-acre parcel that it was set to deny annexation on January 18. The parcel (APN 027 852 005) is owned by the New Woodland Partners who applied to rezone and annex the property that sits along Interstate 5 next to the Costco at Paul Petrovich's Gateway Center (which borders the parcel on the west). The parcel is also bounded on the east by another Petrovich parcel called the Dinsdale Property and on the south by Petrovich's land distinguished as Gateway Phase II (labeled "Woodland Auto Development" in the diagram above).

On March 6, 2009, the New Woodland Partners - represented by Mintier Harnish planning consultants - submitted their general plan petition for rezoning for the purpose of annexation. On October 21, 2010, the City of Woodland Planning Commission reviewed the petition and then denied New Woodland Partners’ application. The partnership then filed an appeal to the city council which was scheduled to be heard on January 18. The staff report for that meeting recommended that council uphold the denial, but the item was then cancelled.

Oddly, the city council then discussed "APN 027 852 005" in closed session on February 15 with no disclosure of purpose in open session. The real estate exception in the California Brown Act narrowly and strictly defines what can be discussed in closed session. The exception is limited "to grant authority to its negotiator regarding the price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease." That's it. (See the Brown Act.)

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SVHR celebrates 100 year-old Historic Woodland Train Depot

The historic Electric Garage building is not the only downtown structure celebrating 100 years in 2011. The Historic Woodland Train Depot turns 100, and Mike Adams is leading the way for the Sacramento Valley Historical Railways organization in sharing its interesting life with the Woodland community.

From Sacramento Valley Historical Railways' quarterly newsletter "Railhead:"

The Historic Woodland Train Depot is 100 years old this year. Built in 1911, it was the third of four train depots that were built in Woodland. It is the only original one still remaining and is located at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Sixth Street. This landmark building has witnessed many historical events and has had many famous and not so famous people walk through its waiting room doors to board trains heading north and south. It has seen good times when its outside arcade was full of people waiting to catch a train or meet someone arriving on one.

More at WoodlandRecord.com.

Above: One of the earliest photos of the Historic Woodland Train Depot The wooden water tower on the right was gone by 1926. The man standing in the foreground appears in other photos and is possibly Station agent Fingland. SVHR Archives.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

RDA's "Infill Project Strategy" barks up the wrong tree, motive is wrong

From the Woodland Record:

Pasadena, Perris and Riverside. These are just three of many California cities that have enacted ordinances to deal directly - head on - with the landlords of blighted properties. These cities did not hastily issue Requests for Proposals in search of developers who might perform some sort of end-around to eliminate unkempt or unused properties like the Woodland Redevelopment Agency intends to do tonight.

But having examples of how to deal with a redevelopment issue and actually employing an effective plan are two different things. In December 2009 the Woodland Record shared that cities like Fortuna, Orinda and Alameda were able to transform downtown areas by investing in historic theaters as part of multiplex projects. With a budget of $4 million for a downtown multiplex project, our local RDA (in December 2010) denied any assistance to the one remaining developer in its RFP process who intended to renovate and expand the historic State Theatre. The downtown was then left with a blighted, unoccupied State Theatre building and one other occupied - and productive - historic building slated for demolition. [Note: The 100 year-old Electric Garage building will be demolished as part of the multiplex project to be built by the city's favored developer Paul Petrovich. Petrovich quit the RDA's RFP process last October.]

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

RDA comedy continues - new "Infill Project Strategy" attempts to spend funds before the state takes them

From the Woodland Record:

Only three months after denying assistance for the sole remaining applicant of its own downtown multiplex project, the Woodland Redevelopment Agency has now come up with an urgent plan to spend its money. The RDA had $4 million budgeted for a downtown multiplex to be located at one of two locations - at the State Theatre site (Walnut and Main) or at the old Electric Garage site (Third and Main).

There were two responses to the Request for Proposals, one for each site. Ron Caceres responded with his State Theatre Renovation and Expansion proposal and Paul Petrovich responded with his Theater Square proposal. Petrovich quit the RFP process leaving Caceres as the soul applicant, who had budgeted only a $2 million loan of the RDA's available $4 million. Caceres had the support of the Historic Woodland Downtown Business Association, Stroll Through History Committee, Woodland Art Center, Yolo County Historical Society, Yolo County Historical Museum, California Preservation Foundation, and the Theatre Historical Society of America - in addition to over a thousand supporters who formed the Friends of the State Theatre.

On the Ides of March, staff will present to the RDA an "Infill Project Strategy" that is intended to "facilitate new redevelopment projects focusing on infill sites" before the state kills the agency.

And in a laughable twist to the tale of the downtown multiplex selection process, the staff report includes:

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Library continues to suffer from tech problems despite annual charges up to $73,000 by city

Excerpts from the Yolo Sun report "Library suffers disastrous computer breakdown; its various municipal problems persist:"

Woodland Public Library (WPL) Trustees met on March 3 to consider numerous matters, among these being a virtual meltdown / crash of library computer access during the last half of February. This computer breakdown remains ongoing.

Serving a primary resource role for a community the size of Woodland (about 60,000 residents), American Library Association Guidelines indicate that WPL should have about sixty public-access computers, one for every thousand residents.

For many years preceding the current fiscal year, the library has annually been charged by the city about $73,000 for relevant (IT) services (related to chronically inflated general overhead charged to the library, still an issue for trustees) — basically the equivalent of a full-time staff position.

Since the library has never used anything even close to such a full-time staff position, trustees previously objected to this unreasonable / unfair charge (essentially, using library funds to support other municipal services), and it has been waived within the library’s current municipal budget.

In related news, it has been determined by Muller that city IT staff have been “monitoring” (IT term) certain internet content related to access with library computers. This “monitoring” was effectively filtering all content from WordPress ( http://wordpress.com ), one of the largest blog stations / portals.

Yolo Sun is a WordPress affiliate, and was for some period of time(s) being screened away from all city computers.

City IT staff was informed by Muller that, by law and custom: No internet content screening is permissible regarding WPL computer access; however, IT staff then warned Muller that if library computer system were somehow “hacked” from blogsites, “the library is on its own, and we won’t come running to help.”

Read the entire article at YoloSun.wordpress.com.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Good-bye Woodland trolls

Now that the Daily Democrat has followed suit with the Woodland Journal to allow registered commenters only, the fountain of idiocy has essentially been capped in Woodland blogs.

So long to the trolls who frequently disrupted constructive discussions with uninformed comments and spineless attacks at those who could stand behind their comments.

Farewell to the trolls who could dish out from behind obscurity but could not take their own medicine.

Good riddance to the trolls who essentially could all be boiled down to one faceless clone known only as "Anonymous."

And with the demise of the trolls, so ends my own fun of taunting the cowards who refused to become informed and who could not even take the simple 30-second step of registering... even under a pseudonym. I guess the trolls were also lazy. Go figure.

McGowan, Yamada and Thomson approved pension perks for Yolo County employees in 2007...

...and Rexroad joined them in 2008 to approve contract enhancements

Excerpts from the Sacramento Bee Editorial "Pension perks that slipped in the back door:"

Budget-strapped Yolo County approved the most generous retirement enhancements of any jurisdiction locally, almost doubling benefits for sheriff's deputies in 2008 and giving non-safety workers a 25 percent pension boost. And those benefits were approved retroactively, meaning that the new, richer formulas were applied to employees' prior years worked, not just future years – an extraordinary windfall for those workers near retirement age.

Three of five Yolo supervisors – Mike McGowan, Mariko Yamada and Helen Thomson – approved the benefits in 2007. Only Duane Chamberlain voted "no" on the enhancements both times, in 2007 and 2008. In that latter year, Yolo County faced a budget crisis that forced them to furlough workers.

Read the entire article at SacBee.com.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Well, well, well... another hidden cost in the courthouse deal

From the Woodland Record:

On Tuesday, March 1, the three present Woodland City Council members authorized the sale of four city-owned parcels to the Administrative Office of the Courts for their new Woodland courthouse. The approved resolutions and subsequent agreements with the State of California include a reimbursement from the AOC of $750,000 to relocate Well No. 1 to Freeman Park.

Red flag: The relocation will cost the city $1 million - so that's a negative $250,000 - plus it will cost the city another $1.3 million to construct the well which will not be reimbursed by the state. City pays $1,550,000... state pays $750,000.

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Opinion: Another state raid - abolishing redevelopment

From the Woodland Record - Letter to the editor:

I applaud Governor Brown for bringing a budget proposal to the table. Tough times call for tough choices and sacrifices.

However, the Governor’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies is fundamentally flawed. A few weeks ago, almost 1,000 Mayors and Councilmembers from throughout California signed a letter addressed to Governor Brown and State Legislators. While very willing “to work with the Administration and the Legislature to pass an honest budget.”, we also said, “The proposal will not provide budget savings to the State or local governments, and represents continued State raids of local funds the voters have acted to prevent.”

There are many reasons the Governor and Legislature need to rethink the ill-conceived scheme that “redevelopment agencies must be blown up.”

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.