Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grand Jury: COW emergency recovery fee is poor public policy, should be repealed

City Ordinance No. 1506 is a form of double taxation for Woodland property taxpayers.

From the Woodland Record:

The City of Woodland initiated an emergency services cost recovery fee (Ordinance No. 1506) in 2009 that disproportionally impacts its taxpayers and visitors based on the type of insurance they carry. City Ordinance No. 1506 deprives “responsible” parties of their due process rights, as the billing process does not provide proper notice or a formal method of contesting findings of responsibility. City Ordinance No. 1506 is a form of double taxation for Woodland property taxpayers. The City has only received about 20% of the recovery fee revenues it anticipated when the program was started. The recovery fee is poor public policy. The Grand Jury recommends the discontinuation of enforcement or repeal of the ordinance.

Last year’s Yolo County Grand Jury studied Ordinance No. 1506 and published a report a year ago, not long after the emergency services cost recovery plan was implemented. In that report, the Grand Jury raised concerns about the basis for fees, the agreement with the billing agent Fire Recovery USA (FRUSA), and the recovery rate. The City of Woodland responded to the report in September 2010, disagreeing with some of the Grand Jury’s conclusions while acknowledging the program fell short of its revenue goals. Nonetheless, the City stated it was satisfied with the revenue from the program. This year’s report goes into more depth of about the public policy issues and challenges the City’s position that any funds recovered amount to “found money”.

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Yolo Sun: Petrovich sues Hoblit while his city subsidies and multiplex project lose traction

Excerpts from the Yolo Sun article "Petrovich sues Hoblit to force quick eviction, redevelopment law prohibits city assistance and conditions funding for public upgrades; city withdraws $800,000 cineplex subsidy:"

Petrovich tries to evict Hoblit... again

Sometime during April, Petrovich suddenly filed a lawsuit in Yolo County Superior Court to compel the immediate eviction of Hoblit’s car and truck (and Jeep) dealership from his property, the former Electric Garage...

When a fleeting yet competing proposal for a downtown cineplex project unexpectedly surfaced several years ago, Petrovich sent Hoblit an instant letter of eviction; but he then recalled it as that proposal rather quickly evaporated.

Petrovich may be similarly motivated in this current, aggravated instance of eviction, by the fact that Frank Rimkus, CEO of Galaxy Theatres (a multi-state movie-house chain) has recently said that his corporation is — “still considering” — whether to file a project application to construct a new cineplex at the northeastern corner of Main and Walnut Streets, across Main Street from (now blighted) State Theatre.

$200,000 RDA subsidy to move Hoblit for Petrovich is illegal

Woodland Redevelopment Agency has for many months been seriously considering an expenditure of $200,000 toward a relocation of Hoblit Motors, based upon an argument that it has been: “[S]purred by redevelopment actions” related to Petrovich’s cineplex plan.

Redevelopment law (specifically, Health and Safety Code, Section 33426.5) explicitly establishes that: “[A]n agency shall not provide any form of direct assistance to [a]n automobile dealership which will be or is on a parcel of land which has not previously been developed for urban use[.]”

$800,000 city subsidy for Petrovich's Cinema West inexplicably skids

During the previous several months, dual proposals have surfaced for redevelopment agency funding in general support of Petrovich’s cineplex project, $200,000 of relocation assistance for Hoblit and another $800,000 for various public improvements contiguous to his project.

City manager Deven now indicates that he does not foresee this $800,000 expenditure item ever again coming before the redevelopment agency board of directors.

Read the entire article at YoloSun.wordpress.org.

Local rancher convenes panel to answer Equine Herpes Virus concerns

From the Woodland Record:

Local equestrienne owners are concerned. With the recent outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), people need answers. Brenda Cedarblade, owner of the Historic Nelson Ranch and Cattle Company in Woodland, Calif., and other professional California horseman have brought together a panel of experts who just might have answers.

The informative forum for the greater Sacramento area that will be held on Wednesday, May 25 at 6 pm at the Woodland Community & Senior Center, 2001 East Street, Woodland, Calif.

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A fable for the City of Trees

As the City of Trees, you would expect more tribute paid to the slogan. By more "tribute" I mean more activities and events that result in tourism money. Of course, the Yolo County Historical Museum Arbor Day event at the Gibson House is nice - but look who produces that... the county. The Woodland Tree Foundation is on the right path with Tunes for Trees and modest ceremonies for Arbor Day, but the city should be capitalizing on the slogan much like Castroville, "The Artichoke Center of the World," or Solvang, "The Danish Capital of America." I know you can think of many others.

Here is a Swiss folk tale retold by Sheryl Ann Karas... it also serves as a fable:

From the Spirit of Trees:

There once was a master woodcarver who lived in the village of Reckingen in the canton of Valais. Many of the churches in this region were beautified by this special handiwork, which was the carving of sacred figures of the saints, and church pews decorated with wooden foliage.

Read the entire tale at SpiritOfTrees.org and see if you can determine the real moral of the story.

Hint: It speaks to the City of Woodland's approach to economic development and civic planning. And by the way, the story is also relevant because many Swiss emigrants settled in Yolo County.

Friday, May 20, 2011

WJUSD: "Excellence for all" includes $1 million cut in faculty, $1.14 million cut in staff

From the Woodland Record:

Excerpts from the WJUSD staff recommendation of May 19:

WJUSD currently has a "qualified budget" meaning additional budget cuts are needed for the District to submit a balanced 3 year budget as required. The Yolo County Office of Education requires submission of the budget by the end of June 2011. A study by FCMAT [Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team], which considered the additional state cuts to education, was used to identify the amount of the additional budget cuts needed. The amount of additional cuts recommended by FCMAT was 3.9 million dollars. Cutting 3.9 million dollars will restore the WJUSD budget to a positive status and provide a 3% Reserve for Economic Uncertainties. The amount of dollars that must be cut from the District's budget is highly susceptible to change. There are reports the state's funding for education may be less than currently reported, which will make further cuts necessary if the reports tum out to be true.


Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Access the WJUSD staff report here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yolo Sun: City hall to propose yet another sales tax measure

Excerpts from the Yolo Sun article "Woodland Public Library trustees begin to eye new funding with June 2012 ballot measure:"

Converging circumstances of trustees’ slowly dissolving confidence about WPL’s [Woodland Public Library's] future role as a municipal appendage and its basic operational capability when the recently adopted (2010) quarter-cent sales tax provision, Measure V, sunsets in 2014, have finally created some initial dynamic of quasi-progressive movement within municipal-library relations.

Even an inadequate (10,000 — should be 30,000+ sq. ft.) expansion plan for WPL, written into the city General Plan and supposedly funded by presently allocated $4+ million of non-accessible, perhaps forever eclipsed Measure E money (half-cent sales tax, 2006 – 2018, largely gone to pay debt service on the community and senior center / sports park), seems a far distant mirage — as library service demands consistently increase.

Recognizing city council priorities with maintaining public-safety service levels when this temporarily supplemental sales tax funding within Measure V expires in 2014, as the economy is expected to slowly recover vitality, city hall is now proposing to trustees a June 2012 ballot measure to create an eighth-cent of added sales tax revenue for WPL, beginning in 2014.

Read the entire article at YoloSun.wordpress.com.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Closed session: Council to approve negotiations with Cinema West owner to buy State Theatre

Plus another hidden subsidy for Petrovich at Sixth and Main

City Council closed session agenda, May 17, 2011:

"B.2 Conference with Real Property Negotiators, Pursuant to Section 54956.8 Property: APN 006-602-02 (320 - 324 Main Street) State Theater Agency Negotiator: Agency Executive Director and Agency Attorney Negotiating Parties: Mark Deven, Ed Quinn and Richard Mann, Dave Corkill Under Negotiation: Price and Terms of Payment."

Dave Corkill and Paul Petrovich claimed they would build the Cinema West multiplex at Third and Main without any subsidies from the city. Well, here's another one of those subsidies in the form of "storm drain improvements" at the corner of Sixth and Main, the site of Petrovich's former Rite Aid project... under the consent calendar, meaning they won't discuss this in the public forum:

"H.6 SUBJECT: Approval of Right of Entry Agreement for the Main Street Widening (CIP 05-09) and the East and Main Streets Storm Drain Improvement Project (CIP 09-18) and Authorize the City Manager to Sign the Agreement"

"The Main Street widening improvements will widen the north side of Main from East to Sixth Streets. These improvements consist of widening westbound Main Street to two lanes as well as sidewalk, curb, gutter and ADA ramp work."

Price of street widening component: $305,281 (minus $69,000 to be reimbursed by the Woodland Courthouse project)

Price of storm drain improvement: $392,000.00

Total: $697,281.00 (minus $69,000 to be reimbursed by the Woodland Courthouse project)

May 2011 Woodland Record/The Mail of Woodland

Click here to access the May 2011 newspaper edition of the Woodland Record/The Mail of Woodland.

Or, visit one of the hundred, or so, pick-up locations to get your free community access paper.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Treasure Hunter Roadshow returns to Woodland, May 17-21

The Treasure Hunters Roadshow runs Tuesday through Saturday this week in Woodland. “It’s a modern day goldrush as precious metal prices soar due to the unstable economy – it’s a seller’s market,” said Archie Davis, THR representative. Courtesy photo.

From the Woodland Record:


See this advertisement on page 6 of the May 2011 edition of the Woodland Record or visit TreasureHuntersRoadshow.com

By Jason Delong

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to start your spring cleaning early this year. The Treasure Hunters Roadshow opens Tuesday in Woodland and is looking for anything old. Remember those matchbox cars you played with as a kid? You know, the ones that have been stored away in the attic for the past 30 years. Well it’s time to dig ‘em out, along with any other forgotten treasures. You might be sitting on a small fortune and not even know it.

THR representative, Archie Davis, explains what the event is all about: “It’s a chance to sell just about anything that’s old, and get a fair price. We host over 1,000 shows every year throughout the U.S. and Canada. Toys, dolls, trains, pocket watches, old advertising signs, gold jewelry, coins and just about anything can be sold at the Roadshow. This event is popular because it puts money in people’s pockets. At a typical show, we will see hundreds of people during the five day event. We will see a few unusual items, but mostly we will see a lot of old coins, gold jewelry, and a wide variety of antiques and collectibles. Last week at a show in Missouri, a retired dentist walked in with over 5 lbs. of dental gold fillings. I would say that is pretty unusual, wouldn’t you say?”

The gentleman received over $31,243 for his gold fillings. He told Davis that over the years he would keep the extracted teeth when the owners didn’t want them. He would throw them in a jar and over the years it added up to over five lbs. of gold. Now, not everyone has a jar of gold teeth lying around, but according to Davis, more than you might think have some sort of gold they can cash in.

Davis said, “The Roadshow receives a fair amount of gold each day of the five day event.”

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enterprise: Woodland Poly fills an educational void

Exerpt from the Davis Enterprise article "Woodland Poly fills an educational void:"

While it is illegal — due to the education code — to have a purely vocational education program at a public high school, there is a group in Yolo County working to open a new public charter school in Woodland this fall.

Their project, Woodland Polytechnic Academy, will be a combination of career technical education plus the core courses required by the state. Instead of pouring money into administration, Woodland Poly will have smaller class sizes. Its emphasis will be to motivate their kids to work hard and to prepare themselves in a practical sense to be productive citizens.

Read the entire article at DavisEnterprise.com.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Cinema West subsidy (aka Hoblit relocation grant) dropped from agenda, Caceres offers Buick building for children's theater

Ron Caceres, whose group just purchased 2.6 acres downtown, announces to Woodland City Council (RDA board) that the former Buick building (and site) is available for a children's theater, the Hoblit dealearship, farmers market or multiplex. Caceres is negotiating with Galaxy Theatres to locate on the southwest corner of that site.

From the Woodland Record:

Without any explanation, the agenda item to discuss a possible $200,000 subsidy for the Third and Main Cinema West project to move the Hoblit car dealership was removed from last night's Woodland City Council/Redevelopment Agency meeting. Hoblit is located at 801 Main Street (owned by Paul Petrovich) in the 100 year-old Electric Garage building that is scheduled for demolition to make room for a Cinema West (Dave Corkill) multiplex.

The city council (RDA board) did approve a $290,000 RDA loan to rehabilitate the historic Jackson building (location of the defunct Morrison's Restaurant) and instructed city staff to further evaluate a $50,000 grant for the historic Woodland Railroad Depot.

In a surprise announcement during the public comment period for the RDA agenda item. Woodland developer Ron Caceres announced the availability of his newly-acquired 2.6 acred downtown property known as the City Center Lofts site or the Buick dealer site.

Read more at WoodlandRecord.com.

View Ron Caceres' announcement by clicking here. Toggle to 1:38:15 to view his public comment. It runs to 1:41:40. Due to incompatibilities with the city's video software, the clip cannot be embedded here.