Gibson Ranch Management Decision Extended by Board of Supervisors

Story and Photo by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-27
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“I’m feeling very positive,” said Ose. “And I want to say that I appreciate the county’s consideration of my concerns and plans, and the mutual goal is to keep Gibson open.”

The County Board of Supervisors has extended until May 31 its private level contract with former congressman Doug Ose to manage Gibson Ranch, giving the board more time to consider Ose’s renewal proposal, redirect management of the park back to Sacramento Department of Regional Parks, or go another direction and solicit bids from other private contractors.

While the extension of his contract may not necessarily mean Ose will be granted a renewal to manage Gibson Ranch, it doesn’t rule out the option either. In fact, Ose said it was because discussions with the board of supervisors were going so well that he agreed to the extension. While enjoying a $22,000 profit in 2015, Ose has said he is currently losing $20,000 a month due to labor cost increases and, unless he can obtain a new contract that includes some of his ideas for revenue-generating programs, he’s ready to walk away.

“I agreed to extend my deadline of my contract and I never would have done that had I not seen our discussions as being positive, or had I not thought that we were going to come to an amicable or acceptable agreement,” Ose said.

Ose assumed management of the 325-acre nature reserve after steep financial losses by the county put the park on the brink of closure in 2011. Ose’s current, five-year contract was set to run out April 30, putting the future of Gibson Ranch, which he has said served 100,000 visitors in 2016, at risk of closure again.

While Ose has declined to discuss the details of any proposed new financial arrangement, his plan includes a contract for 20 years instead of five, as well as increasing the park’s entry fee from $5 to $8. In addition, he’s interested in installing as many as 50 full hook-up RV sites that could generate as much as $12,000 a month in revenue for the park, and wants to expand facility rentals to include big-ticket events, such as high school graduations.

Ose’s original agreement allowed him to rent the park for $1 a year plus half of his profits. In turn, the county agreed to pay Ose $500,000 over the current life of the contract for deferred maintenance. Ose has said that arrangement is no longer viable and that monthly expenses are now coming directly out of his pocket and he needs to “stop the bleeding.”

Matt Hedges, chief of staff for County Supervisor Sue Frost who recently toured Gibson in preparation for her discussions with the board on Ose’s contract, said she and Ose want the park to remain open, however the board needs to weigh all options on the table. Frost and fellow board members will spend the next few weeks, he said, reviewing a pending report from Regional Parks detailing a scenario for it to assume management of the park, as well as Ose’s proposal.

“In addition to the option of renewing a contract for Mr. Ose, county parks also will be offering its own plan to operate the park under a traditional model without a lot of extra amenities,” Hedges said.

Should management be turned back over to the parks department, it would require the hiring of additional staff, according to Hedges, who added that the department would also be faced with the challenge of how to manage the park’s equestrian boarding program launched under Ose’s tenure.

“That plan would include using county staff to manage the park, as well as the creation of three new and two seasonal positions,” said Hedges. “In addition, because the department has never run an equestrian boarding program, it needs to weigh that element as well.”

Parks Director Jeff Leatherman has declined repeated requests for comment.

Hedges said the third option to be deliberated by the board is to open up the process to other, private bids, which could be considered alongside Ose’s proposal. Although a few inquiries have come in, no serious proposals from other private contenders have been put forward, Hedges said, adding that fact alone puts Ose in a very positive position. Ose agreed.

“I’m feeling very positive,” said Ose. “And I want to say that I appreciate the county’s consideration of my concerns and plans, and the mutual goal is to keep Gibson open.”


Help Celebrate the Grand Opening

Source: Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2017-04-26

On Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to noon, Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) and Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District will host a grand opening celebration for the new Gardens at Howe Park.

The Gardens at Howe Park include four, state-of-the-art, low-water use demonstration gardens, created in partnership by SSWD and sustainable gardening group, EcoLandscape California.

The grand opening celebration will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, guided tours, workshop demonstration on high-efficiency sprinklers, and free gift bags filled with gardening tools for the first 100 attendees.

“We’re excited to open our newest demonstrations gardens and highlight the variety of ways people can have beautiful landscapes that are river-friendly and low-water,” said Greg Bundesen, SSWD’s Water Conservation Supervisor.

The new gardens include:

  • Sensible Switchover: This garden is designed to represent the layout of most Sacramento-area residential front yards, but features low-water plants and low maintenance solutions perfect for our region’s climate.
  • Wilder Wonders: A wilder, less structured garden filled with color and texture. It’s designed to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and bees.
  • Water Works: A working rain garden that shows how plants can take in, filter and hold water in the soil. It’s designed to capture the rain and let it percolate into our groundwater instead of flowing unchecked and unfiltered into our rivers, the Delta and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.
  • Effortless Edibles: This attractive garden features low-water edibles and aromatics, and can provide lots of goodies for your table, and color for your house.

Each of the gardens features informational signage that identifies all of the landscape’s water-efficient features and plants used.

For more information about the grand opening celebration for the new Gardens at Howe Park, visit www.sswd.org.


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Capital Region Small Business Week Underway

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-26

The 2017 Capital Region Small Business Week Celebration (CRSBWC) is well underway in its efforts to promote, enhance and encourage small business owners. Whether novice or seasoned professional, Small Business Week offers programs and advice on all aspects of small business.

A backbone of the American economy, National Small Business Week was begun in 1963, with a yearly presidential proclamation. According to statistics, at least half of Americans own or work for a small business and create two-thirds of new U.S. jobs annually.

A previous symposium, said June Livingston, was “one of several events,” part of the larger Capital Region Small Business Week. Livingston is the Division Supervisor and a registered environmental health specialist with the County of Sacramento. In her position, she supervises the Business Environmental Resource Center (BERC), of which the Sacramento Area Sustainable Business (SASB) Program is a part.

“Yearly, we help hundreds of people,” said Livingston. “It is all free and completely confidential. The program is for the whole week and really covers the SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) Region,” she said.

BERC offers compliance assistance in a non-regulatory environment to ease regulatory concerns, facilitates the regulatory permit processes and offers continuing pre- and post-regulatory inspection compliance assistance. It provides one-on-one consultation, regulatory and technical assistance, best management practice and business advocacy, ombudsman and sustainable business services.

The Small Business Symposium: Roadmap to Success will run from April 30 through May 6, 2017, throughout Capital Region Small Business Week. The Symposium is Tuesday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McClellan Conference Center, 5411 Luce Avenue, McClellan, CA.

For help, questions or more information, visit www.SacBerc.org, bercadmin@saccounty.net or call 916.874.2100


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Taxpayers Gouged at the Pump

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-26

Here are a few facts that should give pause to anyone supporting California’s new gas tax: CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people, wasting $500 million every year that could be going to roads; California diverts a billion dollars in “weight fees” into the general fund annually, which should also be paying for roads; Californians already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the country but have some of the worst roads, which points to an efficiency problem.

It’s plain to see that the fake funding crisis used to push the new taxes through the legislature was really a crisis of political priorities. The money is there – without the new taxes – to pay for modern, smooth roadways up and down the state.

Still, the legislature has a default position, and that’s to pickpocket taxpayers and businesses at every turn. Hence the new tax to backfill the waste and diversions that should be paying for roads right now.

Governor Brown, oblivious to the actual effect the bill will have on businesses and families, tried to deflect criticisms of the new tax’s cost by noting that it will set back the average family about $10 a month.

Are my rural constituents, who drive 45 minutes to get to the grocery store, supposed to be happy because of that average? Are my suburban commuters putting 80 miles a day on their cars supposed to be happy with that average? It will be meaningless to them, as they will pay hundreds of dollars more a year in gas taxes and registration fees to pay for roads that their tax dollars already could have and should have paid for.

Because of this government decision to raise gas taxes $.12 a gallon, diesel $.20, and add an additional registration fee of $25-$175 on each vehicle (and that is just a partial list of the new charges), everyone in the state can expect to pay more for everything they buy, from school clothes to groceries to laptops. Not because the items are better, but because California legislators are attaching a premium to everything with their relentless search for tax dollars.

These new taxes and fees aren’t one-time charges. They go on forever under the current bill, and will start increasing, indefinitely, starting in 2020.

I want a first-class infrastructure for our state and am willing to pay for it, but not twice. That’s what this cynical bill does to our citizens. It forces them to pay a second time for roads that their tax dollars already could have built. It’s backfilling an imaginary shortfall to cover up government failure.

A state that can afford to waste tens of billions of dollars on the colossally expensive and worthless High Speed Rail is not a state starving for money. To California’s majority party, though, every problem looks like a deficit and every solution looks like a tax. It’s killing the middle- and lower-classes in the state.

Our state has the 48th-worst tax climate already, but this gas tax proves, yet again, that legislators can’t leave unwell enough alone.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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Baker Responds to the California State Auditor’s Report

Source: Office of Assemblywoman Baker  |  2017-04-26

CA State Auditor: UC President Hiding $175 Million in Funds While Raising Tuition and Salaries

Assembly Higher Education Committee Vice Chair Catharine Baker issued the following statement in response to the California State Auditor’s recent report detailing an undisclosed $175 million reserve fund maintained by the Office of the President of the University of California and other financial concerns:

“The UC Board of Regents just raised tuition on students and has nearly doubled in-state student tuition over the last 10 years, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects and administrative salaries. Students and their families deserve confidence that their money is being spent wisely. The UC Office of the President acknowledges the need to address the Auditor’s findings. I look forward to working with my Assembly colleagues, students, and the UC to get to the bottom of this and do all we can to help UC get its financial house in order.”

Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.


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Let the Good Times Rock & Roll

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-26

The Baby Boomer Festival will be held on Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds. The event is billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation.”

Baby Boomer Festival Expo and Music Show

The Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville will come alive as the gathering place for scores of people during the Baby Boomer Festival on Saturday, May 6. The Festival and Expo will feature music, cars and plenty of culture from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation,” the grounds will be packed with exhibits and demonstrations designed to inform and educate attendees.

The musical line up by world famous Elvis tribute artist Gene Lane and classic rock and rollers Road Test will keep toes tapping and fingers snapping. “Car songs, surfer songs, old time rock and roll, cruisin' songs and songs about those backseat girlfriends are included in the fun,” along with “lots of dancing and audience participation in poodle skirts, baggies, leather jackets and tight sweaters. It’s the music you grew up with,” say the organizers.

Between music sets, festival goers can meander through any or all of the nearly 70 booths with information and shopping for everything from financial services to artwork to healthful wellbeing or any number of goods and services tailored to the Boomer generation.

Not to be missed are dozens of classic cars also on display, including some of the iconic “woodies” (wood side paneled) cars. There will also be food, prizes and goodie giveaways. The event is family friendly and the organizers invite Baby Boomers to bring their children and even grandchildren to share in the experience “As you enter the expo,” according to the organizers, “you will be surrounded by dozens of exciting exhibits on a wide variety of subjects pertinent to your well-being and happiness. Many of the exhibitors have come from throughout the region to discuss their plans for your health, finance and home life. So please take the time to stop and talk with them. You might just find an ideal match for your needs!”

The Baby Boomer Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds, located at 800 All America City Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678. Admission and parking are free. For more information including vendor lists and musical line up, visit www.babyboomerfestival.com.


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Sacramento Area Museums Go Big for Big Day of Giving on May 4

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-04-25

The dedicated and diverse Sacramento area museum community is gearing up for the 2017 Big Day of Giving scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2017, in hopes local contributors will choose to support their endeavors during this special giving challenge. For the past few years, more than $16 million has been raised for local nonprofits from throughout the region, state, country and world.

The Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California’s fine art, history, science, and wildlife treasures all year long. For the 2017 Big Day of Giving, a dozen Sacramento Area Museum members are participating in this collaborative effort that is focused locally but extends globally, including:

Aerospace Museum of California
California Automobile Museum
California Museum
California State Railroad Museum
Crocker Art Museum
Fairytale Town
Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus
Sacramento Children’s Museum
Sacramento History Museum
Sacramento Zoo
Sojourner Truth African American Museum
Verge Center for the Arts

Some of the participating museums and destinations are offering special incentives and activities on the Big Day of Giving. For more information about the Big Day of Giving and finding ways to support your favorite museum(s), please visit www.bigdayofgiving.org. For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Twitter @SacMuseums or visit www.SacMuseums.org.

About the Sacramento Area Museums (SAM)
Comprised of 30 greater Sacramento area museums working in partnership with Visit Sacramento, SAM’s mission is to raise awareness of local museums by giving the community the opportunity to discover California’s fine art, history, science and wildlife treasures. SAM achieves its mission through implementing cooperative promotions and developing strategic marketing alliances, by encouraging sharing of knowledge and resources among its partner institutions.  For more information, visit www.SacMuseums.org.


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California’s Economic Output Outpaces Nation for Fourth Straight Year

By George Runner, State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-21

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).

San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.

One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.

George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.


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Gaines Launches Effort to Repeal Gas Tax

Source: The Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.

“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.

“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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Captain Shawn Condit Named Firefighter Employee of the Year

Sac Metro Fire Special Release, By Deputy Chief Eric Bridge  |  2017-04-20

(L to R) Mark Creffield, executive director of the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, Captain Shawn Condit and Deputy Chief Eric Bridge

Captain Shawn Condit began his fire service career with American River Fire Department on August 4, 1990. In 2000, American River Fire District and Sacramento County Fire Protection District merged to become the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, also known as Metro Fire. Shawn is the Truck Captain at Fire Station 109 where he oversees a truck crew of three firefighters. Station 109 is located in the Carmichael community and is unique in that this is where the Hazardous Materials unit is housed. Captain Condit coordinates the Hazardous Materials program for our department.

Throughout his career, Captain Condit has demonstrated leadership on multiple levels. Aside from being an excellent company officer, he has been a leader in the Hazardous Materials Program. His tenure in the program provides the stability needed while offering training opportunities for his crew. Captain Condit and his crew willingly take on new employees and are often called upon by the training cadre to work with academies and probationary employees. When these new individuals spend time with his crew, they are provided with a positive experience and given information that will hopefully move them down the road through the process. In addition to all his regular responsibilities at the station, Captain Condit must maintain his Hazardous Materials certification, putting added responsibility upon himself.

In addition to his hard work at Metro Fire, Captain Condit serves as a Metro Director with the Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522 union. This is an elected position by his peers. Shawn has held a position within the Union for over 10 years. He is an acknowledged leader within the union, and over the last 10 years he has moved up the ranks, starting out as a shift representative and eventually moving into the elected position he currently holds. He continues to do an outstanding job of representing the union members of our organization.

As Metro Director, Captain Condit represents the membership in many different ways. During our last contract negotiation, Captain Condit demonstrated calm, consistent leadership during the negotiation and confirmation process, acting as the facilitator for these meetings. He allowed for spirited but respectful debate. During these meetings, he is often involved in matters that are sensitive in nature and does not violate confidence. It is this trustworthiness that makes him an excellent Union officer and, by extension, Company Officer.

As a Union leader he takes a positive role in a needed position. Often times, employees are referred to him by management. His ability to listen fully to their problems and then calmly and positively advise them on a course of action tends to benefit both the department and the member. He acts in the best traditions of Union leadership and through this process, the matter is often resolved at the lowest level.

To be a leader, particularly as a firefighter, your work ethic must be self-evident. Since an outstanding work ethic is common at Metro Fire it is difficult to point out where one employee’s efforts are better than another, however in the case of Captain Condit he stands out each and every day. Many excellent company officers come to work and do their assignments and perform admirably, but taking a leadership position in the Union and Haz Mat program shows that Captain Shawn Condit is willing to give of himself to this department and its members. He is well respected within the Department, the Union and his crew.

Fire Chief Todd Harms was honored to name Captain Shawn Condit as Metro Fire’s 2016 Suppression Employee of the Year.


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