West Sacramento City Council HighlightsNov 21, 2023 12:33PM ● By Michele Townsend
WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The second City Council meeting for the month of November 2023 was held on Wednesday November 15. The following are highlights of the discussions, suggestions, complaints, reports and desires that were shared during that meeting. Please understand that these are highlights. For more detail please refer to the meeting minutes or watch the video of the meeting. Both can be found at cityofwestsacramento.org.
The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the reading of the Land Acknowledgement. Before discussing agenda items, the meeting is open for Public Comment. These comments are allowed to be on any topic that is not on the agenda for that meeting. If you want to talk about a topic that is on the agenda for that night, there is a time for Public Comment when that item is being discussed.
Presentations by the Public – Guy Stephenson – Guy expressed that he was offended that the city prompted for a second article be written in the newspaper about Via Rideshare. He was offended that they requested a second reporter write a new article with the City’s point of view. He said that the program has some problems that just need to be looked at. He said he felt that he’s just trying to get them to address issues, instead of sugar coating the problem.
Aleecia Guiterrez – She was there to champion two efforts that she believes to align with what she believes will support prosperity to all community members and neighborhoods in an equitable way. The Bryte/Broderick Community Center is caught up in a permit nightmare. She is hoping that the City will actively work with the Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians to get the permits taken care of. West Sacramento will benefit greatly with the programs that are waiting to be started. She also reminded the Council that the building in which the Community Center is being constructed in is a historical building and Rhonda Pope Florez and her team have been working incredibly hard to improve the building and systems within, while still maintaining the historical integrity. She suggested that perhaps the City should hire an Ombudsman to assist the city and the Me-Wuk Indians work together. There will be free tutoring available and there are several people waiting for that service. She said that a public service was done when Rancheria purchased the historical building for community services… just as it was a public service when the city purchased Club Pheasant for the purpose of community services.
Manuel Castro – Runs a nonprofit that works with kids from Washington Unified by teaching online math classes. They help students from k – 12th grade, but says that they need to be able to do this in person. The place that they want to provide this tutoring is the Bryte/Broderick Community Center. He explained how he grew up in an area where there was a community center. It was a safe place to go. He explained how deeply the lady working at that center was such an important role model. He explained what a great benefit having a role model is. He asked for the City to please work it out with the permits.
Angelina Hinojosa – 18 years old and is encouraging the City to make it as easy as possible to complete the Community Center. She said, from a youth perspective, sometimes all they need is a safe place that understands culture and diversity. Someplace that understands families and youth. She said that it give the kids someplace to be. Sometimes they are out there getting into trouble because they have nowhere to be and they get bored. She said the center will give them somewhere to be after school and something to do. Whether they go to tutoring, a community Pow-wow, or basket making, there will be something to do. She told the Council that their pen will make that change so to please create this change.
Leticia Agulara – Born and raised in Sacramento, she said the community center will be a step in the right direction in creating good relationships with the Native American community. She explained that many generations of families in this area have held baby showers, birthday parties, reunions, wedding receptions, funerals and other family events. This was the place to go for these kinds of events. It was a place for them to go and celebrate in a healthy way. Her brothers and other family members are veterans and are very proud of this place for families. She said that it is important that we move forward with this progress and to have a space for the kids to get off of zoom.
Rhonda Pope Florez – Rhonda thanked everyone who spoke about the Bryte/Broderick Community Center. She said that they have people lined up to provide services at the Community Center. She then said that she doesn’t know what happened. She went back and looked at her past notes so that she didn’t misspeak. Back on December 7th, 2022 they were working with the City. They worked with engineering, they hired an architect and eventually a lawyer. She said that they were issued permits, she knows this because they paid for them and the city doesn’t release that until they’re approved. Then they received a stop work order in April. They were advised to start over, so they did. She stated the permitting system in this city is flawed. She explained that the worst part is that this an historical building and that by law the city does have to have an inventory to protect historical resources and the tribe had to provide that. However as of today (November 15th) they were given their permit. However, the other two permits that they got in December, they were locked out of and told that the tribe didn’t respond and that they would have to take care of it. Rhonda described it as unbelievable and said it is crazy that the City locked them out of their permits in December then said they had to start over in June, was supposed to have all of the comments back from all departments by September for the paperwork that they submitted in August, and here we are in November and they don’t have them. She said this is a very long 10-day process.
Maria Garcia – It is ridiculous that they were supposed to open the community Center on April 5th and they just got the permit issued. She asked that the city please stop holding the permits hostage and to let them open the Community Center. She said that the community wants and needs the center. She wants the return of all of the events that have been held there for so many years.
Alex Hirsch – Board Member of the West Sacramento Friends of the Library. He explained that the members of the friends of the library are all volunteers with the single mission of supporting the library and librarians and library staff. He notified the Council and invited them to the annual meeting of the Friends of the Library. It is to be held on Saturday, December 9th, 2023 at 12:30 PM with the guest Speaker being County Supervisor, Oscar Villegas. He will speaking about his love of and support of the library. All community members are invited and encouraged to come and see all of the wonderful things that the library does.