A couple items:
· Winters Fire was deployed to the Clayton Fire in Lower Lake to battle the fire which destroyed almost 200 structures and caused absolute havoc through the Lake County Area. They were released today and are headed back.
· Items on the upcoming City Council Meeting will include a presentation on the strategy for dealing with Chromium 6, the Walnut Park Picnic Structure, and a presentation from the Police Department regarding the Volunteer and Cadet Programs.
· PG&E has released its most recent monthly report of key activities. I have attached the report for your information. (pdf – click here)
· This week on the PG&E Project, they began the pour of the exterior walls which will be tilted up in the coming weeks. From the City perspective, it has been rewarding working with the team they have assembled for the project.
· The two largest issues which seem to be sweeping California are Housing and Transportation. As local governments are experiencing homelessness, shortages of available housing both for rental and for sale housing. Expect that these issues will come to the forefront on all levels of government in California in the coming year!!
· Winters AYSO Soccer needs some help this Sunday, beginning at 8:30 at Waggoner School. We need to spread dirt and do some leveling of soccer fields. We will have some tractors and drags, but need some bodies with shovels to help spread top soil to help fill holes and level the fields. Bring your shovel out and help for a bit.
Finally, an editorial in one of the many literary sources I read struck an important thing I have learned in the City of Winters, and that is the importance of the local paper, the Winters Express.
The most important thing I have learned is how important it is to support the Winters Express and the small town press!
Over the years, the community has been blessed with a weekly publication which tells the story of our town. Whether it is what is happening at City Hall, schools or the many events, sports and public interest stories, the Winters Express is the source which both writes and records the history of the community. In a technical age where we expect immediate access to stories and information, it is hard for them to compete, but what we really get is a much higher quality and more thoughtful and researched depiction of our town through their efforts than any blog or facebook comment could ever bring.
The City has been genuinely blessed with some excellent reporters who have covered City Hall and the City Council. They have been some of the most thoughtful and genuine people bringing a balanced and thorough approach to reporting. One of the highest values of small town newspapers is the quest to bring transparency and accountability to how the local government is making policy and spending the taxpayer dollars! The City Hall beat reporters in Winters have been second to none. I know that people read their stories and count on them to keep them in the loop. It’s done exceptionally well in our town.
Debra DeAngelo as the Winters Express Editor is probably one of the most important factors in telling the story of Winters. She really gets it in telling the story of our town and will go down some day as one of the most important people in our history. Lots of people have an opinion regarding Debra’s opinions, but I will tell you that I have never questioned her ethics or professionalism when she has questioned decisions made by the City. She is absolutely doing her job in working to hold the City of Winters accountable, which is important. In a democratic society, it is the responsibility of the press to inform and bring things to light, and Debra does a very good job in doing so. I will tell you that I do not always agree with Debra, but she is fair and thorough and does her job.
Charley Wallace and the entire Wallace Family could best be described and the stewards of the cornerstone institution which writes our history. When Newt and Ida arrived in 1948, they took over a newspaper which now binds our community together. Whether people appreciate it or not, the Wallace’s have committed their entire lives to telling the story of Winters and all who live here. From birth to death, the families of our town have their stories told, accomplishments recorded and arrests made public, whether people like it or not! Our Downtown is considered one of the best examples of a small rural revitalization efforts which actually worked and I will tell you that Charley Wallace played one of the most pivotal roles in saving the town, at enormous personal sacrifice. Newt Wallace is the semi-retired oldest paperboy in America and I am proud to have his autographed picture from the front page of the phone book amongst my most cherished Winters mementos. The town owes eternal gratitude to the Wallace Family for what they have done and do!
The time capsule of Winters is updated on a weekly basis and thrown on the driveway of your home or business. In an information age the Winters Express cannot compete with promptness, but few can beat the quality of stories which enrich our lives, hold the City accountable and tell the story of our town in a meaningful way.
When you see Newt, Charley, Debra and the entire Winters Express team, let them know how important they are to our town. Most importantly, support what they do through your subscriptions and ads which pay the way to telling our story.
Have a nice weekend and come out and help me spread some dirt on Sunday at Waggoner School- 8:30.
A really busy week, but here are some highlights:
For all you would be soccer referees, we will be having referee training at the Fire Station from 9-4 tomorrow.
Have a nice weekend,
Attached are Yolobus schedules (pdf) and map of the revised route 220 service, effective Monday, August 8, 2016. Both Solano Community College and Kaiser Medical Center in Vacaville will be served. Free rides through the month of August for Route 220 (pdf), except for the weekday commute hour bus to and from UCD. The 220 bus does not stop at Solano Community College on Saturdays. (Bus Map, pdf)
In addition to the attached schedule and map, the following is an abbreviated table which focuses on a few stops and the length of stay at the Kaiser Medical Center. It is a good reference guide.
A hot and smokey week so this is really brief and it is late afternoon on a Friday:
Again, the third year of a major wildfire which results in activating the emergency operations for the City and County makes this a really difficult week. The most I can say is how proud I am to be associated with the men and women in our public safety who are those first responders. AGAIN, their professionalism and talents saved hundreds of homes and lives through the use of their training and talents to suppress the fire. Napa CalFire and Winters Fire were amazing and I was extremely proud of how they handled the entire situation. Resources are really taxed throughout the State with multiple fires occurring now so our personnel needed to take much of this on their own and they came through.
Have a nice weekend.
In all, a pretty good week in the City.
Finally, the tragedies in law enforcement continue to occur throughout our nation and hit home to California today. At some point “we all just need to get along”.
Being a police officer is one of the most important and heroic jobs in our country. They bring security to those in danger and are often the first persons someone sees and gains comfort from on the worst day of their life. They do a job most simply cannot and will not do. Much of what they do to keep us safe is unseen.
In many respects, our police officers are truly unsung heroes in today’s society. Some of what they do is viewed as unpopular, but it is universally important (enforcing speed and traffic laws as examples). Police become scapegoats in a society instantly ready to shift blame for personal failures of judgment.
One of the toughest aspects of law enforcement is the two roles they are expected to play. One is to be everyone’s friend, kind, gentle, appeasing and affable (Andy Taylor). That is until the person has a firearm, is assaulting someone or even worst, they have done something truly heinous. Then we want the incredible hulk. There are so many unknowns in today’s society, it is often impossible and indistinguishable for the officers to determine.
In California, the lack of mental health care and the release of thousands of once incarcerated persons makes the job tougher and tougher for our police officers. Police now have to baby sit the once incarcerated “non-violent parolees” who probably were not rehabilitated and to become sidewalk psychologists and deal with those burdened with mental health issues which bring erratic behavior and often violence. In encourage anyone to try and respond to a call about someone acting erratically and try to instantly solve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction under the current situations in society.
Their job is amazingly difficult.
Unfortunately, the past few years has shown a negative light on actions by a small number of law enforcement officers. Should those who commit egregious offenses be held accountable, absolutely!
Winters is a quiet and safe town by its very nature. Most of us know each other, including the police officers responsible for enforcing the law. We have seen that quiet turn instantly in recent years and it is really ugly. We are blessed with officers within our Police Department who are capable of switching those gears to address the bad amongst the mostly good of our community. They represent our town well and are a part of the national law enforcement community who often quietly risk their lives so we can stay safe.
Hopefully people will hear the thousands of voices looking for an open dialogue and reconciliation for how people view our law enforcement personnel. They are critically important to an open and free society. We can only pray that the violence being directed towards our police officers will stop to allow the healing and dialogue to continue.
I can tell you that being a City Manager with a police department brings many sleepless nights as we watch what is unfolding nationally. I know each of our officers, their families and the quality individuals they are. I can tell you that I am very proud of what our law enforcement does for our community given the impossible tasks we give them.
Have a nice weekend.
The Winters Senior Foundation are working with the City of Winters to identify ways of improving transportation options for City of Winters residents. We invite you to complete the following online questionnaire.
If at any time you are uncomfortable or do not wish to disclose information, you are free to leave questions blank or discontinue the survey. Your ideas and information will be very helpful for us to explore the transportation services needed.
Thank you in advance.
A couple items this week:
· A very productive City Council Meeting this week. The Council approved the height increase for the Marriot Hotel, adopted both the sign and noise ordinance updates, approved consultants moving forward for the Senior Apartment Project and gave themselves a lot of liaison assignments. The Council was busy and have a lot on their plates.
· The City will see our new Police Chief, John Miller begin work on Monday, July 25. We will swear him in Monday morning but are in the planning stages for a transition ceremony in the coming weeks. If you see Chief Miller around, welcome him to our town.
· The City will say goodbye next week to Fire Chief Aaron McAlister who will be taking the position of Assistant Fire Chief for Contra Costa Fire Protection District. Chief McAlister leaves an incredible legacy with Winters Fire, bringing 24/7 service, developing our reserve firefighter program, bringing in almost $3 million in grants for new equipment and expanded training. The most significant accomplishment was his efforts to bring enhanced emergency medical services (ambulance) to Winters. He led the effort to take on the State bureaucracy and the result was the creation of the Yolo County Emergency Services Agency and the location of ambulance service in Winters. Under the leadership of Chief McAlister, we dealt with two of the largest fires in the history of Winters (Monticello and Wragg Fires) and have expanded the qualification and capabilities of our entire department. Winters Fire is blessed with an incredible history of volunteers and fire chiefs who laid a solid foundation for the department. Chief McAlister can easily be considered the Chief who moved the Department into a more modern era. We appreciate all he has done for Winters and wish him the best in his new position.
· The City will also say goodbye to Chief Joseph Kreins who has served as interim police chief for the past 6 months. Under Chief Kreins, we have seen a very thorough audit of the Police Department, a comprehensive staffing re-organization and some incredible leadership training for our officers. The officers will tell you that Chief Kreins is “a cops cop” and I will tell you that he is an absolute dream for a City Manager. He did an incredible job and we appreciate his service.
· The PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Center is really moving and we can get ready to see the buildings coming out of the ground. Click HERE for a complete update on this amazing project. I had a chance to walk the project with the City’s inspection team and the construction manager for DPR Construction, Ian Bollinick this week and it is very impressive. I have never seen such a well run operation and a focus on getting things done. An absolutely first class operation!
· It looks like the Grant Ave/Walnut Lane Roundabout is moving forwarded. Final plans and maps have been recorded with Caltrans and the encroachment permit will follow. The project will be out to bid and hopefully we will see construction move forward in the fall. The bureaucracy of Caltrans is immense and it is a miracle that we have reached this point! Good news!!
· The traffic signal for the intersection of Grant Ave/Main St is in design and for an encroachment permit with Caltrans. Look for this project and light to be installed sometime after the first of the year. This is a bit more simple than the roundabout, so hopefully we will see things go a bit quicker.
· Tell everyone with abandoned, inoperable or unlicensed vehicles that they either need to store them someplace or be prepared to get a citation. The Police Department has been giving warning citation throughout town to vehicles on the street and on private properties for those unregistered. The citations going out now are “warnings” but please be prepared for “real” citations in the coming weeks.
· The Putah Creek Phase III project will be stalled for another year. The impending litigation from the Winters Friends of Putah Creek and obstacles put up to finalize permits simply will not allow construction within the tight window we have to do the restoration project. Look for all of this to start up next year!
· The City is accepting applications for the Planning Commission. Click HERE for an application. The deadline for applications is on Monday, July 25 by 5:00.
Thanks and have a nice weekend.
Applicants Sought for Winters Planning Commission Vacancy
The City of Winters is accepting applications to serve on the Winters Planning Commission through July 25. Prospective applicants must be at least 18 years of age and reside within the Winters city limits.
Applications of Interest in Appointed Positions can be downloaded from the City of Winters website (click this link/pdf). A resume may be attached to the application form.
The term of service is four years, or until term end. A two-person subcommittee of the Winters City Council will review the submitted applications and select a limited number of applicants to be interviewed. Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted and scheduled for their interviews.
Drop completed applications off or mail to City of Winters, 318 First Street, Winters, CA 95694. Applications may also be e-mailed to email@example.com.
For more information, call 530-795-4910, ext. 102.
In all, a pretty productive week:
Finally, Tuesday, July 12 was the 15th anniversary of the day that I interviewed with the City Council to become the Winters City Manager. The City Council at that time included Mayor Tom Stone, Chris Calvert, John Frazier, Jiley Romney and Harold Anderson. To be very frank, I knew very little about Winters and a friend and the executive recruiter were the one’s who convinced me to even show up to interview for a job which paid less than I was making in my then position as Assistant City Manager in southern California. I later learned that I was the only one who showed up for the interviews.
The morning of the interview, we ate breakfast at the Putah Creek Café and when I went to meet with the Council, my wife Kathy and the kids went to City Park and they played on what the kids thought was the best playground they had ever seen. The interview went pretty well and I walked to City Park to find my family. On the way up Main and from someone who was an “economic development guy”, the Downtown looked pretty closed with only the PC Café, Ace Hardware and the bank open. Everything else was empty which was a big red flag!
They called me later that afternoon and asked me to come back the following Thursday to talk some more about the position. My tour guide that day was Harold Anderson who took me to lunch at the Rotary Club. At lunch, I met a wide band of friendly characters who I would later come to know as Charley Wallace, Robert Chapman, John Greenwood, Bill Cody, Larry Justus, Mike Kimes and others. They left an indelible impression on me of people who really cared about this little town.
After lunch, Kathy and I met with Jiley Romney, John Wallace (city attorney) and Mary Jo Rodolfo (who was John’s Assistant and President of the WJUSD Trustees). We talked about the schools and a number of subjects, but mostly about what a wonderful place Winters is to raise your children. I will tell you that both the lunch and the meeting at John’s office with Jiley and Mary Jo was a life altering experience from a quality of life and family perspective. These folks genuinely cared about their community and the importance it made to the quality of life for them and their children.
Over the course of the next couple weeks, the City offered and I accepted the position. I will tell you that it can be pretty scary making a decision to pack up your family and move 500 miles to a place (in the middle of nowhere- in my then view) that you had only discovered a few months prior. We packed up and sold our house and the result has been one of the best decisions I think I could have ever made in my life.
In 15 years, I have learned and appreciate what an incredible community and quality of life we have in Winters. From a professional standpoint, I have been blessed to work with incredible City Council members (20) and the best staff any city manager could dream of having! My hiring strategy has been to find folks who really love this town and it has paid off in what has become one of the most recognized cities in the region. From a personal standpoint, I have met some of the kindest and caring community members any town could imagine having as residents. Winters is essentially a dysfunctional family who are extremely loyal to the town, fight a bit about some things, but when it really matters, they come together to celebrate what a special place we really have.
Have a nice weekend!
John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager
Just a heads up, PG&E has a scheduled gas release on Monday, July 11th between 7am-4pm from the transmission station located north of the City. Be advised this release can be extremely loud, often sounding like a “jet engine”. We sometimes receive 911 calls from concerned residents in the area.
This happens about once a year and can cause some excitement. It is part of their normal maintenance.
A couple items for the week:
Finally, prayers need to go out to way too many families across our country. The tragedy in Dallas is absolutely numbing for those injured and murdered by someone seeking random vengeance against those who put their lives on the line to protect us. The men and women in law enforcement are heroes every day doing a job most of us couldn’t handle for 5 minutes. Light a candle for the families, friends and colleagues impacted from the violence last night. President Obama was right on as he called it a despicable attack on our law enforcement.
The tragic incidents in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge bring to light many of the endemic issues facing city government, law enforcement and society. The amount of violence in society today is now brought to life right before our eyes through social media. From a City perspective, it means higher accountability for our law enforcement and the importance of connecting with all facets of our communities. For society, it means looking at solutions to breaking down the barriers which facilitates the discord which leads to the use of violence by all parties.
On Monday, we celebrated the 240th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence which led to the creation of the greatest democracy and nation on earth. The second paragraph begins with “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” These words embody the soul of our national pride. Some of this seems to have been lost in the last few days!!
Dr Martin Luther King said “If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.”
Somehow, leaders throughout all facets of society need to come together and find the solutions to bring our communities together to transcend the violence and injustice which seems to be tearing us apart and weakening the spirit of our great nation. Dr Kings words are powerful because the represent the importance of avoiding retribution and the need to seek togetherness in keeping us strong.
As a City and a community, it really does begin with us to do our part in finding those solutions.
Happy Independence Day weekend! The past couple of weeks have been busy and lots going on over the next few.
On Tuesday, the City Council will go through an official “reorganization” which includes the swearing in of new council members, the selection of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem and the beginning of a two year cycle of leadership on the City Council. From a City perspective, it is a big deal with the closure of one “Council” and the beginning of the next.
The 2014-16 City Council, consisting of Mayor Cecilia Aguiar Curry, Mayor Pro tem Woody Fridae and Council Members Harold Anderson, Wade Cowan and Pierre Neu have had an extremely busy two year period. Here are a few of the highlights:
The list of accomplishments big and small is absolutely amazing. This Council has been one of the hardest working groups in my tenure as City Manager. These folks work long hours for practically no pay but really big expectations!
In Winters, being on the City Council really is “citizen service”. Compared to larger cities, being on the City Council of a small town can be considerably more demanding and taxing. The need for constant involvement and the ease of access compared to larger communities in not comparable! Our Council works really hard! A sincere congratulations and thanks to each on this council for their service
Finally, a wish to all for a wonderful Independence Weekend. In the United States, we celebrate our independence from tyrannical governance and the longest running democracy in history. We are blessed with freedoms most can only dream of! While you are celebrating with friends and family, take time to celebrate the men and women throughout the world who keep our freedoms alive along with those in public safety here at home who maintain the security of our communities.
This is one of the craziest weekends of the year, so please be safe.
Have a nice weekend.