Over its first quarter century, West Sacramento has been the success story of the region. It has blossomed from a neglected, unincorporated backwater into an urban dynamo, often challenging the big city across the river.
The great recession has slowed progress in West Sac. City revenue dipped significantly beginning in 2008. The end of redevelopment has also left the city less able to finance new growth. And, most urgently, it faces a serious flood threat. To address those challenges and to keep moving forward, West Sacramento needs smart, experienced leaders.
It has two in incumbent City Council members, Bill Kristoff and Oscar Villegas, who have earned re-election. Challenger Oleg Maskaev, a professional boxer originally from Russia, moved to West Sacramento in 2006. He is a pleasant fellow with a fascinating life story, but he knows little about the issues facing city government.
A retired U.S. Postal Service employee, Kristoff has been on the council since West Sacramento incorporated in 1987 and is one of the architects of the city's success. As the council's representative to the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, he is the most knowledgeable about the city's crucial levee rehabilitation efforts. A month ago, Kristoff was among local flood control officials who made the difficult but necessary decision to build setback levees that will require the razing of a half dozen or so homes. It was a hard decision but was needed to protect 48,000 West Sacramento residents.
Oscar Villegas, the other incumbent running, was first elected to the council a dozen years ago. He is a field representative for the new Board of State and Community Corrections, the agency charged with implementing California's prison realignment program. His background in criminal justice, particularly juvenile justice issues, has helped the city deal with significant gang problems in the past. He has also helped bridge the sometimes tension-filled divide between police and minority residents.
For West Sacramento City Council, The Bee endorses Bill Kristoff and Oscar Villegas.
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