The West Sacramento Historical Society: Looking Forward and Back

This article will appear shortly in The West Sacramento News-Ledger (external link). I’m posting it now in the hope that people will see it before the Historical Society’s fundraiser on Saturday.

Note: The News-Ledger site is currently undergoing reconstruction and not posting new articles.


The West Sacramento Historical Society: Looking Forward and Back

The West Sacramento Historical Society is a forward-looking group with a constant focus on the past. Current and future projects keep Society’s members engaged in preserving our City’s history and in explaining how yesterday’s people and places make up what we are today. Let’s take an example.

West Sacramento is the consolidation of several smaller towns. Can you name them? Historical Society President Don Schatzel wonders.  He says, “We went to a high school group and asked them what were the names of the four West Sacramento communities before the City became the City? They didn’t know. For them, the City has been a city for a hundred years. One person knew Broderick. But they didn’t know Washington, Southport, or Bryte.” Still, that does not discourage Schatzel. He enjoys bringing the past to the present.

“West Sacramento has had a long, vibrant history, a fun history once you get to know it,” Schatzel says. “One of our members just asked a waitress in Broderick, ‘Who was Broderick?’ She said, ‘I don’t know, I think he founded the City of West Sacramento.’” But the answer is much different than that. The Society, in always trying to educate people about our City’s heritage, has produced a small flyer on the man himself, David Colberth Broderick.

The circular, available at the Society’s gallery inside the West Sacramento Community Center, reveals Broderick to be a United States Senator from California. Chiefly associated with San Francisco, the anti-slavery Broderick was shot dead in a duel in 1859. West Sacramento’s Washington District later changed its name to honor the deceased senator, as well as to comply with a Postal Authority request – too many cities named Washington.

The Society is engaged in many projects. One involves renovating an old Bryte fire truck, a 1937 Chevrolet wooden tanker known as Lizzie. Schatzel says that Sierra Hart will give them an estimate on what it will cost to get it operating. They are also looking to do more outreach at schools. Rotating the exhibits at the Community Center is another continuing project. Schatzel says member Thom Lewis handles these displays, the current one being on the River Cats, the next to be a history of the equestrian community in West Sacramento.

Volunteers are sought by the Society. Schatzel says they always need people with website skills and those experienced in fundraising, but they can accommodate any measure of help. “Sometimes it’s just their availability to move things around in the storage room. And people don’t even have to work to help. Just come out to one of our events or fundraisers.” Speaking of which, the Society’s third annual fundraiser is October 10, at the Community Center’s Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $30 in advance to hear the Samantics choir, as they pay tribute to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Call the Society at 374-1849 before the event sells out.

The West Sacramento Historical Society website is here (external link)

Lizzie, one of three engines in the WSHS collection.

Lizzie, one of three engines in the WSHS collection.

River Cats' history exhibit at the West Sacramento Community Center.

River Cats’ history exhibit at the West Sacramento Community Center.

WSHS pamphlet on David Broderick.

WSHS pamphlet on David Broderick.

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Terms of the Trade

A few of my favorites:


Sometimes used to mark the end of an article or a press release. Its origin is debated, but the two numbers, standing alone, are always distinctive enough to denote finality. Its use goes beyond print. A CBS radio announcer, whose name I have forgotten, possibly Charles Osgood, signed off his daily reports with “And that is 30 for this edition.”

“Kill fee”

The dreaded kill fee. An amount you negotiate with your publisher in the case that your writing contract cannot be fulfilled. Often a tiny amount compared to the price in your original agreement, a kill fee might be invoked if you’ve revised your article many times but your editor is still dissatisfied with its suitability.


Illustrations. My Fort Brag printer used this term and I’ve always liked it. The photographs and diagrams I supplied were always collectively referred to by the term illos.


Writer speak for “to come.” TK is one variation of placeholder text, which can be any meaningless words or letters used to mark where additional writing must be added. See the illo below from a preliminary layout. The editor is showing me how much space I have to add new information.



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I’ve Redesigned The Site

I redesigned this site today. Text is now black with blue links. The header image changes as you move from page to page. I can’t recommend (external link) enough. I moved 120 pages of posts and pages from the old theme to the new without a single broken link. Let me know if you like the new look. (e-mail link)

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West Sacramento Reacts To TBD

This article appeared in The West Sacramento News-Ledger (external link) on September 30, 2015. Copies of the newspapers will be on stands soon throughout West Sacramento. Often the papers arrive earliest at the News-Ledger office. That is at 1040 W Capitol Ave, next to City Hall. 35 cents. I have posted this article here until the News-Ledger site is back to updating their content.


West Sacramento Reacts To TBD

 Photos and article by Thomas Farley

Social media and telephone lines blew up on TBD weekend to praise and protest the event. Common ground for all sides seemed reachable if noise levels could be better managed. Controlling that din, though, proved difficult, despite shorter hours and City monitoring. On the subject of noise that weekend, no one agrees.

Mayor Cabaldon told me at the last City Council meeting that “TBD had dramatically less noise impact this year compared to the first year.” Perhaps. Last year, according to CBS 13, West Sacramento Police reported 73 complaints. The City this year received 228 official noise complaints but they conducted more outreach than before. The City’s Communication Manager, Paul Hosley, says that a noise hotline and their West Sacramento Connect App may have encouraged more people to report in. The noise affected different people differently.

Robert Raubach contacted me to say that he is not opposed to the festival, just to the venue. “I live two miles away from where TBD was held. My house was booming Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. I could close all doors and windows and still hear the bass. It vibrated the walls and windows. My daughter had a softball tournament this weekend. It meant early to bed and early to rise both days. Hard to do when our house is being invaded by unwelcome noise. Other people say we should have left town, gone somewhere else for the weekend. I find this suggestion repugnant and offensive. My house is my castle. My house is my refuge of peace and sanity. If I was to go anywhere for peace and quiet, it should be my house. Why should I have to go somewhere else?” Other people tolerated the sound, even to the point of discomfort.

Casey Gibson wrote to say, “My wife and I have lived in West Sacramento for a total of seven years. I personally have no problem with the noise associated with the TBD fest and quite frankly welcome the revenue generated, job opportunities provided, and exposure that result from the event. I have very high hopes for where West Sacramento is going as a city and am more than willing to endure a little bit of ‘bad’ for the greater good and long term growth and development. While I see where others are coming from with regard to noise complaints, I personally am happy to bite the bullet for three days in exchange for generating revenue for the city and fostering fiscal and communal growth.”

The City of West Sacramento was unable by press time to provide figures on the economic impact of TBD. They were also unable to say what the promoters paid to have the police department work the event.

The Mayor says the festival gets people thinking about the riverfront and about investing in the area. He says it reminds young people that West Sacramento is a place for them. What remains to be seen is whether these laudable goals can be achieved at 100 decibels.


West Sacramento noise report. (Downloadable in Word format) (Edited at the request of the City)

TBD music stage at dusk.

TBD music stage at dusk.

TBD festival goers at dusk,

TBD festival goers at dusk.


TBD festival tent at dusk.

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TBD: 17,000 Gather By The River, Celebrating Music, Art, Food, and Drink

This article appeared in The West Sacramento News-Ledger (external link) on September 23, 2015. I have posted this article here until the News-Ledger site is back to updating their content.

The News-Ledger is the paper of record for West Sacramento. Produced weekly, it is $.35 a copy. Subscriptions are $25 per year within Yolo County and $30.00 a year elsewhere in the United States. Delivery is by mail. Call (916) 371-8030.


TBD: 17,000 Gather By The River, Celebrating Music, Art, Food, and Drink

The TBD Fest boomed into West Sacramento’s Bridge District this weekend, forming a youthful community centered on music, art, drink, and food. But noise complaints threatened to break up the sybaritic world its founders sought to create.

Electronic dance music fueled the festival’s beat, though hip-hop, garage punk, art pop, and a dozen other genres made appearances. Dance music, however, in all its forms, was always key and constant. 90 acts played, many of them familiar to the EDM crowd, performers like Dusty Brown, Peter Robinson, and Tycho.

Art was scattered about the grounds. It ranged from performance art, a glammed-out ballerina dancing and twirling with a hoop, to competitive art, the War on Walls event, in which artists had a fixed time to create a painting that would outshine their rivals. Free standing art installations appeared here and there, many of them lighting up as you interacted with them.

Drink choices could be simple, subtle, or hard-hitting. You could fill your own container with water, or dive into choices like custom made cocktails or perhaps a shot or two at Wild Turkey’s 50 foot-long “distillery tour on wheels,” a motor-coach made to educate people about bourbon and to provide tastings.

Food choices were similarly eclectic. LowBrau was at the center of the complex, dispensing crowd favorites like sausages and different sides. Organizers said that 17 food trucks were scheduled.

The music at TBD was not enjoyed by everyone. According to KCRA TV, there were 55 noise complaints on Friday evening alone. Organizers seemed to listen to comments and on Saturday evening volume from the venue dropped considerably. City of West Sacramento complaint statistics were not available at press time.

West Sacramento and Sacramento are two very different communities but TBD managed to pull the youth of both cities into a communal atmosphere they could all enjoy. Stephanie Flores is a music festival veteran and she expressed many of the sentiments people had at TBD on Friday.

“I live a few blocks over. This is my third time for the Launch/TBD festival. Last year I came on crutches; I was treated great. I just came from Outside Lands last month in San Francisco and I think the security is better and I like the tamper-proof wrist bands. No gate crashers. I hope to see TBD grow, especially since I can just walk down the street to get here. It makes somebody like me from West Sacramento proud. I even brought my 13-year-old daughter. Everybody looks fabulous and there’s good vibes. Great music. I’m here to see Purity Ring and RL Grime. I think it’s good for the economy. I really love that there are new homes popping up around here in the Bridge District. We’ve been nearby homeowners for 20 years. I absolutely love the festival and the area and will keep coming back. I’m having a wonderful time. I think it is amazing.”


One of two greeters at the entrance.


A crowd around one of five stages.


Costumed ballerina.


Much to see and buy from distinctive vendors.


Art battle. Two hours to complete a composition.

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The Mystery of Photos with Google Search

A few years ago Google started including photographs of authors in search results (internal link). You had to set up a profile with Google and then set a link to your website but that wasn’t hard. Then sometime last year Google announced they were doing away with photos (external link). Well, it looks like they are back:


I always liked the photos and I thought they encouraged more clicks. It seems that content like this blog, when linked to Google Circles or Google + or whatever they are calling it now (external link), will trigger a photo op. If you are a blogger I think it is well worth spending a half hour to get your writing linked. And to spend a little time finding a good photo.

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The Wages of Writing

The Authors Guild (external link) reports some depressing conclusions about writers and wages. Although their report is about book writers, I think their study applies to non-fiction magazine article and newspaper article writing as well.

Their report states that only 39% of book authors support themselves exclusively through writing. Full time writers, the Guild concludes, make on average only $17, 500 a year. Part time authors make $4,500.

These are steep declines from when the last time the Guild made a survey, back in 2009. But they mirror the conclusions I’ve made about writing, the internet, and the collapse of the wage floor. (internal link)

Here is the report in .pdf (external link).



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