Comstock's magazine 1117 - November 2017 - Page 59

a cut along his face. In the next bed over, his brother Dylan was also heavily bandaged. Larry entered the room. “Boys, there was an accident,” Cabaldon recalls his father saying. “You were in a car accident, and your mom didn’t make it.” The next thing Cabaldon remembers is the sound of himself screaming. sations that would end with Cabaldon upset when Russell said he had to get off the call. The two also participated together in Junior State of America, a student-led debate and mock government or- ganization. “He liked order,” Russell says. “He was friendly and outgoing, but at the same time had a reserved quality about him. I’d say it was looking out for himself and trying to protect himself.” Cabaldon moved to Sacramento in 1987 after graduat- ing from UC Berkeley with an economics degree, the same Tully says Cabaldon barely uttered a word at the funeral. subject taught by his mother. Armed with an inexhaust- He didn’t cry; he just stared blankly ahead with his arm in ible work ethic, Cabaldon quickly rose the ranks as a State a cast. Cabaldon says his isolation grew over the following Capitol staffer. After a few years, he was appointed chief weeks, months and years. He seldom left his room. Some- consultant of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. times he sought refuge in the darkness of the bedroom That same year that Cabaldon moved to Sacramento, the closet. Other times, he dragged in couch cushions, shut the voters of West Sacramento took a pioneering leap by approv- door and build a fort to hide in. ing cityhood. The previous three decades had seen a slow “My room was not enough. I had to be inside this clos- deterioration of West Sacramento’s primary neighborhoods et,” Cabaldon says, recalling the period. He adds, “If I could — Bryte, Broderick and the one with the city’s namesake — have just called up Postmates and had someone come over as well as their shared crown jewel, West Capitol Avenue. and execute me painlessly, I wouldn’t be here today.” The main drag of West Sacramento was an erstwhile Cabaldon would sometimes play with X-men action fig- gem, formerly frequented by anyone traveling east from San ures in his room — but instead of fighting with fists and Francisco. According to local lore, President Eisenhower super powers, his X-men formed superhuman government and Clark Gable stayed along the storied motel row. But af- committees and delivered f loor speeches concerning mu- ter World War II, the completion of the four-lane Interstate tant policy. The play sessions marked the first musings of 80 bisected the former Highway 40 that shuttled travelers a child naturally drawn to politics, down West Capitol Avenue, and but took on a greater significance the former glitzy drag slowly be- after Diane’s death. Government, came the domain of drifters and with its laws, customs and proto- prostitutes. col, offered structure to a life that The incorporation of cityhood Cabaldon viewed as pointless. was largely a referendum on the “Under no set of regular rules blight of West Capitol Avenue, a would you take someone’s mom symbol of the entire area’s dilapi- away at that age for no reason,” he dation. Food and shopping options says. “This was a way to reassert were virtually nonexistent in “East some sense of order.” Yolo,” as the locals called it. Crime Cabaldon attended the first rates were high, the roads were magnet school in Los Angeles, the pocked with potholes and water Center for Enriched Studies, at the quality was poor. behest of his mother because the Cabaldon moved to West Sac- West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon on his campus represented the corner- ramento in 1993 and embraced first birthday, with his mother Diane and father Larry. stone of a racial integration effort the blue-collar community as a photo : courtesy of christopher cabaldon by the school district. But Cabal- modern-day Mayberry, the fictional don’s enrollment, a political action pressed by his mother, working-class paradise of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Outside left him geographically distanced from his classmates. Gar of work, Cabaldon admits he had “nothing going on in life.” Russell, a childhood friend, remembers long phone conver- He stopped dating women in his mid-20s and barricaded his Ë November 2017 | 59