Comstock's magazine 1117 - November 2017 - Page 62

4 MAJOR AREAS OF FOCUS DURING MAYOR CABALDON’S TENURE YOUTH EDUCATION Kids' Home Run: During his 2013 State of the City address, Cabaldon an- nounced FutureReady, an initiative to improve the lives of young people in West Sacramento through civic engagement, college and career readiness, and work-based learning. In 2017, Cabaldon (who works in education advoca- cy for his day job) took his focus on the well-being of children even further, and announced Kids’ Home Run, an educational and jobs initiative for youth ages 4 to 18. The initiative includes universal preschool, access to a college sav- ings account for kindergarteners (both locally-subsidized), paid internships for high school students and free tuition for high school graduates who enroll in a local community college. THE RIVERFRONT Raley Field: On May 15, 2000, West Sacramento unveiled its new $46.5 mil- lion stadium, during opening day for the Sacramento River Cats minor league baseball team. The stadium’s construction — on the site of old warehouses and railyards — was financed using bonds repaid through ticket, concession, adver- tising and other revenues, and not taxes, much to the satisfaction of residents. Over the past 17 years, the stadium has hosted hundreds of baseball games, along with soccer matches, concerts, fundraisers and other events. Raley Field’s success played a major role in spurring the development of the CalSTRS building, riverfront housing and The Barn venue — all located near or within the trendy Bridge District. FOOD & AGRICULTURE Urban Farm Program: As other cities in the Capital Region spent time, energy and headaches to develop urban agriculture ordinances to appease a growing demand among residents, the City of West Sacramento took a different ap- proach: It approved an urban farm without an ordinance. No problems arose. The City’s leadership soon led to a partnership with the Center for Land-Based Learning and the creation of the West Sacramento Urban Farm Program, which converts vacant lots into farm business incubators, and provides a training ground for small-scale beginning farmers. More than 600 volunteers work on these farms annually, growing over 25,000 pounds of produce per month during peak seasons. TECHNOLOGY IN GOVERNMENT Code for America: West Sacramento was one of seven cities nationwide to participate in the 2015 Code for America fellowship program, which connects fellows with local government to better utilize technology to tackle a commu- nity’s pressing issues. In West Sacramento, those issues involved health care and food access. The San Francisco-based Code for America is a nonprofit or- ganization that aims to make government services simple, effective and easy to use. Under Cabaldon’s leadership, West Sacramento has been at the forefront of using technology in government. The City, for instance, has worked with compa- nies to develop or test mobile apps or online tools to improve services, such as permitting processes for developers and addressing homelessness. 62 | November 2017 Ë To this day, the mayor remains regiment- ed about when and where he allows himself to feel sadness. He maintains a compartment in his mind for emotional pain, accessible through a portal that can be shut as decisively as it can be opened. “From the moment of my mom’s passing, all emotions can be wrapped into that one space for me; all pain and sadness and loss,” he says. “I go there when I’m ready to let myself feel ... a place where I know I can come out of.” Back in his living room, Cabaldon makes no effort to fill the silence with small talk after the interview ends. He doesn’t pretend to en- joy talking about his mother’s death. He says he opened up due to a strongly-held belief that politicians — and people in general — should “be more authentic and share more than just their opinions.” Alone again, he will later describe a stir- ring confrontation with the backwaters of his mind that requires a conscious effort to re- anchor himself as an adult. A journey back to different periods of life, each era more pain- ful than the last, up to the searing moment of Diane’s death, is not a safe path for him. Be- ing probed about these memories is a “basic violation of the security of the metaphorical couch-pillow-fort that I built” many years ago, he says. That scared boy never found res- olution. He just matured into something else. At some point, West Sacramento began to mature with him. Outside his window, Cabaldon can watch the nightly fireworks display above a baseball stadium he helped bring to town. He can walk outside his upscale condominium for which he helped lay the groundwork, and down the waterfront district he helped engineer. The mayor has worked feverishly for decades to show Diane that something good would, and has, stemmed from her fatal accident. He tells himself that she is listening, though he doesn’t truly be- lieve it. And yet, “Diane would be so proud of him — beyond the moon and into infinity,” says Tully, Diane’s sister. “I can’t imagine how proud of him she would have been.” n Allen Young is a journalist living Sacramento. On Twitter @allenmyoung. in