District 3 Race: Representing the Poorer Neighborhoods

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz


THE NATOMAS BUZZ invited the seven candidates running for the District 3 city council seat to participate in a series of articles wherein they answer questions submitted by readers. Today’s question asked,

“If elected, how can poorer neighborhoods like Gardenland/Northgate and South Natomas compete for your attention to ensure that we are equally addressed when you also represent prosperous East Sacramento?”

Here are the answers submitted by the deadline, in the order they were received. Candidate Efren Guttierrez did not submit an answer.

adamsartainADAM SARTAIN
First, I will not sit well with the idea that any community must compete with another for attention while I am on the council. This is one district, and resources must be fairly spread across every place within. I own a home in South Natomas. I am acutely aware of the issues in the neighborhoods. As for ways I’d like to improve circumstances in troubled areas of South Natomas, I’d like to position the city to provide full start-up support for area improvement districts covering core areas for safety enhancements, initiation of clean-up projects, and focus on business reinvigoration. The impressive changes on Mack Road and Del Paso Boulevard evidence the improvement district concept works. Giving the tools and incentives for neighborhood residents and business operators to come together and solve crime and safety issues they know better about than any outsider is smart public policy.

jeffharrisJEFF HARRIS
As your Parks Commissioner for the last two years, I have been working on the problems at Gardenlands Park, and also on helping with the relocation of garden spaces at Ninos Parkway, and working with the adopt-a-park group. I have been attending GNNA meetings and gaining understanding of the issues in the neighborhood. GNNA is a great neighborhood association with great leadership and focus. I see my job as councilmember to empower neighborhood advocates in solving local issues, with ideas, financial, political and hands on support. I have well developed relationships with the police and park rangers from my years of running neighborhood watch-and I will bring those relationships and that experience to South Natomas to work on public safety. All neighborhoods in District 3 deserve equal attention, but those with immediate problems will get immediate attention from me.

don@DonNahhas.comROSALYN VAN BUREN
This is an important question to address and there will be no competition. As a city council member my goal is to assist in the success of our city and individuals in reaching full social and economic potential. I have numerous volunteers working on my campaign who our natives of these neighborhoods and we will continue to work together to ensuring all of district 3 is represented. The majority of residents have conveyed to me the most pressing issues of concern regarding safety, our levee, schools and our homeless population. As your council member I will work hard and put to practice my years of experience working with communities to resolve any issue we have.

ellencochraneELLEN COCHRANE
I will give them attention and new ideas. South Natomas is filled with promise. As a Spanish, ESL and former Russian teacher, I understand the rich cultural heritage that diversity brings to an area. In the South area of Sacramento we have “Little Saigon.” It is a bustling area with shops, restaurants, and cultural experiences. It is just plain fun to go there. Northgate Boulevard is begging to be developed as a “Little Mexico.” The Mexican consulate and the influence of the Latino culture are already in Natomas. The next step is to promote the area as another attractive place to shop, eat, and have fun. I am determined that the Gardenland/Northgate area will not be an afterthought. It’s time to pay attention to this community. Specifically, the parks need to be fully funded, and transportation issues need to be addressed. No more same old attitude for this area.

cyrilshahCYRIL SHAH
Natomas residents won’t have to compete for my attention because you already have my attention. During this campaign, our volunteers and I have visited over 1,200 homes In Natomas. I personally have had hundreds of conversations here that have informed my opinions and made me a more knowledgable candidate. As a Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) Director, I have worked to improve flood safety in the Natomas Basin for the last two years. On the City Council, I will improve the local economy in Natomas and I will reduce crime by improving police response times. As a candidate and as your council member, you will be able to call me to discuss any issue – big or small. On June 3rd, I would be honored to have your vote.

Active participation in my proposed community/city task force will ensure issues in South Natomas receive the right priority and attention. Working together, every neighborhood will be treated with equal fairness and dignity. This question is one more example why I will commit to being our full-time council member. As the only full-time councilmember, I will be able to prioritize and provide attention to critically-needed services.

THE NATOMAS BUZZ will be running a series of Q&A posts leading up to election day in June 2014. Submit your questions for candidates to [email protected].


  1. Trina Drotar says

    Well, some of these answers sound like politician speak. Gardenland/Northgate and South Natomas. So far, only 1 candidate has come by my home to speak with me about issues and another spent a great deal of time on the telephone. Two have sent flyers. One responded in an email correspondence to several questions I had about issues I’m concerned with.

  2. sidneycre8it1 . says

    I recommend Ellen Cochrane to represent South Natomas as Sacramento City
    Councilperson, not only because of her direct experience routinely solving social
    problems in a depressed area of South Sacramento as a middle school teacher, but also because as President of a non profit, she used her seasoned business skills and came up with imaginative ideas which caused an unprecedented increase in the organization’s membership and revenue.

    At the South Natomas Community Center she was the only candidate to offer a scientific solution to the crime problem,mentor ship, which she said she would like to partner with a reinstatement of the lost sheriff station.

    Ellen walks the talk and has put her creative leadership skills to use already, directing inquiring into youth program participation and internships. Three dance organizations have responded positively to participating in a South Natomas youth program or exhibition.

    I feel Ellen has integrity and a belief that community concerns should
    truly count, and be represented in city decisions, which prompted her to run for City Council. If elected, Ellen wisely plans to partner with and work along side South Natomas community leaders to bring inventive solutions to the community.

    • Trina Drotar says

      The sheriff’s department only works in the county. South Natomas is in the city, so it has police officers, not sheriff’s deputies.
      Sidney, what kinds of ideas did she come up with and what was the outcome? I’m referring to your first paragraph here, which doesn’t really tell a whole lot.
      Which dance organizations have responded? And how is dance going to combat the problems that face this area? I’m just trying to learn more about what you’re talking about. Thank you.

      • sidneycre8it1 . says

        Hi Trina,

        I will do my best to explain.

        I don’t know whether you attended the South Natomas
        Community Candidate Forum where statements were made that crime and drugs are a major problem for the area.

        Candidates were asked what they would do to combat crime,
        which it was said, went up with the loss of a law enforcement sub station. I lived in North Natomas before the Arena was built, and
        I honestly don’t recall whether we had police or sheriffs, so based on your information, a police sub station was lost.

        When Ellen answered she of course said it would help to get the sub station back, but she also referenced a scientific fact
        that I learned in college and not mentioned by the other candidates, that positive role models curb crime in youths. Sports also curb crimes by youth…dance troupes and stepping is a sport that gives kids something positive to belong to and dance troupes make great mentors.

        After the forum Ellen brainstormed and looked into creative low cost solutions to get mentors and youth programs to South Natomas. Emails were sent inquiring about internships, and asking for mentor involvement and programs. Response was received from a fraternity’s competition step group, a Salsa performance group and a non profit that puts on The Dream Big Dance Showcase and Scholarship Competition put on by a non profit called 3point0. In light of the lack of bus transportation to Hirim Johnson, 3point0 was asked if they would consider sponsoring an event in South Natomas, they responded they would love to.

        Ellen asked me to get in touch with a board member of the Natomas Community Association in hopes of coordinating programs but we were put on hold pending Association changes.

        I have served under Ellen in an East Sac neighborhood association. Together with Ellen, we decided that regardless of whether Ellen wins or looses, South Natomas has a need, we are not just thinking or talking about solutions, we are actively taking action and we want to contribute to our sister district, South Natomas, no matter what the election outcome is.

        Hope this answers most of your questions Trina…

        • Trina Drotar says

          Hi Sidney, I was unable to attend the meeting, but I heard about it. Dance is all good and fine, but mentoring needs to go deeper than dance. And not everyone is interested in dance. I mentored students in elementary through high school for several years. I was appalled to discover that students preparing to graduate could not read, write or perform basic math computations. These are skills they will need in order to find gainful employment. You mention South Natomas being a sister district. What is it a sister to? Not East Sacramento or Northgate Gardenland or the Richards Blvd corridor or River Park or Cal Expo because we are all part of the same complicated district. Back to the dance, though. Are these companies going to give their time for free to teach dance to these students? Or are these companies going to come here and give a performance free of charge? Are they getting paid? If they’re getting paid, then they have their own agenda and that is another concern. Mentors are important, but those mentors need to be available regularly to those they are mentoring or the mentoring will not work. Thanks for your response.

          • sidneycre8it1 . says

            I agree with you Trina…basics are needed, sounds like there is a program for mentoring in school basics already, if not, I can’t speak for Ellen, but she is a seasoned teacher and I am sure she is aware of the benefits.

            Since mentoring curbs crime, I saw Ellen want to take action now, to contribute and provide mentoring that is accessible to students who may be at risk of joining criminal activities because they want to belong, instead of offer what you call “politician speak”.

            We are on the same page with you, our goal is to find free ongoing mentors, which has taken a lot of effort and been difficult to find. Many emails were sent in different subject areas. Dance is just one area we pursued, they happened to respond. It’s just a start.

            With the redrawing of district lines, you are right, the
            district is complicated. I personally think of the other communities in district 3 as sisters belonging to the same family due to the fact that each community has it’s own needs and residents, while part of the same district, tend to stay in their communities.

            I volunteer in the East Sac community and I am working with Ellen to contribute to my old community, South Natomas.

            Given your dedication to and knowledge in mentoring, would love for you to consider joining us in developing and implementing programs.

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