District 3 Race: South Natomas’ Troubled Four Corners

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,

“The four corners (San Juan Road and Truxel Road) continues to be riddled with trash and crime. If elected as District Three councilperson, what are your plans to work on improving this area to lower the amount of trash and crime.”

Here are the answers submitted by the deadline, in the order they were received:

adamsartainTo address the question about clearing trash and crime and improving business areas, I would like to create a “Northgate Improvement Partnership” and a “Truxel Improvement Partnership,” or perhaps a combination. We can model this on District 2’s Del Paso Boulevard Partnership or South Sacramento’s Mack Road Partnership. These partnerships involve stakeholders on the respective streets banding together to enact improvements by cleaning, repairs, and encouragement of more art, with a goal of creating better-looking spaces. They can host promotional events to bring the neighborhood together to socialize and enjoy the improvements. Significant progress on Del Paso Boulevard and Mack Road has happened. I also want to establish City-sponsored neighborhood watch groups that have a direct line with law enforcement and have frequent training opportunities and outreach. There is a significant lack of neighborhood watch in our area, or at least a visible presence of one. This needs to change.

cyrilshahI will work with the community and the Sacramento Police Department to implement programs that have been successful in other areas. I am impressed by the positive changes happening near Mack Road, and we can apply some of those same strategies to the four corners. In addition, I will fight to ensure that a fair portion of Measure U money is used to prevent crime in Natomas. As the Chair of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Commission, I helped revitalize some of our toughest neighborhoods and rebuilt areas that had been neglected. I will work with residents, business owners, and law enforcement to do the same in parts of Natomas. Lastly, I will work tirelessly to create diverse high-paying jobs in every neighborhood. Job opportunities are the most reliable way to improve the financial health of the City and its residents.

ellencochraneLitter – Put “Big Mouth” city garbage cans at each of the three bus stops. One stop had a small unattached rubber can and another stop had an old wire style can. Natomas High School could offer Community Service credits for students who “Adopt a Corner” to keep it clean from litter. It could be an ongoing YAC project. Prompt the mall owner to run daily litter sweeps. I worked with Mercy Hospital in East Sacramento on their litter problems and after prompting; a hospital worker now checks the campus for litter, twice a day. Crime – Encourage the mall owner to install one camera on the corner of his property and then post signs advertising the video camera. Ask if the Food Max security guard can make a wide check of the mall property twice a night. Lobby to return the Police Service Center to the shopping center.

jeffharrisMy first priority would be to work with the police captain to see what resources are available for this area, and make a plan to use them to the best effect. I would have discussions with the Principal and student civic leaders at Natomas High to start a student Neighborhood Watch at the shopping center and intersection. This would give the students civic credit at school, connect them with the police in a collaborative effort, and create community buy-in. The participants would help with information gathering and cleanup. Lastly, the owners of the shopping center, apartments and businesses must take responsibility to work with the police in crime prevention and co-ordination with officers on patrol. Surveillance cameras in strategic areas would be a great help in crime deterrence and in prosecution.

deaneIllegal dumping, loitering, jaywalking, lack of street lighting and poor code enforcement are nuisances that South Natomas residents say are major concerns. As District Three Councilperson, I will immediately create a Community/City Task Force to begin collaboration with all city departments to deliver sustainable solutions. The Task Force would meet monthly to discuss community issues. A large percentage of crime goes unreported. As councilperson, I will introduce an anonymous crime reporting system for residents to share with their neighbors and police what they are seeing on their streets. I have successfully operated a similar online system in other District Three neighborhoods, and know that this is a highly-effective solution and community-builder. I would also make sure residents are encouraged to pick up the phone and dial 311 or 911, depending on the situation. Neighbor participation in dealing with these issues is an essential part of the solution.

efrenguttierrezFirst call back together the 4 Corner’s Group which was comprised of the Business Ctr Manager & Owners, School Officials, Apartment Owners / Managers and Community Reps and the area Police officials. Develop a plan to address the on going concerns and implement with everyone doing their part to bring back a safe and secure place for all of us to enjoy once again.. Second re-open the City Service Ctr there, staffed with city / volunteers to assist or ad least have a presence. Business owners will assist if given support, I know, because I helped form the 1st, 4 Corner’s Group. We moved our office to now Northgate Blvd, because the of the problems, at the shopping Ctr. Everyone suffers when we turn our faces on the problems and not address them. On my to do list!!!

don@DonNahhas.comI will continue in a spirit of cooperation to work with first-responders to keep our neighborhoods safe. I will utilize my years of experience in working with some of our toughest communities, practice my education as a member of our Sacramento Gang Prevention Task Force and ensure we have the proper information regarding the programs Nextdoor to keep our community connected and Sacramento 311 to report problems. Most importantly I will continue my dedication to prevention which is demonstrated by my daily work as Executive Director of a non-profit, providing services to our most vulnerable children, and by my service on the UCD Community Advisory Board providing job education and outreach to young adults.

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

    I realize well enough that the area in question has declined during the years I’ve lived in South Natomas, but many of these candidates basically called this a crime-ridden part of town – not in those exact words. That shopping center has always been a problem, but when the police service center closed. The grocery store, regardless of its name, has always let its shopping carts leave the lot and then they are left or worse – destroyed. The litter is not simply at the 4 corners. It is strewn up and down San Juan Road. More trash cans are needed in all parts of the city, but if people don’t use them or they aren’t emptied, then they don’t solve the problem. Call it what it is – crime. The graffiti is not tagging, it’s a crime. Littering is a crime. The Bel Air Shopping Center is becoming a haven for litter and who knows what else. I’m not sure if many of these candidates have actually come out here or even talked with actual residents. There are some positive ideas, though, but I’m not sure that they’re not just politician responses.

    • Ellen Cochrane says

      Hi Trina: I went out to the four corners, talked to the residents and gave practical, immediate solutions. There is an obvious history to the location and no fix is perfect. I am a hands on community leader and I believe the best way to help neighborhoods is to engage the neighbors. Everything I’ve seen and heard about YAC shows me that this is a great program that would be an asset to every community in Sacramento and it would be a great way to help this intersection. I look forward to all the responses to your comment. Ellen Cochrane, Candidate, District 3

      • Trina Drotar says

        Ellen, thank you for responding here. Garbage cans are needed throughout Natomas and need to be emptied regularly – that’s a city service. I’m not sure what YAC is. Engaging neighbors is a good idea, but how do you propose to do that when so many of the folks living near the location in question are renters and may be more transient and perhaps less likely to become involved?
        Thank you again.

  2. Deane Dana says

    Thanks Trina for starting the conversation.

    On May 4, the day after sponsoring Stanford Settlement’s 5k/10k race, I spoke with shoppers at the Bel Air Shopping center. People were surprised to be speaking with a candidate in person. These conversations, among others I’ve had with concerned residents, public education leaders, and charitable organizations in South Natomas further amplified that the local blight is the result of a clear lack of basic city services. I am the candidate who knows how to get to work immediately, engage the right people, and deliver what’s needed.

    Deane Dana, City Council Candidate, District 3

    • Trina Drotar says

      Deane, how do you propose to restore city services and how will you deal with the blight that is beginning to overtake the shopping center where the Bel Air store is located? I have lived here long enough to remember when that shopping center was nice and the one across the street where Cheers is used to have a graphic copy service shop – River City Copy, I believe – and all of the businesses were stable. Now, there’s a legal loan shark business – those quick check cashing places – and all of the banks have thick plexiglass and there are people just hanging out there all of the time and the businesses are no longer stable. So, I’ll ask again, what you propose to do. I wish I’d been at the Bel Air to speak with you, but I don’t shop there any more because of the problems in that center.
      Thank you for taking the time to respond here.

      • Deane Dana says


        Thank you for continuing the dialog. The Bel Air Center is one of several locations that have suffered from prolonged city neglect in South Natomas. As a full-time councilmember, I plan to address this problem on two fronts: 1) Work to regain citizen and business-owner confidence in the Center by implementing immediate and proven solutions like the mobile remote camera system operated by the Sacramento Police Department in Midtown. This system is effectively reducing fighting and loitering. Neighborhood advocates must become the eyes of our city emergency services providers. I would put my years of experience in crime prevention — and my relationship with local police — to work for effective implementation of involving neighborhood advocates and other resources that are available. 2) I will implement my City/Community Task Force to ensure that the joint Police/Fire and Paramedic Facility, support for business-owners and programs for our youth become not just a good ideas – but realities in South Natomas.

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