County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, left, and Aimee Rutledge of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy chat with Murietans John Kershaw and Roger Brandt.
Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan met with a dozen residents Tuesday night to talk about everything from the sports arena to mosquitos. Guest speaker Aimee Rutledge, executive director of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy, discussed the promise of Deer Creek Hills, the 4,000-acre preserve that adjoins Rancho Murieta, as well as continuing problems with gunfire and bonfires on Latrobe Road.
Vote on sports arena funds
MacGlashan explained why she cast the only vote against county participation in a City of Sacramento plan to use county parking facilities near the proposed sports arena and keep revenue from an additional property tax for the arena. It was estimated the two items would produce $3.5 million annually for the city, she said, although Supervisor Phil Serna countered with a proposal to keep $500,000 of the revenue for county parks. MacGlashan said the county parks budget "has been basically about cut in half" due to budget cuts the last several years.
MacGlashan said she voted against the proposal because "we had very little information in front of us. … We also had very little time. … I just didn't feel comfortable voting to basically turn over county assets to the City of Sacramento" despite her belief that the arena would be good for the region. "None of us want to see county funds going to backfill the city's general fund loss … from devoting their parking fees to the arena," MacGlashan said.
A more detailed proposal is expected to come back to the supervisors for another vote.
Aimee Rutledge of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy addresses some of the group's efforts to deal with destructive activities taking place in the area of Deer Creek Hills, north of Rancho Murieta.
Deer Creek Hills: the good and the bad
The master plan for Deer Creek Hills deals with three things, said Aimee Rutledge: habitat preservation and restoration, public access and encouragement of agriculture and enhancing the project for better grazing in the future.
Deer Creek Hills is a 4,000-acre preserve that adjoins Rancho Murieta to the north.
Rutledge said the conservancy is pursuing grants for riparian habitat restoration projects this year that include tree-planting and working with the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps, a non-profit group that works with young adults to develop job skills. The work on trails and fencing improvements is funded by a grant, and a capital campaign is underway to match the $250,000 grant and make other improvements possible, Rutledge said. The conservancy also realizes revenue from grazing.
"We don't rely on the county budget, which is a good thing," Rutledge said.
Docents lead hikes, equestrian tours, mountain bikers and other activities. There are bird and wildflower hikes coming up this month and in April, a history tour in May, and a cowboy breakfast on Cinco de Mayo.
Information about Deer Creek Hills and a schedule of hikes and other activities are available at the conservancy web site.
The management plan for Deer Creek Hills proposed gating Latrobe Road, with vehicle access allowed when the preserve was staffed and open. Ranching neighbors were not interested in closing the road, Rutledge said, despite problems with "trespassing, shooting, dumping, drinking, campfires. And I guarantee you that a lot of these problems come from your fair community."
Rutledge displayed signs that have been posted to deal with the problems. She said a law enforcement open house was held last April and another will be held this year because "it fostered a lot of cooperation."
According to Rutledge, a broad part of Latrobe Road between Rancho Murieta and Deer Creek Hills is known as "the oasis," and here people are "cutting trees down, dragging them onto the road. There was a campfire that was set right in front of our gate. That was last Friday night. … people shoot at trees. They use it as a free shooting range. … It's actually pretty amazingly awful. Unfortunately when you are a property owner, you learn to hate the general public. Which is sad."
The signs were posted at the suggestion of the Sheriff's Department "so they could cite people more readily when they are performing illegal activities out there," Rutledge said. "We try our best to keep it safe." Thanks to an effort lead by Murietan Roger Brandt, the road has been cleared of abandoned cars, she said. "We take care of it now. We appreciate your help in spreading the word. … It would be nice to control that activity."
Rutledge recommended that anyone in Rancho Murieta who hears gunshots coming from Latrobe call the non-emergency sheriff's number, 874-5115.
Despite being moved from Sacramento County Board of Supervisors District 5 to District 4, Rancho Murieta remains part of the Cosumnes planning area for the county and is eligible to participate in the Cosumnes Community Planning Advisory Council, MacGlashan said. Although the council has nine seats, there is currently no Rancho Murieta representative, she noted.
Audience member John Kershaw, who served on the advisory council in the past, took a different view. "We've been driven out by the ranchers," Kershaw said. "… CCPAC is pretty much rural right now. And we are more of a suburban type, we pretty much represent two-thirds of the CCPAC as far as dwelling units. … I seriously think Rancho Murieta itself should be treated like Rio Linda and Elverta, Antelope, forming our own CPAC … if there are enough people interested."
This would make it easier for residents to keep up with planning issues and things that are happening at the county, Kershaw said.
Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District won't be spraying bodies of water for mosquito control because of a court ruling limiting pesticide use, MacGlashan said. That means there will be less effective mosquito control "until or unless that changes," she said. She recommended the district's web site as a source for information about measures that are effective in dealing with mosquitoes and preventing mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile.