NEW VALLEY 110
Movers and Shakers

 

This program is brought to you through the generous support of viewers like you.

New Valley is brought to you by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo -- the next stage.

Presentation of New Valley is made possible by Intel Cooperation -- taking a leadership role in bringing citizens, business and government together, to examine the impact of growth in the Central Valley.

And by U.S. Home, committed to developing a positive future where we live and work by promoting responsible growth, and preservation of our quality of life.

And by the air districts of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

 

In March 2001, we set off on a journey of discovery -- to find a place that doesn't yet exist: the Central Valley of our future.

We traveled from one end of the Valley to the other…up highways and down rivers…across fertile fields…and through the corridors of power. We visited people where they live, work, and play. We saw the Valley's triumphs… and its heartbreaking failures.

What have we learned?

It might sound clichéd, but at the start of a new millennium the Valley truly stands at a crossroads. Our fate depends on the decisions we make right now in how we manage our growth, how we care for our natural resources, and what opportunities we provide for future generations.

Tonight we meet the men and women whose decisions -- and visions -- are shaping the New Valley. Some shape policy while others are making changes at a grassroots level. Through their lives and their work, they have come to recognize the Valley's remarkable poterntial, and they share the belief that by choosing wisely today a better future is possible.

Join us for the next half hour, as we get to know the "Movers and Shakers" in this New Valley.


According to Great Valley Center president Carol Whiteside, when the Central Valley think tank first started she was using a card table for a desk. Today the GVC has thirty employees and her desk is a little more utilitarian. The organization she heads is arguably the institution serving as a beacon for others to key on regarding issues of growth in the Great Basin.

Carol Whiteside, President, Great Valley Center: "We started off believing that we could really be productive acting in the intersection between the environment and the economy. So what we try to do is say, 'Here's what's available and if you're not interested it's OK go work with somebody else, but if we've got something that's useful or helpful or can be of benefit, then were here to help.'"

Ms. Whiteside founded the GVC in 1997. Before that she served as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under Governor Pete Wilson, was Assistant Secretary of the California Resources Agency, and was elected Mayor of Modesto in 1987. Having served in both government and private sectors, she has clear views on how each can serve the cause.

Carol Whiteside: "I think there's a significant erosion in people's confidence in government and so what that means is they're less willing to trust what government tells them to do and that comes back to your question about informal leadership and whether it's coming from the civic sector, or whether it's coming from educators or business. We haven't found a new set of leaders yet that we're really willing to buy into and follow in a willing way. I'm hoping that will change."

Whiteside sees indications that the cohesive strategy lacking at the GVC's inception five years ago is beginning to gel.

Carol Whiteside: "The Sacramento area has the six-county process going on through SACOG, which is really looking at housing and land use and transportation, air quality. Mayor Allen Autry in Fresno has convened the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley to begin to look at how to deal with the air quality problem in the San Joaquin Valley. I think just a few years ago that kind of multi-county, big picture look would have been impossible here."

As the Central Valley turns the corner into a new year and New Valley begins another season tracking its progress, Carol Whiteside and the Great Valley Center maintain the dream.

Carol Whiteside: "You know my dream is -- it's never a prediction, it's a dream and it's what we work toward -- is that people will begin to understand how important their individual decision making is. I'd like to believe in five years that we would begin to understand how we all have a share in this, and that we all have a stake in what happens, and that we all share in making it better."


Clogged highways and byways are more and more a normal part of life in the Sacramento region. One person people turn to to steer us toward transportation solutions is Marty Tuttle.

Tuttle, a fourth generation Yuba City native, is at the helm of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. SACOG, as it's known, primarily coordinates transportation planning and funding for the entire Sacramento region. It's a six-county joint powers agency. Getting the counties to cooperate on regional growth issues, including transportation, is one of Tuttle's missions.

Marty Tuttle, Executive Director, SACOG: "If it does it right, the growth can actually benefit our quality of life. And if it's done poorly, it could really degrade. So it's important for the cities and the counties to work well together and make sure that that growth does benefit us."

Cooperation wasn't always the case among SACOG members. Once considered a backwater organization, it had difficulty even attracting board members. Past SACOG Chair Tom Stallard said that all changed when Tuttle was hired as executive director in 1999.

Tom Stallard, Former SACOG Chair: "And we wanted somebody really new and different, and Marty ended up being that person. We've not been disappointed."

Board member Muriel Johnson says Tuttle's forward thinking has led SACOG to take on issues beyond transportation.

Muriel Johnson, SACOG Board Member: "But now we're looking at air quality more seriously. We're looking at new events in the future and a way to work regionally."

One of his major accomplishments was getting El Dorado and Placer Counties back to the regional planning table after pulling out 25 years ago. You could say that building bridges both literally and figuratively is part of Tuttle's life.

Marty Tuttle: "As a kid I played with the Tonka trucks in the backyard, and it was always a goal of mine to build a bridge."

Tuttle spearheaded the Vallejo bridge project while managing the Solano Transportation Authority for three years. Prior to that, the U.C Davis economics graduate served as the top aide to former Assemblyman Tom Hannigan. Hannigan has nothing but praise for his energetic protégé.

Tom Hannigan, Former Assemblyman: "He had very high energy, very high energy. He had good organizational skills. You know, these are phrases, but he thinks outside the box."

And Tuttle is certainly thinking about an exciting future for SACOG.

Marty Tuttle: "Well, I think SACOG has the potential to be the best regional planning agency in the country. We clearly have the staff talent here. We clearly have the issues to address."

And SACOG certainly has the leadership in Marty Tuttle to do it.


In the quiet of his office in Sacramento, venture capitalist Roger Akers could be planning the strategy of his newest entrepreneurial discovery. Or, his mind could be on fly-casting on the quiet waters of a secret California stream. His passions run equally deep for both.

Akers is managing partner of Akers Capital, specializing in capital investments in technology-based companies.

Roger Akers, Akers Capital: "I think technology is absolutely critical to this area in terms of its future development of quality jobs going forward. And the great part about Sacramento is that we've got very innovative people, very idea driven people, great engineering talent from some of these companies that have started businesses over the last few years."

His value to the development of the regional technology industry has not gone unrecognized.

Roger Akers: "I was voted the business champion of the year in the Sacramento region and that was a very nice recognition. I appreciated it very, very much."

That recognition was surely well deserved considering the rough waters he is casting into during this economic slump -- especially in technologies.

Roger Akers: "None of us like a down economy, that's for certain. But at the same time you have to look at the availability of high quality people is now better. There's been layoffs by the larger companies. There are people working for larger companies that see this as a good time to start a new business."

Akers optimism about continued growth for the technology sector of the Sacramento area reaches a decade into the future.

Roger Akers: "I do see just explosive growth. I mean, we've already seen explosive growth in the Sacramento region, but I think from a tech perspective, I see us moving very, very quickly over the next five to ten years. I'm very optimistic about what's going to happen in the future in Sacramento, because we have very focused organizations supporting those entrepreneurs to be successful."

Ask any angler and they will tell you that you must be optimistic when you're casting in swift running waters.


It's been written that meeting Mike Ziegler is like shaking hands with a tornado. From gracing the cover of business magazines… to mingling with big time celebrities, this man knows how to make a lasting impression.

Bill Clark, PRIDE Industries Employee: "I can't say enough good things about Mike. He's got us where we are, he knows, he's surrounded himself with a lot of good people, they all bought into our mission and are serious about it, and here we are."

The mission statement is simple: create jobs for people with disabilities.

Mike Ziegler, President & CEO, PRIDE Industries: "We work at a company that, when we succeed, people that never had a chance at a job get a job -- and how cool is that?"

As President and CEO of PRIDE, Ziegler is the man keeping the statement alive.

Mike Ziegler: "This is a company that started in the basement of a church by a group of parents of young adults with developmental disabilities. And all they wanted for their kids was what we take for granted. They wanted their kids to be able to earn a paycheck."

Now thousands of people earn their paycheck by performing such jobs as inserting candy wrappers for client Sherry's Berries.

Mike Ziegler: "We do a lot of work in the high tech sector. We do clean room maintenance. We do large scale landscaping projects, large-scale custodial projects for a company. We do a lot of things that allow companies to do their core business; we like to do everything else for them."

Thanks to Ziegler's leadership and sharp business skills, this former entrepreneur has turned PRIDE into the largest employer of people with disabilities in America.

Mike Ziegler: "Today we have 4,000 employees working in nine different states in this country. We have annual sales of over a hundred million dollars a year. We're a non-profit corporation that doesn't do fundraising. We're self-sufficient off of our businesses."

When Ziegler took the reigns in 1983, about 90% of PRIDE's revenue came from government subsidies and grants. Fast-forward 20 years and now 99% comes from sales for services rendered to companies such as Intel and the United States government.

Mike Ziegler: "I saw a group of people that wanted to work. They didn't have a lot of work. And I was able to enthuse the community to do business with PRIDE and help people with disabilities work."

Despite his hands-on approach, Ziegler still finds time to volunteer. He targeted "regional cooperation" as the number one goal of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. But PRIDE is still Ziegler's number one priority.

Mike Ziegler: "I am blessed to be a part of PRIDE Industries. And people say, 'What do you do for fun?' I do PRIDE for fun. Can you get a close-up of this? This says 'Lucky to be working at PRIDE.' I never forget it! I actually have it emblazoned on my underwear as well."


George de la Mora was born in Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles, but today this former financial analyst is firmly planted in the Central Valley. He's shifted his focus from businessman to healthcare leader.

George de la Mora, Executive Director, MAAP: "It's a nice feeling that I never received from doing a balance sheet or a loan package. It was nice to help somebody expand their business, but now I'm looking at a position where I'm helping a child's life, I'm helping their potential."

De la Mora is the Executive director of the Mexican-American Alcoholism Program, or MAAP.. The organization was established in 1976 as a community treatment program. It has since expanded to four locations throughout Sacramento and Galt. When de la Mora took over in 1998, he realized that MAAP would have to expand yet again to serve the community's growing needs.

George de la Mora: "We quickly saw when I started working in this setting was that a lot of our clients which were coming in for alcohol or substance abuse treatment or issues also had health needs."

To address those needs, in December MAAP opened this community clinic. It's open to anyone who needs medical attention, but MAAP has grown into the largest service provider for Latinos in the Greater Sacramento area.

George de la Mora: "Us providing this primary healthcare center was a natural extension for us. You know, we have a residential program where people stay with us three months, maybe sometimes even longer and we have a 20 bed capacity and all those 20 individuals that are in there one time or another all require healthcare. And they don't have the resources, or where to go, and so we're able to bridge that gap."

In addition to the community clinics and group homes, De La Mora says MAAP has works closely with several schools to promote healthy lifestyles.

George de la Mora: "There's so many people out there in need, even if you look at a substance abuse population and we were to cure everybody tomorrow, and everybody's practicing alcohol abstinence, there's a group of 16 year olds that come in the next day and want to start experimenting."

Given the needs of our expanding population, de la Mora says MAAP will continue to find innovative ways to help the New Valley become a healthier place to live.


For Cecil Wetsel every day is literally a walk in the woods.

Cecil Wetsel, President, Wetsel-Oviatt Lumber: "Oh, I love the woods for a lot of reasons. When I get stressed, where do I go? Where does the average person want to go? To the mountains, to the trees, to enjoy them, and that's just wonderful."

And what makes it even more wonderful for Wetsel is that the towering trees are his, part of an 18,000-acre spread in El Dorado and Amador counties. He's the roll-up your sleeves president of one of the last small timber companies in California -- one that stands out for its unique ability to balance profit and preservation.

Cecil Wetsel: "Look at this, at look at these little ones coming up here."

Wetsel-Oviatt was founded by Cecil's father, Cecil Senior, and partner Glenn Oviatt in 1939.

Cecil Wetsel: "And they were just what I call two snot-nosed kids. One was 39 and one was 32. They just had tremendous energy, and they stuck to it. When times go tough, they just buckled under that pressure, and kept going."

And that's what Cecil, Jr. is doing in the face of mounting timber regulations and pressure from environmental interests.

Cecil Wetsel: "The way I see managing the forest is that we go into the forest and we do what we can to help nature do a better job quicker, and keep to a minimum the damage that can happen from fire or drought."

And that sense of stewardship was a key reason Wetsel was the first timberman named Agriculturalist of the Year, an award bestowed upon him in 2002 by the California State Fair Board of Directors.

Cecil Wetsel: "You cannot be a true agriculturalist without caring as much for the land as you do for the crops that you produce."

For every tree Wetsel harvests he plants 12 new ones. That's more than the required seven. And he dotes on every young tree by clearing away unwanted brush to make sure they have room to grow and flourish. The care Wetsel takes in the forest also finds expression in the way he handles the logs that come into his sawmill east of Sacramento. Wetsel-Oviatt is a small, efficient operation that produces enough lumber each year for two thousand homes.

Cecil Wetzel is a timber operator for the new millennium, carefully managing his forests for generations to come.


In the eighth episode of our series, we took stock of the Valley's natural resources, and met Allan Garcia, an organic rice grower whose farm is a living experiment that blurs the line between agriculture and conservation.

Allan Garcia, Owner, Living Farms: "We wanted to put a demonstration farm on the ground that took all the ideas we were playing around with. And it was interesting. We would see one farming practice on one farm; we thought, "That's good." And we'd see another farming practice on another farm, maybe in another part of the state, and we would try to put as many of these creative practices down on one spot."

Allan's farm sits on 1,000 acres of the Nature Conservancy's Cosumnes River Preserve -- and in the off-season, he floods his fields to create what he calls a "bed and breakfast" for thousands of migrating waterfowl.

Rick Cooper, Cosumnes River Preserve: "It's been enlightening to me to work with an organic rice farmer, seeing the creativity and the skill that he uses. He's constantly thinking of how to work things both to the economic benefit of his operation, and at the same time bring in an improved habitat in the area for wildlife."

Allan has long played a leadership role in the agriculture community. And through his ability to find common ground between farmers and environmentalists, he's helped enact progressive ag legislation on both the state and national level.

Allan Garcia: "Some friends in government actually put me on a panel with President Clinton. And I was able to represent the California rice growers, and brief the President of the United States on what we've been doing with these partnerships."

Such partnerships led to a key provision in the 2002 Farm Bill that quantifies the benefits of environmentally friendly farming techniques -- and pays farmers not just for their crops, but for their stewardship of the land.

Allan Garcia: "We used to have a dollar for the environment, we used to have a dollar for the farmer, and we used to have a dollar for the community. Well, in today's economic scene, we only have one dollar. That dollar has got to fulfill multiple benefits."

Allan says this holistic approach to farming is essential in the new economy.

Allan Garcia: "You want to consider your impacts on the environment and on the economy, and then you want to set up so that whatever good that you've accomplished can be carried on by the future generation."

The future for Allan's farm is his daughter Raquel, already following in her father's footsteps.

Raquel Garcia, Allan's Daughter: "To come back to here and just smell the fresh air, to hear the sounds of all the waterfowl, it just makes... It almost brings a tear to my eye. It is the most wonderful experience to be involved in, and I love it so much."


Amy Tran is another young woman ready to take on the challenges of the future - and the present! At 16, she's already had a major impact on educational policy in the Central Valley.

Amy Tran, Youth Leader: "E21 was an effort to redesign our complete curriculum, facilities, everything we would need in order to be more successful in our learning environment. I wound up working with 35 other youths from our district, you know, from various schools, even the continuation schools."

Amy and her peers helped design, distribute, and evaluate a survey of Sacramento's students. That survey helped secure an $8 million grant from the Carnegie Foundation, funds that are especially welcome in this time of deep cuts in education.

Amy Tran: "They can go to facilitating smaller houses, or smaller learning communities. They could be there for support services, hiring an extra counselor maybe."

Amy's hard work in student government led to her involvement with the E21 program.

Amy Tran: "I was the Freshman class president, and sophomore year I was the student body Treasurer. This year I'm trying to take a break, because it's Junior year and I'm trying to concentrate on my studies."

But Amy's idea of a "break" isn't what you'd expect from a teenager. She's taking part in a youth leadership program offered by the Great Valley Center and the California Center for Civic Participation and Youth Development.

Amy Tran: "CATAPULT is a program that focuses mainly on the Central Valley and about empowering youth, and creating of course a better community for us."

And on January 10, 2003, Amy and 35 of her peers met at the state capitol, to present their positions on nine key issues facing the Central Valley. Amy spoke on the subject of civic engagement.

Amy Tran: "From our research we discovered three important points. ONE: Youth feel isolated from school and communities because they don't feel their opinions are valued. TWO: Youth would like more opportunities to participate in policy making and other issues that affect us now and in the future. THREE: Youth participation benefits everyone. It benefits youth by molding future leaders, and it encourages adults to view youth as a resource."

Over the course of this season, we've dealt with some tough issues. At times, the problems might have seemed overwhelming. But it's hard to be pessimistic knowing our future is in such capable hands.


Our New Valley is still beckoning those seeking jobs, affordable housing and less crowded lifestyles. Over the nearly two years of documenting our growth we've witnessed some remarkable efforts to make sure the new arrivals find the valley they envisioned. That vision of a valley with clean air, ample housing and a stable economy is now visible. It may be a bit out of focus but there now appear to be plans taking shape. As we've seen, a crop of young, concerned citizens is ready to take on the challenge of making our New Valley one of the most livable regions in California.

In the coming months, we'll kick off a second season for our New Valley series. We're calling our next effort "Planes, Trains and the Shipping News". Is the transportation infrastructure keeping pace with our growing population?

Please let us know what you think about our program by visiting our website at "newvalley.org. Email us at "newvalley@kvie.org". Send regular mail to "New Valley, KVIE, P.O. Box 6, Sacramento 95812.

Additional support provided by a grant from the Great Valley Center.


To order a copy of this program for $14.95 plus shipping and handling, call 888-814-3923. Or visit us online at www.kvie.org.

This program is brought to you through the generous support of viewers like you.

New Valley is brought to you by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo - the next stage.

Presentation of New Valley is made possible by Intel Cooperation. Taking a leadership role in bringing citizens, business and government together, to examine the impact of growth in the Central Valley.

And by U.S. Home, committed to developing a positive future where we live and work by promoting responsible growth, and preservation of our quality of life.

And by the air districts of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.