Originally published in the May 24, 2017 print edition of the West Sacramento News-Ledger
For anyone who’s ever driven past or visited the West Sacramento IKEA while the majority of its 1,500 parking spaces were full and briefly wondered if it was a car sales lot, that thought may not be too far-fetched, according to Charles Moore, Jr. the longest-serving member of the West Sacramento Planning Commission.
Before the commission helped bring the Swedish furniture retailer to town, an auto mall and even a casino were among the many pitches the commission entertained for the 20 acres of land, he recalled while sitting at his kitchen table, joyfully reminiscing about
his 30 years of contributions.
“If I get this great opportunity to sit in the planning commission and make a decision that makes our community a better place to live and raise our kids, I did my job and I helped people,” Moore said. “Just wanting to have a nice community, that’s it. That’s the whole goal you have.”
But bringing IKEA to the city is just one of the commission’s nearly-countless accomplishments during the three decades since the city incorporated. IKEA coming to West Sacramento spawned an influx of businesses to move into the city, with a Wal-
Mart, Ross, Home Depot and many more following closely behind.
Though the seven-member committee changes lineups frequently, Moore, who recently ended his run after deciding it was time to pass the torch to new voices, is the only person who was a part of just about every decision, to date.
The 69-year-old was honored by the City Council with a certificate of achievement at the March 15 City Council meeting. He wasn’t the only person honored for contributions
to various city commissions that night, but he alone received a standing ovation by the crowd of approximately 100 people.
“Charlie Moore joined our very first planning commission when the city incorporated in 1987,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon before presenting the award. “[He’s served] from that time in 1987 continuously, actively, loudly, forcefully, assertively ever since. No one else in the city has ever achieved such tenure on any of our commissions.”
Cabaldon read a lengthy list that spanned from the city’s original general plan—and any thereafter—all the way up to West Sac’s most popular attractions like Raley Field, the Barn, the Sacramento City College branch and City Hall, as well as many of the city’s housing communities, parks, districts and general city improvements..
Moore, who was born and raised in Lodi and moved to West Sacramento as a young adult, says the members of the commission may not always agree on everything, but at
the end of the day, for him, it’s always been about the good of the city. He says many of the members he’s served with have become lifelong friends.
“It’s always been our philosophy that we go out there and we try to do what’s right for our city,” Moore said. “We can go out there and have differences of opinion and fight
like crazy and when we leave the room, we’re still best of friends. That’s the philosophy we’ve had from day one and hopefully it’s the philosophy they continue to have. It’s OK to disagree as long as what you’re arguing is for the betterment of our city.”
Moore, who was the 2015 recipient of the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce’s Mike McGowan West Sacramentan LIfetime Achievement Award, helped Bill Kristoff,
a longtime member of the West Sacramento City Council who retired last year, with his original campaign when the first city council was elected.
Once elected, Kristoff appointed Moore to the newly formed planning commission. Kristoff says he nominated Moore because he respected that Moore had a background
“He’s a very energetic person,” Kristoff said. “He did a lot of positive things for the community itself. Not just in a planning commission level but just as a good neighbor and as someone that wants to articulate their views and just try to make West Sacramento [better]. And I think we’ve done some very good things. I’m very proud
of what we have done and Charles has been an integral part of all of that.”
Moore sold his business, Petroleum Tank Line—which was founded in 1947 and hauled gasoline, shipped road oils and repaired trucks—in 2004. Moore continued working for the company, which is now defunct, until 2006 when he retired.
He says he got involved with the business because his father, who bought the business in 1968, asked Moore, who studied accounting at Sacramento City College, to help out with the company’s finances. Moore’s father, Charles Moore, Sr., encouraged him to get involved with the local government because he knew it was important as a business owner, but Moore says his dad wasn’t interested in getting involved himself.
Moore began attending Chamber of Commerce meetings where he got to know people like Tom Raley and others whose legacies are synonymous with the city today.
Moore’s work with the chamber eventually led to him helping with the inauguration
celebration when the city incorporated on Jan. 3, 1987. He and his wife Barbara Moore, 65, who was a member of the steering committee at the time and helped put together
the day’s activities, have fond memories of the inauguration.
The Moores, who have been married for 35 years, have a collection of memorabilia
from many events they’ve been involved with over the years displayed in a showcase near the front door of their West Sacramento home.
Among the collection are empty wine bottles from the inauguration day. They enthusiastically pointed out that they still have “hundreds of copies” of the
inauguration programs lying around the house.
“It was a great day for our city and we really enjoyed that, but it was a lot to be done,” Charles Moore said. “Most people [said] let’s create our own destiny and that’s when they ran for city council and they went to work, and look what we’ve become.”
Charles Moore says in the early days, there were groups who didn’t want the city to incorporate, but the people living in the area, particularly those who owned businesses, wanted to expand and needed county funds to do that, so they banded together and
made it happen.
Barbara, also a West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce lifetime achievement award recipient, was born and raised in Broderick, one of West Sacramento’s oldest neighborhoods, and was involved in local government from a young age through her mother’s work.
She says she met Charles at the 1979 Columbus Day Parade, they began dating and they were married in 1982.
“I’m really proud of him; he’s done a lot,“ said Barbara, who was involved with the Chamber of Commerce for many years until she retired when her position was
eliminated. “You know, it’s been a long adventure, but I think we have so much in common in that respect. He made his decisions [on the planning commission] from
his heart and what he thought was right.”
Charles Moore says the most memorable project he was involved with was when Raley Field came to West Sacramento in 2001. He says the city of Sacramento didn’t want
West Sacramento to have the River Cats and sued the city. In the end, Raley Field made its home on the West side of the river and though he described the experience as “rough,” he says that was his best accomplishment.
In retirement, Charles Moore is still involved in some projects like working as the director of the West Sacramento Community Foundation—which raises money for
nonprofits and will honor Kristoff with a golf tournament on July 27—and the Rotary Club, but his pride and joy is his grandkids.
The Moores have four grandchildren, two from their son Michael Moore and two from Charles Moore’s daughter Melissa Bramham, ranging 8 months to 10 years old.
Now that Charles says “every day is a Saturday,” he exclaims, with a smile as genuine as the one across his face when he discusses his work, that he and Barbara have plenty
of time to attend their grandchildren’s athletic activities.
While Charles Moore says not being on the commission will leave a void in his life, he says he was ready to hand the reigns over to those who will follow in his footsteps.
“It was time,” Moore said. “30 years is a long time. It’ll be nice to get a new voice in there and see what they have to say. My old voice says the same thing all the time, so it’ll be nice for somebody new to come in and see what they have to say.”
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