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February 8, 2023

Election Letters to the Editor, June 1

Coffman-Gomez a steadfast public servant

To the Editor,

A vote for Trina Coffman-Gomez is a vote for an outstanding public servant.

Our association with Trina goes back to 1994 when Boy Scout Troop 505 of Pajaro was established after a young girl and her older brother were killed in front of the El Nopal bakery in Pajaro. Trina and Tony’s son, Anthony, was a member of the original Troop. With the support of Tony and Trina, Troop 505 thrived. Anthony was one of the first Scouts in Troop 505 to earn the rank of Eagle. Tony, as a team player with Trina in community involvement, recently became the Scout Master of Troop 505.

Trina and Tony support the annual Skillicorn Barbecue held in March in Corralitos which is the major fundraising event for Boy Scouts in the greater Pajaro Valley.

Trina has given her talents to the community in many areas. She was the organizer of Watsonville High School’s “Sober Grad Night” for 10 years and she has been Vice President of the Cal State University of Monterey Bay alumni board, 2003-2006.

A Freedom Rotarian since 2007, Trina was president in 2013. She also received the “Paul Harris Fellow” award in appreciation for tangible and significant assistance for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.

Trina has served on various community boards: Freedom Rotary Foundation, Pajaro Valley Health Trust, Community Action Board, Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission, Pajaro Valley Arts Council and the Watsonville Salvation Army Advisory Board.

Trina is serving her second term as councilmember for the 6th District, City of Watsonville. Faithfulness and steadfast determination are the qualities that guide Trina’s decision-making as she serves our community. She will bring these same attributes to her position as our State Assembly representative. Trina will be our voice in Sacramento on important issues of education, agriculture, public safety, housing, environment, social justice and job development.

Cast your vote for Trina Coffman-Gomez to the State Assembly to be our representative for the 30th Assembly District.

Harry and Clarice Wiggins

Royal Oaks


Dutra gets proven results

To the Editor,

My family and I are residents of Jimmy Dutra’s city council district. I have had the opportunity to work with Jimmy on a few projects in our district. He has been most responsive to our needs and has accomplished a lot just in our neighborhood.

When neighbors approached him about the safety issues and cleanliness of our sloughs at Harkins Slough Road and Ohlone Parkway, Jimmy jumped into action and contacted Wetlands Watch and created a collaboration to clean up that area. It has been two years now and that corner has been completely turned around. We see a constant city presence and it is well-maintained.

An issue close to my heart is Pajaro Valley High School. When I decided to send my child to PV High, one of my main concerns was that the school did not have athletic fields. I immediately contacted Jimmy, since he was not only my representative, but he also represented PV High School. Jimmy responded immediately and was a strong advocate for our school. As a city council member, he stood with us and spoke out publicly in support of the school’s athletic fields, even when it seemed hopeless. Needless to say we are now going to break ground on the high school athletic fields. This moment has been anticipated for many years. Jimmy made the motion for this monumental moment at the city council meeting and has proven himself to be a leader “we can count on.”

I urge you to vote Jimmy Dutra for Santa Cruz County Supervisor. He has the passion and drive to get things done. He will stand with all of us!

Francesca Martinez



Mayors, board chair agree on Syda Cogliati

To the Editor,

Every mayor in Santa Cruz County, and the chair of the County Board of Supervisors, supports Syda Cogliati for judge.

Regardless of any superficial differences, all our communities look for the same qualities in leadership — integrity, experience, compassion, common sense, capacity for hard work. We all know Syda, and she demonstrates these qualities and more.

Most importantly, she has years of courtroom experience. She’s been judge pro tem in the Superior Court, and senior appellate attorney with the Sixth District Court of Appeal for the last six years. She has 23 years of experience in criminal, civil and family law.

That’s why Syda is supported by several dozen current and former mayors, judges and presidents of the County Bar, County Trial Lawyers, and Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz County along with the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Syda Cogliati’s experience and exemplary personal qualities have earned our trust and vote for Superior Court Judge.

Zach Friend

Chair, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors

Mike Termini

Mayor, City of Capitola

David Terrazas

Mayor, City of Santa Cruz

Jim Reed

Mayor, City of Scotts Valley

Lowell Hurst

Mayor, City of Watsonville


Appreciate recent election forum

To the Editor,

I would like to express my appreciation to the Santa Cruz County Business Council and the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce for their part in organizing the recent District 4 Supervisor Candidates’ Forum. It was very gratifying to see the event so well-attended and to see the great public interest in the issues which are pertinent to this election.

The coverage by the press, both the Pajaronian and the Santa Cruz Sentinel, was also very gratifying, highlighting as it did the differences between the various candidates and giving fair and balanced evaluations of their positions.

Pat Fohrman



Mendoza brings a much-needed perspective

To the Editor,

Currently there are no women serving the SC County Board of Supervisors. But today District 4 voters have the opportunity to elect a highly qualified and experienced woman to the board: Leticia Mendoza. If elected she will be only the second woman to represent District 4 in the 150-year history of Watsonville.

She has over nine years of dedicated experience as the executive director of the Watsonville YWCA with a strong background in financial and grant management, and capacity building. Additionally, she offers a strong voice for non-partisan collaboration in building coalitions for change.  A graduate from Watsonville High, she earned her B.A. in Economics (UCSC), a master’s from Columbia University in Public Administration and Urban Planning graduate studies.

Previously, Leticia was employed by the New York City government’s Tax Policy Taskforce, addressing revenue forecasting and economic analysis. Currently, she serves as the elected District 5 Cabrillo College trustee. She oversees and manages contracts from foundations and the State’s Office of Early Education that funds their two signature programs: the YWCA’s bilingual pre-school program, and the YW-Teen Program for middle school girls targeting the empowerment of middle school and young women interns from local high schools and college. 

Leticia adds a much-needed woman’s informed perspective to the board bringing her considerable research and urban planning skills to the table. Today women all over the country are running for public office at the local, state and federal levels. Leticia’s candidacy provides District 4 the opportunity to join this trend enthusiastically.

Maria Eugenia (Gini) Matute-Bianchi, Ph.D.

1st Vice President, Japanese American Citizens League


Hernandez should be next county supervisor

To the Editor,

Our next South County supervisor should definitely be Felipe Hernandez. He unfortunately probably won’t be. Why? Current “Folksy Greg” Caput of our Fourth, the last (and least) of our districts, returns (or leaves behind) thousands of his salary, making him a hero to thousands.

I believe Hernandez, who has a powerful but quiet personality, would be able to get mucho mas dinero from the county in order to increase funding for services/projects much needed in District 4, forever at the end of the line in the county’s financial food line.

Watsonville Mayor Hernandez, who also is a native, younger and proud of his mother, who was a cannery striker in the 1980s, himself served in the Gulf War in Iraq, then graduated from Cabrillo College and UCSC, both excellent local schools.

In his candidate’s statement, Supervisor Caput takes credit for the desperately-needed Casserly Road Bridge repair, when in fact he was the only “no” vote while a member of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.

By contrast to what little Caput has accomplished, Hernandez on our city council can state with humble pride that he helped bring FedEx and its jobs to the city; that he was the leader in getting a 90-day extension on an original 30-day eviction at the Crossroads Center when Kaiser took over (remember that while the bookstore relocated, as did Jansen Music, the fabric store and Wild Rose Art Supplies closed for good).

Finally, and importantly, candidate Hernandez states he has, as Watsonville councilman and mayor, promoted “well-regulated cannabis businesses,” which are necessary to generate as much from their huge (over) taxation as the laws allow.

South County has four challengers to Greg Caput’s third reign. Let’s put Felipe Hernandez first in our always underserved Fourth District.

Richard Lynde



Grateful for Caput’s generosity

To the Editor,

I am supporting Supervisor Greg Caput in the June 5 primary for Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

After his election in 2010, Supervisor Caput decided to support a different organization each year. His first selection in 2011 was the athletic departments at Watsonville High and Pajaro Valley High and his donation came at a critical time as both schools were entering their third consecutive year of severe financial cuts. Greg saw the many benefits of high school and youth athletics including higher graduation rates, greater civic involvement, and a healthier lifestyle. His commitment greatly helped sustain these vital programs.

In the ensuing years, Supervisor Caput has assisted a wide variety of organizations including Jacob’s Heart, Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes, Watsonville Senior Center and the Agricultural History Project.

I am indeed grateful for Greg Caput’s foresight and generosity and that he is one who supports his beliefs with significant and meaningful action. Thank you.

Brad Hubbard

Former Athletic Director

Watsonville High School


Dutra is a proven leader with a vision for our future

To the Editor,

Over the last several months my son and I have been walking door-to-door throughout the fourth supervisorial district. We have been sharing with residents his accomplishments over the last four years as a city council member and his vision as county supervisor.

Recently, I read a few letters posted in this editorial page that have attacked his character and personality. Personally, I find it desperate when someone cannot offer facts and resorts to personal attacks. We should base our critical feedback on policy and performance. Let’s keep to the facts.

Since Jimmy was elected to the City Council almost four years ago, he has been a huge voice in our community not only for his district, but for all of us. Once he was elected he visited all of the neighborhoods in his district and spoke to his constituents personally. He asked them what were the pressing concerns in their neighborhoods and then he went to work.

In the Carey/Davis neighborhood they were trying to raise money for a community garden. This was a neighborhood that for years was affected by gang violence, drug activity and constant graffiti. Jimmy approached the City of Watsonville to help fund the efforts and they told him no. Instead of Jimmy accepting “no” as an answer, he went out and raised the money and obtained the resources for this project. Now there is not only a community garden, there is a park and after-school programs for kids.

When speaking to his constituents along the sloughs he learned that their concerns were the constant drug activity, garbage and safety issues. Over the years Jimmy has worked with Wetlands Watch and the City of Watsonville to clean up the sloughs.

When residents approached Jimmy about constant graffiti, he decided to partner with local artists to get graffiti down and murals up. He has advocated for women, children and families as the president of the Pajaro Valley Shelter Services and has worked hard to help people attain housing. As chairman of the board for Santa Cruz Metro, Jimmy worked to revitalize our Watsonville Metro Station.

Jimmy has been a voice for so many people in our community. He has shown action and results. Jimmy doesn’t only sit behind the dais and vote, he gets his hands dirty. So I ask you, what kind of leader do we want in our community? Do we want someone who will continue to fight for us and produce results or do we want to continue to let the old guard dictate the direction of our community? I personally feel it is time for a new generation of leaders to help guide us. I hope you join me and vote Jimmy Dutra for Fourth District Santa Cruz County Supervisor. We should not fear change, let’s embrace a future with a leader who has a vision that will continue to include all of us.

Terry Dutra



Vote for Nancy Bilicich

To the Editor,

Our city is more closely tied to Santa Cruz County than most others. We house, feed and educate workers from county businesses. Roads and open space that look like they belong to the city actually belong to the county. The county’s affordable housing is largely constructed here. Agriculture, the highest income producer in the county, surrounds us. The needs, policies and often fates of Watsonville and the county are intertwined.

So our representative on the Board of Supervisors is extremely important. Leadership and clear decisive action by our representation has been lacking for many years. Yet, I routinely hear residents talking about basing their vote for supervisor on race, friendships, ethnic and church affiliations … really? We need to look at the candidates for that position as an employer analyzes a prospective employee.

Who is going do the job? I am voting for Nancy Bilicich. I made that decision based on her extensive and proven administrative experience, her understanding of the community and political processes and her work ethic. I urge the voters of District 4 to do the same.

Kathleen Morgan-Martinez



A strong independent voice for South County

To the Editor,

Nancy Bilicich has a lifetime experience of dealing with issues and solving them on the educational level (as a teacher, counselor, administrator), political level (as a nine-year Watsonville City Councilmember) and on a regional board level (dealing with flood zone, business and healthcare issues).

Bilicich is termed out after nine years of service on the Watsonville City Council. That’s why she decided to run for supervisor, to complete levee and channel maintenance projects in the Pajaro River flood zone, which she has successfully worked with county, state and federal officials to move along. She knows that the area’s neighborhoods and agriculture are at risk, thus flood prevention is No. 1 on her list.

Please join me and vote for Nancy Bilicich, an independent thinker, not someone put up by organized political groups.

Annette Baldwin



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