Our community stands at a pivotal juncture. Access to life-saving, local healthcare for tens of thousands of residents throughout the Pajaro Valley, Santa Cruz County and North Monterey County is on the March 5, 2024 ballot.
Measure N is not just a bond; it is a lifeline for our community’s health and an investment in future generations. As we approach the March 5 election, we are faced with the opportunity to fortify and expand the capabilities of Watsonville Community Hospital, solidifying our dedication to a future where quality healthcare is a cornerstone of our local community and ensuring that our friends, families and neighbors have access to the care they deserve for decades to come.
Watsonville Community Hospital is a 128-year-old medical institution that has saved countless lives and safely welcomed numerous members of our community into the world. Now, back under local, nonprofit ownership and directed by our trusted friends and neighbors in the Pajaro Valley Health Care District, Watsonville Community Hospital is on the path toward sustainability.
Measure N is a proactive step toward fortifying Watsonville Community Hospital that supports the community’s long-held vision of building a thriving local healthcare provider whose influence on our community’s wellness extends far beyond the walls of the facility. Measure N would equip the hospital to meet the evolving needs of our growing and aging population. By voting yes on Measure N, we are safeguarding the very essence of our community, and committing to the health and well-being of every resident.
The $116 million raised from a Yes vote on Measure N would allow Watsonville Community Hospital to nearly double its emergency room capacity, jumping from 12 rooms to 22, and reduce wait times. It would also help upgrade outdated imaging systems including X-rays, MRI and CT scanners, and add new services so patients don’t have to travel to other hospitals to get the care they need. The time and money saved from no longer having to travel outside of our community to receive care will easily match the annual investment of $24 per $100,000 of assessed property value that Measure N proposes.
Measure N would also fund the purchase of the Watsonville Community Hospital buildings and grounds, which would save $3 million per year in rent payments. Every penny of this bond—and the new revenues as a result of the upgrades and expansions—will be spent locally, ensuring that the funds directly benefit Watsonville Community Hospital and the children, parents, families and seniors it serves throughout Watsonville, Aptos, La Selva Beach, Corralitos, Pajaro, Las Lomas, Aromas and beyond.
The alternative, a “No” vote, could move us toward a bleak future that has become a reality in communities throughout California. This includes Madera County, where residents are now facing the catastrophic consequences that can unfold when a community loses its local healthcare lifeline.
More than 32,000 people visit Watsonville Community Hospital’s emergency room each year. Where would those people go if Watsonville Community Hospital closed? A “No” vote on Measure N could set in motion a chain of events leading to the erosion of our healthcare infrastructure throughout Santa Cruz County.
By voting “Yes” on Measure N, we affirm that the health of our community is a shared responsibility. It is a commitment we make not just to ourselves but to the collective well-being that defines us as a united front. In choosing unity over uncertainty, we declare that our community refuses to be a statistic in the nationwide trend of rural hospital closures.
As we cast our votes, let us remember the extraordinary journey that brought us here and envision a future where Watsonville Community Hospital stands as a beacon of health, resilience and collective commitment. The power to shape that future lies in our hands, and by voting “Yes” on Measure N, we ensure that our commitment to a healthier, stronger and more vibrant community endures.
Vote Yes on Measure N.
Zach Friend is the Second District Supervisor for Santa Cruz County; Felipe Hernandez is the Fourth District Supervisor for Santa Cruz County; Luis Alejo is the First District Supervisor for Monterey County; Glenn Church is the Second District Supervisor and Chair of the Board for Monterey County; and Vanessa Quiroz-Carter is the mayor of Watsonville. Their opinions are their own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.