letters to the editor

By Casey Clark

Hi neighbor! We may have already met.

Yes, it is election season. Yes, I am running unopposed, but believe me, I would never dream of taking your vote for granted. Let me tell you of the dreams I do have.

I have a dream of serving my hometown of Watsonville, not only as someone volunteering for a non-profit, but as a true public servant who will enact legislation that will benefit you for years to come.

I have a dream of the growth of our city; and being here for you to help grow the most beautiful version of Watsonville yet.

I have a dream of giving you the power to be heard. Hearing your voice—not only on a microphone with a time limit at a council meeting.

I have a dream of being the gay, mixed-race council member who can change the outcomes of marginalized people in our community. All of us.

My adoptive parents brought me to the Pajaro Valley as a boy of 9 years old. Spending most of my formative years here, I love the open spaces, the temperate climate, and the historic downtown. Growing up I cultivated an appreciation for where food comes from, and the backbreaking effort it takes to bring it to our table. I am a product of local schools where I met people from all walks of life and formed lifelong bonds. I respect, appreciate and love all cultures.

Pajaro Valley has such rich soil, and an even richer tapestry of a culturally diverse population. I am so proud to be a part of this colorful array of people. As a multi-racial individual, I would like to feel that I fit right in with my brothers and sisters in our community.

Working in the mental health industry, with over a decade of hands-on experience and advocating for an extremely underserved population, I have come to understand the importance of maintaining compassionate insight into mental health, housing equity and public safety. Our progressing city has seen many changes with the pandemic, economy and the senior population. Social isolation among our elderly and our young, has taken an immeasurable toll. This is a time of change, and this is a time for common sense governance of that change.

We have fragile infrastructure everywhere in our city. We have challenged levees, beautiful, productive farmland that may become paved over with housing or light industrial. We must choose wisely how we will manage that land and expansion. We need to think about affordability, accessibility, sustainability—and not just pay lip service. We cannot ignore the finite resource of potable water, truly our most precious natural gift. It is imperative to intelligently plan for traffic management, access to schools, and commerce. We must also consider the unhoused in our community, and not treat them as criminals, but address their needs as funds allow.

With your support, we can manage these changes. With your guidance, we can forge a better Watsonville. With your input, we will advocate for equity, safety, inclusion and prosperity for all. I look forward to working for you the next four years.

I am Casey Clark; I am your neighbor. Nice to meet you!

Casey Clark is the candidate for Watsonville City Council, District 5.

His opinions are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.

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