We need Marcus Pimentel and Jasmine Najera as board members of the Pajaro Valley Health Care District (PVHCD) to continue the success of Watsonville Community Hospital (WCH) under community-led ownership. They’ve been in the trenches with the leadership of WCH throughout the process of securing the hospital’s future. We believe their continued leadership is essential and that they must be re-elected to the Health Care District Board to ensure successful long-term sustainability of the hospital.
Nájera, a Watsonville resident, is a licensed clinical social worker with 20 years experience working for the Santa Cruz County Health Services in behavioral health and now leads the Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance (PVPSA).
Born at Watsonville Community Hospital, Pimentel currently serves as budget manager for Santa Cruz County. He formerly worked as finance director with the cities of Watsonville and Santa Cruz, and as Assistant Health Director for the County of Santa Cruz. He served for nine years as Chair of Salud Para La Gente’s Board of Directors and stewarded it through a financial and administrative turnaround.
Pimentel and Najera’s commitment to our community and region has been demonstrated through years of service, and time and again through extraordinary volunteerism, most recently to save the hospital, but also to countless other local efforts and nonprofits. They set an ongoing example of commitment through hard work and truly listening to and engaging with the community.
The members of the current health care district board were appointed by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors because of their areas of expertise, experience and the communities they represent. Najera and Pimentel’s professional experience, knowledge of the community and goodwill were pivotal to the initial success of the health care district board. Committed to the ideal the hospital should remain in service for years to come, they spent innumerable hours studying the hospital, its programs and the turnaround plan to help ensure its future. Their efforts resulted in the hospital remaining open, emerging from bankruptcy and transitioning back to community ownership. It is critical to re-elect them to the PVHCD Board to continue momentum and not disrupt Watsonville Community Hospital’s early success under community ownership.
If we had lost the hospital’s critical services, it would have severely impacted emergency services, our regional healthcare provider network, hundreds of staff members and the Pajaro Valley community. Without a hospital in this community, those with the least resources who face the most barriers to care would experience the most damaging impacts to their health. The long-term viability of Watsonville Community Hospital is a key component in addressing the health disparities in underserved parts of Santa Cruz County.
For all the hard work that Najera and Pimentel have put into the acquisition of WCH, we believe they have not only earned another term on the PVHCD board, but are the best candidates. We are excited for the promise a second term would mean for WCH and our community with Najera and Pimentel continuing on the board.
Let’s keep a winning course with this forward-thinking healthcare district board. Mark your vote for Jasmine Najera and Marcus Pimentel on Nov. 8 to work together for continued success.
The authors represent community service leaders and health care professionals. They are: Ray Cancino, Leslie Conner, Maria Elena De La Garza, Thomas Greaney, Kayla Kumar, Laura Marcus, Henry Martin, Monica Martinez, Dori Rose Inda, Faris Sabbah, Blaine Sutliff, Dr. Clay Angel, Dr. David Claypool, Lynne Drummond, RN, Dr. Devon Francis, Dr. Cal Gordon, Dr. Katherine Gabriel-Cox, Dr. Anniken Hansen, Dr. Donaldo Hernandez, Dr. Amy McEntee, Dr. Carmin Powell, Dr. Jessica Santillano and Dr. Josefa Simkin. Their opinions are their own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.