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Setting Emilio Martinez straight on the facts, too

To the Editor,

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “You are entitled to your own opinions, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” The recent op-ed by former Councilman Emilio Martinez (Pajaronian, Feb. 1-7) took another playbook page from KSBW’s General Manager JW Heston. He, too, didn’t have his facts straight.

The Watsonville City Attorney’s Office would set him straight that in November 2010, it was Martinez, not me, who sued the City of Watsonville in Martinez v. City of Watsonville. He lost big and wasted tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees, not to mention tens of thousands more in his own attorney fees. The case was over whether I could vote on the appointment of my successor on the City Council after I won my race for State Assembly in 2010.

Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkmann ruled in my favor, stating, “public policy favors allowing the residents of a resigning City Councilmember’s district to have representation in the decision over who will be appointed to represent them as their Councilmember on the City Council. For these reasons, it is lawful for a resigning City Councilmember to participate in the vote on the appointment of the successor who will fill the vacancy.”

Martinez wanted to disenfranchise the voters of District 2, and the Sixth District Court of Appeals also later threw out his appeal in December 2014.

While in the State Assembly, the California legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown also agreed with Judge Volkmann and I, and signed my Assembly Bill 1785 to codify Judge Volkmann’s ruling into state law. The bill now makes clear in state statute that a resigning councilmember can remain in office long enough to choose a replacement to ensure voters in a council district have a voice.

While Martinez failed to show up to a significant portion of his city council meetings during his short tenure and continues to be a divisive figure, there are those of us who continue to dedicate our careers to public service with integrity and continue to work to improve the lives of the hardworking residents of our communities.

Luis A. Alejo

Monterey County Supervisor

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