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December 5, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 27

Dutra always puts the people first

I will begin my “opinion piece” with a quote: “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim they accomplish things. The first group is less crowded.” —Mark Twain

I will be voting for Jimmy Dutra. I will not be distracted from my belief that Jimmy Dutra has “earned and worked diligently” toward his goal of being seated at the table of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in order to give us a voice. A voice we have been missing.

Jimmy’s accomplishments throughout his life are many. His accomplishments, hard work and determination, while serving the people of Watsonville, first as a Councilman, and then as Mayor were nothing less than exemplary. Jimmy used his knowledge and his unparalleled energy to bring the much-needed “Life Blood” back to our city. It was during the pandemic that Jimmy put the “people” first and worked with the county health department and our regional leaders to get the vaccine to our valley. He even went further and urged the Governor to prioritize our farm workers, seniors and essential workers to receive the vaccine first. He was worried we were being overlooked and he was right because we were. Jimmy has always put the people first even if it meant going up against the establishment and status quo.

To Jimmy, I say, cut out the noise and chatter. You are highly qualified to be the next 4th District County Supervisor. That is a fact. To Jimmy’s distractors I say, produce some accomplishments on Jimmy’s opponent. I frankly know nothing of what he has done. To the people of Watsonville, I say, don’t be distracted by the nonsense. The truth always prevails. To myself I say, Jimmy has the integrity, knowledge and leadership qualities we need to represent us on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, 4th district.

Please join me in voting for Jimmy Dutra.

—Connie M. Sauer, Watsonville

Hernandez is dedicated to Watsonville

I have known Felipe Hernandez since he was in my kindergarten class at HA Hyde School a very long time ago. I do not live in Watsonville so I can’t vote for Felipe. However, as a member of the Board of Supervisors, he will be making decisions affecting where I live in Aptos. Felipe is dedicated and supports and attends many community events. I feel he will be a steward for Watsonville and all of Santa Cruz County and future generations. Please support and vote for Felipe Hernandez.

Mary Dixon, Aptos

Hernandez deserves your vote

I wish to indicate my support for Mr. Felipe Hernandez, a candidate running for Santa Cruz County Supervisor. Though I do not reside in the county or Watsonville, I conduct business and patronize establishments there. Mr. Hernandez possesses the knowledge and experience needed to move the Pajaro Valley forward, especially in regard to transportation. He deserves your vote on Nov. 8.

Gary V. Plomp, Gilroy

The other side of politics

There is much to be said about having the right to vote for a candidate of your choice in a democracy. This right to vote was, and continues, to be fought for on a daily basis.

The system of politics can be considered to be a struggle between candidates to win the favor of the voting public, those that are registered and able to vote.

This political battle should be conducted by each candidate by presenting their personal points of view and how they conform with the general voting public. Their opinions on how they will be representing their office for the general public will be based on their past experiences in other positions of public service. All of which have been in full view of the public while in those positions.

Public service is an honor presented to the winning candidate by the voting majority of the public and the expectation is that they will honor the promises which were made during their campaign for office.

The problem is that winning can become everything, and the dark side of politics will show its ugly head. Hearsay, can, and will, change the perspective of voters, even before there is evidence whether something being said is true or not. 

When this occurs, it is too late to withdraw what was said, if it was an untruth…the damage will have been done.

In a world of true honor, all competing candidates would step forward and deny being a part of anything having to do with “hearsay,” and state that their winning the vote of the public should be based only on qualifications and past experience in public office.

I encourage everyone to vote, but do so without bias or without any hint of preconceptions.

Fred L. Castillo, Watsonville

Ag fields must transition to organic

I read with great interest Tony Nuñez’s article about the Campaign for Organic and Regenerative Agriculture (CORA), its September press conference and the Watsonville City Council meeting about the unacceptable toll that pesticides take on people in Watsonville, especially our children. I was present on both occasions, and look forward to the next City Council meeting when action can be taken toward eliminating the use of toxic pesticides.

Our home in Bay Village, Watsonville, participates in the pilot notification program mentioned in the article. We received multiple notifications of pesticide use near our home from late August into October. The notifications made us aware, this year for the first time, that we are being poisoned, as we no doubt have been as long as we have lived here. The only way to protect ourselves is to stay indoors with the windows closed. Given the fact that the toxins are carried by the wind and maintain their toxicity over time, it is safe to say that all of us in Watsonville are being affected.

The most vulnerable are the children in the schools near the fields. If their mothers work in the fields they have been being poisoned since they were in utero. This is indeed “environmental racism” as Dr. Ann López points out in the article.

I moved to Watsonville from an organic family farm in New Jersey that used “conventional” chemicals until 1967—some of them with the same ingredients that are being used here now. We believe that the death by cancer of my father, three of his sisters and my brother were caused by these toxic pesticides.

Simply notifying us that we are being poisoned is not enough. We must transition the area to 100% organic agriculture, starting with the fields near our schools.

Kathryn Mizuno, Retired PVUSD teacher

Vote Najera and Pimental for hospital board

Recently we celebrated Watsonville Community Hospital’s historic transition back to public ownership. In March of this year the County Supervisors appointed a board to the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District to oversee hospital operations; the board was mindfully chosen with diverse interests and expertises represented to ensure a smooth transition into this new chapter for our hospital and community. This board deserves the chance to do the work they were appointed to do. 

Two seats—those of Jasmine Najera and Marcus Pimental—are up for election next month. Don’t let them be replaced! Director Najera brings a breadth of clinical expertise as a Social Worker and years of experience as a community organizer. Director Pimental, through his role as County Budget Manager and Assistant Health Services Agency Director, offers crucial expertise in healthcare finance. They both bring invaluable perspectives that will help facilitate financial stability for the hospital while also representing and uplifting the voices of the community that this hospital is charged to serve. Vote Najera and Pimental.

Sarah Levitan

Allegations smell like dirty politics

Regarding the recent accusations against Jimmy Dutra, I have to wonder why now? Why weren’t these accusations not made a long time ago?

Jimmy Dutra ran for the primaries and was in the City Council; why not file this accusation then? The timing of this accusation smells like dirty politics.

Regardless of these most unpleasant accusations, my vote is for Jimmy Dutra. And I hope that all the people who have supported him in the past will do the same.

Jimmy Dutra is a good person; his heart is with our community.

—Amador Valdez, Watsonville

Hernandez votes based on facts

I am writing in support of Felipe Hernandez for County Supervisor. Felipe has the experience necessary to represent South County. Further, Felipe understands the need for affordable housing in our community. Felipe’s opponent won’t vote for affordable housing if it is in his district. If he is elected to represent a large area of the county, will he support any affordable housing? Rather than vote to please his constituents and curry favor, Hernandez will vote based upon the facts and in regard to what the needs are of all of the constituents of South County.

Jane Barr, Corralitos

No vote for Casey Clark

I urge voters from District 5 not to vote for Casey Clark for Watsonville City Council. As the November elections approach, many of us from District 5 have no clue who Clark is. He does not seem to reply to emails and is running no campaign—no signage, no canvassing, no meet and greets, no flyers letting voters know who he is, what he stands for, and why we should vote for him. He did not attend the Oct. 19 candidate community forum. 

While it is true that he is running unopposed, this does not excuse him from letting constituents know who he is and what his platform is. A candidate has a responsibility to reach out to their constituents, who are ultimately the people these candidates will represent. 

Who is Casey Clark? I urge voters from District 5 to withhold their vote (leave it blank). 

Dr. Victoria Bañales

Cabrillo English Professor and Watsonville Public Library Trustee

Soil’s role in reducing carbon

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is estimated as 400 ppm. Agricultural soils globally store an immense amount of CO2 in solid form 2.4 times the amount that is in the atmosphere! That’s 960 ppm of CO2 removal. These soils remove and sequester CO2 as organic carbon (organic matter) which is highly valuable to the biological health of the soil.

So it’s quite obvious agricultural soils especially are extremely valuable in removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The crops/plants grown on these soils also take in CO2 and 50 percent of the CO2 is passed down into the roots and into the soil—which enriches and stabilizes the soils.

Paving over with concrete/asphalt totally stops any CO2 removal forever! That doesn’t seem like a wise choice to me when other viable options are available, does it to you? 

Vote Yes on Measure Q, and No on Measure S, which has an opening for urban sprawl on to our farm soils.

Gene Spencer, Watsonville

Bilicich gets things done

I am Betty Bobeda, former Mayor for the City of Watsonville. I have watched Dr. Nancy Bilicich evolve over the years. She served on the City Council representing District 7 from 2009-2018. In 2015, Nancy also served as the Mayor of Watsonville.

As a City Council member, Nancy has always supported both police and fire, promoting public safety and advocating for a third fire/EMT station on the east side of Watsonville. This area is within District 7 and has greatly expanded in both population and housing.

Nancy was instrumental with the beautification and plant selection of the Bridge Street median project in Bay Village. She was also influential in initiating the street sweeping program in District 7.

After Nancy completed her term on the City Council, she remained involved within the community of Watsonville by working on the Pajaro River Flood Management Agency (PRFMA) Board. She is currently seated on the PRFMA which worked closely with Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Senator John Laird to secure $442 million in funding to build new levees. I never thought I would see this project completed, but it is going to happen! Nancy gets things done!

Please join me in strongly supporting Dr. Nancy Bilicich as the new Council Member for District 7.

I endorse and support Nancy and look forward to her representation of District 7.

Betty Bobeda, Treasurer, Friends of Nancy Bilicich 2022

Campaigning hits new low in Watsonville

My beloved Watsonville! What kind of campaigning do you want to let ride here? Do you want the Proud Boys in our Plaza, and Koch brothers’ money behind Felipe next? 

Homophobia, bullying, property theft and tampering, false accusation and racism—the henchmen of a macho patriarchy used to throwing weight around in this town—have leached up into the mailbox and into the Pajaronian. Don’t let it pass by and become the new standard for spin-formation splitting us apart from being able to choose from the facts and history of candidates’ service. 

Who is Deane and Company at 1787 Tribute Road, Suite K in Sacramento and who gave them the business to attempt to influence our local politics? When you vote in the Supervisorial election, choose the candidate who technically won the popular vote already because of his responsiveness, dedication and action for the betterment of the community, on record for over a decade. 

Vote for Jimmy Dutra and vote out a new low of manipulation and sinister grappling by insecure political personalities. Vote not only for Jimmy’s superior record as a person who cares, responds, shows up, speaks for and initiates both brave and sensitive change for our town, but also to protect our community from becoming a player in degraded politicking that endangers marginalized people and upholds hate and the ignorance, while tacitly endorsing criminal behavior. 

It is horrible that this accusation was disclosed in the local papers and used politically before the courts can sort it out. Deane and Company, a skeezy one-star political consultancy, is flooding mailers to the masses of Watsonville who might not have read Jimmy’s press statement showing how much personal animosity there is from the “witness” of this charge—that witness being his disgruntled ex-relative: the girlfriend of Jimmy’s deceased father whom Jimmy waged six years in court against regarding his father’s estate, who is bizarrely posing as the purported victim’s mother…it is the stuff of a terrible reality show.

I have worked with victims of sexual assault for three years with Defensa de Mujeres, am a mother, and, as a survivor myself, am the last person on the planet who would bring unfiltered doubt before charges of sexual predation. But this is terribly full of loopholes and political calculation, not the least of which is that, revilingly, Deane and Company’s mailers have capitalized on this disgusting lie and Felipe does not condemn it.

If this is about protecting youth and preventing Jimmy from being politically powerful, why didn’t Stephen Siefke speak out when Jimmy was Mayor? And why would any decent person who is Siefke’s witness not come forth sooner, knowing that Jimmy has devotedly worked with student youth at PVUSD before and throughout the pandemic? It reeks of the worst kind of dishonesty and calculated manipulation of Jimmy’s reputation. This is slander and homophobia, the lowest manipulation of public perception that can be bought with mailers and media. 

Stand with Jimmy Dutra by casting your vote for him. Stand for accountability in political leadership on the real issues that affect our lives everyday in Watsonville.

Phoenix Artemisia


  1. I’d like to start this with a quote as well, “Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies”-Charles Dickens. It’s “telling” that he won’t answer any questions. Ask him. Can you be placed in a room with the victim at that time? It saddens me to see people boasting about his accomplishments to somehow prove his innocence. The two are not exclusive from each other, and you can have many accomplishments while also having a dark past. (the whole point of #Me Too) Regarding the timing, the victim simply was not ready. Would the victim’s deniers have believed him when Jimmy was running for mayor? The answer is NO. He also wasn’t living in Watsonville to see the impact of his running for office, and with access to campus after school hours. Y’all need to take a basic course on The Impact of Trauma on SA victims if you’re going to wonder why he took a while to come forward, I mean come on. The reality is that it doesn’t involve “cronies” or dark money, or homophobia, money or revenge. What happened to the theory of his fathers disgruntled girlfriend? Now it’s his opponent who found an old family friend to slander on camera? It sounds more realistic that the victim is telling the truth. Also, did anyone catch that when he said he’s innocent to the camera, He shook his head no?

    • this is all about money and a disgruntled ex family member.. Sorry, but this happens all the time. if there had been a police report filed in 17 years, Dutra would never have received a CA teaching credential. and he would have been arrested. DID NOT HAPPEN. it is amazing what some in laws will do for money. be careful who you marry, you inherit the family as well. sadly, JImmy had no control as to who his father remarried and at least one member that arrived with hands out. you think that does not happen? guess again. and it happens to NON elected people who pretend to be pure and sanctimonious . read what I wrote below.

      • Ex step brother now? That’s a new one. I thought it was his mom in law and Filipe? Where does the accuser come into play? So how many people are conspiring against him? The whole court document says nothing about telling the police before. If you thoroughly read the document, and the press, nowhere does it say he told the police so please remember, you are right it did not happen. This is the only time he’s bringing it to the public. So moving on from that DOA argument, You know what also happens all the time? Corrupt politicians and sexual assault.

        • no, corrupt politicians are so because of a lack of oversight from the press. This case made the news because it does not happen all the time. I have relied on what Jimmy has told me about the case. I was not there.
          and by the way, NON elected officials contest final wills and trusts. we see it all the time . TV networks create shows about it. and they are NOT elected officials. Mostly, they are not. so your putting all elected officials into one category is blatantly unfair. I will put my record for honesty up against YOURS and anyone elese who questions it. and for the record, I am not inheriting anything from anyone, and I am not claiming otherwise.

        • no, corrupt politicians are so because of a lack of oversight from the press. This case made the news because it does not happen all the time. I have relied on what Jimmy has told me about the case. I was not there.
          and by the way, NON elected officials contest final wills and trusts. we see it all the time . TV networks create shows about it. and they are NOT elected officials. Mostly, they are not. so your putting all elected officials into one category is blatantly unfair. I will put my record for honesty up against YOURS and anyone elese who questions it. and for the record, I am not inheriting anything from anyone, and I am not claiming otherwise.

          • “I have relied on what Jimmy has told me about the case” Because he’s your friend, and you somehow see yourself in his challenges. Jimmy lied to you buddy. Please provide proof. trying to be involved, you’re old news. It’s obvious that you will blindly defend and never weigh both stories out like true caring people are. No one asked if you were inheriting anything lol stop making it about the inheritance! Why not ask the victim his take? Because you don’t know him and you are Biased, it is very clear

      • There you go again. You are delusional.

        1. What CA teaching credential? He doesn’t have one.

        2. What money? Jimmy is flat broke. It’s pathetic.

        3. What ex-stepbrother? To have an ex-stepbrother, one or both of his parents would have had another spouse with a son from outside of Jimmy’s parents’ marriage. Name the supposed ex-stepbrother.

        4. Finally, how’s your friend Harvey?

        YOU ARE HALLUCINATING about 1-3. And Harvey will have nothing to do with you. You’re obnoxious and annoying.


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